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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-04-21

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Foreign ministry underlines Greece's unmitigated desire to improve relations with Turkey
  • [02] Greek minister Skandalakis and Christofias discuss expatriates' role in Cyprus issue
  • [03] President Papoulias receives Athens Press Association board
  • [04] Deputy FM attends informal NATO FMs conference in Lithuania

  • [01] Foreign ministry underlines Greece's unmitigated desire to improve relations with Turkey

    Greece's desire to improve bilateral relations with Turkey remained unmitigated, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos stressed on Thursday. At the same time, he noted that the good climate and improvement in relations should be reflected by military activity in the Aegean, which was a source of friction between the two countries.

    The spokesman was responding to Greek press questions referring to an escalation of tensions in the Aegean by Turkey.

    He said that Greece's desire for improved Greek-Turkish ties was a strategic choice reflecting Athens' views on how stability in the surrounding region might be achieved and one that found expression in specific actions and practical policies. He also pointed out that bilateral relations with Turkey did not follow a "linear progression" and that the obstacles were "there to be overcome".

    Asked why Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had cancelled a visit to Komotini, where he was due to take part in a meeting of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact ministers, Koumoutsakos said this was in response to the cancellation of a visit by Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, who is recovering from minor surgery.

    Answering questions on Turkish press reports concerning alleged violations of an agreement concerning the Imia islets, Koumoutsakos said he was unaware of any such agreement.

    [02] Greek minister Skandalakis and Christofias discuss expatriates' role in Cyprus issue

    NICOSIA (ANA - G. Leonidas) Meeting the president of the Cyprus House of Representatives Demetris Christofias during a visit to Nicosia on Thursday, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Panagiotis Skandalakis discussed the role of expatriate Greeks in promoting Greek positions on the Cyprus issue and how this might be better utilised and upgraded.

    After the meeting, Christofias said they had discussed the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and the next steps that Greece and Cyprus might take in order to achieve a just, viable and functional solution. He said the talks had also covered cooperation between the Greek and Cypriot parliaments and efforts currently being made to upgrade this.

    He stressed that Nicosia and Athens must continue their unstinting cooperation to achieve their common goals.

    Skandalakis noted that expatriate Greeks were a great power that should be better utilised, both for the Cyprus issue and in other major foreign policy goals. Greeks and Cypriots living abroad had come to occupy important positions and were willing to assist in matters that concerned Greeks, provided there was better coordination, he added.

    He also reiterated that Greece remained steadily at Cyprus side with respect to the Cyprus problem.

    [03] President Papoulias receives Athens Press Association board

    President Karolos Papoulias received the board members of the Athens Press Association (ESHEA) on Thursday, headed by President Manolis Mathioudakis who briefed him on the current claims of the journalistic sector, such as the social security and pensioning issues and labour matters.

    Mathioudakis said the dominant issue for ESHEA is the right of citizens to multifaceted and full information and to an improvement in its quality.

    President Papoulias showed great interest in the sector's problems and in the issues raised, while expressing the desire for more frequent contact with ESHEA's board.

    [04] Deputy FM attends informal NATO FMs conference in Lithuania

    VILNIUS (ANA - N. Melissova) - The two-day informal conference of NATO foreign ministers, attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valynakis, came to an end here on Thursday following an examination of major international issues.

    The ministers discussed NATO's role in Kosovo, Afghanistan, the Middle East, cooperation between the alliance and the European Union and national issues raised by each delegation, as well as a number of internal operational issues concerning NATO.

    On the sidelines of the conference, the NATO-Russia Council signed a partnership for peace agreement on the status governing the presence and passage of allied and partnership forces on Russian soil (SOFA).

    Another agreement was also signed between the NATO-Ukraine Committee on the participation of Ukraine in NATO's Active Endeavour operation against terrorism.

    It was further decided that NATO funds will be made available for the Ukrainian authorities to enable the strengthening of democratic institutions in the country and a series of measures aimed at warming up political dialogue with the Organisation.

    Greek diplomatic sources said Kosovo, for which no political discussion was held on its future during the conference, continues to be among the top priorities of the alliance.

    "The region of the Balkans has strategic importance for Europe and for this reason the Balkans must also have a place in European institutions. Also of great importance is the development of regional dialogue and resolving problems with mutually acceptable solutions," Valynakis said.

    The deputy foreign minister noted during the examination of the situation in Afghanisan that "our country will strengthen its contribution with a full medical team in the region of Kabul."

    The 26 foreign ministers also held a preliminary discussion on the role the UN, EU and NATO can play in a range of activities.

    The general assessment made on relations between NATO and the EU is that autonomy in the taking of decisions must be maintained. This view is shared by many EU countries, including Greece.

    "All the issues discussed were of interest to Greece, since Greece will be assuming the presidency of Inter-Balkan Cooperation soon. We are a member of the [UN] Security Council and we will also be assuming the presidency there as well in July," Valynakis added.

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