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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-06-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM at OSCE: Dialogue is the most effective tool
  • [02] OSCE meeting underway on Corfu on European security

  • [01] PM at OSCE: Dialogue is the most effective tool

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis stressed that dialogue is the most effective and substantial tool for restoring confidence among states, in his opening address to an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers' meeting on the island of Corfu on Sunday, chaired by Greece, and urged the OSCE members to "turn the crisis into an opportunity".

    The vision of a united European continent has not become a reality yet for all of Europe, he noted. "We are on Odysseus' Corfu, but we still need a few more miles to reach Ithaca," Karamanlis said, stressing that "the OSCE ministers are here to renew their commitment for a new beginning, for a united, free and creative Europe".

    Karamanlis spoke of complex and turbulent times, due to the global financial crisis, which he said deteriorated security and required deeper collaborations.

    On behalf of the Greek chairmanship of the OSCE, Karamanlis noted that in the 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world has faced numerous challenges, "which indicates to us the volume of the work that has yet to be done", while he also underlined the pressing problems of climate change and security, "which have spread anxiety throughout the world".

    Karamanlis noted that the concept of 'crisis', in Chinese ideograms, is depicted with two elements denoting 'danger' and 'opportunity', stressing that the present crisis could also comprise an "opportunity for change".

    The Greek premier underlined that regaining confidence was connected with the development of dialogue, "which is the most appropriate tool for the resolution of problems", and made the wish that "fair winds will guide our sails, so that we may reach our Ithaca".

    In statements later on Greek state NET television channel, Karamanlis said that the 56-member OSCE was the most appropriate forum for a sincere appraisal of to what degree the goals that have been set for a united, free and peaceful Europe have been attained.

    On the significance of the OSCE foreign ministers' meeting on Corfu, Karamanlis noted that it was a big success of Greece's foreign policy that all the other 55 OSCE member countries responded to Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis' (the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE for 2009) invitation "and are here today to discuss openly, in a free and sincere dialogue, all the problems concerning Europe, and chiefly the security matters".

    Karamanlis also delivered a greeting to the NATO-Russia ministerial meeting that took place on Corfu on Saturday afternoon.

    Meeting with Berlusconi, NATO chief

    Karamanlis also had a 35-minute meeting with Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on the sidelines of the NATO-Russia ministerial meeting that was hosted by Greece on Saturday afternoon on the Ionian island of Corfu, during which the Italian premier invited his Greek counterpart to visit Rome.

    The two premiers discussed issues on the conference's agenda, as well as the problem of illegal migration and ways of accelerating implementation of the EU summit decisions, as well as the establishment of an EU coastguard.

    They further discussed Greek-Italian cooperation in the energy sector, with the focus on the Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline and the South Stream natgas pipeline.

    Karamanlis also met with outgoing NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, accompanied by foreign minister Bakoyannis.

    Caption: Prime minister Costas Karamanlis (R) with NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the NATO-Russia foreign ministers' meeting on Corfu. (ANA-MPA/S. Pantzartzi).

    [02] OSCE meeting underway on Corfu on European security

    An Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) informal meeting of foreign ministers is taking place Sunday on the Ionian island of Corfu, presided by Greece's foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, whose country holds the OSCE Chairmanship for 2009. The OSCE conference comes on the heels of a NATO-Russia ministerial meeting on Saturday night, during which the two sides agreed to resume formal cooperation on a broad range of security issues in their first high-level meeting since the crisis in Georgia.

    Addressing the opening session Sunday morning, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) Bakoyannis told her 55 OSCE colleagues that ethnic tension and unresolved differences burden the climate and create conditions that recycle the tensions and increase distrust.

    "It is necessary, therefore, to renew the democratic procedures and to serve the common target, which is dialogue on European security," Bakoyannis stressed, adding that the Greek chairmanship committed itself to make every effort for the reopening of that process, which aims at achieving a collective commitment on the security issues over a 10-year horizon.

    Noting that it would take time to bridge the differences, Bakoyannis recalled that it had taken 2,500 meetings and 660 proposals to reach the Helsinki accord, adding that "in order, therefore, to rid ourselves of the chronic discriminations and clash rationales 35 years after Helsinki, systematic effort is required".

    "Our Odyssey has just begun," Bakoyannis concluded.

    Sideline meetings

    Bakoyannis had a number of bilateral sideline meetings on Saturday with her OSCE counterparts, including German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, British foreign secretary David Miliband, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and US deputy secretary of state James Steinberg, as well as with outgoing NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

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