Delegations from the Greek and Turkish foreign ministries met on Friday in Athens for the first time in 18 months as part of the effort by the two countries to keep lines of communication open and to de-escalate tensions.
In a brief statement issued on Friday, the Greek Foreign Ministry said the two sides – led respectively by the Foreign Ministry’s General Secretary Dimitris Paraskevopoulos and Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal – assessed the current situation in the Aegean and the international dimension of the Cyprus problem and discussed ways to improve bilateral relations.
As expected, the possibility of reviving the confidence building measures agreed in 1988 by the respective foreign ministers at the time, Karolos Papoulias and Mesut Yilmaz, was not discussed as the matter falls under the purview of the countries’ defense ministries.
A planned meeting between military delegations of both countries has yet to be convened and a date has yet to be set.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Albanian counterpart Edi Rama discussed bilateral relations on the sidelines of the 16+1 summit in Dubrovnik in Croatia between 16 European countries and China on Friday.
Tsipras reportedly stressed the need for Albania to show respect for the rights of its Greek minority to secure its accession to the European Union.
Diplomatic sources said the EU’s stance on the issue regarding property rights of ethnic Greeks in Albania was also touched upon.
The meeting between the two men took place a few weeks after Rama submitted an amendment to a law on tourism development of Albania’s coasts which implied that properties of Greeks in the coastal area of Himara would be seized.