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Greece “fully supports” Portugal′s EU presidency

Greece "fully supports" Portuguese EU Council Presidency, Portugal

On Wednesday Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias also met with his Portuguese counterpart Augusto Santos Silva.

They discussed Portugal′s EU presidency, developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the migration crisis, and the European Union enlargement process.

The two ministers’ meeting was held two days after Greek Prime Minister Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

“We were for many years, the two European Union members – Greece and Portugal – that were further apart geographically: one on the eastern edge, other on the western edge of Europe,” Dendias said.

“But we are both southern countries, we joined in the 80s following a period of political instability for both of us, we are similar to the sense of size, we have many things in common.”

He also mentioned that he was extensively briefed on the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency by Silva, and added that Greece “fully supports the key issues that will be addressed in this context.”

Regarding the Eastern Mediterranean, Dendias pointed out that “despite the relative calm in the past few weeks, the situation remains very volatile.”

He further reiterated that “Greece is always ready and willing to engage in a constructive dialogue with Turkey, but of course on the basis of International Law, and in order to discuss that single issue that needs to be addressed, the delimitation of Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Dendias also told his Portuguese counterpart of the upcoming exploratory talks with Turkey on January 25. “We look forward to a constructive attitude from Turkey and to the abstention from any provocation from their side.”

On the topic of migration, Dendias commended Silva on his country’s stance amid the migration crisis, and for accepting the relocation of refugees on its territory and contributing to the protection of the European Union’s external borders through Frontex, the EU’s borders agency.

“Greece, as a European Union frontline state is calling for an equitable migration and asylum pact that will ensure a just and fair sharing of the burden among our family, the European Union member states.”

When asked by a reporter about the draft bill extending the nautical miles in the Ionian Sea from 6 to 12 miles, Dendias responded: “Greece has the sovereign right to extend its territorial waters according to UNCLOS, that is extending its territorial waters from 6 miles to 12 miles everywhere, in the south of Greece, or in the Aegean.”

“That is our sovereign right. And that is not negotiable. You don’t have to negotiate according to UNCLOS with another country, in order to expand your territorial waters.”

*More on GCT: Mitsotakis: Portugal showed real solidarity by helping protect Greece’s sea border
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