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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-09

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece satisfied with EU reports on Turkey, FYROM
  • [02] Former PM Simitis presents book

  • [01] Greece satisfied with EU reports on Turkey, FYROM

    Foreign Ministry Spokesman George Koumoutsakos, commenting on Wednesday on the European Commission's reports regarding Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) said "the issues of Greek and Cypriot concern are covered in a very satisfactory way, while special mention is made for the first time in an official document of the EU to the issue of casus belli (threat of war)", adding that "it is a success which came as a result of a continuous and systematic diplomatic effort. A silent but effective one."

    The spokesman further said that "the same goes for the European Commission's opinion on FYROM, in which Greek pursuits are incorporated."

    The announcement issued by the foreign ministry on these reports, titled "Progress report and revised partnership relation for Turkey" and "Opinion on FYROM", stresses that Turkey's relations of "good neighbourliness" with Greece are now becoming a "clear criterion for the progress of its accession course."

    The same also applies with regard to "the issues of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and protection of minorities and of their property. And, of course, to the issue of the Halki School of Theology."

    It was further noted in the announcement that "for the first time, indeed in an official EU document, special mention is made of the issue of 'casus belli'. A fact of evident importance." Turkey is also called on to handle whatever sources of friction with its neighbours, abstaining from relevant actions.

    The foreign ministry's announcement said with regard to Cyprus that "it is stressed that the recognition of all EU member-states by Turkey constitutes a necessary element of its accession effort", adding that "it is also pointed out that the implementation of the Customs Union Protocol also constitutes a commitment and a criterion" and that "Turkey's full compliance will constitute, in 2006, an object of assiduous and continuous monitoring by the European Union."

    The foreign ministry's announcement also said that "Greece, once again, wishes to stress that the successful outcome of these efforts by the neighbouring country will benefit the region and Greek-Turkish relations, as well as the Turkish people. We support this prospect."

    The announcement went on to say that "as regards the European pursuits of Skopje (FYROM), the European Commission's opinion makes it absolutely clear that this long course is continuing under the name of 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'," adding that the European Commission stresses that "the neighbouring country must cooperate in the effort to find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the name" and that "this issue now constitutes a political criterion."

    It was also stressed in the announcement that "this has always been the Greek position as well" and it concluded by saying that "we remain firm on it, having proved our constructive disposition. Only with the achievement of a mutually acceptable solution will the further improvement of bilateral relations and regional stability, as well as the European prospect of our neighbouring country be facilitated."

    [02] Former PM Simitis presents book

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou attended an event on Wednesday night during which a presentation was made of former PASOK prime minister Costas Simitis' book, focusing on his eight-year term as prime minister.

    Speaking after the presentation of the book, which he said he watched with interest, Papandreou said "we are looking ahead and not back" and that it is his responsibility to look ahead because this was the reason he was elected.

    "We change and we continue on with changes," Papandreou added.

    Simitis, who was prime minister between 1996 and 2004, said that he and George Papandreou have a common target which is victory in the next elections, adding that he is "politically present" which means telling his opinion and helping the party.

    Speaking during the presentation of the book, whose first edition is already out of print, Simitis said he did not have and does not have the intention of remaining silent, adding that "it is time for political discourse to prevail and confrontation on political targets on the agenda of political life, instead of talk of ethics and the effort to separate politicians into good and bad.

    He further said that the writing of a book by a former prime minister is not unusual and has nothing to do with the effort, on the part of the writer, to impose his version of things.

    Giving an example, he mentioned the writing of books by Helmut Kohl, Jacques Delors, Michel Rocard and Helmut Schmidt.

    Asked whether he was hasty in presenting his views, Simitis replied that his decision has to do with the fact that "the conservative party wants to disdain the effort of the previous government and show that all that had happened in the country at the time had been a gloss of modernisation ."

    The former prime minister said that it would be a mistake for one to believe that the New Democracy party has turned page and that the conservative forces alone can write an account of developments.

    Simitis conceded that different assessments exist on what had happened during the eight years he was prime minister and stressed that he is not seeking the agreement of all with his views.

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