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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis meets with visiting Turkish FM
  • [02] PASOK leader confers with FM Bakoyannis
  • [03] Athens, Nimetz, agree to hasten name issue talks

  • [01] PM Karamanlis meets with visiting Turkish FM

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Wednesday with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, who is on an official visit to Greece.

    No statements were made after the meeting, which was held at the government headquarters at the Maximos Mansion. On Tuesday,

    excellent bilateral relations and volition of both sides for further cooperation was reaffirmed during a meeting between Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart .

    Bakoyannis reiterated that reaching a fair, viable and operational solution to the Cyprus problem -- based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation -- is of heightened importance, while she stressed that opportunities offered by Turkey's EU prospects should be utilised.

    "Full membership can and should be achieved by fully meeting the prerequisites set by the EU," Bakoyannis said, adding that Greece firmly supports Turkey's European prospects.

    The Greek Foreign Minister pointed out that the path of mutual interest should be characterised by respect to international law, good-neighborly relations as well as adoption of the principles and values implemented by modern Europe.

    On his part, the Turkish Foreign Minister stated that his country will make all efforts to solve the Cyprus problem within the framework of the UN decisions, while thanked Athens for supporting Ankara's European course.

    The two Ministers also announced a package of new confidence-building-measures that include exchange of visits by military leaders, establishment of a joint operational military unit involving all branches to participate in NATO peacekeeping missions, as well as the creation of a joint land force unit within the framework of NATO's rapid reaction force. Other CBMs include the establishment of a joint all-branch military unit to manage natural disasters and offer humanitarian aid as well visits by unit commanders at the Greek-Turkish border.

    Caption: ANA-MPA/MARIA MAROGIANNI Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis receives Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan

    [02] PASOK leader confers with FM Bakoyannis

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met Wednesday morning with main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, ahead of their separate meetings later with UN special mediator on the FYROM name issue Matthew Nimetz, who arrived in Athens following talks in Skopje with the FYROM leadership.

    Bakoyannis briefed Papandreou on the developments concerning the FYROM name issue, while the PASOK leader reiterated his party's steadfast positions on the issue.

    PASOK has criticised the government of a 'contradictory' policy with respect to Nimetz's initial initiatives on the FYROM name issue in 2005.

    PASOK has called on the government for tough bargaining on the FYROM name issue, aiming at an international name for the neighbouring country that would reflect the "geographical realities" of the region and would be used globally for that country, rather than an "international name within a dual name".

    Bakoyannis was due to meet with Nimetz shortly after her discussion with Papandreou, while the PASOK leader was scheduled to meet the UN envoy at 11:00 a.m.

    Caption: ANA-MPA/ file photo of PASOK party leader George Papandreou

    [03] Athens, Nimetz, agree to hasten name issue talks

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and visiting UN special mediator on the FYROM name issue agreed on Wednesday on intensifying and accelerating the UN-brokered negotiations on the issue between Athens and Skopje, during a one-hour meeting at the foreign ministry.

    In the framework of the intensification and acceleration of the Athens-Skopje negotiations, it was deemed expedient to hold a meeting in Skopje, hosted by FYROM foreign minister Antonio Milososki, with the participation of the Greek and FYROM negotiators ambassadors Adamantios Vassilakis and Nikola Dimitrov, respectively, with the prospect of a follow-up meeting in Athens hosted by Greek foreign minister Bakoyannis, Nimetz announced after the meeting.

    Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos later confirmed the information.

    Koumoutsakos said that the continuation and intensification of the talks meant that FYROM has not rejected Nimetz's package of ideas as a basis for the negotiation, and clarified that during Wednesday's meeting between Nimetz and Bakoyannis, which he said was held in a "very good climate", the two officials reviewed the developments in the name issue since the November 1 commencement of the new round of talks meadiated by Nimetz.

    "We clarified 'where we are'," Koumoutsakos said.

    The Greek side stressed that the negotiation had a timeline up to the day when FYROM will prospectively receive an invitation to join NATO, Koumoutsakos said, whereas Nimetz said that his mission does not have a specific timetable, but that all the developments in the region, such as those concerning the future status of Kosovo and NATO enlargement, were leading to an acceleration of the procedures for settlement of the outstanding issue with FYROM as well.

    Nimetz further noted that there was great interest on the part of both sides for finding a solution, and that the "key" continued to be the name issue.

    Regarding the Athens-Skopje interim agreement of 1995, Nimetz said that although he had heard "different interpretations", nevertheless "I did not hear anyone disputing it".

    Caption: Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis receives UN mediator Matthew Nimetz in Athens on Wednesday, 5 Dec. 2007. ANA-MPA/SYMELA PANTZARTZI

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