The presence of 'Barbaros' in Cyprus' EEZ is unacceptable, says Greek government spokesman

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"Greece wants dialogue to resolve the one and only pending issue: the delimitation of maritime zones," government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said on Thursday during a press briefing.

He added that Greece responded with "calmness, determination and national confidence against the illegal Turkish Navtex for unlawful exploratory drilling in areas of the Greek continental shelf. We cited international law, which is on our side, and we mobilised our allies, who were on our side."

As Petsas noted, "we have demonstrated both our ability and our willingness to do whatever is necessary to defend our sovereign rights."

"The EU Foreign Affairs Council has instructed the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to draw up a list of measures, in other words sanctions, against the neighbouring country in the event that it continues its provocative actions. On the instructions of the prime minister, a demarche was filed and the United Nations, the European Union and NATO were informed," he said.

"We have made it clear in every direction that we will not tolerate a violation of our sovereign rights. We have also said that we want open channels of communication with the neighbouring country, especially in times of tension. We said - and it is a firm national position - that we want a dialogue to settle the only Greek-Turkish outstanding issue, which concerns the delimitation of the maritime zones between the two countries," Petsas continued.

He noted that Ankara made a "positive stepwith the de-escalation it announced in relation to the illegal Navtex of July 21. But continuity and consistency, adherence to the principles of good neighbourliness and respect for international law and in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea are required. Unfortunately, at the same time, Turkey issued Navtex for exploratory drilling in the Cypriot EEZ and the Barbaros is already in Cyprus. And that is unacceptable. It actively continues [Turkey's] unlawful behavior. Greece will continue to unwaveringly support the Republic of Cyprus, both in its efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue and in its efforts to tackle Turkish illegality. The prime minister has already spoken on the phone with the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades."

On the coronavirus pandemic, the government spokesperson noted that "the unprecedented health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic cost the lives of more than 100,000 our European fellow citizens and plunged Europe into the deepest economic recession in its history. As the prime minister stressed, the Recovery Fund is not a simple reaction by Europe to the crisis. It breaks a political taboo. Because after so many months of negotiations a Fund of 750 billion euros was set up, guaranteed by the common budget of the member states of the European Union. That is, it gave birth to new European tools. And Greece can make use of these tools. To overcome the crisis faster. To achieve a dynamic recovery of the economy and the upliftment of society. To transform Greece in the coming years."

"The economic firepower provided by the Recovery Fund and the Financial Framework of the new Programming Period amounts to approximately 72 billion euros. About 19 billion in grants, 13 billion in loans and almost 40 billion euros will come from the Multiannual Financial Framework, through actions of the medium-term development programme (NSRF) and the Common Agricultural Policy for the period 2021-2027. And of course, the disbursement terms are the same for all 27 Member States of the European Union. We will not waste these resources, we will invest them to transform Greece," he added.