Greece and Albania agree for international court to determine their respective maritime zones

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Greece and Albania reached an agreement to refer their differences over the maritime demarcation of their countries to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The agreement was made during today’s meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Dendias pointed out in his statements after the meeting that “having thoroughly examined the issue, we agreed that Greece and Albania jointly proceed with this issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.”

Sources indicates, however, that there has been no co-commitment, which implies a written commitment between the two countries still needs to be made.

It is estimated that the issue of Albania’s accession to the EU is a lever of pressure that Greece is using against Tirana to resolve this issue.

The Albanian Prime Minister stated that the tensions between the two countries should be lifted, while for his part, the Greek Foreign Minister noted that Athens is interested in a positive agenda.

Greece EEZ
One interpretation of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the East Med.

As Kathimerini wrote, this is a development that the Greek side wanted, in order to bypass the abyss of constitutionality that has been the firm excuse of Albania since 2009 to avoid demarcations in the Ionian Sea. With the Constitutional Court not functioning in Albania at the moment, the impasse was obvious.

On the other hand, on a broader level, it is clear that Ankara does not want to resolve another outstanding issue between Greece and another neighboring country.

From Athens, various worrying Turkish initiatives are observed with interest in neighboring Albania, for example, the use of a pier in the port of Avlona (Αυλώνα, Albanian: Vlorë) for Turkish navy use.

As Athens prepares to promote the expansion of territorial waters in the Ionian Sea from 6 to 12 nautical miles (nm), the possibility of resolving the dispute with Tirana would lead to a comprehensive settlement of maritime zones with all the neighboring countries except, of course, Turkey and the – for the time being – the Turkish-backed Muslim Brotherhood Governmental of National Accords based in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

This would be viewed negatively in Turkey as it not only refuses to sign the United Nations Charter Law of the Sea, but also does not recognize the authority of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Turkey refuses to resolve its maritime issues with Greece in the International Court of Justice as offered by Athens.