HomeGreeceMinister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ speech at the Plenary Session of...

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ speech at the Plenary Session of the Hellenic Parliament (15.09.2022)

Consequently, as regards issues having a national dimension, it is prudent not to level unfounded accusations.
For a great many years, Greek foreign policy has put a lot of effort so that NATO focuses on this framework of principles and values, which I believe has been largely accomplished with the Strategic Concept adopted in Madrid a few months ago.
So, I am particularly proud that on behalf of the Government, together with the Alternate Minister, Mr. Varvitsiotis, we are proposing today the ratification of the protocols of Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to NATO.
I’d also like to remind the Parliament of the anniversary of the passing of a Minister, a Minister of Foreign Affairs who contributed greatly to our country.
1. One-session debate and vote in principle, by articles and as a whole of the draft law: “Ratification of the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the accession of the Republic of Finland”.
2. One-session debate and vote in principle, by articles and as a whole of the draft law: “Ratification of the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the accession of the Kingdom of Sweden”.

Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. I have chosen to speak after the rapporteurs rather than at the end of the debate, as is customary, since the Alternate Minister, Mr. Varvitsiotis, will conclude at the end.
Two countries, partners, and friends in the European family, whose presence will strengthen the Alliance in two ways. On the one hand, their advanced military capabilities will contribute to strengthening the operational capabilities of the North Atlantic Alliance, which is of great importance at the present juncture.
We are, I recall, perhaps one of the last countries to believe that there’s still hope for Turkey to reverse course and turn towards the European edifice, leaving revisionism aside. And I believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates by its failure exactly how outdated revisionism is.
Ladies and gentlemen MPs, I’ve told you on several occasions that I am personally, but I believe we are all, very proud of the European edifice, an edifice which, despite having seventy years behind it, despite being at the beginning of its course, with many years if not centuries ahead of it, has achieved something unique in the history of humanity: the creation of an area of democracy and protection of human rights that has never existed in the history of the planet.
Therefore, if you carefully read the trilateral memorandum that Sweden and Finland signed with Turkey, you will notice -allow me to read it- that it clearly refers to extradition, concluding with the phrase ‘in accordance with the European Convention on Extradition”.
So, if you look at the pipelines, the floating facilities as they are designed and the country’s overall served planning, I believe you have to give credit.
Turkish public opinion, ladies and gentlemen MPs, does not appear to “buy” the anti-Hellenic delirium that currently pervades the Turkish political system.
But I’d like to emphasize something else, perhaps even more important, for the Hellenic Republic and, I believe, for Greek society, as well: they will increase the number of countries within the North Atlantic Alliance that subscribe to a shared framework of principles and values as these principles and values are represented in the European edifice.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ speech at the Plenary Session of the Hellenic Parliament (15.09.2022)Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ speech at the Hellenic Parliament on:

