Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories on Tuesday and Egypt on Thursday, a foreign ministry announcement said on Monday. According to media, Greece aims to assume a mediator role between Israelis and Palestinians.
Dendias will hold meetings with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi and with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al Maliki.
Moreover, Dendias will take part in the urgent teleconference of EU Foreign Ministers called by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell about the developments in the region. Later, he will go to Jordan to meet with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi.
On Thursday Dendias will visit Cairo where he will meet with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Diplomatic sources on Dendias’ visit to Israel, Palestinian territories
Greece as pillar of stability and champion of promoting security and prosperity in the wider region is actively involved in the diplomatic developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, diplomatic sources said on Monday.
In this context, they reported that Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will be having a series of meetings with his counterparts in the region and will be the first EU member-state foreign minister to visit Israel and Palestinian Territories since the start of the crisis.
Finally, they underlined that the meeting with the Patriarch of Jerusalem indicates Greece’s justifiable interest in the protection of the Holy Pilgrimages and preservation of their status.
Turkey, Greece & the Palestinian Authority
Earlier on Monday, FM Dendias met with the Palestinian ambassador in Athens Marwan Toubassi. The meeting was reportedly not as successful as Greece was expecting. In a statement last week, the Greek Foreign Ministry abandoned its traditional “impartial stance” took a position that could be interpreted as pro-Israeli.
At the same time, Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported that Turkey will propose the demarcation of maritime boundaries to the Palestinian authority and sign a deal with Hamas-run Gaza to get access to water and energy rights off Israel’s coast.
“This would put Israel and Turkey on a military collision course,” notes Jerusalem Post adding “Turkey hosts Hamas leaders and supports Hamas. Its potential plan to link Turkey and Gaza by sea would harm Israel’s gas pipeline plans with Cyprus and Greece.”
And has Cyprus EEZ disappear.
This is certainly an illegal and absurd move that has alerted Athens.
PS But a mediator role? I doubt the Palestinians accept it, when they have Erdogan to protect them…