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Turkish Cypriot leader renews pitch for joint gas committee

July 13, 2019
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In this Tuesday, July 9, 2019 photo, a helicopter flies over Turkey's drilling ship, 'Fatih' dispatched towards the eastern Mediterranean, near Cyprus. Turkish officials say the drillships Fatih and Yavuz will drill for gas, which has prompted protests from Cyprus. (Turkish Defence Ministry via AP, Pool)

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The leader of Turkish Cypriots on the ethnically divided island of Cyprus has renewed a proposal to establish a joint committee with Greek Cypriots to oversee offshore gas drilling activities.

A statement Saturday said Mustafa Akinci conveyed the idea to the east Mediterranean nation’s Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades through a U.N. official. The statement said the proposal aims to turn a gas search off Cyprus into a platform for cooperation rather than one of “tension and conflict.”

The proposal comes as the European Union is preparing sanctions against Turkey for gas drilling in waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.

Akinci has repeatedly called for the creation of such a committee.

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