Turkish Cypriot leader renews pitch for joint gas committee

The leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots on ethnically divided Cyprus has renewed a proposal to establish a joint committee with Greek Cypriots to oversee offshore gas drilling activities

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- The leader of Turkish Cypriots on the ethnically divided island of Cyprus has renewed a proposal to establish a joint committee with Greek Cypriots to oversee offshore gas drilling activities.

A statement Saturday said Mustafa Akinci conveyed the idea to the east Mediterranean nation's Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades through a U.N. official. The statement said the proposal aims to turn a gas search off Cyprus into a platform for cooperation rather than one of "tension and conflict."

The proposal comes as the European Union is preparing sanctions against Turkey for gas drilling in waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.

Akinci has repeatedly called for the creation of such a committee.