BRUSSELS — Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean should be resolved on the basis of International Law and NATO solidarity, stated NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday, the first of a two-day conference of alliance defense ministers.
In the video conference, ministers recognized "the importance of avoiding words and actions which can escalate tensions," and expressed strong support for the NATO de-confliction mechanism as a way to avoid incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, "It is for us as politicians to do everything we can to resolve these disputes at our level," he said, as the mechanism will not solve the underlying disputes.
Stoltenberg expressed the hope that exploratory talks under German auspices may start "as soon as possible."
Finally, he congratulated both Greece and Turkey for the flexibility they showed in putting this mechanism in action, and said that the NATO headquarters is a forum where progress can be made, given that Greece and Turkey have daily meetings there, an advantage that will prevent all misunderstandings.