On an official visit to Athens over the weekend during which he signed an extended defense agreement with Greece, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed Greece’s position opposite Turkey’s continuing provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean, describing the country’s illegal drilling for hydocarbons in the region as “unacceptable.”
“We have told the Turks that illegal drilling is unacceptable and we’ll continue to take diplomatic actions to make sure that we do, as we do always, ensure that lawful activity takes place,” Pompeo said during a joint press conference with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
“We want to make sure that rules govern international exploration in the Mediterranean Sea’s energy resources and that no country can hold Europe hostage,” he added.
Earlier on Saturday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had also asked Pompeo for support in dealing with Turkey, noting that its recent moves in the region were “a flagrant violation of Cyprus’s sovereign rights.”
Dendias and Pompeo signed a protocol of amendment to the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) between the two countries which relates to the use of Souda Base and the air bases of Stefanovikeio and Larissa in central Greece and the port of Alexandroupoli. Both officials emphasized the importance of the deal in promoting stability in the broader region while Pompeo indicated that it was not related to Turkey’s activities.
Dendias, who also condemned Turkey’s activities in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, declared that Greek-US relations are at a “historic high point.”
[link to www.ekathimerini.com