HomeGreeceMinister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statements following his meeting with US...

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statements following his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Athens 21.02.2023)

And how do you see this opportunity to strengthen and improve relations between Türkiye and Greece through the assistance you are providing to Türkiye?  Are there concrete steps that each country could take to help pave the way to smooth the relations?As I already stated, for us in Greece the issue is simple. It is a matter of International Law. Our foreign policy is based on International Law. If we were to take any different stance, it would be as if we were “shooting at” the same narrative that we support.
But I reiterate: Greece is not asking for anything in return from the Turkish side for the aid it is providing to the victims of the earthquakes.Thank you very much.It was the first visit by a European Minister of Foreign Affairs to the affected areas and yesterday I had the opportunity to brief the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, asking for assistance for the victims of the earthquakes. Another issue we touched upon today was energy, in particular, the steps that need to be taken to decouple from Russian fossil fuels.Today we had the opportunity to discuss with Tony Blinken our cooperation within international organizations and multilateral schemes, such as the cooperation within the  “3+1” scheme, and the prospect of enhancing it even further.We will do everything we can, within our means, to assist the country that was attacked.The Hellenic Parliament ratified the accession of Sweden and Finland, our two partners in the European Union, to NATO within a short period of time. JOURNALIST: Good afternoon. I have a question for both Ministers regarding Libya: The situation in the country remains unchanged, certain forces are acting militarily and diplomatically, so that they are actually working to the detriment of any stabilisation effort that is being made in that country and to the detriment of holding elections.Dear Tony, dear Secretary of State, your visit today follows the Greek Prime Minister’s visit to Washington in May 2022. It is tangible evidence of the momentum of our relations with the United States: a strategic relationship that has reached its peak so far.I emphasised the role that Greece can play as an energy hub from the South to the North.  The floating LNG storage facilities in Alexandroupolis, Revithoussa, the Greece-Bulgaria pipeline, are some of the projects that will significantly enhance this role.The United States and we, Greece fought side by side on the great historical challenges of the 20th century:  World War I, World War II, and Korea.In which area do you plan to continue providing support, particularly in the areas of greatest need? Artillery? Air defense? Greece also faces an illegal Turkish-Libyan agreement illegal in terms of the International Law of the Sea, an agreement which essentially divides the Eastern Mediterranean. Do you see developments in the next period and in what direction would these developments be?We also held constructive discussions on the overall framework of our bilateral relations. The Strategic Dialogue covers seven important areas.It is our obligation to our fellow human beings who are suffering to assist them, and we will continue to do so.We also agreed with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs that we should not wait for disasters to occur in order to normalise our relations.Aside from that, as regards the efforts made by many parts, including the US to find a mechanism to lead the country to elections, Greece is ready to contribute in any way it can.JOURNALIST: Minister, Greece has provided military equipment to Ukraine while receiving from the US some updated equipment to replenish its own stocks. Our neighbour, Türkiye, but also Syria, were severely hit by the recent earthquakes. I witnessed the extent of the unprecedented disaster during my visit to Antakya, a week ago, accompanied by my friend, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu.I reiterate on every occasion, that Greek foreign policy is based on full adherence to the rules of International Law and the International Law of the Sea. It is based on respect for the principles of the UN Charter, the protection of human rights, and the condemnation of the use or threat of use of force.When authoritarian regimes attempted to impose their will through the use or threat of use of force. Regrettably, today, even in the 21st century, we are witnessing similar attitudes.As regards the case of Russian invasion in Ukraine, it is one of black and white. There is an attacker and a defender. There is an aggressor and a victim.Regarding the issue of Greek-Turkish relations, allow me to tell you that we do not relate the assistance that we have provided and will continue providing to the victims of the earthquake, to the Turkish people, to the Syrian people, with our broader foreign policy.Regarding Greece’s assistance to Ukraine, I have to tell you that for Greek foreign policy this is an easy choice because our foreign policy is a choice to support the rules of International Law.Greece, after all, was the first country to send special rescue units to Türkiye, and Greek society has collected – and continues to collect – tons of humanitarian supplies, which are being delivered to the Turkish and Syrian people.Similarly, sanctions packages against Russia are being passed with absolute unanimity.N. DENDIAS: Look, our position – and I believe the US position as well, but Mr. Blinken is here to express that- is that the Turkish-Libyan “memorandum” does not add any positive element. On the contrary, it is absolutely illegal and, consequently, absolutely null and void. If now, through the contact between the two societies, the climate of our relations improves, this, of course, always has political consequences – and you are well aware of it.I believe that this Russian working assumption has in no way proved to be accurate. On the contrary, the European Union has adopted a new unifying narrative and the EU’s support for Ukraine is constant, continuous, and growing.Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statements following his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Athens 21.02.2023)N. DENDIAS: Dear Secretary of State, I’d like to welcome you to Athens for the second time today. Ladies and gentlemen, my US counterpart and I have just launched the 4th round of the Greece-United States Strategic Dialogue.I informed dear Tony about my visits to the Western Balkans and the efforts that Greece is making to avoid a new crisis in our region. I also briefed him on developments in the Aegean and the South-Eastern Mediterranean.Their signing demonstrates that in an ever-changing geopolitical environment, Greece is recognized as a pillar of stability and security.Relations with a definite perspective. The solid basis of our bilateral relations is our shared principles and values: freedom, democracy, human rights, our commitment to International Law, and the principles of the United Nations Charter.We also welcome US support for the Greece-Egypt electrical interconnection. This interconnection will enable the transfer of clean energy to the European Union.Concluding I’d like to say that today was another important day for Greek-US relations.  My dear Tony, I’d like to thank you warmly and wish you a good day in the birthplace of democracy.That is our overall position.  Greek foreign policy, therefore, is on the side of the victim, on the side of the one who was attacked, in violation of every provision of International Law.Thank you.It is a ‘stand -alone’ obligation of ours to help our fellow Turks and Syrians.A bleak example of this is the Russian invasion of Ukraine.N. DENDIAS: Thank you for the question. You know, when Russia attacked Ukraine, I believe one of the key working assumptions made by the Russian side was that Europe would not remain united, that the European Union would be divided either due to the state of energy blackmail or due to a different approach to Ukraine.The upward momentum of our strategic bilateral relationship was sealed by our countries’ two defense Agreements, both of which I had the honor to sign.JOURNALIST: Minister, thanks so much for hosting us in your beautiful and sunny capital. “Western unity” has remained strong behind Ukraine. What is the appetite in Europe and Greece for supporting a war that extends for another year? At what point will Greece and other countries in southern Europe push hard for negotiations?From the very first moment, we offered assistance to Ukraine, we immediately aligned ourselves with the resolutions and sanctions against Russia, within the European Union and the United Nations.But also, the dynamic presence of the Greek Diaspora in the United States. The US Ambassador to Greece, Mr. Tsunis, is a shining example of the Greek Diaspora’s achievements.N. DENDIAS: You asked me two questions. The first one has to do with the weapons systems that Greece could provide to further assist Ukraine. And the second question you asked me has to do with improving Greek-Turkish relations.We also discussed cooperation in the areas of renewable energy and investment. The United States of America is our biggest partner, apart from the European Union, in trade,  investment, and tourism.Therefore, what I have to say is that the European Union is a proud area of human rights, principles, and values and will remain firm in its position of support for Ukraine.Today, however, we also had the opportunity to discuss developments in the wider region. We agreed on the importance of keeping the Euro-Atlantic path of the Western Balkans alive.


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