Former foreign minister rebuked for territorial waters remark

Former foreign minister rebuked for territorial waters remark

The political fallout from the announcement made by former foreign minister Nikos Kotzias – during Saturday’s ceremony to hand over his portfolio to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras – that Greece is ready to extend its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea to 12 nautical miles, continued on Monday with opposition parties accusing him of irresponsible behavior.

The extension concerns the sea region from the Diapontia Islands, a small cluster in the Ionian Sea, to Antikythera, an island lying between the Peloponnese and Crete.

Conservative New Democracy’s shadow foreign affairs minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos decried Kotzias for his “unprecedented carelessness and sloppiness.”

The move, Koumoutsakos said in a statement, “separated the country in two,” noting that the outgoing minister obviously had Tsipras’s blessing.

ND’s shadow foreign minister said Kotzias had effectively made it easier for Turkey to support its long-standing claim according to which the Law of the Sea cannot be applied in the Aegean Sea, which Ankara insists is a “special case.”

The conservative official also hit out at the leftist-led government for “undermining essential positions of our foreign policy.”

Former PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos echoed Koumoutsakos’s sentiment that Kotzias’s remarks backed the Turkish argument.

In an article in Ta Nea newspaper, Venizelos said Kotzias’s remarks could be very damaging to national interests.

The center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) also took a swipe at Kotzias, with leading party official Andreas Loverdos accusing him of making grand statements which amount to nothing since he was leaving office.

To Potami said that making statements on national policy during a handout ceremony was a “very serious matter” and accused the government of being reckless.

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