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Politics

Offsetting Turkey’s Moves, Egypt Ratifies Seas Deal with Greece

October 11, 2020

A maritime agreement with Greece to set boundaries in the seas for energy exploration was ratified in Egypt, the two countries move aimed at thwarting a similar deal Turkey made with Libya, claiming large swathes of the Aegean and East Mediterranean.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi put his imprimatur on the agreement that demarcates an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to counter Turkey's plan to hunt for oil and gas in the seas, drawing the wrath of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey's state-run MENA news agency said the Greece-Egypt deal was published in Egypt's offiial gazette, two months after the Egyptian and Greek foreign ministers signed it in Cairo.

The Egypt-Greece deal establishes “partial demarcation of the sea boundaries between the two countries, and that the remaining demarcation would be achieved through consultations.”

Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Al had in August called the deal with Greece “very significant,” but it led Erdogan to cancel planned talks in Ankara with Greek officials to de-escalate tensions.

He had sent an energy research vessel and warships near the Greek island of Kastellorizo, withdrew them after being persuaded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and later sent them back.

But faced with the European Union considering sanctions demanded by Greece, Erdogan took them back out again for now to give diplomacy a chance although the negotiations with Greece over seas boundaries haven't been set yt.

The Turkey-Libya deal unrecognized by another country was dismissed by the governments of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece as infringing on their economic rights in the gas-rich Mediterranean Sea.

Erdogan called the Egypt-Greece agreement “worthless,” vowing to keep his disputed pact with the Tripoli government intact.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

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