On the occasion of his two-day visit to Rome and his meeting today with his Italian counterpart, Vincenzo Amendola, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis gave an interview to Agenzia Nova’s Daniele Gargaliano, titled “Italy-Greece: Allies in Europe with a common vision in Libya”.
Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed that Italy and Greece are two countries that have been traditional friends, allies, and members of an “ambitious Europe”, sharing a common vision and facing common challenges in the Mediterranean. “We are together on virtually all the major European issues. And it is important for this collaboration to continue”, he said, adding that the Greek government hopes for productive cooperation with the Draghi government.
The Alternate Minister made special reference to Libya’s stabilisation process, stressing that the simultaneous presence of the Greek and Italian Prime Ministers in Tripoli on 6 April was seen as a clear sign of how close the countries’ views are on Libya’s future and their common interest in promoting the reconstruction process. “Libya can be transformed from an unstable country into a partner in North Africa and an important energy supplier”, he said.
Regarding the illegal Turkish-Libyan ‘memorandum’, Mr. Varvitsiotis noted that it violates the sovereign rights of Greece and that it is important for Libya to see that a good relationship with Greece will also be reflected in a good relationship with the European Union as a whole. “The Greek government is prepared to support the Libyan people in every possible way, both bilaterally and on the European level”, he commented.
Regarding Greek-Turkish relations, the Alternate Minister underscored the need for Ankara to show, in practice, that it consistently respects the European acquis, ending all provocative unilateral activity that could jeopardise stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Regarding the upcoming five-party Conference on the Cyprus issue, Mr. Varvitsiotis underscored that Nicosia is the last divided city in Europe and that time has come for us to move ahead, not based on a two-state solution, as Ankara proposes, but based on the UN resolutions. “Given that Cyprus became a full member of the EU 20 years ago, it is important for the EU, too, to have a say in these negotiations, so we will welcome the EU being given observer status at the next meeting in Geneva”, he added.
The Alternate Minister also noted that Europe must protect its borders effectively, that the front-line states should not be left to deal with the migration issue on their own, and that international cooperation must be strengthened, especially with the countries of origin. “With Italy, Greece has created an alliance in the context of the Med-5 initiative, and we want this to be our negotiating tool in shaping the EU policy”, he added.
Finally, the Alternate Minister discussed the use of the Recovery Fund – which can boost investments in Greece – and the East-Med pipeline, which he described as an important European tool for diversifying energy resources, with major geopolitical significance and economic benefits.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic