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Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statement to Greek journalists following his meetings in Israel and the Palestinian Territories (18.05.2021)

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statement to Greek journalists following his meetings in Israel and the Palestinian Territories (18.05.2021)“I met this morning in Jerusalem with the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos to express in the clearest terms the interest of the Greek government and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, one of the holiest foundations of Christianity.

Immediately afterwards I met with my Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, then I went to Ramallah where I met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and then I briefed the Council of Ministers of the European Union on these contacts via videoconference. Soon I am leaving for Amman to meet with my Jordanian counterpart, Mr. Safadi.

I made it clear that an immediate ceasefire is needed, as well as the protection of human rights and the safeguarding of human lives. I condemned in the clearest way the firing of thousands of rockets by Hamas against Israel. It is an action absolutely and totally condemnable. I also said that Israel, like any country in the world, has the right to self-defence. In addition, I said that an initiative should be taken for the Middle East issue. This vacuum, meaning the lack of initiatives, creates issues that confront us, human tragedies.  The solution we have to come up with is clear. It is the solution provided for by international law and the resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations: two states on the 1967 border with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.”

Journalist: Minister, after the contacts you had here, what is your assessment of the current situation in Gaza?

N. Dendias: I think the humanitarian situation in Gaza is absolutely problematic and we need to do everything we can to help. However, I have to repeat that Hamas is absolutely condemnable for firing thousands of rockets at civilians.

Journalist: Minister, what is your assessment of the role of Turkey, which acts as if it is striking a match in a powder keg?

N. Dendias: What I have to say is that inflammatory statements and unilateral positions in a particularly fragile situation, in a particularly sensitive region do not help.

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