Friday , February 26 2021

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - FEBRUARY 2021

‘Focus on Business in UGANDA’ – 25th February 2021

    PROGRAMME ‘Focus on Business in UGANDA’ 25 February 2021 15:00- 16:30 (Greece), 16:00 -17:30 (Uganda) Moderator: Mr. Andreas Diamanteas, FINARTIX Fintech Solutions S.A., Member of B.o.D. of Hellenic-African Chamber of Commerce & Development Welcome Remarks Dr. Sotiris Mousouris President of Hellenic-African Chamber of Commerce & Development (HACCD) Dr. …

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e-exports academy by Enterprise Greece – February 24th 2021

  Enterprise Greece, the national extroversion body for export promotion and attracting investment, as part of its strategy to use digital tools to boost exports, is launching a new training programme aimed at opening up international markets for Greek businesses through e-commerce. Leveraging its strategic partnership with eBay, a leading …

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Save the Date | TIF Helexpo | 14th-16th October 2021

  BEYOND 4.0 Save the Date | 14-16 October | TIF Helexpo Beyond 4.0 is designed to address today’s needs and become the melting pot of the world’s brightest minds, talents and products. It is an “innovation powerhouse”, providing a platform for participants to empower their identity in a constantly …

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Online event – EU & UK trade & cooperation agreement – 18th February 2021

  INVITATION   The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with Enterprise Greece , the Hellenic-British Chamber of Commerce, the Panhellenic Association of Exporters and SEVE – Exporters Association have the honor to invite you to an online event on: “TRADE AND COOPERATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN EU OF THE UNITED KINGDOM – INFORMATION OF HELLENIC COMPANIES FOR THE MAIN CHANGES …

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SAVE THE DATE: Saudi – Greek e-Business Gathering – 3rd March 2021

    The relations between Greece and Saudi Arabia have proven, over the years, to be exemplary in every way. Given the current regional and international geopolitical developments, these relations will gather momentum in terms of strengthening and expanding trade relations and investment flows between the two countries. We therefore invite the members and …

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Doing business in Brazil – 23rd February 2021

    The Agency supports the Greek companies to export their products and services to foreign markets! Join our WEBINAR: Doing business in Brazil- COVID19 Challenges & Opportunities on 23 February, 2021 | 16:00 Greece, 11:00São Paulo to discover another attractive market. Register here. Final agenda available here

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Podcast: Sexual Harassment: An “invisible” issue

    Sexual Harassment: An “invisible” issue Publication Date February 12, 2021 In our latest podcast, Dr Ilia Theotoka, Clinical psychologist – Psychotherapist at Aeginiteio hospital, and Matta Samiou, Head of Gender Equality at Actionaid, talk to our Head of Communications, Odin Linardatou, about sexual harassment and violence, the fear …

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Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

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Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

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Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - DECEMBER 2020

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

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Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

Read More »

Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

Read More »

Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

    The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries. His Highness …

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EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

    Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, …

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Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - NOVEMBER 2020

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

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Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

Read More »

Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

Read More »

Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

    The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries. His Highness …

Read More »

EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

    Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, …

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Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - OCTOBER 2020

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

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Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

Read More »

Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

Read More »

Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

    The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries. His Highness …

Read More »

EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

    Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, …

Read More »

Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

Read More »

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - SEPTEMBER 2020

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

Read More »

Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

Read More »

Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

Read More »

Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

    The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries. His Highness …

Read More »

EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

    Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, …

Read More »

Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

Read More »

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - APRIL-MAY 2020

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

Read More »

Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

Read More »

Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

Read More »

Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

    The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries. His Highness …

Read More »

EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

    Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, …

Read More »

Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

Read More »

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - MARCH 2020

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the Foreign Ministry on January 14th. Talks focused on bilateral political and economic relations, including cooperation on responding to the pandemic, and on regional issues, with emphasis on the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

Following their talks, the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed three Memoranda of Cooperation; more specifically, in the field of Diplomatic Training, in the field of Civil Protection, as well as between Enterprise Greece and Invest North Macedonia.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Northern Macedonia concluded his visit to Athens by meeting with the State and political leadership of Greece. He was first received by the President of the Republic, Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, discussing the progress of bilateral relations in the era of the Prespes Agreement, the situation in the region and the European perspective of North Macedonia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with President Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou.

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

 

Minister Osmani was then received by his Greek counterpart. In joint statements following the signing of the three agreements, Minister Dendias noted that “we cannot allow the creation of a stability gap in the Western Balkans,” while warning that the gap could be easily filled by other non-European forces that pursue revisionism.

Greece has historically and actively supported the Western Balkan countries and their accession prospects, he noted, “though always on the basis of the conditionalities, meritocracy and methodology of the EU.” “We firmly believe that this is the only path for peace and stability in the region. Europe has an obligation to keep European enlargement on the table,” Minister Dendias added.

The Foreign Minister also said that Greece is ready to provide technical assistance and to support the efforts of the Western Balkans for EU accession but noted that “we must have a fully consistent and good faith implementation of the Prespes Agreement in order to have progress.” “Two years after the Prespes Agreement came into force, we acknowledge that there has been a very great effort for its implementation. But, of course, greater progress is required,” he said.

This included efforts to consistently implement the use of the agreed name and terms by all public and private entities, including websites, and eradicate the problems of ancient symbols and the Vergina Sun from public spaces and for public uses, he noted. ”What is absolutely clear in the Prespes Agreement is clarity on what happened in antiquity,” Minister Dendias said, pointing out that it was clear and has been accepted by North Macedonia that it was not part of the military campaign of Alexander the Great, nor took part in its major battles and other historic moments.

Minister Dendias also highlighted the fact that Greece can be North Macedonia’s greatest ally and friend, as the country’s stability and prosperity was also in its own interests, while Greece has welcomed North Macedonia as an ally in NATO and patrols its skies. He also thanked the neighbouring country for aligning itself with the common EU position on Turkey, saying that this was noted and appreciated by Greece.

Referring to the three memoranda of understanding signed, he said these have taken bilateral relations one step further. “We must further encourage trade and investments… as these can create new jobs and prosperity in both countries, but also the surrounding region,” he said.

He noted that Greece has made a great effort to provide support in terms of supplying North Macedonia with vaccines against Covid within an EU framework, pledging to continue this effort.

North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister thanked Greece for its support of his country’s EU accession prospects and the start of accession negotiations, saying it was the basis of a long friendship between the two countries and that Greece and North Macedonia are “strategic partners and with the commitment to implement the Prespes Agreement, we will continue to develop and strengthen this strategic partnership relationship.” He said the intention of the two countries was to progress further than good neighbourly relations in order to build a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support.”

Minister Osmani said that the pandemic had shown the importance of cooperation between countries in civil protection, especially when these countries had shared borders, while he also highlighted the various infrastructure projects that spanned the borders of the two countries, such as the interconnector pipeline for natural gas, improvements to road and rail networks and North Macedonia’s aim to participate in the FSRU in Alexandroupolis and open up a new border crossing.

“I expect that in the coming months, as the restrictive measures for the pandemic are eased, we will have an increase in cooperation between us and also the implementation of the activities outlined in the action plan of the Prespes Agreement,” he added. He called for more bilateral meetings and agreements on all levels, as well as more activities outlined in the action plan that will create greater trust between the two countries, emphasising the importance of a “lasting friendship” between them.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also met with North Macedonia’s visiting Foreign Affairs Minister Bujar Osmani and discussed the development of economic cooperation and connectivity between the two countries.

During the meeting in the Maximos Mansion, they also discussed North Macedonia’s prospects for EU accession, Government sources said. Premier Mitsotakis reiterated that the provisions of the Prespes Agreement must be implemented fully, consistently and in good faith.

The meeting was also attended by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Extroversion Kostas Fragogiannis.

(Photographs by T.Bolari, Y.Panagopoulos & H.Akriviadis/Eurokinissi)

Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

 

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio in Rome

 

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.”

Minister Dendias meets with his Portuguese counterpart Augusto Santos Silva in Lisbon.

 

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.

(Photos: H.Akriviadis/MoFA)

Interview with H.E. the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, Kyriakos Kenevezos

 

 

“We envision a free and reunited Cyprus, a common homeland of Greek-Cypriots, Turkish-Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins (Roman Catholics), a model of peaceful coexistence and prosperity of all its citizens and a pillar of stability, peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

 

GDL: In the 60 years since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, its foreign policy has evolved significantly, in a process that can be described as transitioning from introversion to extroversion. Can you elaborate on these priorities?

KK: It was never a matter of extroversion or introversion. We always wanted to be a State useful to the rest of the nations; our neighbours, not only those within the European family, but also third countries. The small size, of course, has its own significance in terms of influence, but it has never acted as a deterrent to our actions and synergies within the EU, but much more in the sensitive area where we are.

The Republic of Cyprus is only 60 years old, yet it has a strong presence with acts and actions that have always been aimed at defending basic principles that all States and people should serve. Peace, solidarity, security, democracy. There are many who believe that we invoke these principles because we are young, this is not true. We serve these principles out of conviction, not out of necessity.

In these 60 years, we have unfortunately been called upon and face great difficulties and tragedies, with the harsher reality that of the occupation of 37% of our country by Turkey as a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974. It was and is our responsibility; our first concern is to get rid of the occupation, the redress of injustice, wound healing.

And on this occasion I would like to remind you that the Turkish invasion was not an afternoon walk. It left thousands dead, refugees, rapes, pain, plus everything that has followed to this day, such as settlement and the violation of every principle and every Rule of Law.

However, yes we stood on our feet. We did not kneel. We are an EU Member State with particular commitment to its principles. We develop activities and collaborations in the region through bilateral, tripartite and quadrilateral talks. We are and we want to be useful, where possible. At the same time, we understand that we are not the only ones facing problems and we respect all those who are exposed for any reason, important or insignificant.

GDL: The Cypriot Foreign Ministry, in addition to traditional foreign policy tools, has also embarked on elaborating strategic plan and utilising “soft power” foreign policy tools. Can you tell us more on which sectors you are focused upon?

KK: When everything around us changes and the evidence, requirements and steps become more and more revised, we have a responsibility to keep pace with the changes without altering our basic principles and policies. And we surely do. These include cultural diplomacy, gender mainstreaming, as well as economic diplomacy on which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has undertaken a leading role in defining an Economic Diplomacy Strategy for Cyprus for the period 2021-2031, aiming to effectively use its diplomatic network in reinforcing Cyprus’ position in the global market.

The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Athens is a tangible example of the complex activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus. Referring to:

Firstly: The Cyprus House, the Cultural and Educational Centre of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Greece, is a department of the Cultural Services of the Cyprus Ministry Education and Culture and since 1987 has emerged as a powerful soft power tool for Cyprus. For 30 years now, through a wide range of initiatives, synergies, programmes and events, it highlights the historical and cultural identity of Cyprus, cultivating and strengthening the close relations and meaningful dialogue between the intellectuals and creators of Cyprus and Greece.

Secondly: The Cyprus Embassy Trade Centre Athens was founded in 1983 by the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry of Cyprus to highlight and promote Cyprus products and services in the Greek market. The Cyprus Embassy Trade Centre in Athens is also responsible for the countries of Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania and Montenegro.

Thirdly: The Maritime Section operates under the Shipping Deputy Ministry.  Its mission is to safeguard and further develop Cyprus shipping as a safe, socially responsible and sustainable industry, for the enhancement of the national economy and the creation of new jobs, specialisation and expertise in the sector. Our Maritime Office is responsible for the implementation of policy and more specifically, among its other activities, to cooperate and provide services to companies and organisations based in Greece.

GDL: An important component of Cyprus’ agenda is the creation of mini-multilateral structures in the region, the Eastern Mediterranean, in some cases together with Greece, working to foster a network of trilateral cooperation initiatives. What is the purpose of such schemes?

KK: As I mentioned before, a key axis of our foreign policy is the composition and cooperation aimed at shaping conditions of peace, prosperity and stability in the region. We did it with great devotion and the utmost respect for our interlocutors. Those who assumed that the goal of these schemes was only economic gain through the use of energy sources were refuted by the developments.

These partnerships include all the pillars of interest of the States that make them up. Energy issues may have been the reason, but as things turned out, collaborations were based on multi-layered and solid foundations.

“I will repeat what we have been proclaiming for 46 years. Our homeland is under occupation, we are experiencing the consequences of the occupation and we, most of all, want a solution.

Of course, the passage of time adds difficulties and problems to the essence of the Cyprus issues, but it is not possible to use this as an argument to violate the principles of law and reach a bad, unsustainable and non-functional solution to the Cyprus problem.”

GDL: How is it that Turkey feels intimidated and not inclusive in these schemes? What do you answer to them?

KK: You can comprehend that your question concerns a country which illegally occupies 37% of the territory of my homeland. However, despite the on-going occupation, despite the consequences of the invasion that still weighs on our Cyprus, despite the uncompromising attitude of Turkey in the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue for 46 years, not only did we not exclude Turkey from the groups, but instead called upon them to become part of them.

Turkey has chosen the path of isolation. Turkey chooses the route of unilateral illegal actions, turning its back in a provocative way on the prospect for dialogue on the basis of International Law and the principles of good neighbourly relations.

GDL: The Cyprus issue has deep historical roots and various internal and international dimensions. However, since the illegal Turkish invasion (July-August 1974) and the occupation of some 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, it is first and foremost an international problem of invasion and occupation in direct violation of the UN Charter and a plethora of UN Resolutions.

However some circles insist that there are new realities on the Cyprus’ problem. What is your response to this statement?

KK: I will repeat what we have been proclaiming for 46 years. Our homeland is under occupation, we are experiencing the consequences of the occupation and we, most of all, want a solution. Of course, the passage of time adds difficulties and problems to the essence of the Cyprus issues, but it is not possible to use this as an argument to violate the principles of law and reach a bad, unsustainable and non-functional solution to the Cyprus problem.

The solution to the Cyprus Question is sought through peace talks held under the auspices of the United Nations as part of the UN Secretary General’s good offices mission. The aim is to reach a comprehensive and lasting solution in accordance with the Charter and the relevant Resolutions of the United Nations, which will lead to the transformation of the unitary State into a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single sovereignty, single citizenship and single international personality, with political equality as set out in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

GDL: Which are the latest developments on the Cyprus Issue and what is the prospect for the resumption of meaningful negotiations for a comprehensive settlement in line with UN Security Council Resolutions, International and EU Laws?

KK: We are facing the formation of the conditions for a new effort. The less we say at this stage, the better for everyone. The important thing is that from our side we want and are ready to enter into talks. We have repeatedly stated the basis and framework that should govern this new effort. We have confidence in the Secretary General of the United Nations. He knows first-hand the declared intention and good will of our side. We all hope that they will convince Turkey to do the same. Our readiness is a given.

“Cyprus’s accession to the EU in 2004, possibly the most pivotal moment in Cyprus’s modern history and certainly one of its greatest diplomatic successes, has meant that the solution of the Cyprus Problem is inextricably linked to the EU and by extension to EU law, values and principles…

The EU’s expressed commitment to continue participating and supporting negotiations under the UN auspices is of utmost importance in this regard.”

