Athens says prepared to hold talks if Turkey withdraws ships from EastMed

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Greece is prepared to hold talks with Turkey in the framework of international law on the condition that it immediately withdraws its warships and seismic research vessels from the disputed continental shelf in the eastern Mediterranean, Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said Tuesday.

The Greek official’s remarks arrived during a telephone conversation with his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer that focused on recent developments in the region, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported, citing state-run Athens-Macedonia news agency (ANA-MPA).

Greece and Turkey have long disagreed on overlapping claims on hydrocarbon resources in the region, with both sides holding conflicting views of how far their continental shelves extend in waters.

The latest escalation of tensions between the NATO allies began last week, when Turkey dispatched the seismic survey vessel Oruş Reis to an area of sea claimed by both sides, saying it will operate there until the end of the month.

The EU has called on Turkey to immediately halt its activities in the region, as tensions rise with other countries in the area.

The Greek defence minister on Tuesday also emphasised the role of the EU and Germany’s presidency, in helping “restore security and stability in the region,” Kathimerini said.

Ahval

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