February 20, 2024

World should ‘speed up debate’ about Gaza’s postwar governance, Greek FM Giorgos Gerapetritis tells Arab Information


RIYADH: The worldwide group should strengthen its humanitarian response in Gaza, whereas additionally “accelerating the talk” concerning the form of postwar governance of the territory, Giorgos Gerapetritis, the minister for overseas affairs of Greece, instructed Arab Information throughout a particular interview on Thursday.


In a wide-ranging interview in Riyadh, the place Gerapetritis later met along with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the highest diplomat laid out proposals for ending the battle in Gaza, whereas additionally discussing the deepening of ties between Greece and Saudi Arabia.


Requested what Greece is doing to place strain on Israel to simply accept a ceasefire in Gaza and to permit extra assist into the embattled territory, Gerapetritis mentioned his authorities’s goal was twofold.


“First is to additional strengthen humanitarian assist, which implies first to create sustainable humanitarian corridors, then to allow additional checkpoints via which the humanitarian assist may cross,” he mentioned.



Greek FM Giorgos Gerapetritis, left, spoke to Arab Information in Riyadh earlier than assembly his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan. (Abdulrahman Shalhoub for AN)


Support companies have accused Israel of hampering the circulation of aid provides into Gaza, the place a sustained Israeli bombing marketing campaign since Oct. 7 has displaced a lot of the inhabitants and left many on the point of famine.


“Secondly, we try to place strain not solely on Israel but additionally on the worldwide group, as a result of we have to speed up this debate in regards to the postwar state of affairs,” mentioned Gerapetritis.


There are a number of prospects for a way Gaza is likely to be ruled when the warfare ends, with many within the worldwide group calling for a Palestinian entity to handle the enclave’s affairs, however one which excludes Hamas.


The Palestinian militant group, which has managed Gaza since 2007, launched an unprecedented cross-border assault on southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 folks and kidnapping an additional 240, sparking the present battle.


Some within the worldwide group imagine the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Financial institution, ought to resume management of Gaza as soon as the warfare ends, a risk that Israel has been reluctant to simply accept.


“You will need to present additional legitimacy to the Palestinian Authority as a result of within the postwar period, we have to have some credible interlocutor on the a part of the Palestinians,” mentioned Gerapetritis.


“It goes with out saying that we have to have a robust administration in Gaza originated by the Palestinian folks themselves, however clearly disassociated from any type of terrorism.”


Gerapetritis mentioned he had already met to debate these proposals with European and Arab ministers, the brand new Israeli overseas minister, Yisrael Katz, and can quickly host the Palestinian overseas minister, Riyad Al-Maliki, in Athens. He will even go to Jordan and Egypt for talks.


He mentioned he believes securing a ceasefire in Gaza is crucial to stop the battle escalating right into a regional warfare. His feedback got here amid a spate of assaults on business delivery within the Crimson Sea by the Houthis in Yemen, and mounting tensions between Israel and Hezbollah alongside the Lebanese border.


Like Hamas, the Houthis and Hezbollah are a part of the Axis of Resistance, a coalition of Iran-backed militia proxies working throughout the Center East. Any escalation involving these teams may drag your complete Arab area right into a devastating battle with Israel.


“The reality is now that there’s an rising concern concerning the spillover of the state of affairs, each within the Crimson Sea and in northern Israel and Lebanon. We work arduous as a way to attempt to include the hostilities,” mentioned Gerapetritis.


He believes a world summit, bringing collectively the Israelis and Palestinians alongside regional states, would assist speed up the seek for lasting options.


“The necessary factor in the mean time is to carry a world (convention) of the 2 primary stakeholders, Israel and Palestine, alongside key international locations which have carried out a constructive position on this respect, akin to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, and naturally the US,” mentioned Gerapetritis.


“I feel there have to be energetic involvement by the worldwide group, after which the modalities of the peace method will come.”


In the meantime, he mentioned, strain ought to be utilized on Israel to restrict the variety of civilian casualties in Gaza, the place greater than 23,000 folks have been killed since Oct. 7, in response to the Hamas-run well being ministry.