GDL: How important is the active involvement of the EU in the negotiating process?

KK: Cyprus’s accession to the EU in 2004, possibly the most pivotal moment in Cyprus’s modern history and certainly one of its greatest diplomatic successes, has meant that the solution of the Cyprus Problem is inextricably linked to the EU and by extension to EU law, values and principles. Cyprus is and will remain a Member State of the Union following reunification.

Fully cognisant of the fact that the potential of the country can only be fully reached if the country is reunified, all efforts are exerted to support the efforts of the UNSG for the resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, in a bi-zonal bi-communal federation, fully in line with United Nations Security Council Resolutions, in line with International Law and European Law. The EU’s expressed commitment to continue participating and supporting the negotiations under the UN auspices is of utmost importance in this regard.

H.E. the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, Kyriakos Kenevezos

 

GDL: Greece’s position is the full withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces and the termination of the anachronistic system of guarantees of 1960, which are an integral part of an agreed, viable and comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem.

Do you anticipate an agreed solution should restore international legality, which is blatantly violated by the Turkish invasion and on-going occupation of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, a sovereign and independent State that is a Member of the UN and the EU?

KK: The solution must provide for the complete withdrawal of all foreign troops, the abolition of the anachronistic guarantee system, the withdrawal of the settlers and the guarantee of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots. It must further guarantee the unity of the State, institutions, society and the economy and must be in line with the European acquis and fully respect the principles on which the European Union is based.

We envision a free and reunited Cyprus, a common homeland of Greek-Cypriots, Turkish-Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins (Roman Catholics), a model of peaceful coexistence and prosperity of all its citizens and a pillar of stability, peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

Interview by Nicolas Boutsicos
Editor, Greek Diplomatic Life

Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

 

Addressing the press, Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, and her Greek counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.

 

The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft

 

On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. This important visit culminated in the signing of an Agreement for the Procurement of the ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft – a contract to buy 18 Rafale fighter aircraft after Greek Parliamentarians approved the €2.5 billion ($3.04 billion) deal earlier this month.

The agreement calls for 12 second-hand aircraft, which will be taken out of the French Air Force inventory, and six new ones. The contract includes the aircraft’s weapons. A second contract was signed for the logistical support of the aircraft. Six of the second-hand aircraft will be delivered at a rate of one a month starting this July, with the six new aircraft delivered in spring 2022 and the last six used aircraft delivered in early 2023. The logistical support contract will support the Greek Rafales for four and a half years, “maintaining the availability of equipment and systems at the highest level,” according to a Dassault Aviation statement.

Minister Parly, accompanied by French Ambassador Patrick Maisonnave, meets with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

 

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Minister Parly remarked how pleased she was that Greece had made a “resolutely European choice” by opting for the French-made aircraft, thus becoming Dassault’s first European export customer. The visiting French officials further stressed the special partnership between France and Greece, with Minister Parly adding “the quality of the cooperation between France and Greece is particularly visible in the Mediterranean,” where both countries have undertaken bilateral and multilateral exercises over the past few months. “This cooperation…. is essential to ensure the security of the European continent, to ensure that the law and the freedom to circulate are respected,” she added.

According to Greek media reports the French Defence Minister was also expected to discuss the sale of Belharra frigates, made by France’s Naval Group, as the export version of the FDI medium-sized frigates built for the French Navy.

From left: MoD Director General of Armaments and Investments Theodoros Lagios and Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation Eric Trappier sign the agreement in the presence of the two Defence Ministers.

 

Following the agreement, which the Greek Minister said was completed in record time, both Ministers spoke of the strategic nature of Greek-French relations and referred to the role of deterrence that the aircraft will play in the Hellenic Air Force. “The advanced electronic systems… of the jets, in tandem with their weapons of strategic nature, make them a significant factor of supremacy in the air,” Minister Panagiotopoulos said. “The agreement confirms a long-standing tradition of excellent collaboration between our countries on a bilateral level, as well as at the level of regional and international organisations.”

During their meeting, Premier Mitsotakis noted that Greece’s defence protection “never served as a threat to another country,” adding that the purchase of the jets was “a sign of the need for direct and closer military cooperation at European level in the Mediterranean, or in our ‘mare nostrum’, as President Macron aptly calls it, as it is the place where the vital interests of all EU countries intersect.” The Rafale purchase he noted reflects Greece’s national strategy, which includes defence as a so-called twin pillar of Greek foreign policy. The Premier also referred to France’s historical support to Greece dating as far back as the Greek Revolution for Independence, which is celebrating its 200th Anniversary this year.

(Photos: MoD & T.Bolari, Y.Panagopoulos/Eurokinissi.)

Interview with H.E. the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ismail Khairat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout its long history, Egypt has always been a strong supporter of Africa’s just causes.

Egyptian foreign policy – especially after the 1952 Revolution – mobilised all its resources to support liberation movements all over Africa, in an effort which has been successfully culminated with the founding of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in 1963, with Egypt as a Founding Member…

 

GDL: Egypt’s reintegration into the African fold reinstates its historic role as a leader in addressing the continent’s manifold challenges in realms such as peace and security, conflict resolution, development assistance and technical expertise. Is Egypt kick-starting its political centre of gravity and priorities to more clearly reflect on both its Arab origins and African roots? Can you elaborate on such initiatives?

IK: Throughout its long history, Egypt has always been a strong supporter of Africa’s just causes. Egyptian foreign policy – especially after the 1952 revolution – mobilised all its resources to support liberation movements all over Africa, in an effort which has been successfully culminated with the founding of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in 1963, with Egypt as a Founding Member.

In 1994, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry established the Cairo Regional Centre for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA), which later became the Cairo International Centre for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, an Egyptian public agency specialised in training, capacity building and research in the fields of peace and security in Africa and the Middle East.

Egyptian-African relations got a huge boost with the election of Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to the Egyptian Presidency in 2014, who championed African integration initiatives and aimed at reconnecting Egypt with its African roots. In 2014, the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) was established by the Egyptian President as the main South-South Cooperation institution in Egypt aiming at placing the country’s comparative advantages and technical expertise into play for the benefit of the African continent. EAPD aims to support African cadres through training courses in partnership with Egyptian Centres of Excellence, by responding to the emergency needs of African countries through the provision of aid and humanitarian assistance, contributing to the transfer of knowledge and the sharing of experiences with African countries by dispatching experts and technicians and advance trade between Egyptian and African countries to improve the economic condition and livelihood of people across Africa.

Furthermore, in 2019, President Al Sisi assumed the Chairmanship of the African Union (AU) with a multitude of priorities as AU Chair, among which are:

  1. Realising the African Continental Free Trade Area as an accelerator of continental integration;
  2. Focusing on infrastructure as a basis for supporting the regional integration process; and
  3. Post-conflict reconstruction and development within the peace and security arena as an effective tool to improve resilience in countries emerging from conflict.

In addition, Egypt sought to increase the efficiency and the methods of work of the Union to further reinforce the reform process. Additionally, one of the most important objectives of the Egyptian Chairmanship of the AU was to make 2019 ‘The Year of Africa in Egypt’ and ‘The Year of Egypt in the AU’ in a manner that solidifies Egypt’s contribution to the AU agenda of continental integration.

During Egypt’s Chairmanship, the African Union witnessed the historic announcement of the entry into force of the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), convening of the first edition of the mid-year coordination meeting between the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the AU to create a sustainable and productive relationship between the AU and the regional arrangements in favour of implementing Agenda 2063 and hosted in November 2019 the PIDA (Programme for Infrastructure Development) Week, which discussed in detail the criteria for selecting the list of projects that will be implemented within the framework of the second phase of the AU Infrastructure Programme (2021-2030).

Furthermore, Egypt finalised, in coordination with the AU Commission, the proposed structure of the AU Centre for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development which will be hosted in Cairo, as well as launched the inaugural ‘Aswan Forum for Peace and Development’ as a platform for strengthening peacebuilding and development efforts in the continent.

In 2020, Egypt has been expanding its efforts to assist its neighbouring African countries in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other infectious diseases, sending medical aid and supplies to more than 30 African States throughout 2020 in addition to continue implementing the Presidential initiative to treat 1 million Africans suffering from Hepatitis C.

“The Egyptian State has adopted numerous reforms on many levels and in many sectors since 2014, especially in the security, political and economic sectors.”

GDL: Does Egypt stand ready to partner with the international community in this endeavour for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement and a long-term just and viable solution on the Palestinian Issue?

IK: Egypt always supports all efforts to revitalise the peace process and the negotiations for the Palestinian conflict. The Egyptian leadership has expressed its will to continue exerting efforts to restore to the Palestinian people their legitimate rights and to establish their independent State according to the international legitimacy references.

Egypt also highlighted the importance of uniting Arab and international efforts to move effectively during the upcoming period to reactivate the mechanisms involved in the peace negotiations between the two parties and bypass any challenges, in parallel with the efforts of the Palestinian national reconciliation track and building confidence.

GDL: Egypt is a great country with big challenges. How feasible is it for Egypt to make substantial gains in diverse goals such as security, political stability and economic progress? What concerted efforts are required and what sectoral reforms are needed to succeed on all three fronts?

IK: Indeed, the Egyptian State has adopted numerous reforms on many levels and in many sectors since 2014, especially in the security, political and economic sectors. The Egyptian Government is working in a comprehensive approach to enhance these three pillars which are all related to achieving substantial gains and strengthen the social and living standards of our people.

As a result, the indicators of the Egyptian economy over the past period have shown remarkable progress and many positive figures in light of the efforts made by the State represented by the Government in cooperation with the private sector and various companies and investors from inside and outside Egypt in various sectors to achieve the desired economic and social development.

“Terrorism in all its forms is an affront to humanity and the right to life…

Egypt firmly believes that the eradication of terrorism is crucial for regional stability. Defeating terrorism requires addressing the root causes of this transboundary threat through a holistic approach, as well regional and international cooperation. This approach should include not only security measures but also social, economic, educational and cultural components.”

GDL: How should Egypt shape its regional environment to allow its democracy to mature free from the scourge of extremism and the menacing sectarianism which threaten the regional fabric, the danger of terrorism and the chronic instability that stems from the Middle East’s perennial conflicts?

IK: Egypt firmly believes that the eradication of terrorism is crucial for regional stability. Defeating terrorism requires addressing the root causes of this transboundary threat through a holistic approach, as well regional and international cooperation. This approach should include not only security measures but also social, economic, educational and cultural components. Egypt is committed while combating terrorism to ensuring full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Preserving the foundations of the nation State and its institutions is a prerequisite for the success of counter terrorism efforts. Egypt’s foreign policy and its approach to regional conflicts place high importance on the centrality of national institutions in combating terrorism and extremism.

It is important to also underscore in this regard that all terrorist groups must be combated on equal footing and to avoid making any distinctions among them. Terrorism in all its forms is an affront to humanity and the right to life. Therefore, Egypt places combating terrorism among its foreign policy priorities. Within this context, Egypt supports the international efforts to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq, in particular through its participation in the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS.

Moreover, Egypt is among the founders of the Global Forum Against Terrorism and is co-chairing its working group on Capacity Building in East Africa for Countering Terrorism. Furthermore, Egypt undertakes a pivotal role in countering terrorism within the African Union, OIC and the League of Arab States.

Within its policies to eradicate terrorism, Egypt calls for the prevention of the flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF’s) from Syria to other regions, in particular Libya. In this regard, Egypt calls on the international community, including the Security Council, to hold the countries which facilitate the movement of the FTF’s to Libya accountable and to push them to respect their obligations in pursuance to the relevant Security Council Resolutions, in particular Resolution 2396.

We are also particularly concerned with the growing terrorist threats in Africa. In this regard, our cooperation with our African brethren in different areas of countering terrorism was significantly bolstered through capacity building programmes and sharing best practices. Cairo will soon host a specialised counter-terrorism Centre for CEN-SAD countries.

“Egypt and Greece, by virtue of their great civilisations, geographical location, longstanding historical and the strong cultural ties, have constituted an ideal example for inter-state relations.

These common factors and mutual interests that Egypt and Greece share have made the two friendly countries an important bridge of interaction and dialogue between the Arab and Islamic worlds on one side and the European continent on the other.”

GDL: During the recent State Visit of His Excellency President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Al Sisi to Athens it was noted that the common values, mutual interests and close cultural ties between Egypt and Greece make both countries an important bridge of meeting, dialogue and cooperation between the Arab and Islamic worlds on the one hand and the European continent on the other.

How do you foresee the future relations of both countries and in which areas should they reinforce their efforts?

IK: His Excellency President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s visit to Athens took place at a time of significant importance where fruitful talks were held between both sides in an atmosphere of understanding and which addressed bilateral, regional and international issues of common concern.

In addition, the Presidential Visit followed three important milestones in the Egyptian-Greek relations namely; the partial agreement on the delimitation of maritime zones between the two countries, the East Mediterranean Gas Forum Agreement and the 8th Trilateral Summit between Egypt-Cyprus-Greece which was hosted by Nicosia.

Egypt and Greece, by virtue of their great civilisations, geographical location, longstanding historical and the strong cultural ties, have constituted an ideal example for inter-state relations. These common factors and mutual interests that Egypt and Greece share have made the two friendly countries an important bridge of interaction and dialogue between the Arab and Islamic worlds on one side and the European continent on the other. Therefore, such factors enable future collaboration between our two friendly countries and people in all fields including economic cooperation and enhancing future investments.

H.E. the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ismail Khairat

GDL: The signing of the EEZ partial delimitation agreement and its entry into force is a milestone for the relations between Egypt and Greece, as well as for the wider region. As President Al Sisi said, Egypt stands by Greece and in support of its rights on any issue related to its security and maritime borders.

What is the pace of consultations so that this agreement can be extended soon?

IK: One of the most prominent bilateral files discussed during the last period was the delimitation of the maritime zones between the two countries, as the Egyptian and Greek sides signed a partial agreement on the delimitation of the maritime zones between them on August 6th 2020 during the visit of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to Cairo at that time.

After 13 rounds of bilateral negotiations between the two countries over a span of 15 years and in accordance with the principles and provisions of International Law and the 1982 United Nations convention, the Egyptian and Greek Parliaments have also completed the procedures for ratifying the agreement and jointly submitting its registration at the UN.

Additionally, the importance of concluding the agreement is that it provides both countries with the opportunity to start allowing different companies to explore and search for natural gas and in order to maximise the benefits from those resources and enhance the interests of the Egyptian and Greek people.

“Egypt and Greece face common security challenges that threaten the stability of the region and the importance of security and military cooperation is intelligible.”

GDL: The recent meeting of the Heads of MoDs in Cairo highlighted the firm relations of both countries and the keenness of the Armed Forces’ Command to enhance bilateral cooperation and partnership in security and military fields.

In which areas should both sides further strengthen their military cooperation? Both countries agree that global terrorism has nothing to do with religion and have rejected any insult to any religion. How can both countries further promote this important message?

IK: Egypt and Greece face common security challenges that threaten the stability of the region and the importance of security and military cooperation is intelligible.

