Mat­tis hails Greece as ‘ex­cel­lent and solid ally’

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Ahead of a meet­ing yes­ter­day with Greek De­fense Min­is­ter Panos Kam­menos, US De­fense Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis yes­ter­day praised Greece as a “solid” and “ex­cel­lent” ally and de­scribed Souda Bay base on the is­land of Crete as “one of our most im­por­tant ports of call in the Mediter­ranean.”

The meet­ing of the two men came as Turkey’s En­ergy Min­is­ter Fatih Don­mez said yes­ter­day that Ankara will be­gin gas ex­plo­ration in the East­ern Mediter­ranean by the end of Oc­to­ber. He also warned that Turkey will “pro­tect un­til the end our re­sources de­riv­ing from in­ter­na­tional law.”

Last week, Turkey’s For­eign Min­istry said that it will not al­low for­eign en­ergy com­pa­nies to pur­sue gas ex­plo­ration off Cyprus’s coast. Ni­cosia had ear­lier in­vited en­ergy com­pa­nies to bid for a new li­cense to drill for gas in Block 7 of its ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone.

Amer­i­can en­ergy com­pany ExxonMol­bil said last week that it will be­gin drilling off Cyprus by the end of the year.

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