CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt and Greece signed an agreement on Thursday designating an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean between the two countries, an area containing promising oil and gas reserves, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said.
Shoukry made the announcement at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Cairo.
“This agreement allows both countries to move forward in maximizing the utilization of the resources available in the exclusive economic zone, especially promising oil and gas reserves,” Shoukry said.
The agreement with Egypt is within the framework of international law, respects all concepts of international law and the law of the sea and good neighbourly relations, and contributes to security and stability in the region,” Dendias said.
Egypt and Greece are at odds with Turkey, which last year angered the two country,ies by signing a maritime delimitation agreement with the internationally recognised Libyan government, in a move that escalated disputes over potential offshore gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
Egypt and Greece condemned the deal as ”illegal” and a violation of international law.
Tensions were already high between Greece and Turkey because of Turkish gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Cyprus. The NATO members are also at odds over mineral rights in the Aegean Sea.
Earlier this month, Egypt said that part of a seismic survey planned by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean potentially encroached on waters where Cairo claims exclusive rights.
In June, Greece and Italy signed an agreement on maritime boundaries, establishing an exclusive economic zone between the two countries and resolving longstanding issues over fishing rights in the Ionian Sea.