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Ομιλία υπουργού Εξωτερικών Δημήτρη Δρούτσα στους προϊσταμένους των Γραφείων Τύπου Εξωτερικού

Ο Υπουργός Εξωτερικών Δημήτρης Δρούτσας ήταν εκ των ομιλητών στην ετήσια συνάντηση των Προϊσταμένων των Γραφείων Τύπου & Επικοινωνίας Εξωτερικού, που πραγματοποιήθηκε στη Γενική Γραμματεία Επικοινωνίας – Γενική Γραμματεία Ενημέρωσης  στις 17 Ιανουαρίου 2011.
Ακολουθούν τα βασικά σημεία και το πλήρες κείμενο της ομιλίας του κ. Δρούτσα.
Βασικά σημεία:

  • Η κυβέρνησή μας από την πρώτη στιγμή που ανέλαβε, έδωσε τον τόνο της εξωτερικής πολιτικής που θα ασκήσει: έδειξε ότι θέλει και δεν φοβάται τις μεγάλες αλλαγές που είναι απαραίτητες και σε αυτόν τον τομέα. Τέλος λοιπόν στην αδράνεια που μόνο πιο απομονωμένους μας άφησε, τέλος στο συντηρητισμό χάριν δήθεν της διαφύλαξης των κεκτημένων, τέλος στις γνωστές φοβίες στα σύνδρομα του παρελθόντος που περιέβαλαν την εξωτερική πολιτική και την κρατούσαν εγκλωβισμένη. Ο κόσμος πήγε μπροστά κι εμείς κινδυνεύαμε να μείνουμε πίσω. Και όταν μας χτύπησε η οικονομική κρίση, φάνηκαν τα αδιέξοδα μίας εξωτερικής πολιτικής που δεν είχε εξασφαλίσει στη χώρα μας τουλάχιστον ένα απόθεμα αξιοπιστίας.
  • Σε ένα χρόνο, τολμώ να το πω, ήδη πετύχαμε πολλά. Κυρίως ανατρέψαμε ισορροπίες που είχαν διαμορφωθεί σε βάρος μας και, το σπουδαιότερο, δώσαμε πάλι φωνή και ρόλο στην Ελλάδα, ιδιαίτερα στον άμεσο περίγυρό της : στα Βαλκάνια, στον Εύξεινο Πόντο και τον Καύκασο, και στην Ανατολική Μεσόγειο, η Ελλάδα είναι πάλι παρούσα.
  • Στα Βαλκάνια, η πρωτοβουλία μας, η γνωστή πλέον σε όλους πρωτοβουλία μας για μία «Ατζέντα 2014», έχει δώσει νέα ώθηση στην ενταξιακή προοπτική των Δυτικών Βαλκανίων. Κυρίως, έχει ανοίξει τη συζήτηση για την προοπτική ολοκλήρωσης αυτής της διαδικασίας με τον προγραμματισμό της Συνόδου Κορυφής ΕΕ-Δυτικών Βαλκανίων, που θα πραγματοποιήσουμε κατά την επόμενη προεδρία μας στην ΕΕ το 2014.
  • Μιας και μιλάμε για τα Βαλκάνια, το Σκοπιανό, εδώ η θέση της Ελλάδας είναι ξεκάθαρη και γνωστή σε όλους από την αρχή. Θέλουμε να βοηθήσουμε τη γειτονική μας χώρα, θέλουμε να δούμε την ένταξή του και στην ΕΕ, και για αυτό το σκοπό εργαζόμαστε, και για άλλη μία φορά απευθύνουμε την έκκληση-πρόσκληση προς την πολιτική ηγεσία των Σκοπίων να εργαστεί μαζί μας ακριβώς σε αυτήν την κατεύθυνση και να έρθει και εκείνη με εποικοδομητικό τρόπο στο τραπέζι των διαπραγματεύσεων υπό την αιγίδα του ΟΗΕ.
  • Στον Οργανισμό Οικονομικής Συνεργασίας του Ευξείνου Πόντου, ασκήσαμε την περασμένη χρονιά, μία εξαιρετικά επιτυχημένη προεδρία που διάνοιξε νέες αναπτυξιακές προοπτικές, και τις συνέδεσε για πρώτη φορά μάλιστα με το περιβάλλον, με την πράσινη ανάπτυξη.
