A. PAPAIOANNOU : Good morning everyone. I will start directly with the program of the Minister because we have several things to tell you about it. First of all, today at 13.00 the Minister will have a telephone conversation with Mr. Pedersen, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Syria.
On Monday he will go abroad. He will first go to Cairo and allow me to say a few words about this visit. To emphasize once again the excellent bilateral relations between Greece and Egypt, the most frequent contacts we have at all levels. As you know, the Minister had spoken with Mr. Sukri a few days ago.
This visit will of course focus primarily on the follow up of the Friendship Forum, for which Mr. Sukri had come here. As you know, there was a bilateral meeting between the Foreign Minister and his Egyptian counterpart on the sidelines of the Friendship Forum. There was also a meeting in the framework of the trilateral cooperation between Greece – Cyprus – Egypt, on the second day, on the sidelines of the Forum. Let me also recall the official visit of Egyptian President Sisi last November, the visit of Mr. Soukri last September to Athens and of course the signing of the agreement with Egypt last August.
If I am not mistaken, and here I may be wrong, this is the fourth or fifth time since Mr. Dendias took over as Foreign Minister that he is going to Cairo. This alone indicates the excellent relations between the two countries.
Regarding the issues we will address: bilateral relations – the whole political spectrum – economic cooperation, energy cooperation are expected to be discussed.
Regional developments will also be discussed, starting with developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. But of course the developments in Libya you will also see what Mr. Soukri has said about it.
Then, always on the same day, the Foreign Minister on his return will go to Cyprus, where he will meet with his Cypriot counterpart, Mr. Christodoulidis. Of course, contacts with Mr. Christodoulidis are very frequent both by phone and in person. In principle, the two Ministers always meet on the sidelines of the Foreign Affairs Councils. Last time was 10 days ago.
But the purpose of this brief visit to Cyprus is to discuss two issues. One is the Cyprus issue, given that Mrs. Lut will be in Nicosia on Monday, where she will have a meeting with the President of the Republic, Mr. Anastasiadis. And which, on Wednesday, we expect in Athens. In fact, Ms. Luth will have a brief meeting with the Minister and then will have meetings with the acting leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As you understand, one of the issues that the two Ministers will discuss is the coordination on the Cyprus issue in the light of Mrs. Lout’s visit to the region. And the other, of course, is the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the European Union-Turkey relations in view of the Foreign Affairs Council on 22 March, but also of the European Council, to which Mr Borrell’s report will be submitted. The agenda has not been finalized yet, but we expect Turkey to be discussed. I do not know under which entry in the Foreign Affairs Council. So as we did last time, in December, when Mr. Dendias had gone to Nicosia, so now we will discuss and coordinate with the Foreign Affairs Council.
I will continue with the program of the Minister Mr. Dendias. On Wednesday, March 10, as I already told you, a meeting has been arranged with Mrs. Lut here in Athens.
I will go immediately to next week, where we first have the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Riyad al-Maliki, on Tuesday, March 16.
On Thursday, March 18, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will participate in the teleconference of the Ambassadors of the European Union in Athens, convened by the Portuguese Ambassador whose country holds the Presidency.
He is also expected to have a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. Nothing special, in the sense that the telephone conversation with the Foreign Ministers is always made in view of the Ministerial Meeting which will be next week.
On Friday 19 March, let me emphasize this, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has convened the National Council for Foreign Policy. He sent the invitations yesterday, and we made a relevant announcement. The ESEP will therefore take place in two weeks from now.
On Monday 22 March, as I have already mentioned to you, we have the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, which, unexpectedly, will take place in person. We expect, among other issues, that Turkey will be considered. I do not have more details at this time. Maybe next time we have some more stuff.
Both on Tuesday and Wednesday – we will see how the program will be formulated – is primarily the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels, and this, except unexpectedly with a physical presence, where in fact will be the first Ministerial Meeting of the new US Secretary of State. Foreign Minister Mr. Blinken.
These are in a hurry regarding the program of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dendias.
I will now turn to the Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Varvitsiotis.
On Monday the 8th of the month he will have a meeting with the Ambassadors of the northern European countries, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.
On the 9th of the month he will have a meeting with the Panhellenic Committee of Parents and Relatives of undeclared prisoners and missing persons of the Cyprus tragedy.
On Tuesday, March 16, Mr. Varvitsiotis will go to Paris, where he will have a meeting with his counterpart, the French Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of European Affairs, Mr. Clement Bon.
