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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-01-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Peace requires the strength to endure it

  • [01] PM: Peace requires the strength to endure it

    The world is changing at an unprecedented speed, bringing a plethora of new opportunities and challenges, but also threats, the most worrisome of which was, perhaps, the blatant abuse of political power, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said Thursday, delivering an address at Ankara's Bilkent University, one of the leading research universities in Turkey.

    Speaking during the second day of his groundbreaking official visit to the neighbouring country, Karamanlis said Greeks and Turks, as neighbours, faced with challenges.

    "In this new world, Greeks and Turks, as neighbours, face common challenges. Issues which geography and modern-day reality demand that we face jointly. This requires frankness, confidence and commitment," Karamanlis said, and cited the EU as an example, and particularly France's and Germany's course after World War II.

    Karamanlis also referred to Turkey's European prospect, reaffirming Greece's support, and stressing that "the European family is defined by our collective desire for democracy and respect, and full adoption of the fundamental principles and values, which are: human rights, such as freedom of speech and religion; minority rights; peaceful resolution of differences, denouncement of the use, or threat of use of violence; respect of the territorial integrity of states, and devotion to International Law and International Treaties".

    The Greek premier explained that the target was "to give Turkey the opportunity to prove its volition and preparedness to adopt and fully apply the European principles and values, the European way", because "we are convinced that a European Turkey will prove to be to the benefit of its own people, first of all, of the region, and of the entire continent".

    Greek-Turkish economic relations have improved, Karamanlis said, noting that the total volume of trade between the two countries was rising steadily, reaching 2.3 billion dollars in the first nine months of 2007 alone.

    Problems in the relations between the two countries, however, remain, he continued, "problems that we cannot underestimate" but "which are up to us to resolve".

    "In that direction, and wanting to believe that both countries manifest true volition to turn to the future, we have a powerful ally, which is the only means that the modern-day peaceful societies employ: International Law," Karamanlis said.

    On the Cyprus issue, Karamanlis stressed that "the time has come to tear down, in Nicosia, the last remaining wall of division in Europe".

    "Greece and Turkey have the duty to try, together with the people of Cyprus, to restore its (Cyprus') independence, sovereignty and unity. To reach a solution that is just, viable and functional, founded on the Resolutions of the UN Security Council and the acquis of the European Union, of which Cyprus is a member," the Greek premier stressed.

    "We have a difficult past behind us. A past known to all of us. History, however, cannot be rewritten. But that which can be written from here on are the pages of the future. And inspired leadership is needed to draw lessons from the past and forge a brighter future," he said.

    "I know very well that the road ahead of us is long and difficult. But the cost of not moving forward, and the lost benefit from not forging ahead, will be immense. And this, precisely, is the strongest incentive for keeping our eyes turned to the future," Karamanlis continued.

    "Greece and Turkey are at a strategic crossroad. We have much to gain from moving forward, together. But we have even more to lose by following the path of tension and enmity," he said.

    As for Greece, the prime minister said, "I can assure you that our commitment is to move forward".

    History, he concluded, "has taught us that everything depends on the choices. On our choices. Now is the time to turn the words into action".

    "Peace requires the strength to endure it," Karamanlis said, citing a verse by Greek Nobel laureate poet Odysseas Elytis from his celebrated "Axion Esti".

    "This is the peace that is worth fighting for," the Greek prime minister concluded.

    Caption: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) walks with his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis (R) during a welcoming ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, 23 January 2008. Karamanlis is in Turkey for a three-days official visit, the first of a Greek premier since 48 years. ANA-MPA/ EPA/STR


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