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

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK leader Papandreou holds talks in Helsinki on Mideast

  • [01] PASOK leader Papandreou holds talks in Helsinki on Mideast

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader and President of Socialist International (SI) George Papandreou held talks in Helsinki on Monday, following an invitation by Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, whose country currently holds the EU rotating presidency.

    The purpose of Papandreou's visit was to take part in talks with politicians and foreign ministers from the Scandinavian countries, focusing on the Middle East, Iran, Turkey's course towards the European Union, the Cyprus issue and the future of Europe.

    On arrival in Helsinki, he met with the leadership of Finland's Socialist Party, and later with Tuomioja and Norwegian Foreign Minister Minister Jonas Gahr Store, who is co-president of SI's Committee for the Middle East. He also met with Foreign Minister of Iceland Valgerdur Sverrisdottir and Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks.

    After the meetings, Papandreou said:"I am here today, in Finland to meet with the President of the European Union's General Affairs Council, the foreign minister of Finland, but also with other foreign ministers of the region on issues which are urgent and critical, such as the issue of the Middle East, of Lebanon, but also on issues which have arisen during the course of the Finnish presidency, such as the issue of Turkey's course towards the European Union."

    "Regarding Lebanon, unfortunately we are daily witnessing Lebanon's catastrophe. And the international community is unable to date to take measures in order for there to be an immediate ceasefire. The resolution which is being discussed at the UN Security Council seems that it is not satisfactory and political will is needed so that there will really be a ceasefire, a truce, by all sides," Papandreou added.

    The PASOK leader went on to say:"I want to recall that here in Helsinki, we took the great decision for Turkey's candidacy but also Cyprus' (EU) accession, the course for the accession of Cyprus but also the settlement of the major issue of our country's continental shelf in relation to Turkey."

    "I believe that it is an opportunity for a new road map, a new Helsinki, which will again place the Cyprus issue in a course of solution in accordance with the European acquis communautaire and in accordance with the obligations Turkey has towards the European Union and of course, towards the EU member which is called the Republic of Cyprus," he concluded.

    On his way to Helsinki and during a stop-over at Munich airport, Papandreou held telephone talks with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and former Israeli defence minister Efraim Sneh, while on arrival at Helsinki airport he had telephone contacts with Syrian President Bashar al Assad and Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal.

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