Greece And Turkey Aim To Smooth Differences, Leaders To Meet

Greece and Turkey pledged on Monday to smooth differences which erupted into a public spat between their foreign ministers, announcing a meeting between President Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at next month’s NATO summit.

The two historic rivals are at odds over many issues from competing territorial claims in the eastern Mediterranean to migrant boats and the status of Cyprus. They came close to armed conflict last year but have been trying to lower tensions. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Athens that they were fully aware of the different, and in some very serious issues, diametrically opposed positions that they have. He dais that the purpose of Monday’s meeting was to attempt an initial negotiation process and if possible, a gradual normalization of the situation over time. Turkey wanted to improve economic ties with Greece and said there had been concrete steps on 25 articles in areas ranging from transport to energy, the environment, tourism and trade. The two presidents were planning to meet at the NATO summit in Brussels on June 14.

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