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At UN, Eroglu of TRNC Proposes Pipeline Via Turkey, Ban to "Tell His Friends"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 29 -- The issue of Cypriot hydrocarbon reserves, and who will drill for and sell them, has heated up. At the UN on September 26, after posing questions to Demetris Christofias, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: the leader of the Turkish republic of northern Cyprus, Mr. [Dervis] Eroglu, has said that he is going to meet with the Secretary-General on Saturday, and he has given a preview of what he is going to say, which is that he proposes and they have signed a contract for oil exploration on what they view as their coast. Given the UN’s role in Cyprus, I understand [Ban] is going to have the meeting Saturday, but what is his view? Does each community have the right to sign its own contracts, do this exploration, or what should take place?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, I think, first of all, we need to hear directly ourselves what the representative from northern Cyprus has to say. And that’s not going to be for another couple of days.

  On Saturday, September 29, Inner City Press asked Eroglu about his proposal and Ban's reaction, less than two hours after their meeting in a small press conference on the third floor of the Turkish Center across First Avenue from the UN.

  Inner City Press specifically asked, and will pursue, what would happen under this proposal with each side's existing contracts, with Noble and the Turkish petroleum company.

   Through his translator -- Inner City Press interviewed the tandem last year -- Eroglu replied that

"Last year we made a proposal, but first we asked Greek Cypriot side to stop this activity... we said, if you start your own drilling, we will have to carry out out own research and drilling. But they didn't stop... so we started our own... Last year we did sign two agreements with the Republic of Turkey, one was about the delineation of territorial waters, and the second one was with Turkish petroleum company... The TRNC started its drilling and it's continuing... We are also showing maximum offers waters of Eastern Mediterranean do not heat up."

  On Ban Ki-moon's response to the proposal, Eroglu said, "The Secretary Gen took our proposal. Last year, he said he would tell his friends to look into it. Today again, with a new element."

  This new element is the proposed shipment of the "hydrocarbon resources... through a pipeline via Turkey." The TRNC's "Talking Paper," obtained by Inner City Press and put online here, says that "other alternatives so far discussed, such as building an LNG plant or a pipeline via Greece, lack economic feasibility."

   Christofias, who will not run for office again, will surely not like the proposal; nor will his presumed successor. So will both sides' drilling just continue? Watch this site.

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