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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-05-23

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Tsipras: 'We want to strengthen Greek-Turkish cooperation on EU-Turkey deal'
  • [02] Polish defence minister has meetings with President Pavlopoulos, Greek counterpart in Athens

  • [01] Tsipras: 'We want to strengthen Greek-Turkish cooperation on EU-Turkey deal'

    The Greek-Turkish cooperation, which is at the basis of the EU-Turkey deal, is very good and Greece wants to strengthen it, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said earlier on Monday in a speech at a roundtable on forced displacement, at the U.N. World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.

    "Any progress could serve as an example of good practice on how we face humanitarian challenges," Tsipras told attendees, adding that forced displacements reached a new record high in 2016, with the war in Syria and Iraq and the political situation in Afghanistan, contributing to this trend.

    He also said the largest burden is carried by the countries neighbouring Syria - Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey – which "deserve our praise and solidarity for dealing with the challenge of hosting millions of people who are in need."

    "For the first time, there [refugee] flows are placing huge pressures on Europe as well," Tsipras continued. "In this framework, the challenge of migration is for the first time of such a scale, not just as a regional and international problem, but as European [problem], highlighting Europe's responsibilities."

    He then went on to lament the slow implementation of the relocation program by criticizing some member-states "Unfortunately, the progress in relocation is extremely poor, even towards European countries, which have not shared any of burdens deriving from the refugee flows," he said.

    Tsipras stressed that less than 1,000 people have relocated from Greece to other European destinations since 2015, despite pledges for tens of thousands, while the second mechanism for the resettlement of refugees from Turkey to Europe has not been established yet.

    Another crucial aspect for tackling migration is the signing of readmission agreements with countries of transit and origin, "which will effectively help discourage illegal migration, while at the same time guaranteeing all rights to asylum," he said.

    Earlier, the premier had a 40-minute meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the UN World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. According to sources, they discussed ther refugee crisis, while both expressed optimism about a good outcome on all issues at Tuesday's Eurogroup.

    Also on the sidelines of the summit, Tsipras met his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa and Ireland's President Michael Higgins.

    [02] Polish defence minister has meetings with President Pavlopoulos, Greek counterpart in Athens

    Poland's National Defence Minister Antoni Macierevicz was in Athens on Monday for talks with Greek officials on preparations for the upcoming NATO summit to take place in Warsaw. The first Polish minister to visit Greece since 1992, Macierevicz was received by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos and met his Greek counterpart Panos Kammenos.

    "This summit must prove that NATO remains true to the three basic principles that comprise its mission; in other words, collective defence, cooperative security and the management of crises on terms of solidarity," Pavlopoulos said as he received the Polish minister.

    In terms of the refugee issue, in particular, Pavlopoulos said that the Warsaw meeting "can and must demonstrate" that all NATO members are determined to address the problem in certain ways. Firstly, he stressed the need to end the war in Syria, which was the root cause of the refugee issue, as well as ensuring a humane treatment of refugees befitting European democracy and, thirdly, decisively tackling terrorism.

    "We must face the terrorism of ISIS without yielding in any way because the terrorists of ISIS are enemies of humanity and are committing crimes against humanity," he said.

    Pavlopoulos also expressed hope that all NATO members and Turkey will respect the obligations arising under the EU-Turkey agreement.

    Macierevicz said Poland was aware of the dangers posed by such terrorist organisations existed, including the massive refugee flows to Greece. He said that Poland had already sent a frigate that was due to arrive in the Mediterranean to assist in monitoring refugee flows and border police to assist their Greek colleagues. It had also decided to send four F-16 jets and Special Forces to Syria.

    "We consider there is a common risk that must be faced... which is important for Poland and for Greece," he added, noting that Poland was currently facing similar problems as it struggled to cope with roughly one million refugees from Ukraine.

    The pressure from Russia was increasing over time, which was why the "reinforcement of NATO's eastern borders and Greece's political support are so important for us," the Polish minister said. All members of the Alliance should respect decisions made in NATO, both for the eastern borders in Poland and the southern borders important to Greece, he noted.

    The issue of reinforcing NATO's southern borders occupied the Polish minister's meeting with Kammenos, ahead of the NATO summit in Warsaw. Macierevicz said that Poland was committing its frigate to patrol migrant-trafficking routes and "reduce the pressure in the south," as well as sending Polish police and 1,000 packages of medical aid for refugees.

    He said his country was willing to host Greek armed forces troops in order to reinforce the Alliance's eastern borders. All sides were aware of Greece's role in the crucial problem caused by migrant flows and "we are determined to cooperate and assist as much as we can," he added.

    Kammenos emphasised the importance of a "360 degrees policy" centred on Greece for reinforcing the southern sector of the Alliance and cooperation of southern countries in the north of the Alliance.

    He also announced that work was complete on a defence cooperation agreement with Poland comprising 21 discrete sections, with provisions relating to training, joint exercises and collaboration between the defence industries in both countries.

    Among such potential areas of cooperation, Kammenos listed the 214 submarines managed by the Hellenic Navy and the Skaramangas shipyards, or the exchange of information within a NATO framework.


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