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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-28

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Former president Stephanopoulos calls for change of tack in relations with Turkey

  • [01] Former president Stephanopoulos calls for change of tack in relations with Turkey

    A change of tack in Greece's policy toward Turkey and the referral of all problems with Turkey to the International Court of Justice at The Hague was proposed by Greece's former president Kostis Stephanopoulos, in an article published by the newspaper "Kathimerini" on Sunday.

    According to Stephanopoulos, who served two highly successful terms as Greek president before Karolos Papoulias, taking matters to the international court was now the only way forward, since all attempts to find a solution had failed, either through the process of Turkey's EU accession negotiations or through bilateral talks and meetings like those carried out in accordance with the decisions at Helsinki.

    Among problems that Stephanopoulos believes should be taken to The Hague are the extent of Greek territorial waters, delineation of the Aegean continental shelf of the Greek islands and the two countries and demilitarisation of the islands.

    To this, he adds the entry to Turkish aircraft into the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) without submitting flight plans, provided this is not a matter to be settled by the ICAO.

    He said that referral to the International Court should be preceded by the signature of a mutual agreement by the two countries, since Turkey had not acceded to the founding protocol of the court.

    Stephanopoulos pointedly excluded Turkish claims to 'grey areas' from consideration by the court at The Hague, stressing that these exist only in Turkey's imagination and that this was proved by the Treaty of Lausanne.

    According to the former president, Greece's policy of recognising only one difference with Turkey - that of delineating the Aegean continental shelf - "lacked seriousness". He stressed that failure to seek a solution through the International Court will simply leave all outstanding issues still outstanding, perpetuating the present problems and the threat of a more heated incident.

    He also pointed out that referring the issue to the court at The Hague formed part of the Helsinki resolution, which had set a deadline for dialogue until the end of 2004, with referral to the court as the next step. This meant that Greece was essentially guaranteed the support of its EU partners if it proceeded in this direction, Stephanopoulos pointed out.

    Photo: ANA-MPA file photo of Kostis Stephanopoulos at fund-raiser

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