Mitsotakis: Greece will defend its sovereign rights, but will try to resolve differences with Turkey in a peaceful manner

Monday, 13 January 2020 23:40
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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated on Monday that the country will defend its sovereign rights "in any manner that is the most effective", speaking at reception hosted by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Athens.

Mitsotakis maintained that this is the position he detailed during last week's White House meeting with US President Donald Trump, adding "I was absolutely clear with President Trump himself regarding the Greek government's 'red lines'."

In a direct reference to neighboring Turkey, Mitsotakis added that "we are not the ones pursuing tension in the eastern Mediterranean, and we will try to resolve our differences with Turkey in a peaceful manner, that's why we are keeping the channel of dialogue open, attempting to reduce tension. I am pleased that the United States has clearly taken a position, via its secretary of state, saying they back and guarantee the security and prosperity of the country, while backing initiatives to resolve problems in the eastern Mediterranean in a peaceful manner."   

Speaking a day earlier to reporters ahead of the chamber event, US ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said last week's State Department statement on the Turkey-Libya maritime border deal "...gave a very clear message to the neighborhood in terms of our views on the unhelpful and escalatory nature of the MoUs between Turkey and Libya.

"What I would add and I was not in a position to say when I was asked last week — now that we have actually gotten the specific texts and done a legal analysis, the other important point that I would add is the U.S. legal judgment that the Turkish government in its assertions regarding maritime claims and specifically continental shelves differs with our legal analysis and also the UNCLOS legal analysis regarding the status of islands, that is that inhabited islands as a matter of customary international law are entitled to the same treatment as continental territory."

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