Greek, Armenian defence ministers meet in Athens, call on Turkey to ‘respect international law’

 

Greece’s Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and visiting Armenian Defence Minister Vigen Sargsyan on Monday urged Turkey to “admit the reality of the Armenian and Pontian Greek genocides,” respect international law and to not dispute international treaties.

In statements following their meeting in Athens, Sargsyan called on Turkey to adopt a clear position on the issue of the genocides and not distort reality, while he also urged Ankara to not support the Azeri side in the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, since this did not help to promote peace in the region.

Sargsyan also noted the necessity for peace in the Middle East, where he described the situation as “chaotic,” and to intensify efforts for dialogue and cooperation in order to avoid forming similar hotbeds, as in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Kammenos warned Turkey that it would become isolated if it continues to violate international law and not protect human rights.

“We have no right to expunge history. Turkey must apologise to the people that it slaughtered and respect international law, if it wants to become a European country,” the minister said, expressing hope that Turkey will soon resolve its domestic issues. Greece was very carefully monitoring its neighbour’s provocations and would “not back down one millimetre” on matters of territorial integrity and international law, he added.

Greece’s defence minister invited the countries that wanted to promote regional peace and stability to work together, noting that multilateral groupings helped consolidate peace in the region. “The Greek and Armenian armed forces will stand side by side, independently of developments in the broader region,” he said.

Replying to questions, Kammenos said the two countries might have different alliances but were working together to fight terrorism, while he also referred to “countries that assist or even support Islamic terrorism”. He noted that Chechen terrorists had struck both Moscow and the Boston Marathon in the United States.

“Participation in different alliances does not also mean a clash in our interests. In our day there cannot be a dividing line that prevents cooperation that arises through common interests,” Sargsyan said in response to the same question.

The two ministers agreed to expand and deepen existing defence cooperation in the training of their special forces, between their military hospitals and on the exchange of information to fight terrorism. In terms of defence industry cooperation, Kammenos said they decided to push ahead with an earlier agreement for the supply of defence equipment and for meetings between representatives of the two countries’ defence industries to discuss potential collaboration on joint programmes, which could then be directed to either EU and NATO countries or countries in the Caucasus.

 

FM Kotzias in Cairo on Tuesday

 

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will attend the 4th European Union-Arab League Ministerial Meeting which is taking place on Tuesday 20 December at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.

Discussion will focus on the prospects for strengthening and intensifying interregional cooperation and dialogue, while the Ministerial Meeting will culminate in the two organizations’ adoption of a Joint Cooperation Programme for 2016-2018 and the EU-Arab League Declaration.