Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 1 October 2020

UAE welcomes Egypt-Greece maritime deal as 'victory for international law'

Agreement signed in Cairo on Thursday defines the countries' exclusive economic zones in east Mediterranean

The talks with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash also touched on other bilateral concerns. AP
The talks with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash also touched on other bilateral concerns. AP

The UAE has hailed the agreement between Egypt and Greece on Thursday that defines their exclusive economic zones in the east Mediterranean as a "victory for international law".

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash welcomed the agreement in a message on Twitter a day after the Greek and Egyptian foreign ministers signed the deal in Cairo that followed years of negotiations between their countries.

"The signing of the maritime border demarcation agreement between Egypt and Greece is a victory for international law over the law of the jungle," Dr Gargash said.

"The international legal system is the firm foundation that governs relations between states and preserves peace and security. Civilised nations may not legitimise political intrusion at the expense of the foundations that govern international relations."

The agreement will boost efforts by Egypt and Greece to tap huge natural gas reserves discovered in the east Mediterranean in the face of attempts by Turkey claim a share.

“The agreement allows the two nations to exploit their marine wealth in view of the large oil and natural gas reserves,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said after signing the agreement with his Greek counterpart.

He said the agreement reflected the “political will” of Cairo and Athens to strengthen their relations.

The Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, said the agreement was the opposite of the marine demarcation pact between Turkey and the Libyan government in Tripoli, which his country and Egypt have dismissed as illegal.

Mr Dendias said the agreement between Greece and Egypt would contribute to the stability of the region.

He said the accord between Tripoli and Ankara was “void” and “worthless.”

Ankara’s maritime agreement with Tripoli significantly expanded Turkey’s continental shelf.

This infringed on Egypt’s ambitious plans with Cyprus, Greece and Israel to turn the region into a global energy centre after the discovery of natural gas in enormous quantities.

Turkey has been unhappy that it was left out of these plans and has been trying to force itself in.

It has explored for gas off the shores of Cyprus, of which Turkey has occupied a third since 1974 when it invaded after a short-lived, Greek-inspired coup.

The EU imposed sanctions on Turkey for drilling for gas in water off Cyprus, which is a member of the bloc.

Updated: August 7, 2020 12:24 PM

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