On March 18, a meeting of the Greece-Russia Joint Interministerial Committee will be held via teleconference. Mr. Varvitsiotis is co-chair of the Joint Interministerial Committee of Greece – Russia, his counterpart is Mr. Vitaly Saveliev. Forgive me if I mispronounce.
These regarding the program of the Deputy Minister Mr. Varvitsiotis.
The Undersecretary of State in charge of Hellenes Abroad, Mr. Vlassis, will attend the enthronement of the new Metropolitan of Italy, His Eminence Polycarp, on Thursday, March 11, and will be officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria.
These are about the program.
Allow me to turn briefly to three other issues to supplement the introductory speech. First of all in terms of exploratory. As you know, we have submitted proposals with dates on which they could take place and so far we are waiting for the answer. We do not have an answer at the moment I am talking to you. When there is a response, when the date is finalized, there will be a relevant announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You will be informed immediately.
Two other issues that I want to mention today as an introductory intervention. The first is a special reference to the fact that, as you know, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dendias, looks forward to the strengthening of relations, among other allies, with France.
Let me remind you, of course, that the French Foreign Minister participated in a teleconference at the Friendship Forum three weeks ago, on 11 February. In fact, the previous day they had spoken on the phone where the French Foreign Minister informed him that unfortunately due to the limitations of the pandemic he could not come to Athens. Of course they discussed and agreed that there would be a meeting with a physical presence, probably in Paris, as soon as conditions allow.
Beyond that, I would like to emphasize the attention given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dendias, to French speaking in general. I will make a reference here to a brief aversion to Parliament, where he spoke last week when he said, in terms of the languages in which candidates wishing to enter the Diplomatic field will be examined, that one of the two languages is of course French and this, as the Minister said, is not accidental, it is a political decision, because there is a great emphasis on the French language.
In this context, let me also remind you of the meeting that the Secretary General of the Francophone, Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo, had previously had when she came to Athens, where she had met with the Prime Minister, Mr. Mitsotakis and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dendia. Also, a few months ago, the Minister had participated through a teleconference in the Ministerial meeting of the Francophonie.
Yesterday, our first Ambassador to Senegal, Mr. Efthymios Costopoulos, who opens our Embassy, presented his credentials. He presented his credentials to the President of Senegal, Mr. Maki Sal.
Let me point out here that during the hearing, the President of Senegal stressed to our new Ambassador the importance that Senegal attaches to Greece and even referred to the first President of Senegal, Mr. Léopold Sédar Senghor, the who was an intellectual and a Hellenist.
In this context, the strengthening of further cooperation was considered. The Senegalese side asked us to consider the possibility of granting scholarships to the military and also the President of Senegal expressed his desire to visit Greece as soon as possible.
I wanted to emphasize this because this is the first time we are opening an Embassy in a French-speaking country in West Africa, which will even have parallel accreditation in about 10 countries in the region. We are now present in this very important area.
Let me also remind you that given the various candidacies we have or will submit to the UN, starting of course with the Security Council, but others are coming, we want to strengthen our relationship with the region and of course the permanent presence will help us. this.
In this context, I would also like to mention that Mr. Costopoulos will not only be our first Ambassador to Senegal, but was appointed the day before yesterday by a decision of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and as a special envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the issues of his region. Sahel, which also indicates the interest we show in this area.
In this context, I would like to mention the presence of Greek police forces in the European Union Police Mission in Mali and to emphasize – and close with this – that we are particularly interested in this area of the Sahel, both in terms of the fight against terrorism. , but also on the issue of immigration, always in cooperation with France and other countries of the European Union. It is therefore necessary to have an active presence in this area.
Closing with the French, I also want to tell you that on Monday, March 8, Women’s Day, the Secretary General of the French will announce the Greek representative of the French at the UN, in New York. I will not mention her name at this time, because the announcement will be made by the Secretary General of the French. This is the first time that a Greek woman will take this position. This shows our interest in French.
To close, referring to the International Women’s Day, March 8, that we will post some information about our colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my data made a positive impression, although not ideal, is that at the moment 32% of Ambassadors of Greece are women. Also 38% of diplomats are women.
If one considers that the first female Diplomat joined the industry, if I am not mistaken, in 1974, I believe that we have come a long way – it is never enough.
