Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, following his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus (Athens, 04.10.2021)

Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, following his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus (Athens, 04.10.2021)My dear friend Nikos,

On behalf of the Mitsotakis government, I would like to start by extending to the Cypriot Government, President Anastasiades and the fraternal people of the Republic of Cyprus, our warm congratulations on the 61st anniversary of the Independence of Cyprus.

I think I needn’t say anything further except for what is self-evident, that Greece will always be on the side of the Republic of Cyprus, committed to the efforts made for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue. A solution of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and the European acquis.

I would like to thank the Minister for the briefing on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, in the light of what was discussed at the recent lunch hosted by the UN Secretary-General for the President of the Republic of Cyprus and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Today we also discussed the strengthening of our multilateral cooperation with other countries in our wider region. I briefed Mr. Christodoulides thoroughly about the agreement between France and Greece, emphasizing what I have reiterated many times, following what the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, clearly stated at the Elysée Palace, that this agreement is strictly defensive in nature.

It strengthens European defence, which is our common goal and contributes in a positive way to promoting security and stability in the Mediterranean.

I also briefed my friend, the Minister, on what we expect from the 63rd Round of exploratory talks that will take place the day after tomorrow. I want to say that it is unacceptable that Turkey, through continuous provocations and inflammatory statements, tries to undermine the climate of these contacts before they even take place.

The latest example is the letter submitted by the Turkish Permanent Representative to the United Nations, regarding the militarization of the islands in the Aegean Sea.

I would like to say that the Turkish protest constitutes an example of oxymoron. Turkey is protesting the militarization of the islands, while Turkey itself has one of the largest landing forces in the Mediterranean facing the Greek islands.

At the same time, it calls on Greece to leave the islands unprotected in the event of an external threat. We reject in their entirety all the unfounded accusations hurled by our neighbour Turkey. We reject all its illegal actions. And I would like to say that Greece does not threaten anyone but it is not intimidated by illegal actions. It will protect its sovereignty; it will protect its sovereign rights as derived from International Law and the Law of the Sea.

I call on Turkey to refrain from illegal actions that destabilize the region, that endanger international navigation and, in our view, offer absolutely nothing to Turkey, offer absolutely nothing to Turkish society.

We also condemn the illegal actions against the Republic of Cyprus, starting with the invasion and, of course, the ongoing occupation of a large part of its territory.

Furthermore, we condemn the recent illegal declarations on the status of Varosha, the announcement regarding military exercises in Cypriot territorial waters and yesterday’s actions in the Cypriot EEZ.

Finally, I would like to be clear about Turkey’s recent announcements of illegal drilling on the Cypriot continental shelf. There are decisions of the European Council on this issue.

If there is a relapse on the part of Turkey, the necessary measures should be taken. I always say that Turkey’s conduct cannot be accepted. This is the position of Greece, of the Greek government, of Greek society as a whole.

Nikos, it is always a great pleasure for me to welcome you in Athens. I am glad that today we had the opportunity to talk once again in the most cordial atmosphere.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ interview with newspaper “REAL NEWS” and journalist Giorgos Siadimas (03.10.2021)

JOURNALIST: The defence cooperation agreement between Greece and France was announced in Paris. What does this cooperation mean?

N. DENDIAS: The agreement I signed together with the Minister of National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos, in the presence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Emmanuel Macron, is a broader strategic partnership agreement that covers cooperation in foreign policy.

It is the achievement of almost two years of collective effort under the leadership of the Prime Minister. I am happy for my contribution to it.

I have to say that this effort went through a lot of difficulties. When we started talks with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean–Yves Le Drian, the underlying logic was obvious. The procurement of weapons systems should be carried out under an umbrella of political understanding on the common challenges these systems and the people who operate them are called upon to face.

I believe it is an extremely important agreement, which may prove to be historic.
And this for three main reasons.
Firstly, it shields Greece as, on the basis of a bilateral contractual relationship, the largest military force in the European Union will be at its side. And the only nuclear power – let us not forget that.

This agreement comes on top of the strategic partnership I signed last year with the United Arab Emirates.

For our country, which is under constant threat of war from Turkey – the infamous casus belli – in case it exercises its legal rights, the defence support that France is coming to provide us, following the United Arab Emirates, gives rise to a new reality.
But allow me to emphasize, in order to avoid any misinterpretation, the strictly defensive nature of the agreement.

Greece does not pursue an opportunistic policy. But neither will it accept to forfeit its sovereign rights.

Secondly, the agreement lays the foundations for enhancing the visibility of Greek positions internationally, through the envisaged close coordination between the two countries.

Thirdly, it constitutes an important contribution to the strengthening of European Defence and European understanding, goals that Greece has always supported.

JOURNALIST: How did the US react to the agreement? You will be visiting Washington in mid-October for the new Mutual Defence Cooperation Agreement. Will the agreement with France affect what we are asking for?

N. DENDIAS: We were very pleased by the positive comments from the USA. I will make no secret of the fact that I had taken care, in consultation with the Prime Minister, to keep the American side informed. After all, our relationship is excellent. You may recall that I had a private meeting with the Under Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, in New York and US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt as soon as I returned.

