Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statement to Greek journalists, following the Ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition Against Daesh (Rome, 28.06.2021)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statement to Greek journalists, following the Ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition Against Daesh (Rome, 28.06.2021)N. DENDIAS: Today I had the opportunity to participate in the meeting of the states forming the coalition against ISIS, and also to hold a series of important bilateral meetings. First with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Niger and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, whose countries are both members of the United Nations Security Council, but also with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova, as well as other meetings on the sidelines of the Ministerial meeting.

Beyond that, however, what is important for Greek diplomacy is that today we were invited to participate in the meeting on Syria, along with a limited number of states, which was organized by the United States, Italy and the Special Envoy for Syria of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Pedersen.

I consider this to be a step towards our return to the meetings on Syria and Libya, two countries that interest us most in the wider region and which are the cause of problems.

JOURNALIST: However, Minister, it seems that there are some countries that have also participated here, and I am referring specifically to Turkey, which continues to operate subversively. Mr. Çavuşoğlu said he raised the issue of the Syrian Kurds, who are key allies in the fight against ISIS, while the claim that Turkish forces should stay in Libya because this is provided for in the memorandum is well-known.

N. DENDIAS: Our country has a very clear position and in the last meeting on Libya Turkey was isolated. Turkey was the only country that insisted that not all foreign troops should leave Libya. It argued that only mercenaries should leave. In my view, this is a completely wrong position, but it is also a wrong diplomatic tactic to isolate itself. But what you said concerns Turkey. Greece has a clear position, a position fully in keeping with the decisions of the UN Security Council. It is a position which leads to the establishment of democratic states operating within the framework of the United Nations.

JOURNALIST: Italy and Mr. Di Maio co-chaired the meeting today. Do our positions coincide? Mr. Di Maio emphasized the need to fight ISIS terrorism, he insisted that the focus should be put on Africa, and therefore on Libya.

N. DENDIAS:  It is clear that the European Union is becoming aware of the need to fight terrorism beyond its borders. It is obvious that we need to put the focus not only on Libya, but also on sub-Saharan Africa. That is the reason why – beyond the fact that his country is a member of the UN Security Council – I discussed the situation in the Sahel region with the Foreign Minister of Niger. Europe must realize that its borders are not solely protected on its borders. We need to formulate a broader geopolitical thinking.

Thank you very much.

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