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Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias’ statements to ERT, following today’s meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels, 19 March 2018)
N. KOTZIAS: Today we had a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council. We started with a morning discussion with the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs. We looked at how the situation is developing in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, as well as at the reforms the country has to carry out. We talked in detail about Syria. We assessed the involvement of the various states in Syria and the risks that exist of a general flare-up in the region. We underscored the need to support the peace process on the way to Geneva, and in particular that we shouldn’t allow third countries, such as Turkey, to violate international law against third states or try to maintain a long-term presence in these states. We had a discussion with the Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs on the issues linked to the relations between the ROK and the DPRK and the dialogue that has started now and could evolve like the Ostpolitik of the 1960s and 1970s, which brought peace to central Europe.
JOURNALIST: Minister, I want to ask about the issue of the Greek soldiers being held in Turkey. You are among the key players in the talks with the EU and Mrs. Mogherini. The question right now is whether you see there being any interest on the part of the European partners with regard to the effort to resolve this matter.
N. KOTZIAS: The European partners are showing their solidarity and support. As you know, Chancellor Merkel has already intervened with Mr. Erdogan himself. I hope and would like to believe that there will be a positive development, in the sense that Turkey will not continue to use a day-to-day incident that happened on the border between the two states as a weapon in the long term.
JOURNALIST: You are scheduled to visit Skopje in the coming days, if the reports are accurate. Will this visit also be used to deliver the Greek government’s letter with the proposed names, and, if so, whether our letter mentions ...
N. KOTZIAS: I’ll give you an exclusive. We have drawn up a text that includes all of our proposals regarding our pending problems with fYROM, as well as a future agenda for cooperation that will profit both sides. I sent this text to Skopje some days ago.