GREECE. The United States and Greece had called for a peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in the East Mediterranean on Monday. The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo began a two-day trip to Greece amid increased tension over energy resources.
Pompeo arrived in Crete, Greece on Monday evening. He spent a night at Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ home. He also toured a Greek airbase that houses a U.S. naval support group.
Meanwhile, Greece and Turkey are at loggerheads on certain issues from some weeks. However, the two countries have now agreed to resume their exploratory talks over the maritime dispute.
The United States plans to establish warmer ties with Greece
The United States and Greece who are also NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies, said in a joint statement, “The two countries have reaffirmed their belief that maritime delimitation issues should be resolved peacefully by international law.”
The U.S. also appreciated Greece on its readiness to seek maritime agreements with its neighbours in the region. The country has also expressed interest in privatizing the ports of Alexandroupolis and Kavalas in Greece.
Both the countries also signed a science and technology agreement on Monday. U.S. and Greece are planning to collaborate on Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybersecurity,5G and privatization of strategic infrastructure.
Greece already imports large quantities of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG). The country is developing a floating LNG storage in the port of Alexandroupolis. The storage is expected to channel gas to Bulgaria via the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria pipeline. The pipeline will then channel the gas to Central Europe by early 2023.
Maritime disputes between Turkey and Greece
Tensions escalated after Turkey sent the Oruc Reis Seismic survey vessel which was escorted by gunboats into a disputed area of Greece last month. The area is believed to be rich in energy resources. Turkey government recalled the Oruc Reis this month saying that they wished to negotiate with Greece in a better way.
In an open statement, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said, “We hope the exploratory talks not only get kicked off right but it’s important that they’re resolved in a way that delivers outcomes that each of the two nations find more than acceptable.”
Pompeo had previously said that the United States is “deeply concerned” about Turkish actions in the eastern Mediterranean.
The United States is hoping to build up its energy ties with Greece. Now, Greece is aiming to become an energy hub in the Balkans to help Europe in diversifying its energy resources.