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16 - 17 June 2021

Source: Arab News

By Mohammed Abu Zaid

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have discussed areas of cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean.

This came hours after Turkey announced its willingness to negotiate with Egypt in order to reach an agreement to demarcate the maritime borders in the oil-rich region.

The Egyptian presidential spokesman, Bassam Radi, said that the call between the two officials discussed the close bilateral relations that bring the two countries together in various fields, especially cooperation in energy and the eastern Mediterranean.

During the call, the Egyptian president confirmed the strength of Egyptian-Greek relations.

El-Sisi expressed Egypt’s aspiration to advance various aspects of constructive cooperation, especially in economic and energy fields, and on areas of security.

The Greek prime minister affirmed his keenness to exchange views and consult with the president on regional issues of common interest.

He pointed out the importance of mutual coordination especially in the energy sector and in the eastern Mediterranean.

The phone call came hours after a statement made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who told a press conference that Turkey and Egypt may negotiate the demarcation of the eastern Mediterranean borders if their relations allow such a step.

Turkish presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, expressed his country’s desire to restore relations with Egypt back in October.

Turkey’s conflict has intensified with neighboring countries, especially Greece and Cyprus, since 2019 to control regional waters that are subject to international disagreement, with the aim of converting them into Turkish concession areas, which are likely to contain quantities of natural gas.

While Egypt has demarcated its borders with Greece, President El-Sisi last October ratified an agreement signed on Aug. 6, 2020 between the Egyptian and Greek governments regarding the designation of the exclusive economic zone.

In 2019, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Italy and the Palestinian territories held the EastMed Gas Forum without Turkey.

Turkey’s gas exploration in maritime areas disputed with Greece and Cyprus has poisoned relations between these parties for months.