Greek Foreign Minister concludes a successful New York meeting heading for Washington
New York.- The analysis of the latest international developments, the selection of Annanʼs successor in view of the imminent change of hands, as well as the Cyprus issue and the situation in the Balkans, are included in the agenda of the meeting scheduled for Monday between Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and the UN Secretary-General. The Greek FM will then fly to Washington to meet Condoleezza Rice and other high level government officials.
Washington is looking forward to a new meeting between the US Secretary of State and the Greek Foreign Minister, following the talks the two ladies had in New York in the context of an official dinner with their Canadian and Australian counterparts, commented Deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey.
Prior to her departure for the US capital, Bakoyannis will attend a dinner hosted in her honour by the Greek American Chamber of Commerce.
During her stay in Washington, she will address an event staged by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, while she will inaugurate the new building of the Greek embassy. On 27 September she will hold talks with US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and then deliver a speech at Georgetown University. In the evening of the same day, she will meet US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley at the White House. In following, she will inaugurate the Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis chair in Hellenic Studies at Georgetown University.
Speaking at the 61st United Nations General Assembly, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis presented the Greek positions on a series of issues, such as the Middle East and countering terrorism. She placed great emphasis on the Cypriot issue, underlining the Greek Governmentʼs decisiveness for finding a just and viable solution, based on the resolutions of the Security Council and the European Union, while stressing Athensʼ efforts for good neighbourliness with Ankara.
“We are committed to doing everything possible to achieve a just and viable solution, on the basis of the pertinent Security Council Resolutions and the EU principles and values. We strive for a bizonal, bicommunal federation that will bring peace and prosperity on the island. Our goal remains an agreed solution between the two communities, without arbitration and tight timetables, which will be approved subsequently by referenda. To these efforts we are prepared to lend our wholehearted support,” said Bakoyannis.
Referring to Greek-Turkish relations, the Greek FM stressed that Greeceʼs foreign and security policy is based on good neighbourliness, stressing our countryʼs continuing efforts for the further improvement in relations with the neighbouring country.
At the same time, she supported Turkeyʼs European future, which is a bright promise for a future with greater cooperation and interaction between all of the regionʼs countries, and will heal the wounds of the past century.
Dora Bakoyannis also presented the Greek positions on international issues.
“The 21st century began with huge challenges: poverty, wars, humanitarian crises, waves of refugees, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons, human trafficking, drugs, intercommunal violence, environmental downgrading, natural disasters. What is necessary for us to confront these woes is for us to handle the deeply-rooted causes that have been developing for centuries. In order to achieve this, we must join our forces to mobilise the combined strength of our ideas, our resources and, above all, the humanity that we all share,” she said.
“Kosovo is one issue that still needs attention. The status talks are underway and we hope that they will produce a viable settlement that will strengthen the security and stability of the entire region. Right now this appears difficult. To overcome the impasse will require patient and careful diplomacy. Our goal in reaching a viable, long term solution should not be compromised by setting an artificial deadline,” she said referring to Kosovo.
“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the root of most problems in the region and it is obvious that it should be at the top of the list of our priorities if peace and stability are to return to the area. The Road Map offers the strategic plan for a solution based on the principle of land for peace, especially since basic elements of it are well known and generally accepted by the international community. The Road Map is in essence a performance-driven guide to a settlement based on all relevant Security Council Resolutions, including 242 and 338, the conclusions of the Madrid Conference and the Arab Summit in Beirut, and we must all make every effort to see that it is implemented,” she commented on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“On Lebanon, strict implementation of Resolution 1701 provides the blueprint for resolving the basic problems that led to the recent crisis. We understand the difficulties before us, but we must push ahead resolutely because determination and tenacity are essential to tackling long-standing issues in volatile regions,” she reflected on Lebanon.
After the traditional annual ministerial meeting, on the occasion of the UN General Assembly in New York, EU and US foreign ministers voiced their satisfaction over the exceptional transatlantic relations, even though a lot of work is needed to convince their countriesʼ public opinion, as they stated.