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Egypt ratifies maritime boundary deal with Greece

Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi ratified on Saturday the maritime deal setting its Mediterranean Sea boundary with Greece and demarcating an exclusive economic zone for oil and gas drilling rights, the country’s state-run news agency reported.

The bilateral agreement is widely seen as a response to a rival deal between Turkey and Libya’s Tripoli-based government that spiked tensions in the East Mediterranean region, along with Turkey’s disputed oil and gas exploration in the seawaters.

The MENA news agency said that the deal, signed by President el-Sissi, was published by the official gazette on Saturday.

The ratification came over two months after the Egyptian and Greek foreign ministers signed the deal in Cairo. The Greek Parliament ratified the deal on August 27.

The Egypt-Greece deal establishes “partial demarcation of the sea boundaries between the two countries, and that the remaining demarcation would be achieved through consultations.”

Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Al had in August called the deal with Greece “very significant.”

The Ankara-Tripoli maritime deal was dismissed by the governments of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece as infringing on their economic rights in the gas-rich Mediterranean Sea.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the Egypt-Greece agreement “worthless,” vowing to keep his disputed pact with the Tripoli government in place. [AP]

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