İrem UZUN -TDO- Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has appealed to Turkey to find a diplomatic solution to the tension in the eastern Mediterranean, saying he hopes to build a partnership between the historic rival neighbours. Mitsotakis, speaking on Friday in an address to the virtual UN General Assembly (UNGA), also accused Turkey of aggression with its recent search for energy resources in contested waters but added he remained an optimist.

“So let’s meet, let’s talk and let’s seek a mutually acceptable solution. Let’s give diplomacy a chance,” Mitsotakis said to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in his speech. “If after all we still cannot agree, then we should trust the wisdom of the International Court at The Hague,” He said, reiterating an offer from Greece. In a recorded message before the backdrop of the Acropolis, He pointed to the United Arab Emirates’ recent recognition of Israel as a sign that Greece and Turkey can overcome historic animosity. “I refuse to believe that partnership between near neighbors is not possible,” he said.

Turkey last month sent a vessel backed by military frigates to hunt for oil and gas reserves in the waters also claimed by Greece. And Greece responded with naval exercises as a warning. The tone of the dispute has softened in recent weeks, with both sides agreeing to begin exploratory talks. In his own address to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Erdogan said that Turkey wanted to “settle disputes with sincere dialogue, based on international law and on an equitable basis.”

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