Greece- Italy sign maritime border agreement, paving way for Albania

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 18, 2020 13:17

Greece- Italy sign maritime border agreement, paving way for Albania

TIRANA, June 17 - Greece and Italy signed an agreement on maritime borders, delimiting an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between the two countries on June 9.

The deal was signed by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio during his visit to Athens and paves the way for Greece and Italy to explore as well as exploit marine resources.

"As you know, our relations with Italy are at a very good level, and this was reaffirmed today with the signing of the agreement on delimitation of the maritime zones between the two countries," Dendias said, adding that the agreement is an extension of the 1977 agreement on the delimitation of the Greek-Italian continental shelf.

At the same time, this also makes way for Greece to reach a similar deal with Albania, seeing as two countries have discussed an agreement which defines the maritime space between the two countries extending to 12 miles, but not the exclusive economic zone between the two. The delimitation with Italy belongs to the first difficulty category, that with Albania as well as with Egypt, which belongs to the second category.

In this line, the agreement could bring another positive effect, as it opens the possibility for the sharing of the exclusive economic zone with Italy; based on the 1992 agreement with Italy, only the Continental Shelf has been delimited between the two.

In 2017, the outgoing Greek Minister Nikos Kotzias announced the expansion of Greek waters to 12 miles in the Ionian Sea, which, according to him, came as a result an agreement with Albania. His Albanian counterpart at the time, Ditmir Bushati confirmed the announcement and claimed that Greece had a right to the expansion, although he had not consulted with the Italian side. In turn, this was not well-received by the latter, which is significantly affected by any maritime border agreement between Greece and Albania.

However, this agreement now provides that if one of the contracting parties decides to declare a maritime zone, it is obliged to inform the other party as soon as possible, which may make it possible that any clashes with Italy, as the one in 2017, in future Greece - Albania maritime border are avoided.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 18, 2020 13:17