Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ address at the Cairo Peace Summit

Let me start by thanking President Sisi for hosting this international conference aimed at addressing the current crisis in the Middle East. These are extraordinary times and the situation in our common neighborhood is extremely grave, so it is right that we meet together, here, today.

In these critical moments for peace and stability in the region, I come here today as a true friend and as a neighbor. Τhe one key message to come out of today should be that we all condemn terrorism in all its forms and we deplore the loss of life and the harm that has been inflicted to innocent civilians by the violence in Israel and in Gaza since the 7th of October terrorist attacks by Hamas.

There are innocent victims on both sides. There are civilians kept hostages and no peace can be discussed until they are free. And there are civilians killed and wounded in horrible conditions, brutally assassinated in their homes in Israel, losing their lives in the destruction of the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza.

The position of Greece has been very clear from the beginning: Israel has a right of self-defence, but in accordance with International and Humanitarian Law. And I also want to be clear that collective punishment is prohibited by the Laws of War. And these laws were designed to ensure that when war must be conducted, there are limits on what harm can be done to other human beings. And I will also share the opinion of the President of the European Council that a total siege is against International Law.

At the same time, we should also be honest in our judgment: Hamas is a terrorist organization that is inflicting unspeakable suffering both to Israelis but also to Palestinians. They should be held accountable.

Hamas is not the Palestinian people and we should not confuse the two. The Palestinian people do not deserve this. President Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority, rightly and bravely has spoken against violence from the very first day of the crisis.

It is very clear that the current situation poses grave risks of regional escalation. Egypt and Jordan are carrying a big burden and feel rightly very worried about the possibility of a forced displacement of the people of Gaza. I am here to support His Majesty King Abdullah, but also President Sisi and to tell them that Greece stands with them. A widening of the conflict will have far-reaching consequences for the future of the entire region. We should not underestimate the cost for all, in terms of human lives and beyond.

Our first thoughts these days must be with the victims and we must recognize the pain and trauma that these attacks have brought both to Israeli and Palestinian people and alleviate the suffering. Hostages should be released and returned to their families and the International Red Cross should have access to them to start with, and the immediate and unhindered provision of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip should be ensured.

I want to emphasize the efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations in this respect and welcome the announcement for the opening of a humanitarian corridor through Egypt to Gaza, for the transport of necessary provisions. I hope this can be put into effect immediately.

Greece has been coordinating with our partners within the European Union. We are ready to contribute to any peace initiative and, as a neighboring country, we hope that an immediate de-escalation can be attained and humanitarian aid be provided to all civilians.

Last but not least, the future that we want for this region, a future of sustainable peace and stability and prosperity can only be attained with a resumption of the Peace Process on the basis of a two state solution. And if one thing should be clear to all of us, it is that no military intervention can replace a viable political solution. Thank you very much.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the margins of the “Cairo Peace Summit”.

The meeting took place in a very warm atmosphere, reflecting the very good relations between the two countries.

During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the latest developments in the Middle East, with emphasis on the protection of civilians in the Gaza Strip and the need to avoid a humanitarian crisis.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed the importance of de-escalation and avoiding the spread of the crisis in the wider region. In this direction, he acknowledged the stabilizing role of Jordan in the region.