RAMALLAH, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 (WAFA) – A Palestinian diplomat’s remarks on signing a maritime exclusive economic zone deal with Turkey were taken out of context, announced the Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry.
The Ministry explained that the remarks attributed to Palestine’s ambassador to Ankara Faed Mustafa signaling Palestine’s readiness to negotiate a maritime deation deal with Turkey and cooperate with Ankara on natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean were taken out of context.
It stressed that Palestine maintains close and good relations with the Mediterranean countries, including Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, on the basis of good-neighborliness and international law, and is keen on developing these relations.
It added that Palestine was not currently discussing such a deal with any of these countries.
During an interview with the Turkish newspapers Aydinlik, Mustafa purportedly said: “We are open for every idea to deepen our relations with Turkey, and this includes a deal on exclusive economic zones.”
“We also have rights in the Mediterranean. Palestine has shares in oil and gas located in the eastern Mediterranean. We are ready to cooperate in these areas and sign a deal.”
Israel has been restricting Palestinian efforts to conduct exploration and drilling activities in the Gaza Marine gas field, which was discovered in 1999 approximately 30 kilometers off the besieged coastal enclave’s shore.
With Israel maintaining a crippling blockade on the strip and control on the coastal enclave’s land borders, access to the sea and airspace, the field has remained dormant for nearly 20 years since its discovery.