Panos Beglitis, the main opposition PASOK party’s foreign policy and defence rapporteur, said in an interview with the ANA-MPA on Friday that foreign policy is the “sick man” of the Karamanlis administration’s tenure.
Beglitis blames the government for a turn to an “antiquated conception of Atlantism” and for abandoning European orientation in foreign policy.
On the question of a possible visit to Ankara by the prime minister, he believes that for such a visit “to be effective for the national interests of the country, good and careful preparation is required, as well as planning and it cannot take place for communication reasons.”
Referring to the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Beglitis said that “the solution of a composite name in the framework of a double name is not acceptable” and “it does not constitute an honourable and reasonable compromise.”
Beglitis went on to say that opposition on foreign policy issues cannot take place with cries, adding that it takes place on terms of national responsibility for the defence of the country’s interests, it is programmed, creative and consistent opposition.
“You will hear no member of PASOK accusing the prime minister and the government of lacking national reflexes, as was the favourite method of Mr. Karamanlis and the New Democracy party, when they were in the opposition. Our criticism has to do with the serious deficit in strategy and political planning, as well as with the handling of crucial issues, such as relations with Turkey, the issue of Cyprus, developments in the Balkans, the European Union. Foreign policy, as it is being exercised, constitutes the ‘sick man’ of the government tenure of ND. And this has repercussions on the positon and the interests of our country,” he said.
As regards the issue of Cyprus, Beglitis said that “we have three unquestionable facts on the issue of Cyprus. The accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union, the big percentage against the Annan plan among Cypriot Hellenism, that must be respected by all, and time, as a factor of consolidation of fait accomplis of occupation and partitioning. With regard to this third fact in particular, nobody has the right to ignore it or pretend that it does not exist. It is enough for one to see the changes that are being carried out in the occupied territory in northern Cyprus. From this aspect, those who are seeking their future reputation and their historical vindication in the events of April 2004, with the negative referendum, must explain the present negative reality of occupation and partitioning.”
Lastly, Beglitis said that “PASOK, in terms of national responsibility and without taking political cost into consideration, stated its position collectively on the issue of a solution to the issue of Cyprus. I must remind that important members of ND and the present foreign minister also had the same stance. We did not impose any position, nor did we predict ‘woes’. The only thing is that the issue of Cyprus is not closing and sooner or later we will all be called on to state our positions on developments and history. Provided that we have a memory. On the question, lastly, of UN arbitration in New York and because I happened to participate in the negotiations, I wish to declare with responsibility that its acceptanc took place exclusively by the political leadership of Cyprus and the political forces that participated in the National Council, without any intervention or pressure on the part of Greece. This is the truth and the reality.”