In a bid to stand up to their common foe, Greece and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have inked foreign policy and defense agreement against Turkey.
On a visit to Abu Dhabi, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They signed a “strategic partnership” and an “agreement on joint foreign policy and defense cooperation,” the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet. “Relations are further deepened reaching a strategic level, aiming at regional peace&stability,” it added.
In the context of @PrimeministerGR's visit to #UAE, FM @NikosDendias signed the Joint Statement on a Strategic Partnership &the Agreement on Joint Foreign Policy& Defence Cooperation.????relations are further deepened reaching a strategic level, aiming at regional peace&stability pic.twitter.com/lB4E90wYUn
— Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών (@GreeceMFA) November 18, 2020
Both countries are increasingly facing challenges from Turkey. In a joint statement issued by the leaders of both sides, they rebuked Turkey’s aggressive behavior in the Southeastern Mediterranean and South Caucasus as a violation of international law, according to the Greek news site Greek Reporter.
“Our two countries are facing challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean through the same perspective. They remain committed to the peaceful settlement of disputes and to respect for international law. I would also like to emphasize that this visit to the United Arab Emirates is another step in the context of the active foreign policy that our country has been developing over the last year,” Mitsotakis said.
I had the pleasure of meeting Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece, and I am happy to announce the establishment of a strategic partnership to enhance political, economic and cultural cooperation between our countries. pic.twitter.com/8W6wW3MHGN
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) November 18, 2020
Tensions between Ankara and Athens soared in August after Greece disputed Turkey’s energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean as it tries to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.
In September, Turkey withdrew its vessel from the sea to resolve the dispute. However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Greece and Cyprus of failing to fulfil “promises” made during negotiations within the European Union and NATO and said his country would continue to give them “the response they deserve”, reported Aljazeera.
Turkey has redeployed the energy exploration vessel in the disputed sea. According to Turkish media reports, two navy ships are guarding the vessel in the sea.
On the other hand, the UAE and Turkey have been at loggerheads in Libya as UAE supports the Libyan National Army against Turkey-backed, the Government of National Accord.
Citing “well informed” source, Greek news website, Pentapostagma said that the “the two sides [UAE and Greece] are committed to contributing to the defense and maintenance of the security, sovereignty, unity, protection and territorial independence of Greece and the UAE, as far as possible and where practically possible.”
It further reported that while the provisions of the agreement aren’t directed against any third party, it is essentially aimed “to destabilizing Turkey”.
“The two governments condemn Turkey’s violation of the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Cyprus, as well as its overall aggressive behavior in the Middle East, the Southeastern Mediterranean and the South Caucasus, in flagrant violation of the International while recalling the obligation of all states to refrain from the threat or use of force as provided for in the Charter of the United Nations,” the joint statement said
While Greece is an important European ally for the UAE, the cooperation between the two countries isn’t new. In May, Greece, the UAE, Cyprus, Egypt and France issued a joint statement “denounced the ongoing illegal Turkish activities in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone and its territorial waters, as they represent a manifest violation of international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Right to the sea “.
Erdogan responded to the joint statement calling the countries an “alliance of evil.” “Until the end, we will continue to defend our interests and rights in the Mediterranean Aegean Sea, in Cyprus,” he had said.