  • Στην Ανατολική Μεσόγειο, χώρο ζωτικού μας συμφέροντος, έχουμε ανοίξει, αν θέλετε, το παιχνίδι. Οι διευρυμένες σχέσεις μας με το Ισραήλ, αλλά και η ανανέωση των σχέσεών μας με τον αραβικό κόσμο, για να το τονίσω αυτό, παραδοσιακών σχέσεων αλληλοσεβασμού και αμοιβαίας εμπιστοσύνης με βαθιές ρίζες. Όλα αυτά έχουν δημιουργήσει μία νέα δυναμική και σε αυτήν την περιοχή και έχουν δώσει στην Ελλάδα ένα αυξημένο ρόλο, τον οποίο αναγνωρίζουν όλοι.
  • Κυπριακό – και εδώ οι θέσεις μας καθαρές: λύση βάσει των αποφάσεων του Συμβουλίου Ασφαλείας του ΟΗΕ με πλήρη σεβασμό στο ευρωπαϊκό κεκτημένο. Μην ξεχνάμε, η Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία είναι πλήρες κράτος-μέλος της ΕΕ και αυτό μία μεγάλη επιτυχία και της ελληνικής εξωτερικής πολιτικής στο παρελθόν.
  • Η Ελλάδα, ένας από τους πιο συνεπείς υποστηρικτές της ένταξης της Τουρκίας στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, δε θα ανεχθεί μία εικονική ενταξιακή διαδικασία, στην οποία η Τουρκία θα παίρνει σιγά-σιγά από την ΕΕ ό,τι θέλει, χωρίς όμως την εκπλήρωση των υποχρεώσεών της απέναντι στην ΕΕ και απέναντι σε κάθε κράτος-μέλος της ΕΕ. Ειδικά ως προς αυτό, προτείναμε και συζητούμε με τους εταίρους μας μία ιδέα, μία νέα ελληνική πρόταση, την ιδέα σύγκλησης μίας Συνόδου, ενδεχομένως ακόμα και σε επίπεδο κορυφής, γιατί όχι, που θα ανανεώσει την αμοιβαία δέσμευση για πλήρη συμμόρφωση της Τουρκίας με το κοινοτικό κεκτημένο, έναντι της πλήρους ένταξης.
  • Η ιδέα, η πρόταση είναι για μία σύνοδο για την Τουρκία, το θέμα της Τουρκίας και των σχέσεων της Τουρκίας με την ΕΕ, για το θέμα της ενταξιακής ευρωπαϊκής πορείας της Τουρκίας και όχι για να δώσουμε στην Τουρκία, μέσω αυτής της Συνόδου, μία αναβαθμισμένη, αν θέλετε, θεσμική ιδιότητα στην Τουρκία, όπως κάποιοι κακοβούλως θέλουν να παρουσιάσουν.
  • Όταν η Ελλάδα γίνεται πρωτοσέλιδο σε μεγάλα ΜΜΕ δεν είναι δυνατόν να απουσιάζει η ελληνική φωνή. Εγώ είμαι από αυτούς που πιστεύουν ότι ακόμη και η ατυχέστερη συγκυρία μπορεί να μετατραπεί ακόμα και σε ευκαιρία, αν τη χειριστούμε σωστά. Μην κλεινόμαστε στο καβούκι μας, λοιπόν. Εμείς από την Αθήνα θα σας υποστηρίξουμε, τουλάχιστον θα το προσπαθήσουμε αυτό με τον καλύτερο δυνατό τρόπο.
  • Πρέπει να το πάρουμε απόφαση όλοι μας ότι ερχόμαστε από μία χώρα συγκριτικά, ίσως, μικρή, όμως σημαντική, που δικαιολογημένα καταλαμβάνει πολύ περισσότερο χώρο στα διεθνή ΜΜΕ από ό,τι αναλογεί στο μέγεθός της. Για καλό, όπως π.χ. με τους πρόσφατους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες στην Αθήνα, ή δυστυχώς και για κακό, όπως σήμερα με την κρίση. Η φωνή σας, λοιπόν, έχει δύναμη και ο κόσμος περιμένει να την ακούσει.
    Διαβάστε το πλήρες κείμενο της ομιλίας
    (Πηγή: Forum Διεθνούς Επικοινωνιακής Πολιτικής icp-forum.gr)

Holocaust Remembrance Day

» (GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Liberation of Auschwitz Anniversary

“Auschwitz took the lives of many; Greek Jews were dispro­portio­na­tely numerous among them. Greeks of other faiths also paid a heavy price, often in defence of their Jewish brethren.

