25 February, 2008
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou strongly objected to any "double name" for FYROM, in an interview appearing in the Saturday edition of TA NEA newspaper. He also called on the Greek government to "not unilaterally recognize" Kosovo.
He further spoke of PASOK's prospects following its latest Congress, and noted an "open" possibility for cooperation with the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN), while he also said he was unwavering on the issue of transparency.
Papandreou said that PASOK, both as the governing party in the past and as the main opposition today, explicitly ruled out the prospect of a double name for FYROM, and he accused the government of "agreeing to negotiate a double-name solution". He also described the "unilateral recognition (by countries) of Kosovo, outside the framework of the UN" as a "most adverse development" and called on the government not to unilaterally recognize Kosovo’s independence.
He also endorsed the undertaking of "all the necessary initiatives in the UN and the EU for resolution of the Cyprus issue" and pledged that he will be at the side of the new President of Cyprus, both as president of PASOK and as president of Socialist International (SI).
Papandreou further differentiated himself from the stance of former (PASOK) Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who had backed a special relationship between the EU and Turkey, stressing that "our stance must remain that Turkey has the right to become a member of the EU, but also the obligation to fulfill, without divergence, the commitments it has undertaken towards all the EU member states".
To a question on the possibility of political expediency behind PASOK's proposal for setting up a parliamentary fact-finding commission on the Siemens scandal, Papandreou replied that "our proposals are not revengeful", adding that "PASOK has nothing to fear in the Siemens case" and that his party "has not hesitated in taking difficult decisions in matters of transparency".
When asked whether members who had taken sides with Evangelos Venizelos or Costas Skandalidis in their candidacies for the party leadership against Papandreou would also be included in the PASOK organs, he said that "everyone has their work, role and responsibilities", while clarifying at the same time that "the rationale of sharing out positions and posts does not suit us".
When asked whether the idea of governmental cooperation with SYN had permanently collapsed, Papandreou replied that "the ability of programmatic cooperation is, for us, open...the quandary lies with the other side".
Source: Athens News Agency