February 13, 2018 / 3:19 PM / in a year

Italy tells Turkey it expects legal solution to high seas standoff - statement

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano gestures during a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin in Kiev, Ukraine January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano on Tuesday met with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and told him that he wanted a solution to the standoff preventing Italy’s Eni from exploring for natural gas off the coast of Cyprus.

The two, who are both attending an anti-Islamic State coalition meeting in Kuwait, agreed both countries should maintain a relationship of trust because of “possible further projects in the energy sector, beyond those that already exist”, a statement from Italy’s foreign ministry said.

A drill ship run by Saipem, a unit of state-controlled Eni, was blocked by Turkish warships from heading to explore an area southwest of Cyprus on Friday. Turkey says that certain areas in Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone fall into the jurisdiction of Turkey or that of Turkish Cypriots.

Alfano told his counterpart that Italy “expected a solution be found that is in line with international law and is in the interest of Eni, of the countries in the region, and of the two Cypriot communities,” the statement said.

Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Isla Binnie

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