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France will increase its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean

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France will increase its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday.

“The situation in the Eastern Mediterranean is worrying. Turkey’s unilateral oil exploration decisions are causing tensions. These must stop in order to allow peaceful dialogue between neighbours and allies within NATO,” he posted on Facebook.

“I have decided to temporarily strengthen the French military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean in the coming days, in cooperation with European partners including Greece,” Macron added.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also had a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

The French leader voiced concern over “unilateral” exploration by Turkey. The standoff deepened this week with the arrival of Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis in a disputed area of the Mediterranean, accompanied by warships. The Oruç Reis came from the Cypriot continental shelf and entered the eastern end of the Greek continental shelf .

Macron recalled the necessary solidarity of France and the European Union towards any Member State whose sovereignty would come to be contested.

France will “temporarily reinforce” its military presence to “monitor the situation in the region and mark its determination to uphold international law,” the French President said in a statement.

It is recalled last month Macron expressed his solidarity with Cyprus and Greece in a message posted on Facebook written in Greek.

“Europe needs to take a thorough look at security issues in the Mediterranean. I will soon convene a conference of the countries of the European Union’s South,” he posted.

“In the Mediterranean, energy and security issues are of fundamental importance. They are turned into an object of controversy by forces that are increasingly emerging, and against which the EU still has little influence. Europe must defend its sovereignty,” Macron added.

He also called for EU sanctions against Turkey for what he described as “violations” of Greek and Cypriot sovereignty over their territorial waters.

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