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Turkey blocks Greek Cypriots from attending Geneva conference: report

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Turkey has blocked a request from the Republic of Cyprus to take part in the Geneva Disarmament Conference as an adversarial relationship between the two countries is growing more intense, the Kathimerini daily reported.

Cyprus was among many countries that made a request to participate as an observer in the first of three sessions this year of the 65-member Geneva-based body.

All but one of the requests were granted according to foreign media, with Turkey objecting to Cyprus for the first time.

A Turkish representative said Ankara had in the past refrained from blocking Cyprus’ participation by simply voicing its displeasure in a letter at the end of each session.

“Turkey will not support this particular request this year,” the Turkish official said.

The block came two days after Cyprus called Turkey a “pirate state” over its attempts to drill for oil and gas off Cyprus and three days after the European Union had issued a warning to Ankara.

Nicosia has also been lobbying member states to move faster on sanctions against Turkey in connection with Turkish drilling activities around the island.

While the European Union had condemned Turkish drilling around Cyprus, Nicosia had been frustrated with the lack of follow-up after the EU had set up a mechanism to impose sanctions on any individuals or companies involved in what it described as illegal drilling in the Cypriot EEZ.

The Geneva Disarmament Conference is a multilateral disarmament forum that meets three times a year in Switzerland. The global forum negotiates arms control and disarmament accords and focuses on the cessation of the nuclear arms race.

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