Kotzias-Gentiloni: Greece-Italy relations enter new stage

Kotzias-Gentiloni: Greece-Italy relations enter new stage

Athens, February 19, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

Greece-Italy relations enter a new trajectory οf widening. This was stressed by the two Foreign ministers, Nikos Kotzias and Paolo Gentiloni, at the press conference given after their meeting at the Foreign Ministry.

The deep cultural roots and close ties between the two countries with which no other country can compare, as highlighted by both sides, allow them today to have a common voice in Europe and the world for a number of problems, from the Syrian refugee crisis, to the plans for energy and a common vision for socially orientation in Europe, with “fair wind” Mr. Kotzias stressed.

Before mentioning the specific bilateral issues, the two ministers expressed their deep condolences to the Turkish people and their conviction for the second deadly terrorist attack in Ankara. Especially for this matter, answering a reporter’s question about whether it could affect the Syrian crisis, Mr. Kotzias stressed that “Turkey should not be drawn in tough confrontation with the Kurds in general, in the name of this hit, but should march boldly against terrorists, for more democracy, for more understanding of the millions of Kurdish problems that exist throughout the region”. “Turkey”, he added, “is a great nation, a great state and will face the terrorists in the way it has chosen, but at the same time is should not to let terrorism get tin the way of a peace process with the Kurdish people”. Mr. Kotzias also said that “the absence of Davutoglu in today’s Summit certainly complicates understandings reached between the EU and Turkey to promote solutions for the refugee problem”, and expressed the belief that “there are and will be given multiple consultation opportunities”, announcing the visit of his Turkish counterpart Mr. Cavusoglu on March 4 in Athens to prepare for the intergovernmental meeting on March 8 in Izmir. “All sides stand by Turkey against terrorism, and we will have the opportunity tomorrow to have an understanding with the Turkish factor on the problems of the refugees and the region”, Mr. Kotzias concluded.

On his part, Mr. Gentiloni expressed his condemnation of the terrorist attack and the solidarity of his country. “The reasons for these strikes are matters for the Turkish authorities to express their opinions. We should emphasize on the one hand our support to Turkey being a NATO member country and our ally, a country that is committed to fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and against ISIS”. “At the same time”, he added, “to repeat the common decision taken all these last weeks, and especially in Munich, that the solution to the crisis in Syria can only be aimed at cessation of hostilities and the beginning of a transition process that will lead to the end of the war”. He expressed the belief that one of the actors in the region could realistically have bet on a military solution to the Syrian conflict.

“Italy is Greece’s most beloved neighbor; we are connects by a sea of friendship”, Mr. Kotzias said, explaining the close ties and influences that Greece had with Italy in recent decades, from our memories for music and film to the thousands of Greek students who studied there and the millions of Italian tourists in our country”. What connect us today, Kotzias added “are the common concerns as first-line countries, for the refugee problem, the developments in Libya and Syria”, as well as “the same longing for Europe”, for “EU principles and values.” “We know that the major problems we are facing, such as the refugee crisis, require creative, peaceful solutions”, said the Greek Foreign Minister, noting that both countries support the activities of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary Staffan de Mistura.

Greece and Italy, as he explained, have agreed to a constitutional system for the development of their bilateral relations, starting from the foreign ministries and the formation of a joint cooperation action plan in all social and economic sectors. A key objective is the development of trade relations with assistance from Italy in the formulation and distribution of products, that would create new investment opportunities for both sides. A key chapter in our relations with Italy are, as Mr. Kotzias put it, culture and further development of the two communities, stressing the importance of having the imminent, within a few weeks, visit to Athens by Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini.

“Common concerns and interests of the two countries”, according to Mr. Kotzias, “are in the energy sector, the major construction of the TAP pipeline, the vertical Bulgarian-Romanian pipeline and the development of the potential of renewable energy sources, area those that allow us to have a favorable wind in our relations”.