The U.S. Navy muscled up in the eastern Mediterranean Sea this week, announcing that it will homeport a major vessel at Souda Bay in Greece for the first time in at least 40 years.
After talks with the leaders of Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Cyprus in the resort of Porticcio outside the local capital Ajaccio, Macron adopted a slightly milder tone, saying the leaders wanted to reengage in a dialogue with Turkey „in good faith“.
Selling a port of strategic importance to US companies, coupled with the availability of the facility for US and NATO troops, is raising many questions in Greece. The Mediterranean country remains only one in two countries surveyed in NATO where the civilian population is not in favor of the alliance and only 36% of Greeks view the US favorably
France will „temporarily reinforce“ its military presence, Macron’s statement said, to „monitor the situation in the region and mark its determination to uphold international law.“
“Much of Noble’s upstream value comes from its positions in Israel and Cyprus,” writes Jean-Baptiste Bouzard, an industry analyst with WoodMac. Bouzard thinks that the acquisition will boost development plans for Noble’s Aphrodite discovery, offshore Cyprus, as well as ramping up production from its flagship assets in Israel, Tamar and Leviathan.”
They say the aircraft disappeared after taking off from a Canadian frigate as part of a military exercise.
The slight change in its name means the ship can legally carry out offensive military operations such as allowing Marines or Navy SEALs to launch attacks directly from the ship. A USNS ship under the command of a civilian can engage in combat only if it is defending itself.
The Dynamic Manta 2020 drill – an annual advanced anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare exercise – kicked off on Feb. 24 off Italy’s Sicily Island and will continue through March 6.
According to a press release issued by the Italian Embassy in Nicosia, the frigate is conducting patrolling operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, for presence and surveillance activities, in compliance with international law and to safeguard national interests.
In a written statement, the Turkish foreign ministry’s spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Thursday the East Med Gas Forum was in fact “an unrealistic initiative launched by some countries with political motives, under illusions of excluding Turkey from energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Cyprus Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Christodoulides pays an official visit to Greece, on Monday, during which he is expected to sign with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations and Technical Cooperation and will be received by Greece`s President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
State-funded broadcaster RIK News aired Thursday morning video footage of a C130 airplane and 5 or 6 Chinook helicopters over Paphos, saying the aircraft landed and were on stand-by at Andreas Papandreou AFB, an active air base adjacent to Paphos International Airport.
Egypt and Israel, which have invested heavily in energy exploration in the region, are alarmed by the Turkey-Libya move, which may threaten their ability to export gas to Europe. Egypt has called it “illegal and not binding”, while Israel has said it could “jeopardize peace and stability in the area”.
The UAE was the first Arab nation to open an embassy at the military alliance’s headquarters in Belgium and has been a member since 2004.
Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar are also members. Oman and Saudi Arabia are yet to join but the alliance has said it would welcome them with open arms if they should choose to take the step. Both countries will attend the anniversary on Monday.
Ankara ready to defend government in Tripoli in latest policy to inflame tensions with US, EU, Greece and Middle East countries
A senior navy officer from the Tobruk-based rival forces reportedly said he was ordered by Haftar to sink any approaching Turkish research vessels.
Haftar, who failed to capture Tripoli in a major attack earlier this year, announced late Thursday that the „decisive battle“ to seize Tripoli began.
The earlier memorandum on maritime boundaries asserted Turkey’s rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration, clarifying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area. It went into effect on Dec. 8.
According to TV report, Turkish navy intercepts Israeli boat, orders it to leave; Turkey’s recent maritime deal with Libya has fueled regional tensions over drilling rights
The breakaway Turkish Cypriot cabinet has designated an airport on the disputed island as a base for Turkish drones escorting ships seeking hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean, a news agency said, a move likely to increase tension with the European Union.
The Turkish president further said that the agreement with Libya’s internationally recognised government will have to go through the Turkish parliament and then it will be put into effect.
Turkey announced a 4-hour naval exercise in the Aegean for Monday, to take place in international waters south of Rhodes and east of Karpathos.
“I am not suggesting that we should go to war […]. I am just saying that Europe must show somehow that it cannot tolerate this behavior, that there are certain red lines. The frigates, sent by France and Italy to block 7, is a first step. We must wait and see what kind of deterrence this move will have,” he said.
Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said on Thursday his company would not drill off Cyprus if it meant having to deal with warships.
The US military is expected to expand the Sixth Fleet’s base on the Greek island of Crete and also build new drone bases in central Greece.
Turkey says some of the areas where Cyprus is exploring are either on its own continental shelf or in zones where Turkish Cypriots have equal rights over any finds with Greek Cypriots.