With regard to my visit to Washington, I hope that the discussions will be completed and that the amendment to the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement will be signed during the visit.

The amended – extended agreement will be a demonstration of the strengthening of the strategic relationship with the USA, two years after the first amendment was signed by me and my then American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, in Athens.

It should be noted that the negotiations are taking place at a time when the United States is focusing its attention and increasing its presence in the Pacific.

With this agreement, the US military presence on Greek territory is expected to be consolidated. Let me just point out that there are quite a few countries that are literally begging the United States to deploy forces on their territory. And they are even willing to bear the cost.

The agreement will also constitute a significant contribution to the overall bilateral cooperation between Greece and the USA. Our relations go far beyond purely military cooperation.

Our strategic dialogue covers particularly important fields, such as energy, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean, tackling the effects of the refugee-migrant issue, the fight against terrorism and so on.

The role of the US Congress should also be emphasized. Let me focus on the key role of the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, whom I met in Athens a few weeks ago.

The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 had a catalytic effect on the imposition of sanctions for arms sales to Turkey, as well as on the lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus.

Equally important and complementary to the MDCA is the draft bill on bilateral defence cooperation that is expected to be adopted by the end of the year. It includes provisions for the transfer of American military equipment to Greece, our participation in the F-35 program, as well as the strengthening of multilateral cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, through the participation of the USA in the Greece-Cyprus-Israel scheme.

Regarding France, let me emphasize that this country, like the United States, is our ally and strategic partner. Strengthening ties with both countries is not antagonistic. On the contrary, it is complementary and beneficial for the national interests of our countries.

JOURNALIST: Could the Greece-France agreement be the beginning for the creation of a European army? Does such an eventuality affect relations with NATO?

N. DENDIAS: The agreement with France contributes to the development of European military capabilities and the strengthening of European Defence.

It is a small but necessary step towards the coming of age of the European Defence, which in turn constitutes a key pillar of the European Political Union.

These developments, of course, also affect NATO in a positive way, as they respond to a constant request by the USA for better burden-sharing in defence, but also through the gradual creation of a European component within the Atlantic Alliance.

It is true that there is still a long way to go before a European supranational army is created, which will undertake the protection of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the European territory, as well as crisis management in our wider region.

JOURNALIST: In your recent contacts in New York, you argued that Turkey has now gone beyond reason. What do you mean?

N. DENDIAS: Turkish actions are completely unacceptable; they defy every notion of International Law and common sense.

There is no other way to describe the harassment of a research vessel, which was sailing within a delimitated Greek exclusive economic zone, 10 nautical miles east of Crete, claiming that this area was on the Turkish continental shelf.

In addition, the Turkish side, in order to justify its unacceptable attitude, invoked a Turkish-Libyan memorandum, which is generally considered to be illegal, invalid and non-existent.

Under different circumstances, we might say that this action was just eccentric. But unfortunately, it was extremely dangerous, and of course, condemnable.

During my last meeting with my European counterparts, I showed them on the map where the vessel Nautical Geo had been harassed, between Crete and Kassos.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Even our most sceptical partners, those who show tolerance for Turkish actions, remained silent. They could not utter a word; because there is simply nothing, not in the least, to justify such behaviour.

JOURNALIST: Despite the tense climate, exploratory talks will take place in October. What do you say about that?

N. DENDIAS: The 63rd round of exploratory talks will take place in a few days, on October 6, this time in Ankara. Despite a climate of tension sustained by Turkey, we consider it appropriate to maintain open channels of communication.

But we do not harbour any illusions. We do not expect anything to come out of these informal contacts, as, unfortunately, at least for the time being, there seems to be no room for reasonable consultation with Turkey. Not because the issue under consideration, namely the delimitation of the continental shelf in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, is not possible, but because Turkey does not accept the fundamental rules provided for in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

But again, I would say that we wish we were refuted.

All Greek governments have always advocated an understanding with Turkey under the conditions laid out in International Law and the Law of the Sea.

We believe that this is in our interest, that this is in Turkey’s interest, but also it is the will of a large part of Turkish society, which considers Europe as its natural and cultural place.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias to attend a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs (Athens, 05.10.2021)

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, will participate, tomorrow, Tuesday, October 5, (time: 14: 00-17: 00), in a session of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on National Defense and Foreign Affairs. Its agenda will focus on the elaboration and examination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ draft bill “Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Hellenic Republic and the Government of the French Republic on the establishment of a strategic partnership for cooperation in defence and security”.

Sweegen Expands Sugar Reduction Portfolio With High-Intensity Sweetener Brazzein

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Oct. 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sweegen is expanding its extensive sweetener portfolio in early 2022 with the zero-calorie, high-intensity sweetener brazzein.  The product was developed in collaboration with long-term innovation partner Conagen, which has scaled it to commercial production. Brazzein is a small, heat-stable protein, 500 to 2,000 times sweeter than regular sugar, making it very attractive to food and beverage manufacturers seeking excellent value in a sweetener.

