National Defence Minister Panos Beglitis on Friday defended Cyprus' right to explore for fuels within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), following an official meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Demetris Eliades.

"The Cyprus Republic as a sovereign state has the self-evident right to proceed with fuel exploration, exercising its sovereign right, as this arises from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the UN Charter," Beglitis underlined.

He stressed that the policy of Greece and the Cyprus Republic on this issue was based on the principles of international legality, the rules of international law and international treaties, and a policy of peace, cooperation, stability and security in the eastern Mediterranean region.

He noted that Greece and Cyprus were factors of stability and security, that replied to Turkey's "unilateral actions with a policy of respect for International Law and international treaties," and called on Ankara to respect international law and Cyprus' sovereign rights.

"[Turkey's] unilateral actions and even its recent, repeated statements essentially help cultivate a climate of destabilisation, tension and, of course, a possible crisis in the region," he added.
Beglitis urged calm and the required determination, while stressing that a political solution of the Cyprus issue will lead to a viable federal state in accordance with the decisions of the UN Security Council and the decisions of the European Union acquis.
Eliades underlined that Cyprus is exercising its sovereign rights to its EEZ with complete respect for international law and remains dedicated to a course of peaceful developments.
"It is a shame that Turkey, lacking arguments and international legitimacy for its views, is resorting to provocations and threats. We will not follow this path," he stressed.
"We believe and it is our position that the international forces that have already adopted a position should spread an umbrella protecting the Cyprus Republic's legal right to carry out peaceful processes for exploiting our natural resources," Eliades added.
Noting that Turkey could not legitimately resort to such behaviour, Eliades expressed hope that international legality and the powers would intervene to prevent incidents of military tension in the region.
Beglitis, on his part, underlined that an insistence on respect for international legality, the principles of international law and international treaties had created a strong front of solidarity in the countries of the EU, the United States, the countries of the eastern Mediterranean and in Russia, as well with international organisations.
"It is a powerful front and a defence against the unilateral action and threats of Turkey," he underlined, expressing hope that common sense would prevail among Turkey's leadership.
He also warned the media to show restraint and act responsibly, denying recent rumours of a military alert as misinformation that he stressed could prove "extremely dangerous".
"In spite of the recent difficult economic conjunction we must feel confident as a nation, feel the safety provided by the armed forces," he stressed, expressing pride in the high operational standard and readiness of the Greek armed forces.