Visiting Athens on Tuesday (6 October 2020), Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos. In his meetings, the Secretary General addressed the security situation in the region. He praised Greece’s role as a valued Ally and its contributions to NATO missions, from Afghanistan to Kosovo.
Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that NATO is an important platform for dialogue, where Allies from Europe and North America come together every day to discuss issues that affect our security.
The Secretary General commended the constructive engagement of Greece and Turkey at NATO Headquarters, which enabled the establishment of a bilateral military de-confliction mechanism to reduce the risks of incidents and accidents in the eastern Mediterranean. He stressed that the de-confliction mechanism can help to create the space for diplomatic efforts to address the underlying issues. Mr. Stoltenberg expressed his firm hope that the underlying dispute between two Allies can now be addressed purely through negotiations and in the spirit of Allied solidarity and international law.
For several years, Greece has been on the front line of the refugee and migrant crisis. Mr. Stoltenberg reassured Greece of NATO’s solidarity and thanked Athens for its efforts to cut the lines of human smuggling. The Secretary General also commended Greece for investing 2% of GDP in defence and its commitment in collective security.