Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, speaking on Friday night from Ioannina, northwestern Greece, predicted that “the weekend will be intense from a diplomatic point of view, so that corridors be found and for humanitarian aid to be advanced to Lebanon which needs it immediately.”
“The Greek government was one of the first European governments which called on the involved sides for a ceasefire for time to be given to diplomacy. This weekend will be a weekend of intense diplomatic action. The position which Greece from the very first moment supported, will also support it in the special General Affairs Council which convenes in Brussels on Tuesday, for us to be able to achieve a ceasefire as soon as possible so that we will be able to open at least humanitarian corridors for the humanitarian aid to immediately reach Lebanon which it so much needs,” the Greek foreign minister said.
Bakoyannis underlined that “Greece will make every possible effort towards this direction, it will support all the initiatives which will be presented in the European Union.” She expressed the hope that there will also be similar initiatives by the UN Security Council, so that, as she said, “for time to be gained.”
Bakoyannis concluded by saying that “Lebanon has no more time. No one can wait any longer for peace.”
The foreign minister expressed her condolences to the family of a 19 year-old Israeli soldier, whose mother originates from Ioannina, who was killed a few days ago in Lebanon, serving his duty in the Israeli army.
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis also stressed that “Greece also seeks to have an important, to the degree of its possibilities, presence in the international scene.” She described the Greeks abroad as “a part of Hellenism with enormous potential.”
Referring to the Cyprus problem Bakoyannis noted:”The solution of the Cyprus issue remains the main target of our policy. The reunification of Cyprus, in a just way, viable and functional, which will vindicate the expectations of Hellenism all over the world, we believe that it would be to the benefit of all and naturally of stability, peace and prosperity in our region.”
The foreign minister also reiterated that a part of Greece’s strategic option for the strengthening of rapprochement of all the countries of the region with the European institutions, is also its support of Turkey’s European prospects.
“Our option is the continuous improvement of our relations on the basis of the rules of international law and the relations of good neighbourliness,” Bakoyannis said. She added that “within this framework we sought and achieved the broadening of confidence-building measures and the avoidance of a climate of tension in the Aegean. in this spirit we encourage the European prospects of the neighbour.”
The foreign minister stressed that “the position of Greece is, providing that Turkey manages to fulfil the European criteria and prerequisites and fully adjust to the acquis communautaire, the conclusion of its effort must be its full accession to the European Union.”
MORE GREEK AID
Greece on Saturday sent a fresh consignment of humanitarian aid to war-torn Lebanon, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
An air force C-130 cargo aircraft left for Cyprus at noon from Elefsina military airport carrying 13.5 tonnes of aid offered by the domestic armed forces and Red Cross in a mission coordinated by the foreign ministry’s Hellenic Aid division.
On the basis of a formal request by the Lebanese government to the European Union, the consignment includes bedding, tents and food.
The humanitarian aid will be sent to Lebanon from Larnaca in Cyprus aboard a Greek Navy aircraft carrier currently in Cyprus, the defence ministry reported on Friday.