Athens, December 22, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras stood in favour of the establishment of a viable, territorially unified, independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders, in the joint declarations with the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, at the Maximos Mansion.
Significant strengthening of bilateral relations
“Your visit will contribute significantly both to strengthening the historical ties between our two peoples and our common effort for a just and viable solution to the Palestinian problem”, Alexis Tsipras said.
The Greek PM spoke of the difficult times in the region, adding that “we are very concerned about the wider regional destabilisation, the rise of terrorist forces based on religious fundamentalism” and the “escalation of oppression, of tension and violence in Palestine and Israel, with civilian victims”. He stressed that “in such an environment, the strengthening of our relationships becomes even more important”.
Tsipras said he discussed the role that Greece can play as a pillar of stability and dialogue bridge and cooperation in the region, and added that Greece “is actively committed to promote a two-state solution that guarantees the establishment of a viable , single territorial, independent and sovereign Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, a state that will coexist in peace and security with Israel”. He also stressed the importance “we attach to the immediate cessation of the settlements and respect for the historical status quo of the holy places”.
As he said, we jointly condemn terrorism and underline the urgent need to start a substantial, credible peace process, but with a clear political horizon. A process that, as Tsipras said, will give back hope to the Palestinian people and the Israeli people for a better future for the peaceful coexistence of the two peoples in the same area.
He also stressed “our firm and strong support in the person of president Abbas, a man who is able to vigorously promote this process”.
At the same time, he underlined the importance for the region of a just and lasting solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN resolutions.
Tsipras noted that they agreed that Greece as a European and Mediterranean country, beyond the traditional friendship it has with the Palestinian people have the opportunity to develop relations with countries in the region – and particularly relations with Israel, has the ability to play a constructive role in bridging differences always in an effort to find a just and viable solution to the Palestinian problem.
During their meeting, they discussed the decision taken by Greece for use of the term “Palestine” by the entire Greek public administration, referring to energy and a message in a special symbolism.
The Prime Minister said that from now on all public documents of the Greek state will use the term “Palestine” and not “Palestinian Authority”.
Alexis Tsipras noted that the visit of President of Palestine will be combined with the vote of the resolution in the Greek parliament, a resolution which is unanimous and welcomes the recognition of the Palestinian state.
Finally, he noted that they spoke of the individual possibilities of bilateral cooperation.
M. Abbas: International community should defend freedom and democracy
“Our people and our lands require advocacy by the international community to have freedom and democracy, as the other poeples”, said for his part the president of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas.
“This is the last chance to have peace in the region and a resolution of the Palestinian issue”, Abbas said, thanking Tsipras Alexis for the invitation extended to him to visit Greece and for his welcome in the beautiful and historic Athens, while he conveyed his thanks to the Palestinian people, to the “friend” people of Greece which “proved to be a people that has history, culture and humanity”.
At the same time, he underlined that he deeply appreciates the support of the Greek government and the Greek state for the Palestinian people, who understand the hardships suffered by the people of Palestine: “He also thanked the parties for the unanimous resolution in the House”.
Mahmoud Abbas described as constructive the talks with Alexis Tsipras towards strengthening relations between the two sides, as well as for the creation of an inter-ministerial committee.
“I informed the prime minister on the plight of the Palestinian people and the occupation of Palestine by the Israelis”, he said and stressed the need for peace, for the cancellation of occupation and colonisation, for the release of prisoners by the Israelis and for the return of the refugees in Palestine.
“We want peace with our Israeli neighbours, with the 1967 borders”, said the president of Palestine and underlined that the continued occupation and colonization can’t bring positive results.
Also, he said that Palestine supports the decision of the Security Council to strike terrorism and its sources.