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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-04

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM has phone contacts on Gaza crisis
  • [02] FM calls for halt of ground offensive

  • [01] FM has phone contacts on Gaza crisis

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis had a series of telephone discussions on Sunday on the latest developments in Gaza and the prospects for achievement of an immediate truce, provision of humanitarian aid and continuation of the negotiations process on the Palestinian issue.

    According to a foreign ministry announcement, Bakoyannis spoke consecutively on Sunday with Palestinian Authority presdient Mahmud Abbas and foreign ministers Ahmed Aboul Gheit of Egypt, Miguel Angel Moratinos of Spain, and Bernarch Kouchner of France.

    She further has a telephone conversation scheduled for Sunday evening with British foreign secretary David Miliband.

    [02] FM calls for halt of ground offensive

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis on Sunday called for the immediate halt of the Israeli ground offensive in Gaza and the assumption of immediate action by the UN Security Council for achievement of a truce and implementation of the Greek three-point position unanimously adopted by the EU in Paris.

    A statement by Bakoyannis, released by the foreign ministry, said that "the ground operations are exacerbating the tragic humanitarian crisis" and "exacerbating the dangerous instability in the wider region, intensifying unacceptable and extreme positions".

    The operations were also seriously damaging the prospects of the peace process, which are the only way for a solution, Bakoyannis said, stressing that the International Community cannot remain an "inactive observer and/or a commentator of the events".

    The UN Security Council has an instrumental role, she said, adding that no more time must be lost.

    "An end must be put to the bloodshed. Violence is not a solution," Bakoyannis stressed, adding that "the ground operations must be halted immediately, and a truce achieved".

    Bakoyannis said that the three-point policy (truce, humanitarian aid, peacekeeping process) initially put forward by Greece and adopted by the EU Council of foreign ministers on December 30 in Paris must be applied.

    There should also be serious consideration of deploying an International presence -- such as International Observers, for example -- in the region, Bakoyannis concluded.

    In an interview appearing in a Sunday newspaper, Bakoyannis stressed that Greece would make every effort to put an end to the cycle of violence. "This is the first priority," the foreign miniser stressed in an interview appearing in the newspaper Realnews, adding that, in the midst of such a severe crisis "we have the pressing obligation of providing humanitarian assistance".

    Bakoyannis stressed that Greece is always 'present' in the region, and in the present difficult conjuncture, in the midst of the global financial crisis and threatened flare-up in the Middle East, "Greece, as an agent of stability and development in the wider region, but also from its post of OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) president for 2009, will do everything possible for the protection of peace in the world".


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