A Greek-Russian conference on "The Politico-Military dimension of European Security: Proposals and Perspectives" opened in Athens on Tuesday with the participation of diplomats, military officers, analysts and researchers from Greece and Russia.
Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas noted that the conference was taking place in a particularly critical period for security at international level, adding that Greece places particular importance on the humanitarian dimension of every crisis.
The conference, he said, gave continuity to an initiative that began in the context of the OSCE for a new security system in Europe and was a follow-up to the so-called Corfu Process.
The fact that such a sensitive and important issue is jointly presented by Greece and Russia reflects the close ties of confidence between the two countries and also highlights Greece's role in international relations, Droutsas said.
In the opening address to the conference, Droutsas said that the conference was taking place in a particularly critical period for security at international level, noting the recent events in North Africa, and stressed that Greece places particular importance on the humanitarian dimension of each crisis, noting the country's stance during the Libya crisis.
The efforts for enhancing security in Europe need to be intensified, Droutsas said, adding that political volition was also needed in that direction, which Greece has already proved in action via the Corfu Process, which opened up a process of dialogue for security in Europe aiming at restoring confidence, while he also urged that the stereotypes of the past in the political-military sector be abolished.
On the structure and themes of the conference, Droutsas noted that the speakers come from a variety of fields, such as politics, diplomacy and research and are acknowledged for their experience in matters of European security which, he said, will contribute to a wider discussion on the role played by Greece and Russia in the formulation of the new European security architecture.
Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko stressed that the "discriminations and ghosts of the past" need to be dealt with jointly through a "true partner relationship" that will give "greater added value to our effort" to deal with the web of "multi-dimensional dangers" of our era.
Grushko said that, in the transitional era we are going through, the world is no longer predictable given that multi-dimensional threats arise without the required response, while regional clashes, drug trafficking, weapons of mass destruction, piracy, natural disasters and the economic crisis comprise a threatening framework for our countries.
The existing architecture of European security needs modernisation, Grushko said, and noted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's proposal in 2008 for a modern strategy founded on the principle of the indivisibility of security, which at the time had been criticised as "revolutionary". He recalled, however, that at the Corfu conference under the Greek OSCE presidency in 2009, at the NATO-Russia summit in Lisbon in November 2010 but also in Astana in December 2010 the need had been underlined for giving momentum to the creative approach to regional cooperation and synergy for an "indivisible security community" and a "common space of peace and security".
On Russia-EU relations, Grushko stressed the need for a "healthy interaction in confronting crises", and expressed hope that the EU will acquire a strategic perception of cooperation with Russia.