“Greece has a very important international capital. It has been earned by consistent, honest, full stop which we have adhered to in recent years and for this reason we can be reliable interlocutors not only with regional states but also with all governments and international organizations. This is what we will continue to do,” he said in an interview with Sunday’s Vima.
“Our position both in Ukraine and in the Middle East is one of principle. We are against any aggression and any revisionism. So, I am very clear that we will stay advocates of International Law, the values of democracy and humanitarianism,” the Foreign Minister made clear.
In fact, he hastened to clarify that Greece is not going to get involved in any war conflict, but will do everything in its power to have a creative and active diplomacy to be able to reduce tensions and restore peace as in the Middle East as well as in Ukraine.
Speaking about the crisis in the Middle East after the terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel on October 7, Mr. Gerapetritis emphasized that from the first moment Greece took a very clear position. “Should be convicted universally, in its entirety, every act of terrorism, every act of violence, every inhuman treatment. But we also said that civilians should be protected and the humanitarian those corridorsso that humanitarian aid can go to Gaza and so that the people, who are the most vulnerable of the war, can have what they need,” explained the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Asked about the position of Greece in UN resolution regarding Gaza, Mr. Gerapetritis replied that our country moved to European line and he had a creative approach during the debate for a useful and fair text, while he mentioned that it was a proposal for a resolution that came from the Arab world, from Jordan, and that he was in constant communication with his counterparts in the region.
“We tried to have a text that would be acceptable to all sides. And we didn’t do this because we want to balance” he said and clarified:
“So we said the following: That we will of course accept a resolution, which, however, should have as a fundamental starting point the condemnation of every terrorist act. We all understand that it is unthinkable not to have a conviction, which will occupy any action, which is directed against a state. I think we all agree on this and, moreover, we tried with other creative interventions to have a text, which will be both beneficial and fair. In this context, and given that in the end we did not have these proposals, ours, to pass into the final text, we chose her way abstinence».
In fact, he made it clear that abstention is in no way equivalent to a vote against, and this because it is not counted in the total number of those present to obtain a majority, as well as that it was the path followed by the majority of the states of the European Union.
At the same time, he assured that even today Greece is continuing the effort with persistence Contact by Arab world and with Israel, to “be able to ensure that there will be protection of civilians and as much humanitarian aid as possible to those affected, especially in Gaza”. And “this will continue to be the attitude of Greece” he explained adding that for our country “the dead have no nationality”.
Responding to the criticism he received for the abstention stance, Mr. Gerapetritis said that it has absolutely no basis in real data.
“Anyone who has read the text of this resolution can understand why we did not vote against, as, I want to say, European Union countries did, but also why we did not vote in favor, as other countries did. We moved on the European line. This line of the majority of European countries was abstention, so that at the end of the day it would be easier to vote in favor, but, on the other hand, to be very clear that if there is no condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, it is not possible for the country us to vote for such a text” he additionally noted.
He made special reference to the initiative of Greece, Cyprus and France for the creation of humanitarian corridor of solidarity to Gaza:
“We are coordinating with international organizations, especially the United Nations, and with Israel itself. When we were in Israel with the prime minister a few days ago, in the very context of the discussion we had with the Israeli prime minister, the issue of the humanitarian corridor was raised directly by sea to Gaza. We all understand that this undertaking has particular technical difficulties, because in the wider Gaza Strip there is no safe port for a ship to enter. So, special conditions are needed and, of course, to make sure that there will be security guarantees for a ship to sail there. We are still in discussions so as to ensure as immediate, beneficial and effective humanitarian aid as possible to the affected civilians in Gaza.”
In addition, as he announced, Greece will also send humanitarian aid through Egypt.
International Law is our guide in Greek-Turkish relations
The interview then revolved around Greek-Turkish relations and the recent meetings in Athens on the Political Dialogue and the Positive Agenda, with the foreign minister pointing out that the discussions took place in an extremely productive atmosphere and that step by step the two countries are moving towards a good atmosphere
Expressing Greece’s position clearly, he emphasized that our country follows an attitude in favor of International Law and declared once again that
“We genuinely want to have good relations with all countries, especially the neighboring ones, including Turkey. However, we should clarify two things that are very important. International Law will always be our guide and, moreover, it will not be possible to discuss issues that touch on Greek national sovereignty”.
In this light, he highlighted the need to have, on the one hand, a common understanding, so that “every time a tension or difference arises, it does not lead to a crisis”, and on the other, a productive discussion. “We do not believe that inaction is the way to resolve disputes. Certainly, there are areas of discussion that will lead to mutually beneficial agreements. Civil protection, immigration policy, tourism are issueswhich of course can be on an agenda that will lead to positive agreements for the two countries” he said and noted that we must “look at the issues that are time consuming. I think the fullness of time has arrived, so that we can discuss without tensions, for the good of the two countries and above all for the good of the next generations who have the right to live in a calm and prosperous region”.
The next stage of Greek-Turkish relations is the Supreme Council of Cooperation. “The discussion that will take place in December between the two delegations will primarily revolve around the approval of everything that has been discussed so far, i.e. the signing a series of agreements, which will be concluded between the two delegations by December 7 and will determine the next steps. The leaders of the two countries will be asked to adopt, approve a series of positive, mutually beneficial agreements, determine the next steps and confirm a climate of settlement,” he said.
Noting that from February until today there is a long period of quiet and settlement in our neighborhood, he noted: “It is a period which is not at all self-evident and allows us to have a restrained but sustainable optimism, that we can build on this calmness. And the feeling I have is that there is room for us to be able to discuss with Turkey, without agreeing on everything. We know that we have fundamental differences on critical issues, however, it is important that we can find common ground to be able to move forward.”
Commenting on her position of Turkey for the Middle East, pointed out that Ankara has currently chosen to develop a diplomacy that is close to Hamas. “It’s something that it is not acceptable in our context. It goes without saying that any terrorist attack, especially against civilians and the vulnerable, must be condemned by all”, he added, stressing however that regardless of this, Greece will continue the course of dialogue and cooperation with Turkey and expressed the hope that the good climate for improving bilateral relations.
At the same time, she did not fail to mention her role Cyprus indeed in view of the Supreme Cooperation Council. “Cyprus has always been of primary importance in the exercise of our foreign policy. It is a huge national capital and a national obligation towards History. We could never overlook the Cypriot dimension” he said and pointed out that as far as the development of cooperation with Turkey is concerned, it is a common understanding of the Cypriot government that the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations could only be positive for the development of the Cyprus issue. In particular, regarding the issue of the Supreme Council of Greece – Cyprus, which will be held in a few days in Athens, he said that a series of issues will be discussed, mainly of a bilateral nature.
“We will have the opportunity to discuss to further develop our national line on the critical issues that concern us” he added and made it known that there will also be the signing of some agreements to improve bilateral relations.
Referred to Cypriotmade it clear that Greece persists with arguments and persuasion, that this issue should resolved in the framework of the decisions of the Security Council of the United Nations Organization for a bi-zonal bi-communal federation, as well as that the dialogue should continue and that the Turkish Cypriot side should join it. In fact, he underlined that Greece will continue to raise the issue of Cyprus both in international organizations and in any other circumstances and expressed the hope that we will have a much more productive discussion the next period.
Finally, the Minister of Foreign Affairs reiterated as to Beleri issuethat it is self-evident that as long as this pending situation remains, the bilateral relations between Greece and Albania and that this matter is a question of his fundamental principles rule of law, which defends the political rights of all citizens and especially minorities within each country. He noted that he will make sure that this is reported in all international forums and in the European Union, as he has done until today.