Europe and USA back Greece over dispute with Turkey

Mr Geoffrey Pyatt

Mr Geoffrey Pyatt

The US Ambassador to Greece, Mr Geoffrey Pyatt on Thursday expressed his country’s disagreement with Turkey over its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Libya on maritime zone delimitations, and support for Greece.

Pyatt said the US position remains that "we want the eastern Mediterranean to be a zone of economic cooperation and opportunity; we want all of the issues, including energy, to be a driver of new cooperative frameworks." The American government's support for Greece, Israel and Cyprus ("3+1," including Egypt) is the reason US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo went to Jerusalem in March and Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources, Francis Fannon came to Athens in the summer, he stressed. "That's going to remain our driving approach," Pyatt asserted

"The US legal judgement is that the Turkish government, in its assertions regarding maritime claims and specifically continental shelves, differs with our legal analysis and also with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)" in terms of islands. "Inhabited islands as a matter of customary international law are entitled to the same treatment as continental territory," he noted.

Meanwhile Party of European Socialists (PES) urged by former Greek Prime Minister, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, expressed its solidarity with Greece and Cyprus against Turkey's illegal actions in the eastern Mediterranean in a statement.

"The meeting expressed solidarity with Greece and Cyprus in the face of Turkey’s illegal activity in their Exclusive Economic Zones, reaffirming that the only path to peace and stability is respect for international law and a resumption of a constructive dialogue," PES said in its statement following the meeting on Thursday.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed the support and added that "Europe is raising diplomatic walls against Turkish aggression, and Greece does not stand alone in this whole process - it has very strong allies. We are moving ahead with composure, self-confidence but mostly with a plan and with the certainty that the Greek people support our initiatives."

He added that "the so-called memorandum of understanding between Libya and Turkey is invalid. It blatantly violates the sovereign rights of Greece and has no legal effect."