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Greece, UAE agree to mutual defense pact

Nov. 23 (UPI) — Greece and the United Arab Emirates, countries opposing recent Turkish policy, agreed to a strategic partnership on Monday.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece,” UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed announced in a Twitter message after the two met in Abu Dhabi on Monday

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“I am happy to announce the establishment of a strategic partnership to enhance political, economic and cultural cooperation between our countries,” bin Zayed.

The clause regarding mutual defense, calling for aid if one country’s territorial integrity is threatened, is likely the most significant element of the pact.

Although Greece and the UAE do not share a border or belong to a common alliance, each country regards Turkey as a threat.

Greece disputed Turkey’s search for minerals and energy in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, claimed by Greece and Cyprus, during the summer.

The maritime mining expedition was halted in September, but not before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Greece, Cyprus, NATO and the European Union with military action. The Turkish exploration ship later returned, guarded by Turkish naval vessels.

Greece and Turkey are NATO members.

In the Libyan civil war, Turkey supports the interim Government of National Accord, formed as a United Nations initiative in 2015, while UAE has underwritten the Libyan National Army.

The agreement does not specifically mention Turkey, but a joint statement from Mitsotakis and bin Zayed, following the formal signing, does.

“The two governments condemn Turkey’s violation of the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Hellenic Republic [Greece] and the Republic of Cyprus,” the joint statement said.

The leaders pointed to Turkey’s “overall aggressive behavior in the Middle East, the Southeastern Mediterranean and the South Caucasus, in flagrant violation of the International while recalling the obligation of all states to refrain from the threat or use of force as provided for in the Charter of the United Nations.”

Other than mutual military training opportunities, no specific actions were announced.

Erdogan called the pact an “alliance of evil.”

In May, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and UAE denounced “ongoing illegal activities in the Cypriot exclusive zone and its territorial waters,” a joint statement in turn denounced by Erdogan.

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