Petsas: De-Escalation Means the Withdrawal of Turkish Ships

September 4, 2020

ATHENS — Αnyone holding public office should act with the seriousness required by his or her position and the NATO secretary general holds a very important office, stated government spokesperson Stelios Petsas on Friday in an interview with SKAI TV. He noted that NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg had tabled some proposals for preventing an "accident" in the Eastern Mediterranean, purely at a technical level. "A document of technical interest was given asking both sides for their proposals. It is not a text with which Greece or Turkey consent to a resumption of talks or have agreed to the resumption of dialogue," he explained.

The government spokesperson said that, in practical terms, de-escalation meant the immediate withdrawal of all Turkish ships from the wider region, after which there needs to be a continuity and consistency in Turkey's stance. A serious discussion can then begin, Petsas added, by resuming the exploratory talks at the point where they were broken off in March 2016. Petsas said that Greece wants the bilateral issues to be resolved with respect for the rules of good neighbour relations, based on international law.

"Our one and only difference with Turkey is the delimitation of our maritime zones. We will happily sit together and agree to resolve this problem that has remained outstanding for decades and poisons the relations of the two peoples and affects stability in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean. If we do not agree, we can draw up an arbitration agreement and have recourse to The Hague," he said, adding that Turkey's provocativeness has lately exceeded all limits seen in at least the recent past, in terms of its intensity and duration.

"Subsequently, until we see some tangible action toward a de-escalation, we must be extremely cautious. We remain vigilant and monitor the issues with composure. We are in a position to do whatever is necessary to defend our sovereign rights but we will not get tired of saying that we want a peaceful solution to our only difference with Turkey and, in this direction, we will coordinate our actions at all the international fora".

On the economy, he said that the recession is deep because the situation is unprecedented, noting that for one and a half month in the second quarter, Greece was in a total lockdown. "The recession was the result of the lockdown," he said, noting that the question is what will happen once the health crisis is over, so that there is a speedy recovery.

He also clarified that the recession announced does not affect the package of measures. "The package of measures the prime minister will announce is big and will cover those really stricken by the crisis."


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