“Greece is steadily seeking dialogue with Turkey,” President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said while meeting with her Italian counterpart and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte as part of the official visit to Rome.
“I gladly accepted the invitation of the President of the Italian Republic, Mr. [Sergio] Matarella, to visit Italy, despite the adverse conditions created by the pandemic. This is my first official visit abroad after Cyprus, and I think this is particularly important, because Greece and Italy, two neighboring Mediterranean countries, are linked by historical ties of friendship. After all, our two peoples have always had very close contacts, from antiquity until today,” she said.
With Matarelas, Sakellaropoulou stated that he is connected with “our common course as lawyers and as officials of Justice” and added: “We had the opportunity to discuss the deepening of our bilateral relations, which are already at a very high level. We also shared our common concern about the coronavirus pandemic and the heavy costs it has on human lives, but also on the economy. Both the Greek and the Italian people are inspired by feelings of solidarity and mutual support in this difficult time for all of us,” she continued.
Sakellaropoulou also referred to her meeting with the Italian Prime Minister and the issues they discussed.
“Apart from my Italian counterpart, I also had the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister of Italy, Giuseppe Conte. I briefed both the Italian President and the Prime Minister on Turkey’s recent illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, most recently announcing the extension of the entry permit to the Varosha coast, which violates the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” she stated.
“Ready-made unilateral actions pose risks to the security and stability of the region. The message of the last European Council to Turkey is decisive and makes clear what the consequences will be in the event of Turkey’s non-compliance with the principles of international law. I reiterated that Greece is consistently seeking dialogue with Turkey, on the basis of international law and in accordance with the principles of good neighborliness,” the President added.
Finally, on immigration and refugees, and developments at European level, Sakellaropoulou said:
“We also discussed the challenges facing Europe due to migration and refugee flows. Greece and Italy are on the borders of the European Union and face the same problems. They therefore have every reason to continue to work closely together. The European Commission’s proposals for a new Pact on Immigration and Asylum are a good basis for negotiation. However, we stressed the need to ensure the right balance between responsibility and solidarity, so that the front-line states do not bear the burden to a disproportionate extent,” she concluded.
The President on her visit to Italy is accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.