Gov’t spokesperson Petsas: We know how to protect our national interests

“Our aim at the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which convenes on Monday in Brussels, is that Turkish provocativeness should discussed by our European partners so that it might be condemned accordingly,” stated government spokesperson Stelios Petsas in an interview on Monday with the radio station “Proto Thema”.

Petsas also pointed to Monday’s initiative by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias – following up on the results of October’s European Council on the accession for the Western Balkans – to hold an informal discussion on this issue in order to better prepare for the next Summit in March. “We support the European prospect of all the countries in the Westen Balkans,” said Petsas.

He reiterated that the Prespes Agreement was a bad agreement but binding for Greece.”We did everything we could to avoid its signature and ratification but, having been ratified, it produces legal effects under international law. And international law is the compass that dictates our foreign policy, as in the recent developments with Turkey,” Petsas said.

Moreover, he noted that Turkey’s moves in relation to Libya were known to the Greek foreign ministry and to all Greek and international authorities throughout the past period. He underlined that European officials and members of the U.S. and Russian diplomatic corps had condemned actions of this kind, while he declined to comment on internal problems that Libya or even Turkey might be facing.

“Anyway, as the prime minister has said, we always want respect for international law and the rules of good neighbourly relations. It is up to the other side to prove that it respects them in practice and stop making inflammatory statements . Our message to all sides is one of calm self-confidence. We know how to protect our national interests and will do so with the unity that distinguishes the Greek people. Operational and diplomatic planning exists but we are waiting for a de-escalation,” he said.

Petsas announced that the National Council on Foreign Policy will convene on Tuesday and all the parliamentary parties will be briefed by the foreign minister.
Referring to migration, he said that flows were markedly lower in recent days but noted that this was probably a coincidence or due to the weather, rather than the result of any geopolitical or other developments.

On the incidents in downtown Athens during the anniversaries of the Polytechnic Uprising and Alexandros Grigoropoulos murder, Petsas said that police had succeeded in protecting private property and avoiding excesses seen in previous years, adding that any material showing abuses by the police will be examined and those responsible will be held accountable. 

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