The US said it remained “deeply concerned” by reports of Turkey’s drilling operations in the waters off Cyprus and has urged the Turkish authorities to halt them.

“The United States remains deeply concerned by reports of Turkey’s drilling operations in the waters off Cyprus, including plans to dispatch the Yavuz south of Limassol,” a US state department spokesman said.

“This provocative step raises tensions in the region.  We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations,” he added.

He continued noting that the US policy on Cyprus’s EEZ is “longstanding and has not changed: the United States recognises the right of the Republic of Cyprus to develop the resources in its exclusive economic zone.”

“Only the Republic of Cyprus can assert maritime claims from the territory of Cyprus,” he said.

According to the spokesman, “energy resource development in the Eastern Mediterranean should foster cooperation, increase dialogue between the two communities and among regional neighbors, and provide a foundation for durable energy security and economic prosperity.”

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