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Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias following the Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Greece, Israel and United Arab Emirates (Paphos, 16.04.2021).
«My dear Colleagues,
I am really very happy to be here today for our first quadrilateral meeting. As I have repeatedly stated, it was and it is always a joy for me to be in Cyprus. And of course, the greatest of pleasure to meet and exchange views with close friends and trusted partners, such as Cyprus, Israel and the UAE.
A partnership that comprises both Israel and the UAE is very important for the regional stability. We also welcome other regional initiatives undertaken with the aim of regional peace. Such as the Al-Ula Accord, as well as the Saudi initiative that aims at bringing an end to the conflict in Yemen.
But what unites us as well, is a common commitment to basic principles and values, such as promoting good neighbourly relations and the peaceful resolution of disputes on the basis of principles of international law, such as the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea.
Today we discussed the significant prospects for furthering our cooperation on a big number of areas, starting from the energy sector. In this context, we underlined the importance of the EastMed Gas Pipeline and renewable energy sources.
We also addressed how we can enhance our exchanges on issues such as digital innovation, tourism, climate, defence and addressing the pandemic. And preparing for the post-pandemic world.
As I have repeatedly said, our cooperation schemes are open to all. Provided that they share our respect for the values and the principles I just highlighted.
Today, we also had the opportunity to exchange views on areas of common concern, such as developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya, Syria and Yemen.
In this context, I had the opportunity to inform my colleagues about my recent visits to Libya over the past few days. In view of the elections that are scheduled to take place in December, one fundamental precondition is the withdrawal of all foreign forces present on the ground in Libya. A position all of us fully share and support. It was also pointed out that any arrangements that are contrary to basic principles of International Law are not valid.
I also addressed the meetings I had yesterday in Ankara. In this context, I reiterated that each side has its own views, clearly manifested during the press conference many of you may have seen. However, I would also like to underline the commitment of the Greek government, led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to seek a positive agenda in our bilateral relations with Turkey, starting with economic and trade relations. The Greek side submitted, during the Ankara meeting, a series of proposals in that regard, and so did the Turkish side. I have also extended an invitation to my Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, to visit Athens.
Greece strives to build good neighbourly relations with all the countries in the region, without exception. Our meeting today provides further impetus in this respect.
I wish to thank wholeheartedly my dear colleagues and friends for the productive discussion we had. And I particularly would like to thank my friend Nikos for his excellent hospitality, here in beautiful Paphos. Thank you, Nikos, so much for the great opportunity to be here with you today. »