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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-08-28

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM briefs PASOK leader on Middle East tour
  • [02] Deputy FM on Australia visit this week

  • [01] FM briefs PASOK leader on Middle East tour

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday briefed main opposition (Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party leader George Papandreou on the results of her recent visit to the Middle East. "I had the opportunity of briefing Mr. Papandreou on my recent trip to the Middle East, on the decision of the foreign ministers and on prospects appearing on the problem of the Middle East," Bakoyannis said.

    "At the same time, we also discussed Greece's presidency at the Security Council that begins on September 1 and the specific Greek positions that we support in our effort for us to contribute as well to a permanent and stable peace in the Middle East," Bakoyannis said after the meeting.

    Replying to a question on whether Papandreou agrees with Greece's participation in the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, the foreign minister said "I think yes, but you should ask PASOK about this."

    Bakoyannis added that "I always believe that foreign policy issues are issues in which one does not try discover party rivalries but seeks the widest possible national consensus and this is also the steadfast position of the government and I believe that with Mr. Papandreou, always and in a longstanding way, we have discussed foreign policy issues and I do not think that we have different views, particularly on our focal position on the Middle East."

    PASOK's Political Council official responsible for foreign policy, security and defence issues, Christos Papoutsis, said in a statement that Papandreou had the opportunity during the meeting of expressing PASOK's position, as well as his concern over the situation in the Middle East, while reminding of his initiatives as president of the Socialist International and of PASOK as a member of the European Socialist Party and his conclusions from his visit to the Middle East, Syria and Iran, as well as the initiatives for promoting peace and ending the war and the creation of all terms and preconditions for the ceasefire and stability in the wider region.

    According to what Papoutsis said, Papandreou expressed PASOK's reservations as regards the clear instructions that must exist for the peacekeeping force since, as he said, the international community in its entirety recognises that vagueness still exists.

    Papoutsis said that PASOK is insisting in every case that what is necessary is an active Greek diplomacy, an active presence in the Middle East, a substantive effort and initiative by Greece at the European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers for clear instructions and directions to be had, stressing that Greece's role must be one of a peacemaker and of a regional power that has a role, positions, initiatives and the recognition of all the peoples of the region.

    Papoutsis also said that the period is crucial for the Middle East, stressing that "we are expecting many things in the coming days and weeks, while the period is crucial for relations between Iran and the international community since the limit for achieving an agreement on the nuclear programme of Iran is up to August 31."

    (ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou)

    [02] Deputy FM on Australia visit this week

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, who holds the expatriate Greeks portfolio, began a 10-day tour of Australia on Monday expected to concentrate on further advancing Greek-language education amongst the large ethnic Greek communities in the country. He is expected to meet with state ministers, ethnic Greek lawmakers, ecclesiastical leaders and academic leaders.

    Heading a ministry delegation, his tour of Australia will include a visit to the city of Melbourne.

    He is scheduled to meet the local archbishop, Melbourne's Lord Mayor Joe So and attend a dinner given in his honour by Greek-Australian MPs and senators at the Melbourne State Parliament.

    During the rest of his visit, Kassimis will visit Greek community schools and organisations, visit the National Centre of Greek Studies and Research and hold talks with representatives of the Greek-Australian community.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis)

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