Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Thursday argued against efforts to establish an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for Greece on the grounds that this would unnecessarily complicate talks underway with Turkey on establishing the limits of the Aegean continental shelf. He made the statement while talking to the local radio station 'Real FM'. "There is no need to outline the borders of the EEZ in order to be able to use mineral wealth in a sea such as the Mediterranean. The extent of the EEZ and the continental shelf are the same," Droutsas said.
The foreign minister pointed out that Greece was currently in the process of exploratory talks with Turkey to agree on the limits of the continental shelf and that it would be unwise to complicate the talks with the introduction of new terms that essentially added nothing.
He also suggested that main opposition New Democracy, which had failed to address this issue when in power, was now attempting to exploit it politically in order to generate a negative climate.
Droutsas made the statements while in Rome for the meeting of the Contant Group for Libya. In comments on the Libya crisis, he said that Greece had from the first made clear its respect for UN decisions and its readiness to do what was required to implement these but also stressed the absolute necessity of a political solution.
ND official calls on FM Droutsas to reply on EEZ, continental shelf issue
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party foreign affairs political responsibility sector chief Panos Panayiotopoulos on Thursday called on Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas to "appear immediately before the Permanent Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee and provide answers on these unacceptable and new positions of his, that cause justified concern among public opinion."
Panagiotopoulos's statement was prompted by the foreign minister's statements on the country's exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf, earlier Thursday.
"The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of each country, as well as the continental shelf, constitute elements of its national sovereignty. It is, therefore, to say the least, unacceptable for the foreign minister of Greece to say that our country does not intend to define immediately its own EEZ in the Aegean so as 'not to burden' the talks with Turkey, for the delineation of the contionental shelf," the opposition party official added in his statement, while saying further that "Mr. Droutsas, according to the interpretation of his statements by reporters, who talked with him, appears to admit, indirectly but clearly, that in the negotiations with Turkey the width of the Greek territorial waters in the Aegean is also being discussed. A fact that the government continuously denied until now," he concluded.