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Talat’s claims to oil laughed off > January 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Oil Crisis.

This story is really amusing! I burst into laughs when I read what was claimed! Really, it’s not a joke, he means every single word he said 🙂

Goodness sake, I need to immediately change my pants and put-on clean ones, as sh*t smells badly! Still laughing though 🙂 

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday laid claim to a share in the possible oil and gas deposits of the island’s south eastern coast in a declaration that bemused even the conciliatory Greek Cypriot opposition.

The government dismissed the claim as laughable and unworthy of serious comment.
Talat, who heads the breakaway administration that declared itself an independent sovereign state in 1983, further warned that Turkish Cypriot exclusion from oil and gas deals would increase tensions on the island.

In an interview with the trilingual weekly newspaper Dialogue, Talat said Turkish Cypriots and Turkey had “rights over Cyprus” and no deals could go ahead without their consent.

He also said he had protested in writing to both Egypt and Lebanon, which have signed agreements with Cyprus delineating the exclusive economic zones where exploration will take place.

“Secret deals signed between Papadopoulos and the Egyptian and Lebanese governments do not bind us. We will not give up what is rightfully ours,” said Talat. “Mr Papadopoulos chooses to do everything in secret. The same thing happened when he was laundering money but one thing should be clearly understood, we are partners in everything that goes on in Cyprus and will now allow our interests to be harmed.”

He added that if Egypt and Lebanon decided to enforce the agreements “they must know that this will raise tensions”.

Talat also hinted that the issue could be a cause for war, citing comments in the past by former Trade Minister Nicos Rolandis that such a conflict could arise in this instance. “His warnings were appropriate and necessary,” said Talat, adding that if the Greek Cypriots had accepted the Annan reunification plan in 2004, the whole island could now benefit from the oil and gas possibilities.

“The motive behind the (Greek Cypriot) administration rejecting UN efforts…is to try and take the oil for itself,” said Talat.

Government spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said Talat’s threat that tensions would increase were “rash and laughable” and were “unworthy of attention or comment”.
“The threats of Mr Talat can have absolutely no effect and I don’t believe these countries (Egypt and Lebanon) will take them seriously,” he said.

Foreign Minister George Lillikas expressed regret that Talat had resorted to threats, not only to the Greek Cypriots but also to Egypt and Lebanon, over the oil and gas issue.
“This does not indicate a spirit of consent and a spirit of dialogue, but rather an anachronistic approach,” said Lillikas.

He said it was the absolute sovereign right of Cyprus to exploit and resources on land or in the sea within its territory.

“The Republic of Cyprus is a sovereign state, a member of the UN and the EU, and its actions are within the sovereign rights of this state,” Commerce Minister Antonis Michaelides said later yesterday.

Opposition DISY leader Nicos Anastassiades, who has come under fire this week for planning a meeting with Talat, said the Turkish Cypriot leader’s statements to Dialogue were unacceptable and reprehensible.

“If indeed Mr Talat is interested in joint exploration then he should interest himself in helping to turn the July 8 agreement into a reality so that a dialogue and preparation can be done on issues of substance so that the Cyprus problem can be solved,” said Anastassiades. “Then we can enjoy the wealth of our country together.”

Previous studies have estimated that oil and natural gas reserves in the seas surrounding Cyprus amount to six to eight billion barrels, currently worth around $400 billion. Cyprus will open up to offers for the exploration of 11 out of 13 designated blocks in February, the government announced on Thursday.

The first phase of offers begins on February 15 and expires on July 16 when interested parties will have the five months to submit offers to buy the necessary data enabling them to carry our further research inside a three-year time period. The cabinet met last night in an extraordinary session to finalise details on the areas to be explored, to approve the text for the invitation of offers, and the criteria under which they will be evaluated.

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