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Cyprus: Turkey’s gas search blockade prevents peace talks

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus’ president says a resumption of talks to reunify the ethnically divided island nation is unlikely any time soon because of Turkey’s blockade of an offshore gas search and “unacceptable” demands by breakaway Turkish Cypriots.

Nicos Anastasiades told lawmakers after taking his oath of office Wednesday that he’s ready to negotiate as long as Turkey stops its “illegal” actions. He said demands by Turkish Cypriots over the gas search aim to serve Turkey’s interests rather than their own.

He said only a negotiated settlement can ensure peace, but an accord must eclipse Turkey’s guardianship of Turkish Cypriots and by extension, control of the island.

Earlier this month, Turkish warships prevented a rig from reaching an area southeast of Cyprus where Italian company Eni was scheduled to drill for gas.

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