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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM Bakoyannis at General Affairs Council

  • [01] FM Bakoyannis at General Affairs Council

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday attended the EU General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels which discussed the Kosovo issue, western Balkans, Turkey's European prospects and the situation in the Middle East.

    Speaking to reporters, Bakoyannis said "the Kosovo issue prevailed today at the General Affairs Council meeting. Specific decisions have not yet been reached. There was defused concern about the future. The discussion will continue at the European Council."

    Bakoyannis added, "we all start from a stable fact: that the European Union must not avoid its responsibilities on an issue which is European par excellence. Also, we all agree that it is very important for the European Union to maintain its unity. The Troika (EU-U.S.A.-Russia) has concluded its work. All recognized the enormous effort it made. Unfortunately, there were no concrete results given that there was no agreement between the two sides."

    "The basic problem is the safeguarding of the regionās security. Consequently, there was an exchange of views on the timely development of the mission within the framework of the European defence and security policy. Of course, for this to happen, what is necessary to be found is the legal basis which will allow the decision for the assumption, as soon as possible, of the mission in the region.

    "Greece will continue to follow a responsible policy without hurried moves and decisions. A criterion of our decisions will be the safeguarding of stability and peace and the broader Greek interests in the region. In every case, Serbiaās European course and of the broader region of the western Balkans must proceed with stable, concrete steps. In this direction is also moving the initiative which we recently promoted at the Council of the European Union," Bakoyannis said, adding that in continuation of this Greek initiative "we have agreed today to proceed to a subtantial debate in the first half of 2008 on the European prospects of all western Balkans."

    Bakoyannis also assessed that there would not be a "speedy -that is withinin the next fifteen days- declaration of independence on the part of Kosovo", clarifying that the issue of recognition lies on each country separately but also an issue of broader consultations, not only on a European level but between the region's countries as well.

    Bakoyannis said that she would be meeting in Athens on December 22 with her Romanian and Bulgarian counterparts to discuss the issue.

    Regarding the issue of Greece recognising a possible independence by Kosovo, the Greek foreign minister said: "Greece will study the situation, Greece is a neighbouring country, Greece has frontiers in the broader region, Greece is a country which has various issues in the region and various interests in the Balkans."

    The issue of Kosovo was also the focus of a separate meeting Bakoyannis had with her Serbian counterpart on the sidelines of the EU council.

    The main direction is that Kosovo is a European issue, with the question of what forces would be sent to the region still remaining open, as some international organisations, such as the OSCE, are already there, Bakoyannis said.

    Regarding Turkey's European prospects, the Greek foreign minister said that "for the first time the Council underlines, beyond the need for a strict adherence to good neighbourly relations, the need for threats and actions putting in danger these relations to be avoided."

    As regards the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bakoyannis said that in the Council's decision were included "important messages to FYROM in a particularly sensitive moment," while "the importance of good neighbourly relations and the need to resolve important pending issues with neighbours for all western Balkan countries was also underscored" and the FYROM government is called upon "to make new efforts in a constructive mood for achieving a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue within the UN process framework."

    Regarding the Middle East problem, Bakoyannis said the EU was "dynamically present in supporting the Palestinians", noting that Greece will table, during the forthcoming Paris conference its own contribution "beyond and above all that we dispose through the EU and strictly on a bilateral basis regarding the issue of the Palestinians."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

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