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Mitsotakis: Turkey-Libya maritime border deal 'geographically ridiculous'

TAGS: Politics, US

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described the agreement that purportedly delimitated the maritime borders between Turkey and Libya as “geographically ridiculous,” saying it completely disregards Crete.

The deal, signed last month in Libya, seeks to create an exclusive economic zone from Turkey’s southern Mediterranean shore to Libya’s northeast coast.

“The deal is clearly null and void but it is also geographically ridiculous. You just need to look at the map to understand that there is no connection between Turkey and Libya. Of course the agreement assumes that our islands, including Crete, does not have an exclusive economic zone,” he said during an event at the Atlantic Council.

Mitsotakis said the deal has the additional problem that it has not been ratified by the Libyan Parliament and is an indication "of how Turkey thinks in terms of the Eastern Mediterranean,” he added.

He said the two countries have their differences but at the same time Greece is committed to keeping the channels of communication open.

Speaking about a deal signed between Greece, Israel and Cyprus for an undersea pipeline designed to carry gas from offshore deposits in the southeastern Mediterranean to continental Europe, Mitsotakis said it is “an ambitious long-term project” that will bring gas into the European markets, adding that the region is the only new, proven source of natural gas that Europe has access to.

"The EastMed pipeline is an important project for Europe, not just for Greece," he said. “For the next 30 years at least, natural gas will be the transition fuel that will allow Greece to move towards a carbon-neutral Europe.”

Asked about his visit to the United States, Miitsotakis said it is an opportunity to take stock of what the two countries have been able to achieve but also “to set a new more ambitious target" to boost cooperation in defense, economy, energy, education and climate change.

“We're coming at a time of great geopolitical turbulence but also at a time when the Greek American relationship is, in my mind, the best it has ever been,” he said at the Atlantic Council. "This is a very, very important relationship to Greece.”

“I think it will be an opportunity in my discussions with President [Donald] Trump to reaffirm this mutual commitment to a relationship that has strategic depth and see it how we can take it further,” he said and reiterated that Greece has always been a “very reliable and dependable partner” of the US in a complicated region.

Mitsotakis is scheduled to meet Trump later this evening. 

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