US-EU agrees international law should prevail in East Med

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During a summit in Brussels, the EU and the US agreed that differences in the Eastern Mediterranean should be settled through dialogue in good faith and acceptance of international law.

This is in response to Turkey’s tension-raising activities in the region where it has illegally entered Greek and Cyprus waters to search for oil and gas.

In a seven-page joint statement, EU and US leaders said they would “work hand-in-hand for sustainable de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where differences should be settled through dialogue in good faith and in accordance with international law”.

“We aim for a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with a democratic Turkey. We plan to join efforts for a stable and secure Middle East and North Africa.”

“We reaffirm the critical importance of respecting international law, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) noting its provisions setting forth the lawful maritime entitlements of States, on maritime delimitation, on the sovereign rights and jurisdictions of States, on the obligation to settle disputes by peaceful means, and on the freedom of navigation and overflight and other internationally lawful uses of the sea.”

Tensions between Athens and Ankara flared up last summer after turkey began exploratory drilling in the eastern Mediterranean in waters claimed by both Greece and Cyprus.

Nicosia and Athens accused Turkey of violating international law, an accusation Turkey has staunchly refuted.

The European Union has imposed limited sanctions on Ankara for illegally drilling in Greek and Cypriot waters.