Egypt cancels the illegal Turkish-Libyan memorandum demarcating maritime borders

egyptian president Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi Turkish

In a move that constitutes a "wedge" in the Turkish-Libyan memorandum, Cairo issued a Presidential Decree on Tuesday which was signed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and unilaterally determines the maritime borders between Egypt and Libya.

With Presidential Decree No. 595/2022, Egypt demarcates the maritime border to the west with Libya based on the drawing of a straight line that supposedly cuts the Turkish-Libyan memorandum in half.

With this move, Egypt practically ignores every Turkish claim included in the memorandums signed with the government of Tripoli, whether it is the Turkish-Libyan memorandum of 2019 or the addendum on hydrocarbons signed in October.

"Egypt's sea borders start from point no. 1 of the Egypt-Libya land border for a distance of 12 nautical miles up to point no.8 and therefore the maritime boundary line extends from point no.8 in a northerly direction," the Presidential Decree states.

Egyptian media recall that in October, Egypt and Greece strongly condemned the hydrocarbons agreement between Turkey and the Tripoli government.

"Egypt and Greece have strengthened their ties in recent years, working closely together to develop energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean, to share information on terrorism and to conduct frequent joint military exercises," the reports added.

The Greece-Egypt agreements

This move comes after the delimitation of an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between Athens and Cairo and the signing of the new intergovernmental agreement (Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Sectors), actions which, also cancel the illegal Turkish-Libyan memorandum in practice.

The two sides will agree to joint search and rescue (SAR) operations in the disputed area.

"This agreement gives a significant boost to the joint effort to further deepen bilateral relations and bilateral cooperation," said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias.

"With a focus on adherence to International Law, including the Law of the Sea and the principles of the United Nations Charter. With the aim of respecting international legitimacy and the promotion of peace and stability in the Mediterranean, but also more broadly.

"The Agreement defines the limits of jurisdiction and areas of responsibility for Search and Rescue between Greece and Egypt which are identified with the FIRs of Athens and Cairo respectively, with full application and absolute respect of International Law.

"In contrast, the so-called 'Memorandums of Understanding' between Turkey and the Government of Tripoli constitute illegal, transgressive, invalid and destabilising behavior.

"Greece and Egypt have a common vision for the creation of an environment that favours and supports the development and well-being of their peoples, as well as security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"We condemn every form of revisionism and unilateral actions that violate sovereignty, sovereign rights and territorial integrity."

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