Dendias: “Our goal is to form a bulwark against threats, violence and extremism”, in dig against Turkey at Friendship Forum

11 February 2021
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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said “Greece’s ambition is to act as a bridge between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf, with the Balkans and the rest of Europe,” in a statement after the end of the “Friendship Forum” hosted today in Athens with the participation of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and France.

In a clear reference to Turkish aggression in the region, he added that what united all at the meeting was the condemnation of illegal acts, the condemnation of irrational acts that undermined peace and security in the area.

“Our goal is to create a bulwark against threats, violence, extremism, intolerance, the distortion of religion, irrationality.”

Dendias went on to underline that peace was the key component to consolidate prosperity in the wider region, a peace which was constantly jeopardised by subversive and revisionist forces, which did not invoke reason, but irrationality.

“In order to achieve their goals, these forces carry out a number of illegal and irrational actions, such as the Turkish-Libyan memorandum. They threaten or use violence, occupy other countries’ territories, support extremist groups or extremist ideologies, foster terrorism, interfere in the internal affairs of other states, with the ultimate goal of overthrowing unfriendly governments.”

The “Friendship Forum” on the other hand, said Mr. Dendias, was the background for the creation of synergies in various sectors, such as economy, energy, transport, tourism, culture, education, civil protection, the dialogue between religions.

“With our meeting today, we are laying an additional foundation for the consolidation of friendship, peace, and prosperity in the wider region, from the Mediterranean to the Gulf.

The participants of the 7 countries signed a joint statement, three from the European Union (Greece, Cyprus, and France) and four Middle Eastern countries (Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) fully meeting Greek expectations, according to diplomatic sources.

First of all, the signatory countries reiterated their commitment to international law, while at the same time special reference is made to the law of the sea. This statement effectively recognises Greece’s efforts to consolidate in the region, but also internationally, the position that disputes concerning the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf should be based exclusively on the Law of the Sea.

According to the same sources, it follows that after the delimitation of the EEZ of Greece with Italy and Egypt, as well as reaching an agreement with Albania to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, more and more countries in the wider Mediterranean region want to make relevant demarcations, always on the basis of the Law of the Sea.

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