FM Dendias in Rome: 'Significant for Greek diplomacy that we were invited to the limited meeting of states on Syria'

FM Dendias in Rome: 'Significant for Greek diplomacy that we were invited to the limited meeting of states on Syria'

Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias attended the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the "Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS", held in Rome on Monday.

Even though the terrorist organization "Islamic State" has lost territories in Syria and Iraq, it still has access to funds which allow it to continue its terrorist activities, Dendias noted, according to diplomatic sources.

The minister said he remains concerned about the rising terrorist attacks in Africa, and he underlined that ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East are the basic targets of terrorist attacks.

Greece will continue to contribute to the Global Coalition's working group, towards the stabilization of territories recovered from the "Islamic State", it was added. In this context, Dendias reiterated Greece's support for Iraq's development, and he referred to the forthcoming visit of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Baghdad and Erbil.

Diplomatic sources also noted that the US foreign and finance ministries recently announced sanctions against three individuals and one business based in Turkey, which coordinated the promotion of financial and other assistance to "Islamic State". This, it was added, was the fifth time since April 2020 that the US finance ministry imposed sanctions to individuals who support ISIS and are based in Turkey.

Dendias also attended an informal ministerial meeting on Syria, on the sidelines of the "Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS" meeting. This meeting was attended by a limited number of states, which are involved in -or have made a significant contribution to- developments in Syria.

After the end of the meeting on Syria, Dendias told reporters that "it is significant for Greek diplomacy that we were invited to the limited meeting of states on Syria," as it is "a step that marks out return to meetings about the two countries that interest us in the broader region, and which are a source of problems, in Syria and Libya."

Commenting on the significance of the Rome meeting at large, the Greek minister said that " it is clear that the European Union as a whole is now gaining a sense of the need to tackle terrorism beyond its own borders," and he continued to say that "it is obvious that we must give weight not only to Libya, but also to sub-Saharan Africa."

"Europe must understand that its borders are not protected only from within its own borders. We need to get a broader geopolitical perspective."

Particular emphasis was paid to an excerpt from a January 2021 report by the Inspector General of the US Treasury Department, which points out that the "Islamic State" uses Turkey-based connections to transfer money internationally, especially between Iraq and Syria.

On the sidelines of his participation in the Rome conference, Dendias met briefly with the foreign ministers of Kenya Raychelle Omamo, of Saudi Arabia Faisal bin Farhan, of France Jean-Yves Le Drian, of the Netherlands Sigrid Kaag, of Luxemburg Jean Asselborn, of Lebanon Zeina Akar, of Georgia David Zalkaliani, and of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu, among others. He also met with Moldovan Acting Prime Minister & Foreign Minister Aureliu Ciocoi, with League of Arab States SecGen Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.

The Rome conference was held at the invitation of Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio and U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.

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