The African dimension of Greece’s foreign policy was showcased Friday with the visit by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to Rwanda, the first visit of Greek foreign minister to the African country.
Diplomatic sources stressed that Dendias’ visit clearly demonstrates Athens’ intention to open up to sub-Saharan Africa, which for years remained outside the framework of Greek foreign policy priorities. Dendias was quick to note Friday that Greece has no colonial past in Africa, while diplomatic sources noted the existence of old, historical Greek communities in many countries of the continent.
“We have decided that we want to strengthen our relations with African countries, because, among other things, Africa will be the driving force of the world. Some of the fastest growing economies are located on this beautiful continent. We, Greece, do not have a colonial past and consequently we do not have a similar history,” Dendias stressed.
Two memoranda of cooperation were signed Friday on political consultations and cooperation between the diplomatic academies, renewing the relevant bilateral agreements for the first time since 1986.
Greece‘s gateway to Africa should be Rwanda, Dendias insisted, as it serves as an example in many ways. “Rwanda has recovered from one of the worst genocides in human history, a genocide that remains alive in the memory of many of us. Rwanda has become a model of reconciliation, reconstruction and national unity worldwide,” he said. Against this background, Athens believes that Greece can create a solid base for cooperation with African countries.
Dendias was accompanied in Kigali by Greek Health Ministry’s general secretary for primary healthcare, Marios Themistokleous, in the context of Greece’s donation of 330,000 vaccines against the coronavirus.