Foreign Minister Kotzias to travel to Turkey, Israel and Cyprus

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will travel to Istanbul, where he will meet today [Jan-25] with his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Kotzias will then travel on to Israel, in preparation for the Greek-Israeli High Level Cooperation Council, and to Cyprus, for the Greece-Cyprus-Israel trilateral Summit Meeting.

In a speech at the first meeting of the members of the Parliamentary Friendship Groups, on strengthening and highlighting the role of Parliamentary Diplomacy, Kotzias stressed on trilateral cooperations:

“The trilateral is a special institutional system we have with two third countries. Today, as a rule, the second country is Cyprus. Cyprus and Greece are member states of the European Union, and we mediate for and defend the well-meaning interests or outlooks of our partners. We are trying to systematically develop economic, social and political relations, particularly with regard to regional problems.

These trilateral systems are highly complex. That is, the first level is the high-level diplomatic personnel, the second level is the Secretaries General, the third is the Foreign Ministers, and the fourth level is that of the Prime Ministers or Presidents of the states. Recently, for example, there was the President of Egypt, Mr. Sisi.

We also had trilaterals in the past, when we had cooperation with Egypt and Israel. We are now initiating a more systematic cooperation with Jordan. We have had the first meetings of the Secretaries General, Political Directors, as well as the Ministers, on Monday. We are also looking at – we have agreed on – moving ahead to a trilateral with Palestine and, additionally, with Lebanon.

Moreover, we have agreed with the Arab countries, with whom we have trilaterals, that, towards the end of the year, we will hold multilateral meetings with all of these Arab countries participating in trilateral configurations on issues of security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

It might be interesting for you to consider, as a follow-up to or herald of future trilaterals, the formation of trilateral Friendship Groups, as a new institution, in tandem with the bilateral Friendship Groups. These trilateral Friendship Groups would contribute and lend depth – particularly more sociopolitical depth – to the trilaterals we have begun to develop.

Late this past Sunday evening we had the beginnings of a quadrilateral among the Balkan member states of the European Union: Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece. Croatia is still in the process of forming its government, but high-ranking diplomats participated in the meeting. We agreed to continue at the Informal Council meeting – the ‘Gymnich’ meeting, so called because the first such meeting took place in Gymnich – on 5 and 6 February.

This is an initiative of ours that I hope will be fleshed out more strongly in the future, for a kind of cooperation between four member states of the European Union, a type of cooperation we didn’t have in the past. There was an effort in the past for a trilateral with Romania and Bulgaria and for common policies aimed at stabilizing the Balkan peninsula and Southeast Europe.

Moreover, we have intensive cooperation with Cyprus, which I imagine has and will have its parliamentary dimension. We have intensive contacts with member states of the European Union, but the parliamentary system also has the European Parliament, and one must look there at how exactly to separate the bilateral issues that don’t strictly concern the European Union from the issues of the European Parliament…”

Photo: MFA