Cyprus: Turkey must halt gas drilling for talks to restart

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The president of Cyprus says Turkey must halt illegal drilling for gas in waters where the east Mediterranean island nation has exclusive economic rights if stalled reunification talks in the ethnically divided nation are to resume.

President Nicos Anastasiades said after talks with Greece’s prime minister on Monday that Turkey’s actions foster “suspicion and mistrust” that do nothing to prepare the ground for reviving peace talks.

One Turkish vessel is drilling 42 miles off Cyprus’ western coast while another plans to start east of the island. Ankara says it’s defending its rights and those of Turkish Cypriots in the island’s breakaway north to the region’s energy reserves.

Anastasiades is set to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Aug. 9 to scope out chances for resuming full-fledged negotiations.

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