Greece, US foreign ministers to meet on Friday

The summit comes amid a rise in Eastern Mediterranean tensions

Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias (L) to meet with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo

The foreign ministers of Greece and the United States will reportedly meet in Vienna on Friday, 14 August, to discuss tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, namely the dispute between Athens and Ankara over hydrocarbon resources.

“Talks will focus on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean in light of Turkey’s escalating violations,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement,

As Reuters reports, the meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo comes days after Turkey dispatched the seismic survey vessel Oruc Reis to an area of sea claimed by both nations, saying it will operate there until 23 August. Turkey has also said it plans to issue gas exploration and drilling licences in the region, somewhere between the Greek island of Crete and Cyprus, this month.

These moves, days after Greece signed a maritime deal with Egypt which angered Ankara, have further raised tensions with its neighbour, ending a brief period of calm brokered by Germany.

Dendias urged Turkey on Tuesday to “immediately leave the Greek continental shelf” saying the country was determined to defend its sovereign rights. Athens has also called for an emergency EU meeting to address the issue, which has been set for Friday at 1300 GMT, and will be held via teleconference.

NATO allies Greece and Turkey vehemently disagree about their overlapping claims on hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Meditteranean, based on conflicting views of how far their continental shelves extend in waters dotted with islands.

The United States has appealed for a resumption of direct talks between Turkey and Greece, which Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said had been underway for two months until they were broken off last week.

Turkey said the deal with Egypt - which Greek diplomats said effectively nullified an accord between Turkey and the internationally recognised government of Libya - showed it could not trust Athens, and vowed to continue surveying waters that are also claimed by Greece and Cyprus.

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