KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, Prime Minister of Greece, said Europeans have stood by Ukraine, equipping it with means to defend itself against the aggressor and imposing punitive sanctions that are beginning to take a toll on the Russian economy. “It is imperative to send a clear message to other authoritarian leaders that open acts of aggression which violate international law shall not be tolerated by the global community of democratic States,” he underscored. Noting that the Russian Federation has weaponized its natural resources to cause pain on European societies and destabilize democratically elected European Governments, he said: “We will support our citizens to cope with high energy prices. We will pool European resources to promote energy efficiency and rapidly diversify away from Russian oil and natural gas. And we will further accelerate the push towards renewable energy.”
Ukraine is not the only country in post-war Europe to have been brutally attacked, he continued, noting that for nearly 50 years, Cypriots have lived on a divided island as the result of an illegal invasion and a military occupation. Ankara and the Turkish-Cypriot leadership continue to insist upon unacceptable demands for a two-State solution and refuse to resume negotiations for an agreed settlement based on successive Security Council resolutions. Voicing support for the Secretary General’s efforts to resume negotiations for a mutually acceptable settlement, and the confidence-building measures proposed by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, he said the international community must not ignore illegal Turkish attempts to impose a new fait-accompli on Cyprus, in particular in the fenced area of Varosha, as well as new and repeated violations of Cyprus’ maritime zones and airspace. He reaffirmed his openness to dialogue and to the settling of differences in an open, respectful manner, and in accordance with international law.
Türkiye has great capacity to play a constructive role, he said, noting its recent efforts that led to a successful brokering of a grain exports deal between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. At the same time, however, Türkiye continues to play a destabilizing role in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Caucasus, he pointed out, highlighting that it is the only country in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that is not implementing sanctions against the Russian Federation. Describing the growing intensity of Türkiye’s threats against his country, he said Turkish claims over the sovereignty of Greece’s islands are baseless and unacceptable. Addressing the Turkish leadership and Turkish people and urging them to move forward in a spirit of cooperation, he said: “Greece poses no threat to your country. We are not your enemy. We are neighbours. We value the many friendships between ordinary Greeks and Turks.” Noting that Türkiye has been instrumentalizing migrants since March 2020, he stressed that Greece will continue to protect its borders, with full respect to fundamental rights.
Turning to climate change, he said the green transformation sits at the heart of his Government’s reform programme and its national climate law aims to mobilize all sectors of the economy for a transition to net zero by 2050. The conversion of a number of Greek islands into green innovation hubs is up and running. Noting its battle to protect cultural heritage, he said that his country, in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), has launched “Addressing Climate Change Impacts on Cultural and Natural Heritage”. As the world’s leading shipping nation, his country understands the paramount importance of the marine environment’s sustainability. For this reason, Greece in 2024 will be hosting the ninth International “Our Ocean Conference”, building on its ambitious plans to promote sustainable fishing and protect 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030. His country is also taking the lead in making sure that European countries cooperate more effectively in the field of civil protection through the RescEU program.