ATHENS – The exclusion of Greece from a video conference of country leaders to discuss the refugee issue was “inconceivable,” main opposition SYRIZA said in an announcement on Tuesday.
After being left out of the Berlin summit on Libya, the announcement noted, “our country will not be taking part in a video conference on the refugee issue being held by the leaders of France, Germany and Turkey either…it is inconceivable that Greece, instead of joining in decision-making on how to overcome a crisis that directly affects it must wait for others to announce the decisions taken without it.”
If Greece’s absence had once againbeen forced on the German chancellor by the Turkish president, just a handful of days after the Greek prime minister’s visit to Berlin, SYRIZA added, “then this is a serious failure of our diplomacy.”
“[The government] must finally understand that internationalisation does not mean simply informing but demanding and taking initiatives and that the only way that Greece can defend its rights against both Turkish aggressiveness and European cynicism is to be present during talks,” SYRIZA added.
“It is a mistake for the prime minister to assure the European Union that Greece can and wants to play the role of ‘shield or advanced outpost’ for Europe,” the announcement said, stressing that Greece must demand the relocation of refugees in Greece to the rest of Europe and the resettlement of refugees in Turkey in the EU, as well as a central role for Greece in talks on EU-Turkey relations and the refugee issue and sanctions against Turkey if it does not return to implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement.