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Greece and Turkey sign 'Athens Declaration', pledging to refrain from actions that create tension

Featured Greece and Turkey sign 'Athens Declaration', pledging to refrain from actions that create tension

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during their meeting in Athens on Thursday, signed the "Athens Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good-Neighbourliness" on behalf of their respective governments after "having chaired the 5th meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council between the Republic of Türkiye and the Hellenic Republic on December 7th, 2023, in Athens, in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation."

The full text of the declaration is as follows:

"PP1. Recognizing the renewed will for cooperation between the Governments of the two countries;

PP2. Underlining that the bonds between the two neighbouring nations harbour the potential to markedly increase the region’s prosperity and dynamism;

PP3. Emphasizing the need to continue jointly working for the benefit of both societies in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual trust;

PP4. Seeking to intensify the bilateral relations through existing institutional mechanisms;

PP5. Underscoring that in order to enhance the good neighbourly relations, both Parties will cultivate a spirit of solidarity in the face of current and future challenges without any prejudice to each other’s legal positions;

PP6. Underlining that to promote the said positive atmosphere and agenda, both Parties will encourage exchange of visits at every level with a result-oriented approach;

PP7. Recalling that among the fundamental objectives of the Charter of the United Nations and the universally acknowledged principles of international law are the maintenance of international peace and friendly co-operation among states;

PP8. Determined to foster friendly relations, mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and understanding, and to resolve any dispute among them by peaceful means and in accordance with international law;

PP9. Underscoring the importance of effective communication channels and mechanisms at every level for the successful management of their bilateral relations, with particular emphasis on avoiding conflictual situations and potential escalation;

PP10. Emphasizing that both Parties will approach their relations with the objective of increasing economic cooperation and deepening of people-to-people ties, thus contributing to the prosperity and peaceful coexistence of their two neighbouring peoples, further stressing that to this end, in view of the significant progress made in fostering the positive agenda on economic and commercial affairs through the Joint Action Plan, the two sides will explore additional items of cooperation;

Have agreed on the following:

OP1. The Parties agree to engage in continuing constructive and meaningful consultations based on the following pillars:

(a) Political Dialogue:

-On issues of mutual interest,

-Exploratory/Consultative talks;

(b) Positive Agenda, within the scope of the enhanced Joint Action Plan, involving measures of common interest in the fields of business-economy, tourism, transportation, energy, innovation, science and technology, agriculture, environmental protection, social security and health, youth, education and sports or any other field to be jointly decided, with the aim of attaining significant and concrete deliverables, streamlining and continually updating the agenda in a structured fashion with new items;

(c) Confidence Building Measures, involving measures in the military field, which would contribute to the elimination of unwarranted sources of tension and the risks thereof;

OP2. The Parties are committed to refrain from any statement, initiative or act likely to undermine or discredit the letter and spirit of this Declaration or endanger the maintenance of peace and stability in their region.

OP3. The Parties will endeavour to resolve any dispute arising between them in an amicable manner through direct consultations between them or through other means of mutual choice as provided for in the United Nations Charter.

This Declaration does not constitute an international agreement binding upon the Parties under international law. No provision of this Declaration shall be interpreted as creating legal rights or obligations for the Parties.

Done in Athens, on the 7th of December 2023, in two copies, each in the Greek, Turkish and English languages, all texts being equally authentic. In case of divergence of interpretation, the English text shall prevail."

Government sources on the Declaration of Friendship & Good Neighbourliness of Athens

Government sources referring on Thursday to the Athens Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good Neighbourliness signed by Greece and Turkiye on Thursday pointed out the following:

- It is a very important text, as it is the first time that Greece and Turkiye, with the signatures of the Greek Prime Minister and the Turkish President, commit to relations of friendship and good neighbourliness and to remaining in 'calm waters'.

- Specifically, the declaration highlights the significance of effective communication channels at all levels and emphasises the prevention of conflict situations and possible escalation.

- Additionally, the declaration outlines the principles and the milestones of Greek-Turkish dialogue and of the contacts based on the three axes agreed at Mitsotakis and Erdogan's meeting in Vilnius in July. Political dialogue (on issues of mutual interest, including the exploratory talks), the positive agenda (which will be constantly enriched), Confidence Building Measures (in which are included measures for the reduction of unjustified sources of tension as well as the risks deriving from them).

- It is a statement of intentions in which Turkiye commits to UN Charter objectives and to the principles of the International Law and to friendly cooperation between the countries.

- There is a clear reference to a commitment for refraining from statements and actions that undermine that spirit and the letter of the Declaration or set at risk the peace and the stability in the region.

- The neighbouring country commits to amicably resolving any dispute that may arise with Greece  either with direct consultations or with other means of mutual choice as provided in the UN Charter.

-The Declaration of Athens does not affect the legal positions of the two countries.