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07 November, 2001
Greece's course within the European Union remained a central policy for the government, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Tuesday after a visit to the foreign ministry and a meeting with its political and administrative staff.
The Tuesday morning meeting focused on foreign policy priorities and plans of action, the division of duties among the new team of ministers and general organizational issues.
After the meeting, Simitis noted that the government had to be present every step of the way with positions, proposals and ever ready to "contribute constructively to developments and upgrade the role of Greece."
The premier particularly stressed the need to adequately prepare for the Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2003, so it would be successful in promoting EU enlargement and the accession of Cyprus to the community, as well as bringing specific positions and proposals to the next intergovernmental conference.
Another issue touched by Simitis was security, where he said Greece had to work with its EU and NATO partners for an integrated security system after the tragic events of September 11.
Turning to the Balkans, the premier pointed out that Greece was in a geopolitical region that remained fragile and dangerous. Pushing for policies of peace, cooperation and respect for human rights in southeast Europe remains a strategic priority, he stressed.
He also pointed out the danger that the terrorist attacks of September 11 might "overshadow" the need for Balkan reconstruction.
Greece should also continue to strive for a solution to the Cyprus problems based on United Nations resolutions and for Turkey's EU accession based on the terms and conditions set at the Helsinki Summit, he added.
Source: Athens News Agency