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Egypt, Cyprus & Greece Slam Turkey over Mediterranean Exploration

Source: Ahram online 10/8/2019, Location: Africa

The leaders of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece took aim at turkey for what they described as its "unilateral " and "provocative" measures over offshore drilling in disputed waters, which has intensified tensions with the three countries.

Egypt, the US and the European Union had warned Turkey over its drilling for oil and gas in the waters off Cyprus. Tensions intensified last week after Ankara announced it had sent an oil-and-gas drilling ship to waters off southern Cyprus.

During a press conference following a tripartite summit in Cairo on Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi condemned the "unilateral practices that would destabilise the entire region and harm the interests of [its] countries," without mentioning Turkey by name.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades slammed Ankara's "unilateral" and "unacceptable" acts and "blatant infringement" on his country's sovereign rights and international laws in this regard by drilling in areas claimed by Nicosia.

He vowed to take all "available diplomatic measures" to put a stop to Turkey's violations, which he said are jeopardising stability and security in the region.

Turkey says some of the areas where Cyprus is exploring are either within its own continental shelf or in zones where Turkish Cypriots have equal rights over discoveries with Greek Cypriots.

Alexis Tsipras, prime minister of Greece, which is a close ally with Cyprus, also criticised Turkey's actions as "illegitimate" and "provocative."

The three leaders also expressed their "deep concern" against the "illegal and illegitimate operation" military operation that Turkey announced it was leading in Syrian territories and strongly condemned any Turkish attempts to undermine the territorial integrity of Syria.

During the summit, the three leaders agreed on a number of programmes and signed several documents to boost joint investments in the next two years, El-Sisi said. Egypt and Cyprus also signed a deal to prevent double-taxation with Cyprus, he said.

The leaders of Cyprus and Greece, both members of the European Union, said Egypt is a key partner of the bloc in the fight against terrorism and pledged to work to bolster EU-Egypt cooperation.

The three officials also tackled illegal migration and the importance of intensifying global efforts to combat terrorism. They also addressed the crises in Libya and Syria and affirmed the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state.

The summit is the seventh since tripartite cooperation between the three countries was launched in late 2014 and the third to be hosted by Cairo.

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