Athens - Cyprus has petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to safeguard its offshore mineral rights, its president said on Thursday, upping the ante with neighbor Turkey which disputes its claims.
Cyprus’s internationally recognized government discovered offshore gas in 2011 but has been at loggerheads with Turkey over maritime zones around the island, where it has granted licenses to multinational companies for oil and gas research. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said Cyprus is committed to protecting its sovereign rights with every legal means possible. “Our recourse to The Hague has that very purpose,” he told journalists in Nicosia.
Turkey, which does not have diplomatic relations with Cyprus’s government, says that some areas Nicosia operates in are either on the Turkish continental shelf, or in areas where the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state has rights over any finds. It has sent its own drill ships to the island. The ICJ has the power to issue binding decisions on countries which recognize its jurisdiction.(Read more)