Stoltenberg welcomes resumption of Greek-Turkish exploratory talks

Clay Curtis
September 29, 2020

"The United States and Greece reaffirmed their belief that maritime delimitation issues should be resolved peacefully in accordance with global law", a joint statement said.

Tensions rose between Turkey and Greece over energy explorations in the Eastern Mediterranean waters in recent weeks.

Greece and Turkey have agreed to resume exploratory talks in Istanbul in a bid to resolve their disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean, both sides said on Tuesday, following German-led efforts to de-escalate tensions in the region.

"It's not just talking, we need to get to good solutions", he added in an interview with Greek news agency ANA.

"Pointing out that Germany's mediation efforts are appreciated, President Erdogan said that the steps to be taken by Greece will be important as to how the mutual understanding reached on the revitalisation of exploratory talks and other channels of dialogue will move forward", reads a statement issued by the Turkish Presidency after the trilateral meeting.

Turkey sent a research vessel, accompanied by warships, to prospect for energy resources in an area Greece claims is on its own continental shelf and where it claims exclusive economic rights.

Stoltenberg also welcomed the agreement between the two countries to hold exploratory talks.

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European Union members later this week are to discuss imposing sanctions on Turkey for its actions. "Come, let's together turn the Mediterranean into a basin of peace once again. let's make energy a matter for cooperation, not conflict", Erdogan said.

Nato, of which Greece and Turkey are both members, has designs to expand its mission in the eastern Mediterranean and the Western Balkans with plans to bolster Greece's naval base on the Greece island of Crete.

Last October, Pompeo visited Athens and signed a revised defense cooperation agreement with Greece that provided for increasing joint U.S. -Greece and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation activity at three locations in Greece as well as infrastructure and other improvements at Souda Bay.

Pompeo's tour later in the week also includes stops in Italy, the Vatican and Croatia.

The secretary of state last October signed a defence agreement allowing USA forces a broader use of Greek military facilities.

Greece called for maritime disputes to be resolved peacefully on Monday, during the start of a two-day visit by Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State. The protests were organized by left-wing groups and the Communist Party.

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