Greece believes firmly in peaceful coexistence and cooperation among all countries of the region, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in his first ever speech at the Manama Dialogue Forum taking place in Bahrain on Sunday, while stressing that this has to be based on the respect of International Law, including the Law of the Sea and the United Nations Charter.
“This is the solid basis for good neighbourly relations,” he added, noting that Greece, guided by these principles, “is contributing to regional stability and prosperity through three interconnected paths.”
“First of all, we have successfully addressed bilateral issues with all our neighbours, with the exception of one, on the basis of International Law. In the space of one year, we have concluded International Agreements on the delimitation of our respective maritime zones with Italy, our partner in the EU, and Egypt. And we have agreed to defer to the International Court of Justice in the Hague the same issue with Albania. Our goal is to address all such pending issues, taking as a basis the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and, more broadly, International Law.
“Secondly, we are building regional cooperation schemes, along with Cyprus and other countries of the region. Just 48 hours ago, I hosted a quadrilateral meeting with the participation of my counterparts from Cyprus, Egypt and France in Athens. And last February, I had the honour to host the above-mentioned countries, along with three Gulf States, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, under the name of Philia Forum,” he said.
The minister also referred to the bridges Greece is building between the Middle East and Europe, noting that these cooperation schemes help promote peace, stability and prosperity and have the potential from to be extended as far as the Indo-Pacific.
He also referred to Greece’s efforts to promote joint actions to address global challenges, such as the climate crisis, the pandemic, environmental degradation and water shortages.
Dendias stressed that such multilateral schemes are not exclusive clubs but “open to whoever shares our values and principles, that is the respect of International Law and International Law of the Sea.”
The third path Greece is following is that of taking “substantial steps in building bilateral relations with the countries in the region, as well as with Regional Organisations,” he added, emphasising the political investment in the Gulf region.
“Greece signed last year an agreement on Foreign Policy and Defence Cooperation with the United Arab Emirates. An agreement, also, that contains a mutual assistance clause. Greece has recently deployed a battery of Patriot Missiles in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Again, Patriot Missiles are a purely defensive weapon, as I am sure you know. Our goal is to help the Kingdom cope with external threats, especially attacks against civilians. We have signed an agreement on political consultations with the Gulf Cooperation Council. I have met the Secretary General three times this year. So, that speaks for itself. Last, but not least, I personally have visited almost all the Gulf countries,” he said.
Dendias concluded by reaffirming Greece’s commitment to building on these foundations and expressing hope that these can “lay the ground for a broader breakthrough towards conflict resolution.”