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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-08-07

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM outlines Athens' position over plan to defuse Lebanon crisis

  • [01] FM outlines Athens' position over plan to defuse Lebanon crisis

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday appeared ready to depart for New York to attend a UN Security Council emergency meeting on the crisis in Lebanon, with local reports stating that she will leave in the "next few hours".

    Speaking in Athens after a meeting with Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal, held at his request, the Greek foreign minister noted that the UN Security Council has to put an end to an unjustifiable 23-day silence over the "vicious circle of violence that has caused death and suffering in Lebanon and Israel and a continuously deteriorating humanitarian crisis as well as hard to calculate disaster to the people of Lebanon."

    "The UN Security Council must take decisions to finally launch a meaningful and effective international community intervention for the immediate cessation of violence, and to achieve a lasting and stable peace in the sorely tried Middle East region," Bakoyannis added, while she expressed a hope that the UN Security Council meeting will take place as soon as possible.

    Bakoyannis stated that the basis for the UN Security Council consultations is the plan jointly drawn up by France and the United States, stressing that Athens was among the first countries to insist from the beginning on an immediate ceasefire and that it has actively supported an immediate UN Security Council meeting to manage the crisis.

    Referring to EU member-state Greece and its role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, she stated that Athens is displaying a moderate and constructive attitude in order to achieve a synthesis of viewpoints aimed at reaching decisions that will enjoy the widest possible acceptance and support by the international community.

    Within this framework, Bakoyannis said she is in constant contact with her counterparts, having already spoken with French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and EU High Representative Javier Solana as well as her counterparts from Lebanon and Jordan.

    The expected UN Security Council decision should, according to the Greek foreign minister, become the first step in a greater diplomatic effort to restore and consolidate a viable peace not only in Lebanon but in the wider Middle East region, an emphasis on the Palestinian issue.

    Bakoyannis concluded that the following days will be crucial for this effort, while expressing support to the Lebanese government and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. She stressed that a stable and strong government in Lebanon is a precondition for peace and stability in the region.

    Responding to the question if she will visit the Middle East, Bakoyannis stated that it will depend on the reason and the results that could be achieved through such a trip, adding that the EU acts collectively in the region.

    Syrian minister

    The Syrian information minister thanked Bakoyannis for Greece's stance, adding that their meeting was a chance to be mutually briefed. He also invited her to visit Syria.

    Greece plays an important role and can play an even more important role in the Middle East because it is highly regarded and respected in the region and for this reason it can play a regional and international role, Bilal said.

    He added that Syria is on Lebanon's side for necessary humanitarian aid, whereas it now hosts a total of 250,000 Lebanese refugees, 500,000 Iraqis and 450,000 Palestinians on its territory, stressing that the crisis in the region has cost Damascus dearly.

    Finally, the Syrian minister underlined that a permanent solution will come with a settlement of the dispute between the Israelis and the Arabs, one that mandates Israel's withdrawal back to its pre-1967 borders and the return of Lebanon's territories, the Golan Heights and Palestinian territories.

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