“The bodies of the Alliance, starting with its leadership, the general secretary, must respect and honor all the allies and the principles of the Alliance”, underlined the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias in his statements after the meeting he had at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with its Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics.
Referring to yesterday’s post by the NATO Land Forces Headquarters, Mr. Dendias pointed out that “it is a deviation from the principles of the alliance”.
“Greece has contributed a lot to NATO in the last decades and does not accept this behavior”, he stressed and added: “I am satisfied that, after yesterday’s step, NATO has taken corrective action”.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs underlined the need for cohesion within the framework of the Alliance, which is more important than ever, while repeating that “the rhetoric that Turkey emits against Greece, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Asia Minor disaster, does not befit a ally country”.
“We, for our part, will not slip into rhetoric of reviving the past. As a European democracy, we look to the future,” he underlined and added.
“For us, human rights, women’s rights, democracy, international law matter. And we see NATO as an alliance that has exactly the same approach.”
The foreign minister characterized NATO as an alliance of sovereign states and an alliance of these principles, which is clearly mentioned in the Strategic Doctrine, proposed by the secretary general and adopted by the Madrid Summit last June.
Referring to the situation in Ukraine after the Russian invasion, Mr. Dendias recalled that Greece, like Latvia, maintained a position of principle based on full respect for International Law, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries of the world and referred to the initiatives undertaken by Greece.
He noted that “democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights are at the core of the EU, the family of which we are both members”.
He pointed out that “we have a clear position on assigning responsibility for the commission of any war crimes, nothing can and should not go unpunished”, while Greece has a great sensitivity regarding Mariupol, a city that has been destroyed in where more than 100,000 Greeks lived.
As the minister said, the sanctions were also discussed, with Greece and Latvia agreeing that there should be a solid front.
“Countries that do not apply sanctions give a breather to Russian aggression,” he emphasized and added: “I referred to the case of our neighboring country, Turkey, which does not impose sanctions, but at the same time, in the summer it became a refuge for Russian oligarchs and Russian mega yachts, which Greece and Europe banned”.
He also reminded that the largest Russian investment abroad is the nuclear power plant of Akugio in Turkey.
“Russia and Turkey seem to have adopted similar models of behavior, with a promotion of revisionism, i.e. the promotion of a model of border change that has nothing to do with the perception of the international legal order, but also of the European Union,” he noted.
Regarding the cooperation within the Atlantic Alliance, Mr. Dendias said that “the port of Alexandroupoli can be an energy hub, but also a transit station for the reinforcement and protection of the eastern wing of NATO”.
The Greek foreign minister also referred to the death of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. “We remember him for his contribution to the peaceful end of the cold war, the efforts he made for nuclear disarmament” he noted and added that we should not forget that perestroika also had its dark spots and recalled the suppression of independence movements in the Baltic countries , in Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Finally, Mr. Dendias underlined that Greece and Latvia are completing a century of diplomatic relations and during this period a lot has been achieved in political dialogue and educational relations. In fact, as he mentioned, the Greek language is taught at the University of Riga.
“However, there is always room for improvement, at the level of mutual understanding of the challenges we face, but also in bilateral trade, in innovation, in energy, in the economy, in tourism, in culture,” he added.
Latvian Foreign Minister: The sanctions on Russia should also be applied by the candidate countries for EU membership
“We small countries always support the principles of international law, based on rules, democracy and the rule of law,” underlined the Latvian Foreign Minister.
Referring to the sanctions on Russia, he pointed out that he considers it particularly important that all candidate countries for EU membership do their duty and “that there are no loopholes in these sanctions”. “Our cooperation must continue to achieve this goal,” he emphasized.
He stated that “it is very important that I am here to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of our diplomatic relations” and thanked Greece for its stance on the issue of the Baltic States in NATO and the strengthening of NATO’s eastern wing.
He also stated that he was particularly happy because yesterday in the framework of the discussions of the foreign ministers in Prague, there was an agreement on the complete suppression of the visa facilitation regime. “This is important for security reasons, as my country and other countries neighboring Russia are directly affected by this. But it also sends a message to the citizens and to Russia that there is also a moral responsibility in the context of war,” he pointed out.
He also thanked Mr. Dendia for what he called his “excellent” statement on the death of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
“This is a personality that will be judged by history. He wanted to save the Soviet Union and he succeeded, he never wanted its collapse. On the other hand, we, the states that were conquered by the Soviet Union, had suppression of rebellions,” he said. .
Finally, he underlined the need to increase economic relations, political dialogue and defense cooperation.
“We particularly appreciate what Greece has done by sending weapons to Ukraine,” he said, adding that Latvia is participating in Frontex as part of the EU’s effort to help Greece.
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