Many have been declared Righteous among the Nations and their names are engraved at the Holocaust Memorial of Yad Vashem,” Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said in a statement, issued on January 27, on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp.
This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration which launched a fertile rethinking of the Holocaust in Europe and Greece is proud to be among the original signatories of this epochal document, said Droutsas.

» “Greeks in Auschwitz-Birkenau” 

At a press conference at Greece’s Press and Communication Office in New York, on January 26, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic and Historical Archives, Fotini Tomai presented a series of evidence, documents and testimonies that reveal and highlight the extent of human tragedy as recorded in the book “Greeks in Auschwitz-Birkenau.”
This publication of the Foreign Ministry (in Greek and English) will be presented today at a special event at the Greek Consulate General in New York. 
See also: UN, International Holocaust Remembrance Day;
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: International Holocaust Remembrance Day;  Greek News Agenda: Special Issue – The Jews of Greece

Draft Law on Naturalisation and Voting

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired a cabinet meeting yesterday that focused on a bill drafted by the Interior Ministry, which will grant new rights to expatriates and immigrants.

The bill – which has been approved by the cabinet – grants an estimated 250,000 immigrants legally residing in Greece more than five years and expatriates the right to elect and be elected in local government elections. Furthermore, the draft bill allows second generation immigrants to be naturalised.”Granting citizenship to overseas Greeks as well as immigrants is a wager that Greece has no right not to win,” the premier said, noting that conditions of security, safety, and social justice should be created. The transfer of populations, he noted, “has reached dimensions that cannot be controlled and it is natural that this provokes concern.”  The premier noted that he UN’s High Commissioner on Refugees Antonio Gutieres -who is expected in Athens – has approved these measures on immigration.

PM on Copenhagen Results

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Addressing a press conference on December 18, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed that the Copenhagen United Nations climate summit was an historic moment.

 Papandreou noted that he is pleased to have been committed to the ambitious goals set out by the European Union and added that he hoped that these same goals had been met by other developed countries by the end of the summit.

Regarding Greece’s contribution, he said that as a traditional naval force, Greece will undertake the responsibility of contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases by shipping.
Likewise, Greece will not forsake its commitments to forward initiatives in the Mediterranean, supported by the forthcoming Spanish Presidency. Deputy Foreign Minister for climate change issues, Spyros Kouvelis, on his part, underlined that the Greek delegation had been actively involved in all international meetings held at Copenhagen. “[Greece] is beginning to appear as a force that is pushing an agenda for a different model of growth,” he pointed out.

United Nations Climate Change Conference begins

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Global attention is focused on Copenhagen which is hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference, beginning today, and continuing through December 18.
Greece fully endorses the decisions of the European Union concerning climate change. Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Tina Birbili announced that Greece is willing to commit to the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2020.
She said that Copenhagen talks must deliver a legally binding document which will incorporate the Bali Road Map and the ‘Kyoto Protocol.
She further noted that by 2010 Greece will have presented a time-framework and announced Prime Minister George Papandreou’s initiative to promote together with the Spanish EU Presidency a post-Copenhagen action plan for the protection of the Mediterranean from climate change. 
Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change: UN Climate Change Conference- Position of Greece; George Papandreou personal website: Position on Climate Change

President of Hellenic Republic Briefed on Immigration Agenda

Pavlopoulos - Papoulias(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The course of Greece’s migration policy was the topic of discussion between President Karolos Papoulias and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Addressing the press, the minister mentioned that Greece “has played a decisive role in drafting the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum as well as in the evolution of Frontex –an agency monitoring EU’s external boarders-, which is now conducting operations in the Eastern Mediterranean all-year-round”. The minister also stressed that Turkey’s obligation to fulfill the terms of its bilateral agreement with Greece on illegal migration has now become an obligation of European-wide dimensions, paving the way for the signing of an EU-Turkey readmission agreement by the end of 2009.   Greek News Agenda: Immigration Agenda 2010-2014

