I fail to understand the purpose of the question [asked by an opposition MP] "if Israel guarantees it will protect Greece, should we declare our rights on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)"
. The rights on the EEZ are stemming from the Convention on the Law of the Sea, from the 1982MontegoBay
Convention. We have said in Parliament that while the Continental Shelf exists by itself, ab initio and ipso jure according to International Law, a country's jurisdiction on the EEZ [on the other hand] must be declared.
Greece has repeatedly said -the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister have said so themselves and I have said it many times over- that Greece maintains her rights on the EEZ intact and that it exercises military oversight where necessary, as has recently been the case with the Italian vessel "Explora" and as I have had the opportunity to explain to [the members of] the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.
What goes on the Mediterranean basin is, in many respects, critical. The map of the Arab world is changing. The map in our region is changing. Greece must always bear in mind that two countries are particularly crucial when it comes to the delineation of the maritime zones of the Continental Shelf and of the EEZ (in seas such as the Mediterranean they have the same extent -in other waters they may have a different extent and the Continental Shelf might be slightly larger, but in the geographical area of the Mediterranean their extent is the same): Egypt and Libya. Does Greece take under consideration this parameter when it formulates its foreign and defence policy? Of course it does, with the sole criterion being the defence of its sovereign rights and of the public interest.
In that respect, of course we monitor all developments in Syria. Is there anybody who fails to realize the complexity and the scope of the problem? Is there anyone failing to notice the nervousness at the UN Security Council? But hasn't Greece formulated a principle, which it observes in all cases [already]? Isn't Greece's principle the respect of the UN Security Council decisions?
These [principles] will be maintained by Greece in the case of Syria too. Does anyone believe that the solutions can be military? No, the solutions are always diplomatic and political and those processes will, in the end, be put to motion. Greece, however, must be credible and must participate in the mainstream of the European Union and NATO, because this is what benefits Greece in the region of special interest to her.
I have said it before: What would happen if Greece did not participate, in the way that it does, in such a cautious and guarded way, in the operations in Libya? What would take place in the sea area between Crete and Libya? And I have said before that there already exists a very important given fact: the air traffic rules. The submission of flight plans by military aircrafts in the operational area for Libya, attests to the fact that what Greece has been supporting for years in relation to those matters can be accepted by the international community and is legally based to International Law. This is very important, because the overall situation in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean region is to a great extent based on the respect of the air traffic rules and the submission of flight plans.