Situation in Iran, Cyprus and Greeco-Turkish Relations top the agenda of the talks of the US Secretary of State
Washington, D.C.- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be visiting Ankara, Athens and Sofia, where she will take part in the NATO foreign ministers meeting, from April 24-28, the State Department announced on Thursday. According to US officials, Rice is to visit Ankara then Athens on the 26th. The US Secretary of State is scheduled to meet on the 27th with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
However, the details of her visit to Athens have not been finalised, officials said,
Talks with Greek officials are expected to cover Iran’s nuclear programme (which will also be discussed on April 28, by the UN Security Council of which Greece is currently a non-permanent member), the possible next steps regarding the Cyprus issue, the future of Kosovo and the situation in the Balkans in general, Turkey’s EU accession course and the positions of Greece and Cyprus in the matter, Greece’s role in the rapprochement effort with Muslim countries, and Greece’s participation in the transfer of energy sources to the West.
The actual statement read out by State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack, reads as follows:
“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria April 24th through the 28th, 2006. In addition to discussions with leaders of the three countries, she will take part in an informal meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization foreign ministers to discuss preparations for the NATO Summit in Riga, Latvia this coming November. She will also take part in a trans-Atlantic dinner involving the foreign ministers of all NATO and EU countries.
“In Turkey and Greece, she will review our shared interests with these strategic partners, including advancing democracy and peace in the broader Middle East and beyond, combating terrorism, Cyprus and Turkey’s EU accession, and Eurasian energy security. In Bulgaria, Secretary Rice is expected to sign a defense cooperation agreement and discuss bilateral and regional issues.”
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) Political Bureau member Panos Trigazis, responsible for the party’s foreign policy, commenting on Thursday on the upcoming visit to Athens by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, termed her as “a hawk”.
According to a Synaspismos press release, Trigazis said: “Condoleezza is a hawk. She promotes war plans. To these plans, in which even the use of nuclear weapons in Iran is included, we say NO, and this is why we will demonstrate during her visit to our country.”
He added: “The question is: what is the Greek government saying? Will it say no also as (non-permanent) member of the UN Security Council to the new military adventures in our region, in harmony with the sentiments of the Greek people?”
“(President George W.) Bush’s administration is relying on a new ‘alliance of the willing’ for Iran. It was not taught anything from the fiasco of the war in Iraq which constituted a major political and moral defeat. We hope that in the event of a new war in Iran, this time the winning over of the ‘willing’ to be much more difficult, particularly from Europe, which must, at last, take an active pro-peace stance,” Trigazis said.