Greece signs maritime border accord with Italy under UN rules

Source:AFP Published: 2020/6/10 18:03:41

Greek soldiers patrol near the fence at the closed Kastanies border crossing in northeastern Greece, where refugees and migrants gathered on the borderline between Greece and Turkey from the Turkish side, near the Evros River, in an attempt to cross into Greece, on March 2, 2020.(Photo by Dimitris Tosidis/Xinhua)

Greece on Tuesday signed a maritime border accord with Italy on the Ionian Sea, settling sovereign rights under UN rules and aiming to bolster its hand in a territorial dispute with Turkey.

"Today is a good day for Greece, Italy, Europe and the entire Mediterranean," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a statement.

Tuesday's agreement, which updates a 1977 accord, is part of diplomatic efforts by Athens in response to what it perceives as aggressive attempts at Turkish expansion in the Mediterranean.

Ankara in 2019 signed a controversial agreement with Libya's UN-recognized government in Tripoli, which claimed extensive areas of the sea for Turkey. 

Analysts saw the move as part of a Turkish strategy to avoid exclusion from the gas exploration scramble in the region.

But Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Tuesday: "Under international law, the delimitation of maritime zones is carried out through legal agreements, not baseless ones...and certainly not through the one-sided submission of coordinates."

Earlier, Dendias explained that the accord signed with Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio confirms a 1977 continental shelf agreement with Rome "and the right of islands to have maritime zones."

This point is of particular importance for Athens in its face-off with Turkey, which denies that islands have such rights.

Tuesday's agreement also sets out fishing rights, said Dendias, although full details were not immediately available.

"Our country steadfastly seeks to delimitate maritime zones with all our neighbors under international law," Dendias added.



blog comments powered by Disqus