Thus, both sides are keen on enhancing and developing cooperation in the aforementioned areas to ensure the strengthening of the two countries’ capabilities to deal with any security risks, including the efforts of combatting terrorism and its extremist elements and organisations.

“On the bilateral level between Egypt and Greece, we are aiming at strengthening cooperation relations in trade, investment and economic fields and means of advancing the tripartite cooperation mechanism projects with Cyprus, as well as the possibility of cooperation with Greece in investment projects in the African continent.”

GDL: Taking to account that Egypt and Greece are partners with mutual export relations and common strategic goals, what joint initiatives should be undertaken in order to be even more attractive for investment destinations?

IK: The confidence of foreign investors and the Egyptian diaspora has increased in the investment environment in Egypt during the past years as a direct result of the reforms made by the Egyptian Government in this regard.

It has also been indicated in the statistics published by the IMF and international institutions, as well as the various local institutions, which indicate that the Egyptian economy achieved growth rates of 5.6% during the fiscal year 2018/2019 with a decline in inflation and unemployment rates. The IMF has also indicated that the stability of the local currency exchange value in the markets has been recorded in line with the increase of remittances from Egyptians abroad in 2019 reaching nearly 26.6 billion euros, while the value of foreign direct investments in the country increased by 16% during the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

On the bilateral level between Egypt and Greece, we are aiming at strengthening cooperation relations in trade, investment and economic fields and means of advancing the tripartite cooperation mechanism projects with Cyprus, as well as the possibility of cooperation with Greece in investment projects in the African continent.

Both sides have proposed forming a working group and focal points from both sides to develop cooperation and communication plans with business representatives, the public and private sector, as well as companies interested in implementing those plans in various fields, the most prominent of which are the food industries, information technology, tourism, agriculture sectors and cooperation between ports.

“With regard to the issue of energy cooperation, Egypt launched an initiative to establish the Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Forum in October 2018. The founding countries have recently agreed to transform it into a regional organisation that would be the basis for transforming the Eastern Mediterranean region into an energy Centre…

…the organisation has received requests from different countries to join its membership, either permanently or as observers.”

GDL: Egypt makes important investments directly including improvements to its power and gas infrastructure. What is the strategic plan of the Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Forum?

IK: With regard to the issue of energy cooperation, Egypt launched an initiative to establish the Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Forum in October 2018. The founding countries have recently agreed to transform it into a regional organisation that would be the basis for transforming the Eastern Mediterranean region into an energy Centre.

Greece has strongly contributed to overcoming the controversial issues of the founding Charter of the forum, being among the first countries of the founders of the forum to sign the transfer of the forum to a regional organisation.

More recently, the organisation has received requests from different countries to join its membership, either permanently or as observers.

 

Interview by Nicolas Boutsicos
Editor, Greek Diplomatic Life

Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

 

 

The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

During the meeting, which took place at the Al Shati Palace in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed welcomed Premier Mitsotakis and his delegation, with both sides discussing the significant relations between the UAE and Greece and ways of developing and consolidating their joint interests in all areas, in addition to several regional and international issues of mutual concern.

They also highlighted multiple areas of cooperation between the UAE and Greece and promising development opportunities, most notably in the areas of investment, commerce, politics, culture and defence. Thereafter, they discussed the coronavirus pandemic and the efforts of the international community to contain its humanitarian and economic repercussions.

 

 

His Highness Sheikh bin Zayed and Prime Minister Mitsotakis were said to have exchanged opinions on regional and international issues that concern both countries, most notably the developments in the East Mediterranean.

Both sides affirmed the distinguished relations between their countries, which are based on a strong political will, and their ongoing cooperation while agreeing on many topics relating to finding peaceful resolutions to the conflicts and crises witnessed by the region, and driving their diplomatic efforts to achieve the aspirations of their peoples for peace, prosperity and development, as well as for security and stability in the region and the rest of the world.

Sheikh bin Zayed stated that promoting dialogue, peaceful actions, respect for the sovereignty of countries and not interfering in their internal affairs is the correct way to resolve disputes in the region, noting that the UAE is always working to establish peace.

The UAE is closely monitoring the developments in the East Mediterranean, given its importance to regional and international stability and peace, he added, stressing that terrorism is the most serious threat to international peace and development, and noting that the UAE is supporting tolerance and coexistence and denouncing the exploitation of religious slogans to promote hate speech.

Prime Minister Mitsotakis lauded the bilateral relations between the two countries and their overall cooperation while highlighting the keenness of Greece to enhance its coordination with the UAE and praising the UAE’s role in supporting Greece’s healthcare sectors in combatting the coronavirus pandemic.

He further praised the initiatives launched by the UAE to instill values of peaceful co-existence and tolerance among peoples, particularly during times of crises.

 

Agreements on strategic partnership & cooperation signed in the UAE

“This visit to the United Arab Emirates and the signing of the relevant agreements constitute the upgrading of the relationship between Greece and the United Arab Emirates at a strategic level,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis upon his departure from the United Arab Emirates.

“Greece and the United Arab Emirates are now forming the framework of a strategic alliance that extends not only to the areas of economic cooperation, but also to the areas of cooperation in defence and foreign policy,” he said.

“Prospects for the further deepening of relations between the two countries are many and important. There is now a clear ‘roadmap’ for how relations between the two countries can become even closer. Our two countries are facing the challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean through the same perspective. They remain committed to the peaceful settlement of disputes and respect for International Law.”

“I would also like to emphasise that this visit to the United Arab Emirates is another step within the context of the active foreign policy that our country has been developing in the last year; an active foreign policy that has made our country a force for stability, security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

The strengthening and upgrading of bilateral relations at a strategic level was sealed by the meeting of the Greek Prime Minister with the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates. In line with political and defence cooperation, the two leaders expressed a strong desire to strengthen the economic relations between the two countries.

At the same time, the upgrading and deepening of the relations between Greece and the UAE gives a new perspective to the strengthening of the regional multilateral cooperation schemes that move in the same strategic axis, guided by the consolidation of a climate of stability and peace in the wider region.

During the meeting, an in-depth review of the rapid progress made in recent months in bilateral relations and across the spectrum of bilateral cooperation was discussed, as well as the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region with an emphasis on Turkey’s destabilising behaviour.

The most important aspects of the strategic cooperation between Greece and the United Arab Emirates were also discussed, which was sealed through the Joint Declaration of the two Governments, as well as with the Foreign Minister’s, Nikos Dendias, signing of the Joint Declaration of Strategic Partnership between Greece and the UAE, but also the Bilateral Agreement in the fields of foreign policy and defence.

The signing of the agreements demonstrates the positions of both sides in the face of the common challenges that the two countries are encountering at a regional level and upgrades the relations between the two countries at a strategic level in all areas of mutual interest.

The cooperation agreement in the fields of foreign policy and defence provides, inter alia, for the creation of a High Level Committee, which will oversee the implementation and strengthening of defence cooperation on the basis of the military cooperation agreement of 2007.

Through the very significant upgrade of bilateral relations, multilateral cooperation schemes are being strengthened which are moving in the same strategic direction, with the aim of consolidating a climate of stability and peace in the wider region.

Greece systematically builds and strengthens international and regional alliances, while increasing its diplomatic capital by participating in the new security edifice in the region.

Other important fields of cooperation with great prospects are the economic and investment fields, as companies from the UAE are already active in Greece. The UAE is also the most important investor in Greece from the Gulf countries, while areas of mutual interest for economic cooperation are agriculture, livestock, aquaculture, tourism, energy, transport infrastructure.

 

 

Accompanying the Greek Premier was Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, with responsibility for Economic Diplomacy and Extroversion, Konstantinos Frangogiannis, Head of the Diplomatic Office of the Prime Minister, Ambassador Eleni Sourani and the Ambassador of Greece to the United Arab Emirates, Dionysios Zois.

 

(Photos: D.Papamitsos/Offfice to the PM.)

4th Tripartite Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Cyprus & Jordan

 

A model of constructive regional cooperation

 

“It was emphasised that the countries of the wider region should not
necessarily rely on third parties to settle the various issues in the region,
but rather should launch joint initiatives in order to convey
a clear message to promote peace and stability.”

 

Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias attended the 4th meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the tripartite cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Jordan held in Amman on December 8th. The fact that the three Ministers were standing there, side by side, in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, says a lot about the importance the three countries attach to their cooperation.

The meeting explored the trilateral political and economic cooperation, as well as regional developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya and Syria. Turkey’s behaviour was also discussed, as the Greek Foreign Minister highlighted its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, making special reference to the casus belli, while his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, referred to the provocations within the Cypriot EEZ and Varosha.

Minister Dendias said that Turkey is engaging in propaganda and spreading fake news and continues to consider Greece’s right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles as a cause of war.  Moreover, he said that the Erdogan-led Turkey insists on “weaponising” illegal migration and acting as a “jihadist travel agency” from Libya to the Caucasus.

Referring to the tripartite cooperation, Minister Dendias said that all three countries have done a lot of groundwork in order to prepare for their leaders’ meeting in Greece in the first half of 2021. “It will be a great honour and Prime Minister Mitsotakis is looking forward to organising a Summit in Athens. And I think with that meeting we can go even more forward,” the Minister added.

In a joint press statement following the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Jordan Ayman Safadi reaffirmed the importance of the meeting, saying that due to the geographical and cultural proximity between the countries, coordination concerned with regional developments serves as a common interest and a necessity.

Minister Safadi noted the efforts in resolving regional conflicts and ensuring safety in the region based on the concept of non-intervention, respect toward others’ legitimate interests and establishing peace and stability in accordance with International Law. The meeting also focused on Jordan’s central cause, the Palestinian issue, and the efforts exerted in resuming “serious and effective” negotiations to materialise the two-State solution, leading to the establishment of the independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian State, living in peace with Israel, on the June 4th 1967, lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with International Law and the Arab Peace Initiative.

With regard to the Syrian and Libyan crises, the Ministers agreed on the urgency of arriving at a solution, which guarantees the States’ unity and independence, ridding the countries of foreign intervention and the danger of terrorism. They reaffirmed that terrorism is a common enemy that bears no affiliation with Islam and the values of peace, tolerance and mutual love and respect for the other, warning against falling for the terrorist’s trap of portraying the war on terrorism as that between the Islamic world and the West.

Concerning the Iraqi status quo, Minster Safadi emphasised the importance of protecting the country from the repercussions of regional conflicts, adding that the Iraqi Government must be supported on its journey of rebuilding, securing stability, regaining sovereignty.

The Cypriot Foreign Minister said that the European Union regards Jordan as “a beacon of peace”, praising the Jordanian-Cypriot relations and saying that he was convinced “that the establishment of a Permanent Secretariat for our trilateral cooperation mechanism, in Nicosia, at the beginning of the year, will act as catalyst in the implementation of our decisions and the enhancement of regional cooperation”.

Minister Dendias concluded that this tripartite cooperation “does not target others,” but is rather open to everyone enjoying the willingness to achieve peace and stability.

 

 

Pictured above: Addressing the press in Amman after convening their 4th tripartite meeting, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

 

 

Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα
του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής

Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, στη μείωση των εκπομπών ρύπων.

Τα πλεονεκτήματα που απορρέουν από τη χρήση φυσικού αερίου, δεσμεύεται να φέρει πιο κοντά σε περισσότερους καταναλωτές της μεγαλύτερης περιφέρειας της χώρας, η ΕΔΑ Αττικής, ως ο αποκλειστικός διαχειριστής του δικτύου φυσικού αερίου της Αττικής. Προς αυτή την κατεύθυνση, η Εταιρεία εκσυγχρονίζει και επεκτείνει διαρκώς το δίκτυο διανομής φυσικού αερίου. Μάλιστα, προχωρώντας με επιδόσεις ρεκόρ σε ό,τι αφορά στην κατασκευή δικτύου, με στόχο τα 150 χλμ. εντός του 2020, η Εταιρεία δίνει προτεραιότητα στην επέκτασή του σε δήμους της Αττικής με χαμηλή διείσδυση φυσικού αερίου. Κατ’ αυτόν τον τρόπο, παρέχει τη δυνατότητα σε δεκάδες χιλιάδες νοικοκυριά και επιχειρήσεις να απεγκλωβιστούν από την ενεργειακή απομόνωση και να επωφεληθούν από τα αναρίθμητα οφέλη του εν λόγω καυσίμου.

Με ένα νέο αναπτυξιακό πρόγραμμα για τα έτη 2021-2025, η ΕΔΑ Αττικής σκοπεύει να πετύχει τη διασύνδεση χιλιάδων επιπλέον καταναλωτών στο δίκτυο φυσικού αερίου, προκειμένου να τους παρέχει τη δυνατότητα πρόσβασης σε πλεονεκτήματα που σχετίζονται με τη μείωση του ενεργειακού κόστους, την ευκολία χρήσης, την ενίσχυση της ασφάλειας και τη μείωση του περιβαλλοντικού αποτυπώματος νοικοκυριών και επιχειρήσεων.

Πιο συγκεκριμένα, το φυσικό αέριο αποτελεί διαχρονικά την πιο οικονομική επιλογή και την καλύτερη ενεργειακή επένδυση σε βάθος χρόνου, για οικιακή και επαγγελματική χρήση, προσφέροντας ανταγωνιστικά τιμολόγια ως προς άλλες συμβατικές μορφές ενέργειας. Αυτό μεταφράζεται σε πολυάριθμες απολαβές που λαμβάνουν οι καταναλωτές φυσικού αερίου με την άφθονη, ποιοτική και οικονομική θέρμανση στην κατοικία τους. Η εξοικονόμηση στη θέρμανση ξεπερνά το 40% σε σχέση με άλλες μορφές θέρμανσης, ενώ η χρήση του μπορεί να επεκταθεί και στο μαγείρεμα, ζεστό νερό κ.ά. προσφέροντας επιπλέον σημαντική εξοικονόμηση. Ακόμη, σε αντίθεση με το πετρέλαιο, για την προμήθεια του οποίου χρειάζεται παραγγελίες και παραλαβές ανά τακτά διαστήματα, η ροή του φυσικού αερίου μέσω του δικτύου διανομής είναι συνεχής. Περαιτέρω, πρόκειται για μια πιο πρακτική λύση σε σχέση με τη χρήση πετρελαίου, καθώς δεν προϋποθέτει την ανάγκη ύπαρξης και υλοποίησης ειδικών εγκαταστάσεων, όπως δεξαμενών αποθήκευσης καυσίμων.

Επιπροσθέτως, με τη χρήση φυσικού αερίου εξασφαλίζεται ένα ακόμη σημαντικό πλεονέκτημα που αφορά στην ασφάλεια που προσφέρει στην καθημερινή χρήση του, καθώς είναι ένα απολύτως φυσικό προϊόν. Ενώ στα αξιοσημείωτα, θα πρέπει  να επισημανθεί ότι τα έργα κατασκευής του δικτύου στην Αττική πραγματοποιούνται από την ΕΔΑ Αττικής βάσει σύγχρονων και αυστηρών προδιαγραφών, με τη λειτουργία του δικτύου να παρακολουθείται 24 ώρες το εικοσιτετράωρο, 365 μέρες το χρόνο με ειδικό ηλεκτρονικό σύστημα στο σύγχρονο κέντρο ελέγχου της Εταιρείας.

