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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-09-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PASOK leader meets Cyprus president in NYC
  • [02] FM addresses Greek-Americans
  • [03] Athens mayor visits Sofia

  • [01] PASOK leader meets Cyprus president in NYC

    A solution to the Cyprus problem must abide by the principles and acquis of the European Union, of which the Republic of Cyprus is a member-state, and not only by United Nations resolutions, main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou said in New York on Friday.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on the sidelines of the 63rd UN General Assembly, Papandreou also hailed the start of substantive negotiations aimed to resolve the island republic's protracted political problem.

    "In the European Union there is no need of other guarantors," Papandreou said in a clear reference to Turkey's insistence on a Cyprus solution being guaranteed by third countries.

    "The solution must be able to function effectively and to the benefit of Cypriots in the framework of the European family," Papandreou also said, committing to do everything in the framework of the SI in this direction.

    President Christofias, on his part, said he hoped the Turkish Cypriot side would demonstrate the same good will for a Cyprus solution.

    "I want to believe that the Turkish Cypriot side will demonstrate the same good will so as to advance, even more so when it is anxious for a solution as soon as possible," he said.

    The Cyprus president noted that the Greek Cypriot side had no objection to this, but noted, however, that there were certain parameters to the problem "such as governance and other important and crucial aspects on which we have not yet touched."

    The Cypriot president thanked Papandreou for "all his efforts and the SI's positions" on Cyprus.

    A fresh attempt to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem began this September when the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, began substantive negotiations with a view to reunify Cyprus.

    [02] FM addresses Greek-Americans

    The need for a collective approach when tackling foreign policy issues, and the valuable role played by the Greek diaspora around the world, was stressed in an address given by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis to Greek-Americans in Manhattan on Friday.

    "We are determined to deal with the problems and move forward, all together. In this difficult environment, Greece is going through a period of change and reform," the minister said.

    Bakoyannis said that Greece's foreign policy was exercised with "extroversion and national self-confidence", while Greece and the United States were linked by close, long-standing and strategic ties.

    "Both on a bilateral level and in the framework of international organisations, Greece and the U.S. work closely together to deal with all major international challenges. We are jointly fighting the battle against terrorism in all its forms. We are not just another ally. We believe that we are a valuable ally and partner," she stressed.

    Referring to the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bakoyannis urged Greece's northern neighbour to "finally actively demonstrate, with realistic proposals, its intention to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution on the basis of a composite name with a geographic determinant that will apply for all."

    She expressed conviction that Skopje would soon realise that solving the name issue would be to the country's own benefit, since it needed Greece's support in order to make progress in its bids to join NATO and the European Union.

    Regarding Greece's relations with Turkey, she said that Athens' support for Turkey's European perspective formed part of a strategic policy of helping all countries in the region come close to European institutions. She said the goal was for Turkey to gradually become a modern European democracy that adopted European rules of behaviour, something that would be to everyone's benefit, including its own.

    "But Turkey's European future is in its own hands. It must demonstrate that it has the political will to meet the criteria set by the member-states of the EU," she added.

    She repeated that solving the Cyprus issue was a central goal of Greek foreign policy, which sought the reunification of the island in a fair, viable, functional way that was based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, and stressed Athens's support for the efforts of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias in this direction.

    Lastly, Bakoyannis underlined the government's continued commitment to giving overseas Greeks the right to vote in national elections from abroad, noting that this was a long-standing demand and desire of expatriate Greeks throughout the world, while accusing main opposition PASOK and the other opposition parties of "delaying tactics" on this issue.

    "For the Greek government, giving a vote to expatriates remains an important commitment that we will continue work hard to bring about, with a deadline at the end of this year," she said, adding that two draft bills had already been tabled and a third would be following soon.

    [03] Athens mayor visits Sofia

    Visiting Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Friday met Mayor of Sofia Boyko Borisov with talks focusing on efforts to further develop relations and cooperation between the two capitals.

    During a joint press conference, Kaklamanis assured his Bulgarian counterpart of the City of Athens' support to Sofia "every time you need us" and referred to the two cities' cooperation on environmental issues and actions regarding the conservation of old monasteries and churches in the two cities.

    A joint initiative by Athens and Sofia for the inclusion of the two cities' religious-cultural heritage in a European programme could be a first step in this direction, Kaklamanis noted.

    On his part, Boyko said that Athens' experience in various sectors could be valuable for his city and thanked Kaklamanis for his support to Sofia's demand for an EU aid to a Sofia City plan regarding waste management.

    Kaklamanis is on a two-day official visit to Sofia, where he is also expected to meet Patriarch Maximos and government officials.


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