Greek Government Defines Strong Position
In a July 5th announcement, the Greek Foreign Ministry provided details of a meeting of the Secretary General of the Foreign Ministry of Greece, Ambassador Yannis-Alexis Zepos, with the Ambassadors to Athens of several Arab countries. The Foreign Ministry has communicated that the meeting included discussion of “conveying to Gaza of the humanitarian aid that has been collected by those participating in the well-known relevant initiative.”
Ambassador Zepos stated that “the Greek government’s decisions (halting the flotilla) were taken based on the safety of the participants and avoiding tensions that might have repercussions for the stability of the wider region.” He noted that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had directed that all aid to Gaza be transported through established, legal access points.
Foreign Ministry Secretary General Zepos noted the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had each expressed his support for the Greek initiative. Ambassador Zepos “reiterated to the Arab Ambassadors, Greece’s positions on the Middle East issue and particularly the Palestinian question, reaffirming Greece’s dedication to the goal of “finding a just and viable solution for the Palestinians and the creation of a Palestinian state that will coexist with Israel in conditions of peace and security.”
An earlier communiqué (July 3, 2011) noted that the Secretary General of the United Nations, the European Council, the Quartet and the Greek Foreign Ministry’s had urged that no attempt be made by the “flotilla” to break the Gaza blockade. The Greek Government position is one “concerned primarily with the protection and safety of human life, decided to ban the departure from Greek ports of vessels with Greek or foreign flags bound for Gaza.”
“Greece’s positions of principle for the need to respect international law and not to resort to the use of force are also well known. Greece, as it is widely known, actively supports the resumption of peace talks, which constitute the only road to a comprehensive and viable resolution of the Palestinian issue, with the creation of a Palestinian state that will co-exist peacefully with the state of Israel.”
The announcement continued saying “we should all demonstrate a sense of responsibility or assume entirely and exclusively the responsibility for our actions. The Government will act as it must in an orderly fashion and according to the laws of the State.
Foreign Minister Lambrinidis in a telephone conference with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 3 July 2011 “voiced Greece’s request for the cooperation of the UN so that the whole effort might be carried out within the framework set forth by the Secretary General.”
“Greece actively supports the reopening of the peace talks as the only path to a comprehensive and viable solution on the Palestinian problem.”