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The Turkish Cypriot side is continuing its efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus in the shortest possible time within the year 2016 through UN-facilitated negotiations. Regarding the natural resources of Cyprus, we are witnessing the continuation of unilateral activities by the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus as a result of internal political concerns. In this connection, the Greek Cypriot side announced, on 24 March 2016, the third licensing round tender for hydrocarbon exploration in unilaterally-declared parcels 6, 8 and 10. At a time when the intensive negotiations are ongoing, the Greek Cypriot side should refrain from taking steps which would harm the current positive atmosphere.

 In light of these recent developments, we find it necessary to emphasize, once again, that the Turkish Cypriot side, as one of the two equal partners on the island of Cyprus, have rights over the existing natural resources in the territorial waters of the Island, and that it has an equal say, as that of the Greek Cypriot leadership, in all decisions pertaining to the exploration, exploitation and exportation of hydrocarbon resources.

The Turkish Cypriot side maintains its view that until a comprehensive settlement is reached, the best way forward is to conduct the exploration, exploitation and exportation activities of natural resources found around the Island within the framework of mutual cooperation between the two sides.

 We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our call on the Greek Cypriot leadership to focus on the UN-led negotiation process and demonstrate a positive approach to reaching a settlement in the shortest possible time based on established UN parameters and the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014.

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