HomeGreeceWrite-up by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, in the Greek version of the...

Write-up by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, in the Greek version of the Economist magazine (an insert in the “Ta Nea” newspaper) (28. 01. 2023)

The particular Eastern Mediterranean constitutes a field where a complex network associated with bilateral and multilateral local relations is developing. Even though regional and external actors’ primary concern and demand have always been stability and the business of regional security conditions, their fulfillment is confronted with various challenges.
Although Türkiye’s presence in the Eastern Mediterranean sea security system cannot be ignored, there are issues that touch on the core of our nationwide sovereignty and, as such, are certainly not open to debate. We reject the idea that pursuing a policy using the threat of the use of drive, with the threat of battle, could constitute a powerful discussing argument.
“The bet of stability in the Far eastern Mediterranean”
For Greece, Türkiye’s organized policy of disputes plus claims to the detriment of our own country’s territorial sovereignty plus sovereign rights remains at the core of the challenges related to Greece’s position in the Eastern Mediterranean region. This policy is currently characterized by a significant qualitative differentiation.
So , are the deep waters of the Eastern Mediterranean so troubled? There are developments, however , that, in my opinion, give reason behind optimism and hope because there are many who share the particular view that the Eastern Mediterranean can become an area of cooperation and understanding.
Greece, an EU country with a pivotal role in the Eastern Mediterranean, is devoted to fostering a stable and protected environment, always in accordance with International Law. A crucial stake just for Greek foreign policy would be to demonstrate that the Eastern Mediterranean sea is not primarily a sea of disputes and confrontations. It is, first and foremost, a sea of serenity, coexistence, and cooperation. The awareness of the need to transcend dividing lines as well as the commitment in order to harmonious coexistence and constructive cooperation serve as our compass in the Eastern Mediterranean.
We are confronted with a gradual escalation associated with unprecedented revisionist rhetoric along with a constant attempt by Türkiye to reverse reality. Amongst these is Türkiye’s bottom line of illegal and null and void agreements, like the two “Memoranda” with Libya, which further complicate an already complex situation.
The Mediterranean ought to serve as a bridge associated with cooperation and mutual understanding among Europe, the Arab world, and Africa.
All of us unequivocally reject the idea that provocative rhetoric and the presentation of extreme revisionist positions could serve as a springboard for the fulfillment of any geostrategic ambition that is devoid of any kind of notion of respect pertaining to International Law.
Another dimension of the challenges concerns the improved refugee flows. In addition , the issue of harnessing the South-Eastern Mediterranean sea region’s natural resources, and turning it into an energy hub in a manner that is compatible with collective protection issues and beneficial to the economic interests of all parties involved is also at the front. Of course , special provision ought to be made for areas in the Mediterranean with threatened ecosystems or areas of outstanding natural beauty, such as the Cyclades in the Aegean Ocean, which have significant cultural value as well as a significant financial footprint due to tourism.
The United Nations Convention over the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) includes specific provisions for the protection of the environment to the high seas, which is a common good for all of us. In this regard, Portugal has undertaken to host the “Our Ocean Conference” in 2024.   This particular initiative was launched in 2014 by the then-US Secretary of State and current US Presidential Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.
In 2022, the international community was confronted with a hitherto inconceivable fact for the 21st century: a war on European soil. The particular repercussions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the Far eastern Mediterranean are affecting the ability relations being developed in the area and could destabilise fragile balances.
The Abraham Accords and the EEZ delimitation Αgreement in between Israel and Lebanon may rightly be described as ‘historic’.   The latter, in particular, forms a long-standing issue based on International Law and the Worldwide Law of the Sea. The EEZ Delimitation Αgreement among Greece and Egypt, which I had the honor in order to sign with my Silk counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, is another great example of how nations can resolve their differences peacefully, through dialogue, on the basis of International Law. Its significance lies not only in its nature as a model but also in the possibility of establishing energy interconnections between Europe and Africa, with the aim of ensuring power self-sufficiency. An important aspect of the particular Greek-Turkish confrontation is the Cyprus issue. Türkiye’s recent initiatives to upgrade the status of the pseudo-state internationally constitute a qualitative differentiation of the issue. For Greek foreign policy, the settlement from the Cyprus issue is a top priority. We support the achievement of a just and viable solution, based on the UNSC Resolutions, compatible with the European acquis, a solution for the creation of a bicommunal, bizonal federation.
In the volatile framework of the Middle East, there are significant challenges associated with the initiatives to resolve the Palestinian concern. Developments take on even greater importance following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, developments in Serbia, Türkiye’s apparent attempt to get in touch with Israel and Egypt, and Türkiye’s recent airstrikes within northern Syria and Iraq, coupled with the threat of ground attacks.
Equally significant is the EEZ Delimitation Agreement signed with Italy in 2020, which confirms our commitment to International Law and the International Law of the Sea, as well as our will to contribute to regional balance. Furthermore, we have agreed within principle with Albania to refer the issue of EEZ delimitation to the International Court associated with Justice in The Hague.


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