And for the sake of history, if you will allow me, at least that is what they told me to imagine, in 1974 when the first colleague was introduced then, she passed the exams and would enter the diplomatic field, they had created an obstacle for her, at first they did not want to leave her because the President A decree stating the criteria by which one could enter the diplomatic field also contained an army diploma. To understand that at that time, it was not even meant to have a woman diplomat.
Ambassador Zografou broke this barrier and of course the road has been paved since then.
The introduction was great, forgive me, but I think it was helpful. I am, as always, at your disposal for your questions.
ΣΠ. SIDERIS : Good morning, I wanted to ask about what has been heard lately, either through publications, about the relations between Greece and Cyprus regarding East Med and about the conversation that the Prime Minister had on his own initiative with President Sisi.
I know that you will comment to me that you do not comment on the Prime Minister or the moves of the Prime Minister. But was the Minister informed about this communication or was he informed later?
I also wanted to ask, during his visit to Cairo on Monday, will he discuss with Mr. Soukri also regarding the demarcation of the plots that Egypt is thinking of doing?
A. PAPAIOANNOU: Thank you very much. As for Mr Sisi’s conversation, first of all there is an announcement by the Egyptian Presidency, which I have seen and the Government Spokesperson has spoken about. I have nothing to add to this. Of course, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister are always in full coordination on all foreign policy issues, that is out of the question.
The issues to be discussed between Mr Dendias and Mr Soukri are bilateral and regional. As I told you, they meet regularly, and talk on the phone very often. Bilateral, political, economic, energy and so on. That’s what I have to say right now, thank you.
G. MOUTSOS: Good morning. I would also like to draw your attention a little, precisely to the issue of the communication that has been made, at least on the part of Turkey, about Egypt, on the issue of maritime zones. There is a general distance from this issue from what we observe, I do not know if it is my feeling, but we do not seem to have a clear picture of what exactly has happened and Turkey is trying to get closer to the Cairo side.
From the side of Cairo you tell us that there is this announcement but from the Greek side it seems that we do not have a clear information about what will be born from now on. Will any action follow? Will there be another move by the Greek side in order to intervene between Turkey and Egypt? I do not know if you can answer this question.
A. PAPAIOANNOU : You are obviously referring to the statements made by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Tsavousoglou, recently.
G. MOUTSOS : Exactly.
A. PAPAIOANNOU : Of course I saw the statements of Mr. Tsavousoglou. I have nothing to add, here we are talking about relations between two third countries. Greece cannot comment on the relations between Turkey and Egypt.
G. MOUTSOS: Excuse me for interrupting you, it would make perfect sense what you are saying, if we also had nothing to do with the wider area. Here, however, these issues directly affect our living space, the possible EEZ, possibly with Cyprus or even with Egypt, and you understand that this is not just a bilateral issue, between two countries such as Turkey and, say, Egypt.
A. PAPAIOANNOU : You ask me about the Turkey-Egypt relations and I tell you that I can not comment on the relations between two third countries. I tell you again, on the one hand I have seen the statements of Mr. Tsavousoglou, on the other hand I have seen the statements made by Mr. Soukri within the framework of the Arab League.
Apart from that, I do not have to comment on this issue. Ask me about the relations between Greece and Turkey, between Greece and Egypt, I will be happy to tell you. But I am not going to intervene or comment on the relations between Egypt and Turkey.
G. MOUTSOS : Thank you very much.
G. KOUTSOMYTIS : Good morning. Two questions: A few months ago, the International Criminal Court in The Hague decided to extend its operations to the Palestinian territories, Gaza and the West Bank. And three days ago, he announced that he was launching a criminal investigation into possible crimes against humanity in these areas.
Some European countries have objected to the extension of the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice to these areas. What is the position of Greece? Does it accept the extension of the actions of the International Criminal Court in Palestine or not? This is the first question.
And the second: They saw the light of day a few days ago, leaks from the UN report, of the special inquiry requested by the Secretary-General’s envoy for the circumstances under which the new Libyan Government was elected or elected in Geneva, that there was corruption and that there was bribery to elect the new government.
Does the Greek government still have confidence in the newly elected government? Thanks.
A. PAPAIOANNOUAs for the first issue, if I am not mistaken, for years, since 1998, if I am not mistaken, Greece has signed and ratified the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, that is, we are a full member as a country. I have nothing to add on this.
Regarding the second issue, I will also refer you to the announcement we made as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when we talked about the election of the interim president, Mr. Mohammed Menfi, about 4 weeks ago. I have nothing to add to this. Thanks.
