“It is Greece’s ambition to become a bridge between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf, between the Balkans and the rest of Europe,” underlined Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in statements after the conclusion of the “Philia Forum” that took place on Thursday in Athens, with the participation of Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and France.
“What unites us all today is our condemnation of illegal actions that undermine peace and security,” he added.
“Our aim is to create a bulwark against threats, violence, extremism, bigotry, distortion of religion and irrationality,” Dendias said, adding that the basic ingredient for the prosperity of the wider region was peace, which is “daily threatened by subversive and revisionist forces that don’t appeal to logic but irrationality.”
Finally, Dendias stated that “in order to achieve their goals, these forces are proceeding with a number of illegal actions, as the Turkish-Libyan memorandum. They threaten or make use of force and occupy the territory of other countries. They support extremist groups or extremist ideologies and harbour terrorism. They interfere with other countries’ internal affairs with the aim of overthrowing non-friendly governments.”
The countries participating in the Philia Forum have a common desire to enhance their relations in all sectors, to protect their mutual interests, and want peace, stability and prosperity to prevail in this very sensitive region, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, said after the end of the first meeting of the Forum in Athens on Thursday.
He said that he was very happy to participate in the Forum with countries that have “historic bonds and a sincere desire to strengthen their relations”.
Highlighting the significance of the meeting, he said that it provided an opportunity to discuss several issues regarding their countries, the security challenges and the ways that must be found in order to coordinate efforts to ensure that peace and stability prevail in the region, notwithstanding the difficulties that they face.
The Philia Forum was organised by Greece with the participation of Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and France.
Cyprus FM Christodoulides
“Ιt is our shared belief that only through collaboration can we manage the problems and various conditions of instability, but also benefit to the maximum degree from the prospects of our wider region,” Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said on Thursday afternoon, after the conclusion of Philia Forum held in Athens.
“Both the actions and the broader meetings we hold at regular intervals are not a zero-sum game nor aim to exclude any country. On the contrary, they are open to all the countries that desire, always on the basis of a positive approach, to contribute to the deepening of cooperation and, by extension, of peace in our region. This is proved, in any case, by the constantly expanding number of participants,” he said.
Saudi Arabian FM
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, stressed the need for cooperation and understanding among all regional countries, in statements after the conclusion of the Friendship Forum of European and Arab foreign ministers, held in Athens on Thursday.
“We condemn the intervention of some countries in the internal affairs of other countries,” he underlined. Saudi Arabia “supports all peace processes in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean, in view of a better future we all seek for our people.”
Talks carried out during the conference were “very deep, excellent across all areas of common interest, regarding the strengthening of security, of stability and of development in the region,” he noted.
The first “Philia Forum” included FMs from Cyprus, Bahrein, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates discussed strengthening collaborations against regional security challenges and the coronavirus pandemic. France, Iraq and Jordan were also invited to attend.
Egyptian FM Shoukry
Countries of the East Mediterranean region need to work closer together on the basis of international law to ensure prosperity and stability in the greater region, Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Thursday.
Shoukry was speaking at the first “Philia Forum” held by the Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry in Athens. At the one-day forum, FMs from Cyprus, Bahrein, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates discussed strengthening collaborations against regional security challenges and spoke about the coronavirus pandemic as well. France, Iraq and Jordan were also invited to attend.
The Egyptian FM said that collaboration among the countries participating in the Forum does not contradict anyone respecting international law. “We try to have balanced relations with all these countries that are based on mutual respect in order to end crises and not resort to violence or military intervention to impose ourselves by force,” he noted. Such
practices belong to the past, not the 21st century, he underlined.
Shoukry also mentioned the trilateral cooperation of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt which he said his country values, and the equally good relations Egypt has with Arab countries, especially those of the Gulf.
UAE Minister of State
The significance of respecting International Law and the Law of the Sea was raised by the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al Hashimy, at the Philia Forum (Friendship Forum) held in Athens on Thursday.
UAE seeks to underline a common political will “to deal with the challenges and violations taking place in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean”, Al Hashimi noted.
She added that the foreign ministers of European and Arab countries participating in the Forum also discussed issues pertaining to extremism and terrorism, and increasing their cooperation towards tackling these.
The United Arab Emirates is a peaceful country, “seeking to avoid violence, always choosing the language of dialogue and culture”, she highlighted.