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Turkish-Egyptian war of words in eastern Mediterranean heats up

In an official statement, Egypt warned of any violation of its rights in the eastern Mediterranean region in response to the official Turkish position, which refused to recognize the legality of the agreement between Egypt and Cyprus on the exploitation of natural resources of the two countries’ exclusive economic zones.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades shake hands outside the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou - RC1CEEA6B170

CAIRO — Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid warned in an official statement Feb. 7 against contesting the agreement on the demarcation of the maritime border between Egypt and Cyprus. He also warned against infringing on Egypt's sovereign rights in the delimited area, asserting that any attempt to do so was unacceptable and would be rejected.

The Egyptian position came in response to statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in an interview Feb. 4 with the Greek daily Kathimerini. Cavusoglu described as “null and void” the agreement signed between Egypt and Cyprus in December 2013 on the joint exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves on the median line between the two countries’ respective exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in the eastern Mediterranean. “We have clearly stated that the agreement violates Turkey’s continental shelf,” he noted.

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