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Statements of Foreign Minister Avramopoulos and his Mexican counterpart P. E. Cantellano following their meeting
D. AVRAMOPOULOS: Good morning. I would like to welcome Ms. Patricia Espinoza Cantellano, the Foreign Minister of our good friend Mexico, to Athens and to Greece. Ms. Cantellano and I had a brief but very friendly and constructive meeting. We talked about issues bearing on the wide range of relations between our two countries. Mexico may be far from Greece, but for us it is a very nearby country, very familiar to us, much respected, thanks to its culture, history and achievements.
We will have the opportunity to continue our talks at the luncheon that will follow, and I will brief Ms. Cantellano on the political developments in our wider region, as well as on the major issues concerning our foreign policy in Europe and the world.
Mexico is a country with a distinctive and special weight in Latin America and the world. It showed this in June, with the successful chairmanship of the G-20, and on many other occasions in the past. Mexico is a large economy and a dynamic society very close, I would say, idiosyncratically, to the temperament of Greece, which is also the case with other Latin American countries with whom we have strong ties of friendship and mutual understanding.
That is why this important country is a special, vital collocutor for Greece. But beyond the ties of friendship and traditional sectors of cooperation in our bilateral relations, the Greece of internationalization recognizes the opportunities presented by a broadened relationship with Mexico. The crisis has forced us to revise many things that we have taken for granted until now, including in the field of our foreign policy. Beyond the basic constants of cooperation with the countries of the European Union, Greece is once again opening its horizons on the world, and we will leave no potential, no opportunity, unexploited. We need to build new relations of cooperation with major countries in every corner of the globe, like Mexico; mutually beneficial relations that will have a positive impact on the economy via job creation the growth impetus needed by our country at this time.
In today’s world, we need to leave behind the compartmentalization of the past and rid ourselves of prejudices and fixations – we need to open our eyes and doors to the whole world and capitalize on our country’s real potential. Because Greece is known and loved throughout the world. And I must say, Madam Minister, that when I visited Mexico, I felt in every contact and meeting that I had the special affection your people have for our homeland.
But the economy no longer knows any borders, and all countries, large and small, regardless of their latitude and longitude and population, now have relations of interdependency. This interdependency has to be transformed into strength, energy and growth, to the benefit of all the peoples and citizens of the world. This is the direction in which our talks so far have focused, and our talks to follow will focus in the same direction.
We also agreed to look at the potential for deepening our cooperation in sectors of particular interest, putting emphasis on strengthening bilateral trade in agricultural and other products, on investments, on shipping and on tourism.
My dear Madam Minister, I welcome you again to the city of Athens, and I thank you for the wonderful communication we began a short while ago and that we will of course continue in the future. I am sure that as you already felt in Lesvos, where you spent a few days, and you will continue to feel for the rest of the time you spend with us, you will enjoy Greek hospitality, and I would like to ask you to please convey Greece’s love, appreciation and respect to our friends the Mexican people.
And once again, welcome to Athens.
P. E. CANTELLANO: I would like to express my warm thanks, Mr. Minister, for your very warm welcome, for your very kind words, and for the hospitality you have shown me here in this very great and beautiful country. It really is a great privilege for me to visit the world renowned country, the great country, that is famous for its beauty and the talent and vitality of its people – and naturally its very great culture. As the esteemed Minister said, I had the opportunity to visit Lesvos a few days ago, and I saw with my own eyes the warmth and hospitality of the Greek people.
And that is why I am very happy to recommend that all my fellow Mexicans and all citizens visit this beautiful country, Greece. And that is why I would like to take this opportunity to underscore once again the very strong ties linking Greece and Mexico – two countries with great histories and that are very proud of their heritage and the natural beauty of their countries.
For Mexicans and many other peoples in the West, Greece has always been – and is – an endless source of ideas, inspiration and wisdom. It is a country with which we have indissoluble ties.
Of course, Mexico’s relations with Greece and the other member states of the European Union were enhanced by the comprehensive agreement between Mexico and the European Union, with the relevant free transaction and free trade agreement. This was an ideal framework for the further deepening of our relations. But there is still a lot of ground to cover. We need to capitalize on all the trade and investment opportunities for the good of our peoples.
We Mexicans fully understand the complex circumstances Greece is in right now. We have had similar experiences, and through great effort and resolve our country managed and eventually emerged from the complicated situation as a stronger and more prosperous country. I am certain that the same will happen with the Greek economy when the current adjustment period is completed. I am here to share with you a message of solidarity, the message of the solidarity of the Mexican people. We feel great solidarity with the huge efforts Greek society is making to come through this crisis. We are certain that you will be successful, and we need to acknowledge the great efforts of the Greek government and the Greek people to implement the necessary administrative and financial reforms that will form the basis of your country’s economic recovery and prosperity.
Right now, Greece is acting with a great sense of responsibility. And with the responsibility it is showing it is playing a very important role in the recovery of the European economy, and it is thus indirectly helping to create the right conditions for the stability and recovery of the global economy. And, as Mr. Avramopoulos said, this is an issue that concerns us all.
As Minister Avramopoulos said earlier, about a month ago – this past June – Mexico welcomed to the city of Los Cabos the G-20 Summit: leaders of the 20 largest economies in the world. And there we discussed the current situation, the necessary assessments were carried out, and action plans for the future were discussed.
So, as the Mexican Chairmanship of the G-20 Summit, we wanted to include on the agenda not just issues bearing strictly on the economic crisis as such, but also, as a part of the solution, issues bearing on the support of development, of economic growth, of recovery that will lead to the creation of new jobs.
As the Chair, Mexico also saw that there was very strong interest in private sector participation in these discussions. Groups of major enterprises have expressed their desire to participate in the drawing up of these plans that are aimed at the recovery and revitalization of the economy, and, ultimately, the creation of jobs.
I would like to reiterate, Mr. Minister, that my country, Mexico, is at your disposal on any issue that you might find useful, so that we can share our experiences. And I thank you once again for the warm hospitality and reception.