“What we attempt to (convey) to the Israeli authorities, alongside different allies, is that we have to decrease the precise price, the human price, of this operation,” mentioned Gerapetritis.


“Any kind of self-defense should function throughout the boundaries of worldwide legislation and the particular worldwide humanitarian legislation, which implies aside from humanitarian assist, it implies that now we have to pay correct respect to the lives of civilian folks.”


He added: “For us, it’s a key concern that there isn’t any forcible displacement or collective punishment in any respect, which is, in any case, prohibited by worldwide legislation.”


When a ceasefire settlement has been secured in Gaza, Gerapetritis mentioned the worldwide group ought to flip its consideration to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian concern by reviving efforts to create an unbiased Palestinian state alongside Israel.


“We have to work on a sustainable resolution for the Palestinian concern,” he mentioned. “As you realize, Greece has a precept, a route-based strategy on what is occurring in Palestine.


“We assist a two state resolution based mostly on the resolutions of the UN Safety Council, and we try to work along with our allies on this respect.”


Given the continuing battle and the antipathy felt by the warring sides, Gerapetritis accepts {that a} ceasefire and the humanitarian imperatives in Gaza are the extra instant priorities.


“I feel we have to actively promote the two-state resolution. It’s, nevertheless, important on the similar time to supply for a sustainable peace,” he mentioned.


“It will be significant that at this very second, with an enormous variety of civilian casualties, we have to set up a pause, a humanitarian pause that will permit us to debate the way forward for Palestine. Clearly, it’s not simple to truly focus on underneath the massive strain of hostages being stored and human casualties.


“We have to improve the humanitarian pauses so as to have the ability to focus on the longer term within the Center East with out these enormous burdens. So you will need to really arrange the premises as a way to go into additional discussions.”


The go to by Gerapetritis to Saudi Arabia and different regional capitals is an indication of Greece’s rising worldwide clout and its pursuit of recent partnerships in diplomacy, funding and vitality.


The minister views relations with Saudi Arabia as a specific precedence due to the Kingdom’s emergence as a serious regional participant by way of diplomacy and growth.


“I feel it is vitally necessary, particularly underneath these unstable circumstances in our broader areas, that the 2 international locations are stability and prosperity pillars of their respective areas,” he mentioned.


“Saudi Arabia is certainly the steadiness pillar on this area, with a reasonable perspective in its overseas coverage, however then again with a really formidable and visionary plan for the longer term, particularly Imaginative and prescient 2030, which supplies enormous funding alternatives for different international locations.


“Greece, which has been a stability pillar within the Japanese Mediterranean and the Balkans, one of many oldest members of the EU, I feel it’s with mutual profit that we develop additional our relationships.”


The 2 international locations have signed a number of agreements in recent times to advance mutual commerce and funding, and cooperation on sources of renewable vitality and electrical and digital connectivity.


“We’ve got developed our strategic partnership,” mentioned Gerapetritis. “As you realize, in 2022, we signed an settlement for a high-level strategic council to be launched. We count on that within the very close to future we can successfully launch it. On this respect, we’re going to have full-fledged cooperation.


“I place specific emphasis on vitality and investments; investments as a result of there are numerous locations and numerous fields the place we will develop bilateral investments, each necessary exports but additionally direct investments.”


As European states transition to renewable sources of vitality in step with their local weather commitments and the necessity to bolster vitality safety, many are Saudi Arabia’s funding in hydrogen energy as a possible sustainable various.


“On this respect, now we have additionally signed an necessary settlement with Saudi Arabia and a memorandum between the 2 ministers of vitality in regards to the switch not solely of renewable-energy sources, however principally of inexperienced hydrogen,” mentioned Gerapetritis.


“We may be the bridge between Saudi Arabia and Europe on this respect. The EU has determined to develop a gigaproject regarding Greek vitality, and excessive inexperienced hydrogen takes a distinguished half on this respect.


“Saudi Arabia can present, I feel, at the very least 50 p.c of this inexperienced hydrogen to Europe. And it is a crucial switch.”