Egypt’s president in Greece on 1st visit since maritime deal


Egypt’s president is meeting with Greek officials in Athens on Wednesday, in his first visit to the southern European nation since the two countries signed a deal demarcating maritime boundaries between them in the eastern Mediterranean.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi was holding talks with the Greek president and prime minister in the morning, while Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will sit down with Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in the evening.

In August, Greece and Egypt signed a maritime deal demarcating the two countries’ maritime boundaries and setting out respective exclusive economic zones for the exploitation of resources such as oil and gas drilling. The agreement angered Turkey, which has accused Greece of trying to grab an unfair share of resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Tension has been high between Greece and Turkey, both NATO members, with Ankara sending a seismic research vessel into areas that Athens claims is over its own continental shelf. The dispute has led to both countries’ warships facing off in the eastern Mediterranean, and raised fears it could lead to open conflict.

The Greece-Egypt deal was widely seen as a response to a disputed agreement reached earlier between Turkey and Libya’s Tripoli-based administration that increased tension in the region. Greece, Cyprus and Egypt widely criticized the deal between Ankara and Tripoli, saying it infringed on their economic rights. [AP]