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France voices support for Cyprus in gas standoff with Turkey

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A senior French senator says his country is sensitive to Cyprus' "difficulties" with neighboring Turkey and backs the east Mediterranean island nation's bid to get Ankara to stop unlawful gas drilling off its shores.

Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Christian Cambon said Friday that both France and the European Union reject Turkey's actions. According to the Cyprus News Agency, Cambon said France will protect energy company Total's licensed gas search off Cyprus.

A Turkish vessel is drilling in waters west of Cyprus where the island has exclusive economic rights. A second Turkish ship intends to drill off Cyprus' east coast. Cyprus accuses Turkey of violating international law and its sovereign rights. Turkey says it's defending its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area's energy reserves.

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