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Statement by Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, G. Katrougalos, to foreign correspondents following the proceedings of the EU - Arab League Ministerial Meeting (Brussels, 04 February 2019)
JOURNALIST: (Question on disagreements between EU and League of Arab States)
G. KATROUGALOS: We have disagreements. I mentioned the necessity to reach a consensual statement. And I was referring exactly to the necessity for us Europeans to reconfirm our commitment to values, not just to policies. Because, some of the disagreements heard within our ranks –of the Europeans I mean-, are not just a breach of policy. We consider them to be, let’s say, a breach of values.
And, by the way, I would like to say something regarding our position on Venezuela. Because, this is another issue on which we think that the EU has to act as a global player. That means, to have an autonomous and united position, based on its own principles of democracy, rule of law and human rights.
What does that mean, regarding Venezuela? The necessity to ensure a democratic and peaceful outcome. Democratic signifies that only the people of Venezuela can have a say on their own future. Any kind of foreign interference should be excluded. This means that the only role for the international community is to intervene in order to de-escalate tensions and to ensure fair and impartial elections, which would result to making civil war impossible and to reunite a very polarized society and political system. In this framework, we acknowledge and respect the role of the National Assembly and its President in preparing the elections. But what’s essential for us is the diplomatic initiative of the European Union to establish an International Contact Group comprising European countries but also, countries like Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, which are going to mediate through political dialogue in order to ensure fair and impartial elections. We look forward to the convening of this meeting in Montevideo on Thursday and we are sure that Europe can play a constructive role, conducive to what we all want, this peaceful and democratic outcome.
Finally, I would like to commend Federica Mogherini on her role in trying to unify us, Europeans. As you know, we had a common statement by the 28 of us last week. We -as Greece- should continue to push for a united position of the European Union in conformity with our principles.
JOURNALIST: You met the Egyptian Minister in the bilateral meeting, how did it go? Do you agree at some point? Did you talk over a specific point before the summit with the Egyptian Minister?
G. KATROUGALOS: Egypt is for us a strategic partner on many issues, also issues related to energy security and diversification of resources. We had a very good discussion. We also had other meetings, including a trilateral with Cyprus and Lebanon - always in the same spirit. Greece is trying to be an exporter of stability in the area.
JOURNALIST: Tell me about the two-state solution... [inaudible]
G. KATROUGALOS: We fully support the two-state solution, exactly because we are -as Greece- always proponents of International Law and of the United Nations’ resolutions. And we think that there is no other solution for Palestine and Israel. Thank you.