Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis stressed Greece’s ability and willingness to assume a key role in the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting), which promotes Asia’s interconnection with Europe, in particular through political dialogue, deepening economic relations and strengthening of cultural ties. Amanatidis was speaking at the 13th ASEM of Foreign Ministers meeting held in Myanmar on Monday.
Referring to the importance of “connectivity”, he said that it could be a flagship to further advance the goals, functioning and effectiveness of ASEM, noting that both the Asians and the European partners have committed themselves to a number of specific projects related to various aspects of connectivity, either so-called “hard” connectivity – such as infrastructure, transport and energy – or “soft” connectivity, which includes cultural exchanges and contacts between citizens.
Given that Greece is a crossroads and a natural gateway between Europe and Asia – as well as being a region of stability in the region, with significant know-how as an EU member state – “it can play a key role in the interconnection of Asia with Europe and promote cooperation between the two continents in a number of areas benefiting both sides,” the deputy foreign minister explained.
He stressed that our country “aspires to become a centre for cultural and technological connectivity between the ASEM member countries”.
“My country,” Amanatidis added, “perceives this connectivity as a very important vehicle for stimulating not only the economic sector, especially during the current period when Greece is on a steady path to exit the economic difficulties it faces, but also the fields of culture, science and research.”
At the same time, he outlined the benefits of using culture as a means of connectivity, with the aim of promoting peace and stability, as demonstrated by the Forum of Ancient Civilisations, an initiative by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.