Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Qs and As w/State Dpt. Spox Nuland, September 28, 2011

[Reds by other reporters on same topic]

Cyprus Gas Row-Noble Energy-UN Mediation
QUESTION: According to several news reports today, Turkish research – gas research ship and accompanying several Turkish ships as close as 80 kilometers from the American Noble Energy, where it is drilling in south of Cyprus. How do you view this tension? It’s – according to captain of the Turkish ship, is – he can see the – Noble Energy platform from where they stand. Have you raised this issue with Turkish Government recently? This just happened today.

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to this issue that may or may not have happened today. You know where we have been on this issue. We continue to support the UN-led mediation on Cyprus, and we discourage any rhetoric or action that could negatively affect a peaceful settlement. I would note that there has recently been a request for the UN to engage in some sort of mediation on a revenue-sharing agreement for natural gas developed off of Cyprus, and we understand that the UN is considering that request, and we would consider that it would be quite constructive if the two communities could begin to work on deescalating tensions in a way similar to that.

QUESTION: Turkish side sees these gas exploration plants of the south as blocked to the direct negotiations for unification of the island. You just cited as well or indirectly as – UN position. What’s the U.S. position on these – one side’s gas drilling projects? Do you think it helps for the reunification process or it hurts?

MS. NULAND: I think we’ve spoken to this many times. We want to see a peaceful settlement of this issue under UN mediation. We want to see the island’s resources shared between the communities. We are interested in this proposal for UN mediation of revenue-sharing. Overall, though, we would like to see a de-escalation of rhetoric and tension so that the UN process can move forward in a good environment.

QUESTION: Actually, European Union officials have suggested today that this issue can go to International Court, to The Hague. Can you support this idea?

MS. NULAND: Again, we would support some sort of mediation, but we – our fundamental issue is that the – we need a resolution of these longstanding Cyprus issues under the UN’s auspices.

QUESTION: Is there any difference between UN and – European Union and U.S. approach to the issue?..

MS. NULAND: I think if there is a dispute reconciliation resolution mechanism that could be agreed on by all concerned parties, that would ensure that the communities were able to share the resources. That would be something that we would be supportive of. But again, we’re pleased to see that people are talking about resolving this dispute peacefully, deescalating the rhetoric, and more generally, putting our energy into supporting the UN process for Cyprus reconciliation.

E. Jerusalem Settlements
QUESTION: Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, one of – in his interviews – I believe one of the major networks in the U.S. – stated that Israel has been building settlements in Jerusalem for decades, and the U.S. Administration has been – had been okay with this. And it is the U.S. Administration who changes its policy. Would you be able to tell us that, in fact, the U.S. Administration was okay with the building settlements in Jerusalem in recent decades?

MS. NULAND: I think you know where this Administration is at this time on this issue. Thanks.

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