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Statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, following his meeting with his Italian counterpart, Enzo Moavero Milanesi (Athens, 8 August 2019)
It was a great pleasure to welcome my colleague the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the friendly country of Italy, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today.
This is already our second meeting within a month, following the Foreign Affairs Council, and, as you can see, this is indicative of the excellent relations between Greece and Italy.
Both countries belong to the hard core of the European Union. We share a common cultural past. We have the same values. Our peoples have been close for thousands of years and still maintain very friendly relations.
Today we exchanged views on a wide range of bilateral and European issues.
We talked about the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the situation being created by the flagrant violation of the sovereign rights and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
I had the opportunity to thank the Minister for the position he has taken on the issue and his frank expression of his thoughts before the Council of Ministers; his defence of European values and European solidarity.
My friend the Minister and I talked about a number of energy issues. We talked about the upcoming completion of the TAP, as well as the matter of the other pipeline, the East Med, which, as you know, is planned to terminate in Italy, and regarding which Greece would like to see the relevant agreement signed as soon as possible. Moreover, we had similar conversations during the visit to Israel and during the visit, together with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to Cyprus.
Regarding European issues, we talked about the latest developments in the European Union and the landscape that is taking shape, the risks the Union is facing due to Brexit, and of course, we discussed the migration issue: how we can shape a common position, how we can treat not only the symptoms, but mainly the causes driving people to migrate from their homelands. We talked about how the European Union can help these countries, these communities, through investments, so that these people aren’t forced to migrate.
We exchanged views on the broader situation in the Mediterranean – on Libya. We also talked about our closer cooperation in a number of fora that have to do with Central Europe, with the situation in the Western Balkans, and with the accession prospects of the Western Balkan countries.
In closing, I would like to say that I am happy the Minister is visiting Athens. We talked about how these visits can be brought under the umbrella of institutionalised and regular contact between the two countries’ Ministers and Ministries of Foreign Affairs.
My dear colleague, thank you very much for being here today.