Dendias: No Exploratory Talks While Oruc Reis Remains in Greek Continental Shelf

Αssociated Press

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, right, and Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne arrive for a press conference after their meeting in Athens, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS -- No exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey can take place while the Turkish research ship "Oruc Reis" remains within the Greek continental shelf, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Tuesday, following a meeting with his visitng Canadian counterpart, Francois-Philippe Champagne.

At joint statements to the press, Dendias said that "following yesterday's new, illegal Navtex for research just 6.5 miles from our shores, Turkey's leadership has proven it's not a reliable interlocutor. Instead of dialogue, instead of exploratory talks they had committed to propose dates for, they again chose escalation and the direct threat against peace and security in the area."

Speaking of a long-term friendship between Greece and Canada, based on common values and respect of democracy, among others, the Greek minister conveyed the appreciation of the Greek government for Canada's decision to welcome for relocation 50 families of vulnerable asylum applicants. Dendias also conveyed his condolences for the loss of life of the crew of a Canadian helicopter that crashed in the Ionian Sea while on a NATO operation.

On his part, Champagne expressed Canada's interest in serving as mediator between Greece and Turkey, and said the country had submitted proposals to that effect to NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. It should be clearly stated that Turkey must remain in the NATO alliance, he underlined, adding that it is possible to achieve de-escalation through the alliance framework.

The visiting official also noted that Canada is already the largest non-EU investor in Greece; additionally, he cited examples of Canadian companies working in Greece, as in the metallurgical sector. Both countries are examining further collaboration opportunities, he said, promoting green economy and electromobility.

Canada, he noted, wants to become "the best transatlantic partner you have." Greece is a stable country and a state of law and order, and these aspects provide a guarantee for further collaboration, Champagne emphasized.