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Greek foreign minister in Israel to 'promote tourism'

Visit comes amid Turkish, Greek maritime tensions

AbdelRaouf Arnaout   | 13.08.2020
Greek foreign minister in Israel to 'promote tourism'


Greece’s foreign minister arrived Thursday in Israel to finalize tourism arrangements amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, during a meeting with his counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi, was "set to finalize the details of an agreement that would see Israeli tourists travel to Greece without the need for mandatory quarantine,” according to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, 

Most European countries still refuse entry to Israelis because of the high rate of infections in Israel, the newspaper said. 

Dendias later met with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

The visit is another expression of "the great friendship between Israel and Greece" Netanyahu said, adding that the two countries have common geopolitical interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

The Israeli Foreign Ministry, in a statement on Tuesday, supported Greece in its dispute with Turkey. “Israel follows closely as tension rises in the Eastern Mediterranean. Israel expresses its full support and solidarity with Greece in its maritime zones and its right to delimit its exclusive economic zone,” it said. 

Tensions in the region are on the rise due to the exploration and drilling activities of hydrocarbon sources in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Greece’s controversial move last week to sign a maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt, which Turkey says violates its continental shelf and maritime rights, has sparked tension between the two neighbors.

Turkey announced on Monday that its seismic vessel Oruc Reis will conduct research in the region until Aug. 23.

Ankara criticizes Athens for pursuing maximalist policies in the Eastern Mediterranean and underlines that Greece's maritime claims violate Turkey’s sovereign rights.

*Bassel Barakat and Zehra Nur Duz contributed to this report from Ankara

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