The Philia Forum took place for the first time in Athens, on February 11, with the participation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs from Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Bahrain, France and Saudi Arabia and the Minister of State for International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates.
The Philia Forum is an initiative of the Greek government aiming to bring together countries of the East Mediterrancean that are on the same page regarding international law and economic cooperation.
In the joint statement after the one-day Forum participants committed to “joint actions and initiatives in fields such as energy, innovation, digital economy, civil protection and transnational synergies”.
They also explored possibilities for further cooperation in science, agriculture, food security, academic education and training, interfaith dialogue, culture and sports.
The joint statement starts with the 7 countries reiterating their commitment to “International Law, including the UN Charter, UN Security Council Resolutions and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” to which they are all signatories.
Greece aspires to serve as a bridge between the Eastern Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, the Balkans and the rest of Europe.
Addressing the Forum, the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias said the purpose of the Forum is “to create a bulwark against threats, violence, extremism, intolerance, the distortion of faith, irrationality” . He rejected the idea that the Forum is “a defence alliance” and calledotherMediterranean countries tojoin the initiative. .
N. Dendias also mentioned the Turkish-Libya memorandum on maritime zones, calling it “unlawful and irrational”.