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Dendias, Le Drian

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met with his French counterpart Jean-Yves le Drian in Paris on Monday.

The two ministers discussed developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the coronavirus pandemic, attracting investment and the migration crisis.

According to sources, Dendias discussed expanding the Greek-French strategic relationship and thanked France “for its consistent support as a friend and ally in the provocations that Greece faces from the escalating illegal behaviour of Turkey.”

Dendias and Le Drian then participated in the EU Foreign Affairs Council, where the issue of Turkish provocative actions in the Aegean and the southeastern Mediterranean was raised.

The teleconference was also attended by US State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo.

In a statement, Dendias said he raised the issue of Turkish aggression jointly with Le Drian during a discussion on the western Balkans. The meeting also discussed the global repercussions of the pandemic and on misinformation, the situation in China and Hong Kong, the Middle East peace talks and Ukraine and the western Balkans.

Diplomatic sources said that Dendias underlined that Turkish aggression was an insult both to Greece and the European Union, which has repeatedly called on Turkey to respect international law and promote peace and stability in the area.

In an interview with the French newspaper ‘Le Figaro,’ Dendias stated that “Turkey cannot constantly try to blackmail Europe,” Skai reported.

He also said that “Paris realised from the outset that Turkey’s challenges affect not only Greece and Cyprus, but the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean.”

According to the Foreign Minister, “Turkey has dangerously escalated its provocative stance in the Eastern Mediterranean”, while referring to the violations of the national airspace and territorial waters of Greece, the overflights of armed fighters over inhabited islands, as well as over Greek land in Evros, the violation of the national sovereignty of Cyprus, but also the effort to violate European land borders at the end of February and the beginning of March in Evros that failed.

“In its broader illegal effort to expand its sovereignty and sovereign rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, it is using illegal methods such as sending research vessels to a Greek continental shelf area, trying to question it. Our government will not allow it,” he stressed.

He also recalled that France co-signed with Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and the UAE a joint statement denouncing the ongoing Turkish illegal activities.

“I am convinced that we will continue to work closely together in a spirit of genuine European solidarity,” he added.

Regarding the signing of the EEZ agreement with Italy, Dendias stated that this agreement was concluded on the basis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and “confirms the right of the islands to continental shelf and EEZ.”

“This right, which is valid all over the world, is rejected by Turkey,” he said, adding that the agreement with Italy “could serve as a model for other states.”

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