Discussing bilateral and European issues and developments in the Mediterranean
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio in Rome on January 13th, discussing bilateral and European issues, as well as developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Following their meeting Minister Dendias said: “Today we had a very interesting discussion with Luigi Di Maio. We have covered all the issues in our bilateral relations, namely the ratification of the agreement on the maritime zones with Italy, as well as economic issues and issues regarding the wider region and Turkish provocativeness. I briefed him on the resumption of the exploratory talks with Turkey on January 25th, Turkey’s general behaviour in the Eastern Mediterranean and even issues relating to Libya and the East Med. We also discussed the migration issue. I believe it is extremely useful to have a constant and sincere exchange of views with Italy. I also told him that, even though we respect their decision and stance, the Greek side would have wished for stronger Italian support on the issue of sanctions against Turkey.”
Later, Minister Dendias visited Portugal and met in Lisbon with his Portuguese counterpart Augusto Santos Silva. Talks in Lisbon between the two Foreign Ministers focused on the priorities of the Portuguese European Union Council Presidency, developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the migration crisis and the European Union enlargement process. Portugal currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the first half of 2021.
The two Ministers’ meeting was held two days after the Lisbon visit of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who met with Prime Minister Antonio Costa, noted Minister Dendias. The Greek Minister said he was briefed extensively on the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency and added that Greece “fully supports the key issues that will be addressed within this context.”
On the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Minister pointed out that “despite the relative calm in the past few weeks, the situation remains very volatile.” He further reiterated that “Greece is always ready and willing to engage in a constructive dialogue with Turkey, but of course on the basis of International Law, and in order to discuss that single issue that needs to be addressed, the delimitation of Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Additionally, he confirmed that “following an invitation by the Turkish side, it has been agreed that we are going to have the next round of the exploratory talks in Istanbul on the 25th of January.” He also cited the December 2020 European Council conclusions, which “called not just for a sustained de-escalation for the resumption of these exploratory talks, but also for a smooth continuation.” Greece, he said, “looks forward to a constructive attitude from Turkey and to the abstention from any provocation from their side.”
Finally, Minister Dendias commended Minister Silva on his country’s stance amid the migration crisis and for accepting the relocation of refugees on its territory and contributing to the protection of the European Union’s external borders through Frontex, the EU’s borders agency.