Greece FM in Egypt for Eastern Mediterranean talks amid Cairo-Ankara 'normalisation'

Greece FM in Egypt for Eastern Mediterranean talks amid Cairo-Ankara 'normalisation'
Greece and Egypt's foreign ministers hold talks on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
2 min read
19 April, 2021
Athens' top diplomat said the two ministers discussed 'issues of common interest' [LightRocket via Getty]

Greece's foreign minister arrived in Egypt on Sunday for talks with his Egyptian counterpart, as Cairo signals it will mend ties with Turkey despite simmering tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that he and Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed "Eastern Mediterranean issues, the situation in Libya and how we can help the interim government of Libya to move quickly to elections".

"We were able to have a wide-ranging discussion of issues of common interest," the statement read.

The visit comes a month after Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu raised eyebrows by signalling that Ankara is prepared to negotiate a new maritime agreement for the eastern Mediterranean with Cairo.

It was the first diplomatic contact between Turkey and Egypt since the two sides broke off relations in 2013. On Thursday, he announced he would visit Egypt to "discuss openly how to normalise relations".

The expected thaw could trigger worry for Athens, whose long-running dispute with Turkey over maritime rights in the gas-rich basin shows no signs of abating.

Dendias' visited Ankara on Thursday in a trip aimed at mending ties between the two regional foes.

However, it ended in disarray after he and Cavusoglu used their closing statements to accuse each other of discrimination and violating international laws.

Read also: Erdogan defends minister after spat with Greece

In Libya, the meeting last week of the country's new Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to maintain their commitment to a 2019 maritime agreement also angered Greece, which strongly objects to the deal.

Greece has also called for a withdrawal of foreign forces from Libya and criticised Turkish military involvement in Libya, Iraq, and Syria.

Dendias will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. His visit to Egypt comes after Cyprus hosted a meeting bringing together Greece, Israel and the UAE for talks touted as reflected the "changing face" of the Middle East.

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