Greece and Egypt to discuss exclusive economic zone

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will today meet with his Egyptian counterpart to discuss a maritime border and exclusive economic

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Photo: Socrates Baltagiannis

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will today meet with his Egyptian counterpart to discuss a maritime border and exclusive economic zone agreement.

If a deal is reached, it will be the second such agreement negotiated by Dendias following the completion of a deal with Italy earlier this month. Both are intended to settle old sovereignty disputes, clarify vital fishing rights and divide access to offshore natural resources. Turkey recently boosted tensions by announcing 24 new offshore drilling locations in the Eastern Mediterranean, seven of which are located in waters claimed by Greece.

Expect Greece to strike a balance between a forceful response to the Turkish announcement and measured diplomatic engagement. The Greek government is wary of amplifying hostilities with a NATO neighbour and obstructing much-needed tourism inflows during the summer. As such, Athens will likely leverage international law—specifically the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea—as a basis to resist Turkey’s expansionist behaviour. If an agreement is reached, Turkey’s short-term response could include reinforced drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean and further air force probes into Greek airspace. Moving forward, Ankara may be incentivised to deepen ties with Libya, with which it signed two maritime memoranda of understanding last year.

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