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Mitsotakis, Erdogan Met in a Cordial Climate in Brussels

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Greek PM Mitsotakis, Turkish President Erdogan meet in Brussels. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Dimitris Papamitsos)

BRUSSELS-- The meeting of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels on Monday "was a step towards a quieter summer," underlined government sources.

Held on the sidelines of the NATO Leaders Summit, the 50-minute meeting took place "in a cordial climate, and there was an agreement of mutual understanding that the tensions of 2020 cannot be repeated," sources noted.

It was, however, clarified that "a series of very significant differences still exist, the main one being the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean." These differences will have to be dealt with in the context of International Law, exploratory talks, Confidence-Building Measures and political consultations, it was added; this would be a framework of communication "which can lead to the easing of tension," they stressed.

The two leaders also discussed the refugee and migration crisis, with the Greek premier noting that a goodwill gesture on Turkey's behalf would be to take back the 1,450 asylum seekers whose applications were irreversibly rejected by Greek authorities.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis referred to decisions that must be reached, arising from complex challenges and security dilemmas of the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, while addressing the 2021 Brussels Summit of NATO leaders on Monday.

The Greek premier insisted on the need for the North Atlantic Alliance to act immediately and decisively, and he noted that "we should not wait for tomorrow, while playing political games in pursuit of personal interests. On the contrary, we have to face the problems and act now."

NATO Leaders will discuss a wide range of issues, including the main themes of the NATO 2030 initiative: how to reinforce the Alliance's unity, broaden its approach to security and contribute to safeguarding the rules-based international order.

In parallel with the summit, NATO has partnered with the German Marshall Fund of the United States to host "NATO 2030 at Brussels Forum". This event will feature conversations with government leaders, international experts, representatives from civil society, the private sector and young professionals.

"Greece is a pillar of stability in the Southeastern Mediterranean and steadily spends over 2 percent of its GDP on its defence needs. As it emerges stronger from the economic crisis of the previous decade, it is ready to make higher investments in its military capacity and show itself even better able to comply with its obligations to the Alliance," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined at his arrival at the NATO Summit in Brussels on Monday.

Mitsotakis noted that the Summit was an opportuntity for the Alliance to reaffirm the EuroAtlantic institutions, which he said had been tested in recent years, adding that the member-states must reaffirm their respect for the values, principles and unity of the Alliance.

"NATO is today facing extremely complex challenges, which require a re-adjustment of its strategy. The coronavirus proved how vulnerable our societies can be to a virus that is not visible to the naked eye. Climate change has not only social and economic repercussions but also affects security issues as it encourages migration flows. Authoritarian regimes, also, develop their hybrid arsenal in order to weaken our democratic institutions. To all these things, NATO's 2030 agenda has comprehensive answers," Mitsotakis underlined.