Islands on same footing as mainland, US envoy says


Inhabited islands, such as Crete, are on the same footing as mainland coastline in the delineation of marine zones, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said Monday in response to questions from reporters about the recent maritime border agreement between Libya and Turkey that ignores the presense of the Greek island.

Pyatt described the Ankara-Tripoli deal as well as Turkish drilling for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus as “unproductive and provocative” moves.

Asked whether there would be a diplomatic initiative to de-escalate tensions between Greece and Turkey, he said that the US would remain diplomatically “engaged.”

Developments in the East Mediterranean and the Turkey-Libya deal were the focus of discussions in Athens Monday between Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides. “Turkey must understand that this behavior is counterproductive and drives it into isolation,” Dendias said.