In a public demonstration of a common understanding regarding the important issues on the regional agenda in Athens on Friday, the foreign ministers of Greece, France, Egypt and Cyprus – Nikos Dendias, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Sameh Shoukry and Nikos Christodoulides, respectively – discussed the strengthening of the relationship between the four countries so that it acquires an even closer and possibly more permanent form.
“We discussed the excellent relations between our four countries, based on international law and the law of the sea, and highlighted its strategic identity, which forms a solid foundation for enhanced cooperation in many sectors,” the quartet said in a joint statement.
“Our views were closely aligned in security and stability matters, and we discussed ways to reinforce our cooperation,” it read, adding that “we reiterated that we must prioritize peace and stability, both on a regional and international level, as well as the economic growth that we all aspire to, in full compliance with the existing multilateral legal framework.”
The quadripartite agenda included developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Cyprus issue, as well as the Middle East, Libya, the Persian Gulf and the Sahel.
Earlier, the French minister, Le Drian, was received by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The Greek PM noted that he considers the quadrilateral cooperation scheme as an extremely important form of cooperation, underscoring that the French minister’s visit “takes place a few weeks after the conclusion of the Strategic Partnership Agreement, which upgraded our relationship to a historically high level.”
Le Drian, for his part, referred to the importance of the Strategic Partnership while emphasizing that “it is a moment that we must act together on many issues that concern both countries.”
“More specifically, I am talking about issues of security and sovereignty in the Mediterranean. This will be the subject of the quadrilateral meeting that will take place in a short time, ” he said.
Meanwhile, in a veiled reference to Spain and its recent talks on defense cooperation with Turkey, Dendias said EU member-states should “follow France’s example and not supply arms to countries that threaten war,” especially when those threats are directed against fellow EU countries.