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Dendias: Restart of Greek-Turkish relations without leeway from our sovereign rights

Dendias said the resumption of Greek foreign policy "goes well beyond strengthening our ties and cooperation with the countries of the Balkans" and called his visit to Bulgaria "very productive."

The government has already given out a clear signal of its priorities by way of the Prime Minister's recent working visits to Paris, Berlin and The Hague, "in a climate of mutual trust," said Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias to Saturday's TA NEA newspaper, and elaborated that "the redefinition and recast of Greece's traditional alliances with our partners in the narrow core of Europe is at the heart of our policy."

"In the same context of expanding cooperation with our partners, I will meet my German counterpart, Heiko Maas, in Berlin on Monday," he informed.

Dendias said the resumption of Greek foreign policy "goes well beyond strengthening our ties and cooperation with the countries of the Balkans" and called his visit to Bulgaria "very productive."

Referring to Greek-Turkish relations, Dendias noted that "Greece wants a restart in our relations, from which only positive results can be obtained. The meetings of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as my meeting with my counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, are absolutely beneficial, while the Greece-Turkey Supreme Cooperation Council can also give a boost to our relationship," he expanded.

"However," Dendias said, "we make it clear that our point of reference is always international law, which does not tolerate war threats or unilateral claims. There are no deductions in our sovereign rights. A prerequisite for improving the current climate is also to stop Turkey from interfering with the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, by actions that exacerbate its image as a transgressor of international legitimacy," he pointed out.

Regarding Greece's neighbor North Macedonia, Dendias said that Greece expects "to mitigate, as far as possible, the consequences of the disputed points of the Prespes Agreement, for which our party's reaction is well-known, for the sake of fostering a spirit of co-operation, taking into account (North Macedonia's EU) accession as well," Dendias phrased.

On improving Greek-Albanian bilateral relations, Dendias said "I must point out, however, that Albania is still failing to fulfill its obligations with regard to the property rights of the Greek ethnic minority (present there)."

The Greek Foreign Affairs Minister said it is a high priority for the government to strengthen the country's strategic role in the eastern Mediterranean region and added that "our active foreign policy creates the conditions for closer cooperation in view of the new Strategic Dialogue with the US and the upcoming visit of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Athens in a few weeks."

He also noted that the conditions for closer cooperation with China and Russia are also being created, while the goal of economic growth presupposes smooth relations beyond our wider region, as a number of potential markets open up to us, such as in the Middle East, North Africa and the Far East.

"Strengthening extroversion and economic diplomacy are a priority for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which brings together all relevant agencies," Nikos Dendias conveyed.

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