Athens sends message with FM’s Mideast trip

Athens sends message with FM’s Mideast trip

The visits on Tuesday by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, for talks with all those involved in the ongoing crisis, is seen as a reflection of the diplomatic presence Greece is establishing in the region.

Dendias’ trip to the region took place in consultation with Greece’s key partners, including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the US and France.

He was the first European official to visit the region since the crisis began.

“An immediate ceasefire is needed, as well as the protection of human rights, the protection of human life,” Dendias stressed after the end of his trip, while condemning in the strongest terms the firing of thousands of rockets from Hamas toward Israel.

“It is an action absolutely and universally condemnable. Israel, like every country in the world, has the right to self-defense,” he said. 

While in Israel, Dendias also participated in the extraordinary teleconference of European Union foreign ministers.

Apart from the wider significance of the ongoing crisis between Israel and the Palestinians, Dendias’ visit was also a message that Athens is closely monitoring developments and does not to intend to allow unfavorable developments that will affect its interests, such as the Turkish-Libyan memorandum signed in in 2019. Turkish reports have suggested that Ankara wants Gaza authorities to sign a similar memorandum with Turkey in violation of the sovereign rights of Greece and Cyprus.

In Jerusalem, Dendias also met with Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, before talks with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi, who thanked him for the recognition of Israel’s right to self-defense and the categorical condemnation of the Hamas rocket attacks. He said the visit was a “sign of support and solidarity with Israel.”

Dendias met with the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammad Shtayyeh, in Ramallah, before heading to Amman, Jordan for talks with his counterpart Ayman Safadi.

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