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Russia’s Lavrov Defends Right to Extend Territorial Waters to 12 Miles in Athens Visit

Greek FM Nikos Dendias welcomes his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Athens. Credit: Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is on an official visit to Greece on Monday, said that every country has a right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles.

Before meeting with his Greek counterpart, Lavrov said that when issues concerning the delimitation of maritime zones arise between neighboring countries, these should be resolved according to international law.

In an interview with the Athens Macedonian News Agency (AMNA), Russia’s top diplomat was asked about the delimitation of the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between Greece and Turkey.

He noted noted that Russia has signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 and its stance is based on international laws which this contains, including Article Three, which specifies that every state has the sovereign right to extend its territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles from land.

Referring to Hagia Sophia and its recent conversion into a mosque, Lavrov said that this is a UNESCO World Heritage site belonging to all humanity and has exceptional cultural and historic value, while it is sacred to those of the Orthodox faith in his own country and the whole world.

He added that it has an exceptional spiritual importance for the Russian people.

Lavrov also expressed “serious concern” over Turkey’s decision to open up the beach front in Varosha, in the occupied sections of Cyprus, and made clear that it is against a series of UN Security Council resolutions.

Criticizing the decision, the Russian Foreign Minister sent a message that unilateral actions obstruct efforts to establish a constructive climate and create additional problems for the resumption of negotiations fro bring about a final resolution of the Cyprus problem.

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