January 24, 2011
Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos delivered a speech at the Hellenic Parliament in a special session on foreign policy and national defence. Here follow from his speech:
On Greek Foreign Policy
There is a fundamental and uppermost prerequisite for practising foreign policy: Forging and respecting national unity and creating a solid internal front. I don’t just speak about consensus. I'm talking about a commitment of an historical nature. This means that we need to show to Greek society as a whole, a sense of shared responsibility and common fate. It also means that we should not invent and artificially exaggerate what are basically non-existent differences».
Thursday, 03 March 2011
On the evacuation operation of Egyptian nationals from Tunisia
Yesterday, the Egyptian ambassador informed me and my colleague the Foreign Minister on a severe humanitarian issue: One and a half million Egyptian citizens live in Libya right now. These people are targeted by the Qaddafi forces because they believe they are behind the uprising. Some 400 to 500 thousand of Egyptians are desperately trying to flee Libya and around 100,000 of them have already crossed the border to Tunisia, gathering at the coast of the neighboring country hoping to be transported back to Egypt. So, Egypt is asking for our help. Egypt has already asked countries like France and Turkey to help so we will contribute with military and civilian boas if necessary in this kind of operation. I want you to consider the (huge) size of this operation.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Special Hearing of the National Defense and Foreign Affairs
Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos briefs the MPs on the events in Libya
The overall situation
Over the last few weeks we have been witnessing impressive –I’d say historic- developments in the Mediterranean region, in the Middle East, in North Africa and many Gulf countries. We see history in the making. The situation in the Arab world is changing and to a large extent we see collapsing stereotypes –under the scope of which we used to see things over the past few years, especially since the fall of Communism and the emergence of a new global balance of power.
New societies and demographic phenomena that emerge have little to do with the European standards. We can have an ambitious and long discussion about the deeper causes of those changes that appear to be, nonetheless, democratically led, demanding citizen participation in political power. For a country like Greece and for a continent such as Europe, who claim to exercise a principle-based policy, it is very important to express our awe and satisfaction, because those universal ideological characteristics remain alive. One can not be but positive, opposite the demand for democratic participation, for the rule of law and for the respect of human rights.
Thursday, 28 April 2011
I fail to understand the purpose of the question [asked by an opposition MP] "if Israel guarantees it will protect Greece, should we declare our rights on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)". The rights on the EEZ are stemming from the Convention on the Law of the Sea, from the 1982Montego Bay Convention. We have said in Parliament that while the Continental Shelf exists by itself, ab initio and ipso jure according to International Law, a country's jurisdiction on the EEZ [on the other hand] must be declared.
Greece has repeatedly said -the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister have said so themselves and I have said it many times over- that Greece maintains her rights on the EEZ intact and that it exercises military oversight where necessary, as has recently been the case with the Italian vessel "Explora" and as I have had the opportunity to explain to [the members of] the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.