Nikos Kotzias starts series of international contacts before the Conference of Rhodes

Nikos Kotzias starts series of international contacts before the Conference of Rhodes

Athens, August 22, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

With an eye at the Conference for Security and Stability to be held on September 8-9 in Rhodes, Nikos Kotzias starts a series of international contacts, starting with Skopje, which he will visit on August 25 to hold a series of contacts with the political leadership of FYROM.

During the visit of the head of Greek diplomacy there will be an assessment of the one year from the activation of the MoU between the two countries, while discussions with his counterpart Nikola Poposki will also touch issues of security and cooperation. Nikos Kotzias is also scheduled to meet with the President of FYROM, Giorge Ivanov and the PM Emil Dimitriev. Early on Thursday morning the Greek FM will give a speech at the Annual Conference of Ambassadors of FYROM.

Despite the political crisis that has been plaguing FYROM lately, the MoU have emerged – at least so far – as useful tools for collaboration, clamping of relations, finding common ground and interactively beneficial objectives.

It was the first time political consultations between the two Foreign Ministries, with the first collaborations already having been scheduled, while the list of cooperation in various fields is constantly expanding with new initiatives that are being launched.

The relationships established between the official agents of the two foreign ministries, according to information of IBNA, are particularly beneficial as since the first rounds of contacts both sides have accepted that the other side comes with good faith and professionalism. A similar positive atmosphere has began to form to the other ministries that are now involved in the negotiations, which have entered into a operational stage at a technical level.

What Greece now expects from FYROM is to transfer the good climate at the political level and for the leadership of FYROM to be persuaded to abandon its anachronistic irredentist nationalism, as circles within the Foreign Ministry state, realizing the multiple benefits of a fair compromise on the name issue that will allow the full normalization of bilateral relations. By then, of course, Greece will retain the same line with what this implies for the European and Euro-Atlantic perspective of the country.

On September 1 the Greek FM will participate in the OSCE, since the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has invited the Foreign Ministers of all OSCE participating States as well as the OSCE Secretary General and Heads of OSCE institutions to the German city of Potsdam on September 1, 2016 for an informal political exchange at the ministerial level. The one-day event is taking place under the title, ‘Facing common challenges together’.

On September 2-3, the Greek Foreign Minister will travel to Bratislava to participate in the Informal Meeting of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The issues to be discussed at the meeting are, according to the schedule: Discussion on Turkey, Minsk implementation and the way forward EU Global Strategy and Counter-terrorism and preventing and countering radicalization.

On September 8-9, Nikos Kotzias will welcome in Rhodes, 14 counterparts (Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy, Croatia, Slovakia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia), who might increase to 16 or 18, from European and Arab countries. On the focus of the conference will be security and stability in the region, ways of rapprochement and cooperation through the economy, politics and culture.

This important initiative of Nikos Kotzias highlights Greece as a protagonist in the processes that are taking place in the geopolitical field, supporting with substantial initiatives the efforts – wherever these might come from – to solving the problems the region is facing.

On September 14 Nikos Kotzias will travel to the US to participate in both the 71th UN General Assembly and to accompany Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who will go to New York as well.

Finally, there is the possibility that in the near future there will be a meeting of the Greek Foreign Minister with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.