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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Valinakis, Colonna discuss EU expansion in SE Europe
  • [02] DM addresses international conference in Berlin

  • [01] Valinakis, Colonna discuss EU expansion in SE Europe

    European and bilateral issues, especially European Union expansion in SE Europe, dominated talks here between Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis and visiting French Minister Delegate for European Affairs Catherine Colonna.

    Earlier, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis received Colonna.

    During a joint press conference, Valinakis reiterated Athens' standing position vis-a-vis the European prospects of the entire SE Europe region, "for us it is a necessary condition for transforming the area into one of security, peace and cooperation. This is occurring with Bulgaria and Romania. I believe developments will proceed normally and that these two countries will enter the European Union on the set timetable."

    Moreover, he said specific procedures and fulfilment of conditions exist for other candidates in the region.

    On her part, Colonna said Paris backs the accession of Sofia and Bucharest into the EU as soon as possible, while calling on both countries to intensify their efforts so that a report out in the fall approves their accession for 2007.

    Asked about the possibility of an extension being given to Turkey for signing the Ankara Protocol, Colonna said:

    "Things are clear. Turkey has assumed obligations that must be met before the foreign ministers' council meeting in the fall ... we must not confuse obligations with negotiations the specific country is holding with member-states."

    Valinakis echoed the statement, noting that "at every turn candidate-countries are evaluated, we are not providing carte blanche to anyone; obligations cannot be linked with other issues".

    Regarding Greek-French relations, Colonna said they were "excellent" and characterised by "mutual trust", adding that Paris considers Athens a significant European partner.

    [02] DM addresses international conference in Berlin

    Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis, addressing the international conference on global security in Berlin on Thursday, stressed the role of Greece as a "pylon country" for security, stability and development in the region.

    Referring in particular to Kosovo, the Greek minister outlined the position of the Greek government that "procedures to settle the problem and relevant consultations must go ahead with care and wisdom."

    "A viable and realistic solution can only come through dialogue and cannot be the product of imposition by outside factors," Meimarakis also said.

    Political developments in the Balkans will constitute, apart from armaments issues, a special issue in talks that the Greek minister was due to have on Thursday evening with his German counterpart Franz Joseph Jung in the framework of the scheduling of a more general cooperation policy and coordination policy between the two countries on major issues. This category, apart from developments in the Balkans and the issue of Iran, also includes the prospects of NATO's transformation and the strengthening of the defence and military aspect of the European Union.


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