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17 January, 2003
Prime Minister and current President of the EU Council Costas Simitis held talks with European Union High Representative for foreign and security policy Javier Solana on Thursday and said later that inspectors in Iraq must have adequate staff and time to provide convincing replies to questions.
Simitis added that when they will be in a position to give these answers, they must be evaluated and a common position by the EU must be shaped.
Referring to an announcement that 11 warheads have been found that could be used in biochemical warfare, Simitis said this announcement by the inspectors confirms that they are doing a good job and that they should continue to do what is necessary to ascertain whether or not there has been a violation of Security Council conditions.
Solana predicted that the EU's Greek presidency will be a successful one despite the negative international conjuncture, adding that there are many important people who are handling issues and who will succeed.
Simitis reminded that in conclusions reached at the EU's Copenhagen summit reference is made to the need for a solution to the Cyprus issue and stressed the need for everything possible to be done for a solution to be found as soon as possible.
Solana also met with the UN secretary general's representative Alvaro de Soto on Thursday.
Simitis expressed hope that the institutional framework for the European force will be completed by March 1 to enable it to assume its mission in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) after this date.
Solana is also waiting for Skopje's response on this issue.
As regards the Middle East, Simitis said the date of the Israeli elections is crucial and will be decisive for developments.
Source: Athens News Agency