Italian, Tukish Foreign Ministers meet as blockade of Italian ship on

Kuwait City, Feb 13 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister Angelino Alfano held talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu here on Tuesday amid efforts to end the blockade by Turkish military vessels of a drill ship belonging to the Italian oil and gas firm Eni in waters off Cyprus.

“The minister agreed on the need to take into account their respective national interests and the concerns of Italian and Turkish governments,” the Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“This is also in order to keep the necessary climate of trust for current and possible future energy projects,” the statement underlined.

The meeting between Alfano and Cavusoglu took place on the sidelines of a summit in Kuwait City of the US-led global coalition against the Islamic State jihadist group.

In a phone conversation with Cavusoglu on Monday, Alfano raised the issue of the Eni-owned drill ship which Turkish warships blocked on Friday off the southwest coast of Cyprus and ordered not continue its journey to an area off the southeast coast of the island to explore for natural gas.

During Monday’s call, Alfano underlined to Cavusoglu “Italy’s hopes of reaching a shared solution under international law and in the interests of Eni and countries in the region, as well as the two Cypriot communities,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Turkey, which does not have diplomatic relations with Cyprus, claims that part of Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone falls within the jurisdiction of Turkey or of Turkish Cypriots.

The contested prospect is Block 3 of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, Eni said.

The European Union on Monday deplored Turkey’s blockade of the drill ship, calling on the country to respect states’ sovereignty “in their territorial waters and air space”.

–IANS/AKI
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