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Statement of Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias following his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon, Charbel Wehbe (Athens, 16 April 2021)
«My dear Minister, dear Charbel, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to Athens.
I am very pleased that we had the opportunity for a very productive exchange of views. First yesterday, when we had our trilateral meeting with our Cypriot colleague, Nikos Christodoulides, and then this morning, when we were able to continue our talks.
And I say we ‘finally’ met, because if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, our meeting would have taken place much sooner. The fact that, in spite of the difficulties created by the pandemic, we are picking up the thread of our collaboration in person, here in Athens, is indicative of our shared interest in communicating for the benefit of regional development and stability.
Moreover, the common denominator of our approach is respect for international law, promotion of good neighbourly relations and, of course, the peaceful resolution of disputes. These are fundamental rules of conduct that we hope will be followed by all of the states in our region.
And I want to underscore that it is our intention to promote a positive agenda with all of the states in our region; and this I particularly stressed yesterday during my visit to Ankara.
It is on this basis that we are developing our trilateral and multilateral cooperation schemes, which are flexible and open, and based on mutual respect and our shared values.
I sincerely hope, my dear friend, dear Charbel, that Lebanon overcomes the serious problems it is facing and that you briefed me on.
During today’s discussion, we had an extensive exchange of views on the difficult time Lebanon is going through, and in this context, I must express to you the full support of the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis for the efforts being made towards Lebanon’s recovery. I want to underscore that just as in the past, when Greece has supported Lebanon in difficult times, now again we stand with the Lebanese people and society and we are prepared to provide support in any way we can. And I would also like to add that Greek enterprises, which have a great deal of experience in the Middle East, are ready to assist in this effort.
We also talked about the promotion of Lebanon’s relations with the European Union, and I stressed how much the Greek government supports this relationship. At the recent meeting of the European Council, the Prime Minister emphasised the need for express reference to new funding for Syrian refugees, which will cover not just refugees who are in Turkey, but also those in Lebanon.
My dear colleague, we talked yesterday and today about all of the regional developments, not just in our narrow area, but also in Syria, in Libya and in the wider region.
Thank you very much for being here. I am obliged to you for coming, so that we could have the opportunity to consolidate the prospects for developing our cooperation.»