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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou meets Turkish FM Davutoglu
  • [02] Samaras confers with Avramopoulos
  • [03] fYRoM FM comments from Athens on EU prospects, 'name dispute'

  • [01] Papandreou meets Turkish FM Davutoglu

    (ANA-MPA) -- Prime Minister George Papandreou met with visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 17th OSCE ministerial council in Athens, with both side citing closer cooperation in the bilateral, regional and international level as well as within the framework of the EU.

    Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas also attended the meeting, which was reportedly held in an excellent atmosphere, while he later stated that the goal is to continue the cooperation established in the period of 1999-2004.

    Droutsas added that Papandreou's response to a high-profile letter, sent immediately after his Oct. 4 election victory, by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will be delivered shortly.

    "We have agreed on cooperation by the two sides for the sake of mutual benefit as well as for the benefit of the entire SE Europe (region). This spirit of cooperation sends out a message that Greece and Turkey can work together. It's worth the effort. It is a message of peace," Droutsas stressed.

    On the likelihood of a meeting between the two prime ministers, Droutsas said "it will be held when we'll be well-prepared and have something tangible to present."

    The potential for the adoption of practical measures to boost cooperation of the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey in 2010 was also considered in Wednesday's meeting.

    According to the Greek alternate FM, the Turkish side spoke positively of the Papandreou's target for the EU integration of the western Balkans in 2014, while the Turkish FM confirmed Erdogan's intent for closer bilateral cooperation.

    Regarding Greek-Turkish cooperation within the framework of the Union, the Greek side expressed support to Turkey's European course, adding that "we underlined that the obligations towards member-states should be implemented; the EU course should proceed and this will help in Greek-Turkish rapprochement."

    Referring to the discussion made on the Cyprus issue, Droutsas said the "Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots should be able to negotiate freely and contribute in the most effective way in the continuation of the process."

    Referring to the practical support of Turkey's EU accession course, Droutsas said Greece is willing to offer technical support as it has done in the past with a joint working group.

    The two sides also referred to the Balkans and PM Papandreou, who also holds the foreign ministry portfolio, had the opportunity to elaborate further on the "2014 Agenda". They also referred to cooperation within the framework of the global climate change issue as well as to regional cooperation in the Middle East. The Union for the Mediterranean was also mentioned as a new area for joint action.

    On a bilateral level, Droutsas underlined the need to promote the delineation of the continental shelf in the Aegean through exploratory contacts and expressed an expectation that the issue can be settled quickly through the International Court in The Hague, if necessary.

    The Turkish side expressed its intent to develop a multiple cooperation model with Greece in sectors such as transport, health, economic ties and environmental protection. "This is being considered, we are still in the beginning of this discussion," Droutsas pointed out.

    [02] Samaras confers with Avramopoulos

    The newly elected president of main opposition New Democracy (ND) Antonis Samaras on Wednesday met with former minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, who also vied for the party's leadership last month before dropping out and eventually lending his support to Samaras.

    After the meeting, Avramopoulos said they discussed the party's reconstitution and restructuring, adding that a series of meetings will follow in the future.

    "A common aim unites us and with solidarity we will stand on the front line of a collective effort to put forth a robust (political) opposition," Avramopoulos said.

    Asked whether he will assume a particular role in the party, Avramopoulos said ND's president assigns roles and missions.

    [03] fYRoM FM comments from Athens on EU prospects, 'name dispute'

    (ANA-MPA) -- The visiting foreign minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), Antonio Milososki, on Wednesday reiterated his more-or-less recent call for upgraded relations between Greece and his country, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the OSCE's 17th ministerial conference in Athens.

    Referring to provisions contained in a September 1995 Interim Agreement between the two neighbouring countries, Milososki said the upgrading of respective liaison offices in the other country's capital to embassy status would provide momentum towards bilateral ties and aid the significant Greek business community operating in fYRoM, in addition to better facilitating their activities.

    Additionally, he said the two neighbouring states should also consider the signing of an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, a long-standing request by Greek businesses and investors in the country.

    Regarding the still pending fYRoM "name issue", the thorny and paramount obstacle to a full normalisation of bilateral ties with Greece as well as the one-time Yugoslav republic's Euro-Atlantic course, Milososki agreed with the official Greek position that the UN-mediated process must not be disrupted.

    "The process is in the United Nations. It isn't our intention to undermine the process," he said, adding that the new Greek government is "new to the Greeks, but whether it brings something new for us will depend on the prospect of it adopting a new position in December".

    He said there was still a short time left to "consider the benefits and losses" of a possible blocking of decisions, a direct reference to Athens' "red line" vis-à-vis fYRoM's coveted start to EU accession talks, given the Greek side's standing and repeatedly stated position over a mutually acceptable "name issue" solution in the form of a composite name with geographic qualifier for all international uses.

    Moreover, he expressed conviction that the European Council would follow the EU Commission's recommendation to begin accession talks with the land-locked country to Greece's immediate north, "because the commencement of (accession) negotiations will help our country be more stable and develop, as 'Macedonia' is always a good neighbor and does not cause security problems in the region," he added, using the eyebrow-raising short version of his country's constitutional name -- which Greece vociferously rejects, given that it is the exact same name of Greece's largest province, Macedonia, in northern Greece.

    Milososki opined that the decision taken at the European Council is "a matter of the Commission's credibility and a matter of the credibility of the European integration process".

    In conclusion, he said his country expects all the EU members to follow the Commission's recommendation, as fYRoM "has fulfilled the political criteria for the commencement of accession negotiations".

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