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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-06-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM highlights Greece's role in consolidating stability
  • [02] President Papoulias addresses warning to Turkey

  • [01] FM highlights Greece's role in consolidating stability

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union in Paris on Tuesday, highlighted the "active and considerable role" of Greece in consolidating stability, strengthening security and promoting economic growth.

    "The security strategy of Greece is aimed, on the one hand, on its participation in global peace and security -through NATO, relevant EU apparatuses and the UN- and, on the other hand, at achieving regional security and stability, diminishing every threat that may come from bilateral problems and promoting security and peace in southeastern Europe in every way," she said.

    Bakoyannis said that the Balkans "have taught us that Europe must have the possibility of assuming large scale operations in support of peace, police administration, speedy and effective response in urgent crises of a humanitarian nature and the stabilisation of vulnerable societies. They have taught us that we must become better in planning and distributing aid for the consolidation of peace."

    Noting the "catalytical role" exercised by the European prospects of the Balkans, Bakoyannis said that "a stable southeastern Europe remains a priority for the European Union, NATO and of course Greece."

    She referred in particular to Kosovo where "constructive pressure must be exercised on both sides so that they will respond to the specifications that have been set, even if more time is required that must be given if necessary."

    On the question of Turkey, the Greek minister referred to frequent bilateral contacts to stress Greece's adherence to the European future of Turkey.

    "It is a conscientious strategy," she said "which, however, is not unconditional. It is linked to Turkey's response to its commitments and its promises," she said.

    As regards Cyprus, which "must become a unified European country soon and in practice", Bakoyannis reminded that the question of Cyprus is an "international" issue and pointed out that "the principles that must guide us in seeking a just, workable and viable solution must also take into consideration the work that has been accomplished by the UN, international law, the resolutions of the Security Council and the acquis communautaire."

    Lastly, Bakoyannis referred to the need of developing an "authentic partnership strategy between the EU and Russia", reminding that Greece is a strategic partner with the United States and has old ties of friendship with Islam and the Arab world.

    Replying to questions, she observed that Greece has good relations with Turkey and this "cohabitation could become better if Turkey decided to become a fully democratic country" in the sense attributed to the term by the EU.

    Focusing on the implementation of the Customs Union Protocol, Bakoyannis said on the one hand that it is an obligation that Turkey "cannot avoid. It constitutes part of the European acquis communautaire which applies to all because there is no Europe a la carte" and, on the other hand, that it is "a fundamental element in the conception of the EU since it refers to free trade."

    Referring to Cyprus, the minister said that the "Annan plan is history". Replying to a question, she said that she had said in the past that "the Annan plan had some positive elements. The Greek Cypriots, however, rejected the plan. Whatever solution is proposed must take into consideration the will of the people. Therefore, a new plan must be found that will be acceptable by the two communities."

    Referring to developments in Iran, the foreign minister said of the issue that "the EU was able to assume a leading initiative. It was a good moment in the history of European policy", adding that the relevant proposal will be announced when it is considered expedient to publicise all its elements, as they will be finalised.

    [02] President Papoulias addresses warning to Turkey

    President Karolos Papoulias, speaking during a ceremony on his proclamation as an honourary citizen of the south-eastern Aegean island of Symi on Tuesday, called on Turkey to abandon disputing the legal status in the Aegean and its expansionist designs, saying that Greeks wanted a peaceful future with Turkey.

    "In European logic there is no place for expansionist designs or the disputing of the sovereign rights of a neighbouring country with the threat of war," the president said and added that speaking these days with the inhabitants of the islands he once again reached the "bitter" ascertainment that "the Greek people want a peaceful future with Turkey and at the same time they are concerned about an attitude that does not inspire confidence."

    President Papoulias noted that "the nucleus of the problem of Greek-Turkish relations lies in the decisive role played by the Turkish military in the orientation of the neighbouring country and which dictates the effort to overturn the balance in the Aegean" and that "the problem between Greece and Turkey is not the differences invoked by Turkey but the reason for which it invokes them."

    The president further said that "even if a compromise was to be found for some of these differences, through the procedures anticipated in the UN Charter, nobody can guarantee that new differences would not appear precisely because the strategic pursuit that fabricates them is not revised."

    He also said that "the Turkish theory of grey zones only appeared in 1996, many years after the beginning of the disputing of the width of national air space and territorial waters. Nobody could expect that the strategic pursuits of decades would be abandoned in one night. This is precisely the meaning of our support for the European course of Turkey: Our expectation that the democratisation of Turkey will help the common future of the two peoples."

    President Papoulias reassured that "Greece will watch this course without excessive optimism or pessimism, with a spirit of realism", clarifying that "we do not want sacrifices, human and economic, we do not want more tension."

    Lastly, President Papoulias said that "we are extending the hand of friendship and cooperation with insistence and sincerity, awaiting the change of mind of the Turkish leadership on the vital interests of the neighbouring country and the adoption of European principles in its foreign policy."

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