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ATHENS, Nov 22 (Reuters)Egypt will provide 5,000 seasonal workers to help meet the growing needs of Greece’s agricultural sector under a pilot scheme agreed by the two countries on Tuesday.

Greece’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the deal could be a ‘guide’ for future agreements signed by Greece and the EU with third countries to combat illegal immigration.

“We hope that the first Egyptian workers will be in the Greek fields to help harvest the next crop early next year,” Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said after signing the deal with his Egyptian counterpart Ihab Nasr.

The Egyptian farm workers will have the right to enter and stay in Greece for up to nine months before returning home.

Greece and Egypt signed an accord in 2020 designating their exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean, an area with promising oil and gas reserves.

They have been also looking to build an undersea cable that will carry power produced by renewables from North Africa to Europe, the first such infrastructure in the Mediterranean.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Alexander Smith)

((angeliki.koutantou@thomsonreuters.com; +30 2102214608; Reuters Messaging: angeliki.koutantou.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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By Reuters