Greek parliament approves maritime demarcation agreement with Egypt

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Thu, 27 Aug 2020 - 07:41 GMT

Map showing demarcation of Egyptian-Greek maritime borders in the Mediterranean - Wikimedia Commons

Map showing demarcation of Egyptian-Greek maritime borders in the Mediterranean - Wikimedia Commons

CAIRO – 27 August 2020: The Hellenic Parliament approved on Thursday the agreement of Mediterranean maritime borders demarcation signed by the Greek and Egyptian foreign ministers on August 6, and passed by the Egyptian House of Representatives on August 18.

 

In the plenary session held on the previous day, the Hellenic Parliament approved another one signed with Italy on June 9.

 

Map showing demarcation between Greece and Italy and demarcation between Egypt and Cyprus in the Mediterranean – Wikimedia Commons
Map showing demarcation between Greece and Italy and demarcation between Egypt and Cyprus in the Mediterranean – Wikimedia Commons

The Greek negotiations with Italy and Egypt succeeded because they admitted that the Greek islands have continental shelves and economic zones, and not just national waters like Turkey perceives how the demarcation basis should be.

 

The deal with Egypt is a partial demarcation that is focused on the economic zone of each state. Full demarcation will be negotiated in further talks between Egypt and Greece later.

 

Turkey has been attempting to claim rights in the Mediterranean Sea gas reserves, although it is not part of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) so it cannot demarcate maritime borders with any state.

 

A Greek source told Reuters that a "mini-collision" occurred on August 12 between a Greek frigate named the Limnos and a Turkish one called the Kemal Reis in the Aegean Sea as the bow of the former slightly hit the rear of the latter.

 

The Turkish frigate was one of many escorting a survey vessel dubbed Oruc Reis that was mapping out "sea territory for possible oil and gas drilling in an area" located between Crete – a Greek island – and Cyprus," Reuters reported.

 

On August 23, Turkey announced extending the mission of Oruc Reis until August 27 provoking Greece to launch "naval exercises" nearby, as reported by Ahram Online.

 

Greece, Cyprus plan to impose sanctions against Turkey

CAIRO - 19 August 2020: The foreign ministers of Greece and Cyprus are discussing a list of sanctions their countries can impose against Turkey because of its illegal acts eastern the Mediterranean, Al Arabiyah reported Tuesday. Cyprus had earlier criticized the European Union for adopting an "appeasement policy" when dealing with Turkey, whose ships keep entering Greek and Cypriot waters to explore drilling opportunities.

 

On August 26, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, and France launched "aeronautical exercises" south of Cyprus. The drills are named Eunomia and will conclude on August 28. France's contribution is embodied in three Rafale jets, and a frigate equipped with a helicopter, as reported by Deutsche Welle.

 

Ekathimerini newspaper reported that the French aircraft along with three Greek F-16 jets had landed in Andreas Papandreou military base in the Cypriot city of Paphos. The publication indicated that the French frigate is dubbed Lafayette.

 

In parallel, Greece seeks to demarcate maritime borders with Italy and Albania in the Ionian Sea so that its territorial waters extend to 12 nautical miles instead of 6, as reported by Ahram Online.  Such desire has been officially communicated with the neighboring states, and a bill will be submitted to the parliament soon. 

 

Map of Ionian Sea
Map of Ionian Sea

 

In December 2019, Turkey signed two MoUs on defense, and cooperation in gas drilling eastern the Mediterranean with the Libyan Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). The legitimacy of the MoUs are highly doubted given the GNA is an interim non-elected government that was formed to unify the country after the outbreak of civil war in 2011 – but failed – and was due to expire in 2017 as indicated in 2014 Skhirat Agreement.

 

On the other hand, Libya has an elected House of Representatives that has formed an interim government that is based in Tobruk city eastern the country. The house never approved of such MoUs and has always been objecting Turkey's intervention in the country as it backs the GNA by supplying arms, transporting mercenaries, and co-commanding the operations rooms of its militias.

 

Qatar to send military consultants to Libyan militias, Turkey contemplates base in Misrata

CAIRO - 19 August 2020: Source at the Libyan National Army (LNA) told the Middle East News Agency (MENA) that the defense ministers of Qatar and Turkey visited Prime Minister of Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj on August 17.

On August 24, Spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed al-Mesmary that in the previous 24 hours Turkish frigates were moving toward Sirte in central Libya, and that their launchers were in the attack position.

 

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