UNITED NATIONS (ANA-MPA/S. Mourelatos) – The experience of the coronavirus pandemic “proves that our collective reaction can succeed, and this is what we must do about the climate as well,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday.
In his address at the 76th United Nations General Assembly, the Greek premier said that it was the first time the planet “came together to produce several and safe vaccines quickly,” which the European Union purchased and distributed fairly based on population rates to its member states.
Greece is committed to managing the climate crisis effectively, he added, noting that the country paid a great price with the catastrophic fires of the summer, with which other countries helped.
Relations with Turkey must be based on International Law, “but Greece is facing an illegal casus belli,” he said speaking of the neighboring country. Differences on maritime zones have already been resolved through agreements with Italy and Egypt, and this is proof that resolution is possible through International Law. “The tension that Turkey cultivated last year must not be repeated,” he said, stressing that “Greece will continue to defend its sovereignty and sovereign rights while simultaneously continuing to seek sectors of collaboration with Turkey,” like the climate crisis and the migration issue. Greece will never abandon these efforts to seek collaboration with its neighboring country, he said.
“There are a lot the two countries can achieve together,” Mitsotakis noted, but added he is “less optimistic” about resolving the Cyprus issue because Turkey continues to ignore UN resolutions.
In terms of the European Union, the Greek premier said that Europe “must do more things by itself, but certainly not to the detriment of trans-Atlantic ties.” The EU must additionally meet its obligations at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Slovenia in October towards these countries’ accession path in Europe. “Greece was always an advocate of Western Balkan countries’ accession to the EU – but to be honest, little has been done in that direction,” he said.
PM Mitsotakis focuses on incentives to foreign investing in Greece during NYC meetings
Greece’s return to growth and already implemented reforms were the key points noted by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during his contacts in New York, where he attended the United Nations’ 76th General Assembly, inviting institutional investors and Greek diaspora business owners to invest in the country.
In contacts with leading businessmen like Microsoft’s president Brad Smith and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and members of the Greek community of New York, Mitsotakis stressed that Greece is much stronger now than in the past decade. An upward growth trend that is projected around 5.9% for the year made him optimistic, he said, that the forecast may be low.
Among issues he noted in both his speech before the General Assembly and investors were initiatives to curb the steep rise in electricity bills, which also required a pan-European response, incentives to keep “a very well-educated younger generation” in Greece, reversing the brain drain of the past decade, and measures to deal with climate change, an urgent global issue to be addressed at the upcoming UN summit in Glasgow.
Mitsotakis also noted the role of Turkish aggression in the fragile balances of the eastern Mediterranean, and reiterated that Greece is firmly committed to working on collaborating with Turkey on issues such as migration. The resolution of the maritime zones delimination with the neighboring country must be based on International Law and the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while Turkey must also respect UN resolutions on the Cyprus issue. Building alliances in the region is a key tenet of Greek foreign policy, and include contacts with influential American Jewish organizations as well, whom he met with in New York.
Referring to the US-UK-Australia defense agreement (AUKUS) during his contacts, he reiterated that Europe must build strategic autonomy if it wishes to expand its influence from an economic to a geopolitical power, while retaining strong ties with the United States. Mitsotakis also said Greece was very interested in developments in Libya and firmly supported free elections without the presence of foreign troops in the country.
In his contacts, the Greek premier noted Greece’s interest in becoming a leader in the Balkans and said the country is steadfastly committed to EU membership for the western Balkan countries, while during his meeting with Archbishop Elpidoforos he confirmed the close ties between the diaspora in the United States and Greece.