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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK leader: PM wasted country's 'credibility capital'

  • [01] PASOK leader: PM wasted country's 'credibility capital'

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Thursday accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of wasting the country's "credibility capital", which he said was leftover from the preceding PASOK governments while also referring to inertia over the Cyprus issue.

    Papandreou was addressing an off-the-agenda parliamentary debate on foreign policy at political party leaders' level.

    He also called on Karamanlis to immediately take initiatives with respect to the Cyprus issue and ongoing developments in EU-Turkey relations, urging the submission of a proposal for the demilitarisation of the island republic.

    Papandreou charged that Greek foreign policy, under the New Democracy government, was pervaded by fear of the political cost, inertia and lack of volition, resulting in the wasting of the country's "credibility and prestige capital".

    "You just read out to us a list of problems that Turkey was not solving. Why didn't you read out that list in December 2004 in Brussels and in October 2005? That's when you should have put your foot down, but you neglected it, fearing what political cost?" Papandreou said.

    "We would not have made the mistakes you made; we would not have been observers in Lucerne. We would have negotiated hard for a better outcome. We would not have announced that the Cyprus problem was not an issue for Greek-Turkish relations, because we believe that a non-solution is a source of tensions. We would not have allowed the Greek-Turkish relations to be disengaged from the EU-Turkey relations, nor would I have publicly stated on CNN that I will not place a veto," the PASOK leader continued.

    Papandreou said that Turkey's self-evident obligation for ratification and implementation of the Customs Union Protocol had now become a package deal with the development of relations with the Turkish Cypriot community and the approval of the Trade Regulation -- "a bargaining on the obligation that Turkey had undertook".

    PASOK, he continued, had succeeded in rendering the Greece-Turkey-Cyprus issues European issues to be resolved on the basis of principles, whereas ND had succeeded in putting them up for bargaining with arbitrators.

    Papandreou said support of Turkey's EU course was not a "carte blanche", adding that Greece should be a champion for enlargement, but at the same time it must have the courage to say "no".

    "Where is your substantial contribution to the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus? What is your position on the efforts of the Finnish EU presidency? What is your preparation and hard work for a new Helsinki? Will you visit country capitals and meet with your counterparts? Do you have plans, targets? I didn't hear anything. What is our position on Guantanamo? Why didn't you yourself go to New York to address the Security Council during our presidency? Our term on the Security Council is ending, and no one knows what we have done," the main opposition leader continued.

    Papandreou urged that Greece should undertake an initiative aimed at strengthening confidence between the two communities on Cyprus and to call for its immediate demilitarisation.

    "I propose that you take this into your own hands, as today no one believes that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community are in danger, no one believes that the (Turkish) troops are there for Turkey's security. When (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan asked me for mutual moves of good will, this is what I proposed to him: Demilitarisation," Papandreou said.

    "We must comprise an ethical power on the international chessboard. We must work on the major problems of poverty, international equality, the environment..." he concluded.


    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Thursday again outlined her party's positions regarding foreign affairs, stressing that the Greek communist party is wholly in favor of the peaceful co-existence of peoples, governments and countries, although however, "there are limits."

    The KKE leader was speaking during an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament regarding foreign policy issues, a session that particularly focused on EU-Turkey relations amid the prism of Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus question.

    In qualifying her statement, Papariga noted that "we have no reason to aggravate our differences (with Turkey), however, there are limits, such as the extension of Greece's territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, which is the country's inalienable right."

    Moreover, she charged that both the country's major parties, ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK, have more-or-less similar positions on foreign affairs and do not disagree on substance of issues.

    Additionally, she said an initiative by the Finnish EU presidency to overcome a looming impasse in EU-Turkey relations due to the latter's failure to extend the Ankara protocol is merely a "variation of the Annan plan".

    Finally, she again voiced her party's opposition to the role of NATO and the European Union, "we reject and do not recognise the transfer of our sovereign rights to NATO or the EU..." she said.

    ANA-MPA file photo of Papandreou

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