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04 March, 1999
Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday met with former New Democracy premier Constantine Mitsotakis, continuing a series of briefings of political figures on Greek-Turkish relations and developments in the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo.
Calling the FM's briefings of political party leaders useful, Mr. Mitsotakis said better informed parties meant a better informed public and that these contacts would help in settling the atmosphere and creating unity and consensus on issues of national importance.
Mr. Mitsotakis said Greek-Turkish relations appeared to be at a low point and that self-restraint and consensus was called for to respond to the "jitteriness and exaggeration coming from the other side of the Aegean."
Earlier, the honorary president of main opposition ND had issued a statement stressing that he was concerned about developments. Mr. Mitsotakis said the capture of Kurd rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan after Greece had sheltered him in its embassy in Nairobi for 12 days had left the country "deeply wounded."
"Our relations with neighboring Turkey are at the most sensitive and dangerous point of the past decades," Mr. Mitsotakis said, adding that he hoped that Washington realized it also had some responsibility for the present situation.
He also said the PASOK government was "politically crippled" by the event but that, in the immediate future, Greeks would have to "march ahead" with the government in a period that was exceptionally difficult and dangerous for national issues.
Conversely, he said the opposition should put an end to "exaggerations and easy counter-charges".
On his part, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas greeted Mr. Mitsotakis' statements as a "level-headed response to the situation."
He added that a number of members of main opposition New Democracy had set out similar views in the past. The government spokesman further criticized ND for continuing to condemn the government and unquestioningly adopting various claims, as he said, "reasoning that the government must fall, and without taking into consideration the interests of the country."
Source: Athens News Agency