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Greek FM Tours Caucasus

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister and Chairperson of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Dora Bakoyannis began a tour of the Caucasus yesterday, specifically in Azerbaijan and Armenia. In statements after a number of meetings in Azerbaijan, the first stop of her tour, Bakoyannis said that her visit was aimed at “strengthening bilateral relations and contributing to a settlement of the long-lasting problem Nagorno-Karabakh problem, by intensifying efforts made for many years by OSCE.”  Bakoyannis said that they focused on energy cooperation and pipelines. “Our goal is to bring Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe via the Turkey- Greece– Italy (TGI) pipeline,” the foreign minister stressed. Referring to the currently “frozen” Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that has a direct impact on stability in southern Caucasus, Bakoyannis stressed that the Greek OSCE chairmanship is intensifying efforts that are underway for years for the solution of the thorny issue.Today the minister is in Armenia. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statements of FM Bakoyannis following her meeting with her Azeri counterpart Mammadyarov (Baku, 2.7.09) & Statements following her meeting with her Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian (Yerevan, 3.7.2009); Bilateral Relations Greece-Azerbaijan& Greece-Armenia; Greek News Agenda: FM on Nagorno-Karabakh

Greece: The National Council on Foreign Policy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The National Council on Foreign Policy convened yesterday with the participation of all the parliamentary parties. Recent developments in the Caucasus crisis, issues in the Balkans and mainly the negotiations’ commencement on the Cyprus issue constituted this meeting’s agenda. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis who briefed the parties’ representatives in the Council said she was pleased with the discussion held and the views exchanged. She added that the special attention was given to the negotiations over the Cyprus issue and that it is important that all parties (with the exception of the communist party) gave their full support to Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias in light of the discussions launched the day before yesterday. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statement following the Meeting & Statement of Dora Bakoyannis on the direct talks on the Cyprus issue;  Greek News Agenda: Cyprus Negotiations commencement

Greece at EU Summit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Participating in yesterday’s European Union’s summit, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stressed that force is no solution and pointed out EU’s important role in achieving a ceasefire and a peaceful settlement in the Caucasus region. Karamanlis expressed satisfaction over the six-point agreement reached on August 12 and agreed on the need for its full implementation. Once again, the Prime Minister clarified that respect for the territorial integrity of countries and for their national sovereignty is of paramount importance to the Greek foreign policy and greeted the prospect of enhanced European presence in the troubled area.  Regarding EU’s relations with Russia, Karamanlis announced that the Council has “agreed that Russia is an important partner for Europe” and that strong relations between Moscow and the EU must be maintained. In the future, Greece will continue to monitor the developments occurring in the region and to contribute to the cause offering humanitarian aid and protecting ethnic Greeks, if needed. Kathimerini daily: PM calls for Georgia peace settlement; Athens News Agency: PM Karamanlis says at EU summit force is no solution European Council: Extraordinary European Council meeting on the situation in Georgia; Greek News Agenda: Responding to the Caucasus crisis

Greece: Responding to the Caucasus Crisis

(GREEK  NEWS AGENDA)           From the first moment, the crisis in Caucasus has been of great concern to Greece. A precautionary activation of the Crisis Management Unit was deemed necessary in order to tackle the problems which have arisen from the clashes in South Ossetia and make provision for the citizens of Greek origin residing in the area. Within this framework, Greece dispatched a humanitarian aid shipment to Georgia and contributed to the cause of relieving the turbulent area with 100,000€ through the UNHCR. The OSCE, which has also addressed the matter, decided to send 20 international observers and Greece, -in viewof holding 2009’s chairmanship– is ready to assume full responsibility arising in the light of the current developments.  During the extraordinary meeting of the 26 NATO members which took place on August 19 in Brussels, Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis stated that “the NATO-Russia dialogue is very important” and that “Greece-along with many other countries-has been in favour of the continuation of this dialogue at all levels”.  South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s recent succession movement from Georgia has prompted an expedient reaction of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bakoyannis clarified that within both the NATO Council and the Council of the European Union, Greece’s foreign policy abides to the principles of territorial integrity and added that Greece endorses the French presidency’s statement condemning the movement.  Today, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will participate in the European Union’s special summit on the Caucasus crisis. Moscow’s relations with the international community are expected to top the summit’s agenda. Before leaving for Brussels, Bakoyannis reiterated Greece’s interest for “a common European position regarding the framework of EU-Russia relations”, “given that Moscow is an ‘important partner’ for Europe”.