NATO allies Greece and Turkey have agreed to talks to avoid accidental clashes in the Eastern Mediterranean, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
“Following my discussions with Greek and Turkish leaders, the two allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to establish mechanisms for military deconfliction to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
Sources in Athens reportedly said Greece did not agree to any “NATO talks” per se but took note of Stoltenberg’s efforts to work towards deconfliction.
“However, de-escalation can only be achieved with the immediate withdrawal of all Turkish ships from the Greek continental shelf,” the sources said according to Kathimerini Greece.
The Turkish foreign ministry issued a statement in support of launching NATO-brokered technical meetings.
“These meetings focused on de-confliction are indeed related to the arrangements addressed previously on a bilateral level between the military authorities of both countries. They are not related to the outstanding bilateral issues between Turkey and Greece,” Ankara said in a statement.
Following my discussions with Greek & Turkish leaders, the two Allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at #NATO to establish deconfliction mechanisms and reduce the risk of incidents & accidents in the #EastMed. https://t.co/Kc70MlNPzY— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) September 3, 2020