Nikos Dendias’ first visits as foreign minister to Israel on Sunday and Cyprus the day after, where he will accompany Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitstotakis, are seen as a clear indication of the importance the new government is attaching to developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In light of recent tensions with Turkey, the meetings in both countries will seek to lay the groundwork for the next steps of the trilateral cooperation between Greece, Israel and Cyprus, which is being backed by the United States.
In comments on Thursday, Dendias reiterated that Greece’s “sovereign rights are not negotiable,” and stressed that the message that Athens has sent to Ankara is that it must uphold international law and treaties.
Echoing similar sentiments, Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said on Thursday that Ankara is well aware of Greece’s red lines.
Speaking to the Supreme Military Command of the Interior and Islands, known as ASDEN, Panagiotopoulos said that when “red lines are crossed we are here to send a powerful signal of calm, as well as decisiveness, deliberation and vigor.”
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Ambassador to Greece Burak Ozugergin took a swipe at the European Union over its stance with regard to Ankara’s “continued and new illegal drilling activities” off the coast of Cyprus.
“The EU, by losing its chance to play a positive role in solving the Cyprus problem, in a sense has disqualified itself,” he told the Anadolu Agency.
As for the possibility of a resumption of Cyprus reunification talks, Ozugergin said that “so far there has been no positive signal.”