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Greece welcomes Turkey initiative to ease tensions

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrives at the EU headquarters to attend for an European Union Summit in Brussels, Belgium on October 17, 2019 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrives at the EU headquarters to attend for an European Union Summit in Brussels, Belgium on October 17, 2019 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis yesterday said his country welcomes Turkey's moves to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, adding that Ankara needs to show a stronger commitment to improving mutual relations.

Mitsotakis stated following a meeting with the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg: "Our country welcomes Turkey's first positive step towards easing recent tensions, and now it remains to be seen whether the step is sincere or is it a short-term manoeuvre,'' adding that Greece is committed to dialogue and diplomacy to resolve any dispute.

"It is up to Turkey to close the path to the crisis and open the path to a solution. We are ready to meet it on that second track, and I am optimistic that this is the path that we will take for the benefit of our people," the Greek prime minister said.

As part of efforts to de-escalate tensions between Ankara and Athens, Stoltenberg announced last week the creation of a mechanism to avoid accidental clashes, which includes establishing a hotline to avoid accidents at sea and in the air.

Stoltenberg said that he is certain that this mechanism will also help "provide a platform" for diplomatic initiatives.

He added: "I have high hopes that the underlying differences between the two allies can be resolved now through negotiations that are being conducted in the spirit of solidarity between allies and the international law."

Tensions reached their highest point between Greece and Turkey this summer, when each country claimed overlapping sovereign rights over vast areas of the Eastern Mediterranean, with Ankara sending a survey vessel to determine potential oil and gas exploration prospects in the region. Greece condemned the move.

Over the weekend, the Turkish vessel left the areawhere it was operating south-west of Cyprus and reached Turkey's coast in a move the European Union (EU) said would help ease tensions in the region.

READ: Turkey's EU membership bid evaporating, Commission says

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Europe & RussiaGreeceNewsTurkey
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