ATHENS — Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has launched a "marathon" of contacts in the Middle East in light of recent developments there and the real risk of a further destabilisation of the region, as well as the very important – but at the same time sensitive – balances that have been achieved, diplomatic sources noted on Thursday.
They pointed out that Dendias was the first European foreign minister to visit Israel and the Palestinian side, and highlighted the importance, both in terms of symbolism and substance, of Dendias' participation in the informal EU Foreign Affairs Council via video conference on Monday.
The Greek foreign minister briefed his European counterparts about his contacts in the region, while he has also spoken with his counterparts from Cyprus, Croatia and Slovakia, the sources said.
Dendias is also continuing contacts with his counterparts in the Middle East and the Gulf. After his visit to Jordan, he is to visit Egypt on Thursday and had a meeting in Athens with Saudi Arabia's culture minister earlier the same day. He has also spoken several times with the United Arab Emirates foreign minister on the telephone.
The foreign minister stressed the importance of stabilising the situation in an already troubled region, as well as the special role that Greece can and already does play as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East.
At this juncture, a priority for Europe is the stabilisation of the situation, but also the avoidance of long-term frictions, an effort which includes Greece's intention, manifested in practice, to create a framework of friendship and cooperation, the sources said.
Finally, the diplomatic sources concluded, this indicates that Greece, through the active foreign policy of the Mitsotakis government, now plays an important role in an area that is in its immediate neighbourhood.