Turkish Actions in Mediterranean the Subject of Pompeo-Dendias Meeting in Vienna



US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias speak in Vienna ahead of the EU Security Council meeting on Friday. Photo: [email protected]
After a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late on Friday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias stated to the press that he hoped that all the nations involved in the current tense situation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea will act in a decorous way and that there will be no conflict between any of them.

Dendias told reporters “I hope there will be no conflict if everybody keeps his mind and everybody acts according to international law, the international law of the sea,” after emerging from the Vienna meeting with the American Secretary of State.

In a tersely-worded statement, the US State Department said:

“Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met today with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Vienna, Austria. Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Dendias discussed the strong U.S.-Greece bilateral relationship and the urgent need to reduce tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

No other information was forthcoming from the US side regarding the long-simmering conflict in the region between Greece and Turkey.

The already-scheduled meeting occurs on the same day as an extraordinary session of the European Union’s Security Council, called at the request of Greece, on the difficult situation between the two Mediterranean countries.

Last Monday, Turkey sent its oil and gas drilling ship the Oruc Reis into Greek territorial waters between the islands of Crete and Cyprus.

Accident in East Med

It also came to light on Friday that there had been a minor collision between naval vessels from Greece and Turkey, with the Greek vessel apparently unscathed. Greek defense sources are reportedly calling it an accident but Turkey has termed it a provocation.

Dendias stated after the meeting “Everything can be resolved, but this is a question that you have to put to the Turks.”

When asked by the press if he had come to an agreement with the US Secretary of State on further actions regarding the issue, the Greek foreign minister only stated that the meeting had been “cordial” and the pair had shared “an open explanation of what’s happening.”

According to reports in the Greek media, Dendias had called for a more visible American presence in the region, in the understanding that this would aid in the de-escalation of tensions.

Urgent EU Security Council Meeting
The foreign ministers of all the European Union nations are currently holding urgent talks in Brussels regarding the tense situation created by Turkey this past week as it continued its longstanding pattern of provocations in the Mediterranean over oil and gas rights.
The members of the Council of Foreign Affairs of the European Union have expressed their solidarity with Greece regarding this ongoing situation.
Greek FM Dendias attended the emergency meeting and presented his impressions of the events of the last few days; according to the news website Skai.gr, the possibility of further sanctions to be imposed by the EU will be discussed on August 28, at the next regularly-scheduled meeting of the members of the Foreign Affairs Council.