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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-10-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] NATO chief meets PM, foreign minister

  • [01] NATO chief meets PM, foreign minister

    NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, currently on a visit to Athens, on Thursday had separate meetings with Prime Minister George Papandreou, Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos within the framework of preparations for the alliance‚s Summit Meeting in Lisbon on Nov. 19-20.

    The upcoming Summit will adopt the alliance‚s so-called New Strategic Concept and reach important decisions on future NATO actions in Afghanistan, the new command structure, the reform of the alliance‚s structures, the so-called NATO partnership relations, missile defence and NATO‚s cooperation with Russia and the EU.

    After the meeting with the NATO head, Droutsas commented that the New Strategic Concept focuses on the modernization of the alliance to be able to fully meet current security challenges."

    He stated that "in general the plan meets our country‚s demands mainly as regards the collective defence and the unanimity rule in decision making‚.

    "We strongly believe in a creative cooperation between NATO and the EU through joint actions and without the exclusion of members, within a framework that will consolidate autonomy in decision-making for each of the organizations mentioned. We support NATO‚s firm cooperation with Russia and look forward to the NATO-Russia Council Summit within the framework of the alliance‚s Summit meeting in Lisbon. A viable security architecture should include Russia and a major effort to meet the specific target has been made through the Corfu process," he said.

    He also stressed that NATO actions should be compatible with the UN Charter and International Law.

    On his part, the NATO head expressed appreciation for the dedication to the alliance, the contribution to its operations and the excellent cooperation with Athens, characterizing his meeting with Droutsas as very constructive.

    He underlined the progress made in Afghanistan and expressed the hope that in Lisbon it will be announced that security control will be transferred to the Afghan forces in 2011. He added that everything will depend on the situation in the region, pointing out that both the army and the police will have to be trained. "Our training mission in Afghanistan is very important and I call on all allies to contribute," he said, adding that it is very important that Greece has increased its training mission."

    He referred to NATO‚s New Strategic Concept that will shape the alliance‚s future considering that "the main mission is the protection of territorial integrity, the people and our countries." He added that "to be able to improve our defence we should be in the position to handle the new security challenges such as, terrorism, cyber attacks, missile attacks," expressing "the hope that in Lisbon a decision will be made on a security system that will be based in NATO with the cooperation of Russia."

    As regards NATO-EU relations, he expressed "satisfaction because there is total agreement on the fact that all obstacles should be removed for a complete NATO-EU cooperation. In regions and fields, where NATO and the EU co-exist, we should be in the position to help each other. Where common forces can be deployed we should cooperate to save the taxpayers‚ money".

    Asked if it is reasonable to promote relations with a country that vetoes the accession of an EU member state in other international organizations, he said that this is a goal that needs to be handled in a balanced way, adding that both sides have a "participation problem".

    He pointed out that "until now the EU was unable to give its approval to Turkey‚s cooperation with the European defense organization or reach a security agreement with Turkey. At the same time, Turkey has not exactly accepted that the EU comprises 27 member-states."

    He said that this is the problem of "participation we have from both sides", urging the EU to proceed with this agreement with Turkey while on its part, Ankara should realize that the EU cooperation with NATO should take place with all 27 member states.

    The NATO head repeated the alliance‚s clear position as regards the accession talks with fYRoM, stressing that talks can be launched with Skopje after a mutually acceptable solution is reached on the name issue.

    "The decision is clear," he said, adding that "all NATO decisions demand unanimity. I urge all parties involved to do their best to find a solution as soon as possible."

    On his part, FM Droutsas repeated that Athens is ready for a solution to the name issue and called on Skopje to sit at the UN negotiating table in a constructive spirit.

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