Monday, 14 March 2011

Q: During his recent visit [to Greece] Mr. Davutoglu persisted, perhaps using fresh language, in the old Turkish claim that the International Convention on the Law of the Sea cannot apply to the Aegean Sea and that Kastelorizo island, although it is Greek, it does not have neither a Continental Shelf nor a full Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). What is your assessment?

Ev. Venizelos: For Greece, its strategy of rapprochement with Turkey is reflected on the strategic choice by the neighboring country [Turkey] to fully integrate into western institutions, with all the consequences in terms of diplomatic and, primarily, military behavior and practice. Greece wants to see applied, in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, what is being applied in other NATO and EU regions. [Greece wants to see] common rules and common practices being upheld, as far as military aircraft and warship sails are concerned for example. To have common rules as far as the allocation of responsibility in search and rescue (SAR) is concerned, in the event of an air or maritime accident. To have common rules and practices as far as sea and under-sea explorations are concerned.

Greece also wants to see the Confidence Building Measures being applied and enriched, in a balanced way though, and concern not just the Aegean Sea alone, but the Eastern Mediterranean as well. All that, of course, is linked to the need of a bona fide relationship between the two countries in the framework of NATO too, now that the Alliance is called upon to decide the New Command Structure.

Mr. Davutoglu is aware, therefore, of the strategic framework of Greece. He knows that matters of national sovereignty and national sovereign rights cannot be affected and that matters of international jurisdictions and competences can only be confronted through the secure framework of International Law.


Q: You took part in the NATO Defense Ministers Summit on Libya. What was the message that has been conveyed, in your opinion?

Ev. Venizelos: It is obvious that no-one –neither the United States nor the major European countries- wish to be involved in a war in North Africa. Therefore, on a political level there are harsh statements condemning the Qaddafi regime and supporting the opposition. On a military level, however, the steps are measured, preliminary and strictly within the decision by the UN Security Council.Of course, it is obvious that a radical change in Libya has already occurred. Not in the mild manner that it occurred in Egypt or even in Tunisia. But it has occurred nonetheless. Regardless of the evolution of military operations being conducted, the political situation will be different from now on.For Greece, of course, the most crucial issue is that of the new immigration flows that must be intercepted in their source, through a powerful humanitarian intervention and the creation of sufficient infrastructures on the spot, for example in Tunisia or Egypt. -

Tags: Interviews