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NATO chief’s proposal not an agreement to relaunch talks with Turkey, says Athens

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s initiative on Thursday comprised a set of “technical” proposals to avert a military incident in the Eastern Mediterranean and not an agreement between Athens and Ankara to resume talks, the Greek government spokesman said on Friday.

Greece cannot agree to sit down to talks with Turkey unless Ankara actively demonstrates a desire to de-escalate tension in the Eastern Aegean, Stelios Petsas added in comments to Skai television.

Stoltenberg’s proposal, he said, is a “document of technical interest, over which he sought the reactions and proposals of the parties.” This is a “far cry from being described as an agreement to resume talks,” he added.

“Anyone who holds public office must act with the seriousness demanded by that position and the secretary general of NATO has a great position,” Petsas said.

Athens does not have high expectations of a breakthrough in the talks being promoted by Stoltenberg for a mechanism to avert a military confrontation between Greece and Turkey, though well-informed sources have told Kathimerini that it agrees to the technical talks “in principal” and on the condition that the Turkish Oruc Reus seismic survey vessel is withdrawn from the Greek continental shelf.