ROME- Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio in Rome on Monday. During the meeting, the two ministers exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Agreement between the two countries on the delimitation of their respective maritime zones.
In joint statements afterwards, Dendias noted that this exchange of instruments was “a very happy event” as it allows the implementation of the agreement to begin:
“This symbolic act is exceptionally significant. It concludes an issue that had been outstanding for 45 years and demonstrates our exemplary relations with Italy, both within the EU … and on a bilateral level. We have close ties that cover the entire range: trade, investments, as Italy has one of the most important positions in the Greek market. We have achieved a great deal but we can achieve even more, in sectors such as tourism, culture and education where we work together closely.”
The minister noted that cooperation between Greece and Italy was “not news” but “what ought to happen between two neighbouring friendly countries,” and that Monday’s exchange of instruments also demonstrated the two countries’ respect for international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“It is our common intent that all Mediterranean countries embrace these values, the dedication to international law and UNCLOS. This would contribute to international stability and Greece is always open to boosting multilateral cooperation on this basis. Unfortunately, we are still far from realising this prospect,” Dendias said.
Commenting on Turkey’s actions and provocativeness, Dendias said that he had informed his Italian counterpart that Turkey was continuing its unlawful actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and flouting fundamental principles of international law. “It is continuing to make threats against Greece. The casus belli, the threat of war against Greece continues to apply for Turkey. It is the only country in the world that has issued a threat of war against another country. It also issues threats against the Cyprus Republic. This is not something that concerns Greece and Cyprus only but the European Union family as a whole, including Italy,” Dendias added.
The Greek minister outlined the other issues discussed during the meeting with his Italian counterpart, saying that they included events in Libya, the Western Balkans, and the challenges facing Europe, such as migration.
They also discussed the climate crisis and the need to change the energy mix in order to meet Europe’s energy supply needs until the green transition is completed. “Generally, we agreed that European solidarity is something absolutely essential,” Dendias said.
Dendias said that he had stressed the need for the Paris summit on Libya, which Italy co-chairs, to send a clear message that foreign troops and mercenaries must depart and about the holding of elections.
He also noted that recent developments in the Western Balkans “are not encouraging” and that they agreed that the EU must clearly support the European perspective of the region, always in accordance with the known conditions. He said that Greece unequivocally supports the start of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia, urging governments in those countries to “avoid the sirens of nationalism”.
Dendias said that Greece and Italy will work even more closely to stop migration, while emphasising that it is a European problem that requires a common EU solution.