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Gaza Crisis

The Foreign Ministry has issued a statement this morning, saying that it has activated its Crisis Management Unit upon learning that Israeli armed forces had blocked the course of and seized vessels transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Citizens with family or friends participating in the mission “ Ship to Gaza” can call the contact number +30 210 368 1730. 
It is Greece’s longstanding position that any activities undertaken by non-governmental organizations must go unhindered, provided that they are legal, is mentioned in the statement.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Crisis Management Unit activated regarding the humanitarian aid transport operation in Gaza & Greek News Agenda: Greece sends aid shipment to Gaza in 2009
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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Foreign Affairs: Greece in Brussels

Bakoyannis @ EU Ministers Council
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis attended the Council of European Union Foreign Ministers which convened in Brussels on Monday and examined developments in the Middle East, energy security and the priorities of the EU Czech Presidency. Following the council meeting, Bakoyannis spoke to the press. On the question of the situation prevailing in the Gaza Strip, she said that the foreign ministers agreed that priority must be given to achieving immediate progress in handling the humanitarian tragedy being experienced by the inhabitants in Gaza. The minister expressed regret because substantive steps have not been taken in providing humanitarian aid and because the EU’s requests in this direction have been met with no response. “The lifting of the blockade and the opening of corridors is essential to enable the smooth flow of humanitarian aid from the international community,” she said. Asked about whether the recent crisis between Russia and Ukraine would affect the South Stream pipeline in any way, Bakoyannis gave a negative answer, saying that the policy of the Greek government on energy issues is a policy that “many other countries would like to have.”  EU Council – General Affairs and External Relations Councils: Press Releases – External Relations & General Affairs (Provisional Versions, 26.2.2009) 
FM Addresses European Policy Centre
Speaking at the local think tank Centre for European Policy Studies (CPES) in Brussels yesterday, Bakoyannis outlined Greece’s positions on several issues including the OSCE Chairmanship, the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), relations with Turkey, and the Cyprus issue. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Speech of FM Dora Bakoyiannis at the European Policy Centre (Brussels); Athens News Agency: FM on FYROM, Turkey, Cyprus 

Greek FM Bakoyannis meets Palestinian Official

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met on Friday in Athens with the Palestinian Authority Minister for Foreign Affairs Riad Al-Malki for talks focusing on developments in Gaza regarding Israel’s military operations. During a joint press conference afterwards, Bakoyannis underlined the need to open the crossing points to Gaza so that humanitarian aid can reach those in need. Both ministers acknowledged that achieving reconciliation and unity among Palestinians is the prerequisite for addressing the Palestinian issue, which lies at the heart of the Middle East problem.  The two sides also signed a memorandum for political consultation and renewed the two-year Executive Educational Programme, reaffirming the ties between the two peoples and the desire to develop bilateral cooperation. In related news, Bakoyannis travelled yesterday to Brussels to attend a working dinner of EU foreign ministers on the Middle East with the participation of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and the Palestinian Authority, focusing on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the EU’s contribution to the peace process. Today (January 26) Bakoyannis is expected to give a speech at the European Policy Centre entitled “The World in 2009: a year for Europe?”

Third Greek Humanitarian Aid Shipment to Gaza

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   A new shipment of humanitarian aid departed for Gaza from the port of Piraeus at noon on Monday January 19, in the presence of Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos. Bakoyannis said: “This is the third humanitarian aid shipment we are sending to Gaza along with the Church of Greece” and its supervised NGO Solidarity. “Two shipments have already been sent by military aircraft. Particularly at this point in time, we will continue even more intensively because humanitarian corridors are now open and our assistance can reach Gaza quickly. But however much we send, there’s always need for more aid.” Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statement of FM Dora Bakoyannis on the dispatching of Greece’s 3rd humanitarian aid shipment to G

Greece Assisting Injured Children from Gaza

GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Injured children from Gaza will be hospitalised in Greece following an initiative by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and in coordination with the Ministries of Health and Defence. Both public and private hospitals have offered beds to this end in their special Paediatrics’ Wards. The Ministry of National Defence will be responsible for the children’s transport aboard special planes and the Church of Greece will provide the children’s escorts with accommodation. A delegation of Foreign and Health Ministry officials will depart for Egypt today in order to prepare the mission, which is being implemented as part of a joint EU member states initiative. The mission will be coordinated by the Foreign Ministry and its competent agency, Hellenic Aid, and by the Ministry of Health through the National Health Operations Centre. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Injured children from Gaza are to be hospitalised in Greece