Greek FM hails success of EEZ deal with Egypt, says Pompeo called during talks

Greek FM hails success of EEZ deal with Egypt, says Pompeo called during talks

The agreement signed between Greece and Egypt delimiting the two Mediterranean countries’ exclusive maritime zones “fully serves the national interest,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said after returning from Cairo, where he signed the agreement with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, on Thursday.

“Even I didn’t know that I was going there to sign. I went in the hope of bridging a few differences that remained when it became apparent, that same morning, at around 10 a.m. during my last pre-departure contact with my friend Mr Shoukry, that whatever differences we had were completely bridged,” Dendias told Skai television in an interview on Friday morning, hailing the agreement as a success crowning 17 years of Greek diplomacy.

Dismissing criticism from Ankara of the agreement, Dendias said that “Turkey is a minority of one,” and added that he does not believe these will engender the start of planned exploratory talks with Athens.

“I cannot understand how a legal agreement, an agreement that contributes to regional stability and can act as a model for others, could prompt such reactions,” Dendias said, expressing the belief that Turkey’s objections were the result of surprise.

Ankara “would be wise to read the State Department’s announcement,” he said in reference to a statement applauding the agreement, while adding that Shoukry received a telephone call from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the talks with Dendias in Cairo on Thursday.

“I don’t imagine that Mr Pompeo’s call while I was with Mr Shoukry was incidental, that he was looking through his directory wondering ‘who should I call; I’ll call those two over there’,” quipped Dendias when asked whether Washington had been informed of the negotiations between Greece and Egypt.

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