Lavrov: Greece’s decision to extend territorial waters to 12 nautical miles “is completely legal”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated his October statement that Greece has a right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles

In a statement today, Lavrov said “following from the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea that each state has the right to determine the extent of its territorial waters up to 12 miles.”

“When Greece announced that it was expanding the coastal zone, we said exactly this: it is a completely legal decision,” the Russian foreign minister continued.

“When the territorial waters defined by a state are contrary to the interests of a neighboring state and these interests are legitimate under the Convention on the Law of the Sea, solutions must be sought through dialogue and balance of interests,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“We actively call for all problems related to the Exclusive Economic Zones of both Greece and Cyprus to be resolved through dialogue,” he added.

Lavrov then comments on the upcoming exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey to resolve the maritime issue, that are not expected to produce any major results.

“We believe that this is a very good way in which problems should be discussed and resolved. Of course no one wants military operations in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the diplomat said.

“If Russia can be useful in anything, to take advantage of its good relations with the countries involved, we are ready, if of course we are asked to do so,” the foreign minister offered.

Speaking away from Greek-Turkish issues, Lavrov then commented on the close ties that Greece and Cyprus have with Russia.

“Russia has very warm, close relations and spiritual ties with Greece and Cyprus,” he said.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“I recently visited Greece, I had a telephone conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus. I see no reason why these countries could be convinced that Russia is their adversary or pursue an unfriendly policy,” he added.

He then commented how Washington is attempting to push Greece away from having relations with Russia.

“The Americans are trying to persuade them, but sensible politicians see the whole background, namely that the goal is to cultivate the image of Russia as an enemy. There is no diplomacy in this, but the raw public coercion,” Lavrov explained.

“U.S. diplomats in any country serving in violation of all the rules do not hesitate to openly call for an end to cooperation with Russia,” he concluded.

It is recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Greece in March to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire.