Cairo: Greece’s chief diplomat met Sunday with Egyptian officials in Cairo on issues including maritime and gas deals that Turkey signed with one of Libya’s rival administrations, officials said.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shukry, for discussions that addressed “all aspects” of cooperation between the two countries, including the coordination of their position on regional and international issues of common interest, said Ahmed Abu Zeid, the spokesman of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry. He did not provide further details.
Egypt and Greece have strengthened ties in recent years, including cooperation in fields ranging from energy to combating terrorism. The two nations, along with Cyprus, have signed maritime border agreements. Abu Zeid described Egyptian-Greek ties as “a long standing strategic partnership and historic friendship.”
Dendias wrote on Twitter ahead of his trip that besides Greece-Egypt ties, the talks would focus on developments in the Aegean Sea, Libya and the Middle East.
He was likely referring to tensions with Turkey over the alleged deployment of dozens of US-made armoured vehicles by Greece to the Aegean islands of Samos and Lesbos. He also pointed to memorandums of understanding between Turkey and the government of Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, one of Libya’s two competing governments.
The deals, signed last week in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, include the joint exploration of hydrocarbon reserves in Libya’s offshore waters and national territory. Dendias slammed the deals as illegal, saying they infringed on Greek waters. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry also argued that Dbeibah’s government has “no authority to conclude any international agreements nor memorandums of understanding,” given that its mandate expired.
Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime leader Muammar Gadhafi in 2011. The country has since been ruled by rival governments for most of the past decade.