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Press Office

Athens, 18 January 2023

Joint meeting of National Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees of Hellenic Parliament and French Senate

On the initiative of the Chair of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament Konstantinos Gioulekas, an online meeting of the Committee was held today with the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces of the French Senate. The discussion focused on latest developments in the Southeastern Mediterranean and the Aegean, challenges facing the European continent due to the war in Ukraine, but also on Greece-France bilateral relations.

The Chair of the National Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantinos Gioulekas, briefed French MPs on Turkey’s ongoing and escalating threats against Greece’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He also noted our country’s firm commitment to the principles of international law, democracy and peace and its sincere endeavours for peacekeeping in the region.

"We are doing everything possible to avoid tension, yet, at the same time we will neither renounce our national sovereign rights nor negotiate our national sovereignty," stressed Mr Gioulekas, also expressing Greece’s and the Greek people’s gratitude over France’s stance "which, in difficult times has always stood by Greece's side, with actions rather than words".

Mr Gioulekas also emphasised the need to strengthen European institutions, and, most notably, exhibit solidarity to a NATO and European Union fellow-member. "Greece and Cyprus suffer systematic threats by Turkey; for half a century now, there are Turkish occupation forces in 40% of Cyprus' territory and certain countries, while condemning Turkish transgression, supply Turkey with weapons systems, to be used to threaten two EU countries", he said characteristically.

Mr Gioulekas also referred to the ongoing -for almost a year now- Russian invasion of Ukraine. He underlined that "Greece has explicitly condemned the Russian invasion by sending humanitarian aid and equipment to our Ukrainian friends in support of their huge effort to defend themselves against the invaders in their country". He also emphasized that Russian revisionism "further triggers Turkey's revisionist attitude as well."

The members of the French Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces noted the excellent level of Greek-French relations, asked for information regarding Turkey's recent attitude, and referred to the destructive impact of Russia's war against the strongly-resisting Ukraine on the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Hellenic Parliament's Standing Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs members Theodoros Roussopoulos (New Democracy), Giorgos Katrougalos (SYRIZA), Andreas Loverdos (PASOK-Movement for Change), Antonios Mylonakis (Elliniki Lysi / Greek Solution), Sofia Sakorafa (MeRA25) and Kostas Zouraris (SYRIZA) actively participated and took the floor during the meeting.

The Greek Ambassador to France Dimitrios Zevelakis, and the Second Counselor of the French Embassy to Athens Nicolas Gyulzevatez, attended the meeting online.

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