UN Wants Peace in Cyprus Oil and Gas Dispute

Posted September 16th, 2011 at 2:00 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations has called on Turkey to peacefully resolve a growing dispute with Greece and Greek Cypriots over planned gas exploration off the coast of divided Cyprus.

Cyprus officials have licensed the U.S.-based company Noble Energy to start exploration of oil and gas reserves off the Mediterranean island's coast.

The decision has riled Turkey, the only country in the world that recognizes the Turkish Cypriot north of the island.

Ankara responded by vowing to sign a pact with the north on maritime boundaries should the Greeks start drilling and contracting a Norwegian vessel to do a maritime survey in waters claimed by Greece.

Greece has protested the move.

U.N. representative Lisa Buttenheim called on all parties to resolve the matter peacefully, and said that all finds could benefit all of the peoples of the island under a “united Cyprus.”

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974, and the island has been divided since then between Turkey and Greece. Ongoing reconciliation talks begun in 2008 between the Turkish north and the Greek south have so far failed to produce a settlement.