ATHENS – In his speech entitled “Principles of Greek Foreign Policy: Emphasising Stability in Southeastern Europe”, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias outlined the framework of a foreign policy centred on “peace, intelligence, dialogue”, he said.
According to Kotzias, the interests of Greece are significantly associated with the Balkan region, given the size of its economy, its human capital and its infrastructure, which are indispensable for the economic development of the whole region. But power also implies greater responsibilities: “We must play a leading role in building a culture of compromise and consensus among the states in the region,” Kotzias said. On the other hand, Greece is in the midst of a triangle of instability, which is delimited by Ukraine, Libya, Iraq and Syria. For this reason, “flexibility and adaptability” are required.
Kotzias gave a detailed account of the “twelve principles of our foreign policy associated with sixteen initiatives and nine international configurations” that were created during his term of office at the Greek foreign ministry.
He spoke particularly about the “active and multidimensional foreign policy” that Athens is pursuing with a view to resolving, not perpetuating the problems, which eventually led to the settlement of the issue of FYROM’s name. On this issue, Kotzias clarified that “the Prespes agreement is neither the result of the circumstances nor the outcome of ‘outside pressure’, as often advocated by opposition parties in Greece. On the contrary, it was our own choice to adopt an energetic approach,” he underlined.
The foreign minister described the agreement as “the epitome of a structured and just compromise in the region, which serves as a source of inspiration for others in an area of extended conflict.”
At the same time, he appeared optimistic that negotiations with Albania will soon be successfully concluded on a series of 10 issues, including the demarcation of borders and maritime zones.
In relation to Turkey, Kotzias noted the internal contradictions, its arrogance and self-confidence, as well as its revisionist tendencies. Greece, he said, seeks to reduce tensions, but without giving the impression of being weak, fearful and willing to make concessions to its principles and values. “We have a different view of the value of life and war. And this is a policy of responsibility,” said Kotzias. Moreover, he stressed that Greece seeks dialogue and cooperation with Turkey, but remains firm in its positions.
Greece’s commitment to international law was also highlighted by the foreign minister referring to the country’s attitude towards the Cyprus problem. “Cyprus must become a normal state, a member of the EU and the UN. It must fully enjoy all the rights of a normal situation without any ‘rights’ of third party intervention,” Kotzias said and reiterated that for Greece, the Cyprus problem is an issue of illegal invasion and occupation.