ATHENS, October 27. / TASS /. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias believes that his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, during a visit to the republic on October 26, supported Athens in expanding its territorial waters. He expressed this opinion on Tuesday following a trilateral meeting in Athens with the Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and Israel.
"I would like to emphasize my satisfaction, my special satisfaction, special satisfaction of the Greek government with yesterday's statements by the Russian Foreign Minister, who emphasized the obvious. That Greece has every right to expand its territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles in accordance with current international law," Dendias' statement, circulated by the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. – Thus, he most solemnly debunked the myth that had existed for many years that Russia allegedly opposes our country's inalienable right to expand its territorial waters both in the Aegean Sea and in the Eastern Mediterranean ".
Lavrov on Monday at a press conference following talks with Dendias said that all the problems that exist now in relations between Greece and Turkey should be resolved through direct dialogue. Commenting on Greece's intention to expand its territorial waters, the Russian minister noted that in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, each state party to this treaty has the right to establish territorial waters up to 12 miles wide.
"Naturally, taking into account considerations of elementary common sense and geographical features," he stressed. "In any case, if it comes to the fact that some plans under this convention of two or more states intersect, a solution can be found exclusively through negotiations, respecting each other's interests. "
The Greek Foreign Minister, as stated in a statement by the Greek Foreign Ministry, noted that Athens, with the support of all Greeks, contributed to stability in the region by concluding agreements with Italy and Egypt on the delimitation of sea zones, as well as an agreement with Albania on the transfer of bilateral differences regarding delimitation maritime zones to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
"Thus, I think we showed the world community how modern countries resolve their differences. By agreement, if possible, by applying to international courts, if it was impossible, but always within the framework of international law. We are very proud of this. We are very we are proud that in a few months we have resolved disputes that have remained unresolved for half a century, and have set a vivid example, a model of how to ensure peace and stability in our region, "said Dendias.
Agreements on the delimitation of maritime zones
Greece entered into an agreement with Albania in 2009 on the delimitation of exclusive economic zones, but then it was canceled by the decision of the Constitutional Court of Albania. Greek media claim it was done under tacit pressure from Turkey. Ankara has not signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, according to which countries can expand their territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles. In 1995, during the ratification of this convention by the Greek Parliament, Ankara announced that if Greece expanded its territorial waters from 6 to 12 nautical miles, it would be considered a violation of Turkey's sovereignty. Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay threatened Greece with war on August 29, 2020 if it expands its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in the Aegean Sea.
Greece offered Turkey to settle the issue of the delimitation of maritime zones in negotiations or, if it fails to come to an agreement, submit it for a final verdict to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. There was no response from Turkey to this option. On October 20, Greece and Albania reached an agreement to refer the issue of maritime zones to the International Court of Justice in The Hague during a meeting between Dendias and the Prime Minister of the neighboring country Edi Rama.
Greece's relations with Turkey were recently strained again by the dispatch of the Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis by Ankara on October 12 to the Greek offshore area in the vicinity of the Greek island of Kastelorizo. The exploration area extends to 6.5 nautical miles from the coast of this island. The vessel is guarded by a group of Turkish warships, and it was already approaching Kastelorizo at a distance of 9-14 nautical miles. After the Oruc Reis withdrew from Antalya and the Turkish ships left their bases, Greece again brought its navy and air force to combat readiness, declaring that it would defend its sovereign rights.