Greece To Double Territorial Waters In Ionian Sea, Says Prime Minister

Greece To Double Territorial Waters In Ionian Sea, Says Prime Minister

Greece will extend its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea from six to 12 nautical miles.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the parliament on Wednesday that his government is preparing a bill to be soon submitted for a vote, Ekathimerini reported.

While Mitsotakis made no mention of Albania’s consent for this decision of his government, Greek Minister of Foreign Affair Nikos Dendias wrote on Twitter that he had spoken with Prime Minister Edi Rama on Tuesday.

Dendias had warned recently that Greece will soon find a solution for the maritime delimitation with Albania.

Rama, who is also Albania’s minister of foreign affairs, has not reacted to his counterparts’s statements.

Mitsotakis said the extension is Greece’s “inalienable sovereign right”, and in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Where the distance between two shores is smaller than 24 miles, Mitsotakis said, Greece could apply a median line in the future.

The last point is related to one of the reasons that brought to the failure of an agreement between the Albanian and Greek governments.

The two governments signed the Agreement for the Delimitation of the Greek-Albanian Continental Shelf and Maritime Zones in 2009.

However, it was not implemented after the Albanian Constitutional Court nullified it due to violations of the Constitution and territorial integrity.

The main issue resulting in the Court’s decision was the status of some rocky, uninhabited Greek islands without economic life very close to the Albanian shore, which the 2009 agreement considered as Greek land in full effect.

In 2018, negotiations between the two countries resumed but then the Greek government changed soon and negotiations stalled.

In June, Greece and Italy signed a deal on exclusive economic zones (EEZ), and then in August, Greece signed another similar deal with Egypt. The two deals, of which Mitsotakis said “they have major historical and political significance,” are expected to be put to vote on Thursday in the Greek parliament.

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