German Foreign Minister calls for an immediate end to all provocations

German Foreign Minister calls for an immediate end to all provocations

German Foreign Minister calls for an immediate end to all provocations

"The conversation windows between Greece and Turkey must now be opened further and not closed. For this, instead of new provocations, we finally need steps to relax and initiate direct discussions. We want to support that as much as we can," German Foreign Minister Haiko Maas tweeted before arriving in Greece.

On Tuesday he met with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Following the meeting between Maas and Dendias, the Greek FM stressed that instead of de-escalation moves, there are new provocations, while noting that these behaviours and moves undermine stability in the region and constitute a violation of international law.

Dendias also noted that the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean concerns the entire European Union and stressed that the EU acquis needs to be strongly defended against regressive forces.

The Greek minister also called for sanctions to be imposed on Turkey at the forthcoming Informal Council of Foreign Ministers, while referring to the prospect of dialogue with the neighbouring country, he underlined: "Many of us recommend dialogue. But there can be no dialogue under a state of threats."

According to the ministry statement, they also discussed the issue of Libya. "Greece welcomed the recent ceasefire announcement from the very first moment as an important positive step towards a political solution through a process of national reconciliation. Greece remains ready to contribute in this direction and has repeatedly notified Germany to this effect. Moreover, Greece is already contributing to peace and stability in Libya through its major contribution to Operation Irini. Germany is also participating in Operation Irini with a state-of-the-art unit, the frigate ‘Hamburg’, which is an exceptionally important contribution. I reiterated to my German colleague that Greece would like to participate in the ongoing Berlin Process, and I requested his strong support."

On his part, the German Foreign Minister called for an immediate end to all provocations and stressed that growing tension between Greece and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean is like “playing with fire” and not in anyone’s interest.

Maas said he had two messages to convey to Athens: first, that Germany and the entire EU stands firmly by Greece's side, with a sense of solidarity, and, second, that what is needed urgently is a de-escalation of tension and the intent for dialogue, under the terms of international law.

The escalating tension observed during the last few weeks has created great concern both in Germany, in other EU partners and in NATO. A military face-off between two NATO members who are also neighbours would not benefit anyone, the visiting minister said, calling it "an unimaginable thought" in the 21st century.

Germany wants to contribute to opportunities for dialogue, but that dialogue must happen directly between Greece and Turkey, Maas noted.