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31 August, 1999
Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday kicked off a series of contacts with political leaders and ruling PASOK party cadres, to discuss Greece's stance on European Union financing to Turkey, by meeting former PASOK foreign ministers Karolos Papoulias and Ioannis Haralampopoulos.
Following the meeting, Mr. Papoulias expressed his satisfaction over Mr. Papandreou's leading efforts in providing support for Turkey following the disastrous earthquake.
In regards to the lifting of Greece's veto on the Union's structural funds protocol with Turkey, Mr. Papoulias said "Greece should not be hasty on this issue and make decisions in the haze", adding that it would be better to wait on developments in talks within the Union and decide over the next few months.
He also made clear that humanitarian assistance is separate to funding through a protocol, which demands a political decision.
On his part, Mr. Haralampopoulos said that all moves by the Greek government should be made in relation with Turkey's actions, adding that humanitarian aid due to disaster is different to funding through protocol agreements.
Mr. Papandreou is to set out to his European Union counterparts in Saariseka, Finland, on Sept. 4, a Greek proposal incorporating the three existing Union regulations for financial aid to Turkey into a new one, also including one regarding assistance for the recent earthquake.
According to sources, the new regulation would have a different legal basis from the previous ones and will place emphasis on the sectors of energy, transport and industry.
Mr. Papandreou has already tentatively discussed the issue with the current president of the Union Council of Foreign Ministers Tarja Halonen and Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem.
Source: Athens News Agency