Addressing the 78th UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis referred to the main challenges facing humanity, climate change and migration. The Prime Minister proposed the creation of a global alliance to tackle climate change and asked Europe for an organized plan. He also spoke of relations with neighbour Turkey as well as the Cyprus issue.
Mitsotakis spoke of the new reality of climate change, referring to unprecedented temperatures, fuelled by global warming, that caused the recent catastrophic events. “Greece, and our many friends and neighbours who ring the Mediterranean, now face similar challenges to those countries which have been at the sharp end of the climate crisis. And, like those countries, we need a much more coordinated response.”
Only by working together can we make a real difference; learning lessons from one another but sharing best practice and solutions too, Mitsotakis stated.
“We will, therefore, push for the inclusion of an adaptation alliance at the upcoming COP28 meeting in the United Arab Emirates. Because only by working together can we make a real difference; learning lessons from one another but sharing best practice and solutions too,” the prime minister said.
On the issue of illegal migration, he said: “My country is at the forefront of the global migration crisis. Greece has, over the last decade, provided shelter and protection to hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers. Our coastguard has gone above and beyond to save tens of thousands of lives at sea. Greece will always be an open and welcoming country for those fleeing persecution and violence, as well as those economic migrants who however seek a new future accessed via legal pathways. After all, our economy is growing again, we are attracting significant foreign investment and there are many job opportunities in my country. But we also need to fill those vacancies on our own terms, not those set by the criminal gangs.That is why it is critical that the international community works together to establish a far more comprehensive and coordinated approach. One that addresses the root causes of migration. One that more effectively counters human trafficking and migrant smuggling. And fosters legal pathways to mobility.”
The Greek Prime Minister also referred to relations with Turkey. “Rather than looking at the past I want today to look to the future,” Mitsotakis said and added: “I told President Erdoğan just that when we met yesterday. Don’t get me wrong. Our main difference over the delimitation of our maritime zones in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean is extremely important, it remains, but it can be resolved in accordance with International Law, and in particular the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas and in the spirit of good neighborly relations. We have made good progress over the past months in terms of normalizing our relationships and it is in our mutual interest to continue down that path.”
On the Cyprus issue, he reiterated Greece’s commitment to Cyprus’ sovereignty, territorial integrity and the solution of one state based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation is steadfast. “It is a matter of credibility and determination to defend the core values and principles upon which the United Nations are based. Finding a fair, viable and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus issue remains a top priority for Greece, and we will continue to fully support the UN-led efforts to facilitate the resumption of negotiations, always on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.”