Speaking at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed the danger posed by the climate crisis and lamented the failure of the international community to address it.
“Our words are never quite matched by our actions, and our achievements never quite meet our expectations,” he said.
He said that tackling the climate crisis and managing migration will be at the heart of Greece’s Security Council candidacy for 2025/2026.
“We will do this because, in part at least, the global community’s current collective approach to both issues speaks to a failure to match rhetoric with policy delivery.”
Mitsotakis at the UN: climate crisis affects everyone
Mitsotakis referred to the deadly fires and floods that hit Greece recently.
“I accept, of course, that the climate crisis is not an alibi for everything,” he said. “But the science is clear: unprecedented temperatures, fueled by global warming, are creating the conditions that drive these catastrophic events.”
This is no longer a crisis of the poorest, or of the Global South, he stressed.
“Greece, and our many friends and neighbors who [are in] the Mediterranean, now face similar challenges to those countries which have been at the sharp end of the climate crisis,” he added. “And, like those countries, we need a much more coordinated response.”
Mitsotakis on relations with Turkey
The Greek PM said that Greece has recently made “good progress” in normalizing relations with Turkey, although geopolitical tensions between the two nations remain.
“We have made good progress over the past months in terms of normalizing our relations. And it is in our mutual interest to continue down that path,” Mitsotakis said.
Mitsotakis said he told President Erdogan that “our main difference over the delimitation of our maritime zones in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean is extremely important. It remains, but it can be resolved in accordance with international law and in particular, the United Nations Convention, the Law of the Seas and in the spirit of good neighborly relations.”
Turning to Cyprus, he said, “This remains unfortunately at its core an issue of an illegal invasion and occupation in violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter.”
“Our commitment to Cyprus’ sovereignty, territorial integrity and a solution of one state based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation is steadfast,” he added.
He also said the Cyprus issue remains a “top priority for Greece” and Athens will continue to “fully support the UN-led efforts to facilitate the resumption of negotiations, always on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.”
His address comes a day after his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which the two leaders affirmed the “positive climate in the relations” between the two countries and their determination to preserve it.
Mitsotakis’ meeting with investors
Earlier on Thursday, Mitsotakis held a meeting with investors, fund management companies, and banks, as confirmed by government sources. During the meeting, the Prime Minister highlighted key priorities for the new government term. They include expediting the administration of justice, government initiatives to boost wages, and further reducing unemployment.
Mitsotakis underscored Greece’s role as a pillar of stability and security in the region, with a focus on opportunities in the energy sector. He noted that the country serves not only as an energy hub but also aspires to enhance energy security.
Furthermore, the PM emphasized Greece’s position as a steadfast European democracy, acting as a bridge connecting the Eastern Mediterranean with Europe and facilitating the Asia-Middle East-Europe Corridor. Additionally, he stressed the importance of fostering connectivity with Southern Europe and the eastern region.
Mitsotakis’ negotiations with Stoltenberg and the South Korean President
Furthermore, Mitsotakis met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. They discussed international and regional issues, focusing on Ukraine and Greece’s support, along with matters related to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Later, Mitsotakis held a meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to explore boosting bilateral economic relations, especially following a recent visit by Korean companies to Greece.
They also discussed Greece’s investment opportunities and the Korean shipbuilding industry’s role in achieving shipping decarbonization. The candidacy of Busan, South Korea to host EXPO2030 was also on the agenda.