FM interview ahead of Italy visit

Greece and Italy enjoy excellent bilateral relations, Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas said Monday on Italian television, noting that the two countries belong to the same region, the Mediterranean, "which unites us and obliges us to have common policies in economic cooperation and environmental protection".
In an interview with the Italian news station "Rainews24" ahead of his arrival in Rome on Tuesday and meeting with Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini, Droutsas expressed conviction that the two countries' cooperation in the Balkans, and also regarding the developments in North Africa, will be enhanced.

On joint actions concerning the illegal migration problem, Droutsas noted that the EU's external borders are in Greece, and therefore the country is shouldering an immense weight, that of the illegal migration in the entire EU, and stressed that "it is a European problem, and the moral obligation of all the countries of the EU, that must be jointly dealt with".

Droutsas further said that the EU must become more active and present in the Arab region and provide decisive support. "Those who speak of Arab revolutions are right. We wish to see a democratic region, with democratic institutions. We want to see democracy flourishing, particularly for the young generations, which were the driving force of those revolutions," he added.

On Libya, Droutsas stressed that Greece fully respects international law and the relevant UN Security Council resolution and, consequently, "it was clear that we would take part in the implementation of the Security Council resolutions".

"We are doing so by providing our support, chiefly military bases on Crete," he said. "Now, however, it is clear that we are at a point at which we understand that the entire international community and realised that an end cannot be put to the Libyan crisis only with military means. It is necessary to exercise that pressure, but now we must the means for a political solution, and Greece is contributing towards a political solution with its ideas and initiatives. This is important, and the international community must act in a determined way, with conviction, in that direction," the Greek foreign minister stressed.

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