FM Dendias: ‘We are coming to exploratory talks in good faith; national sovereignty not up for discussion’

Greece is coming to exploratory talks with Turkey in good faith, with a constructive spirit, and without being provocative, underlined Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in an interview with Efimerida Ton Syntakton.

There are, however, some issues which “are not up for discussion”, such as those concerning “national sovereignty and the demilitarization of Greek islands.”

Five years have passed since the last round of exploratory talks with Turkey, “which were actually stopped at Turkey’s fault in March 2016”, he noted.

In any case, continued the minister, exploratory talks “are not negotiations, they are informal, there are no minutes taken during the meetings, and neither side has to assume responsibilities or make commitments.”

Potential future negotiations with Turkey will have to focus on the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, on the basis of International Law, stressed Dendias.

“If there is no agreement during any such negotiations that may follow the exploratory talks, the two sides will then have to agree on a joint text to be submitted to the International Court of Justice at The Hague”, he underlined.

“We hope that the exploratory talks will lead to a de-escalation of tensions,” he added, and that “the Turkish side will come along to these talks in a likeminded spirit.”