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Interview of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Amanatidis, on ERT’s ‘Epta’, with journalist Valia Petouri

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Amanatidis, discussed Greek-Turkish relations, the results of yesterday’s Summit Meeting, the Novartis case, and the course of the negotiations with fYROM on ERT’s ‘Epta’, with journalist Valia Petouri.

Mr. Amanatidis called yesterday’s Summit a “positive development for Greece and Cyprus,” underscoring that “Turkey will think very carefully from here on in before proceeding to actions that violate international law, the International Law of the Sea and treaties, and before ignoring the fact that the borders of Greece and Cyprus are essentially the borders of Europe.”

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that “this was the message sent not only by Prime Minister Tsipras, but by all of the institutional leaders present at the Summit Meeting: Mr. Juncker; Mr. Tusk; the current Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov; the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Mogherini; and Ms. Merkel.”

“We had a positive development for Greece and Cyprus at the Summit Meeting, which sent the message, and we will move ahead to the next step if necessary,” Mr. Amanatidis stressed, pointing to a “resounding European message of solidarity with Greece and Cyprus.”

Regarding Turkish President Erdogan’s stance, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs argued that “there is a policy on the part of Turkey, which is unstable; that is, which can easily go from one side to the other. This points to the internal tensions and problems Turkey itself has.” Mr. Amanatidis made it clear that “Turkey has every interest in listening to the message that was sent.”

Asked to comment on the recent incidents in the Cypriot EEZ, Mr. Amanatidis highlighted that “Prime Minister Tsipras himself and the EU have drawn the line,” stressing that “Europe will not change its energy policy. Europe is seeking alternative energy supply sources for Central Europe, and the Cypriot EEZ is among these alternative energy supply sources.”

Asked about the Novartis case, he said that “as a Greek MP and as a Greek, I think the biggest scandal would be the Novartis case not to come before Parliament. The biggest scandal would be to conceal this from the Greek people, who suffered while this scandal was playing out. To me, that would be the biggest scandal,” Mr. Amanatidis said.

He also noted that “some people believe they can use even this scandal – which they know to be a scandal – to mount opposition to the government. The opposition’s internal conflicts exposed them to the Greek people. This is sad for the main opposition party.”

Mr. Amanatidis reiterated Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias’ intention to visit fYROM in early March to the Greek side’s views. “There is a draft agreement, which the fYROM leadership has been made aware of, and which is comprehensive and covers all of the pending issues,” Mr Amanatidis said. He also clarified that the draft is based on the stance that we have stated: a compound name for all uses (erga omnes), elimination of all traces of irredentism, constitutional amendments that must be made in our neighbouring country, and the development of confidence-building measures and all conditions that will produce a viable and mutually acceptable solution. And of course we have to deem that the agreement reached is in the national interest,” he concluded.

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