Pompeo Recommends diplomacy in standoff over Mediterranean Gasoline

NICOSIA, Cyprus — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday called for a diplomatic solution to the confrontation involving Greece and Turkey over energy reserves in east tropical waters, stating continuing military tensions between two NATO allies just function the alliance’s foes.

“Increased military worries help nobody but adversaries who’d love to see a branch in transatlantic unity,” Pompeo stated after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

Turkish and Greek warships have been staring down each other in recent months since Turkish research boats and drill boats continue trying to find hydrocarbons in waters in which Greece and Cyprus assert exclusive economic rights.

Thus far, three large gas discoveries are made within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone in which electricity companies such as Total of France, Italy’s Eni, and ExxonMobil are accredited to perform hydrocarbons searches.

Turkey, which does not recognize Cyprus as a country, insists it has every right to potential in these waters and is doing this to defend its rights and those of Turkish Cypriots on ethnically divided Cyprus into a possible mineral bond.

“We remain deeply concerned by Turkey’s ongoing operations, searching for natural resources in locations where Greece and Cyprus claim authority in the southern Mediterranean,” explained Pompeo, replicating Washington’s support for Cyprus’ right to exploit hydrocarbon residue in its territorial sea and exclusive economic zone.

Cyprus has been split to a Greek-Cypriot southwest and a Turkish-occupied north as a 1974 invasion by Turkey in response to a coup trying to unite the island with Greece.

The U.S. top diplomatic also replicated any possible hydrocarbon wealth that ought to be shared equitably between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

Anastasiades said he completely supported Washington’s place that regional disputes must be solved through dialogue”rather than by gunboat diplomacy.” The Cypriot president repeated his government’s deal to negotiate with Turkey straight on marking marine boundaries or carrying the issue to the International Court of Justice.

Pompeo’s lightning trip to Cyprus was also directed to confirm Washington’s active involvement in tumultuous place only four days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pitched Moscow’s offer to help alleviate tensions during his visit to the island nation.

Reminiscent of a Cold War-era competition, the visits by Pompeo and Lavrov into Cyprus underscored a revived interest in a region where Moscow’s footprint has grown bigger owing to the military participation in neighboring Syria.

“Security alliance matters all the more as we see countries which don’t share our worth seeking to get footholds in the area,” explained Pompeo.

Cyprus has attempted to leverage its geographical proximity to the Middle East by trying to strengthen relations with all the U.S. while at precisely the same time maintaining strong ties with Moscow on whose service it counts in the United Nations.

Pompeo stated U.S.-Cyprus connections”haven’t been better,” but replicated to Anastasiades Washington’s worries over Russian money laundering activities in Cyprus and ports of call Russian warships create at Cypriot interfaces.

The centerpiece of nearer Cyprus-US connections was last year’s diplomatic endorsement of this Eastern Mediterranean Energy and Security Partnership Act that underscores U.S. service to an energy-based partnership between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel.

Under the Act, the U.S. is supplying Cyprus with financing for military instruction and has partly lifted an arms embargo which has been enacted 33 years ago to protect against a probable arms race beating peace discussions. The lifting of this embargo was made possible following Washington waived a requirement that Cyprus stopped to offer refueling and other port services to Russian warships.

“We all know that each of the Russian army vessels which stop in Cypriot vents isn’t conducting diplomatic missions in Syria,” Pompeo explained.

The movement — also as U.S. officials accusing Russia of enjoying with a”very destabilizing role in the region” — angered Moscow, together with Lavrov accusing Washington of using”divide and rule” tactics to push a wedge between Russia and countries in the area.