Egypt and Greece sign agreement on exclusive economic zone

 Egypt and Greece signed an agreement on Thursday on setting up an exclusive economic zone between the two countries, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said. (File/AFP)
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Updated 06 August 2020

Egypt and Greece sign agreement on exclusive economic zone

  • Shoukry made the announcement at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart in Cairo
  • Egypt and Greece are at odds with Turkey, which last year angered the two countries by signing a maritime delimitation agreement with Libya’s GNA

CAIRO: Egypt and Greece signed an agreement on Thursday designating an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean between the two countries, an area containing promising oil and gas reserves, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said.
Shoukry made the announcement at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Cairo.
"This agreement allows both countries to move forward in maximizing the utilization of the resources available in the exclusive economic zone, especially promising oil and gas reserves," Shoukry said.
"The agreement with Egypt is within the framework of international law, respects all concepts of international law and the law of the sea and good neighbourly relations, and contributes to security and stability in the region," Dendias said.
Egypt and Greece are at odds with Turkey, which last year angered the two countries by signing a maritime delimitation agreement with the internationally recognised Libyan government, in a move that escalated disputes over potential offshore gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
Egypt and Greece condemned the deal as "illegal" and a violation of international law.
Tensions were already high between Greece and Turkey because of Turkish gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Cyprus. The NATO members are also at odds over mineral rights in the Aegean Sea.
Earlier this month, Egypt said that part of a seismic survey planned by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean potentially encroached on waters where Cairo claims exclusive rights.
In June, Greece and Italy signed an agreement on maritime boundaries, establishing an exclusive economic zone between the two countries and resolving longstanding issues over fishing rights in the Ionian Sea.
 


Revealed: How Iran smuggles weapons to the Houthis

Updated 2 min 34 sec ago

Revealed: How Iran smuggles weapons to the Houthis

  • Captured gang tells of route to Yemen through base in Somalia

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: A captured gang of arms smugglers has revealed how Iran supplies weapons to Houthi militias in Yemen through a base in Somalia.

The Houthis exploit poverty in Yemen to recruit fishermen as weapons smugglers, and send fighters to Iran for military training under cover of “humanitarian” flights from Yemen to Oman, the gang said.

The four smugglers have been interrogated since May, when they were arrested with a cache of weapons in Bab Al-Mandab, the strategic strait joining the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

In video footage broadcast on Yemeni TV, gang leader Alwan Fotaini, a fisherman from Hodeidah, admits he was recruited by the Houthis in 2015. His recruiter, a smuggler called Ahmed Halas, told him he and other fishermen would be based in the Somali coastal city of Berbera, from where they would transport weapons and fuel to the Houthis. 

In late 2015, Fotaini traveled to Sanaa and met a Houthi smuggler called Ibrahim Hassam Halwan, known as Abu Khalel, who would be his contact in Iran. 

This is a complex network that requires constant monitoring, hence the focus on maritime security.

Dr. Theodore Karasik, Security analyst

Pretending to be relatives of wounded fighters, Fotaini, Abu Khalel, and another smuggler called Najeeb Suleiman boarded a humanitarian flight to Oman, and then flew to Iran. They were taken to the port city of Bandar Abbas, where they received training on using GPS, camouflage, steering vessels and maintaining engines.

“We stayed in Bandar Abbas for a month as they were preparing an arms shipment that we would be transporting to Yemen,” Fotaini said.

On Fotaini’s first smuggling mission, his job was to act as a decoy for another boat carrying Iranian weapons to the Houthis. “The plan was for us to call the other boat to change course if anyone intercepted our boat,” he said.

He was then sent to Mahra in Yemen to await new arms shipments. The Houthis sent him data for a location at sea, where he and other smugglers met Abu Khalel with a boat laden with weapons from Iran, which were delivered to the Houthis.

Security analyst Dr. Theodore Karasik said long-standing trade ties between Yemen and Somalia made arms smuggling difficult to stop. “This is a complex network that requires constant monitoring, hence the focus on maritime security,” Karasik, a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, DC, told Arab News.

“The smuggling routes are along traditional lines of communication that intermix with other maritime commerce. The temptation to look the other way is sometimes strong, so sharp attention is required to break these chains.”