Albania – Greece dispute for the sea

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 26, 2020 19:51

Albania – Greece dispute for the sea

TIRANA, Aug. 26 - Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that the Greek government will soon submit a plan to expand its maritime borders from 6 to 12 miles in the Ionian Sea.

According to Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, during Wednesday's plenary session, Mitsotakis said Greece would exercise an "inalienable sovereign right" in accordance with Article 3 of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Furthermore, he announced that the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will travel to Tirana to speak with his Albanian counterpart about the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two neighboring countries.

So far, there is no official date when Dendias will travel to Albania, although the Greek Foreign Minister announced on Facebook a day earlier that he had spoken on the phone with Prime Minister Rama about regional issues.

Mitsotakis also spoke of the agreement on Greece's maritime borders with Egypt and Italy, considered to be of great historical and political importance." Voting for both agreements will take place on Thursday.

Greece and Italy signed an agreement on maritime borders, delimiting an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between the two countries on June 9, while making way for Greece to reach a similar deal with Albania, seeing as the exclusive economic zone between the two has not been discussed yet.

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, are avoided in the future Greece - Albania maritime border.

Albania's response

The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, said on Wednesday, in a reaction to the Greek PM's announcement that the expansion of the maritime border of Greece has nothing to do with the Albanian-Greek maritime border.

In response to the inquiry by the Voice of America, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania stated that "this is an issue that is regulated by international law and specifically by the Montego Bay Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982.”

"Albania and Greece, as neighboring states that share maritime zones, are already committed to reaching a new agreement in the spirit of mutual understanding and interest, based on the principles and norms of the Law of the Sea, international practice , as well as respecting the decision of the Constitutional Court, ” the Foreign Affairs Ministry stated.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 26, 2020 19:51