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Greece to seek NATO support against Turkey over Libya maritime deal: report

PHOTO: Greek Reporter

Greece’s prime minister said Sunday he would ask other NATO members at the alliance’s London summit to support Greece in the face of fellow member Turkey’s attempts to encroach on Greek sovereignty, notably last week’s agreement with Libya delineating maritime borders in the Mediterranean, The Associated Press reported.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the ruling conservative New Democracy party’s congress Sunday that NATO cannot remain indifferent when one of its members “blatantly violates international law” and that a neutral approach is to the detriment of Greece, which has never sought to ratchet up tensions in the area.

Cyprus, Egypt and Greece have all condemned the Libyan-Turkish accord as contrary to international law. The foreign ministers of Egypt and Greece, Sameh Shoukry and Nikos Dendias, discussed the issue Sunday in Cairo.

Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said in a statement after the meeting that the two ministers agreed that the Turkey-Libya deal was “illegal” and that Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj doesn’t have the right to sign memorandums with other countries outside (the scope of) the U.N.-brokered deal that established his government.

“We agreed that that Mr. Sarraj most likely lacks the mandate to sign [the two agreements with Turkey], which in any case function as destabilizing factors in the area,” Dendias said after the meeting. “We also agreed with [Shoukry] to accelerate talks between the teams of experts to define and delineate the Exclusive Economic Zones between Greece and Egypt,” Dendias added.

While Greece and Egypt sit across from one another in the Mediterranean Sea, as do Greece and Turkey, Libya is geographically further from Turkey, and the waters between the two countries are mostly those between Greece and Egypt.

The Turkey-Libya deal added tension to an ongoing dispute with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil and gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey does not recognize Cyprus as a state — but does recognize a breakaway Turkish Cypriot entity, the only country to do so — and is conducting exploratory gas drilling in waters where the ethnically divided island nation has exclusive economic rights.

Ankara says it’s defending its rights and those of the Turkish Cypriots to regional energy reserves.

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