Finance Minister resigns

President Christofias has urged the international community to put an end to its silence as regards Turkey and its threats if Cyprus proceeds with exercising its sovereign rights to exploit its natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

Speaking at an anti-occupation event organised by the Famagusta Municipality Saturday evening, President Christofias said it was unacceptable that Turkey, which flagrantly violates international law in Cyprus and has not yet signed the Convention on the Law of the Sea, to refer to the need to implement international law in Cyprus.

It is unacceptable, he stressed, that the Turkish Foreign Minister uses threats against the Republic of Cyprus in case Nicosia proceeds with the exploitation of its natural resources.

He pointed out that Turkey has not even accepted or signed the UN international agreement on the Law of the Sea.

President Christofias recalled that Turkish troops occupy a great part of Cyprus' territory, violating the international law, since 1974.

''Despite the above, Turkey dares to speak about the international law, saying that Cyprus should respect and implement it. This is unacceptable'', he stressed.

The UN, the EU and the whole international community ''must finally put an end to their silence as regards Turkey. They should defend international law and put Turkey in its place''.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that Cyprus’ plans to explore and exploit its hydrocarbon reserves is not in line with international law and does not contribute to efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

Drilling for natural gas off the southern coast of Cyprus will begin around October.

Cyprus has signed a production-sharing contract with Houston-based Noble Energy. The company has a concession to explore for hydrocarbons in an offshore field in its Exclusive Economic Zone, southeast of Cyprus, known as Block 12.

The Eastern Mediterranean area is believed to have a massive amount of natural gas resources.

Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement was signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has
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