Greece will defend its rights as a nation, without retreating or making concessions, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos said in Thessaloniki on Wednesday, in a message aimed at Greece’s neighbours but also the European Union and the international community.
Speaking at a dinner given in his honour at the Thessaloniki Officers’ Mess by Lieutenant General Alkiviadis Stefanis, Commanding General, C Army Corps/NRDC-GR, Pavlopoulos made clear that the crisis will not affect the way Greece defends its rights and territory.
“We say to our neighbours and to everyone, that in spite of the crisis for us Greeks there can be no concessions when it comes to defending our history, our present and our future. We claim nothing that does not belong to us but we also do not intend to give away the things that do belong to us, based on our history and the legal order that governs the global community and the EU,” he said.
Anyone imagining that the crisis would undermine the morale of the Greeks and the Greek armed forces would be making a great mistake, as others had done in the past, he added.
In a message to Skopje, Pavlopoulos underlined that “Macedonia is one and it is Greek,” and that history was based on facts, not fantasies. “Claims on territories and names violate European law. As long as they continue to make such claims, they will never join the EU and other international organisations,” he said.
Addressing Ankara, he noted that the Lausanne Treaty was similarly part of international law and that there were sanctions for any failure to implement and adhere to it. “Greece will not tolerate either direct or indirect dispute of its national sovereignty,” Pavlopoulos said.
Regarding the Cyprus issue, the president said that the continued presence of Turkish occupation troops on Cyprus was a source of shame for the EU and international community.
“Cyprus and Greece will not allow a repetition of the adventure with the Annan plan…. they say no to the solution of a confederation, because a confederation within the EU is inconceivable. The Cyprus issue can only be solved on the following terms: a single international personality, single nationality, full sovereignty, no occupation armies and no guarantees,” Pavlopoulos said.