MIL-OSI Mediterranean: Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statements following his meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan (Athens, 27. 06. 2022)

1

Source: Republic of Greece – Foreign Affairs

My dear Ararat,

I am delighted to welcome you here in Athens today. It’s your first visit to Athens, your first time in the city. As a result, it is both a great pleasure and an incredible opportunity for me to welcome you here.

Our countries have historically maintained excellent relations and our peoples have shared centuries-long relationships.

We have strong connecting ties, the very important Armenian community in Greece, which includes thousands of Greek citizens. And I have to tell you that it includes several close friends of mine.

There’s also the Greek community in Armenia.
I’d like to say that Greece has stood by Armenia during difficult times and this will always be the case.

I visited Yerevan in October 2020 when hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region were already underway. My visit was intended to express my solidarity with the Armenian side; a solidarity that did not remain only in words. Responding to the request of Armenian organizations in our country and with the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, humanitarian aid was delivered twice to Armenia.

Since then, the geopolitical landscape has changed radically.
However, our position, the Greek position on Nagorno-Karabakh has not changed.
It is firm. We support achieving a peaceful, mutually acceptable solution within the framework of International Law, which has always been the “Holy Gospel” of our foreign policy.

Dialogue must continue and unilateral actions that could once again threaten peace and security must be avoided.

Greece supports the resumption of negotiations in the framework of the Minsk Group, as well as the European Union’s contribution to these issues.

We believe that the humanitarian issues must be resolved immediately and that International Humanitarian Law must be respected.

In addition, I’d like to follow up on what we have discussed by expressing our support for sending a UNESCO independent mission to the region to examine issues relating to the protection of cultural heritage.

My dear Ararat,

today we reviewed our excellent bilateral relations. As I mentioned previously, we have so many things in common.

First of all, history. The Hellenic Parliament recognized the Armenian genocide in 1996, while the Armenian Parliament recognized the genocide of the Greeks and Assyrians in 2015.

Our cooperation in international organizations has always been exemplary and at this point on the occasion of your visit, I must thank Armenia for its support of Greek positions.

And, of course, for its support whether in the UN, the Council of Europe or UNESCO on issues concerning the illegal occupation of part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

I’d also like to emphasize how pleased we are with our decision to mutually support our candidacies for the UN Security Council as well as with holding the first trilateral meeting between Greece, Armenia and Cyprus on Diaspora affairs; a meeting convened in Patras a few days ago by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andreas Katsaniotis, during which the relevant memorandum of cooperation was signed.

I believe there is immense potential for strengthening our cooperation in the diaspora affairs. We have a very strong diaspora and you have a very important diaspora as well. People connected by history can work together.

I’d also like to express my support for the trilateral schemes, which have unfortunately lagged behind due to the pandemic.

We agreed to hold a meeting of Foreign Ministers as soon as possible in Yerevan between Greece, Armenia and Cyprus, as a first step so as to organize a meeting of our countries’ leaders.

The Prime Minister, Mr. Mitsotakis, is positive, as he told you, about the prospect of such a meeting. Also, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Ms. Sakellaropoulou has already stated she would be delighted to visit Yerevan when her schedule permits it.

We also agreed that we need to improve our relations as regards economic relations between us. Unfortunately, trade and mutual investments are very limited. But there has been an understanding and the competent Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kostas Fragogiannis, will ensure that there is a targeted approach, with targeted meetings between entrepreneurs, so that we can work on the one area where we have not done particularly well.

I’d also like to tell you publicly, what I told you in private, that Greece supports the initiative to establish an international transit corridor between the Gulf and the Black Sea.

Also, how strongly we believe Armenia’s relations with the European Union should be strengthened. We believe, as clearly evidenced on the map, that Armenia can serve as a bridge between the European Union and the wider Caucasus region and beyond.

That is why I am particularly pleased that we have just signed a memorandum of cooperation on European Union issues.

Of course, we did not fail to discuss, and we will continue to do so during the working lunch, developments in the wider region; the issues arising from the invasion of Ukraine, which also affect security in the Black Sea. And of course, I will have the opportunity to brief you thoroughly on the escalation of Turkish unlawful conduct both in terms of rhetoric and in terms of violations and the overall revisionist approach that is destabilizing broader regions, whether in the Aegean, the Balkans, the Middle East, or in the Caucasus.

My dear Ararat,

I am very glad about your visit to Athens today. We attach great importance to this first visit of yours here.

The fact that you were received by the President of the Hellenic Republic and that you met with the Prime Minister demonstrates how much we appreciate your presence here today, but please allow me to say that we regard your visit as a first and not as a final step.

We look forward to seeing you here again soon. We have so much to do and so much to say.

Thank you very much.

MIL OSI Mediterranean News