Ian Patrick, FISM News
Egypt and Greece signed an agreement on Thursday designating an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean between the two countries, which contains promising oil and gas reserves. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made the announcement at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Cairo.
“This agreement allows both countries to move forward in maximizing the utilization of the resources available in the exclusive economic zone, especially promising oil and gas reserves,” Shoukry said.
Egypt hopes to become a regional energy hub with the rapid growth in Egypt’s natural gas supplies. It formed the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum with Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Italy, and Jordan, aiming to develop the region’s gas market.
This deal also nullified an accord between Turkey and the internationally recognized government of Libya made last year, which Egypt and Greece said violated international law.
“The agreement with Egypt is within the framework of international law,” Dendias said. “It is the absolute opposite of the illegal, void, and legally unfounded memorandum of understanding that was signed between Turkey and Tripoli. Following the signing of this agreement, the nonexistent Turkish-Libyan memorandum has ended up where it belonged from the beginning: in the trash can.”
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the exclusive zone designated in the agreement falls in the area of Turkey’s continental shelf. It said Ankara considers the agreement null and void, adding that the deal also violates Libya’s maritime rights.
(Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou and Michele Kambas in Athens; Editing by Giles Elgood)
Sourced from Reuters, edited for brevity