Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, announced on Thursday afternoon that Greece and Turkey had agreed to start a dialogue and to enter into technical talks at NATO. Quick was the response of the Greek Foreign Ministry that dismissed Stoltenberg’s claims.
Stoltenberg announced the “agreed dialogue” on a Twitter:
Following my discussions with Greek & Turkish leaders, the two Allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at #NATO to establish deconfliction mechanisms and reduce the risk of incidents & accidents in the #EastMed. https://t.co/Kc70MlNPzY
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) September 3, 2020
On the official NATO website, Stoltenberg elaborated:
“Following my discussions with Greek and Turkish leaders, the two Allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to establish mechanisms for military de-confliction to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean. Greece and Turkey are valued Allies, and NATO is an important platform for consultations on all issues that affect our shared security. I remain in close touch with all concerned Allies to find a solution to the tensions in the spirit of NATO solidarity.”
Speaking to media, diplomatic sources in Athens dismissed the claims of the NATO’s Geneneral Secretary.
“The information about alleged technical talks at NATO does not correspond to reality,” the sources said.
“In any case, we have restrained the intention of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to work to establish de-escalation mechanisms within NATO,” the sources added.
“However, de-escalation is only the immediate withdrawal of all Turkish ships from the Greek continental shelf,” the diplomatic sources at the Foreign Ministry stressed.
For Turkey’s reaction see here.
Citing diplomatic sources on the background of what it seems a grave misunderstanding, Greek media report that Stoltenberg had a discussion with the permanent delegations of the two countries on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 3).
He gave to each delegation a position paper, a memo, with some points regarding the de-escalation of the tension. He asked them to comment within a week.
The delegations received the memo which seems to have been interpreted by Stoltenberg as an agreement to start a dialogue between the two countries.”