24 September, 2005
Deputy Foreign Minister Yannis Valinakis discussed Turkey's European Union accession negotiations as well as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) name issue during his meetings with State Department officials here on Friday.
Valinakis said that Greek-US issues, European and international developments as well as developments in southeast Europe were discussed during his meetings with Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State - European Affairs, and Matthew Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.
The deputy minister said that both Greece and the US are working together to transform the Balkans into a "European neighbourhood", into a region of cooperation, peace, security and stability.
In reference to Turkey, Valinakis said that "if all goes well, and I think it will, Turkey will begin accession negotiations on October 3," adding that Turkey will have to fulfill all criteria and requirements defined by the EU in order to become a full-fledged member state.
Finally, Valinakis said that Greece presented its positions regarding the FYROM name issue and that the Greek government considers UN Special Envoy Matthew Nimetz' proposal submitted last spring as the basis for negotiations.
"We believe that this matter must be resolved through a mutually-acceptable solution that will help Skopje's European prospects," he added.
Source: Athens News Agency