United Nations.- The Greek people have managed to restore the country’s credibility, government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Saturday, addressing the new session of the United Nations General Assembly that opened in New York.
“Greece has already achieved the highest primary infrastructural surplus in the eurozone,” Venizelos said, “or 5% of the GDP. It also achieved the historically highest rate of fiscal adjustment at a time of peace – or 19% of the GDP – for the years 2009 to 2013.”
This was achieved in the climate of a six-year recession, he said, adding that “we have applied all necessary infrastructural reforms in public administration, education and the labour market, while the privatisation process is already paying off.”
Venizelos covered several issues, reiterating Greece’s position, and said that Greece is a stable supporter of European prospects in the western Balkans, observing that “the path to European integration means that (countries of the area) must leave behind them their old, divisive mentalities and move forward towards a time of close cooperation, on the basis of common values and principles.”
EXCERPTS FROM HIS SPEECH
“Greece is very concerned with the ongoing crisis and bloodshed in Syria; a crisis that jeopardizes stability in a fragile region.
Greece and the EU have unequivocally condemned the use of chemical weapons, and we strongly support the U.S.-Russian initiative for the collection and destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal.
We welcome the diplomatic breakthrough achieved by the Security Council on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.
And it is our fervent hope that this would be a crucial turning point in the Syrian crisis, providing vital momentum towards a Geneva II-type process that can take us to a viable and inclusive political resolution of the Syrian crisis.
Greece has always been a firm supporter of a European future for the Balkan region. The process of European integration means leaving behind old, divisive mentalities and moving towards an era of close cooperation, on the basis of shared values and principles.
Demonstrating political courage, Belgrade and Pristina concluded a historic Agreement on 19 April 2013, which is a major development towards consolidating peace and stability in the Western Balkans and advancing both sides’ European integration.
We seek to develop our relations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia based on the UN Charter principles and in the framework of good-neighbourly relations. Greece is committed to the ongoing UN-led negotiation process and to finding a solution on the name issue. So we continue our efforts to reach a mutually acceptable name for all uses -erga omnes- that will leave no grey areas and which will allow for a clear distinction between our neighbouring country and the region of Macedonia in Northern Greece. The solution of the name issue will enable both Greece and its neighbor to develop a multifaceted and productive cooperation at the bilateral and regional level. It will also contribute to the stability and prosperity of Southeastern Europe and boost this country’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
Thirty-nine years after the 1974 Turkish military invasion of the island, the Cyprus problem, remains, first and foremost, an issue of illegal military occupation of well over a third of the territory of a UN and EU member state. A comprehensive and agreed settlement of this major international problem is a top priority for the foreign policy of Greece. In this context, Greece greatly values the UN Secretary General’s Mission of Good Offices and, in particular, his ongoing efforts to effectively relaunch the intercommunal negotiating process. We also fully support President Anastasiadis’ renewed constructive package proposal.
We hope that Ankara, at long last, will decide to pursue a new policy of normalization of its relations with the Republic of Cyprus. Such a Turkish policy would decisively facilitate the relaunching of intercommunal negotiations. A just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue — a solution within the framework of the relevant Security Council resolutions and in line with the acquis communautaire; a solution approved by the Cypriot people through a referendum.
The new developments in the energy sector — regarding the exploitation of hydrocarbons — can function as a factor for development, peace and stability throughout the region.
Relations with our neighbour Turkey are set on a positive course. An institutionalized cooperation at the highest government level, as well as increasing tourism and economic cooperation can create further potential for the future.
Nevertheless, the determining factors for a substantially promising perspective for our relationship with our Eastern Neighbour are:
-full respect of international law and international legality,
-and in this framework a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue.”