Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry told a conference in Athens on Wednesday that “absolute” adherence to international law is an essential prerequisite for regional relations, calling for pursuing political solutions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Speaking at the Economist’s 24th roundtable, which is hosted by the government of Greece, Shoukry emphasised that maintaining security and stability and pursuing political solutions in the Eastern Mediterranean constitute the foundation for any meaningful debate on regional foreign policy.
The annual event, taking place on 15-16 September in the Greek capital, covers Europe and Eastern Mediterranean developments and is attended by officials from several countries and regional and international organisations.
Ankara's controversial moves to search for gas in the Eastern Mediterranean has escalated tensions with Greece and Cyprus, which charge that Turkey is violatiing their sovereignty over territorial waters.
A 2019 agreement between Turkey and Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on demarcation of maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea, was decried by Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus as illegal, a violation of international law, and an infringement on their economic rights.
The European Union has also called on Turkey to cease activities that violate Greek and Cypriot sovereignty.
Shoukry said that Egypt signed a maritime demarcation agreement with Greece to maximise the benefits from the wealth available in the Mediterranean.
"Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus established a trilateral cooperation mechanism in 2014,which demonstrates the strong political will to coordinate on significant projects," he pointed out.
Shoukry assured that the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum aims to provide a platform that ensures energy security and promotes cooperative projects.
“Cairo is dedicated to restricting the expansion of the military conflict in Libya and advocating a comprehensive political solution to all components of the crisis through a Libyan-led dialogue,” he added.
He stressed that comprehensive and collective solutions are crucial for combating terrorism and its sponsors, and for dealing with illegal migration and human trafficking.
"Prudent policy-making should guide us on how to best harness the huge potential and mutual benefit emanating from energy cooperation," he added.
The Egyptian minister affirmed that the influx of illegal migrants from Egypt to Europe has been terminated since September 2016.