In his working visit to Iraq, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias did not hold back in highlighting that in every conflict and issue in the region, Turkey has a direct hand in being the cause.

In opening his statement, Dendias highlighted that it was a pleasure to be hosted in Baghdad, “a historic capital in the history of humankind.”

Although Dendias’ visit to Iraq was the first for a Greek Foreign Minister in 22 years, he emphasized that visits will become more frequent to strengthen and expand bilateral relations.

“A dialogue between two friendly states that can flourish on the solid basis of common commitment to peace and stability. To a common commitment to prosperity of our people. Our ties, as His Excellency mentioned, are historic. Greece has been a historic friend of Iraq. Greece has been a historic friend of the Arab world,” Dendias said.

The Greek Foreign Minister stressed that Greek companies can have a great role in “construction, energy, renewables, pharmaceuticals and even more.”

At a time when Turkey is acting unilaterally by bombing Kurds, Yezidis and national army soldiers in northern Iraq, Dendias said Greece gives “full support for Iraq’s territorial integrity.”

“Allow me to take this opportunity to reaffirm my country’s full support for Iraq’s territorial integrity, for Iraq’s political unity and sovereignty. Greece fully supports a stable and prosperous Iraq as a part of a stable and prosperous region with balanced relations with its neighbours. Of course on the basis of respect to sovereignty and International law,” he said.

“We also discussed Iraq’s cooperation with the European Union, particularly efforts towards consolidation of security. I ensured my colleague, that Greece stands ready to support Iraq in the promotion of its relations with the European Union,” Dendias continued, adding that “finally, I had the opportunity to update my colleague on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean with Turkey’s gunboat diplomacy, a practice, I have to say, of previous centuries, that unfortunately continues. Particularly, regarding the illegal activities of Turkey on Greece’s continental self, as well as its decision to open the Varosha coastal front in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus.”

“This is a violation of international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions. Those decisions that were broadly condemned by the international community. I very much encourage you to look at yesterday’s State Department’s declaration,” Dendias said.

The Greek Foreign Minister then stressed to his Iraqi counterpart that Athens continually seeks dialogue with Turkey so that the two can have good neighbourly relations.

“Greece has repeatedly stated at the highest level its readiness to engage in a dialogue with Turkey, on the basis of respect of international law and the principle of good neighbourly relations. Yet, we have also made crystal clear that dialogue between two sovereign countries can never take place in an environment of aggression and threats,” Greece’s top diplomat said.

Dendias then did not hide away from highlighting that Turkey has a hand in every hostility that can be found in the region.

“I believe it is now more evident than ever that Turkey is acting as a disruptor of peace and stability in the greater region. Virtually, every crisis, and every problematic situation in the region, namely Nagorno-Karabakh, Libya, Syria, Cyprus, South-Eastern Mediterranean, but also Iraq, has a common denominator: Turkey,” Dendias stressed.

“In concluding, I would like to thank you dear Fuad, dear colleague, for your warm hospitality you have shown to me personally, but also to my delegation and I am looking forward to meeting you soon in Athens, as I found out that you are a frequent visitor of my country. We’ll be proud to host you. Thank you so much,” the Foreign Minister concluded.

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