Athens denounces sea border deal to UN

Athens denounces sea border deal to UN

Greece’s objections to the “legally invalid” maritime boundary deal between Turkey and Libya are meticulously outlined in two letters it has sent to the United Nations, which also call on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to bring the matter before the Security Council.

The two letters – to Guterres and the Security Council presidency – state that the deal blatantly violates the rules governing the law of the sea regarding the demarcation of maritime borders, as Turkey and Libya do not have overlapping sea zones or common boundaries.

Therefore, the letters say, there is no legal basis for an agreement demarcating sea zones. The letters also note that the memorandum of understanding ignores the presence of Greek islands, including Crete. Moreover, the continental shelves and exclusive economic zones described in the agreement’s text are dismissed in the letters as illegitimate, arbitrary, provocative and an open violation Greece’s sovereign rights.

Athens noted that, as such, the deal poses a serious threat to regional peace and stability, and urged the Security Council to condemn the MoU and call on Turkey and Libya to desist from any acts that violate Greece’s sovereignty or escalate tension in the region. Greece also stressed that Libya’s parliament has not ratified the agreement, rendering it invalid.

Greece’s stance vis-a-vis the deal and Turkish transgressions in the region in general was the focus of a session of the National Foreign Affairs Council on Tuesday that was chaired by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias who declared afterward that there was “consensus and unity” between the government and the opposition parties.

“Greece is confident. It is a European country at the core of the EU and can handle any problem,” Dendias said after the meeting.

A European Council meeting on Thursday is expected to broadly back Greece’s position against the deal, according to a draft of its conclusions. The summit is expected to conclude that as it is not in line with international law, the pact cannot affect the interests of third countries.

At a session of the EU’s foreign affairs council this week, Alternate Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis drew attention to Turkey’s ongoing violations in the region, including drilling for hydrocarbons off Cyprus.

A pair of Turkish F-16 fighter jets flew over the southeastern Aegean island of Ro without authorization on Tuesday morning, the latest in a spike in violations over the past few days.

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