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Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade on 19 August 2020

Greek parliament to decide on Egypt-Greece maritime accord next week: Greece will submit the maritime demarcation accord signed with Egypt to its parliament for approval next week, reports the Greek local press. Egypt’s parliament ratified the joint economic zone agreement on Monday.

EastMed saga continues as Ankara deploys (yet another) drilling ship: Turkey yesterday dispatched another oil and gas drilling ship into an area to the southwest of Cyprus, reports Bloomberg. The move is the latest of a series of provocations by Turkey after statements by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that his country “will not back down” from gas exploration efforts in the contested area despite an EU threat of sanctions. It also follows statements by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday that countries in the region are forming an unholy alliance against Turkey. Turkey resumed oil and gas exploration in the contested territory last week after Greece and Egypt earlier this month signed their maritime demarcation pact.

Cyprus hints it’s open for reconciliation, taking cues from the EU: Nicosia is prepared for talks on maritime borders with its East Mediterranean neighbors, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said yesterday, hinting that the island nation is looking to reach a pact with Turkey, according to Reuters. Turkey is the only neighboring country with whom Cyprus has no maritime demarcation pact. EU foreign ministers have also recently been trying to ease tensions between member states Greece and Cyprus and Turkey, and both the Greek and Cypriot foreign ministers have been reiterating their country’s willingness to engage in discussions.

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan sit down for second meeting of fresh AU-mediated GERD talks: Irrigation ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan held yesterday the second meeting of African Union-sponsored Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks that resumed earlier this week after a seven-day suspension, Egypt’s ministry said. The ministers are still discussing proposals on filling and operating GERD and how to proceed with the negotiations until 28 August. Observers from the European Union, the US, and the African Union Commission also attended the meeting.

While the three countries have yet to sign an accord on the dam, a final agreement is currently “in the works,” Sudan’s acting Foreign Minister Omar Ismail Gamardin said, according to Voice of America. AU consultants are expected to facilitate the drafting process.

BRIEFLY NOTED-

  • The Export Subsidy Fund is pushing printing, packaging, and paper exporters to submit the paperwork necessary to receive their export subsidy arrears from the last fiscal year, Vice President of the Printing, Packaging, Paper, Literary and Artistic Works Export Council Ahmed Gaber told the local press.
  • Egyptian officials met with representatives from Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel in a bid to restore calm following Israeli airstrikes that targeted underground Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza strip, AFP reports.

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