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16 September, 1998
US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns reiterated yesterday that the Fournoi islands in the eastern Aegean are unequivocally Greek.
"The islands are inhabited by Greeks and it is common knowledge that they are Greek," Mr. Burns said, during a visit to Samos.
He was responding to a reporters' question about Turkish claims over Fournoi and three other Greek islets earlier this year.
Ankara disputed Athens' sovereignty of four islands during a meeting on March 26 in the Turkish capital between a Greek embassy diplomat and a Turkish foreign ministry official. During the course of the meeting, called so Athens could lodge a formal pro test with Ankara about violations of Greek airspace by Turkish aircraft, the Turkish official raised the issue of Greek military helicopters landing on five islands in the region, which he referred to by using Turkish names.
The Greek diplomat asked if he was implying whether the islands in question were Turkish, only to receive the reply that they had Turkish names.
It turned out that four of the islands were in fact Greek, inhabited by Greek citizens and part of Greece by virtue of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) and the Treaty of Paris (1947).
Source: Athens News Agency