Greece, US reaffirm commitment to East Med alliance

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Greece and the US reaffirmed their desire to strengthen the 3+1 cooperation with Cyprus and Israel during the high-level review of the Washington-Athens Strategic Dialogue.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and visiting US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo issued a joint statement on their flourishing cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean region.

The two sides reiterated “their desire to continue and strengthen their cooperation in various sectors in the framework of the 3+1 format (Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and the United States), which was launched in Jerusalem in March 2019”.

They said, “this partnership can contribute to the promotion of peace, stability, security, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region”.

Greece and the US “reaffirmed their belief that maritime delimitation issues should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law”.

“In this regard, the United States welcomed Greece’s confirmed readiness to engage with other countries in the region to achieve maritime delimitation agreements through dialogue and in accordance with international law.

The United States and Greece also reiterated their dedication to enhancing their close cooperation as NATO Allies, using all appropriate means at their disposal to safeguard stability and security in the wider region,” the joint statement said.

On Tuesday, Pompeo visited the US naval base at Souda Bay on Crete with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis where talks will focus on defence and security.

Commenting on the planned resumption of exploratory talks between Greek and Turkish officials, Pompeo said he hopes they would be successful.

Pompeo said Washington will use its diplomatic and military influence in the region to try to ease the volatile dispute over maritime boundaries and energy exploration rights between the two neighbours and NATO allies.

Greek-Turkish relations deteriorated sharply this year, leading to fears the dispute could lead to open conflict.

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. Athens sent warships of its own to the area.

European Union members are to discuss potentially imposing sanctions on Turkey for its actions in Greece and Cyprus later this week. (source agencies)