Α.ΤΑΣΟΥΛΗ: Good morning from me too. I will insist on the questions of my colleagues concerning Egypt and I would like to ask in the light of the Egyptian announcement for the famous plot 18, if there have been discussions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to proceed with a full demarcation with Egypt and if you have asked Mr. Sukri to change the coordinates of the notice on the specific plot. Thanks.
A. PAPAIOANNOU : As I told you, the excellent bilateral relations that exist between Greece and Egypt will be at the center of the discussions that the Minister of Foreign Affairs will have with Mr. Soukri. In this context, they will discuss political, economic and energy issues. I have nothing to add on this. Thanks.
G. ΜELNIK: Good morning. You have said that on March 18 there will be a teleconference of the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, Mr. Varvitsiotis with the Russian President, Mr. Saveliev. Are there any plans for the conference with the physical presence of the Presidents? Or not; And what issues will be discussed? Thanks.
A. PAPAIOANNOU : Unfortunately, I do not know the issues, the issue of convening the Joint Interministerial Committee, I remember that was discussed between the two Foreign Ministers, Mr. Dendias and Mr. Lavrov since October, when Mr. Lavrov was last in Athens and the prospect was to convene as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, as you said, the problem is with the pandemic. They were trying to see when the physical presence could take place, finally it was decided at this stage at least to do it by video conference. I do not have a date for the convening of the Commission in person and any date and say at this time would be risky. I can not make any assessment.
But obviously this will be part of the debate. I’m sorry, I do not have more details on the agenda of the teleconference on Thursday, March 18.
Th. BALODIMAS: Good Evening. I was also tempted to ask something about Egypt but from what I understand your answers are all in a specific pattern, so I will take it somewhere else. You mentioned the Sahel, Mali and said that it is necessary to have a presence there. Earlier, there was information that the French Government had submitted a request for a military unit to be sent by us to reinforce their forces operating in the area. Do we have anything new on this?
A. PAPAIOANNOU : This, you will allow me, is a matter for the Ministry of National Defense. I will not go into details on this issue now.
G. GEORGIADIS: Good morning. I wanted to ask the following: There was a strong reaction from Greece to the Turkish-Libyan Pact, both to the UN and to all international fora. He described it as illegal. An Agreement concerning two third countries.
In case there is an agreement between Turkey and Egypt, does this also apply to Greek-Egyptian relations in case Kastelorizo is bypassed directly? This is my question and whether Greece will react to these two countries if it arises. I imagine the interest of the Prime Minister to call yesterday, but also the future visit of Mr. Dendias in such an immediate time, will have something to do with this issue and I imagine.
And the second thing I wanted to ask is whether, in the event that the European Union, which is of course an observer in the five-party system, accepts a draft solution to the Cyprus problem which will severely violate the Acquis, ie the European legal system, especially in , what has to do with political equality. Will Greece veto the European institutions on this issue? Thanks.
A. PAPAIOANNOU: First of all, let me point out that I will not comment on supposed scenarios. However, I want to emphasize what you said very correctly, the Turkish-Libyan “memorandum” – and I emphasize the quotation marks – was not only condemned by Greece. The conclusions of the European Council of December 2019 are clear, where they say that it is illegal, non-existent and that it has no effect on third countries. This is what 27 Member States are saying and many other countries that are not members of the European Union have said it. It is not only a Greek position, it is a European position. That is what I wanted to emphasize, let’s not forget that.
Regarding the European Union observer role that you mentioned. First of all, let me reiterate once again that the informal Pentagon, which will take place as the UN announced in late April in Geneva, is informal, in which it will be seen, at least, if there is a framework for us to start talks under always under the auspices of the UN.
The European Union observer is always there to be able to give legal advice – because he always has legal training – on whether a proposal is compatible with European law.
What you are asking me makes quite an impression on me, because the first country that could never accept something that is not compatible with European Law in any solution is the Republic of Cyprus.
Of course, Greece is of course, I do not discuss it, but the Republic of Cyprus would never accept and consequently Greece, something that will not be compatible with European Law. And we always emphasize that any solution must always be in line with the decisions of the UN Security Council for a bi-communal, bi-zonal Federation and must be compatible with European law. These are out of the ordinary for me.
L. BLAVERIS: Good morning and Happy Lent. Allow me to return to a question that my colleague Balodimos asked earlier. Because I have asked the Ministry of National Defense about the mission in West Africa, they are referring to you, in the sense that they are waiting for a diplomatic green light to start all the procedures for sending any force, Greek military force there, for training duties.