Cyprus: A Devided Island, 35 Years After

Cyprus Map(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  35 years have elapsed since July 20th, 1974, a day which marked a turning point in the history of Cyprus. The Turkish invasion in the north of the island, which was facilitated by the then Greek totalitarian regime’s series of disastrous meddling, led to the brutal and permanent division of the island into two ethnically cleansed areas. Nicosia is still a physically divided capital, the last one in Europe after the fall of the Berlin wall. In memory of the events of 1974, the Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stated that a solution to the Cyprus problem is still sought, always within the framework of the UN Security Council’s resolutions and the principles of the European Union to which Cyprus adheres as a full member since 2004. “July 20 is a day of memory and honour. It stands as landmark for a definite, just, viable and functional solution to the problem.” The ongoing deliberations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leader should be based on the grounds of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty and legal personality, the premier concluded. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis added that “Turkey continues to hold the key to the solution of the Cyprus problem” and encouraged the country to actively demonstrate its will to ‘turn page’ on its stance so far. Secretariat General of Information: About Greece- History of Modern Greece ; Greek News Agenda: Tearing Down the Barriers; Kathimerini Daily: Christofias and Talat exchange olive branches; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Cyprus- The Parameters of the Problem and the Solution

UNICEF Campaign for Combating Child Trafficking

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   UNICEF’s awareness campaign for combating child trafficking – “The international economic crisis and child trafficking in the world” – was launched at the Foreign Ministry on July 16. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and the President of the Hellenic National Committee for UNICEF,  Lambros Kanellopoulos, presented the campaign.  “The basic message of the campaign we are launching today is that we – particularly those of us living in the prosperous regions of this world – have a duty to stop this economic crisis from becoming a crisis of values,” Bakoyannis said in her speech.  The UNICEF initiative, which is being carried out in collaboration with the Foreign Ministry, is the second part of a major campaign that includes the broadcasting of specially made radio and television spots throughout the country. 

UN Market for Greek Businesses

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Within the framework of the “partnership for outward – looking business” initiative (“A Global Market Place in Greece”), the Special Secretariat for the Development of International Programmes is organising a three-day educational seminar on June 15-17. The seminar aims at equipping Greek businesses with the right tools to enter the developing UN global marketplace.  During the seminar, registered businesses will have an opportunity to follow introductory presentations regarding each given market’s capacities and have one-to-one talks with experienced and specialised councillors by key UN procurement agencies.  Greek businesses will be advised on how to promote their profile and increase the possibilities of being granted a public procurement contract by the United Nations.  Special Secretary Alexis Galinos stressed: “With the right tools, such as timely information, networking and continuous support, Greek businesses will be able to acquaint themselves with the procedures and the terms of tender in order to claim a better share in this particular market”.

Greece: Migration in the Spotlight

» Karamanlis in Talks with Spanish PM Zapatero

karzap1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Tackling illegal migration is a priority for Europe and Greece has been working closely with its EU partners and on a bilateral level with other Mediterranean countries in order to come up with solutions, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis said Monday july, 13 after meeting his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Madrid.  Resolving the problem, Karamanlis said, would require a three-level approach: adopting common policies on a European level, on a national level and finally, efforts to financially support the migrants’ countries of origin. Karamanlis also referred to Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, saying that this has been acting as a “bridge” for bringing non-EU countries of the Mediterranean closer to the EU to discuss ways to tackle illegal migration.  On his part, Zapatero said that reinforcing Frontex and ensuring that EU migration policy is accompanied by close cooperation with the migrants’ countries origin and transit will be among the priorities of the Spanish EU presidency, from January 2010.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek Mediterranean Partnership

» Greek  FM on Refugees and Migration

unhcr1278Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed Monday, july 13, the necessity of finding a balance between the need to protect Greece’s borders and that of protecting the rights of asylum seekers forced to abandon their homes.   Addressing an event to raise public awareness on refugee issues, organised by the Greek office of the UN High Commission for Refugees with the support of the Greek foreign ministry, Bakoyannis stressed the need for “European solidarity in practice and not just in words” to countries like Greece, which has been facing a surge in illegal migration.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs –Dora Bakoyannis’ Speech at the presentation of public awareness campaign on refugees  Greek News Agenda: Diplomacy on Migration

