Foreign ministry on Syria, Middle East and Schengen revision

Foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Wednesday condemned violence in Syria, hailed the Fatah-Hamas unity deal as an important development and noted that Greece had been among the first countries to raise the issue of dealing with illegal migration on an EU level after the crisis erupted in north African countries. Concerning the protests in Syria, Delavekouras noted that the Greek foreign ministry was keeping in continuous contact with Greeks in the country in case they should need emergency assistance. He also highlighted an EU ban on the sale of arms to Syria, stressing that it was important for Europe to "speak with one voice" on this issue.

Regarding the Fatah-Hamas agreement, the spokesman acknowledged that this was important both in terms of achieving understanding within Palestine and for the prospects of achieving a viable solution of the Middle East problem that might lead to the foundation of a Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel. At the same time, he pointed out out that there was not yet a complete, clear picture whose details could be evaluated.
In this context, he stressed the important role played by Egypt and noted the congratulations sent by Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on this issue to his Egyptian counterpart.

Asked to comment on calls within the European Union for a revision of the Schengen Treaty, Delavekouras said it was necessary to make changes that would preserve the freedom of movement within the EU but also relieve the disproportionately large burden placed on some countries that were the EU's external borders.
The Greek foreign ministry sees an urgent need for a comprehensive European solution to this problem and for this reason is promoting cooperation on both a regional level but also on bilateral and multilateral levels with its other EU partners, Delavekouras added.

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