Hence my question: Do you have something to tell us about the subject of the talks, the possible dates, for the sending or not of this force, a Greek military force in the region. Thank you
A. PAPAIOANNOU: I have nothing specific to say about this and again I will refer you to the Ministry of National Defense on these issues. What I said and I will emphasize again, is that Greece wants to strengthen its presence in the region.
In this context, whether Greece will decide to participate in a European Union military mission in the region, because that is what we are talking about, this is something that will certainly be examined. But at the moment I do not have to tell you further details.
Of course, I tell you again, we are opening an Embassy, a special envoy has been appointed, we are doing all these things because we want to be present in this area for many different reasons, which I mentioned before, either in the fight against terrorism or of illegal immigration In the context of multilateralism and the strengthening of our presence, we consider it imperative to have a permanent presence of Greece in various parts of the world, especially in areas where we have been absent for too long.
P. TSAFOS: Good morning. Let me ask you about a subject so somewhat abstract. There is the map of Seville of the University of Seville which was made at the request of the European Union, if I remember correctly, which shows the extent of the Greek exclusive economic zone, as part of the European Union.
I would like to ask you to tell me, is this an official Greek position? Or what is the Greek position? Or will this be the basis in the future, on the basis of which Greece will regulate the width of the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone?
A. PAPAIOANNOU: I will refer you to the Maniatis law. As far as the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone are concerned, with Italy, as you know, there is the agreement, which, as far as I know, will be introduced in the Plenary Session of the Italian Parliament in the coming days. A first reading has already taken place, but the process has been delayed due, of course, to the change of government there.
And as for at least the partial demarcation that we made with Egypt, as you know, there is an agreement that has been ratified by both sides and is in force. From there on, for the rest, the Maniatis law of 2014 applies if I am not mistaken.
A. ZACHARIADIS : Is an alternative route of East Med being considered? Would Athens discuss an alternative that would bypass Cyprus?
A. PAPAIOANNOU: My answer to this is very simple. I have no comment to make on posts that have come out in the past few days.
ΣΠ. SIDERIS : Three quick questions. Is there any progress regarding the ratification of the border with Italy? One question.
Is there any development for the agreements with Northern Macedonia? When will they come to Parliament?
And another issue. Following the Minister’s visit to Sarajevo, there was a move, according to a report, by the Srebrenica Victims’ Associations, to take legal action against Greece, because Greeks participated in the Srebrenica massacre. Have you been informed about this event and how does the Greek side intend to react?
A. PAPAIOANNOU: As far as Italy is concerned, I have already answered. I will not add anything to what I said just before.
As far as Northern Macedonia is concerned, these are what I have said in previous updates. I do not have anything new.
And as for the latter, all I have to say is that I saw the post. I have no official information on the matter.
ΧΡ. FRANGOU : Good morning from me too. A question about developments in Saudi Arabia. A mission of the defense system has been launched, which is the subject of the Ministry of Defense. However, we see a change in US policy in the region. The US condemns the war in Yemen, distances itself from it, distances itself in various ways.
The US relationship with Greece is at a very good level. How does this affect bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia and Greece? Have we received any recommendations from the US? Are our relationships being re-examined? Will the actions be delayed? How is this framework restructured?
A. PAPAIOANNOU: First of all, let me point out that our bilateral relations are not only very good, they are excellent and they are constantly improving. This is also indicated by the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia at the Friendship Forum a few weeks ago. There was also a bilateral meeting of the Saudi Foreign Minister with both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. As the Minister said from the floor of the Parliament, we will finalize or we are finally close to signing the defense cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia.
And also to emphasize in this context, because we are always talking about defense, that as you will have seen, we have repeatedly condemned the attacks that are being carried out, the rocket attacks against Saudi Arabia and in fact against civilians and many times against Riyadh airport, which can cause enormous damage.
G. GEORGIADIS: I wanted to ask about the exploratory ones you mentioned in your introduction. There is still no response from the Turkish side to the delimitation of the date that the next round will take place here in Greece. If and if Turkey does not attend this round of talks before the end of March, what is planned? Will we raise the issue of activating the sanctions on the table that exists, as the Minister said anyway?
If Turkey returns ostensibly two or three days before the Summit just to avoid a negative mention of its name, what is the way the Greek side handles the summit?
