FM Dendias briefs Parliament’s National Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee

“We live in a constantly changing environment, we exercise an open policy of principles based on international law and international legality. Our compass has always been the defence of sovereignty and our rights. The defence or our national interests and universal human values,” Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Monday, while briefing Parliament’s National Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee on Greece’s foreign policy priorities.

The minister spoke about relations with Turkey and the Cyprus issue, while emphasising that Greece’s policy did not pivot around Turkey’s actions though the government “is always open to dialogue with Turkey but only in a framework of international law on the one and only difference with the neighbouring country”.

A condition for such talks to be successful, he added, was for Turkey to lift its standing threat of war against Greece should Athens decide to exercise its legal right under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles.

With respect to the Cyprus issue, he also called on Turkey to abstain from provocative and illegal actions, such as violating UN decisions regarding the restricted town of Famagusta or violating Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, and resume dialogue on the basis of a bizonal and bicommunal federation, in line with UN Security Council resolutions.

He also briefed the committee on Greece’s policy in the Western Balkans and the country’s role in the new security architecture in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the stronger ties being forged with several countries in Middle East and North Africa, in Europe and with the United States.
The minister also referred to the country’s bid to be elected as a temporary member of the UN Security Council, saying this progressing well, and also mentioned Greece’s election to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

The briefing then continued without reporters present.