Greece Signs Agreement With Egypt

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the Egypt-Greece deal “worthless” and promised to maintain his controversial pact with the Tripoli government. Greece`s main opposition party, Syriza, has criticized the ruling New Democracy party for advancing its agreement with Egypt under pressure and argued in a statement that the pact was a dangerous precedent for the country`s national interests in delimiting maritime areas. “The agreement with Egypt is in accordance with international law, respects all concepts of international law and the law of the sea and good neighbourly relations, and contributes to security and stability in the region,” Dendias said. In June, Greece and Italy signed an agreement on maritime borders that established an exclusive economic zone between the two countries. “This agreement allows Egypt and Greece to maximize their benefits from the resources available in this exclusive economic zone, namely promising oil and gas reserves,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry said after Thursday`s brief signing ceremony in Cairo. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the exclusive area designated in the agreement was under the Turkish continental shelf. Ankara considers the agreement null and void and added that the agreement also violates Libya`s maritime rights. Turkey said at the time that it would for the time being abandon seismic research in the disputed areas to allow time, as a gesture of goodwill, to discuss with Greece. Egypt and Greece are at odds with Turkey, which angered the two countries last year by signing an agreement on the delimitation of maritime states with the internationally recognized Libyan government, which has exacerbated the dispute over possible offshore gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. Shoukry announced this at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Cairo. “The agreement with Egypt is within the framework of international law,” Dendias said.

Athens and Cairo have been trapped in talks on their maritime borders for 15 years, but the need for an agreement has become more urgent after a border agreement signed in late November between Turkey and the Libyan government in Tripoli. Many members of the international community have condemned the agreement between Turkey and Libya with the United States.