"Today I want to stay on 'the larger picture'. In order to resolve the issue of the name – and we will naturally do the best we can to resolve it – it’s important to create a positive framework and climb out of the grooves of history, since we cannot change our history, but we can influence our future, and this future will be both common and European. It is important to invest in this direction. If there is a national interest common to all countries, including ours, it is how to do the best for our citizens’ future. We are on the right path,’’ said Nikola Dimitrov. In earlier comments to the press on the quadrilateral meetings in Thessaloniki, the foreign minister described them as “a very interesting initiative” and “a process from which we are learning how to be closer friends and future allies."
He added that "the atmosphere encouraged me. I believe that we are growing up and maturing as an area. There is still a lot to be done, but we are on the right path."
In his meeting with Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, he said, "we accepted that there is an issue of the name that divides the two countries (…) and in order to assist in the resolution of this issue, we focused on those areas in which we could achieve progress, and this, in turn, will contribute to resolving the issue that divides us."
Among other things, Dimitrov said, the meeting also focused on "how we may promote and strengthen the positive agenda between the two countries" and included cooperation at the level of civil society (NGOs), the strengthening of cooperation between universities of the two countries, and the organising a business forum.
The two-day Second Ministerial Meeting was an initiative of Greece under the auspices of the Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and included foreign ministers from the four states, as well as officials from their respective energy ministries.
The Foreign Minister of Greece, Nikos Kotzias, commenced the 2nd Quadrilateral Ministerial Meeting as follows:
Good morning. We now continue with the second meeting of the four countries of the South as I call it, of southeastern Europe.
Yesterday we had a very interesting discussion with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the other Ministers on the situation in the region, on the future of the region, both as regards the European prospects of the area, and as regards our collaboration. We spoke about the preparation of the next meeting and we exchanged views on the topics that we will be discussing during lunch.
This morning we have two sessions. The first concerns matters of security; citizens' security and cross border collaboration, as well as new issues, such as fire fighting and fire safety, because in the summer we witnessed the need for collaboration between our countries, in order to combat large (forest) fires. As you are aware, fires know no borders. They are globalised phenomena that exceed borders, which require collaboration in firefighting efforts.
In the third session we will be discussing issues related to energy. These are issues of great significance to us all. Our region is very central for future energy pipelines.
In general, I would like to thank all the Ministers from all four countries for coming here, for attending this meeting. We all agreed that this collaboration is beneficial to everyone. These are meetings where we share with great sincerity our thoughts for the future, and discuss issues that need to be resolved and clarified. And this is also an element of our overall policy, namely the building of great schemes of cooperation throughout the region, both in Southeastern Europe and in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean.
I take this opportunity to remind you that on the evening of the 29th of October, and mainly on the 30th, we will be holding the 2nd International Meeting for the Protection of Religious and Cultural Communities in the Middle East, who are the great victims of the wars taking place there. And my colleagues from the other three countries are welcome to attend that meeting also. They have an open invitation. And they have also been invited to the third Rhodes Conference on Security and Stability, to take place in the last week of June of 2018. This demonstrates that our cooperation is not only taking place on a bilateral or a European level, but is multifaceted, covering many aspects of multilateral diplomacy.
Thank you, once again, for attending. Welcome to you all. Thanks to all my colleagues for their cooperation and to all the delegations here. And a good morning to the press.
Source: Greek City Times; Ministry of Foreign Affairs