US, Greece call for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
ATHENS (GREECE) – The United States and Greece called on Monday for a peaceful settlement of maritime disputes in the east Mediterranean. This comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began a two-day Greek visit amid escalating tensions in the region over marine energy resources.
Turkey and Greece, which are NATO allies, are in a dispute on a range of issues. They have agreed to resume negotiations over disputed maritime claims.
“The United States and Greece … reaffirmed their belief that maritime delimitation issues should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law,” the United States and Greece said in a joint statement which was issued after Pompeo met his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias.
Washington also hailed Athens’ willingness to settle maritime disputes with Ankara.
Tensions spiked last month after Ankara dispatched a survey vessel Oruc Reis escorted by gunboats into a disputed area of the Mediterranean Sea believed to be rich in mineral resources. This came after a maritime pact was inked between Egypt and Greece.
Turkish authorities said the pact with Egypt infringed on its own continental shelf. It also overlaps the maritime zones Ankara had agreed with Tripoli last year and it was termed as illegal by Athens.
Turkey recalled Oruc Reis this month, saying it wished to give diplomacy a chance.