Brussels, Belgium – NATO statement: no deal reached

NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg said that “no agreement has been reached in the technical negotiations” regarding the search for a solution in the Eastern Mediterranean.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced that technical talks between Turkey and Greece have begun in NATO on conflict prevention mechanisms in the Eastern Mediterranean, but no agreement has yet been reached.

Stoltenberg made a statement to the press after a meeting of the NATO North Atlantic Council at the level of permanent representatives.

Stoltenberg, who was reminded that the Greek administration denied NATO’s statement that Turkey and Greece had agreed to hold technical talks, said:

“After my meetings with the Turkish and Greek leaders, the two allied countries have already met here for technical talks in NATO. The aim of these talks is to create mechanisms to prevent military conflict. No agreement has yet been reached to reduce the risk of accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean. These are not negotiations on disputes between Turkey and Greece, but technical negotiations. These are the works that will complement the German-led political decoupling efforts.”

Stoltenberg said that NATO is an important platform for solving problems, repeating that military technical negotiations have started in NATO.

“Since there are many ships in the Eastern Mediterranean, we needed to start technical talks on developing mechanisms to prevent conflict,” Stoltenberg said.

NATO chief says talks with Greece, Turkey for ‘deconflicting mechanism’ taking place

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday said that talks with Greece and Turkey on “establishing an enhanced deconflicting mechanism” in the Eastern Mediterranean are under way but have not reached an agreement.

“Both Greek and Turkish leaders have already met for technical talks here at NATO. The aim of these talks is to establish mechanisms for military deconfliction, to reduce the risk of accidents in the Mediterranean region. No agreement on the mechanism has been reached yet,” Stoltenberg said at a press briefing in Brussels.

The NATO chief also sought to clarify that the NATO initiative concerns “technical talks rather than negotiations on the underlying disputes between Greece and Turkey.”

“As such they are meant to complement not replace the effort led by Germany for political mediation toward de-escalation,” he added.

“What I’m trying to do is not to address the underlying problems but to deconflict. As long as we have so many ships in the Eastern Mediterranean, we believe that there is a need to have technical talks on how to develop enhanced mechanisms for deconfliction,” Stoltenberg clarified.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s initiative on Thursday comprised a set of “technical” proposals to avert a military incident in the Eastern Mediterranean and not an agreement between Greece and Turkey to resume talks.

Greece says Greece cannot agree to sit down to talks with Turkey unless Turkey actively demonstrates a desire to de-escalate tension in the Eastern Aegean.

Stoltenberg’s proposal, is a “document of technical interest, over which he sought the reactions and proposals of the parties.” Greece said this is a far cry from being described as an agreement to resume talks.

Greece claims anyone who holds public office must act with the seriousness demanded by that position and the secretary general of NATO has a great position.

Greece does not have high expectations of a breakthrough in the talks being promoted by Stoltenberg for a mechanism to avert a military confrontation between Greece and Turkey, though it agrees to the technical talks “in principal” and on the condition that the Turkish Oruç Reis seismic survey vessel is withdrawn from the Turkish continental shelf.