FM Gerapetritis emphasises Alexandroupolis’ role, speaking at East Macedonia & Thrace Forum

Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis highlighted the importance of Alexandroupolis from a geostrategic, energy, logistics and defence point of view, while speaking at the East Macedonia & Thrace Forum II taking place in the Greek city on Thursday. Replying to the questions of journalist Alexandra Fotaki, he covered several aspects of the work of Greek diplomacy, such as the situation in the Middle East and Ukraine, relations with Turkiye, the Cyprus issue and the case of Fredi Beleri in neighbouring Albania.

The minister especially emphasised the city’s role as an energy hub and a picture of energy diversification, noting the FSRU regasification unit due to go into full operation in March, as well as its potential as a combined transport logistics hub due to the works being carried out in its port and upgrades of its road and rail connections to create the Vertical Corridor.

He also noted the city’s importance as a geostrategic pole of strategic defensive significance, as a result of the Mutual Defence Cooperation Agreement with the United States, with improvement and modernisation works that could potentially make the region and Greece “a very powerful military pole”.

Gerapetritis announced that Greece will participate in a humanitarian sea corridor to Gaza, saying this was an initiative that could help alleviate a part of the humanitarian crisis. He stressed, however, that the crisis was now so big that a sea corridor was needed but not enough, and that more humanitarian corridors were essential for an unobstructed flow of aid.

He also referred to the war in Ukraine and the need to send aid to that country, while ruling out the dispatch of military units. “To stand by Ukraine using every means, supporting it politically, with military equipment, is an absolute necessity and a national obligation. If we do not now stand up to the revisionism being attempted in many parts of the world, then we lose all moral right to call revisionism in a future situation,” Gerapetritis commented.
The minister stressed that Greece will continue to be active in the Red Sea, defending and escorting ships, though not in an aggressive role.

“We are in favour of international law, in favour of those defending against all forms of revisionism,” he said, while noting that Greece could not shut its eyes to attacks targeting not just international trade but also Greek ships.
“The Greek government’s decision was balanced and necessary. We said that we will be active in the Red Sea, in a role that is defensive, not aggressive, that we will safeguard, as we have an obligation to do, the freedom of navigation, the safety of Greek seamen, the safety of Greek ships. For those who say we should adopt neutrality to avoid the dangers, I would like them to take into account the huge consequences that it would now have for shipping to be in a state of constant danger. Greece is the foremost naval power as regards its commercial fleet. When you are the foremost power you do not only have privileges but also obligations,” he said.

The minister also touched on relations with Turkiye, stressing that Greece has an obligation to engage in discussion and dialogue, so that differences did not generate crises.