04 February 2014 12:34

Cyprus said on Monday it would not be bullied by Turkey after claims a Norwegian ship was harassed while surveying for offshore oil and gas reserves.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said the vessel was undertaking seismic research for French oil giant Total near Blocks 10 and 11 off the south coast when a radio communication ordered it to "abandon position".
He said the incident came at a time when the United Nations was trying to find a formula for long-stalled Cyprus peace talks to begin.
Officials said that Turkish frigate "Giresun" had ordered Norwegian seismic vessel "Princess" to "leave Turkish waters" while it was within the island's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The government said it would not be swayed from its aim to exploit energy riches beneath the east Mediterranean.
"Verbal provocation from Ankara does not affect us exercising our sovereignty," government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said.
"The republic of Cyprus, with a steady confidence given by international law, will continue its efforts to find hydrocarbons in its EEZ."
Papadopoulos said the incident happened on Saturday when the Turkish warship was some 16.5 nautical miles from the research vessel, "but there was no pursuit as Turkey has alleged".
An almost bankrupt Cyprus is hoping so far untapped offshore energy resources can pull it back from the financial brink after a banking meltdown prompted an EU-IMF bailout last March.


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