German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his “great respect” for Greece on Monday, for the heavy burden placed for years upon her during the refugee crisis.
Maas’ remarks were made during a joint press conference he held along with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Berlin.
The German Foreign Minister also expressed his country’s respect for the actions taken by Greece’s new government to speed up the pace of reforms in the country.
"🇬🇷 is the first country of arrival for many refugees and migrants and 🇩🇪 is the first country of destination. Both countries are committed to the 🇪🇺 – 🇹🇷 agreement and will honour our obligations." pic.twitter.com/glbHXPSl2Y
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) September 16, 2019
Maas reiterated the position of Germany and the EU that the implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Statement on Migration must be respected, and he also criticized Ankara’s actions in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The German official called for a de-escalation of tensions and the resumption of talks on the Cyprus issue.
When asked about Germany’s sale of armaments to Turkey, the minister replied that all future decisions will be taken on the basis of current political conditions. However, he pointed out that there are many armament deliveries which were agreed to in the past but have not yet been executed due to German restrictions on arms exports.
On his behalf, Greece’s Foreign Minister Dendias called Germany’s stance on migration “constructive,” and he expressed his support for a comprehensive approach to the issue by the European Union.
Dendias noted that emphasis should be placed on both a respect for human rights and the solidarity needed by the member states which continue to bear the brunt of the illegal immigration problem.
Dendias also noted that Turkey’s recent actions are not helping reduce tensions, referring specifically to Ankara’s announced intention to open the fenced-off town of Famagusta on Cyprus.
“Such statements rather exacerbate the situation and do not help in finding a solution to the Cyprus issue,” the Greek foreign minister stated.
Earlier on Monday, he had a meeting with the heads of the German Society for Foreign Policy and the Science and Policy Foundation of Germany. Dendias will also attend an official event hosted by Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble on Monday evening.
With information from AMNA