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Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Minas Hadjimichael, in a letter dated 4th June 2009 to the UN Secretary General, protested over a new incident of violation of Cyprus’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its air and maritime space, by Turkey.

Cyprus’ Permanent Representative notes in his letter that on 27 May 2009, while the Cypriot-flagged vessel EDT ARES was carrying out maintenance on an installation for the collection of meteorological information off the south-west coast of Cyprus, upon request of the competent authorities of the Government of Cyprus, it was approached by the Turkish corvette BEYKOZ F/503 asking to be informed of the work that it was performing.

“It was harassed by the same corvette for a number of hours before the latter eventually departed”, Hadjimichael adds.

He goes on to note that on 28 May 2009, a Turkish fighter jet (CN-235) flew to the above area, in violation of Cypriot airspace, and issued radio warnings to EDT ARES to withdraw “as it was in Turkish territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of Turkey”.

EDT ARES explained that it had been mandated to carry out maintenance work by the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus and that it would remain in the area until its work was completed but the Turkish jet continued to issue warnings to the said vessel to withdraw.

“These actions create unnecessary confrontation and tension, which is in fact the intended purpose on the part of Turkey in order to intimidate the Republic of Cyprus and obstruct it from carrying out any activity in its exclusive economic zone, especially as regards the exploration and exploitation of its sovereign natural resources”, Hadjimichael points out in his letter.

Cyprus’ Permanent Ambassador at the UN stresses that the Republic of Cyprus stands ready to continue the process of delimitation of its exclusive economic zone with all its neighboring states, pursuant to and on the basis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“The Government of Cyprus has no doubts about its sovereignty over the totality of its territory, its territorial sea and its airspace and/or about its sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone and its continental shelf”, the letter concludes.

EU member state the Republic of Cyprus, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

Financial Mirror, June 11, 2009 - by Apostolis Zoupaniotis (CNA)

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