Saturday, 23 April 2011

Droutsas defends handling of EEZ issue

There’s an 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.


Hermes said...

Great series of posts lately, John.

Another question which remains mysteriously unanswered, is how long will Russia wait until it begins to defend its areas of Strategic Depth, the Balkans and Eastern Meditterenean. As Kalendiridis wrote a few days ago never has Russia's influence been so weak and Turkey been so assertive. Perhaps they are focusing more on their Pacific zone lately (see latest military expenditures) and will switch their attention this way soon.

By the way, I heard Savvas Kalendiridis will be visiting Australia in a few months for a Pontian event.

John Akritas said...

Funnily enough, H, I was reading the other day a CIA account of the Ocalan fiasco, in which Kalenteridis was a key player. It's not a flattering portrait of the man or the way Greece conducts its security business.

Hermes said...

Actually, the way I read it was that the CIA was extremely annoyed with Kalendiridis because he did not succumb to their diktats but rather looked out for Greek interests as opposed to Pangalos and co.

John Akritas said...

It's a fair point, H; and I'm caught between saying K. should have followed orders from Athens whether he agreed with them or not – acting independently is undisciplined and risks chaos – though if you believe the orders are fundamentally wrong, then you have a higher duty to ignore them. I guess the proof is in the outcome. It doesn't look good that the Greek secret services were even outsmarted by the Kenyans.

Hermes said...

John, I am torn as well. At what point is it acceptable to go against the orders of the authorities in serving the national interests? Personally, I increasingly find the mostly SYRIZA and KKE Leftist (note: I am sympathetic to social reform) habit of overuling the rule of law because they believe the law is unjust revolting, leading to the abyss of anarchy. For example, often the Communists will say they did not have to obey the National Army and official authorities after WWII because they represented social injustice. Or more recently in Keratea, they say that the Greek state is unjust; and therefore, they are justified in disobeying it. However, the difference between most of these Leftists and Kalendiridis was that Kalendiridis was defending Greek interests whereas most of the Leftists are defending increasingly narrow interests that are not necessarily representative of the people. Also, agents like Kalendiridies or types like him hardly stand to benefit from their actions, whereas many elements of the Left seek to sow chaos in order to benefit at the electoral box or in public opinion.