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France Urges Dialogue Over Cyprus Gas Exploration Dispute


France urged all parties to seek dialogue to resolve a growing dispute surrounding a decision by Greek-Cypriot authorities to sign a gas exploration deal with Israel in an area Turkey says it intends exploring.

Turkey, which controls the northern part of Cyprus since 1974, says that Cyprus does not have the authority to sign the deal with Israel and says it is sending vessels, including military ships, to the zone.

Turkey also says it will deploy military aircraft to northern Cyprus bases.

France said on Monday that it recognizes the “Republic of Cyprus” which is Greek-dominated at a member of the European Union.

“Member states have a sovereign right to conclude bilateral accords with third-party nations,” a French statement said here, noting these accords must be in conformity with EU rules and international law.

“Only dialogue will allow for a settlement of these disputes. We regret any declaration or action that is contrary to this approach,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Relations between Turkey and Israel are already very bad because of the killing of nine Turks in an Israeli raid off Gaza in May 2010.

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KUNA is the Kuwait News Agency

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