Τέλος, η πρόσβαση στο φυσικό αέριο σημαίνει πρόσβαση και στο πλέον φιλικό προς το περιβάλλον καύσιμο, σε σχέση και με τα υπόλοιπα ορυκτά καύσιμα. Όντας πιο καθαρό και λιγότερο ρυπογόνο, η καύση του παράγει λιγότερο διοξείδιο του άνθρακα συμβάλλοντας έτσι στη μείωση της παραγωγής ρύπων του μεγαλύτερου αριθμού καταναλωτών που είναι τα νοικοκυριά.

Σύμφωνα με τον Εκτελεστικό Πρόεδρο της ΕΔΑ Αττικής κ. Πιέρρο Χατζηγιάννη «Αποστολή της ΕΔΑ Αττικής είναι η προώθηση της ενεργειακής ισότητας μεταξύ των δήμων και των καταναλωτών της Αττικής, μέσω της εξάπλωσης της χρήσης του φυσικού αερίου. Για την επίτευξη αυτής της αποστολής εργαζόμαστε μεθοδικά, θέτοντας και επιτυγχάνοντας κάθε φορά όλο και πιο υψηλούς στόχους. Με τις επενδύσεις που προγραμματίζουμε για την επόμενη πενταετία, οι οποίες αγγίζουν τα 130 εκ. Ευρώ, αλλά και με αυτές που υλοποιούμε ήδη, σκοπεύουμε να διακόψουμε την ενεργειακή απομόνωση ολόκληρων δήμων και περιοχών, δίνοντας στους καταναλωτές της Αττικής την ευκαιρία να απολαύσουν οικονομική και αποδοτική ενέργεια, καθώς και όλα τα οφέλη και πλεονεκτήματα που προκύπτουν από τη χρήση του φυσικού αερίου».

Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

 

 

Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors

 

 

The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th.

The Greek Minister was welcomed by the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt at the Presidential Palace in Cairo; during the meeting, the excellent level of cooperation between the two countries, as well as the will for the further enhancement of the strategic cooperation, were confirmed.

According to the Egyptian Presidency, the meeting also discussed ways to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries, as well as reference the latest developments in regional and international issues, especially in ways to combat terrorism.

The Egyptian leader described the military cooperation between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus as “an example of a good neighbourhood for the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region, which is always based on international rules.”

According to the Egyptian Presidency, the Egyptian leader revealed his desire to further strengthen military cooperation between Egypt and Greece, expressing his satisfaction with the high level of cooperation between the two countries, together with Cyprus.

The tripartite cooperation between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus is based on respect, good neighbourliness and mutual interests of the three countries, in accordance with international rules for the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region, an Egyptian statement said.

 

On his part, the Greek Minister conveyed to the Egyptian President the greetings of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, emphasising that his visit to Egypt reflects the strengthening of strategic relations between the two countries and their desire to work for security and stability in the region.

The Egyptian Minister of Defence Mohamed Zaki welcomed his Greek counterpart and expressed Egypt’s appreciation of the firm relations with Greece and the keenness of the Armed Forces’ command to enhance bilateral cooperation and partnership in security and military fields.

The Ministers discussed latest developments on regional and international issues, alongside issues of mutual concern in light of the military cooperation and expertise exchange between the Armed Forces of both countries.

Minister Panagiotopoulos hailed the Egyptian-Greek relations, saying that they witness progress in all cooperation fields. He also praised Egypt’s effective role at the regional and international levels, as well as its efforts to achieve security and stability in the Middle East.

On December the 5th, Defence Minister Panagiotopoulos was joined by the Hellenic National Defence General Staff Chief General Konstantinos Floros and observed the late phase of the largescale MEDUSA 2020 military exercises between Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates just off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt.

 

Pictured above: the Official Arrival Ceremony of the Greek Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos to Cairo, hosted by his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki; President Abdel Fattah El Sisi grants an audience with the Greek Defence Minister; officials representing Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates as they prepare for the Medusa 2020 military exercises just off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt.

 

Interview with H.E. the Ambassador of the Republic of Austria, Hermine Poppeller

 

 

The Western Balkans remains a focal point of Austria’s foreign policy. Our vision is a democratic, stable and economically successful Western Balkans region, embedded and integrated within the European Union. Experience has taught us that the perspective of EU Membership is a crucial motor for transformation and stabilisation in the countries of the Western Balkans…

Without that region, the great project of European unification is simply not complete…

 

 

GDL: What are the main aspects of the foreign policy of Austria?

HP: Austria has always and will continue to advocate for strengthening effective multilateral cooperation. The current situation is showing once more that we can only overcome global challenges such as a pandemic or climate change when we work together. Austria is particularly engaged in efforts for disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are pleased that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which Austria co-initiated, will enter into force early next year.

On the European level, we support the Western Balkan States on their way into the European Union. Austria contributes to strengthening the EU’s role as a global actor and to spreading our common values like democracy, the rule of law and human rights. As an export oriented country, we are also active in fostering economic relations and partnerships.

GDL: Austria’s permanent neutrality provides numerous opportunities to act as a bridge builder and host of a great number of important events. How does your country emphasise its unique role as an East-West hub?

HP: On October 26th 1955, the first day after the last foreign soldier left Austrian soil, Parliament adopted the Constitutional Law on the Neutrality of Austria.

Austria’s promise in April 1955 to become permanently neutral had paved the way for the Austrian State Treaty with the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and France, signed on May 15th 1955 and for the withdrawal of the Allied Forces.

Since then, Austria’s permanent neutrality also provided numerous opportunities to act as a bridge builder and host of a great number of important international conferences and international organisations. The nuclear negotiations with Iran for instance were completed successfully in Vienna in July 2015.

 

“In my opinion, there is interest from both the Greeks and Austrians in the entire field of alternative energy, renewable energy and in all sectors that have to do with climate change. The Greek Government puts strong efforts in shutting down coal-fired power plants and switching to climate-friendly energy. This coincides with Austrian interests.”

 

GDL: The Western Balkan Enlargement Process remains high on the EU agenda. What is Austria’s policy on this issue?

HP: For many reasons, not least its geographical proximity, the Western Balkans remains a focal point of Austria’s foreign policy. Our vision is a democratic, stable and economically successful Western Balkans region, embedded and integrated in the European Union. Experience has taught us that the perspective of EU Membership is a crucial motor for transformation and stabilisation in the countries of the Western Balkans.

Austria therefore fully supports the process of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans and we are happy to have Greece as a strong partner in this effort. Without that region, the great project of European unification is simply not complete. The Western Balkans must not remain a “blank spot” in the very midst of the Union.

Bringing all countries in the region into the EU is also about improving stability and security on our own doorstep. Within this context, it can hardly be appreciated enough what an extraordinary contribution Greece and North Macedonia have made to stability and progress in the region through the conclusion of the Prespa Agreement.

GDL: Austria has been particularly affected by the large migration and refugee movements to Europe. However, this year’s cynical and aggressive use of human misery as a political tool by certain countries at the external borders of the EU make the situation explosive. How should the EU address this issue collectively?

HP: Within the EU, Austria emphasises the importance of solidarity between Member States in view of the enormous challenges posed by the migration and refugee crisis. Above all, an agreement on a sustainable and fair Common European Asylum System is needed. At the same time – also with regard to the functioning of the Schengen area – external border protection must be further strengthened. Austria makes important contributions to this, for example in the form of secondments to FRONTEX operations.

 

“In the current pandemic, the EU has shown that it is able to act. Solidarity among Member States is crucial. We can only master these unprecedented challenges together.”

 

GDL: The European Union looks poised to find broad political agreement on a new EU migration pact. Does Austria feel that a political agreement can be reached under the current circumstances?

HP: The European Commission has made a promising new proposal for a New Pact on Asylum and Migration, which has given new impetus to the discussion. There is a realistic chance that a consensus can be reached that is acceptable to all.

GDL: Vienna hosts the headquarters of several UN bodies, international organisations and agencies. How does this prominent status increase Austria’s responsibilities and how does it affect its foreign policy?

HP: Vienna is one of the most important headquarters of international organisations emerging as a hub for the promotion of peace, security, sustainable development, disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Further emphasis is given to the fight against crime, drug abuse and terrorism. Forty-two international organisations are based in Austria, among them 19 UN entities.

Already during the Cold War Austria served as platform for international dialogue due to its geopolitical position and its neutral status. This position was strengthened by the opening of the Vienna International Centre (VIC), also called UNO City, in 1979. Since then, Vienna has been the seat of the United Nations (UN) together with New York, Geneva and Nairobi. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEO,) being by far the largest Vienna based IO, established its headquarters here in 1957.

Vienna also hosts the world’s largest regional organisation, namely the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe with 57 participating States ranging from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

Our foreign policy is founded on a comprehensive concept of security – including politico-military, economic, environmental and human rights-related aspects. At the same time, we are convinced that a steady promotion of dialogue is as a prerequisite for building or restoring trust. This is what the OSCE is standing for – since 1975.

GDL: Central Europe had never been a target of a major terrorist attack. However, the Vienna shooting in November was the latest in a recent series of violent attacks in Europe. How are Austrians coping in the aftermath of this barbarism and what is their message to the world?

HP: Naturally, the shock of this brutal attack of 2nd November brought deep grief to many, but they also showed truly remarkable acts and signs of compassion and solidarity towards the victims, their families and across our society. In the aftermath of the attack, Austria received condolences and messages of solidarity from all over the world and in particular from many quarters of Government in Greece. This shows that we are not alone in the fight against terrorism.

The Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated it very clearly after the attack: Our free society will not be intimidated by terrorists. We will defend our basic values, our way of life and our democracy with all our might; with great determination and without any compromises.

He also made very clear, that our enemies are Islamist extremists, but never the members of an entire religion. This is not a conflict between Christians and Muslims or between Austrians and migrants. This is a fight between the many who believe in peace and the few who long for war.

GDL: In the midst of the pandemic, we are experiencing a deterioration in the Eastern Mediterranean region due to aggression, authoritarianism and revisionism by certain countries. Is the credibility of Europe at Stake? Should the EU defend international values and international order? Can the EU continue to exercise double standards? What is the position of Austria?

HP: Austria has taken a clear stance concerning the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and declared her full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus. What is instrumental for a positive agenda for this region is that every actor shows true interest in de-escalation, not only verbally, but through positive action, not only temporarily, but consistently.

For the time being Austria cannot recognise this interest by a certain actor. In our opinion, the EU should act accordingly.

GDL: The EU’s recovery fund, in addition to the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027 anticipates leading the Union to the road of full recovery through this vision New Generation EU. What does this new proposal need to adopt in order to be sustainable, even and fair for all Member States? What is the position of your country?

HP: In the current pandemic, the EU has shown that it is able to act. Solidarity among Member States is crucial. We can only master these unprecedented challenges together. To support economic recovery in all Member States, in particular in those most affected by the pandemic, the extraordinary European Council in July decided to set up a Recovery Fund, the so-called Next Generation EU, which is limited in time.

This has been an important step toward overcoming the crisis, but also to strengthening the EU and its Member States in important future-oriented areas such as digitalisation. At the same time, the Covid-19 recovery will also be a ‘Green Recovery’.

 

“Austria is aware of the important role of Greece as one EU Member with an external EU-border and supports Greece in this regard, as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean…”

 

GDL: What is the level of bilateral trade between Austria and Greece? In your opinion, which are the favourite sectors that should be explored further?

HP: There is a relatively strong loyalty of Austrian companies to Greece. Despite the crisis until 2018, most of the Austrian companies remained in Greece and I think it is worth it for them. We observe a very positive trend in Austrian exports to Greece, but also in Greek exports to Austria. Austrian companies are also interested in investments, but of course there are always several steps from interest to implementation.

In my opinion, there is interest from both the Greeks and Austrians in the entire field of alternative energy, renewable energy and in all sectors that have to do with climate change. The Greek Government puts strong efforts in shutting down coal-fired power plants and switching to climate-friendly energy. This coincides with Austrian interests.

GDL: Austrian-Greek relations are considered excellent and go back in time for centuries. How should both peoples intensity their ties and what initiatives are both Governments taking?

HP: Austria is aware of the important role of Greece as one EU Member with an external EU-border and supports Greece in this regard, as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean.

An important initiative to bring people together is culture. Culture constitutes an essential pillar of the work of the Austrian Embassy. Our aim is not only to present Austria in Greece as a creative and innovative country, but also to promote European integration and to foster direct dialogue between Austrians and Greeks.

Culture is the ideal means to build bridges and show what we have in common and how we complement each other, which is a true pleasure for the Embassy given the outstandingly friendly and interested Greek people and the huge interest of Austrians in this beautiful country. The result often goes beyond the cultural project itself and promotes lasting ties and close friendship.

A flagship programme of the Austrian Embassy is the Greek-Austrian Music Summer which was held this year for the second time. Between 9th May and 30th August, 27 concerts were held in 20 different Greek venues with the involvement of more than 100 musicians from Greece and Austria. For 2021 we plan a third edition, the details of which we will reveal as soon as they are defined. I warmly invite all readers of Greek Diplomatic Life to visit our website (www.bmeia.gv.at/athen), to register for our monthly newsletter (by sending an e-mail to athen-ob@bmeia.gv.at), to follow us on Facebook (@AustriainGreece), as well as on Twitter (@AustriainGreece).

 

“An important initiative to bring people together is culture.

Culture constitutes an essential pillar of the work of the Austrian Embassy… The result often goes beyond the cultural project itself and promotes lasting ties and close friendship.”

 

GDL: Vienna is a much-desired global destination for Christmas. Unfortunately this year cannot be the case. What is your seasonal message to your faithful visitors?

HP: The past year has certainly been a challenging one for all of us – physically, economically and emotionally – and unfortunately, the current epidemiological situation does not allow for a Christmas season as usual. Despite these limitations, I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I hope that visitors from Greece will once again be able to enjoy the Austrian Christmas markets and ski slopes in 2021.

 

Interview by Nicolas Boutsicos
Editor, Greek Diplomatic Life

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - FEBRUARY 2020

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - JANUARY 2020

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Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - NOVEMBER 2019

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    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

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Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

    The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries. His Highness …

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EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

    Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, …

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Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - OCTOBER 2019

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the Foreign Ministry on January 14th. Talks focused on bilateral political and economic relations, including cooperation on responding to the pandemic, and on regional issues, with emphasis on the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

Following their talks, the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed three Memoranda of Cooperation; more specifically, in the field of Diplomatic Training, in the field of Civil Protection, as well as between Enterprise Greece and Invest North Macedonia.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Northern Macedonia concluded his visit to Athens by meeting with the State and political leadership of Greece. He was first received by the President of the Republic, Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, discussing the progress of bilateral relations in the era of the Prespes Agreement, the situation in the region and the European perspective of North Macedonia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with President Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou.

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

 

Minister Osmani was then received by his Greek counterpart. In joint statements following the signing of the three agreements, Minister Dendias noted that “we cannot allow the creation of a stability gap in the Western Balkans,” while warning that the gap could be easily filled by other non-European forces that pursue revisionism.

