Light to heavy rainfall forecast in Egypt next week    Thai protesters target would-be coup makers as rumours swirl    Sadiq al-Mahdi, Sudan former prime minister, dies of coronavirus at 84    LIVE: Ahly v Zamalek (African Champions League final)    Saudi-led coalition carries out air raids on Houthi barracks in Sanaa area: Residents    CEO says AstraZeneca likely to run new global trial of COVID-19 vaccine    Ethiopia to generate power from GERD in June 2021, says Ethiopian Minister    Prominent Egyptian human rights activist Hafez Abu Seada dies after contracting Coronavirus    Banque Misr, NBE acquire 40% of stocks of Western Union's unit in Egypt    Egypt invests EGP 105m to develop power grids in 5 governorates    Zed Sports acquires majority stake in FC Masr    Cairo, Alexandria, Gharbiya and Luxor record highest coronavirus infection rates, minister    Tennis: Nadal leads tennis world in paying respect to Maradona    Real Madrid win 2-0 at 10-man Inter in Champions League    2021 Grammy Awards: List of nominees in top categories    Egypt's interior ministry takes legal action against 5,226 drivers, 483 shops for violating COVID-19 preventive measures    Sisi calls on citizens to closely observe COVID-19 preventive measures    UAE's ADGM to sign MOU with Israel's securities authority on fintech    Akhenaten performance at the Cairo Opera House is a must go    An advisory chamber    Golden opportunities    GERD: A point of order?    Leapfrogging the transport network    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    AstraZeneca novel COVID-19 vaccine can be 90% effective, results show    US will reduce number of its troop in Iraq, Afghanistan    Asia forms world's biggest trade bloc, a China-backed group excluding U.S    Egypt unveils largest archaeological discovery in 2020 with over 100 intact sarcophagi    Palestinians mourn the loss their longtime spokesman, Saeb Erekat    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    1st stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections kicks off on Saturday    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    Legend footballer Lionel Messi says he is forced to stay with Barcelona    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Iraqi conglomerate eyes developing land that housed Mubarak-era ruling party HQ    Legend Messi officially wants to leave Barcelona, hands transfer request    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Germany calls for end to military drills in east Mediterranean
Published in Ahram Online on 27 - 08 - 2020

Germany's foreign minister on Thursday called for an end to military drills taking place in the eastern Mediterranean to defuse tensions and create conditions for NATO allies Greece and Turkey to resolve a dispute over offshore energy exploration rights.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas' comments came as European Union foreign ministers were set to meet in Berlin to try and persuade EU-member Greece and its neighbor Turkey to pull back from the brink of a conflict. The ministers were expected to debate a range of sanctions and other policy options that might convince Turkey to temper its insistence on drilling for energy reserves in disputed parts of the eastern Mediterranean.
Maas, who engaged in shuttle diplomacy between Athens and Ankara earlier this week, stressed the need to ``create the conditions for Turkey and Greece to resolve their problems directly with each other.''
``The situation remains very difficult,'' Maas said. ``The precondition for these talks is that the maneuvers that are going on in the eastern Mediterranean be ended -- each side can make its contribution to that and so create the space for diplomatic talks, because for sure the parties won't sit down at the table if warships are facing off in the eastern Mediterranean.''
Tensions between Greece and Turkey have been running high for weeks after Turkey sent its survey vessel, Oruc Reis, to carry out seismic research, escorted by Turkish warships. Athens, which says the ship is operating over Greece's continental shelf in an area where it has exclusive rights on potential undersea gas and oil deposits, sent warships to observe and track the Turkish flotilla.
Turkey disputes Greece's claims, insisting that small Greek islands near the Turkish coast should not be taken into account when delineating maritime boundaries. Ankara accuses Athens of trying to grab an unfair share of the eastern Mediterranean's resources.
Both countries have been conducting military maneuvers in the area. On Thursday, France was set to join Italy, Greece and Cyprus in three-day air and sea military exercises off the the east Mediterranean island. Turkey meanwhile, issued a notice, known as Navtex, declaring that it would hold live-fire military exercises Sept. 1-2 off its southern Mediterranean coast, opposite Cyprus. It also extended Oruc Reis' operations until Sept. 1.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday held separate telephone calls with the leaders of Greece and Turkey. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday he was in ``constant contact'' with Greece and Turkey.
``My message is that the situation must be resolved in a spirit of allied solidarity and in line with international law,'' Stoltenberg said as he met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. ``Dialogue and de-escalation are in everybody's interest.``
EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi warned that Turkey's decades-long quest to join the EU could be under threat, even though membership talks with the bloc ground to a halt years ago.
``The possible accession of Turkey is under major question through these actions,'' he told reporters.
Turkish officials meanwhile, accused France of stoking tensions in the Mediterranean by joining military exercises with Greece and Cyprus.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey would not be deterred by the show of force.
``To believe that it would be possible to thwart the Turkish Armed Forces operations with exercises and similar activities is nothing more than a pipe dream,'' Akar said in an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency.
Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy charged that France was deploying warplanes on the ethnically-divided island of Cyprus on the ``pretext'' of carrying out military exercises. The deployment was against treaties reached in 1960, he said.
``France, which is not a guarantor of the island of Cyprus, is with this attitude dangerously encouraging the Greek Cypriot and Greek duo - who are responsible for the current tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean - to escalate the tension further,'' Aksoy said in a statement.
France and Greece will deploy both warplanes and navy ships as part of the drills, while Cyprus will activate its air defense system to test its capabilities, Cyprus' Ministry of Defense said Wednesday.
Turkey and Greece have both vowed to defend their competing claims in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that his country ``will never compromise on what belongs to us. We are determined to do whatever is necessary in political, economic and military terms.''
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece is planning to exercise its legal right to extend its territorial waters along its western coastline, which faces Italy, from six to 12 nautical miles. The planned extension would not affect the territory at the center of the Greek-Turkish dispute. Turkey has warned in the past that an extension of Greek waters to 12 nautical miles in the Aegean Sea, facing the Turkish littoral, would be seen as a reason to declare war on Greece.
Akar, the Turkish defense minister, reiterated that Turkey favored dialogue with Greece but was determined to safeguard its rights.
``If our Greek counterparts agree, we would be pleased to host them here,'' Akar said.
``We would not allow our rights to be trampled on,'' he also said. ``Turkey's strength should not be tested.''
Greek Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the tension in the region was ``not being generated by Greece.
``On the contrary, (Greece) is ready to contribute to any de-escalation, always with respect toward the rules of international law, and in this case, the law of the sea and the rules of good neighborliness,'' he said.

Clic here to read the story from its source.