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Greece assumes BSEC chairmanship

Greece has assumed, the rotating chairmanship of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation, at a special ceremony, during the 22nd meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs , held in Sofia, Bulgaria on May 28.
“It is our objective to establish the Greek Chairmanship-in-Office of the BSEC as a turning point for the entire region towards Green Development.
Its central theme will be Black Sea turns Green,” Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis stressed in his address to the meeting upon the assumption of the chairmanship.
He also noted that the emphasis on “green development” will highlight the comparative advantages of the Black Sea region in terms of environmental protection, culture, tourism, alternative energy sources and new technologies. 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Alternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis will inaugurate the OSCE’s Forum for Security Co-operation with an address at the Organisation’s headquarters in Vienna today.
Greece assumes the rotating chairmanship for the first four months of 2010.
The Forum constitutes the OSCE’s autonomous political and military body, and deals with issues of the so-called “tough security”, with its own Presidency, that alternates in alphabetical order every four months, as well with its own “Troika,” which functions in a coordinating manner.

“Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and Prospects”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Addressing the conference “Greek Foreign Policy: Challenges and Prospects” held yesterday on the premises of the Foreign Affairs Ministry,  Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis referred to Greece’s foreign policy priorities centering on economic diplomacy, relations with Greeks abroad and green development.

Kouvelis stressed that the Balkans, the wider Black Sea region and that of Eastern Mediterranean is of particular interest to Greece.
He therefore took the opportunity to refer to the country’s upcoming Chairmanship in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC, June 1 to December 31, 2010),  forwarding the message that, in its capacity, Greece is committed to strengthen the organisation’s role with respect to its member-states and the region’s economic development.
Finally, on green development, Kouvelis emphasised Greece’s need to live up to the challenges of the new situation taking shape globally. The conference was organised by the Institute of International Relations, an Athens-based think tank affiliated with Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences.

The OSCE on a new path

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Political Declaration Adopted

Foreign ministers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) 56 participating states charted the way ahead for the OSCE-anchored debate on the future of European security known as the Corfu Process in a decision and a Ministerial Declaration adopted yesterday after a two-day Ministerial Council held in Athens (December 1-2).
“The Corfu Process will be taken forward by our Permanent Representatives to the OSCE in Vienna, in accordance with the decision we are adopting today.
We remain committed to provide strong political impetus to the Corfu Process, and we are looking forward to reassessing its progress in 2010, in the format and level that we will deem appropriate, taking into consideration the results we achieve,” it is stated in the Declaration, which is the first to be adopted since 2002.
Athens Ministerial Council (dedicated webpage)

» Turning a New Page

Commenting on the Ministerial Council at a press conference, held at the end of the meeting, Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in-Office George Papandreou referred to a new page in the Organisation’s history.
“We have committed ourselves in a joint document on how to face common challenges,” he said noting that, Kazakhstan’s task -which is assuming the Presidency of the OSCE for the next year-, is difficult.
But as the Greek premier stressed, “we proved today that if we want we can. The process can revive political dialogue and the tangible result was consensus.”

ON THE SIDELINES

» Meeting with Russian FM

The strategic nature of Greek-Russian relations and their excellent level was reaffirmed during a meeting in Athens on Wednesday between Prime Minister George Papandreou and visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, held on the sidelines of the OSCE Council in Athens.Papandreou accepted a formal invitation to visit Moscow in early 2010.

Papandreou and Lavrov discussed bilateral relations in all sectors, ranging from energy to culture and from regional cooperation to relations with the EU and NATO, and signed a 2010-2012 joint action plan to be renewed every two years.

» Meeting with Turkish FM

Prime Minister George Papandreou also met with visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, with both sides citing closer cooperation in all levels.
The potential for the adoption of practical measures to boost cooperation of the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey in 2010 was also discussed at the meeting. Davutoglu spoke positively of Greece’s target for the EU integration of the western Balkans in 2014, and he confirmed Turkey’s intent for closer bilateral cooperation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece- Turkey

OSCE Ministerial Council in Athens

» Papoulias Inaugurates OSCE Meeting

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias inaugurated yesterday the 17th Ministerial Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), taking place in Athens (1-2/12).
Papoulias welcomed delegates from the OSCE’ s 56 member states and described the international meeting as “an important political event and an opportunity to strengthen peaceful cooperation and promote the common goals of the member states, in order to reach tangible and substantive conclusions.”

» Papandreou’ s Address

The Corfu Process needs to be taken a step further in order to meet the challenges to European security in the 21st century, OSCE chairman-in-office, Greece’s Prime minister and Foreign minister George Papandreou stressed, addressing the first plenary session of the organisation’s 17th ministerial council.
“We have to agree on important decisions in the next two days to strengthen co-operative security across the OSCE area, to shape the work of our organization, and to create a strong foundation for Kazakhstan to build upon as it assumes the OSCE Chairmanship on January 1,” Papandreou said.
He also expressed his hope that a constructive spirit will prevail during the two-day deliberations of the meeting.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Speech of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Greece Papandreou, to the 1st Plenary session of the 17th OSCE Ministerial Council
See also Project Syndicate: Renewing Europe’s Security Dialogue by George Papandreou

» Sideline Meetings

On the sidelines of the OSCE ministerial council, Papandreou met with the foreign ministers of Finland, Alexander Stubb and Kazakhstan, Kanat Saudabayev, who together form the current OSCE “troika.”
Alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas had a meeting with FYROM’s FM Antonio Milososki while the premier is scheduled to meet today with the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey, Sergei Lavrov and Ahmet Davutoglou respectively.
At the end of the first day of meetings, the Greek OSCE chairmanship hosted a formal reception for the visiting diplomatic delegations at the Acropolis Museum.

OSCE Meeting begins

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Forty-five foreign ministers and 57 high-level delegations from the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) participating states have gathered in Athens to discuss the future of European security as the organisation’s 17th Ministerial Council begins today (1.12).
Representing the Greek OSCE Chairmanship, Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, told journalists yesterday – at a reception held at the New Acropolis Museum – that the meeting comes at a critical moment, and underlined the importance of a co-operative approach to address European security’s challenges.
A video of the opening and closing sessions as well as the concluding conference, can be viewed here.

Ahead of OSCE Ministerial Meeting

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) In a press conference held on the premises of Greece’s Permanent Mission to the OSCE in Vienna, Ambassador Mara Marinaki set out the Greek chairmanship’s goals for the organisation’s 17th Ministerial Council meeting (December 1-2).   The Council will review the progress achieved on a number of OSCE’s engagements, including the progress on the so called “frozen conflicts” (Georgia Moldova, Nagorno-Karabakh). The Greek Chairmanship will then seek the adoption of a common declaration.  Marinaki pointed out the difficulty of such a venture, given that decisions are taken unanimously and that last time a common declaration was adopted by all OSCE members was in 2002 (10th Meeting of the Ministerial Council, Porto).  Answering questions by the press, Marinaki noted that all OSCE members support the Greek chairmanship’s efforts as well as the promotion of the “Corfu agenda.” 
The Ministerial Council is the central decision-making and governing body of the 56-member Organisation, hosted by the country which holds the annually rotating chairmanship of the organization.