The Minister of Foreign Affairs clarified that the difference between Greece and Turkey concerns the delimitation of maritime zones and emphasized that all issues of national sovereignty are excluded from any dialogue
His sadness over the tragic accident that led to the death of five members of the Greek humanitarian mission in Libya was expressed by the Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis during an event organized by Greek-American organizations in New York. The Minister of Foreign Affairs invited those present to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the victims.
Mr. Gerapetritis began his speech by referring to the recent fires and floods that affected our country. As he noted, “the footprint of natural disasters on property, infrastructure and the environment only strengthens our resolve to rapidly rebuild affected areas, identify the best methods of prevention and intensify global efforts to address the root causes of climate crisis, which is very evident in the Mediterranean”.
During his speech, the Greek minister referred to the multi-level upgrading of Athens’ relations with Washington, at the same time thanking the Greek-American community for the dedication it has shown in strengthening these relations. Regarding Greece’s relationship with the diaspora, Mr. Gerapetritis referred to the progress being made in the digitization of consular services to serve Greeks abroad.
Regarding Turkey, the Foreign Minister presented the road map that will determine the next steps in the coming months with the aim of consolidating a positive climate between the two sides. However, it was particularly clear that dialogue with Turkey can only be based on full respect for International Law, including the Law of the Sea and treaties establishing state sovereignty, borders and territorial integrity.
As he explained, Greece’s position is that dialogue on the strict basis of International Law is the only way to resolve disputes. In this light, Mr. Gerapetritis clarified that the difference between Greece and Turkey concerns the delimitation of maritime zones and emphasized that all issues of national sovereignty are excluded from any dialogue.
The Contribution of Ethnicity to Greek-American Relations
“Our Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis asked me to convey to you a message of gratitude for your contribution to the forging of Greek-American relations, which have reached the highest point in history. And that is due in no small part to you.
This was clearly seen and consolidated by the historic visit of Prime Minister Mitsotakis to the USA for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution. And of course with his speech at the joint session of Congress, something that was done for the first time by a Greek prime minister.
This impressive celebration of Greece was primarily a way for the American leadership to honor the Greek-American community, recognizing your immense contribution to American society, your critical role in building the United States, and your steadfast commitment to Greek-American relations.
Your dedication to strengthening our bilateral relationship has paid off. Greek-American cooperation today is at an exceptional level and its scope is wider than ever.”
Dialogue with Turkey on the Basis of the Law of the Sea
“First of all, it is true that we are now in a period of calm in the wider Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean region, particularly after the devastating earthquakes in Turkey last February.
We had a recent meeting in Ankara with my Turkish counterpart and we agreed on a road map for the coming months.
We will create a new relationship based on three specific pillars. The first pillar is the political dialogue, which will be led by Deputy Minister Alexandra Papadopoulou.
A second pillar will be the positive agenda that will have positive measures for both countries, led by Deputy Minister Costas Fragogianni.
And the third pillar will be confidence building measures.
This road map includes meetings for all three pillars in October and November and by the end of the year we expect to have the high level cooperation council between the two governments in order to sign a set of agreements.
As you probably know, the two delegations will meet on Wednesday here in New York to further strengthen this partnership and the two leaders will agree on how to move forward with the next steps.
I must emphasize that a constructive dialogue with Turkey can only be based on full respect for International Law, including the Law of the Sea and the treaties that establish the sovereignty of states, their borders and territorial integrity.”
Geopolitical Role of Greece
“In a world of rapid and radical change, Greece has proven to be an ally of the United States, a valuable player in the Eastern Mediterranean region, and a hub of great potential for economic growth.
Our united front against the Russian invasion of Ukraine stems from our shared long-standing values of democracy and respect for the rule of law and International Law.
Standing with the US against revisionism around the world, Greece has proven to be a reliable US ally and has elevated the importance of the Eastern Mediterranean to US interests.”
Energy in the Eastern Mediterranean
“Among these areas, let me particularly emphasize energy cooperation, which has become more important in light of the events in Ukraine. And I strongly believe that the US and Europe must now work together to gradually eliminate dependence on Russian hydrocarbons. From this point of view, the Eastern Mediterranean presents many opportunities.”
The Significance of the 3+1 Scheme
“Energy is one of the sectors – and the most important so far – of our tripartite cooperation with Cyprus and Israel. The importance of this cooperation between the three like-minded countries of the Eastern Mediterranean has been recognized by the USA which has joined the 3+1 scheme (Greece, Israel, Cyprus + USA)”.
Cyprus: First Priority of Greek Foreign Policy
“I want to be completely honest in relation to Cyprus, which is our first priority in terms of foreign policy and diplomacy. We are fully aligned (with the Cypriot government) in promoting the idea of a united Cyprus based on the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. We fully adhere to the idea of a single state based on a bizonal federation. There is no way to discuss the idea of a two-state solution. This is not something we will discuss.” t
Message to Albania on the Freddy Belleri Case
“As you probably know, Greece has been a pioneer in promoting EU enlargement to the Western Balkans. It was in Thessaloniki in 2003 when we decided that the future of the Western Balkan states belongs to the EU. And we really had the opportunity to repeat that statement in Athens last month, when the Prime Minister invited all the leaders of the Western Balkans, as well as the from Ukraine and Moldova, to exactly repeat the idea that the Western Balkans should be in the European family.
Obviously, when it comes to the accession process, there are specific conditions and milestones that all states must meet, and the most important of these is obviously respect for International Law, the rule of law and the basic principles of democracy.
And in this respect I would like to emphasize again that our neighboring state, Albania, is rather opposed to the idea of the rule of law and respect for civil rights, illegally detaining Fredi Belleri, the elected mayor of Himarra, and effectively forbidding him to to swear This is what the people of Heimarra decided and unfortunately the Albanian authorities refuse to allow Beleri to be in his position (as mayor). This is not something you would expect from a country that is a candidate for EU membership.”
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