Replying to a question regarding Ankara's threats against Cyprus, due to the launching of explorations for hydrocarbons in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone, Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule's spokesperson Maja Kocijancic noted that Turkey must ''refrain from any kind of threat or sources of friction or action which could negatively affect the good neighbourhood relations and a peaceful settlement of border disputes.''
She also underlined the importance of progress on the normalisation of relations between Turkey and all EU member states including the Republic of Cyprus.
Kocijancic stressed that the EU wants to see a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible and called on all parties to exert restraint and do their utmost to facilitate a successful completion of the process underway with a view to reach a settlement.
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 not yet ratified it.
Turkey, which occupies Cyprus' northern part since it invaded in 1974, has threatened it would deploy warships in the Eastern Mediterranean, if drilling takes places prior to a political settlement in Cyprus.
Houston-based company Noble Energy has a drilling rig off Cyprus' southern coast. The company has a concession to explore for hydrocarbons in an offshore field in Cyprus' EEZ, south of Cyprus, known as Block 12.
Direct negotiations between the two sides in Cyprus have been going on since September 2008 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.