A. PAPAIOANNOU: First of all, in terms of exploration, as I said, we have proposed dates and we are waiting for the answer. I will not enter into hypothetical assessments or discussions.
As far as the European Council and especially for Mr. Borrell’s report are concerned, we want to have on the one hand the prospect of making a record of what Turkey has done in the wider region and not just the purely Greek-Turkish ones. For the whole Eastern Mediterranean in general, make a complete record. And I can talk about the other areas in which Turkey is involved: Cyprus, Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, Iraq and so on. Make a record and make some suggestions for the perspective of EU relations. – Turkey possibly in a positive direction and on the other hand what we have asked for is to exist in addition to the carrot and the whip. There should be the prospect of action if Turkey takes illegal and provocative actions.
These are what we have asked for. We have also told Mr. Borrell. We are there at the moment.
K. TSAMOURI : Good evening from me too. The truth is that my colleagues covered me. I wanted to ask on the one hand about Egypt, which from what I understand you do not intend to say anything more and the second question was about the Summit, since we still do not have an answer and the challenges continue at the level of rhetoric by Turkish officials but and in actual operations let’s say.
I would like to ask if the sanctions remain on the table. If the Borrell report is still in our toolbox as a means of pressure from the Turkish side. And I wanted a comment on that.
A. PAPAIOANNOU: I told you that just before. What we ask of the Borrell report. What we ask is for everything to exist. In other words, there should be the prospect of a positive agenda, but also the prospect of taking restrictive measures if Turkey continues to take delinquent and provocative actions.
The other thing, which the Minister said, is that we do not finish on March 25 and on March 26 or after 27, the counter is not reset. The logic here is that the Turkish behavior should be closely monitored by the European Union. I have nothing to add beyond that.
G. PSAROPOULOS : Good morning to you and your colleagues.
As you know, there is a directive of the European Commission of 2014 that we harmonized in 2018 and it asks the Member States to draw up and submit to the Commission by 31 March, that is, current, spatial plans for the use of maritime space. In other words, does it concern fish farming, environmental protection, energy production, possibly submarine mining, etc.
Does Greece intend to meet this deadline?
A. PAPAIOANNOU : I do not know anything about that. I would say first of all that the Ministry of Rural Development and Food would be the one responsible for answering you for the 2014 Directive, as you say.
I do not want to expand on that at all, because it is something that is completely out of the question. responsibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
G. PSAROPOULOS : I think that the special responsibility belongs to the Ministry of Energy.
A. PAPAIOANNOU : Yes, Energy. Excuse me, I said Rural Development and Food.
G. PSAROPOULOS : However, it also concerns your Ministry, because it concerns the definition of the area that Greece is supposed to control and protect, but also exploits.
A. PAPAIOANNOU : Indeed. I have nothing to add on this.
G. PSAROPOULOS : OK. Thanks.
L. ZACHARIS: Good day from me too. Two questions. Who are the Foreign Ministers, or the Heads of State who have accepted to come to our country on the occasion of the celebrations for the 200 years since the beginning of the Greek Revolution, if and of course if the celebrations take place normally and with a physical presence.
And my second question is how much money will Greece allocate to Yemen, in the context of humanitarian aid?
A. PAPAIOANNOU : Regarding the first issue, the invitations have not been sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so I have nothing to add on that.
As for Yemen, in the teleconference on Yemen that took place on Tuesday, if I am not mistaken, the Foreign Minister said that Greece will contribute a symbolic amount.
A. ALEXOPOULOS: In recent weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about the convicted member of November 17, Dimitris Koufontina, who has been on a hunger strike for more than 50 days. Without going into the reasons for the hunger strike, do you think that it will be created or there will be no problem for our country in the event that it becomes the first dead hunger striker in the European Union in the 21st century?
A. PAPAIOANNOU : I can not comment on hypothetical questions, which are beyond the competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
ΣΠ. ΣΙΔΕΡΗΣ: I want to say a little about some things for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the voting of the new organizational chart. There were too many reactions during the debate on the Agency and diplomats were opposed to the new organization chart.
Does this concern you, as a Ministry, that there is such a great reaction on the part of the diplomats?
And previously, because you said about French, does the Ministry, as you said, consider it a political decision for French to be one of the languages used by diplomats? There are languages, such as Chinese, Arabic, Russian, which are much more functional and creative in the field of diplomacy. Is there a proposal from the Ministry to make these languages, languages for diplomats? Thanks.
