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Gerapetritis: Greece calls humanitarian pause to bring in aid

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Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis said Greece supports the idea of a humanitarian pause in the Middle East to allow for the creation of humanitarian corridors for aid to flow in and injured Palestinians to leave Gaza.

 

“In order to implement this plan you need agreement with the Israelis…you need to set up infrastructures for which we need a humanitarian pause,” he said on Monday evening during a conversation hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) in Brussels. A humanitarian summit is also needed to discuss the day after the war. 

It is important “to differentiate Hamas from the Palestinian people” and consider the long-standing issues, such as the non-implementation of he UN Security Council resolutions, he added.

Gerapetritis said Greece can be a “reliable interlocutor” of both Israel and Arab countries, having maintained a “principled” foreign policy towards the recent conflict in the Middle East.

 “We condemn all kind of terrorism,” he said, pointing to Greece’s open solidarity with Israel following Hamas’ terrorist attacks on October 7, adding that the country’s reaction “must be in proportion with the action.”

“We will stand with the Israelis, they are our strategic partners, but there can be no blank check” when it comes to the military response, he told attendees discussing Greece’s position. 

Asked by explain Greece’s foreign policy aims in relation to the war in the Middle East, Gerapetritis said that “the most important thing we’re trying to do is do some foresight scenarios.”

Athens supports a two-state solution, with eastern Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, he added.

Asked about the war in Ukraine, the Greek minister said that Europe and its allies “need to stay unanimous” on their position and “that is why transatlantic links matter.”

Discussing Greek-Turkish relations and the apparent lull in aggressive activities in the Aegean, Gerapetritis said “it is very important that in the last 10 months we have had no overflights in the Aegean.”

Furthermore, the meeting between Greek and Turkish delegations on the confidence-building measures in Ankara on Sunday were held in a good climate – though they took four years to resume.

“It takes two to tango. We live in the same neighbourhood…we have to learn to live together, for the vast majority of the Greek try to establish a long-term tranquility in the region,” the minister said, adding that there is an opportunity to move forward as both sides have two governments with fresh and strong mandates. 

“We are not naive, we know we cannot solve differences that have lasted decades with an approach of a few months. What we are trying to do is, we do not want any kind of dispute to produce a huge crisis in the Aegean,” he added.

The hybrid event is organized in collaboration with the Alexander Philon Fund for Transatlantic Partnership and Greek newspaper Kathimerini.