Palestinian ready to sign the maritime exclusive economic zone deal with Turkey

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Palestinian National Authority expressed its willingness to negotiate a maritime border demarcation deal with Turkey and to cooperate with Ankara on natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean, according to Turkish media.

Palestinian Ambassador to Turkey Faed Mustafa told the Aydinlik newspaper on Monday that the Palestinian Authority could follow Turkey’s maritime delimitation deal with Libya, and sign its own agreement.

“We are open to every idea that deepens our relations with Turkey, and this includes a deal on exclusive economic zones,” the PA envoy added.

He pointed out that “We also have rights in the Mediterranean,” noting that “Palestine has shares in oil and gas located in the eastern Mediterranean.”

Mustafa said that Israel was restricting the efforts of the Palestinians to carry out exploration and drilling activities in the offshore Gaza gas field, which was discovered in 1999, approximately 30 kilometers from the besieged coastal strip.

The field, which is estimated to contain one trillion cubic feet of gas, has been inactive for nearly 20 years since its discovery.

The Palestinian territories with the Gaza Strip enjoy a coastline along the eastern Mediterranean, making them eligible for maritime rights.

In November last year, Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of National Accord, based in the Libyan capital Tripoli, to define the marine areas in the eastern Mediterranean, in an attempt to block further exploration activities for Greek and Cypriot energy in the region.

World countries including Greece and Cyprus declared their condemnation of that “illegal and illegitimate deal.” The European Union also opposes the maritime deal that was signed alongside an agreement for Turkey to provide military support to the GNA.