29 February, 2008
K. Karamanlis: I address myself to our neighbours. We support the stability and progress of their country. It is not in their interest to persist in historically groundless mindsets; in tactics of intransigence.
The national and allied endeavours, the framework and the individual factors that bear on Greek foreign policy in Southeast Europe were the focus of discussion in the Hellenic Parliament (29 February) following submission of a question regarding the ongoing negotiations on the FYROM name issue that are being held in New York under the auspices of the UN Secretary General.
Prime Minister Mr. Karamanlis stressed that “Greece wants relations of friendship and cooperation with all its neighbours. This is precisely the case with regard to FYROM. And this is exactly why we want a mutually acceptable solution.” He called on the political leadership of FYROM to “respond to the steps that have been taken by Greece, so that we can find a solution that will benefit stability, peace, development in our region. I am addressing our neighbours with clear positions and sincere intentions: We support the stability and progress of their country. It is not in their interest to persist in historically groundless mindsets; in tactics of intransigence.” The Prime Minister underlined that Greece has been a member of NATO for 55 years and an EU partner for 25 years, and that “the goal of the Security Council resolutions is a mutually acceptable solution for use by everyone (erga omnes). Within this framework, Greece wants a mutually acceptable solution that will have a positive impact on regional stability and will strengthen bilateral relations and FYROM’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
Mr. Karamanlis stated that “our position, ‘no solution – no invitation’, is clear. If there is no solution, our neighbouring state’s aspirations to participate in NATO will remain unrealised. And this is because the principle of good neighbourly relations is a basic and necessary prerequisite for allied relations.”
The Prime Minister also mentioned the Greek vision for relations between the two countries, saying that “we believe in a European tomorrow of good neighbourly relations and cooperation. Without provocations dictated by outmoded, irredentist thinking. Without winners and losers. And this means a mutually acceptable solution on the name issue,” noting the benefits that would accrue from a mutually acceptable solution. A perspective that can be realised only if Greece’s neighbouring country stops clinging to the past. Mr. Karamanlis stressed that Greece’s vision is for its neighbours to be allies in NATO and partners in the EU, underscoring, however, that a perspective of allied and partnership relations cannot be built on such serious outstanding issues.
Read the full text of Prime Minister Karamanlis’ speech …