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Parliament Committee approves extension of territorial waters in Ionian Sea

The Committee on National Defense and Foreign Affairs in Parliament approved the draft bill extending the Greek territorial waters in the Ionian Sea to 12 nautical miles. The approval in principle came from all parties except the Communist Party, which voted “present”.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias who was present at the meeting, reiterated Greece’s right to extend its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea as well, based on the rights provided by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Dec. 10, 1982).

During the committee’s works, Dendias said of the draft bill, “it is the first time since 1947 that the Greek Parliament is called on to vote the increase of national sovereign territory, an inalienable right of Greece to increase our territorial waters in the Ionian Sea to Cape Tainaro from 6 nautical miles to 12 nautical miles”

The bill extends the national sovereign territory by 10,079 square kilometers, or over 13,000 sq.km. “if one adds in the space created by the legal closing lines of bays, according to international law.” As a measure of comparison, Minister Dendias said the minister said that Greece has a surface area of 131,000 sq.km., and that of Crete is slightly over 8,500 sq.km.

The draft bill is titled “Establishment of the extent of the territorial sea zone in the marine region of the Ionian and the Ionian Islands to Cape Tainaron of the Peloponnese”. Prior to its tabling in Parliament last week, a presidential decree was issued on the closing of bays and the delimitation of straight baselines at the Ionian sea area down to Cape Tainaro on the Peloponnese.

Based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Dec. 10, 1982), Greece said it reserves the right to apply corresponding rights in the rest of its territory.

Plenary discussion and voting on the draft bill is expected on January 19.

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