interview today in the Cypriot daily Phileleftheros with Greece's foreign minsiter, Dimitris Droutsas, which deals with the latest developments in the Cyprus issue; the recent outburst of Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davoutoglu at an EU foreign ministers meeting; the impact of Greece’s economic crisis on the ability of the country to exercise its foreign policy; and the accusation that Greece is neglecting its national interests by not coming to agreements over the delineation of Exclusive Economic Zones with its neighbours. Below is part of the answer Droutsas gave on the issue of EEZs (my translation). Droutsas says Greece and Cyprus will sort out their EEZs when the two deem it ‘appropriate’, a response that raises more questions than answers.
Q. There's an impression that Athens is being cautious in delineating EEZs with its neighbours, and that this is due to the possible Turkish reaction.
A. Let’s stop with this talk of Greece “fearing” Turkey. Greece is pursuing its interests in the most effective way. We should stop doubting ourselves. The professed aim of Greece is the delineation of all our maritime borders with all our neighbours.
There is no cautiousness. On the contrary, we are moving ahead. With Albania, the discussions ended with the signing of an agreement that fulfils all the provisions of the international law of the sea – it’s another issue now, with Albania having to find a way to overcome the issue that’s been created with the [rejection of the agreement by Albania’s] Constitutional Court.
With Egypt, the discussions had started, but with the recent upheavals, it's better that we wait until the new political scene taking shape there is consolidated before we continue. The same argument applies to Libya.
Regarding Cyprus, given the type of relations we have, it is possible to begin the procedure for the delineation of the EEZ whenever we judge, together, that it is appropriate. With Turkey, you know very well that exploratory contacts are underway for the delineation of the continental shelf – and, to anticipate our detractors, I mean the delineation from one edge to the other, from Evros to Kastellorizo.