Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Greece and Egypt will speed up talks on the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) between the two countries, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in Egypt on Sunday.
Following a meeting in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Dendias said they discussed issues of the Southeast Mediterranean and the Gulf.
The two ministers met for 45 minutes, after which they held extended talks with their respective delegations. Both countries reiterated that the memoranda of understanding recently signed by Turkey and Libya on maritime borders are legally indefensible.
“As always, Greece holds a common point of view with Egypt on most issues,” Dendias told the press. “Of course, we discussed the two memoranda signed between Turkey and the chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya Fayez Al Sarraj. First of all, we are both under the impression that Mr. Sarraj may not possibly have the necessary legitimacy to sign these memoranda. Nevertheless, they continue to act as destabilizing factors in the greater area. We shall continue to observe the situation,” he added.
Dendias added that he and Shoukry agreed “to speed up talks between the technical delegations on the definition and delineation of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) between Greece and Egypt. In any case, it is always a great opportunity for me to come to Egypt and discuss our bilateral issues.”
Egypt that doesn’t recognize the government In Tripoli, dismissed the deal as “illegal”.
The new agreements were signed at a meeting on Wednesday between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez al-Serraj, the head of the Tripoli-based government which Ankara is backing against a rival military force based in eastern Libya.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said any maritime accord between Libya and Turkey “ignores something that is blatantly obvious, which is that between those two countries there is the large geographical land mass of Crete.
“Consequently such an attempt borders on the absurd.”
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on Friday asked Libya’s ambassador to Greece to present a copy of the agreement his country signed with Turkey on maritime boundaries by December 5, or risk being expelled from the country.
The Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry’s spokesman Alexandros Gennimatas stressed that such an accord cannot possibly bring about legal actions or results and is not aligned with the principle of good neighborly relations.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Representation of Greece to the E.U. has received instructions to immediately consult the European Commission as well as the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the EU Commission Federica Mogherini, about this accord.
During a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Washington, on November 13, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged him not to proceed with the agreement with Libya. U.S. is concerned of the rising tensions in Eastern Mediterranean and at the same time, EXXON was granted licenses by Greece to search for hydrocarbons south of Crete, in areas possibly disputed by Turkey.
It is the first time that Turkey speaks about EEZ in the Mediterranean, although it had declared it in the Black Sea.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s forceful defense of a highly contentious maritime boundaries agreement with Libya at a pipeline opening ceremony led to the withdrawal of an attending Greek delegation, led by Deputy Environment and Energy Minister Dimitris Oikonomou.
Speaking at the opening of the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) Saturday, Erdogan said that Turkey will not withdraw its ships from the Eastern Mediterranean, while defending a highly contentious maritime boundaries agreement signed with Libya’s internationally recognized government last week.
“The ships will continue to perform their duties,” Erdogan was quoted by local media as saying of Turkey’s two drillboats and two seismic survey vessels.
“Turkey will not let others crush its and Turkish Cypriots’ interests,” he said.
Referring to the memorandum of understanding signed with the Tripoli-based government, Erdogan dismissed the reactions from Greece and Egypt.
The current situation “will take a different dimension” once the deal is endorsed in Parliament, he said.
TANAP is part of the pipeline system that will bring natural gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy, the latter three countries through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
“Turkey is following the slippery path of international marginalization and devaluation,” President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, said on Saturday in Patras.
“We, the Greeks, are determined to serve man, every man, whatever his individual distinctive features,” he underlined.
“And in this way,” he added, “we will give the right answer to those, such as Turkey, that brutally offend the people and the principle of humanity, in defiance of any notion of International and European Law.”