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Greek parliament to ratify bilateral maritime deal with Egypt


Greek parliament to ratify bilateral maritime deal with Egypt

Greece Reuters
Photo: Reuters

The Greek parliament is today expected to ratify a maritime deal signed earlier this month with Egypt.

The accord sets the Mediterranean Sea boundary between the countries and demarcates an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for oil and gas drilling rights. The deal, made under the auspices of the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), overlaps with maritime zones Turkey agreed to with Libya last year, which Greece decried as illegal. Ankara claims that the new pact infringes its continental shelf rights. The dispute has escalated tensions in the East Mediterranean and soured relations with Brussels as the EU supports Athens in the matter.

The EEZ deal is expected to create a diplomatic nexus in the East Mediterranean between regional states—Egypt, Greece and Cyprus—with France and the US providing external support. For Turkey, the accord is likely to further deepen its rift with the EU as the former continues its advancement of hydrocarbon exploration in the East Mediterranean.

The announcement of military exercises in the East Mediterranean by both Greece and Turkey is likely to ratchet up tensions in the short term. Still, if the current moratorium on exploration by Greece and Egypt continues until the delineation of the EEZ is completed, there may be a diplomatic solution with Turkey in the medium term.

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