The ratification of the agreement with Egypt by the parliament and the detailed briefing of the parties on its content are the next steps after yesterday’s signing in Cairo. As Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in an interview with SKAI, Turkey’s “furious reaction” shows that the agreement signed yesterday serves the national interests of Greece and even called on the neighboring country to change its stance and not to leave the exploratory contacts with our country. At the same time, Mr. Dendias revealed the dramatic background during the last twenty-four hours before the signing in Cairo, typically saying that when he boarded the plane for the capital of Egypt he was not sure – “he did not know” that the signatures would fall.
“I did not know that we would sign, there were four conversations, the last one at one-fourth on Wednesday night to Thursday”, revealed Mr. Dendias and added: “There was also a meeting with Mr. Mitsotakis at 6.30 on Wednesday afternoon. It is a great success. The partial demarcation was chosen, at this juncture it serves the national interest. The agreement is a product of a lot of preparation, a scenario of continuation with Egypt for additional demarcation, provision for negotiations with Libya, and even with Turkey. It fully serves the national interest. That’s how the whole society treated her”.
Answering questions later, the Foreign Minister said that “the opposition will get full knowledge. I will send the file with the documents to the parties and I will meet with the representatives of the parties. I am fully aware of the dossier of the previous rounds. The agreement we have reached is an advantageous national agreement. The agreement contains exactly the right degree of influence of the islands contained in international law. It is a fair and legal agreement. This is the important thing and it shows how illegal and unreal the Turkish-Libyan memorandum was”.
“We are ready to defend our positions in any international body. It is difficult to compare a legal agreement with a non-existent legal structure. There is no country that supports what Turkey says. They are the absolute minority of one. Negotiation with Turkey will take place only under the conditions of the international law. You see the furious reaction of Turkey, otherwise, it would not have reacted that way”, he added.
Regarding the information that Turkey has withdrawn from the dialogue with Greece after the agreement with Egypt, Mr. Dendias stated “I hope Turkey changes its position. Greece is ready for dialogue on maritime zones and the continental shelf. I am surprised by the Turkish decision, I believe it will change”.
Regarding the ratification of the agreement in the Parliament of Greece and Egypt he said, “Egypt has elections this weekend for their Senate, so it will be delayed for about two months. I will ask the Hellenic Parliament Speaker Mr. Tassoulas to give priority to the ratification of the agreement. The next step is the official information of the United Nations.
Regarding the reactions of the Turkish side, the Foreign Minister commented, “the reactions of the Turkish side are under the state of surprise. A legitimate agreement that contributes to peace in the region can not provoke such reactions, Turkey chooses the role of the troublemaker. I would tell them to read the announcement of the State Department. The US Secretary of State, Mr. Pompeo, also called at the time of the signing. The American side was aware. The Egyptian FM spoke with hi, I was a guest. The announcement of the State Department covers everything”.
The Greek FM was asked if the partial demarcation is a problem, to which he answered, “the partial demarcation does not make any future demarcation with Cyprus difficult, it solves a problem in one area and the discussion for the future continues. We have all the evidence that the excellent example we have with Italy and Egypt will continue”.
The negotiations with Albania and the Ethnic Greek Minority of Northern Epirus
“As for Albania, they have legal issues internally. It is a neighboring country, we want the issues to be resolved but there are other issues as well that will be resolved as their negotiations for their membership in the EU continue, such as the human rights of the indigenous Ethnic Greek Minority of Albania”.
“I ask the opposition parties for a responsible attitude”
“We reached the agreement yesterday after many years of efforts and many governments. The Mitsotakis government is responsible for this agreement. I ask the opposition parties for a responsible attitude. We are in a very dangerous phase. They should not pretend in public that they do not know things they do. Mr. Mitsotakis has informed the political leaders a week ago about this issue as well. We inform and accept advice and suggestions from other parties”, he stated.
“Greece has an obligation to defend its sovereign rights and this is an obligation of every government over time”, he added.
PM Mitsotakis: “The agreement on the Greek-Egyptian EEZ is a national success”
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis from Rhodes, where he had a series of meetings with local authorities, described the agreement on the Greek-Egyptian EEZ as a national success, which has been pending for fifteen years, noting that the agreement sends a very simple message to all countries in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region: “Diplomacy, when it operates in accordance with international law, can bring results. Only international law is what ultimately guarantees the harmonious coexistence of peoples and the peaceful resolution of any disputes”, he noted. “And I want to believe that this message will be heard by all the countries in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region”.