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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”.

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