We placed a special emphasis on environmental protection and addressing climate change, which we will also discuss in the evening. But I have to publicly congratulate Egypt for the excellent organisation and the significant results of its Presidency at COP 27.We also always talk about the Greece-Egypt-Cyprus and Greece-Egypt-Cyprus-France cooperation schemes, the “3+1”. We discussed regional issues, we addressed the developments in Libya.We also discuss our cooperation in the defense field sector and within the framework of international organisations. I would also like to thank you publicly for supporting Greece’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2025-2026 term. On our right and on our left stand the banners of the candidacy. In addition, we have also agreed to mutually support our candidacies for the Human Rights Council, in 2026-2028 for Egypt and 2028-2030 for Greece respectively.And I would like to say that a meeting on Syria will be held on Friday, April 21, for the first time in Greece, with the participation of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Pedersen, with whom you spoke just yesterday, and with all the envoys of the European Union Member States for Syria in attendance.My dear Sameh, I would like to wish Egypt every success in its presidency of the Gas Forum.Egypt is one of the main factors of stability and security for our entire region, the Eastern Mediterranean region, but I would like to say not only for it.We wish to see the situation in Libya normalised as soon as possible with the ultimate goal of holding fair and democratic elections.Strategic relations, which in the last four years have reached their highest level historically, starting in 2020, when the two of us together had the honour of signing the Agreement on the Delimitation of Exclusive Economic Zones, in Cairo. An agreement that fully respects the International Law and the International Law of the Sea. At the same time, we move forward methodically and effectively in defending our interests. In defending our sovereignty, and our sovereign rights.We are always aware of the difficulties in our bilateral relations with Turkey. We hope to maintain the calm climate. We hope that this calm atmosphere, which followed my visit, will serve as a starting point for a sincere dialogue to discuss our dispute with Turkey, namely the delimitation of the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone on the basis of the United Nations Charter, good neighbourly relations, respect for the rules of International Law, respect for the rules of the Law of the Sea.First of all, I would like to start with our trade, the increase of which reflects our excellent bilateral relations. The volume of trade exceeded €2 billion, making Egypt one of our most important trading partners. But we agreed that there is a lot of room to go even further, through new investments, through synergies. We discussed the situation in the Middle East, the need for de-escalation and close attention, particularly during this period of religious holidays, and the importance of Greece and Egypt in this regard.I also had the opportunity to thank the Minister, my friend Sameh, for Egypt’s constant support to the Republic of Cyprus. First of all, I would like to wish Ramadan Kareem. It is a great pleasure to welcome you once again today in Athens, a few months since our last meeting in Cairo, at a time when the balances in the region are fragile.Once again thank you very much for your presence.My dear friend Sameh, thank you very much for your presence here in Athens today. I wish of course it would be longer, but I hope you will come again soon and with Suzy, your wife. I am confident that Greece and Egypt will continue to work closely together in the framework of our excellent strategic bilateral relations, in order to promote the peace, security, and prosperity of our peoples and the entire region.After all, this is the same basis on which we discussed and reached agreements with Egypt, Italy, Albania. Greece is always looking for ways of honest and sincere cooperation with Turkey. However, in light of the Minister’s visit to Ankara in two days, I would like to say that it is understandable in the run-up to the elections to attempt to include critical foreign policy issues in public debate, under the pressure of electoral needs.But in this period of fragile balances, relations between Greece and Egypt remain stable and strengthening.We will collaborate to ensure that there is continuity during the UAE presidency at COP28 in Dubai.In recent years, ladies and gentlemen, Greek foreign policy has been taking initiatives and our international role is slowly turning from that of an observer to that of an honest broker.In general, Greece has been actively involved in recent years in efforts to resolve issues that threaten peace and stability in our region, from the Western Balkans to the African continent and the Middle East. My dear Sameh,Relations between the European Union and Egypt are also a topic that we will cover at the working dinner. But we welcome the adoption, as of now, of the new priorities of the European Union-Egypt Partnership 2021-27.We discussed the approach on a number of issues, earlier in the context of our regular consultations, and we will, of course, continue at the working dinner later this evening, because there is so much that we have to say. And the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding in Cairo in June 2022 between the European Union and Egypt and the European Union and Israel proves the significance of the Eastern Mediterranean as an alternative energy route.The energy sector is an area of close cooperation, and I would like to emphasize the strategic importance of the Greece-Egypt electricity interconnection project. Another area, another framework of excellent cooperation between Egypt and Greece, is the East Mediterranean Gas Forum.Greece, as we have repeatedly stated, aspires to be an energy hub for our wider region and we want to create green corridors to connect the North with the South. To connect Europe’s electricity systems with North Africa and the Middle East in this manner.N. DENDIAS: Honourable Minister, And, as a Greek and a European, I would like to thank Egypt for its significant contribution to addressing irregular migration.But, as I have repeatedly stated, we both have to protect the climate that has been created. This is the only way that we will be able to take advantage of any scope for understanding following the elections, and I do not believe it is useful to include the subject of Greek-Turkish relations in the election period, which is taking place in both countries at the same time.We remain in contact with all sides, and I would like to congratulate you, Minister, for the initiatives you have taken in this direction. I would like to specifically mention the initiative last month in Sharm El Sheikh, which we also discussed privately.And it is the country, the great country, with which we are linked by historical ties. The close and constant cooperation between Athens and Cairo produces many positive results for avoiding tensions, for avoiding crises in our region. And the very frequent exchanges of visits by the two countries’ senior officials demonstrate the excellent level of our bilateral relations.Greece, as a member state of the European Union, has participated and contributed by supporting the value of highlighting Egypt’s strategic role in the wider region.Also, in the context of our joint actions for the protection of the environment, I would like to inform you again about the organization by Greece of the “Our Ocean Conference 2024” and of course I would like to ask you, kindly ask you, for Egypt’s active participation in it. It is absolutely certain that Egypt’s role is particularly important for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea.I also briefed my counterpart on the latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations, on the climate following the devastating earthquakes and after my visit to Antakya. I would like to say that our choice is an attitude of solidarity towards a neighbouring country, towards a society that has suffered an unimaginable catastrophe and I would like to make it clear, once again, that Greece will continue to support the Turkish society and does not in any way make this attitude dependent on any geopolitical quid pro quo.We strongly support the efforts of the President of the Republic of Cyprus, our common friend, Nikos Christodoulides, to resume negotiations in order to lead to a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue, a solution of a bicommunal, bizonal federation compatible with the European acquis, a solution based on the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.And I would like to make it clear once again that we are positive about other countries’ participation in the Forum, but with one basic, and obvious, I believe, condition: respect for International Law, and the International Law of the Sea.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias´ statements following his meeting with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Soukry (Athens 11.04.20232)