Foreign Minister Dimas’s reply to a current question in Parliament from LAOS MP Y. Korantis
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Friday, 16 December 2011STAVROS DIMAS: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
I want to stress that Greece’s policy is the delimitation of all maritime zones with all of its neighbours.
The delimitation of maritime zones between the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean – beyond the significant economic opportunities it creates – functions as a catalyst for regional peace and security. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is part of the Community acquis, and thus respect for, signing and ratification of this Convention is a fundamental element of the European perspectives of countries that are candidates for accession to the EU.
I want to repeat what Mr. Korantis said earlier: that as a coastal state and a member of the EU, Greece does not relinquish any of its legal sovereign rights whatsoever, and the exclusive economic zone is no exception to this fundamental principle and position of our foreign policy.
The exclusive economic zone issue is not considered on its own, but within the broader context of the establishment and delimitation of maritime zones in accordance with the provisions of international law, and specifically the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea. Within this framework, I remind you that the 27 April 2009 Greek-Albanian agreement on delimitation of maritime zones designates a multipurpose boundary that delimits both existing jurisdictional zones as well as future ones, including the exclusive economic zone.
In our meetings with neighbouring countries, we endeavour to promote this policy.
Some years ago, Greece initiated negotiations with Egypt and Libya, and we will restart those negotiations as soon as the situation allows.
With regard to Turkey, as we have stressed repeatedly, we are pursuing good relations, but relations developed within the framework of respect for international law and national sovereignty. We respect in practice the principle of good neighbourly relations and unfailingly call on Turkey to do likewise. Turkey persists in its refusal to accede to the 1982 international Convention on the Law of the Sea, which, as I said, is part of the EU acquis. Turkey is isolated on this issue.
We are in ongoing coordination with Cyprus in determining our moves within the framework of our broader strategy.
It is well known that for all of the countries of the Mediterranean, exclusive economic zones – which, according to the international Law of the Sea, can extend up to 200 nautical miles from the coast – overlap. This raises the issue of delimitation between neighbouring coastal states.
The exclusive economic zone provides significant benefits, and it is self-evident that our country will avail itself of these benefits, in order of precedence, within the framework of our broader strategy.