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Foreign Minister Maas ahead of his departure for Nicosia and Athens

13.10.2020 - Press release

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (13 October 2020) before departing for Cyprus and Greece:

Cyprus and Greece are our partners in the European Union. I am travelling to Nicosia and Athens today to assure my colleagues of our full solidarity, also in our current capacity as holder of the Presidency of the Council of the EU.

It is clear that the geography of the Eastern Mediterranean will not change. Turkey will remain neighbour of Greece and Cyprus. All sides must therefore continue to work on sensible neighbourly relations. That will require sincere efforts on all sides. Exploratory talks between the parties can only be successful if they are conducted in a constructive atmosphere. We therefore call on Turkey not to take unilateral measures and thereby shut the window for dialogue with Greece which has just opened. If the Turkish government is interested in holding talks – as it has repeatedly stated – then Ankara must stop alternating between efforts to reduce tensions and provocation.

If the Turkish Government really does resume exploring for gas in the disputed areas in the Eastern Mediterranean, it would be a bitter setback for the efforts to de‑escalate the situation – and thus to also further develop EU‑Turkish relations, as decided by the last European Council.

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