Eastern Mediterranean Talks

The Consortium for the Study of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy (COSMAR), of which ASCOMARE is a member, and the Maritime Policy and Strategy Research Centre of the University of Haifa are pleased to invite you to the ‘Eastern Mediterranean Talks (EMTs)’, consisting in a series of virtual regional debates focusing on maritime boundary delimitations in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Covering a network of maritime and coastal areas stretching for over 1,500,000 square kilometers, with a total population of about 320 million distributed among Greece, Türkiye, Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot Community, Lebanon, Israel, Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), Palestine, Egypt and Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean Sea region is an important cultural, socio-economic and ecological hub.

Promoting an inclusive and informed dialogue on matters of regional relevance becomes, therefore, essential to strengthen cooperation and stability in the region, from which international peace and security at large directly depend. This is all the more the case of discussions on maritime boundary delimitation, where legal and political divergences, as well as geographical and historical positions often contribute to hindering the reaching of a common agreement among States. The contemporary law of the sea architecture, as largely encapsulated in the UN Convention on the
Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), of which Israel, Türkiye, Syria and Libya are not contracting parties, provides for a number of well-consolidated principles, rules and mechanisms on the delimitation of maritime boundaries that can be used by States to settle their boundary disputes. The effectiveness of these means, however, strongly depends on a shared understanding of the international regulatory framework in place, as well as on the nature of problems affecting the reaching of a final boundary delimitation agreement.

Against this backdrop, the EMTs aims at putting together renowned specialists from all the Eastern Mediterranean Sea’s countries and territories – except for Lebanon and Palestine, which will be covered by a separate initiative – to engage in a technical debate on this sensitive issue. The virtual discussion will address the practice of maritime boundary delimitation starting from the principles of international law governing the subject to the different approaches adopted by the relevant regional actors. The EMTs strive to find common starting points to guide the approach of States and territories in the region regarding matters related to maritime boundary delimitation.
In the impasse of diplomacy, international law can fill the gap and reconcile the classical law dilemma between predictability and flexibility. A solution halfway between these two antipodes could help untangling many knots in the region. The discussion will also be inspired by interesting hints coming from the recent solutions adopted by States to define their maritime borders in other maritime regions.

Calendar of the sessions:

SESSION 1 (20 October 2022) – DEHUKAM hosting

SESSION 2 (22 February 2023) – HMS hosting

SESSION 3 (30 April 2023) – ASCOMARE hosting

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