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FM spokesman’s reply to a journalist’s question regarding an article in the Athens weekly “Kosmos tou Ependiti”

Monday, 29 November 2010

In answer to a journalist’s question regarding an article published in the Athens weekly “Kosmos tou Ependiti” entitled “Secret negotiations to light”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mr. Gregory Delavekouras said the following:

“The ‘Kosmos tou Ependiti’ weekly and the writers of the article “Secret negotiations to light” proceeded to selectively publish excerpts of a note from the Foreign Ministry’s D1 Directorate classified as “Top Secret”, distorting and arbitrarily interpreting the content and purpose of this document in order to misinform public opinion and blatantly violating the code of ethics of journalists.

At the same time, they published information, dictated by Greece’s interests to be kept confidential vis-à-vis a foreign government, and undermined the country’s diplomatic effort. In fact, they denounce the Foreign Ministry’s administrative leadership because it executed the self-evident tasks assigned to it. The issue of the delimitation of the country’s maritime zones is extremely technical and complex, but also of vital importance for it to be addressed so light-heartedly.

This document has nothing to do with the process of exploratory talks. The document, as the article’s writers are in a position to know, resulted from a relevant request by the administrative leadership submitted via official correspondence and communicated to a series of recipients, in view of the examination of certain technical and legal parameters relating to the continental shelf, in order to formulate adequately the Greek answer to unfounded Turkish claims following our protests about the violation of the Greek continental shelf.

This document reflects the legal assessment of the D1 Directorate within the framework of its duties and was taken into consideration in the formulation of the Greek answer. The writers’ conclusion that this document was drafted in order to answer questions raised in the course of Greek-Turkish exploratory talks is therefore inaccurate, arbitrary and misleading and so is the insinuation that the administrative leadership wanted unofficial answers and not a detailed and founded answer in writing. Similarly, claims regarding “criminal negligence” on the part of Greece are void of substance and are aimed at creating impressions. Elementary legal knowledge, but also remarks in the same document which were concealed by the writers, refute these claims.

The theory of a “secret diplomacy” which is usually based on superficial knowledge and oversimplifications exclusively serves the perpetuation of a phobic perception of the country’s external relations. But Greece has strong positions based on international law. The Foreign Ministry handles national matters solely aiming at safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity and our country’s rights, as set out by international law. It conducts its foreign policy with self-confidence and an open manner within the framework of our country’s firm positions, and also with new ideas that create better conditions for the promotion of our interests.

As always, the Foreign Minister will give a detailed briefing to the Hellenic Parliament’s competent Committee and the National Council on Foreign Policy about all the issues relating to EU enlargement and Greece’s relevant ideas, but also Greek-Turkish relations.”