German diplomacy actively engaged in defusing tensions between Greece and Turkey

Germany, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. will this week intensify diplomatic contacts with Athens and Ankara, in an effort to defuse tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean over oil exploration rights and the delineation of the continental shelf between the two countries.

German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas is expected to visit the two capitals this week to meet with his Greek and Turkish counterparts.

The European Union's foreign ministers' are then expected to hold an informal meeting in Germany on Thursday (27 August).

Germany has close, even if sometimes complicated, relations with both Greece and Turkey putting Maas in a unique position to conduct shuttle diplomacy aimed at reducing tensions between the two NATO allies who have often been at loggerheads because of issues such as Cyprus, and maritime activity in the Aegean.

Tension rose earlier this month after Turkey despatched a survey ship, the Oruc Reis to disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkish media reports that a NAVTEX, an advisory to the sailors issued by Turkey, notifies that the Oruç Reis will end its work in the area today, Sunday (23 August).

Germany is hoping to broker a meeting with the participation of the senior advisors of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis under the mediation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's top aide on 28 August, according to Turkish media reports.

source: commonspace.eu with agencies

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