Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ speech at the event for the official presentation of Greece’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2025-26 term (New York, 16.03.2023)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ speech at the event for the official presentation of Greece’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2025-26 term (New York, 16.03.2023)Ladies and gentlemen,

It is always a pleasure to visit New York, to participate in the work of the United Nations’ bodies. But, this time the pleasure of being here is even greater for me. My visit is organised for a very special and important occasion for my country.

I feel very privileged and very proud to welcome you here, today, for the official presentation of the candidacy of Greece as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for 2025-2026. And the official launch of a campaign I have been personally working on throughout my entire tenure as Foreign Minister of Greece.

The world knows Greece is a country relatively small in size, a founding member of the United Nations and a firm proponent of the purpose and the fundamental principles enshrined in the UN Charter. We have always kept in mind that behind the creation of the United Nations was humanity’s strong desire to never go back to the darkness of war.

Three words are going to be our compass for our candidacy and, hopefully, for our tenure in the Security Council. Three words that start with “D”, the Greek Delta. Three words with great meaning not only for Greece, but, I believe, for the entire world.

First, Dialogue, in Greek “διάλογος”. The act of exchanging reasonable arguments. According to Socrates, dialogue was the path to truth, the path to knowledge.

Second, a word very well known to you: Diplomacy, in Greek “διπλωματία”.  At its root, we find the world two, “δύο”. Diplomacy, of course, is based on dialogue. As peoples, as nations, using diplomacy through dialogue, we can overcome our differences. We can arrive at common solutions.

Finally, Democracy, in Greek “δημοκρατία”. It literally means power of the people. Born in ancient Athens, democracy is also based on dialogue, the open exchange of arguments in the “αγορά”, there are no silent democracies. So, this is our 3D campaign.

As emblem of our candidacy, well, you can expect it, we have chosen the olive tree and its branch. Since Goddess Athena planted the olive tree in Attica soil, it has represented peace and wisdom. It became the symbol of the Olympic Truce during the ancient Olympic Games, when all wars were in pause. A crown of olive leaves was the prize for the winner in the Olympic Games. It was the symbol of fair play. The olive tree is also a point of reference for Mediterranean countries and people throughout the centuries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Greece, advocating dialogue, diplomacy and democracy will focus on six main priorities, if elected.
(1) Peaceful settlement of disputes,
(2) Respect for International Law and the rules and principles of the United Nations Charter,
(3) Women, Peace and Security,
(4) Climate change and Security,
(5) Maritime security, and, last but not least,
(6) Children in armed conflict.

The peaceful settlement of disputes is among the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter. Greece will do its best to contribute within the Security Council to the prevention and resolution of international disputes, and peace building. We will support the implementation of the Secretary General’s “Our Common Agenda” to improve the UN – centered Crisis and Conflict response.

Greece is strongly committed to promoting rules-based multilateralism, on the basis of International Law. In this context, we will cooperate with all members of the United Nations to uphold the collective security system established by the Charter, with particular emphasis on the prohibition of use or the threat of use of force.

Peace and security cannot prevail in the absence of development and growth. Greece concentrates its development efforts and allocates its aid aiming to contribute to the reduction of poverty and to equality in the world.

We also attach great importance to Maritime Security and respect for international law at seas and oceans of the world.

Furthermore, allow me to highlight the importance of the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. This is taking place these days here, in New York. We wish a successful outcome for the benefit of women all around the world. The equal representation of women in decision-making, including in peace processes, remains a decisive factor of progress in peace and development. Greece will continue to attach high priority to the realisation of gender equality and to combating any form of discrimination and violence based on gender or sexual orientation domestically, as well as globally. We reiterate our commitment to substantially contribute to the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

Greece also reiterates its principled position of protecting and promoting children’s rights, as well as eliminating all forms of violence and abuse against children, especially in times of conflict. As an elected member of the UN Security Council, Greece will continue to actively promote a child rights-based approach to all peace efforts.

Climate change disrupts the lives of millions of people. It poses a serious threat to international security, to international prosperity. Greece, as a member of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, supports the need to advance the UN’s response, including systematically mainstreaming climate and environmental issues into the UN Security Council’s regular work.

My country has an extended coastline of 20,816 km. Roughly almost the coastline of Africa.  We have thousands of islands and we are linked historically, culturally and economically with the sea. We are honoured to organise in 2024 the 9th International “Our Ocean Conference”, which aims to enhance cooperation on all major issues concerning the marine environment. With special emphasis on the impact of climate change, overfishing and marine pollution.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I think that you will all agree that none of our common efforts will be successful without the active engagement of young people. Allow me, therefore, to give the floor to two prominent young Greeks who are honouring us today with their presence. Two young people, world-renowned for their achievements, living proof of what modern Greece is capable of:

– Professor Eliza Konofagou, a pioneer scientist in the field of combining Engineering with Medicine, a Professor at Columbia University in Biomedical Engineering and Radiology, fighting against very serious diseases with non-invasive operations. She has received the NSF Career award 2007 for her achievements.

– And, Professor Konstantinos Daskalakis, one of the brightest and analytical minds. Professor at MIT’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, researcher in Theory of Computation and its interface with Economics, Game Theory, Machine Learning, Statistics and Probability Theory. At a very young age he received world-class recognition after solving John Forbes Nash’s puzzle which had troubled scientists for over 60 years.

I thank them both very much for their presence here today.

Thank you very much for your attention.