ATHENS — Europe and the Arab world have a long history of interaction, with societies, cultures and economies intertwined in more ways than one, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias said in Athens on Monday, addressing the 5th EU-Arab World Summit held this year online.
At the roundtable discussion, Dendias said that this long history has "allowed us to reinforce our existing strong ties and further enhance our cooperation, based on mutual respect and understanding," including an adherence to International Law and the fundamental principles of the UN Charter.
Greece's aim "is a comprehensive approach to conflicts and crises, through an integrated approach, including early warning and crisis response," he said, "to ensure peace, security and prosperity for all countries and peoples in our common neighborhood."
Challenges in the region are common and the threats have taken new forms, Dendias said, noting as example international terrorism and violent extremism; transnational organized crime, including the trafficking of human beings and drugs; issues related to border management and maritime security; and the need to preserve and protect cultural heritage from environmental degradation and resource scarcity.
The crisis on Cyprus, in Iraq, Syria and Libya underscore the need for "all regional partners to work towards a common understanding of the present challenges, while emphasizing the importance of coordinated action," the Greek minister said, adding that Greece has for this reason worked on trilateral collaborations with Cyprus and other countries.
The EU's strategy includes a wide variety of tools policy and financial instruments that aim at addressing a large scope of security challenges, while concept such as "ownership", "respect of sovereignty", "rejection of foreign intervention in domestic affairs", "tailor-made solutions", and promoting common understanding and effectively tackling intolerance are instrumental in this work towards security collaboration, as is respect for international law and human rights..
"Building on its ancient-long interaction with our partners in the Mediterranean, Greece is in a unique position to combine its 40-years of participation in the EU with an in-depth knowledge of the aspirations of the peoples of the Arab countries," Dendias said, while through the close relations Greece has maintained with the Arab world, it "has been and is always ready to assist in exploring ways out of existing problems or disputes."
The two-day digital summit (Nov. 9-10) is under the patronage of the European Parliament and the auspices of the Greek Foreign ministry and examines the strategic partnership between the Arab World and the European Union.