Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

Greece and Egypt seek more decisive role from Biden in Turkey dispute

Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi would like active US engagement

Egyptian President Abdel Fateh El Sisi made his first visit to Athens since Egypt and Greece agreed a deal over maritime boundaries in August. Reuters
Egyptian President Abdel Fateh El Sisi made his first visit to Athens since Egypt and Greece agreed a deal over maritime boundaries in August. Reuters

Greece and Egypt would welcome more active engagement in the eastern Mediterranean from the administration of president-elect Joe Biden, the Greek prime minister said on Wednesday, as a dispute between Turkey and regional powers over maritime boundaries rumbles on.

“Greece and Egypt will receive positively a more decisive role of the United States in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean," Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in Athens alongside Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Greece is at odds with Turkey as a result of overlapping territorial claims in the Mediterranean, with tensions heightened after Ankara sent a seismic research vessel into disputed waters.

"We agreed to continue our solidarity, alongside all friendly countries, in order to confront anyone who threatens regional stability and security, and in a way that prevents any party from imposing its hostile positions," Mr El Sisi said.

On Wednesday, the Greek foreign ministry condemned Turkey's decision to extend the work of the research vessel the Oruc Reiss in a contested area until November 23.

It accused Ankara of undermining peace and stability in the region.

"In other words, it is proclaiming the fact that it will continue to ignore the appeals of the international community and the European Council for avoidance of such illegal actions and compliance with international legality," the ministry said.

"Greece reiterates its condemnation of this provocative conduct, which further undermines any prospect of a constructive dialogue, and calls on Turkey to immediately retract its illegal Navtex."

Athens has been backed by the EU in the dispute and has sealed a deal with Cairo for the partial demarcation of maritime boundaries to give access to natural resources in the Mediterranean, a move that has angered Turkey.

There were fears of a military confrontation in the summer when Greece and Turkey sent warships to the region.

Mr El Sisi is visiting Athens for the first time since the Greece-Egypt deal was signed in August.

Updated: November 11, 2020 07:55 PM

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