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Confrontation In Eastern Mediterranean Not Letting Up

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For several months now, information on the events taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean continues to persistently occupy a prominent position in the newscasts. Despite the measures taken by the international community, tension among Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and NATO continues to revolve around this region. Different media outlets occasionally portray the situation as virtually foreshadowing a direct military confrontation between various participants in the regional standoff.

The fact that significant oil and natural gas reserves were discovered off the coasts of Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Cyprus has added a new dimension to long-standing, unresolved conflicts in the region. In particular, this means the unrelenting dispute between Greece and Turkey over who controls the Aegean Sea, the split of Cyprus, and the issue of where maritime boundaries run between Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Libya, and Egypt, as well as between Lebanon and Israel. Countries that have access to the Mediterranean Sea in its eastern portion have all become increasingly adamant in laying claim to disputed, and overlapping, exclusive economic zones, vying to secure their rights to develop any oilfields located within 200 nautical miles from their shores. This is exacerbating political and legal controversy, and causing the discussions to take on harsh tones that often spill over into direct threats of armed standoffs, with the parties at dispute concentrating greater quantities of military equipment in this part of the Mediterranean Sea.

“During the past weeks, we have witnessed an alarming military build-up in the Eastern Mediterranean. All of us are extremely concerned by the very real risk of a direct military confrontation,” said David McAllister, the Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, during a European Parliament plenary session. Speaking out in support of EU members, meaning Greece, Cyprus and France above all others, while at the same time ramping up the criticism he leveled at Turkey, David McAllister urged the parties to immediately deescalate the situation. “[W]e........

© New Eastern Outlook

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