Greece and Spain meet over bilateral issues and Turkish intransigence

Nikos Dendias

Nikos Dendias

Greece’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikos Dendias held a joint press conference with his Spanish counterpart, Arancha González Laya following their meeting in Madrid on Monday.

During the joint press conference, both Dendias and Laya reaffirmed their mutual commitment to boost private investments and expand bilateral collaboration.

Also discussed during their meeting was the migrant/refugee issue, as both countries are entry points into Europe, with the Greek Minister also briefing Laya about Turkey's illegal memoranda signed with the Tripoli government which also undermines peace in the Arab country.

"Spain and Greece are able to help" in a ceasefire in Libya, he said.

The Greek Minister’s full statement during the joint press conference:

I would like to express my thanks for the invitation, the hospitality, and for the very constructive talks I had today with my Spanish colleague, Arancha González Laya.

Regarding our bilateral relations, we jointly ascertained that they are at an excellent level, both politically and economically, with our countries collaborating on a large range of issues. We agreed to boost our economic relations, in order to increase private investments on both sides, as well as our bilateral cooperation.

We talked about the refugee/migration issue, as both countries are points of entry and first reception for refugees and migrants. We agreed to expand our coordination in the context of the European Union, during the debate on reform of the Union’s rules on asylum and on migration in general.

I briefed my colleague on the serious impact of Turkey’s violations of international legality on stability, security and peace in the Mediterranean, which, as Mediterranean countries, is our common homeland.

I stressed that the Law of the Sea is conditio sine qua non for peace and stability. I reiterated that the two Turkey-Libya memoranda – though null and void, as they violate the International Law of the Sea and the UN Security Council Resolution on the Libya arms embargo – undermine precisely that good which is precious to all of us: peace and stability. At the same time, they threaten the efforts for the ceasefire in Libya. Both Spain and Greece are in a position to assist these efforts.

Finally, we had the opportunity to discuss the Western Balkans and their accession perspective. For Greece, this perspective is the only way forward. It is vital to the region’s stability and prosperity. We believe that the European Commission’s recent proposal for reform of the accession process should move ahead without further delay. But at the same time, I made it very clear that both countries’ perspectives have to do with their own compliance with the conditionalities that are requisite for their European course.

Finally, we looked in depth at regional initiatives, such as MED7. MED7 can assist with bolstering stability and peace in the region.

I would like to thank my dear colleague for the warm welcome, which I am certain I will have the opportunity to reciprocate very soon in Athens.