A. PAPAIOANNOU: As far as the Agency is concerned, it was introduced to the competent Committee, where various bodies spoke and the views of the various bodies were discussed. Modifications were made afterwards when he went to the Plenary. As you know, there has been a significant change, which concerns all officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and I emphasize this. We are not just talking about diplomats, we are talking about all officials. It was the issue of medical coverage for colleagues serving outside the European Union, which was a huge issue and which is fortunately now being resolved.
But beyond that, let me say that the Agency was voted on last Friday, a week ago. I have nothing to comment on. From now on, its implementation will begin.
As for French, as I said before, the Minister said that it was a political decision to be one of the two languages in which the candidates who want to enter the diplomatic field will be examined and he even said that this is a political decision.
Beyond that, of course, these are the basic languages. If someone speaks another language, this is always welcome in our service. Unfortunately, the Greek diplomatic service, at least until now, did not have the capabilities, like other big countries, such as the United States, Russia, China – we are not of their size of course – which have special schools to which they send employees. before being placed. But that, of course, is another matter.
G.MELNIK: A question. According to the organization of foreign press correspondents, Greece is now celebrating 200 years of revolution, liberation and on March 25 there will be a big parade in Syntagma, as we expect. It is known that they will be done with strict security measures and do you know how the journalistic coverage of the parade will proceed? Previously, communications and intelligence officers were responsible for accrediting foreign press correspondents. It is now the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Is it known how this process will be done?
A. PAPAIOANNOU: Thank you very much for your question because you are asking me an important question. You are right, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Unfortunately I do not have an answer to your question, it is not the responsibility of the Information Service. It is the responsibility of the General Secretariat of Hellenes Abroad and Public Diplomacy, which is also at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I have no idea about this, I am not the one who will answer. I understand your question, a very reasonable question, but you or the Foreign Correspondents Association should contact the General Secretariat of Hellenes Abroad and Public Diplomacy for this question.
I will transfer it too, of course, it does not mean that I neglect it, but the answer will come from there.
G. MOUTSOS: I would like to refer a little to the Minister’s telephone communication with the head of the United States Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Menendez. So there was a telephone communication. I wanted to ask if you have anything more to say about the content of this conversation and if it was just a communication, so to speak, ceremonial or if it included something more in terms of Turkey’s attitude, especially on the subject and of the EEZ, which it intends to sign with Egypt, but also the developments in the wider Eastern Mediterranean.
A. PAPAIOANNOU : First of all, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dendias, has met Mr. Menendez in Washington, the last time if I am not mistaken, in 2019.
Secondly, yesterday’s conversation was what you said, first etiquette. The reason was to congratulate him on his election as Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Beyond that, of course, on this occasion, the Foreign Minister briefed him on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. These are issues that Mr Menendez certainly knows in depth. And he wanted to thank him for the timeless supportive attitude towards the positions of Greece that Mr. Menendez has taken both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate where he has been a member for many years.
TH. ARGYRAKIS: Regarding Ms. Lut’s visit, can you tell me specifically what Ms. Lut brings? Last time, as far as I remember, he had met only with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, now you told us that he would also meet for a while with Mr. Dendias. What specifically brings, in addition to the general, the preparation of the Conference on the Cyprus issue?
Usually the UN envoys come after the tour they do with everyone and a specific context in view of the conference of course. Can you give me some information about that?
And the second: You have previously given an answer, that you do not comment on the posts about East Med. In addition to the commentary, do you confirm or deny such a post regarding East Med, given that it is crucial since Greece, along with Italy, Israel, Egypt and Cyprus, has signed this plan?
Is this plan being overturned anymore?
A. PAPAIOANNOU: As for Ms. Lut, you said it yourself, it’s exactly Ms. Lut doing a tour. She will be in Nicosia on Monday, she will be in Athens on Wednesday, I do not know what other contacts Ms. Lut will have, I tell you what I know. It is in view of the informal five-party conference convened by the UN Secretary-General, which will take place in Geneva at the end of April, April 27-29, if I am not mistaken. This is what he will discuss, I have nothing more to say about it.
As for your second question, you are absolutely right, I do not comment on the posts. Very simple. I have nothing to add on this.
TH. ARGYRAKIS : Do you deny this or do you confirm it?
A. PAPAIOANNOU: Mr. Argyrakis, thank you very much for your question, I do not comment on the posts.
Thank you very much, have a good weekend and we will say it again, you will receive a relevant invitation.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic