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26 March, 1999
Strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must stop immediately, Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis said last night, adding that otherwise there was a danger of increasing tension and the spreading of the crisis.
He furthermore underlined the need for a resumption of diplomatic efforts for the search of a political solution, noting that Greece was in contact with neighboring countries and its European Union partners stressing this need.
Mr. Kranidiotis announced that Greece intends to raise the issue of the economic consequences of the crisis and the need to seek ways of tackling them at the next EU Council of General Affairs, adding that the European Union should examine the idea of convening an international conference on the economic development of the Balkans.
He also said that instructions have been given to Greece's permanent NATO representative, ambassador G. Savaidis, to express Greece's reservations when the issue of NATO's operations passing into the "third phase" is raised.
The "second phase" of the alliance's operations is currently underway and for which the consensus of member-states has been secured with a previous decision. The "third phase" anticipates mass bombings of military targets throughout the entire territory of Yugoslavia.
On the question of the "fourth phase", concerning the sending of ground forces, Mr. Kranidiotis said that Greece "is extremely reserved to the point of being negative."
Mr. Kranidiotis had a meeting lasting for about an hour with the Russian Ambassador to Athens Mikhail Bocharnikov in the afternoon with whom he exchanged views on the crisis in Kosovo.
Today, he will be having successive meetings with the ambassadors of Romania, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns has also requested a meeting with M. Kranidiotis.
Source: Athens News Agency