The Albanian government has confirmed Greece’s right to expand its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea shared by Albania, Greece and Italy.
The Albanian ministry of foreign affairs issued a statement on Wednesday to confirm Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ statement that his country has an“inalienable sovereign right” to extend its territorial waters from six to 12 nautical miles.
“Greece, like any other state party to the [United Nations] Convention [on the Law of the Sea], where geography allows and as long as the sovereign rights of another state are not violated, enjoys the right to extend the breadth of the Territorial Sea as provided by UNCLOS,” the Albanian government noted.
Article 3 [Breadth of the territorial sea] of the UNCLOS stipulates that: “Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.”
The government added that Albania has extended its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles since March 9, 1990, and no neighboring country has contested it.
It explained that unlike the maritime delimitation, for which the two countries have been in talks for a long time, this right is not a matter of negotiations. The statement noted that Albania will keep an eye on developments in Greece.
The Albanian government failed to address the main point of concern for the country about Mitsotakis’ statement that, where the distance between two shores is smaller than 24 miles, Greece could apply a median line in the future.
This statement is directly related to Albania’s Constitutional Court decision to nullify the Agreement for the Delimitation of the Greek-Albanian Continental Shelf and Maritime Zones in 2009. The court found that the deal violated the constitution and territorial integrity of Albania.
The agreement considered some rocky, uninhabited Greek islands without economic life, very close to the Albanian shore, as Greek land in full effect. As a result, the median line was drawn between the Greek rocks and the Albanian shore.