Greece hits out at am­bas­sador

ATHENS DID NOT SUP­PORT SPAN­ISH UNITY EU lead­ers have largely backed Madrid govern­ment dur­ing politi­cal cri­sis.

The Citizen (KZN) - - WORLD - Athens

Greece called on Spain’s am­bas­sador to Athens to re­scind state­ments to a Greek news­pa­per sug­gest­ing that Athens was not sup­port­ive of Span­ish unity, re­veal­ing strains be­tween the Euro­pean Union (EU) part­ners over a Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence drive.

“It is with sur­prise that we note the com­ments made by the am­bas­sador of friend and ally Spain, crit­i­cis­ing pub­licly the Greek govern­ment,” the Greek for­eign min­istry said in a state­ment.

EU lead­ers, wary of en­cour­ag­ing sep­a­ratists across the bloc, have largely backed the Madrid govern­ment dur­ing a deep­en­ing politi­cal cri­sis which cul­mi­nated last week in the Cata­lan par­lia­ment vot­ing to uni­lat­er­ally de­clare the re­gion’s in­de­pen­dence from Spain.

The Span­ish Am­bas­sador to Greece, En­rique Viguera, was quoted in Sun­day’s Eleft­heros Ty­pos news­pa­per as say­ing that while he had clear as­sur­ances of sup­port for Span­ish unity from Greece’s con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion and from President Prokopis Pavlopou­los, the same was not true of Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing govern­ment.

“State­ments on the is­sue from the part of the [Greek] govern­ment are ab­sent. How­ever, other Euro­pean gov­ern­ments warmly sup­ported the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of Spain and our govern­ment’s po­si­tion,” he said.

On Satur­day, Greece, through its govern­ment spokesper­son, said it fully sup­ported Spain’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and co­he­sion as well as any ini­tia­tive to re­store demo­cratic di­a­logue in the frame­work of Spain’s con­sti­tu­tion.

“We are par­tic­u­larly con­cerned over the sit­u­a­tion in Spain and re­it­er­ate that Europe can only ad­vance united. Uni­lat­eral ac­tions can­not be ac­cept­able,” govern­ment spokesper­son Dim­itris Tzanakopou­los said.

The for­eign min­istry ac­cused the am­bas­sador of “in­sult­ing Greece’s con­sti­tu­tion” by sug­gest­ing that the coun­try’s president did not speak for the govern­ment.

It also said by adopt­ing the ar­gu­ments of the politi­cal op­po­si­tion, Spain’s am­bas­sador was in­ter­fer­ing in Greece’s do­mes­tic pol­i­tics.

“We call on the am­bas­sador to avoid be­hav­ing in a way that is not in line with diplo­matic norms and ex­pect that he will pro­ceed to re­scind his un­for­tu­nate state­ments and pro­vide the Greek govern­ment with the nec­es­sary ex­pla­na­tions,” the min­istry said. –

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