Kyriakos Mitsotakis (Photo Credit: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters)

Greece plans to extend the western limit of its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea to 12 miles, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday.

The conservative premier said a bill on the matter would be submitted to parliament very soon.

“Greece will extend its western territorial waters to 12 nautical miles from six,” Mitsotakis told lawmakers during a debate on whether to approve a recent accord on maritime boundaries between Greece and Italy.

The two countries signed an agreement on maritime boundaries in June, establishing an exclusive economic zone and resolving longstanding issues over fishing rights in the Ionian Sea.

A separate maritime agreement with Egypt is also under debate in Greek parliament and lawmakers are expected to vote on both agreements on Thursday.

On the other side of Greece, to its east, Turkey has warned that a similar move by Athens would be a ‘causus belli’,  – a cause for war. The two countries are in dispute over the extent of their continental shelves and their maritime boundaries.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Renee Maltezou and Alex Richardson

Source: Reuters, August 26, 2020