Greece has historically and actively supported the Western Balkan countries and their accession prospects, he noted, “though always on the basis of the conditionalities, meritocracy and methodology of the EU.” “We firmly believe that this is the only path for peace and stability in the region. Europe has an obligation to keep European enlargement on the table,” Minister Dendias added.

The Foreign Minister also said that Greece is ready to provide technical assistance and to support the efforts of the Western Balkans for EU accession but noted that “we must have a fully consistent and good faith implementation of the Prespes Agreement in order to have progress.” “Two years after the Prespes Agreement came into force, we acknowledge that there has been a very great effort for its implementation. But, of course, greater progress is required,” he said.

This included efforts to consistently implement the use of the agreed name and terms by all public and private entities, including websites, and eradicate the problems of ancient symbols and the Vergina Sun from public spaces and for public uses, he noted. ”What is absolutely clear in the Prespes Agreement is clarity on what happened in antiquity,” Minister Dendias said, pointing out that it was clear and has been accepted by North Macedonia that it was not part of the military campaign of Alexander the Great, nor took part in its major battles and other historic moments.

Minister Dendias also highlighted the fact that Greece can be North Macedonia’s greatest ally and friend, as the country’s stability and prosperity was also in its own interests, while Greece has welcomed North Macedonia as an ally in NATO and patrols its skies. He also thanked the neighbouring country for aligning itself with the common EU position on Turkey, saying that this was noted and appreciated by Greece.

Referring to the three memoranda of understanding signed, he said these have taken bilateral relations one step further. “We must further encourage trade and investments… as these can create new jobs and prosperity in both countries, but also the surrounding region,” he said.

He noted that Greece has made a great effort to provide support in terms of supplying North Macedonia with vaccines against Covid within an EU framework, pledging to continue this effort.

North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister thanked Greece for its support of his country’s EU accession prospects and the start of accession negotiations, saying it was the basis of a long friendship between the two countries and that Greece and North Macedonia are “strategic partners and with the commitment to implement the Prespes Agreement, we will continue to develop and strengthen this strategic partnership relationship.” He said the intention of the two countries was to progress further than good neighbourly relations in order to build a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support.”

Minister Osmani said that the pandemic had shown the importance of cooperation between countries in civil protection, especially when these countries had shared borders, while he also highlighted the various infrastructure projects that spanned the borders of the two countries, such as the interconnector pipeline for natural gas, improvements to road and rail networks and North Macedonia’s aim to participate in the FSRU in Alexandroupolis and open up a new border crossing.

“I expect that in the coming months, as the restrictive measures for the pandemic are eased, we will have an increase in cooperation between us and also the implementation of the activities outlined in the action plan of the Prespes Agreement,” he added. He called for more bilateral meetings and agreements on all levels, as well as more activities outlined in the action plan that will create greater trust between the two countries, emphasising the importance of a “lasting friendship” between them.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also met with North Macedonia’s visiting Foreign Affairs Minister Bujar Osmani and discussed the development of economic cooperation and connectivity between the two countries.

During the meeting in the Maximos Mansion, they also discussed North Macedonia’s prospects for EU accession, Government sources said. Premier Mitsotakis reiterated that the provisions of the Prespes Agreement must be implemented fully, consistently and in good faith.

The meeting was also attended by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Extroversion Kostas Fragogiannis.

(Photographs by T.Bolari, Y.Panagopoulos & H.Akriviadis/Eurokinissi)

Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

 

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio in Rome

 

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.”

Minister Dendias meets with his Portuguese counterpart Augusto Santos Silva in Lisbon.

 

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.

(Photos: H.Akriviadis/MoFA)

Interview with H.E. the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, Kyriakos Kenevezos

 

 

“We envision a free and reunited Cyprus, a common homeland of Greek-Cypriots, Turkish-Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins (Roman Catholics), a model of peaceful coexistence and prosperity of all its citizens and a pillar of stability, peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

 

GDL: In the 60 years since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, its foreign policy has evolved significantly, in a process that can be described as transitioning from introversion to extroversion. Can you elaborate on these priorities?

KK: It was never a matter of extroversion or introversion. We always wanted to be a State useful to the rest of the nations; our neighbours, not only those within the European family, but also third countries. The small size, of course, has its own significance in terms of influence, but it has never acted as a deterrent to our actions and synergies within the EU, but much more in the sensitive area where we are.

The Republic of Cyprus is only 60 years old, yet it has a strong presence with acts and actions that have always been aimed at defending basic principles that all States and people should serve. Peace, solidarity, security, democracy. There are many who believe that we invoke these principles because we are young, this is not true. We serve these principles out of conviction, not out of necessity.

In these 60 years, we have unfortunately been called upon and face great difficulties and tragedies, with the harsher reality that of the occupation of 37% of our country by Turkey as a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974. It was and is our responsibility; our first concern is to get rid of the occupation, the redress of injustice, wound healing.

And on this occasion I would like to remind you that the Turkish invasion was not an afternoon walk. It left thousands dead, refugees, rapes, pain, plus everything that has followed to this day, such as settlement and the violation of every principle and every Rule of Law.

However, yes we stood on our feet. We did not kneel. We are an EU Member State with particular commitment to its principles. We develop activities and collaborations in the region through bilateral, tripartite and quadrilateral talks. We are and we want to be useful, where possible. At the same time, we understand that we are not the only ones facing problems and we respect all those who are exposed for any reason, important or insignificant.

GDL: The Cypriot Foreign Ministry, in addition to traditional foreign policy tools, has also embarked on elaborating strategic plan and utilising “soft power” foreign policy tools. Can you tell us more on which sectors you are focused upon?

KK: When everything around us changes and the evidence, requirements and steps become more and more revised, we have a responsibility to keep pace with the changes without altering our basic principles and policies. And we surely do. These include cultural diplomacy, gender mainstreaming, as well as economic diplomacy on which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has undertaken a leading role in defining an Economic Diplomacy Strategy for Cyprus for the period 2021-2031, aiming to effectively use its diplomatic network in reinforcing Cyprus’ position in the global market.

The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Athens is a tangible example of the complex activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus. Referring to:

Firstly: The Cyprus House, the Cultural and Educational Centre of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Greece, is a department of the Cultural Services of the Cyprus Ministry Education and Culture and since 1987 has emerged as a powerful soft power tool for Cyprus. For 30 years now, through a wide range of initiatives, synergies, programmes and events, it highlights the historical and cultural identity of Cyprus, cultivating and strengthening the close relations and meaningful dialogue between the intellectuals and creators of Cyprus and Greece.

Secondly: The Cyprus Embassy Trade Centre Athens was founded in 1983 by the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry of Cyprus to highlight and promote Cyprus products and services in the Greek market. The Cyprus Embassy Trade Centre in Athens is also responsible for the countries of Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania and Montenegro.

Thirdly: The Maritime Section operates under the Shipping Deputy Ministry.  Its mission is to safeguard and further develop Cyprus shipping as a safe, socially responsible and sustainable industry, for the enhancement of the national economy and the creation of new jobs, specialisation and expertise in the sector. Our Maritime Office is responsible for the implementation of policy and more specifically, among its other activities, to cooperate and provide services to companies and organisations based in Greece.

GDL: An important component of Cyprus’ agenda is the creation of mini-multilateral structures in the region, the Eastern Mediterranean, in some cases together with Greece, working to foster a network of trilateral cooperation initiatives. What is the purpose of such schemes?

KK: As I mentioned before, a key axis of our foreign policy is the composition and cooperation aimed at shaping conditions of peace, prosperity and stability in the region. We did it with great devotion and the utmost respect for our interlocutors. Those who assumed that the goal of these schemes was only economic gain through the use of energy sources were refuted by the developments.

These partnerships include all the pillars of interest of the States that make them up. Energy issues may have been the reason, but as things turned out, collaborations were based on multi-layered and solid foundations.

“I will repeat what we have been proclaiming for 46 years. Our homeland is under occupation, we are experiencing the consequences of the occupation and we, most of all, want a solution.

Of course, the passage of time adds difficulties and problems to the essence of the Cyprus issues, but it is not possible to use this as an argument to violate the principles of law and reach a bad, unsustainable and non-functional solution to the Cyprus problem.”

GDL: How is it that Turkey feels intimidated and not inclusive in these schemes? What do you answer to them?

KK: You can comprehend that your question concerns a country which illegally occupies 37% of the territory of my homeland. However, despite the on-going occupation, despite the consequences of the invasion that still weighs on our Cyprus, despite the uncompromising attitude of Turkey in the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue for 46 years, not only did we not exclude Turkey from the groups, but instead called upon them to become part of them.

Turkey has chosen the path of isolation. Turkey chooses the route of unilateral illegal actions, turning its back in a provocative way on the prospect for dialogue on the basis of International Law and the principles of good neighbourly relations.

GDL: The Cyprus issue has deep historical roots and various internal and international dimensions. However, since the illegal Turkish invasion (July-August 1974) and the occupation of some 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, it is first and foremost an international problem of invasion and occupation in direct violation of the UN Charter and a plethora of UN Resolutions.

However some circles insist that there are new realities on the Cyprus’ problem. What is your response to this statement?

KK: I will repeat what we have been proclaiming for 46 years. Our homeland is under occupation, we are experiencing the consequences of the occupation and we, most of all, want a solution. Of course, the passage of time adds difficulties and problems to the essence of the Cyprus issues, but it is not possible to use this as an argument to violate the principles of law and reach a bad, unsustainable and non-functional solution to the Cyprus problem.

The solution to the Cyprus Question is sought through peace talks held under the auspices of the United Nations as part of the UN Secretary General’s good offices mission. The aim is to reach a comprehensive and lasting solution in accordance with the Charter and the relevant Resolutions of the United Nations, which will lead to the transformation of the unitary State into a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single sovereignty, single citizenship and single international personality, with political equality as set out in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

GDL: Which are the latest developments on the Cyprus Issue and what is the prospect for the resumption of meaningful negotiations for a comprehensive settlement in line with UN Security Council Resolutions, International and EU Laws?

KK: We are facing the formation of the conditions for a new effort. The less we say at this stage, the better for everyone. The important thing is that from our side we want and are ready to enter into talks. We have repeatedly stated the basis and framework that should govern this new effort. We have confidence in the Secretary General of the United Nations. He knows first-hand the declared intention and good will of our side. We all hope that they will convince Turkey to do the same. Our readiness is a given.

“Cyprus’s accession to the EU in 2004, possibly the most pivotal moment in Cyprus’s modern history and certainly one of its greatest diplomatic successes, has meant that the solution of the Cyprus Problem is inextricably linked to the EU and by extension to EU law, values and principles…

The EU’s expressed commitment to continue participating and supporting negotiations under the UN auspices is of utmost importance in this regard.”

GDL: How important is the active involvement of the EU in the negotiating process?

KK: Cyprus’s accession to the EU in 2004, possibly the most pivotal moment in Cyprus’s modern history and certainly one of its greatest diplomatic successes, has meant that the solution of the Cyprus Problem is inextricably linked to the EU and by extension to EU law, values and principles. Cyprus is and will remain a Member State of the Union following reunification.

Fully cognisant of the fact that the potential of the country can only be fully reached if the country is reunified, all efforts are exerted to support the efforts of the UNSG for the resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, in a bi-zonal bi-communal federation, fully in line with United Nations Security Council Resolutions, in line with International Law and European Law. The EU’s expressed commitment to continue participating and supporting the negotiations under the UN auspices is of utmost importance in this regard.

H.E. the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, Kyriakos Kenevezos

 

GDL: Greece’s position is the full withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces and the termination of the anachronistic system of guarantees of 1960, which are an integral part of an agreed, viable and comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem.

Do you anticipate an agreed solution should restore international legality, which is blatantly violated by the Turkish invasion and on-going occupation of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, a sovereign and independent State that is a Member of the UN and the EU?

KK: The solution must provide for the complete withdrawal of all foreign troops, the abolition of the anachronistic guarantee system, the withdrawal of the settlers and the guarantee of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots. It must further guarantee the unity of the State, institutions, society and the economy and must be in line with the European acquis and fully respect the principles on which the European Union is based.

We envision a free and reunited Cyprus, a common homeland of Greek-Cypriots, Turkish-Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins (Roman Catholics), a model of peaceful coexistence and prosperity of all its citizens and a pillar of stability, peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

Interview by Nicolas Boutsicos
Editor, Greek Diplomatic Life

Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

 

Addressing the press, Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, and her Greek counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.

 

The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft

 

On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. This important visit culminated in the signing of an Agreement for the Procurement of the ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft – a contract to buy 18 Rafale fighter aircraft after Greek Parliamentarians approved the €2.5 billion ($3.04 billion) deal earlier this month.

The agreement calls for 12 second-hand aircraft, which will be taken out of the French Air Force inventory, and six new ones. The contract includes the aircraft’s weapons. A second contract was signed for the logistical support of the aircraft. Six of the second-hand aircraft will be delivered at a rate of one a month starting this July, with the six new aircraft delivered in spring 2022 and the last six used aircraft delivered in early 2023. The logistical support contract will support the Greek Rafales for four and a half years, “maintaining the availability of equipment and systems at the highest level,” according to a Dassault Aviation statement.

Minister Parly, accompanied by French Ambassador Patrick Maisonnave, meets with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

 

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Minister Parly remarked how pleased she was that Greece had made a “resolutely European choice” by opting for the French-made aircraft, thus becoming Dassault’s first European export customer. The visiting French officials further stressed the special partnership between France and Greece, with Minister Parly adding “the quality of the cooperation between France and Greece is particularly visible in the Mediterranean,” where both countries have undertaken bilateral and multilateral exercises over the past few months. “This cooperation…. is essential to ensure the security of the European continent, to ensure that the law and the freedom to circulate are respected,” she added.

According to Greek media reports the French Defence Minister was also expected to discuss the sale of Belharra frigates, made by France’s Naval Group, as the export version of the FDI medium-sized frigates built for the French Navy.

From left: MoD Director General of Armaments and Investments Theodoros Lagios and Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation Eric Trappier sign the agreement in the presence of the two Defence Ministers.

 

Following the agreement, which the Greek Minister said was completed in record time, both Ministers spoke of the strategic nature of Greek-French relations and referred to the role of deterrence that the aircraft will play in the Hellenic Air Force. “The advanced electronic systems… of the jets, in tandem with their weapons of strategic nature, make them a significant factor of supremacy in the air,” Minister Panagiotopoulos said. “The agreement confirms a long-standing tradition of excellent collaboration between our countries on a bilateral level, as well as at the level of regional and international organisations.”

During their meeting, Premier Mitsotakis noted that Greece’s defence protection “never served as a threat to another country,” adding that the purchase of the jets was “a sign of the need for direct and closer military cooperation at European level in the Mediterranean, or in our ‘mare nostrum’, as President Macron aptly calls it, as it is the place where the vital interests of all EU countries intersect.” The Rafale purchase he noted reflects Greece’s national strategy, which includes defence as a so-called twin pillar of Greek foreign policy. The Premier also referred to France’s historical support to Greece dating as far back as the Greek Revolution for Independence, which is celebrating its 200th Anniversary this year.

