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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis outlines Greek positions at NATO summit; meets with Chirac

  • [01] Karamanlis outlines Greek positions at NATO summit; meets with Chirac

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with French President Jacques Chirac here on Wednesday at the conclusion of a NATO summit, with the 40-minute meeting touching on bilateral issues as well as Turkey's European prospects before the former's statements at a press briefing.

    According to reports, both sides agreed that a corresponding message to EU hopeful Turkey should be linked to that country's accession progress.

    In the later press conference, Karamanlis told reporters that talks by NATO member-states' leaders focused on the situation in Afghanistan and the need to ensure the peacekeeping mission's success via the further stabilisation and reconstruction of the strife-plagued country, a prelude he said to an eventual handover of control for the entire country's security to Afghan forces.

    Karamanlis, however, underlined that Athens will not increase its military presence in the country. "Having fulfilled our commitments on the military level, Greece is able to actively contribute to efforts for social and economic reconstruction," he said.

    In reference to the NATO presence in Kosovo, Karamanlis said Greece wants to ensure stability in the region, "where developments affect us directly."

    "We believe that the KFOR presence will be necessary as a guarantee of security for the foreseeable future, if of course, the force's future and its mission are linked with the outcome of negotiations for a final status ... Negotiations (over Kosovo) must conclude with a viable and mutually acceptable solution," he added.

    In terms of NATO membership for Albania, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Karamanlis underlined that the "process remains dependent on (candidate-states') track record, and, therefore, a separation of the three candidacies cannot be ruled out ..."

    In a related development, he expressed Athens' satisfaction with the prospect of including Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia into NATO's Partnership for Peace initiative.

    "This decision falls parallels and vindicates standing Greek positions, while contributing to regional stability."

    Finally, asked the proposal for a NATO rapid reaction force, Karamanlis said it was a fundamental tool for the Alliance's military transformation, adding that Athens' contribution will be significant, something he said has already been recognised by the Alliance.

    Other topics up for discussion included the war on terror, a NATO ground surveillance programme, as well as progress in dealing with nuclear, biological and chemical warfare threats.

    On the sidelines of a working dinner on Tuesday evening, Karamanlis held brief talks with, among others, US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov.

    Caption: Premier Karamanlis appears with the President of Latvia Vaira Vike-Freiberga, centre, and NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, right, in Riga during a NATO summit on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006. ANA-MPA photo / G. Antoniou.

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