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Exploratory Talks Between Greece and Turkey Continue in Athens

Greece Turkey talks in Athens
Credit: AMNA

Talks between Greece and Turkey are continuing in Athens on Tuesday, ahead of the EU summit on March 25-26 which will examine European relations with Ankara.

The two delegations will continue the talks of the 61st round, held on January 25 in Istanbul.

They will explore points of convergence for possible future negotiations on the delimitation of the continental shelf and the EEZ in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean based on international law.

The Greek side has underlined that it is taking part in the exploratory talks with confidence, “good faith”, a spirit of cooperation and a constructive attitude.

It has repeatedly made it clear that the contacts were and remain exploratory, adding that it is an informal non-binding channel of talks between the two countries.

At the EU summit, Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will present a report on the state of political, economic and trade relations between the EU and Turkey, as well as relevant tools and options.

Most recent Greece-Turkey talks held in January

The meeting in Istanbul was the first time the two countries sat down for a round of diplomatic talks in five years. The exploratory talks, which began 19 years ago, were put on hiatus after Athens broke them off in 2016.

Since then, the countries have conducted a series of bilateral talks, but none in the exploratory format, until those held in January.

The exploratory discussions followed a period of heightened tensions between the countries.

The US on Turkey’s provocations against Greece

Last week, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his concern for Turkey’s provocative actions against Greece, such as its violations of the airspace of other countries.

Testifying before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Blinken said that the United States has spoken up about actions that violate international law in the Eastern Mediterranean — which includes Turkey’s actions against Greece.

“We have looked with real concern over the last year and of course more recently, at some of the actions taken in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly by Turkey, in terms of various claims,” Blinken said.

“It is very important that the US stands up and engages in advancing stability sovereignty and territorial integrity of all parties in Eastern Mediterranean and insists that any disputes that arise will be resolved peacefully, diplomatically, not militarily, not through provocative actions,” he added.

“We have called out actions, including by Turkey, that violate international law or commitments as NATO ally and that includes provocative actions against Greece like violations of airspace,” the Secretary of State added.

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