(Photos: MoD & T.Bolari, Y.Panagopoulos/Eurokinissi.)

Interview with H.E. the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ismail Khairat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout its long history, Egypt has always been a strong supporter of Africa’s just causes.

Egyptian foreign policy – especially after the 1952 Revolution – mobilised all its resources to support liberation movements all over Africa, in an effort which has been successfully culminated with the founding of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in 1963, with Egypt as a Founding Member…

 

GDL: Egypt’s reintegration into the African fold reinstates its historic role as a leader in addressing the continent’s manifold challenges in realms such as peace and security, conflict resolution, development assistance and technical expertise. Is Egypt kick-starting its political centre of gravity and priorities to more clearly reflect on both its Arab origins and African roots? Can you elaborate on such initiatives?

IK: Throughout its long history, Egypt has always been a strong supporter of Africa’s just causes. Egyptian foreign policy – especially after the 1952 revolution – mobilised all its resources to support liberation movements all over Africa, in an effort which has been successfully culminated with the founding of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in 1963, with Egypt as a Founding Member.

In 1994, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry established the Cairo Regional Centre for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA), which later became the Cairo International Centre for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, an Egyptian public agency specialised in training, capacity building and research in the fields of peace and security in Africa and the Middle East.

Egyptian-African relations got a huge boost with the election of Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to the Egyptian Presidency in 2014, who championed African integration initiatives and aimed at reconnecting Egypt with its African roots. In 2014, the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) was established by the Egyptian President as the main South-South Cooperation institution in Egypt aiming at placing the country’s comparative advantages and technical expertise into play for the benefit of the African continent. EAPD aims to support African cadres through training courses in partnership with Egyptian Centres of Excellence, by responding to the emergency needs of African countries through the provision of aid and humanitarian assistance, contributing to the transfer of knowledge and the sharing of experiences with African countries by dispatching experts and technicians and advance trade between Egyptian and African countries to improve the economic condition and livelihood of people across Africa.

Furthermore, in 2019, President Al Sisi assumed the Chairmanship of the African Union (AU) with a multitude of priorities as AU Chair, among which are:

  1. Realising the African Continental Free Trade Area as an accelerator of continental integration;
  2. Focusing on infrastructure as a basis for supporting the regional integration process; and
  3. Post-conflict reconstruction and development within the peace and security arena as an effective tool to improve resilience in countries emerging from conflict.

In addition, Egypt sought to increase the efficiency and the methods of work of the Union to further reinforce the reform process. Additionally, one of the most important objectives of the Egyptian Chairmanship of the AU was to make 2019 ‘The Year of Africa in Egypt’ and ‘The Year of Egypt in the AU’ in a manner that solidifies Egypt’s contribution to the AU agenda of continental integration.

During Egypt’s Chairmanship, the African Union witnessed the historic announcement of the entry into force of the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), convening of the first edition of the mid-year coordination meeting between the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the AU to create a sustainable and productive relationship between the AU and the regional arrangements in favour of implementing Agenda 2063 and hosted in November 2019 the PIDA (Programme for Infrastructure Development) Week, which discussed in detail the criteria for selecting the list of projects that will be implemented within the framework of the second phase of the AU Infrastructure Programme (2021-2030).

Furthermore, Egypt finalised, in coordination with the AU Commission, the proposed structure of the AU Centre for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development which will be hosted in Cairo, as well as launched the inaugural ‘Aswan Forum for Peace and Development’ as a platform for strengthening peacebuilding and development efforts in the continent.

In 2020, Egypt has been expanding its efforts to assist its neighbouring African countries in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other infectious diseases, sending medical aid and supplies to more than 30 African States throughout 2020 in addition to continue implementing the Presidential initiative to treat 1 million Africans suffering from Hepatitis C.

“The Egyptian State has adopted numerous reforms on many levels and in many sectors since 2014, especially in the security, political and economic sectors.”

GDL: Does Egypt stand ready to partner with the international community in this endeavour for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement and a long-term just and viable solution on the Palestinian Issue?

IK: Egypt always supports all efforts to revitalise the peace process and the negotiations for the Palestinian conflict. The Egyptian leadership has expressed its will to continue exerting efforts to restore to the Palestinian people their legitimate rights and to establish their independent State according to the international legitimacy references.

Egypt also highlighted the importance of uniting Arab and international efforts to move effectively during the upcoming period to reactivate the mechanisms involved in the peace negotiations between the two parties and bypass any challenges, in parallel with the efforts of the Palestinian national reconciliation track and building confidence.

GDL: Egypt is a great country with big challenges. How feasible is it for Egypt to make substantial gains in diverse goals such as security, political stability and economic progress? What concerted efforts are required and what sectoral reforms are needed to succeed on all three fronts?

IK: Indeed, the Egyptian State has adopted numerous reforms on many levels and in many sectors since 2014, especially in the security, political and economic sectors. The Egyptian Government is working in a comprehensive approach to enhance these three pillars which are all related to achieving substantial gains and strengthen the social and living standards of our people.

As a result, the indicators of the Egyptian economy over the past period have shown remarkable progress and many positive figures in light of the efforts made by the State represented by the Government in cooperation with the private sector and various companies and investors from inside and outside Egypt in various sectors to achieve the desired economic and social development.

“Terrorism in all its forms is an affront to humanity and the right to life…

Egypt firmly believes that the eradication of terrorism is crucial for regional stability. Defeating terrorism requires addressing the root causes of this transboundary threat through a holistic approach, as well regional and international cooperation. This approach should include not only security measures but also social, economic, educational and cultural components.”

GDL: How should Egypt shape its regional environment to allow its democracy to mature free from the scourge of extremism and the menacing sectarianism which threaten the regional fabric, the danger of terrorism and the chronic instability that stems from the Middle East’s perennial conflicts?

IK: Egypt firmly believes that the eradication of terrorism is crucial for regional stability. Defeating terrorism requires addressing the root causes of this transboundary threat through a holistic approach, as well regional and international cooperation. This approach should include not only security measures but also social, economic, educational and cultural components. Egypt is committed while combating terrorism to ensuring full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Preserving the foundations of the nation State and its institutions is a prerequisite for the success of counter terrorism efforts. Egypt’s foreign policy and its approach to regional conflicts place high importance on the centrality of national institutions in combating terrorism and extremism.

It is important to also underscore in this regard that all terrorist groups must be combated on equal footing and to avoid making any distinctions among them. Terrorism in all its forms is an affront to humanity and the right to life. Therefore, Egypt places combating terrorism among its foreign policy priorities. Within this context, Egypt supports the international efforts to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq, in particular through its participation in the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS.

Moreover, Egypt is among the founders of the Global Forum Against Terrorism and is co-chairing its working group on Capacity Building in East Africa for Countering Terrorism. Furthermore, Egypt undertakes a pivotal role in countering terrorism within the African Union, OIC and the League of Arab States.

Within its policies to eradicate terrorism, Egypt calls for the prevention of the flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF’s) from Syria to other regions, in particular Libya. In this regard, Egypt calls on the international community, including the Security Council, to hold the countries which facilitate the movement of the FTF’s to Libya accountable and to push them to respect their obligations in pursuance to the relevant Security Council Resolutions, in particular Resolution 2396.

We are also particularly concerned with the growing terrorist threats in Africa. In this regard, our cooperation with our African brethren in different areas of countering terrorism was significantly bolstered through capacity building programmes and sharing best practices. Cairo will soon host a specialised counter-terrorism Centre for CEN-SAD countries.

“Egypt and Greece, by virtue of their great civilisations, geographical location, longstanding historical and the strong cultural ties, have constituted an ideal example for inter-state relations.

These common factors and mutual interests that Egypt and Greece share have made the two friendly countries an important bridge of interaction and dialogue between the Arab and Islamic worlds on one side and the European continent on the other.”

GDL: During the recent State Visit of His Excellency President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Al Sisi to Athens it was noted that the common values, mutual interests and close cultural ties between Egypt and Greece make both countries an important bridge of meeting, dialogue and cooperation between the Arab and Islamic worlds on the one hand and the European continent on the other.

How do you foresee the future relations of both countries and in which areas should they reinforce their efforts?

IK: His Excellency President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s visit to Athens took place at a time of significant importance where fruitful talks were held between both sides in an atmosphere of understanding and which addressed bilateral, regional and international issues of common concern.

In addition, the Presidential Visit followed three important milestones in the Egyptian-Greek relations namely; the partial agreement on the delimitation of maritime zones between the two countries, the East Mediterranean Gas Forum Agreement and the 8th Trilateral Summit between Egypt-Cyprus-Greece which was hosted by Nicosia.

Egypt and Greece, by virtue of their great civilisations, geographical location, longstanding historical and the strong cultural ties, have constituted an ideal example for inter-state relations. These common factors and mutual interests that Egypt and Greece share have made the two friendly countries an important bridge of interaction and dialogue between the Arab and Islamic worlds on one side and the European continent on the other. Therefore, such factors enable future collaboration between our two friendly countries and people in all fields including economic cooperation and enhancing future investments.

H.E. the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ismail Khairat

GDL: The signing of the EEZ partial delimitation agreement and its entry into force is a milestone for the relations between Egypt and Greece, as well as for the wider region. As President Al Sisi said, Egypt stands by Greece and in support of its rights on any issue related to its security and maritime borders.

What is the pace of consultations so that this agreement can be extended soon?

IK: One of the most prominent bilateral files discussed during the last period was the delimitation of the maritime zones between the two countries, as the Egyptian and Greek sides signed a partial agreement on the delimitation of the maritime zones between them on August 6th 2020 during the visit of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to Cairo at that time.

After 13 rounds of bilateral negotiations between the two countries over a span of 15 years and in accordance with the principles and provisions of International Law and the 1982 United Nations convention, the Egyptian and Greek Parliaments have also completed the procedures for ratifying the agreement and jointly submitting its registration at the UN.

Additionally, the importance of concluding the agreement is that it provides both countries with the opportunity to start allowing different companies to explore and search for natural gas and in order to maximise the benefits from those resources and enhance the interests of the Egyptian and Greek people.

“Egypt and Greece face common security challenges that threaten the stability of the region and the importance of security and military cooperation is intelligible.”

GDL: The recent meeting of the Heads of MoDs in Cairo highlighted the firm relations of both countries and the keenness of the Armed Forces’ Command to enhance bilateral cooperation and partnership in security and military fields.

In which areas should both sides further strengthen their military cooperation? Both countries agree that global terrorism has nothing to do with religion and have rejected any insult to any religion. How can both countries further promote this important message?

IK: Egypt and Greece face common security challenges that threaten the stability of the region and the importance of security and military cooperation is intelligible.

Thus, both sides are keen on enhancing and developing cooperation in the aforementioned areas to ensure the strengthening of the two countries’ capabilities to deal with any security risks, including the efforts of combatting terrorism and its extremist elements and organisations.

“On the bilateral level between Egypt and Greece, we are aiming at strengthening cooperation relations in trade, investment and economic fields and means of advancing the tripartite cooperation mechanism projects with Cyprus, as well as the possibility of cooperation with Greece in investment projects in the African continent.”

GDL: Taking to account that Egypt and Greece are partners with mutual export relations and common strategic goals, what joint initiatives should be undertaken in order to be even more attractive for investment destinations?

IK: The confidence of foreign investors and the Egyptian diaspora has increased in the investment environment in Egypt during the past years as a direct result of the reforms made by the Egyptian Government in this regard.

It has also been indicated in the statistics published by the IMF and international institutions, as well as the various local institutions, which indicate that the Egyptian economy achieved growth rates of 5.6% during the fiscal year 2018/2019 with a decline in inflation and unemployment rates. The IMF has also indicated that the stability of the local currency exchange value in the markets has been recorded in line with the increase of remittances from Egyptians abroad in 2019 reaching nearly 26.6 billion euros, while the value of foreign direct investments in the country increased by 16% during the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

On the bilateral level between Egypt and Greece, we are aiming at strengthening cooperation relations in trade, investment and economic fields and means of advancing the tripartite cooperation mechanism projects with Cyprus, as well as the possibility of cooperation with Greece in investment projects in the African continent.

Both sides have proposed forming a working group and focal points from both sides to develop cooperation and communication plans with business representatives, the public and private sector, as well as companies interested in implementing those plans in various fields, the most prominent of which are the food industries, information technology, tourism, agriculture sectors and cooperation between ports.

“With regard to the issue of energy cooperation, Egypt launched an initiative to establish the Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Forum in October 2018. The founding countries have recently agreed to transform it into a regional organisation that would be the basis for transforming the Eastern Mediterranean region into an energy Centre…

…the organisation has received requests from different countries to join its membership, either permanently or as observers.”

GDL: Egypt makes important investments directly including improvements to its power and gas infrastructure. What is the strategic plan of the Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Forum?

IK: With regard to the issue of energy cooperation, Egypt launched an initiative to establish the Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Forum in October 2018. The founding countries have recently agreed to transform it into a regional organisation that would be the basis for transforming the Eastern Mediterranean region into an energy Centre.

Greece has strongly contributed to overcoming the controversial issues of the founding Charter of the forum, being among the first countries of the founders of the forum to sign the transfer of the forum to a regional organisation.

More recently, the organisation has received requests from different countries to join its membership, either permanently or as observers.

 

Interview by Nicolas Boutsicos
Editor, Greek Diplomatic Life

Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

 

 

The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

During the meeting, which took place at the Al Shati Palace in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed welcomed Premier Mitsotakis and his delegation, with both sides discussing the significant relations between the UAE and Greece and ways of developing and consolidating their joint interests in all areas, in addition to several regional and international issues of mutual concern.

They also highlighted multiple areas of cooperation between the UAE and Greece and promising development opportunities, most notably in the areas of investment, commerce, politics, culture and defence. Thereafter, they discussed the coronavirus pandemic and the efforts of the international community to contain its humanitarian and economic repercussions.

 

 

His Highness Sheikh bin Zayed and Prime Minister Mitsotakis were said to have exchanged opinions on regional and international issues that concern both countries, most notably the developments in the East Mediterranean.

Both sides affirmed the distinguished relations between their countries, which are based on a strong political will, and their ongoing cooperation while agreeing on many topics relating to finding peaceful resolutions to the conflicts and crises witnessed by the region, and driving their diplomatic efforts to achieve the aspirations of their peoples for peace, prosperity and development, as well as for security and stability in the region and the rest of the world.

Sheikh bin Zayed stated that promoting dialogue, peaceful actions, respect for the sovereignty of countries and not interfering in their internal affairs is the correct way to resolve disputes in the region, noting that the UAE is always working to establish peace.

The UAE is closely monitoring the developments in the East Mediterranean, given its importance to regional and international stability and peace, he added, stressing that terrorism is the most serious threat to international peace and development, and noting that the UAE is supporting tolerance and coexistence and denouncing the exploitation of religious slogans to promote hate speech.

