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Egypt signs a memorandum of understanding with Greece regarding research in the eastern Mediterranean.. and Turkey: a dangerous contradiction

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Egypt announced, on Wednesday, the signing of a memorandum of understanding in the field of air and sea search and rescue with Greece, while Turkey criticized Athens for signing the memorandum of understanding.

The military spokesman for the Egyptian Armed Forces said, in a statement via Facebook: “Within the framework of supporting the relations of partnership and cooperation between the governments of Egypt and Greece, Lieutenant General Mohamed Zaki, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Minister of Defense and Military Production, and Nikolaos Panayotopoulos, Greek Minister of Defense, signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of search and rescue.” air and sea between the Egyptian and Greek sides, in the presence of Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian Foreign Minister, and his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias.

He added, “The memorandum of understanding provided for providing all aspects of support between the two sides in order to achieve integration in the field of air and sea search and rescue.”

He continued, “The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces expressed his pride in the partnership relations between the Egyptian and Greek armed forces in various military fields, stressing the keenness of the General Command of the Armed Forces to increase cooperation in various military fields for both friendly countries.”

On the other hand, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, in a statement carried by the Turkish “Anatolia” agency, that “it is a dangerous contradiction that Greece concludes a memorandum of understanding with Egypt regarding search and rescue in the eastern Mediterranean, at a time when Athens pushes innocent asylum seekers to the Aegean Sea, exposing their lives to danger.” in violation of international law.”

The statement, issued by Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic, added that the search and rescue areas at sea “are service spaces for saving human lives, and these areas are not areas of sovereignty in accordance with international law.”

He pointed out that “the rules related to search and rescue areas were set by the Hamburg Convention of 1979, and that, according to the agreement, countries are obligated to cooperate in the event that service areas overlap with each other,” according to the statement.

He continued, “The search and rescue areas declared by Turkey and Greece in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas and notified to the International Maritime Organization overlap with each other,” according to the statement.

He stated that “Greece has always avoided cooperating with Turkey on this issue, and rejected the agreement proposals that were put forward in the past because Greece claims that the search and rescue service areas are the sovereign area and links them with its extreme demands regarding maritime powers,” he said.

“This approach of Greece is an illegal position that contradicts the Hamburg Agreement of 1979, so we cannot give the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Greece and Egypt a meaning beyond these facts,” Bilgic said, according to the statement.

He continued: “It is a serious contradiction that the state of Greece pushes innocent refugees to the Aegean Sea in violation of international law and endangers their lives, by signing a memorandum of understanding on search and rescue in the eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

He stated, “In fact, the main motive behind Greece signing this memorandum of understanding is its desire to cover up the aforementioned facts, and Greece’s attempt to draw up its domestic and foreign policy within the framework of Turkey’s opposition is a futile effort that will only lead to harm to it,” according to the statement.

It is noteworthy that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, on Monday, that “our only demand” from Egypt, to normalize relations, is for it to say to those who take hostile positions against us in the Mediterranean: “We want to establish peace in the region.”

Erdogan added, according to what was reported by the Anadolu Agency, commenting on the meeting of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Doha, on Sunday: “We said previously that a path can be started, and this was a step that was taken in order to start this path.”

Erdogan said that the handshake that took place between him and his Egyptian counterpart in Qatar, in the presence of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, was a first step towards further normalization of relations between the two countries. Erdogan added that other moves will follow that first step in order to normalize relations between Cairo and Ankara.

The Turkish president added that he wanted the meetings with Egypt to be at a higher level, in the context of the trend towards normalizing relations, and Erdogan stressed that the ties that existed in the past between the Turkish and Egyptian peoples are very important to us, adding: “What prevents them from being like that again? We have provided indications of this.”

In Cairo, the official spokesman for the Egyptian presidency stated, on Monday, that Sisi shook hands with the Turkish president in Doha, where mutual emphasis was placed on “the depth of the historical ties that bind the two countries and the Egyptian and Turkish peoples, and it was also agreed that this would be the beginning of the development of bilateral relations between the two sides.” .

Egypt and Turkey had held several official rounds in order to resume relations normally, after years of tension, but those discussions have not yet reached a settlement of the points of disagreement between the two countries, regarding many files related to the Mediterranean, the Libyan crisis, the situation in Syria, and others.

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