15 May, 2006
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was quoted in a newspaper interview over the weekend as stressing that "history does not forgive missed opportunities", although she noted that there was "new momentum on the Cyprus problem" following Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos' meeting in Paris with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in late February.
In an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of the daily Ethnos, Bakoyannis said progress was already being made in the direction of setting up so-called "technical committees" that will discuss certain issues of common interest.
She added that the volition of the Cyprus government was for the committees to also deal with political issues, "in other words, issues of substance", so that they could act in a preparatory way for a new initiative, which she stressed must be well-prepared.
"With respect to the Cyprus issue, I have said a simple truth, which is understood by all my counterparts: A solution that is imposed, against the will of the people, cannot be a solution. For there to be a solution, it must be well-prepared and acceptable by both leadership and people," Bakoyannis continued. Turning to the outstanding matter of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' visit to Turkey,
Bakoyannis reiterated that "at this time we are seeking a new date via the diplomatic channels". Asked whether this date could possibly be in 2006, she replied "of course".
In reply to another question, the foreign minister reiterated Athens' standing position, namely, "in cases of search and rescue operations inside the Athens FIR (Flight Information Region), the jurisdiction and coordination belongs to Greece".
Source: Athens News Agency