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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM, Bryza on energy, FYROM

  • [01] FM, Bryza on energy, FYROM

    All-important energy issues in SE Europe as well as fluid political developments in the wake of last week's NATO summit in Bucharest, including the nagging FYROM "name issue", dominated talks here on Thursday between Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Mat Bryza.

    In brief comments to reporters after a meeting at the Greek foreign ministry, Bryza reiterated Washington's mantra of promoting diversified energy sources, particularly in natural gas supply, an indirect reference to Gazprom's dominance in the European natgas market.

    In later statements, Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos emphasised that Athens believes in employing different forms of energy as well as in the diversification of sources and channels.

    Other topics of up discussion included developments in the Balkans, Cyprus, Washington's proposed anti-missile plan for Europe, Afghanistan, Georgia and the Ukraine.

    FYROM 'name issue'

    The US official also mentioned that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) desire to join NATO was discussed in the meeting.

    Regarding FYROM, Bryza said there was a consensus in talks over whether or not the neighbouring country had fulfilled technical specifications for NATO admission, while pointedly adding that a compromise solution to the "name issue" must be found before the accession (of FYROM) occurs.

    Following the Bakoyannis-Bryza meeting, Koumoutsakos announced that Washington's permanent representative to NATO, Victoria Nuland, will brief the Greek FM by phone over her recent official trip to Skopje this past week.

    Asked to comment over Nuland's more-or-less optimistic statements regarding a solution to the 17-year-old "name issue" in a matter of "days or weeks", Bryza merely said that a resolution of the dispute will eventually be achieved, as long as both sides (Athens and Skopje) constructively remain at the negotiating table.

    Earlier, in addressing an Economist conference in a seaside Athens suburb, Bryza said Washington does not consider Kosovo's independence as a "punishment" of Serbia, while adding that the latter country's future lies within the European Union.

    Additionally, he repeated that America's intent is not to clash with Russia over energy matters.

    Finally, in reference to Cyprus, the US official cited what he called a "window of opportunity" following a decision by the Cyprus government and the Turkish Cypriot side to convene technical committees followed by further talks, while terming the recent opening of Ledra Street as a significant step towards progress on the Cyprus issue.

    Caption: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Mat Bryza speaks at an Economist conference in southeast Athens -- the 12th Roundtable with the Government of Greece -- on Thursday, April 10, 2008. ANA-MPA / ALEXANDROS BELTES.

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