It is not by chance that in some capitals they call us tough, said Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in an interview with the Sunday edition of Ethnos newspaper.
In his interview Kotzias referred to all the pending issues concerning the Greek diplomacy from the Turkish demands in the Aegean, the Cham issue as well as the Cyprus issue.
The Aegean will not be anyone’s prize, he said, noting that the course of nationalism bidding wherever it comes from should end” because the Greek diplomacy will not allow “the policy for peace to be misunderstood as a policy of retreat and appeasement” said the Greek Foreign Minister, adding that the Greek diplomacy is dealing calmly with the rise of specific revisionism on the Turkish political stage after the return of elements of nationalism from many sides.
We do not underestimate it but we do not overestimate it either” he noted.
Asked about the possibility of ‘an international incident’ in the Aegean between Greece and Turkey he said that “efforts deriving from some circles of the Turkish elite want to bring into question international law and Greece’s sovereignty rights” however he said that “these plans will have no luck, as we have an excellent defence and diplomacy” adding that “Greece knows what it wants and how to prevent these kind of incidents”.
On the abolition of visa for Turkish citizens, he reiterated that Greece supports the implementation of the agreement.
In reference to the report of the Commissioner C. Han concerning the so called Cham Issue the foreign minister explained that during the negotiations the Albanian request was not accepted by Greece to discuss this’ non-existent problem, “explaining that there are voices of realism and cooperation in Albania, but also “the objective interests in both countries require good relations” and stressed the importance of solving the problems before the start of accession negotiations for countries that want to join the EU without third party intervention.
As for Mr. Han, in particular, he states that he made three mistakes: “The first, was that without any authorisation he published a list of bargaining issues. The second, worse than the first, is that he completed the list with a nonexistent issue. The third is that in this way he threatened to destroy the entire process”.
At the same time he also holds the opposition responsible noting that “unfortunately some tend to adopt whatever anyone says as long as it goes against Greece and our foreign policy. I hope at some point that they wake up”
Kotzias said that foreign policy is not for exercising public relations. It is for responsible, reasonable patriots that take care of the country’s interests. “We are once again becoming a country with a foreign policy that is respected. With a serious policy with a series of initiatives. We have established five new regional and international institutions in the last year”.
Asked if Greece is the recipient of pressure from abroad to step back on issues related to Albania or Fyrom, Kotzias said “it is not by chance that in some capitals they call us tough” noting that “a week ago we vetoed” and reminded the whole of the EU that it should follow the law and this is what makes it different from other regional cooperations and unions. Last year in June 2015 a day before my first visit to Fyrom I vetoed against this country. This year I vetoed against sanctions on Fyrom”.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, Kotzias reiterated that ‘what is fundamental in the Cyprus issue is the foreign occupation in the name of a guarantees system” adding that compromises must be good and not rotten. ”
In order for a solution to be found the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops from the island is mandatory” and called such n agreement on the gradual withdrawal of turkish troops with an open deadline needless and dangerous because”an open date means legalisation and perpetuation of the presence of the occupation troops which is direct admission of the non-solution of the Cyprus issue”./IBNA