Thus, we must not state things that are far from reality, because no country of the European Union can deviate from the common European acquis, which is our shared heritage of human rights protection. We, Greeks have every reason to be proud of this European acquis, because it includes UNCLOS, the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea, which we all know constitutes the Holy Gospel of our foreign policy.
Furthermore, I’d like to speak in defense of the representatives of the two allies from today-onwards, and already friends and partners, Sweden and Finland, who do not have a voice in this debate over the issue of extradition.
I believe that all three of them made an outstanding contribution to the field of culture. There is a lot I could say about each of them individually. But I don’t think that anything I could say would do them justice.
We are particularly pleased because the overwhelming majority of the political parties representing Greek society are in favor, each on their own grounds.
And that’s a shame, because, – I conclude with one last anniversary- the Day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14 th, is considered to be the day of the founding of the Filiki Etairia in Odessa. It is an element that, through the presence of the poet Pushkin, creates a link between Greece and the vast Russian cultural tradition; a tradition that we neither ignore nor erase and which, through its poets and its classic authors whose work we will continue to read and love, is part of the vast European culture.
We, therefore, hope that Russia will realize the dead-end of this path, even for its own society and its own people. It will reverse course and return to a mindset of living in security and peace with Europe.
I’d also like to answer a couple of things that have been said in the hall. The first one concerns the issues raised by the Representative of the President of PASOK-KINAL regarding the country’s energy planning on the one hand, and the fact that the country had not foreseen the Turkish-Libyan ‘memorandum’ on the other.
And since I am here to speak on behalf of the present government, the Mitsotakis government, I’d like to point out a simple fact: the choice of Alexandroupoli in the 2019 agreement with the United States. Because Alexandroupoli constitutes an energy, strategic and commercial hub.
I would like to state and have it recorded in the minutes that first of all our partners and friends had been informed so as to prevent it from being a possibility; at the time I had met with the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Moavero Milanesi; he was the first European Minister I met.
We, Greeks believe that NATO should highlight its value framework. Ιt is precisely through this value framework that the unlawful conduct and the questioning of the sovereignty of the territorial space of an ally and a friendly country will be considered incompatible with the Alliance’s principles. And it is through this set of values, that the gap in Article 5 of the Treaty, which does not provide for the confrontation of a threat when it comes from a member country, will be covered.
It clearly states that even if “forced”, Finland and Sweden will always abide by the European Convention on Extradition.Thank you very much.And this day is significant because the Hellenic Republic, with the overwhelming support from the majority of parties and Members of Parliament, welcomes Finland and Sweden to the NATO alliance.Greece did everything in its power. What Greece has paid, but let us not blame it on the current government, is its absence from Libya for years, its absence from Syria for years, its limited presence in the Arab world for years, as well as its absence from Africa for years, to name a few.The phrase used by the Representative of the President of PASOK-KINAL was stronger than ‘had not foreseen’, so I chose not to use it.However, I would like to begin by making mention of the three important people of culture that our country has lost, Dimitris Pandermalis, Irene Papas, and Kostas Kazakos.I would then like to welcome the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden and the Chargé d’ Affaires of the Republic of Finland to the plenary session of the Hellenic Parliament on behalf of the government. Their presence in the Plenary session on this important day fills us with great pleasure.But to a large extent, these have been addressed by this government as evidenced by the framework of agreements and alliances in place.In conclusion, I’d like to say one more thing. I’d like to tell you about something else that makes me happy today. You are all aware that a survey of Turkish public opinion has been published. When I mentioned Alexandroupoli as one of the advantages of the agreement with the United States signed with Mike Pompeo at the beginning of the autumn of 2019, I was at best met with raised eyebrows.Life eventually demonstrated in a short period of time what a huge success this choice was. And, as we all know, Alexandroupoli is NATO’s main port of support for Ukraine. The distance to Odessa is shorter than the distance through the Straits and when compared to the geographical distances from the other options, you can see how much of a difference it makes.On the same issue, I also met with French Minister Le Drian. I still recall his reaction when I first showed him the map of the Turkish-Libyan ‘memorandum’; he looked at it and said: “ah, exotique”, pointing out the legal absurdum of this situation.Regarding the “memorandum”, to which specifically I want to refer, a lot of things occurred but the government was not unaware of it as a possibility.If I recall correctly, it was stated in the hall, that Sweden and Finland were forced to sign an agreement with Turkey to extradite Turkish persecuted individuals.Additionally, I had a meeting in New York with the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya, Mr. Siala, who assured me unequivocally that Libya would never sign such a document.The fact that the Russian invasion occurred when it did, does not mean that it invalidates the effort that has provided our country with capabilities that other countries do not have.I’m talking about Giannos Kranidiotis. It is appropriate to remember his contribution every year on the anniversary of his passing in the line of duty.As far as energy planning is concerned, I believe Greece can be blamed for many things, but not for failing to plan ahead.I thought it would be appropriate to say a few words in the middle of the debate and before the Parliamentary Representatives take the floor.
But I am particularly pleased because Turkish public opinion does not ‘buy’ this narrative, but instead expresses the view that these two societies can live together in the future and create a unified understanding.    
I regret that I cannot speak only for the Turkish leadership, because the Turkish opposition says things that are worse than the unacceptable things said by the Turkish leadership.


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