Israeli FM: Cyprus Has Right to Explore Offshore Oil, Gas

In meeting with Cypriot counterpart, Lieberman says Turkey must respect the Greek part of the island’s energy exploration efforts.

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Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman, left, meets Cyprus' FM Ioannis Kasoulides, right, during the former’s two-day official visit to the Greek part of the island country, Wed., Nov. 5, 2014.
Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman, left, meets Cyprus' FM Ioannis Kasoulides, right, during the former’s two-day official visit to the Greek part of the island country, Wed., Nov. 5, 2014. Credit: AP

Israel's foreign minister says Cyprus' right to explore for oil and gas off its shores must be respected by all countries, including Turkey.

Avigdor Lieberman said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides on Wednesday that all nations must respect the sovereignty of their neighbors and that it's "extremely unnecessary" to stir any more tension in a conflict-ridden region.

Turkey doesn't recognize ethnically divided Cyprus as a sovereign state and strongly opposes its gas search, arguing that it ignores the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to any mineral-generated wealth.

Lieberman said Israel, whose relations with Turkey are strained, is looking to achieve "tangible results next year" in its cooperation with Cyprus to exploit gas reserves that have been found in so-called exclusive economic zones of both countries.

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