ATHENS — Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis started the cabinet meeting on Wednesday with a reference to the talks conducted with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which he described as successful.
He stressed the special importance of this visit which, as he said, "strengthens our national line ahead of the European Union summit."
He also sent a message of unity, pointing out that "such moments we must all be united and responsible, because if we have a positive outcome in national issues, it is not the government that wins, it is Greece."
"A visit by the US Secretary of State to our country – even more so when it is the second within 12 months – is a political event, but especially given the time it took place, its agenda and the overall climate, I think it was very important. It produces results on many levels, it has a large national scope and I think that Greece, as a whole, has every reason to be satisfied with this visit," he said and added:
"I think that the positive footprint for our country is proven by the irritation it caused on the other side."
The prime minister also referred to the discussions with Pompeo in Thessaloniki, stressing that "bilateral cooperation in many areas was discussed. In the discussions we had in Crete, security issues obviously dominated. It was agreed that unilateral actions in the Mediterranean should be avoided, as well as that all members have the obligation to respect international law."
Regarding defence issues, he said "I would like to inform you that the presence of the most modern ship of the American fleet, the USS Hershel Williams, in Souda, says a lot about the future of our defence cooperation. I think that on the diplomatic level also, what was said about Greece as a factor for stability in the region was very important. Let us not forget that a few days ago Mr. Pompeo was also in Cyprus. I believe that there is a very clear picture that the United States has vital interests in the Eastern Mediterranean that it is not prepared to forfeit," the prime minister said.
"And I believe that this visit also strengthens our national line in view of the European Union summit, which will start on Thursday. The Turkish behaviour will be examined in detail there and I hope that the message to Ankara will be absolutely clear: unilateral actions cause side effects, aggressive moves bring similar responses, so provocations must stop in order for dialogue to begin on our difference with Turkey, which is nothing more than the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean," he added.
Once again, Mitsotakis said that "our position is very clear, as I also said yesterday, that the time for diplomacy has come and it is now up to our neighbours to prove in practice if they really want a de-escalation and dialogue. Otherwise Europe has other ways to protect its interests, but also the broader security of the Eastern Mediterranean region."