Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who is on an official visit to Slovenia. The two ministers agreed to work more closely during preparations for Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2021. Minister Dendias thanked Slovenia for its solidarity, which it showed once again by sending material aid after the fire on the island of Lesbos. This was the first official meeting between the Slovenian and Greek foreign ministers in the last ten years.
The two ministers assessed that the official visit of Minister Dendias to Slovenia significantly strengthened the bilateral relations between the two countries, which are primarily friendly and allied. They called for close co-operation during Slovenia’s preparations for the presidency of the Council of the European Union. The two ministers agreed that Slovenia and Greece, as two Mediterranean members of the Union and NATO allies, share similar views on a number of European, regional and global issues.
Much of the ministers’ talks focused on developments in the eastern Mediterranean, with the Slovenian side expressing concern over the deteriorating situation in the region and expectations of a peaceful resolution. The two ministers stressed the desire and need for closer co-operation in the Mediterranean. They also dedicated a significant part of the talks to the Mediterranean, because both countries see it as a common advantage and responsibility at the same time. Minister Dendias expressed satisfaction with Slovenia’s request to join the unofficial group of Mediterranean countries Med 7. He expressed Greece’s support for this Slovenian intention.
According to a statement from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dendias said that the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, moves and Turkish policies that undermine regional stability were discussed, both at sea, in the eastern Mediterranean, and in Libya, Syria and Iraq.
“As you know, Turkey has withdrawn its research ship and warships from the Greek mainland. Greece, we have said many times, is always ready for dialogue, but not under a regime of pressure and blackmail. For dialogue within international law, International Maritime Law, on the issues around which we have differences and those are the Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf.
Turkish provocations will be the topic of talks at the European level next week, where it is necessary to show European solidarity. The EU has compiled a list of sanctions that the Council will draw attention to, and whether those sanctions will be applied depends on Turkey’s behaviour. I always hope we won’t have to get to this point,” Dendias said.
Dealing with migration issues, especially the situation on the island of Lesbos, the two ministers emphasized the importance of solidarity and assistance between member states. Slovenia responded to Greece’s request and this week delivered material assistance in the amount of 130,000 euros, and it will also receive four unaccompanied refugee minors under the age of 10 from Greece. They agreed that, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as many other challenges, we need greater dialogue and coordination of actions at the bilateral and European level.
The Greek Foreign Minister also met in Ljubljana with the Prime Minister, Janez Janša, President Borut Pahor and other high-ranking state officials. President Pahor expressed satisfaction with the intensive contacts between the two countries and expressed readiness soon to host the President of the Hellenic Republic, Ekaterina Sakellaropoulou, on an official visit. The President of Slovenia paid an official visit to Greece in December 2018, and in October last year he attended the meeting of the presidents of the Arraiolos Group countries, which was held in Athens./ibna