05 December, 2006
Developments in the Balkans were one of the main issues examined here on Monday during the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had the opportunity of discussing developments in the region, mainly in relation to Kosovo, with U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, whom she briefed on Greece's positions.
Bakoyannis also had the opportunity of meeting many of her counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting and promoting Greece's candidacy for the OSCE's presidency, probably in 2009.
Replying to questions by the press on developments regarding the issue of relations between the European Union and Turkey, in the wake of the recent publication of the European Commission's recommendations, the foreign minister said that there is no coincidence of views within the EU on the issue.
However, she stressed that as far as Greece is concerned the shaping of a single view by the "25" towards Turkey is an issue of particular importance. On the question of Greece's positions, Bakoyannis reiterated that a clear message must be sent to Ankara that its harmonization with the EU is not an "optional" process and that Turkey's adjustment to the acquis communautaire is not negotiable.
The foreign minister further said that Greece and the other member-states agree that Turkey's course towards its accession to the EU must stay "on track."
Bakoyannis went on to say that in Greece's view specific time limits must be set for the reassessment of Turkey's response to the commitments it has undertaken towards Cyprus, through its customs union with the EU.
Focusing on procedures to achieve a solution to the issue of Cyprus under the auspices of the UN, the foreign minister said that a solution to the problem is certainly feasible, but stressed that linking this issue with the question of Turkey's unilateral commitments towards Cyprus and the EU creates mistaken impressions.
Lastly, Bakoyannis also discussed the issue of Turkey with her counterparts from Britain, Spain, Luxembourg and Finland.
Source: Athens News Agency