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Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcement on Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ briefing of the EU member states’ Ambassadors (18 March 2021)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias briefed EU member states’ Ambassadors on the key aspects of Greek foreign policy at the current time, through a videoconference hosted by the Portuguese Embassy in Athens, in the context of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2021. Deputy Minister for Tourism, Sofia Zacharaki also participated in the meeting.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs started by reiterating Greece’s support for the programme and priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, reminding that Europe is facing increasing challenges in its periphery, with some member states of the Union unfortunately facing serious security threats as well. In this regard, he underscored the need for commitment to the fundamental principles of International Law, which are also part of the European acquis, with disputes addressed through dialogue on the basis of the rules of International Law and in a spirit consistent with the principle of good neighbourly relations.
In this context, Mr. Dendias underlined that common goals and interests on the basis of European principles and values are a key pillar of Greek foreign policy. Referring to specific issues, he first noted that there is room for further enhancing cooperation with the USA, not only for addressing global challenges, but also in regions of direct interest, such as the Eastern Mediterranean. In this respect he highlighted the relevant U.S. support for a Southern energy route that will contribute to Europe's energy security and to consolidating cooperation, stability and prosperity in the region, which Greece systematically promotes, supporting, as the Minister reiterated, the European perspective of the Western Balkans and of Turkey, on the basis, of course, of the fulfilment of the conditions set by the EU.
Further highlighting regional cooperation, Mr. Dendias pointed out that Greece will soon assume the Chairmanship of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) for 2021-2022, and he stressed the importance Greece attaches to the multilateral cooperation schemes involving Cyprus and other countries of the Middle East and the Gulf, with the objective to promote dialogue, understanding and development. In this regard, Mr. Dendias also mentioned the Philia Forum, which convened last month in Athens for the first time, stressing, among other things, that the common point of reference for the participants is the adherence to international law.
As regards Turkey in particular, in addition to its illegal conduct towards Greece and Cyprus, the Minister pointed to its broader destabilising involvement in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Nagorno-Karabakh. Mr. Dendias highlighted that partial de-escalation on the part of Turkey allowed for the resumption of the exploratory talks, with the 62nd round held the day before yesterday in Athens, followed by renewed political consultations between high-level officials. However, there is no guarantee that Turkey will refrain from new provocations as long as it refuses to acknowledge the Law of the Sea and the threat of casus belli persists. In this context, Greece supports the EU’s two-fold approach, pursuant also to the report to be submitted by High Representative Borrell and the European Commission, with consideration, on the one hand, of a positive agenda and, on the other hand, of the prospect for imposing sanctions if Turkey continues its illegal and provocative behaviour towards two member states.