FM Nikos Kotzias a keynote speaker at CFR think-tank

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Thursday participated in a trilateral meeting in New York with his Cypriot and Egyptian counterparts, originally scheduled for Friday, and spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) about Greek initiatives in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean to boost security and stability.

Talking to an audience of analysts, diplomats and academics at the non-profit think-tank, Kotzias presented a positive agenda for generating joint action in several fields of cooperation and highlighted the great potential that is emerging as Greece exits the crisis, which he said will positively impact Greece’s neighbours.

Regarding the Prespes Agreement signed by Athens and Skopje, he said this created good prospects for the region.

He also referred to the Cyprus problem, noting that this was an issue of invasion and occupation, outlining Greece’s positions and stressing the need to find a fair and viable solution that was based on UN resolutions, which would once more make Cyprus a normal state.

Talking about energy issues in the East Mediterranean, he said that the discovery of energy resources creates new prospects for cooperation in the region and that improved energy infrastructure in Greece will enhance its role as an transit hub between East and West.

Greece-Cyprus-Egypt meeting

According to diplomatic sources, a trilateral meeting held between Kotzias, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, which was moved to Thursday from Friday, picked up the discussion from where it had left off at their last meeting in Cairo on September 14 and focused mainly on energy issues and cooperation in the southeast Mediterranean.

According to a Cypriot diplomatic source, they also discussed the preparations for a Greece-Cyprus-Egypt trilateral summit on October 10 and the three sides would issue a joint statement about the three ministers’ meeting on Thursday.

Kotzias additionally had a series of bilateral contacts on Thursday, meeting with the Foreign Minister of Oman Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah and Morrocan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, as well as Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati, Kazhakstan Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and the UN’s special envoy for the FYROM name dispute Matthew Nimetz.

He will additionally accompany Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and take part in a meeting of foreign ministers of the Ancient Civilisations Forum organised by Bolivia.