Currently, major energy companies around the world, such as ExxonMobil America, Nobel, Shell France, Annie Italy, Qatar Petroleum, South Korea’s Kogas, Israel Delta, etc., are active in the region. Meanwhile, U.S., Russian and other naval vessels are also present in the region.
The presence of numerous naval vessels cannot be solely due to the Mediterranean’s energy resources. In this geographical area, it seems that the balance of power is as important as the energy resources of the great powers, and on this basis, this region has become a new stage of competition for those powers.
The announcement by government spokesman Ali Rabiei represent just the latest twist in the saga of the Adrian Darya 1, which had been known as the Grace 1 when authorities seized the vessel off Gibraltar on July 4, on suspicion of breaking European Union sanctions targeting Syria.
The US said Turkey’s Yavuz drillship should cease its activities off Cyprus’ northeastern coast and leave the EEZ but was ignored again, as it has been repeatedly with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defying the international community and getting away with it so far.
An Iranian ship held by Gibraltar since July on suspicion of transporting oil to Syria has left port.
Marine tracking shows the tanker moving east into the Mediterranean and lists Kalamata in Greece as the destination.
Gibraltar earlier rejected a request by the US to again seize the ship, which has changed its name from Grace 1 to Adrian Darya-1.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) began its southbound transit from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, Aug. 18, 2019, after a scheduled port visit to Golcuk, Turkey, and conducting maritime security operations in the region.
But Gibraltar lifted the detention order last Thursday after Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said he had secured written assurances from Tehran that the cargo would not go to Syria.
Those assurances, in the form of diplomatic Notes Verbale from the Iranian government, were published last Thursday by Gibraltar as part of the legal notice lifting the detention order.
The Iranian supertanker Grace 1 is unlikely to sail from Gibraltar before Sunday, the Chronicle understands, with six crewmen including a new captain scheduled to arrive this weekend.
Logistical arrangements are currently being put in place by the vessel’s owners after it was released on Thursday following six weeks detained under Gibraltar’s sanctions legislation.
The Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper reported that the vessel was unlikely to sail before Sunday, citing an unnamed source who added that it was waiting for six new crew members including a captain to arrive that day.
A lawyer for the Grace 1’s current captain also told the newspaper that his client had asked to be replaced.
(21.10.2012) The following text written in 2006 at the height of the Lebanon 2006 war examines the geopolitics of energy and oil and and gas pipeline corridors through Lebanon and Syria
Another important strategic objective for Israel is the control over offshore gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, including those Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. These coastal gas reserves extend from Israel’s border with Egyptian to the Turkish border.
In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first contract for offshore drilling for oil and gas with a consortium comprising energy giants Total, ENI and Novatek.
Two blocks in the eastern Mediterranean are part of the deal, but Israel claims that part of Block 9 belongs to the Jewish state.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri deliver statements to the press at the U.S. Department of State on August 15, 2019.
It comes almost two weeks after the island was hit by an earlier 5.2 quake, and just days after a 5.8 magnitude tremor damaged hundreds of homes near Denizli in neighbouring Turkey.
A Turkish frigate and patrol boat accompanied the Yavuz.
The Syrian government has two big oil-producing friends, Iran and Russia. With the routes from the first apparently closed, it may have to turn to the second. This presents a new host of potential risks. Impounding an Iranian ship in the Strait of Gibraltar is one thing. Stopping a Russian ship in the Aegean Sea is quite another.
Akinci “presented a new comprehensive cooperation proposal prepared by the Turkish Cypriot side for the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon resources around the island of Cyprus to the Greek Cypriot side through the United Nations,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The proposal said that Turkish and Greek Cypriots “are equal partners on the island, have equal rights, so should share the income and cooperate in the area of hydrocarbon resources and benefit from these resources simultaneously,” the ministry said.
Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed the developments with Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor-Viorel Melescanu and Malta’s Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela, according to diplomatic sources.
In the last few years hopes for the commercialization of hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean have dimmed as diplomatic and military tensions rise in the region along side the unending Syrian war
The others involved are Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and the Palestinians. Other Eastern Mediterranean countries and transitory countries may join the forum later, the ministry said in a statement.
After gas discoveries sped up in the region over the last decade, the regional countries have concluded bilateral maritime border demarcation agreements with the Greek Cypriot administration. For example, in 2010, Israel hammered out an accord demarcating maritime borders with Cyprus. The deal had naval security implications and set an official separation of hydrocarbon reserves claimed by Israel and Greek Cypriots who had already done the same with Egypt and Lebanon in 2003 and 2007, respectively.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russian military vessels with Kalibr cruise missiles would be on permanent standby in the Mediterranean to counter what he said was the terrorist threat in Syria.