Greek Cyprus rejects Turkish side’s joint drilling proposal

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The Cypriot (L) and European Union (R) flags are seen flying outside. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ / AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ

Greek Cypriot leaders on ethnically split Cyprus have turned down a renewed proposal by breakaway Turkish Cypriots to form a joint committee on managing natural gas discovered offshore the east Mediterranean island nation, The Associated Press reported.

Deputy Minister Vasilis Palmas said the proposal by Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı detracts from the substance of Cyprus’ political problem and the need for an immediate resumption of reunification negotiations.

Speaking after Tuesday’s leaders’ meeting chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades, Palmas said Akıncı’s proposal contains provisions that “don’t serve the best interests of either the Cyprus Republic or the Cypriot people as a whole.”

Akıncı reissued the proposal just prior to the European Union’s decision to issue sanctions against Turkey for illegal gas drilling in waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.

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