World Bulletin/News Desk
Egypt has annulled the maritime border-defining Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) agreement with Southern Cyprus. Therefore the balance in exclusive economic zone to the south of Cyprus in which natural gas and oil reserves are found has been altered.
According to the Greek press, the Egyptian Shura Council (Upper House of Egypt) approved the legislation which MP Khaled Abdel Qader Ouda proposed on the grounds that renegotiation of delineating their respective boundaries “could mean billions of dollars for Egypt.”
In indicating that Egypt’s new law annuls this agreement, Abdel Qader stated that under international agreements, Egypt has the right to withdraw its signature from this agreement. Abdel Qader argued that the agreement had been signed by Cyprus and Israel in February 2003, annulling it since Egypt had the right to be present at the signing.
The new law approved by the Egyptian Shura Council necessitates that new borders for the economic zone be delineated with Turkey joining as a third party.
The Republic of Cyprus had one-sidedly declared the professed economic zone in 2003. Israel, Egypt and Lebanon had been included in the agreement against which Turkey reacted by indicating, on the basis of international law, that it too had a right to the natural gas and oil reserves in the region.
Observers are interpreting Egypt’s withdrawal of Egypt from the agreement as evidence of Turkey’s strengthening presence in the region.