WASHINGTON, DC – The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) on August 18 released a statement calling out the failure of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cite the Eastern Mediterranean as a maritime area of geostrategic importance during remarks delivered at the United Nations Security Council Meeting on Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Maritime Security on August 9.
Secretary Blinken stated: “The United States has consistently called for all countries to conform their maritime claims to the International Law of the Sea as reflected in the 1982 convention.”
He proceeded to list maritime areas which contained illicit activities or were subject to the expansionist ambitions of neighboring states in violation of maritime order: the Gulf of Aden, the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Guinea, the Black Sea, the Kerch Strait, the Sea of Azov, and the Coast of Somalia.
“AHI notes with great disappointment the blatant absence of the Eastern Mediterranean, one of the most important geostrategic maritime areas that is located at the nexus of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, from Secretary Blinken’s remarks,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “Turkey’s acts of aggression and provocation in the Eastern Mediterranean violate the maritime order, the broader rules-based international system, and the Law of the Sea. Turkey’s routine violation of Greece’s territorial waters, as well as its numerous incursions and illegal drilling in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, are glaring examples. The Turkey-Libya Memorandum of Understanding on maritime borders, which has been resoundingly dismissed by the international community as null and void and without any legal foundation, especially because it fails to comply with the Law of the Sea, is the epitome of disregard for the rule of law and the international rules-based order.”
Larigakis added, “Secretary Blinken must recognize the Eastern Mediterranean for its vital geostrategic importance to the United States and call out malign actors in the region, such as Turkey. U.S. strategic interests there are significant, and his lack of oversight sends a perplexing message to U.S. allies and strategic partners in the region.”