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Cyprus govt says Turkish warships blocking drilling rig

Cyprus has said that Turkish warships continue to impede a rig from reaching a location off the eastern Mediterranean island, where Italian energy company Eni is scheduled to drill for gas. The rig remains stopped some 50km from the drilling target off the island’s southeastern coast, Nicos Christodoulides told state broadcaster RIK on Monday. Turkish warships prevented other merchant vessels from approaching the area, citing military maneuvers, AP quoted Christodoulides as saying. A Turkish notice binding the area for such maneuvers expires on February 22, but Cyprus says it violates international law. Turkey opposes what it describes as a “unilateral” Cypriot government hydrocarbons search because it disregards the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the ethnically split the island’s natural resources.