As a sweetener, brazzein promises little to no bitter aftertaste and helps to reduce sweet linger, reducing taste modulation challenges in the natural sweetener space. Brazzein is stable in a wide range of pH and retains its qualities after pasteurization.  It is also readily soluble, making it ideal for sugar reduction across a spectrum of food and beverage applications.

“Introducing a high-purity brazzein to Sweegen’s portfolio of natural sweeteners is one more creative solution for helping brands make low-calorie better-for-you products,” said Sweegen’s SVP, Head of Global Innovation, Shari Mahon. “Brands can look forward to exploring the synergistic benefits of combining brazzein and stevia for reducing sugar in food and beverages in a cost-effective way.”

As a sweet protein, brazzein has great promise to fit into consumer diets, such as Keto, diabetes, or low-to-no carbohydrate lifestyles. Health-conscious consumers are also turning away from artificial sweeteners and accepting nature-based sweeteners, such as stevia and allulose.

Brazzein’s extraordinary qualities stand out among high-intensity sweeteners, but the quest to scale and commercialize it has proven difficult until now. Found sparingly in nature, brazzein derives from the West African climbing plant’s fruit, oubli. To scale brazzein sustainably, Conagen produces it by a proprietary precision fermentation process, a technology producing clean, nature-based ingredients.

“Brazzein is the first product generated from our new peptide platform, which fits well into our existing world-scale, precision fermentation infrastructure,” said Conagen’s Vice President of Innovation, Casey Lippmeier, Ph.D. “Peptides and small proteins like brazzein can be very difficult to make economically.  However, now that we have successfully scaled this peptide, we expect more sustainable, novel peptide ingredients will rapidly follow.”

About Sweegen

Sweegen provides sweet taste solutions for food and beverage manufacturers around the world.

We are on a mission to reduce the sugar and artificial sweeteners in our global diet.  Partnering with customers, we create delicious zero-sugar products that consumers love.  With the best next-generation stevia sweeteners in our portfolio, such as Signature Bestevia® Rebs B, D, E, I, M, and N, along with our deep knowledge of flavor modulators and texturants, Sweegen delivers market-leading solutions that customers want, and consumers prefer. Be well. Choose well.

For more information, please contact info@sweegen.com and visit Sweegen’s website, www.sweegen.com.

Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, among other statements, statements regarding the future prospects for Reb M stevia leaf sweetener. These statements are based on current expectations but are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and are beyond the control of Sweegen, Inc.

Relevant risks and uncertainties include those referenced in the historic filings of Sweegen, Inc. with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements, and therefore should be carefully considered. Sweegen, Inc. assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements due to new information or future events or developments.

Attachments

Ana Arakelian
Sweegen
+1.949.709.0583
ana.arakelian@sweegen.com

New Research in Kosovo Highlights Connection Between Children’s Poor Vision and Learning and Development

Study underscores link between uncorrected poor vision and children’s potential

DALLAS, Oct. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A new study, a collaboration of  the Vision Impact Institute, EdGuard Institute, and ESSILOR’s Vision for Life™ social impact fund, offers new insight into the correlation between uncorrected poor vision and children’s functional, learning, and behavioral capacities.

Vision Impact Institute logo

The study, the first of its kind conducted in Kosovo’s schools, suggests that one in three children reported difficulties seeing the board in their classroom.  Findings also show that children with poor vision have a higher risk of developing incapacitating symptoms than children with good vision. These children:

  • Often report headaches and eye disorders (tired, itching, burning eyes), and modify their physical behavior when learning: squinting, getting closer to the book, resting on their wrist, or sitting in the first desk.
  • Have their learning capacity (reading, writing, doing homework) affected more often than children with good vision, and encounter more difficulties playing sports.
  • Feel uncomfortable when playing with others, and frustrated when poor eyesight hinders completion of homework.

“This research is an important collaborative effort, because it not only addresses the issues that children with poor vision experience when learning, but also addresses the psychosocial impact that affects how children learn to interact with their peers and their environment,” says Eva Lazuka-Nicoulaud, Director, Europe and Africa.

“The baseline findings show the need to develop a sustainable roadmap and introduce policies to ensure every child has access to universal eye care services,” says Kristan Gross, Global Executive Director. “All stakeholders, parents, teachers, and eye care professionals have a role to play in creating a foundation for a healthy and productive future for children.”

About the Vision Impact Institute
The Vision Impact Institute’s mission is to raise awareness of the importance of vision correction and protection to make good vision a global priority. Its Advisory Board is comprised of four independent international experts: Pr. Clare Gilbert (United Kingdom), Mr. Allyala Nandakumar (United States),   Dr. Serge Resnikoff (Switzerland), and Dr. Wang Wei (China).

The Vision Impact Institute is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which receives support from the Vision for Life Fund from Essilor, the world leader in ophthalmic optics. The Vision Impact Institute hosts a unique database of research  and advocacy  tools at  visionimpactinstitute.org .

Contact:

Kristan Gross
Global Executive Director
kristan.gross@visionimpactinstitute.org

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