Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met with British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Affairs Dominic Raab, and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for the European Neighborhood & the Americas Wendy Morton, during his visit to London on Tuesday.
“Following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, bilateral meetings are imperative. The last visit of a Greek Minister to the UK took place in 2013,” he said.
The UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 and officially left the bloc on 31 January 2020.
“We are linked to Great Britain by many things. First of all, common values. Greece is the birthplace of Democracy. The United Kingdom is the birthplace of parliamentary democracy,” Dendias continued.
Despite ‘Brexit’, the minister stated that the country “remains a considerable and important power.”
“Both our countries exercise foreign policy based on International Law. Both our countries honour their contractual obligations deriving from international law. Whether these concern treaties signed a few years ago or ones signed a century ago. We look forward to our neighbours’ doing the same,” he noted.
Dendias also referred to the Parthenon Sculptures: “And there are also the priceless monuments of our cultural heritage, which are housed in the British Museum, and a framework obviously has to be formulated for their return to Greece.”
During the meeting, the minister briefed Raab and Morton on the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, before noting that Greece expects the United Kingdom, “as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and given its significant abilities, to contribute in creating in the Eastern Mediterranean a framework of implementation for the rules of International Law and of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” which the UK has signed.
As both Greece and the UK are guarantor powers, Dendias noted that he also discussed the Cyprus issue at length with the British diplomats. They too, he said, share Greece’s stance on the matter, which calls for a “bizonal, bicommunal federation based on the conclusions of the UN Security Council, and which must also be compatible with European Law.”
“The bicentennial of the Modern Greek State is a brilliant opportunity for an ambitious new beginning in our bilateral relations with the United Kingdom,” he concluded.
Last month, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis congratulated European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and chief EU negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier for their success in achieving an agreement with the United Kingdom on Brexit.