Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Responding to the missile strikes in Syria on Saturday, the Greek foreign ministry issued an announcement condemning the use of chemical weapons and calling for the perpetrators to be held accountable. At the same time, it also urged that diplomacy “return centre stage,” and the focus remains on finding a “political and sustainable solution in Syria.”
The full announcement is as follows:
“Greece unequivocally condemns the use of chemical weapons and supports the efforts to eradicate them.
“The international community must thoroughly investigate every relevant incident and perpetrators must be held accountable.
“At the same time, the international community must remain focused on finding a political and sustainable solution in Syria; a solution that will end the war and restore peace in the country and the region, that will allow for the return of millions of refugees to their homes, and that will protect the whole population, including all religious and cultural communities.
“In this direction, everyone must contribute directly toward the de-escalation of the situation and the strengthening of efforts to reach a ceasefire. What is more, access to humanitarian aid for battered populations must be assured.
“Diplomacy must return to centre stage, and the efforts within the framework of the UN must be continued.”
The SYRIZA party – the larger of the two parties in Greece’s ruling coalition – on Saturday expressed its opposition to the missile strikes on Syria, which it said spelled dangers for the surrounding region.
“The missile strikes in Syria find us opposed and pose grave dangers for the surrounding region. Only the United Nations is competent to carry out an investigation and refer those responsible to international justice for the possible use of chemical weapons, which is a crime against humanity,” a SYRIZA press release said.
“War is not a solution to the tragedy of the Syrian people but will create more problems. Diplomatic and peace-keeping initiatives and an active role for international organisations is the only way. It is necessary to mobilise the people of Europe and a new peace movement that will avert war in the Middle East,” it added.
The targeted missile strikes by US, British and French forces against chemical weapons sites in Syria were “necessary” after the failure to achieve a consensus at the UN Security Council on any military action, New Democracy’s shadow foreign secretary George Koumoutsakos said on Saturday.
“Today’s limited and targeted missile attack against specific targets in Syria became necessary after the failure of diplomacy within the UN framework, where a specific proposal was not eventually adopted, despite having the support of the overwhelming majority of the Security Council,” Koumoutsakos said and condemned the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta.
“This makes it imperative to take preventive measures to avoid the recurrence of such inhuman acts,” he added and called for “prudence and self-restraint” from all sides to avoid further escalation.
RESPONDS WITH RALLIES
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) organized a protest rally against the U.S.-led missile strikes in Syria at the Syntagma Square on Saturday. KKE General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas was the main speaker.
“With their attack on Syria today, the United States, Britain and France, with the support and tolerance of the other NATO and EU states, are once again causing the peoples of the region to bleed, are destroying and dismembering states, using fabricated evidence and pretexts,” a KKE press release said.
“Their real aim is to control wealth-generated resources, energy routes and spheres of influence,” the party added, in a press release calling for Greece to stay out of the conflict, shut down foreign bases and pull out of NATO and the EU.
It accused the current SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government “of continuing the policies of the previous New Democracy and PASOK governments” and “involving the country even more deeply in this massacre on behalf of Greek capital, which seeks a share of the loot”.
A similar protest rally organised by KKE and other leftist organisations in Thessaloniki on Saturday afternoon briefly erupted into tension when protestors tried to symbolically blockade the US consulate, prompting authorities to use tear gas. Protestors also sprayed slogans on the floor and walls of a shopping centre in the building housing the U.S. consulate before departing.
In statements on the missile strikes in Syria after a two-day visit to the refugee camps on the island of Lesvos, opposition Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis said that Europe must intensify its efforts for a diplomatic solution to end the violence. He also pointed out that Greece had paid a heavy price for the war in Syria.
“When you see the fire in your neighbourhood growing, you cannot but worry. Greece, and especially our islands such as Lesvos, have paid a heavy price because of this war. I hope that the Europeans are aware of their responsibilities and will continue to try, along with us and the United Nations, to find a solution so that there are no more victims, no more refugees and so that there can be a relative calm in the region,” he said.
Theodorakis also suggested three actions that could be taken immediately to alleviate some of the more serious problems in the functioning of the hotspots, especially now that the flow of refugees had increased.