Top EU official to present options for solving East Med disputes
Brussels, Aug 27 (IANS): Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for foreign affairs and security policy, said that he would present options for solving the disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean over natural gas deposits.
Attending a video press conference following an informal meeting of the EU Defence Ministers of in Berlin, Borrell said on Wednesday that “as there is still work in progress”, the purpose is not to consider which kind of sanctions would be presented against Turkey, reports Xinhua news agency.
German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer underlined that a further escalation of the situation should be avoided so that space could be created for political solution and an agreement to solve the disputes, mainly between Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.
Appearing at the joint press conference with Borrell, the Minister said that she agreed with her colleagues from Greece and Cyprus that the current situation is tense and must be defused.
She added that many fear that events may lead to an unwanted escalation.
Earlier Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance needs to find a way to de-escalate the situation and maintain dialogue between the concerned parties.
“We need to find a way to resolve the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, based on the spirit of allied solidarity and international law,” said Stoltenberg, who also attended the meeting in Berlin.
Both Turkey and Greece are NATO members.
The dispute over Turkish natural gas explorations off Greek islands in the Eastern Mediterranean has escalated in recent weeks.
Greece considers the explorations illegal.
The European Union (EU) has also condemned the Turkish actions and asked Ankara to stop them.
The Ankara government on the other hand believes the waters, in which natural gas is being drilled on a trial basis, belong to the Turkish continental shelf.
In the latest escalation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on August 21 had announced that his country has discovered significant natural gas reserves in the Black Sea.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez further said that another 6,000 square kilometres of seismic work would be carried out in the region to discover more gas.
Meanwhile, EU Foreign Ministers will hold an informal meeting on Thursday and Friday in Berlin, during which relations with Turkey will be discussed.