Venizelos calls for diplomatic consensus

Opposition parties were mostly in agreement with the government’s stance on key foreign policy issues on Tuesday as Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos briefed MPs on the latest developments.

Appearing before Parliament’s national defense and foreign affairs committee, Venizelos stressed the need for parties to come together on such issues. “We have to try to achieve domestic consensus in the field of foreign policy,” he said.

SYRIZA, for instance, backed the recent tripartite talks between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which culminated in the leaders of the three countries issuing the Cairo Declaration on Saturday.

Venizelos spoke at length about Greece’s reaction to Turkey’s decision to send a seismic research vessel into Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). He said that Athens would consider legal action if necessary.

He noted the efforts to restart peace talks on Cyprus but said that this could not happen until Turkish “provocation” stopped.

“The source of the problem is always that Turkey refuses to recognize Cyprus, which has national sovereignty and national rights.”

Venizelos is due to visit Ankara on November 29, ahead of a Greek-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council meeting in Athens on December 5 and 6, when Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to meet Turkey’s Premier Ahmet Davutoglu.

SYRIZA criticized the government for agreeing to host the summit amid the current dispute. “We should not be giving the impression that everything is fine when it is not,” said leftist MP Vasiliki Katrivanou. SYRIZA lawmaker Nadia Valavani called for the council to “solve some real problems” and not hide them behind “a plethora of insignificant agreements.”

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