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24 February, 2001
Foreign Minister George Papandreou confirmed reports that he and Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem had agreed to an exchange of visits, during brief statements to reporters in Skopje on Friday.
He and Cem had had a half-hour meeting on Thursday night, cut short by Cem's departure to greet Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit on his arrival at Skopje's airport, during which they had exchanged views on the progress in bilateral relations and a number of bilateral agreement awaiting ratification by their countries' respective parliaments.
The two men were both in Skopje to attend a meeting of Balkan foreign ministers, which paved the way for Friday's Balkan Summit in the FYROM capital.
According to Papandreou, a visit by him to Ankara was pending but no date had yet been set. He said he had agreed with Cem's proposal for a joint visit to the Aegean island of Samos and the Turkish coastal town of Kusadasi in May. According to the minister, the Samos-Kusadasi trip was a continuation of a planned Rhodes-Marmaris trip last year, which had been cancelled because of the events surrounding NATO exercise "Destined Glory 2000" in Turkey, which culminating in Greece withdrawing its forces.
Papandreou said his talks with Cem had not been completed and would be continued in Brussels on Tuesday, when he and Cem met on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers' meeting.
Spokesman comments on crisis in Turkey:
Acting government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris expressed hope on Friday that Turkey would soon succeed in getting over the country's current crisis, so that it could more easily adapt to European conditions.
Source: Athens News Agency