Greek FM on Nagorno – Karabakh

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, speaking ahead of the 15th anniversary of the ceasefire agreement that ended one of the most violent conflicts in the area of the former Soviet Union, expressed hope that the parties in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would make further progress towards a peaceful settlement.  She also welcomed the constructive discussions between President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and President Serzh Sarksyan of Armenia in Prague on May 7. Bakoyannis further urged the two parties to implement fully the provisions of the ceasefire, including pulling back snipers from the front lines.  Related News: Visit of Deputy Foreign Minister Varvitsiotis to Azerbaijan heading a business delegation 

Rhodes: HQ of Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The city of Rhodes – capital of the southeastern Aegean island – will be the seat of UNESCO’s Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre and the founding act will be signed today in a special ceremony to be attended by prominent figures from Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, Israel, Romania, France, Belgium, the United States and Turkey. The centre will be temporarily housed at the Medieval City of Rhodes until the Rhodes Mansion is completely restored as its permanent headquarters. The Intercultural Euromediterranean Centre will undertake the organisation of European and international meetings and conventions on cultural heritage, cultural relations, and environmental protection. City of Rhodes: Press Releases   

Greek Foreign Policy: Responsible & Confident

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Addressing an off-the-agenda parliamentary debate on the course of the country’s foreign affairs, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis summarised the government’s expectations, achievements and challenges for the Greek foreign policy. On matters of primary concern for Greece, Karamanlis reiterated the government’s volition to endorse its neighbours’ European perspective on condition that the latter meet their obligations as set by the European “acquis.”   The Prime Minister stressed Greece’s intention to consolidate its position in the international arena by being active in international peace missions, reinforcing its operations arm in economic diplomacy, reaching out to Asian countries and engaging Hellenism throughout the world.  Taking the stand, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis stated that “Greece is not a phobic state” adding that “it is a mature democracy that exercises policy within the EU  and via the EU, being present in the Balkans, in the Middle East – and today, through the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), in all the regions of the Caucasus and central Asia.” Athens News Agency: Greek Foreign Policy Confident, Responsible  Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE): The Greek Chairmanship  Secretariat General for Information: About Brand Greece- Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and opportunities in a changing geopolitical environment

Greek Initiatives on Climate Change

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     Participating in the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Poznań, (December 1-12), a meeting which brought together 192 United Nations member states and representatives from international organisations and NGOs, Greece took the opportunity to present its initiatives concerning the adaptation to climate change. First and foremost, Greece has incorporated the dimension of climate change into every bilateral programme and development cooperation project. In addition, acknowledging the gap reported between the developed world and developing countries in terms of adaptation to climate change, Greece is offering funding for less developed countries through agreements signed recently with the African Union and the Caribbean Community CARICOM. Similarly, support will be offered to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and it is for this reason that another €20 million have been earmarked for the next four years. Last but not least, the Greek Chairmanship of the Human Security Network (May 2007- 2008) emphasised climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable social groups. The Greek chair hosted a number of international events on this issue in 2008, and funded a relevant research programme carried out mainly by UN agencies, including UNICEF and UN University. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek Chairmanship of the Human Security Network- Policy Paper on Climate Change; Greek News Agenda: UN Climate Change Conference 

Greece at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznań

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Today the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Poznań, (December 1-12) concludes with the participation of 192 United Nations member states and representatives from international organisations and NGOs. The purpose of the conference is to lay the foundations for the conclusion of a global climate treaty which will succeed the Kyoto protocol. The final agreement is expected to be signed in Copenhagen in 2009. Member states are called to agree upon specific targets and deadlines to curtail carbon emissions, a matter which is directly linked to the course of their economic activity. The conference has set out the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 60-80% by the year 2050. Addressing the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for global solidarity on climate change and talked about a new “Green Deal,” while the European Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas stressed that the European Commission aims at shifting the gear towards concrete negotiations and reducing carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. In regard to Greece, the Commissioner noted that Greece’s economy will benefit immensely should the country choose to comply fully with the European aspirations. European Commission: Commissioner’s speech in Poznan & UN Climate Change Conference 2008; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek chair @ Human Security Network- Policy Papers on Climate Change; Secretariat General for Information: About Greece-Environmental Protection & About Brand Greece-Environmental Strategic Policies