Prime Minister Mitsotakis lauded the bilateral relations between the two countries and their overall cooperation while highlighting the keenness of Greece to enhance its coordination with the UAE and praising the UAE’s role in supporting Greece’s healthcare sectors in combatting the coronavirus pandemic.

He further praised the initiatives launched by the UAE to instill values of peaceful co-existence and tolerance among peoples, particularly during times of crises.

 

Agreements on strategic partnership & cooperation signed in the UAE

“This visit to the United Arab Emirates and the signing of the relevant agreements constitute the upgrading of the relationship between Greece and the United Arab Emirates at a strategic level,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis upon his departure from the United Arab Emirates.

“Greece and the United Arab Emirates are now forming the framework of a strategic alliance that extends not only to the areas of economic cooperation, but also to the areas of cooperation in defence and foreign policy,” he said.

“Prospects for the further deepening of relations between the two countries are many and important. There is now a clear ‘roadmap’ for how relations between the two countries can become even closer. Our two countries are facing the challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean through the same perspective. They remain committed to the peaceful settlement of disputes and respect for International Law.”

“I would also like to emphasise that this visit to the United Arab Emirates is another step within the context of the active foreign policy that our country has been developing in the last year; an active foreign policy that has made our country a force for stability, security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

The strengthening and upgrading of bilateral relations at a strategic level was sealed by the meeting of the Greek Prime Minister with the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates. In line with political and defence cooperation, the two leaders expressed a strong desire to strengthen the economic relations between the two countries.

At the same time, the upgrading and deepening of the relations between Greece and the UAE gives a new perspective to the strengthening of the regional multilateral cooperation schemes that move in the same strategic axis, guided by the consolidation of a climate of stability and peace in the wider region.

During the meeting, an in-depth review of the rapid progress made in recent months in bilateral relations and across the spectrum of bilateral cooperation was discussed, as well as the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region with an emphasis on Turkey’s destabilising behaviour.

The most important aspects of the strategic cooperation between Greece and the United Arab Emirates were also discussed, which was sealed through the Joint Declaration of the two Governments, as well as with the Foreign Minister’s, Nikos Dendias, signing of the Joint Declaration of Strategic Partnership between Greece and the UAE, but also the Bilateral Agreement in the fields of foreign policy and defence.

The signing of the agreements demonstrates the positions of both sides in the face of the common challenges that the two countries are encountering at a regional level and upgrades the relations between the two countries at a strategic level in all areas of mutual interest.

The cooperation agreement in the fields of foreign policy and defence provides, inter alia, for the creation of a High Level Committee, which will oversee the implementation and strengthening of defence cooperation on the basis of the military cooperation agreement of 2007.

Through the very significant upgrade of bilateral relations, multilateral cooperation schemes are being strengthened which are moving in the same strategic direction, with the aim of consolidating a climate of stability and peace in the wider region.

Greece systematically builds and strengthens international and regional alliances, while increasing its diplomatic capital by participating in the new security edifice in the region.

Other important fields of cooperation with great prospects are the economic and investment fields, as companies from the UAE are already active in Greece. The UAE is also the most important investor in Greece from the Gulf countries, while areas of mutual interest for economic cooperation are agriculture, livestock, aquaculture, tourism, energy, transport infrastructure.

 

 

Accompanying the Greek Premier was Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, with responsibility for Economic Diplomacy and Extroversion, Konstantinos Frangogiannis, Head of the Diplomatic Office of the Prime Minister, Ambassador Eleni Sourani and the Ambassador of Greece to the United Arab Emirates, Dionysios Zois.

 

(Photos: D.Papamitsos/Offfice to the PM.)

4th Tripartite Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Cyprus & Jordan

 

A model of constructive regional cooperation

 

“It was emphasised that the countries of the wider region should not
necessarily rely on third parties to settle the various issues in the region,
but rather should launch joint initiatives in order to convey
a clear message to promote peace and stability.”

 

Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias attended the 4th meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the tripartite cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Jordan held in Amman on December 8th. The fact that the three Ministers were standing there, side by side, in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, says a lot about the importance the three countries attach to their cooperation.

The meeting explored the trilateral political and economic cooperation, as well as regional developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya and Syria. Turkey’s behaviour was also discussed, as the Greek Foreign Minister highlighted its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, making special reference to the casus belli, while his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, referred to the provocations within the Cypriot EEZ and Varosha.

Minister Dendias said that Turkey is engaging in propaganda and spreading fake news and continues to consider Greece’s right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles as a cause of war.  Moreover, he said that the Erdogan-led Turkey insists on “weaponising” illegal migration and acting as a “jihadist travel agency” from Libya to the Caucasus.

Referring to the tripartite cooperation, Minister Dendias said that all three countries have done a lot of groundwork in order to prepare for their leaders’ meeting in Greece in the first half of 2021. “It will be a great honour and Prime Minister Mitsotakis is looking forward to organising a Summit in Athens. And I think with that meeting we can go even more forward,” the Minister added.

In a joint press statement following the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Jordan Ayman Safadi reaffirmed the importance of the meeting, saying that due to the geographical and cultural proximity between the countries, coordination concerned with regional developments serves as a common interest and a necessity.

Minister Safadi noted the efforts in resolving regional conflicts and ensuring safety in the region based on the concept of non-intervention, respect toward others’ legitimate interests and establishing peace and stability in accordance with International Law. The meeting also focused on Jordan’s central cause, the Palestinian issue, and the efforts exerted in resuming “serious and effective” negotiations to materialise the two-State solution, leading to the establishment of the independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian State, living in peace with Israel, on the June 4th 1967, lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with International Law and the Arab Peace Initiative.

With regard to the Syrian and Libyan crises, the Ministers agreed on the urgency of arriving at a solution, which guarantees the States’ unity and independence, ridding the countries of foreign intervention and the danger of terrorism. They reaffirmed that terrorism is a common enemy that bears no affiliation with Islam and the values of peace, tolerance and mutual love and respect for the other, warning against falling for the terrorist’s trap of portraying the war on terrorism as that between the Islamic world and the West.

Concerning the Iraqi status quo, Minster Safadi emphasised the importance of protecting the country from the repercussions of regional conflicts, adding that the Iraqi Government must be supported on its journey of rebuilding, securing stability, regaining sovereignty.

The Cypriot Foreign Minister said that the European Union regards Jordan as “a beacon of peace”, praising the Jordanian-Cypriot relations and saying that he was convinced “that the establishment of a Permanent Secretariat for our trilateral cooperation mechanism, in Nicosia, at the beginning of the year, will act as catalyst in the implementation of our decisions and the enhancement of regional cooperation”.

Minister Dendias concluded that this tripartite cooperation “does not target others,” but is rather open to everyone enjoying the willingness to achieve peace and stability.

 

 

Pictured above: Addressing the press in Amman after convening their 4th tripartite meeting, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

 

 

Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα
του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής

Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, στη μείωση των εκπομπών ρύπων.

Τα πλεονεκτήματα που απορρέουν από τη χρήση φυσικού αερίου, δεσμεύεται να φέρει πιο κοντά σε περισσότερους καταναλωτές της μεγαλύτερης περιφέρειας της χώρας, η ΕΔΑ Αττικής, ως ο αποκλειστικός διαχειριστής του δικτύου φυσικού αερίου της Αττικής. Προς αυτή την κατεύθυνση, η Εταιρεία εκσυγχρονίζει και επεκτείνει διαρκώς το δίκτυο διανομής φυσικού αερίου. Μάλιστα, προχωρώντας με επιδόσεις ρεκόρ σε ό,τι αφορά στην κατασκευή δικτύου, με στόχο τα 150 χλμ. εντός του 2020, η Εταιρεία δίνει προτεραιότητα στην επέκτασή του σε δήμους της Αττικής με χαμηλή διείσδυση φυσικού αερίου. Κατ’ αυτόν τον τρόπο, παρέχει τη δυνατότητα σε δεκάδες χιλιάδες νοικοκυριά και επιχειρήσεις να απεγκλωβιστούν από την ενεργειακή απομόνωση και να επωφεληθούν από τα αναρίθμητα οφέλη του εν λόγω καυσίμου.

Με ένα νέο αναπτυξιακό πρόγραμμα για τα έτη 2021-2025, η ΕΔΑ Αττικής σκοπεύει να πετύχει τη διασύνδεση χιλιάδων επιπλέον καταναλωτών στο δίκτυο φυσικού αερίου, προκειμένου να τους παρέχει τη δυνατότητα πρόσβασης σε πλεονεκτήματα που σχετίζονται με τη μείωση του ενεργειακού κόστους, την ευκολία χρήσης, την ενίσχυση της ασφάλειας και τη μείωση του περιβαλλοντικού αποτυπώματος νοικοκυριών και επιχειρήσεων.

Πιο συγκεκριμένα, το φυσικό αέριο αποτελεί διαχρονικά την πιο οικονομική επιλογή και την καλύτερη ενεργειακή επένδυση σε βάθος χρόνου, για οικιακή και επαγγελματική χρήση, προσφέροντας ανταγωνιστικά τιμολόγια ως προς άλλες συμβατικές μορφές ενέργειας. Αυτό μεταφράζεται σε πολυάριθμες απολαβές που λαμβάνουν οι καταναλωτές φυσικού αερίου με την άφθονη, ποιοτική και οικονομική θέρμανση στην κατοικία τους. Η εξοικονόμηση στη θέρμανση ξεπερνά το 40% σε σχέση με άλλες μορφές θέρμανσης, ενώ η χρήση του μπορεί να επεκταθεί και στο μαγείρεμα, ζεστό νερό κ.ά. προσφέροντας επιπλέον σημαντική εξοικονόμηση. Ακόμη, σε αντίθεση με το πετρέλαιο, για την προμήθεια του οποίου χρειάζεται παραγγελίες και παραλαβές ανά τακτά διαστήματα, η ροή του φυσικού αερίου μέσω του δικτύου διανομής είναι συνεχής. Περαιτέρω, πρόκειται για μια πιο πρακτική λύση σε σχέση με τη χρήση πετρελαίου, καθώς δεν προϋποθέτει την ανάγκη ύπαρξης και υλοποίησης ειδικών εγκαταστάσεων, όπως δεξαμενών αποθήκευσης καυσίμων.

Επιπροσθέτως, με τη χρήση φυσικού αερίου εξασφαλίζεται ένα ακόμη σημαντικό πλεονέκτημα που αφορά στην ασφάλεια που προσφέρει στην καθημερινή χρήση του, καθώς είναι ένα απολύτως φυσικό προϊόν. Ενώ στα αξιοσημείωτα, θα πρέπει  να επισημανθεί ότι τα έργα κατασκευής του δικτύου στην Αττική πραγματοποιούνται από την ΕΔΑ Αττικής βάσει σύγχρονων και αυστηρών προδιαγραφών, με τη λειτουργία του δικτύου να παρακολουθείται 24 ώρες το εικοσιτετράωρο, 365 μέρες το χρόνο με ειδικό ηλεκτρονικό σύστημα στο σύγχρονο κέντρο ελέγχου της Εταιρείας.

Τέλος, η πρόσβαση στο φυσικό αέριο σημαίνει πρόσβαση και στο πλέον φιλικό προς το περιβάλλον καύσιμο, σε σχέση και με τα υπόλοιπα ορυκτά καύσιμα. Όντας πιο καθαρό και λιγότερο ρυπογόνο, η καύση του παράγει λιγότερο διοξείδιο του άνθρακα συμβάλλοντας έτσι στη μείωση της παραγωγής ρύπων του μεγαλύτερου αριθμού καταναλωτών που είναι τα νοικοκυριά.

Σύμφωνα με τον Εκτελεστικό Πρόεδρο της ΕΔΑ Αττικής κ. Πιέρρο Χατζηγιάννη «Αποστολή της ΕΔΑ Αττικής είναι η προώθηση της ενεργειακής ισότητας μεταξύ των δήμων και των καταναλωτών της Αττικής, μέσω της εξάπλωσης της χρήσης του φυσικού αερίου. Για την επίτευξη αυτής της αποστολής εργαζόμαστε μεθοδικά, θέτοντας και επιτυγχάνοντας κάθε φορά όλο και πιο υψηλούς στόχους. Με τις επενδύσεις που προγραμματίζουμε για την επόμενη πενταετία, οι οποίες αγγίζουν τα 130 εκ. Ευρώ, αλλά και με αυτές που υλοποιούμε ήδη, σκοπεύουμε να διακόψουμε την ενεργειακή απομόνωση ολόκληρων δήμων και περιοχών, δίνοντας στους καταναλωτές της Αττικής την ευκαιρία να απολαύσουν οικονομική και αποδοτική ενέργεια, καθώς και όλα τα οφέλη και πλεονεκτήματα που προκύπτουν από τη χρήση του φυσικού αερίου».

Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

 

 

Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors

 

 

The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th.

The Greek Minister was welcomed by the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt at the Presidential Palace in Cairo; during the meeting, the excellent level of cooperation between the two countries, as well as the will for the further enhancement of the strategic cooperation, were confirmed.

According to the Egyptian Presidency, the meeting also discussed ways to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries, as well as reference the latest developments in regional and international issues, especially in ways to combat terrorism.

The Egyptian leader described the military cooperation between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus as “an example of a good neighbourhood for the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region, which is always based on international rules.”

According to the Egyptian Presidency, the Egyptian leader revealed his desire to further strengthen military cooperation between Egypt and Greece, expressing his satisfaction with the high level of cooperation between the two countries, together with Cyprus.

The tripartite cooperation between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus is based on respect, good neighbourliness and mutual interests of the three countries, in accordance with international rules for the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region, an Egyptian statement said.

 

On his part, the Greek Minister conveyed to the Egyptian President the greetings of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, emphasising that his visit to Egypt reflects the strengthening of strategic relations between the two countries and their desire to work for security and stability in the region.

The Egyptian Minister of Defence Mohamed Zaki welcomed his Greek counterpart and expressed Egypt’s appreciation of the firm relations with Greece and the keenness of the Armed Forces’ command to enhance bilateral cooperation and partnership in security and military fields.

The Ministers discussed latest developments on regional and international issues, alongside issues of mutual concern in light of the military cooperation and expertise exchange between the Armed Forces of both countries.

Minister Panagiotopoulos hailed the Egyptian-Greek relations, saying that they witness progress in all cooperation fields. He also praised Egypt’s effective role at the regional and international levels, as well as its efforts to achieve security and stability in the Middle East.

On December the 5th, Defence Minister Panagiotopoulos was joined by the Hellenic National Defence General Staff Chief General Konstantinos Floros and observed the late phase of the largescale MEDUSA 2020 military exercises between Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates just off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt.

 

Pictured above: the Official Arrival Ceremony of the Greek Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos to Cairo, hosted by his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki; President Abdel Fattah El Sisi grants an audience with the Greek Defence Minister; officials representing Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates as they prepare for the Medusa 2020 military exercises just off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt.

 

Interview with H.E. the Ambassador of the Republic of Austria, Hermine Poppeller

 

 

The Western Balkans remains a focal point of Austria’s foreign policy. Our vision is a democratic, stable and economically successful Western Balkans region, embedded and integrated within the European Union. Experience has taught us that the perspective of EU Membership is a crucial motor for transformation and stabilisation in the countries of the Western Balkans…

Without that region, the great project of European unification is simply not complete…

 

 

GDL: What are the main aspects of the foreign policy of Austria?

