Cyprus and Egypt were the first to conclude in 2003 an agreement to delimit the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (here). The agreement is based on “a middle line whose position is equal to the next point on the baseline of both parties” (Article 1). Cyprus then concluded two other agreements on the basis of median/equidistances: with Lebanon in 2007 (here not yet in force) and with Israel in 2010 (here). These three agreements are concise and each contain five articles: Article 1 defines the exact position of the middle line; Article 2 deals with the resources of the cross-border seabed; Article 3 governs the process of future delimitation with third countries; Section 4 deals with dispute resolution; and Article 5 examines the ratification and entry into force of the agreement. Second, the precise limits of maritime requirements that overlap with other states in the territories are clarified. “There is now an international dispute that theoretically limits Turkey`s capacity for action,” Syrigos said. The conflict between the Greek-Turkish maritime borders had probably crystallized long before the agreement between Turkey and Libya and the Greece-Egypt agreement. However, the nature, basic principles and exact geographic scope of these overlapping requirements are now much clearer. This is important to define the geographical scope of UNCLOS`s commitment to “not jeopardize or impede the completion of the final agreement” and restriction obligations under customary international law (see Barrett, Burke et al. in the 2016 BIICL report on state obligations with respect to unrestricted maritime areas). In a letter to the UN Security Council on 13 May 2020, Libya said its agreement with Turkey “does not affect the rights of third parties.” However, the map attached to the MoU clearly showed that the presence of Greek islands, such as Crete, Rhodes and Kastellorizo, and related marine areas, had been ignored. In addition, Turkey and Libya have announced energy exploration plans in the areas mentioned in the MoU.
The agreement prompted Greece to quickly reach an agreement with Egypt. The origins of the agreement between Greece and Egypt can be traced back to the beginning of the search for energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean in the early 2000s. With regard to the exploration and exploitation of energy resources at sea, it was necessary to define the maritime borders of the coastal states: Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Turkey. The partial nature of the agreement between Greece and Egypt is consistent with the regional practice of the state in the eastern Mediterranean (see analysis). The delimitation agreements between Cyprus, Egypt, Cyprus-Lebanon and Cyprus-Israel all provide that the points for assessing defined borders can be reviewed and/or extended to the three potential equivalent points of the coasts of the States concerned “in light of the future delimitation with other neighbouring countries and in agreement with the neighbouring countries concerned”.