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Politics

Dendias: EU Has the Determination to Protect Its External Borders

ATHENS — The Greek borders with Turkey are also the European Union's borders with TUrkey and the EU has the determination to protect its external borders effectively, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said during joint statements on Wednesday with visiting EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, after their visit to military border post 1 at Kastanies, Evros.

He added that Greece is "always open to dialogue but will not enter into talks under duress nor assist the legalisation of continuous violations of legality on Turkey's part."

Dendias referred to the incidents at the Greek-Turkish borders: "At this spot less than four months ago, Greeks, Europeans and the international community became witnesses to an unbelievable situation; the exploitation by Turkey of the hopes of thousands of people for a better life."

He noted that the "sordid attempt to blackmail the EU to gain concessions has failed", adding that "here in Evros, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis along with the presidents of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission, as well as the Prime Minister of Croatia, on March 3 voiced the EU's determination to protect its external borders effectively, according to European and international law." In the days that followed, Frontex forces were deployed in Evros and still remain there, Dendias said.

"Today, after a short interval due to the pandemic, Turkey has once again stated that its land borders with Europe are open, its coast guard is escorting boats loaded with migrants heading toward the Greek islands and it insists on undermining security, stability and peace in the Eastern Mediterranean," Dendias said, while he referred in detail to Ankara's provocativeness and said that Turkey has caused problem for all its neighbours.

"Greece has proved in practice its will and ability to resolve long-standing differences with its neighbours on the basis of international law, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the principles of good neighbourliness. Conditions sine qua non for any EU member-state but also for any country that wants to become an EU member…Dialogue between neighbouring countries with facing shores for the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf is the only legitimate way, according to the Law of the Sea," Dendias stated.

Earlier, Dendias and Borrell were briefed by a Greek police official and held talks with Frontex officers stationed in Evros.

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