HP: Austria has always and will continue to advocate for strengthening effective multilateral cooperation. The current situation is showing once more that we can only overcome global challenges such as a pandemic or climate change when we work together. Austria is particularly engaged in efforts for disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are pleased that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which Austria co-initiated, will enter into force early next year.

On the European level, we support the Western Balkan States on their way into the European Union. Austria contributes to strengthening the EU’s role as a global actor and to spreading our common values like democracy, the rule of law and human rights. As an export oriented country, we are also active in fostering economic relations and partnerships.

GDL: Austria’s permanent neutrality provides numerous opportunities to act as a bridge builder and host of a great number of important events. How does your country emphasise its unique role as an East-West hub?

HP: On October 26th 1955, the first day after the last foreign soldier left Austrian soil, Parliament adopted the Constitutional Law on the Neutrality of Austria.

Austria’s promise in April 1955 to become permanently neutral had paved the way for the Austrian State Treaty with the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and France, signed on May 15th 1955 and for the withdrawal of the Allied Forces.

Since then, Austria’s permanent neutrality also provided numerous opportunities to act as a bridge builder and host of a great number of important international conferences and international organisations. The nuclear negotiations with Iran for instance were completed successfully in Vienna in July 2015.

 

“In my opinion, there is interest from both the Greeks and Austrians in the entire field of alternative energy, renewable energy and in all sectors that have to do with climate change. The Greek Government puts strong efforts in shutting down coal-fired power plants and switching to climate-friendly energy. This coincides with Austrian interests.”

 

GDL: The Western Balkan Enlargement Process remains high on the EU agenda. What is Austria’s policy on this issue?

HP: For many reasons, not least its geographical proximity, the Western Balkans remains a focal point of Austria’s foreign policy. Our vision is a democratic, stable and economically successful Western Balkans region, embedded and integrated in the European Union. Experience has taught us that the perspective of EU Membership is a crucial motor for transformation and stabilisation in the countries of the Western Balkans.

Austria therefore fully supports the process of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans and we are happy to have Greece as a strong partner in this effort. Without that region, the great project of European unification is simply not complete. The Western Balkans must not remain a “blank spot” in the very midst of the Union.

Bringing all countries in the region into the EU is also about improving stability and security on our own doorstep. Within this context, it can hardly be appreciated enough what an extraordinary contribution Greece and North Macedonia have made to stability and progress in the region through the conclusion of the Prespa Agreement.

GDL: Austria has been particularly affected by the large migration and refugee movements to Europe. However, this year’s cynical and aggressive use of human misery as a political tool by certain countries at the external borders of the EU make the situation explosive. How should the EU address this issue collectively?

HP: Within the EU, Austria emphasises the importance of solidarity between Member States in view of the enormous challenges posed by the migration and refugee crisis. Above all, an agreement on a sustainable and fair Common European Asylum System is needed. At the same time – also with regard to the functioning of the Schengen area – external border protection must be further strengthened. Austria makes important contributions to this, for example in the form of secondments to FRONTEX operations.

 

“In the current pandemic, the EU has shown that it is able to act. Solidarity among Member States is crucial. We can only master these unprecedented challenges together.”

 

GDL: The European Union looks poised to find broad political agreement on a new EU migration pact. Does Austria feel that a political agreement can be reached under the current circumstances?

HP: The European Commission has made a promising new proposal for a New Pact on Asylum and Migration, which has given new impetus to the discussion. There is a realistic chance that a consensus can be reached that is acceptable to all.

GDL: Vienna hosts the headquarters of several UN bodies, international organisations and agencies. How does this prominent status increase Austria’s responsibilities and how does it affect its foreign policy?

HP: Vienna is one of the most important headquarters of international organisations emerging as a hub for the promotion of peace, security, sustainable development, disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Further emphasis is given to the fight against crime, drug abuse and terrorism. Forty-two international organisations are based in Austria, among them 19 UN entities.

Already during the Cold War Austria served as platform for international dialogue due to its geopolitical position and its neutral status. This position was strengthened by the opening of the Vienna International Centre (VIC), also called UNO City, in 1979. Since then, Vienna has been the seat of the United Nations (UN) together with New York, Geneva and Nairobi. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEO,) being by far the largest Vienna based IO, established its headquarters here in 1957.

Vienna also hosts the world’s largest regional organisation, namely the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe with 57 participating States ranging from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

Our foreign policy is founded on a comprehensive concept of security – including politico-military, economic, environmental and human rights-related aspects. At the same time, we are convinced that a steady promotion of dialogue is as a prerequisite for building or restoring trust. This is what the OSCE is standing for – since 1975.

GDL: Central Europe had never been a target of a major terrorist attack. However, the Vienna shooting in November was the latest in a recent series of violent attacks in Europe. How are Austrians coping in the aftermath of this barbarism and what is their message to the world?

HP: Naturally, the shock of this brutal attack of 2nd November brought deep grief to many, but they also showed truly remarkable acts and signs of compassion and solidarity towards the victims, their families and across our society. In the aftermath of the attack, Austria received condolences and messages of solidarity from all over the world and in particular from many quarters of Government in Greece. This shows that we are not alone in the fight against terrorism.

The Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated it very clearly after the attack: Our free society will not be intimidated by terrorists. We will defend our basic values, our way of life and our democracy with all our might; with great determination and without any compromises.

He also made very clear, that our enemies are Islamist extremists, but never the members of an entire religion. This is not a conflict between Christians and Muslims or between Austrians and migrants. This is a fight between the many who believe in peace and the few who long for war.

GDL: In the midst of the pandemic, we are experiencing a deterioration in the Eastern Mediterranean region due to aggression, authoritarianism and revisionism by certain countries. Is the credibility of Europe at Stake? Should the EU defend international values and international order? Can the EU continue to exercise double standards? What is the position of Austria?

HP: Austria has taken a clear stance concerning the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and declared her full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus. What is instrumental for a positive agenda for this region is that every actor shows true interest in de-escalation, not only verbally, but through positive action, not only temporarily, but consistently.

For the time being Austria cannot recognise this interest by a certain actor. In our opinion, the EU should act accordingly.

GDL: The EU’s recovery fund, in addition to the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027 anticipates leading the Union to the road of full recovery through this vision New Generation EU. What does this new proposal need to adopt in order to be sustainable, even and fair for all Member States? What is the position of your country?

HP: In the current pandemic, the EU has shown that it is able to act. Solidarity among Member States is crucial. We can only master these unprecedented challenges together. To support economic recovery in all Member States, in particular in those most affected by the pandemic, the extraordinary European Council in July decided to set up a Recovery Fund, the so-called Next Generation EU, which is limited in time.

This has been an important step toward overcoming the crisis, but also to strengthening the EU and its Member States in important future-oriented areas such as digitalisation. At the same time, the Covid-19 recovery will also be a ‘Green Recovery’.

 

“Austria is aware of the important role of Greece as one EU Member with an external EU-border and supports Greece in this regard, as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean…”

 

GDL: What is the level of bilateral trade between Austria and Greece? In your opinion, which are the favourite sectors that should be explored further?

HP: There is a relatively strong loyalty of Austrian companies to Greece. Despite the crisis until 2018, most of the Austrian companies remained in Greece and I think it is worth it for them. We observe a very positive trend in Austrian exports to Greece, but also in Greek exports to Austria. Austrian companies are also interested in investments, but of course there are always several steps from interest to implementation.

In my opinion, there is interest from both the Greeks and Austrians in the entire field of alternative energy, renewable energy and in all sectors that have to do with climate change. The Greek Government puts strong efforts in shutting down coal-fired power plants and switching to climate-friendly energy. This coincides with Austrian interests.

GDL: Austrian-Greek relations are considered excellent and go back in time for centuries. How should both peoples intensity their ties and what initiatives are both Governments taking?

HP: Austria is aware of the important role of Greece as one EU Member with an external EU-border and supports Greece in this regard, as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean.

An important initiative to bring people together is culture. Culture constitutes an essential pillar of the work of the Austrian Embassy. Our aim is not only to present Austria in Greece as a creative and innovative country, but also to promote European integration and to foster direct dialogue between Austrians and Greeks.

Culture is the ideal means to build bridges and show what we have in common and how we complement each other, which is a true pleasure for the Embassy given the outstandingly friendly and interested Greek people and the huge interest of Austrians in this beautiful country. The result often goes beyond the cultural project itself and promotes lasting ties and close friendship.

A flagship programme of the Austrian Embassy is the Greek-Austrian Music Summer which was held this year for the second time. Between 9th May and 30th August, 27 concerts were held in 20 different Greek venues with the involvement of more than 100 musicians from Greece and Austria. For 2021 we plan a third edition, the details of which we will reveal as soon as they are defined. I warmly invite all readers of Greek Diplomatic Life to visit our website (www.bmeia.gv.at/athen), to register for our monthly newsletter (by sending an e-mail to athen-ob@bmeia.gv.at), to follow us on Facebook (@AustriainGreece), as well as on Twitter (@AustriainGreece).

 

“An important initiative to bring people together is culture.

Culture constitutes an essential pillar of the work of the Austrian Embassy… The result often goes beyond the cultural project itself and promotes lasting ties and close friendship.”

 

GDL: Vienna is a much-desired global destination for Christmas. Unfortunately this year cannot be the case. What is your seasonal message to your faithful visitors?

HP: The past year has certainly been a challenging one for all of us – physically, economically and emotionally – and unfortunately, the current epidemiological situation does not allow for a Christmas season as usual. Despite these limitations, I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I hope that visitors from Greece will once again be able to enjoy the Austrian Christmas markets and ski slopes in 2021.

 

Interview by Nicolas Boutsicos
Editor, Greek Diplomatic Life

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - SEPTEMBER 2019

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - JULY/AUGUST 2019

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - JUNE 2019

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - MAY 2019

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - APRIL 2019

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - MARCH 2019

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - FEBRUARY 2019

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - JANUARY 2019

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - DECEMBER 2018

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

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Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - NOVEMBER 2018

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

Read More »

Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

Read More »

Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

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Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

    The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries. His Highness …

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EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

    Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, …

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Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - OCTOBER 2018

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

Read More »

Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

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Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

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Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

    The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries. His Highness …

Read More »

EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

    Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, …

Read More »

Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

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HIGHLIGHTS ON THE MONTH - SEPTEMBER 2018

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

Read More »

Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

Read More »

Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

Read More »

Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

    The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries. His Highness …

Read More »

EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

    Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, …

Read More »

Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

Read More »

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - JULY/AUGUST 2018

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

Read More »

Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

Read More »

Official Visit by the French Minister of Defence to Greece

    The Signing of the Agreement for the Procurement of ‘Rafale’ Fighter Aircraft   On January 25th, the Minister of Defence of France, Florence Parly, paid an Official Visit to Greece, meeting at the Ministry of National Defence with her counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and with the Prime Minister, Kyriakos …

Read More »

Greece and the UAE Strengthen Strategic Partnership

    The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, as well as the Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Foreign Policy and Defence during the recent Greek delegation’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, headed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further strengthens the relations between both countries. His Highness …

Read More »

EDA Attikis offers access to the advantages of natural gas to the residents of Attica

    Η ΕΔΑ Αττικής προσφέρει πρόσβαση στα πλεονεκτήματα του φυσικού αερίου στους κατοίκους της Αττικής Η χρήση του φυσικού αερίου είναι ευρέως διαδομένη σε όλους τους τομείς της κατανάλωσης, τόσο για οικιακή όσο και για επαγγελματική, αλλά και βιομηχανική χρήση, προσφέροντας αναρίθμητα οφέλη στον τελικό καταναλωτή και συμβάλλοντας, παράλληλα, …

Read More »

Minister of National Defence pays Official Visit to Egypt

    Strengthening relations in the military and security sectors     The Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos had discussions with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Zaki, within the context of his Official Visit to Egypt on December 3rd-5th. The …

Read More »

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - JUNE 2018

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

  Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”   Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the …

Read More »

Foreign Minister meets with counterparts in Rome and Lisbon

    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 …

Read More »

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH - MAY 2018

Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in Athens for talks

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

Building a “sincere and strategic partnership relationship based on mutual trust and support”

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, at the Foreign Ministry on January 14th. Talks focused on bilateral political and economic relations, including cooperation on responding to the pandemic, and on regional issues, with emphasis on the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

Following their talks, the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed three Memoranda of Cooperation; more specifically, in the field of Diplomatic Training, in the field of Civil Protection, as well as between Enterprise Greece and Invest North Macedonia.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Northern Macedonia concluded his visit to Athens by meeting with the State and political leadership of Greece. He was first received by the President of the Republic, Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, discussing the progress of bilateral relations in the era of the Prespes Agreement, the situation in the region and the European perspective of North Macedonia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with President Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou.

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani pictured with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

 

Minister Osmani was then received by his Greek counterpart. In joint statements following the signing of the three agreements, Minister Dendias noted that “we cannot allow the creation of a stability gap in the Western Balkans,” while warning that the gap could be easily filled by other non-European forces that pursue revisionism.

Greece has historically and actively supported the Western Balkan countries and their accession prospects, he noted, “though always on the basis of the conditionalities, meritocracy and methodology of the EU.” “We firmly believe that this is the only path for peace and stability in the region. Europe has an obligation to keep European enlargement on the table,” Minister Dendias added.

The Foreign Minister also said that Greece is ready to provide technical assistance and to support the efforts of the Western Balkans for EU accession but noted that “we must have a fully consistent and good faith implementation of the Prespes Agreement in order to have progress.” “Two years after the Prespes Agreement came into force, we acknowledge that there has been a very great effort for its implementation. But, of course, greater progress is required,” he said.

This included efforts to consistently implement the use of the agreed name and terms by all public and private entities, including websites, and eradicate the problems of ancient symbols and the Vergina Sun from public spaces and for public uses, he noted. ”What is absolutely clear in the Prespes Agreement is clarity on what happened in antiquity,” Minister Dendias said, pointing out that it was clear and has been accepted by North Macedonia that it was not part of the military campaign of Alexander the Great, nor took part in its major battles and other historic moments.

Minister Dendias also highlighted the fact that Greece can be North Macedonia’s greatest ally and friend, as the country’s stability and prosperity was also in its own interests, while Greece has welcomed North Macedonia as an ally in NATO and patrols its skies. He also thanked the neighbouring country for aligning itself with the common EU position on Turkey, saying that this was noted and appreciated by Greece.

Referring to the three memoranda of understanding signed, he said these have taken bilateral relations one step further. “We must further encourage trade and investments… as these can create new jobs and prosperity in both countries, but also the surrounding region,” he said.

He noted that Greece has made a great effort to provide support in terms of supplying North Macedonia with vaccines against Covid within an EU framework, pledging to continue this effort.

North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister thanked Greece for its support of his country’s EU accession prospects and the start of accession negotiations, saying it was the basis of a long friendship between the two countries and that Greece and North Macedonia are “strategic partners and with th