Hellenic Aid to the World

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Greece is a UN “Millennium Development Goals” contributor and grants $501million annually in foreign aid to third world countries, which amounts to 0.16% of its GNI (2007) thus ranking 21st  worldwide in Official Development Assistance (ODA), and aiming at the 2010 European Union target of 0.51%.  Within the new strategy launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aiming at achieving the Millennium Development Goals, Hellenic Aid (www.hellenicaid.gr) promotes humanitarian and food aid programmes provided by N.G.O.s and volunteerism, as well as co-operation among national N.G.O.’s taking action in developing countries. Developed countries (according to the 2007/2008 UN Human Development report, Greece ranks 24th out of 177 countries), nowadays, form a rather small minority within the international community. The developing world still constitutes the majority of the globe’s population, living under conditions of extreme poverty. espite the improvement of certain general living conditions as well as the increase of the global wealth and technological potential, this part of the world remains extremely vulnerable to diseases, natural disasters, and state authoritarianism. On November 26, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries have reaffirmed their commitments on aid to developing countries and undertaken to abstain from trade protectionism, as part of a concerted drive to shore up the world economy and combat recession. OCDE: Greece – Aid at a Glance Chart &  Updated [25 November 2008] Donor Aid Charts (2006-2007) & Official Development Assistance by Donor & Debt Relief is down: Other ODA rises slightly  Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Economic Diplomacy and International Development Aid

Greek Commander @ Helm of EU Naval Operation

The Council of the European Union adopted a Joint Action on an EU military operation on November 10 to tackle piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. Greek Commodore Antonios Papaioannou was appointed as the commander of EU naval forces in the area. The operation (EU NAVFOR, Somalia) under the code name “Atalanta” is the first naval operation launched by the European Union within the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Javier Solana congratulated Papaioannou, adding that he brings “his considerable expertise and the experience of his national navy to his role as Force commander for this operation in a new area for the EU.”  The success of the operation will secure a safe passage for vulnerable vessels, including those of the United Nation’s food aid programme. Following the Governmental Council on Foreign Policy and National Defence’s meeting yesterday (12.11.2008), Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis announced that Greece will participate in the Atalanta operation. Ministry of Defense: Hellenic Navy & International Presence

Karamanlis Chair at Fletcher School

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Alexandros Yannis, is from September 2008, the new Constantine Karamanlis Associate Professor at the Fletcher School in Boston. Professor Alexandros Yannis has extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy with the European Union and the United Nations; including working with the European Union Special Envoy to Somalia (1994-1997), the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Kosovo (1999-2000) and in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva (2001).  The Constantine Karamanlis Chair in Hellenic and Southeastern European Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy is committed to promoting Hellenic and Southeast European Studies in the US while honoring a towering figure of Greece’s recent past. The Karamanlis Chair brings academic scholars to The Fletcher School and the Tufts University community, encouraging a renewed focus on modern Greece, Southeastern Europe, the Mediterranean and the European Union and the crucial role these regions play in world politics. The Chair’s endowment provides a basis for scholars to teach the lessons of Greece and Southeastern Europe through history and culture as well as economics and politics. Karamanlis Chair @ Fletcher: Working Papers in Hellenic & European Studies

The NATO Summit: Aftermath

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis briefed President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias today on the outcome of last week’s NATO Summit in Bucharest in which Greece, backed by other countries, did not consent to extend an invitation to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to start accession negotiations for eventually joining the Alliance, pending the name issue. Greece’s conditional position was reflected in the Summit Declaration issued by NATO. “I believe that conditions will be soon be ripe to resume negotiations under the auspices of UN in order to find a mutually acceptable solution” the premier said in a friendly message to FYROM’s people and political leaders. Continue reading

Athens: Ιnternational Conference on the Return of Cultural Property

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   In the framework of the activities of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation. Addressing the event, Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis emphasised that changes in museum policies and an increase in instances of cooperation for the repatriation of looted artefacts could pave the way for the return of the Parthenon Marbles. , Greece is hosting a two-day international conference titled “Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin,” which concludes today at the New Acropolis Museum.  Athens News Agency: Return of cultural property conference; The Restitution of the Parthenon marbles: The Official Greek Position; International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures: www.parthenoninternational.org  (GREEK & ENGLISH TEXT FOLLOWS) Continue reading