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29 January, 2000
Foreign Minister George Papandreou and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Friday, and discussed Cyprus in light of the resumption of proximity talks between the two communities in Geneva on Monday, Greek-Turkish relations, the situation in the Balkans and developments in Chechnya.
Reports from diplomatic sources said Papandreou requested backing from the US for efforts to achieve a rapprochement between the two communities on Cyprus.
Albright reiterated that the US supports substantive talks to resolve the Cyprus issue, but it believes that substantive developments should not be expected before elections are held in the occupied areas in May.
Developments in Greek-Turkish relations were discussed in the wake of Papandreou's visit to Turkey and in light of the return visit his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem will be making to Greece early next month. Papandreou also had the opportunity of having a brief discussion with Cem on preparations for his visit to Athens.
The situation in the Balkans, and Serbia in particular, was examined in the light of a recent proposal by the Serbian opposition for early elections to be held together with a simultaneous gradual lifting of the embargo imposed on the country. Diplomatic sources said the US desires to promote democratization in Serbia, in cooperation with the European Union, but insists on maintaining the sanctions slapped on Yugoslavia.
Issues concerning humanitarian aid were discussed in relation to Kosovo, while Papandreou briefed Albright on a recent decision by the Greek government to provide the region with electric power.
Views were exchanged on the situation in the Caucasus area, with emphasis on Chechnya, and relations with Russia. Diplomatic sources said Albright stressed the need for pressure to be exerted for a political settlement to the problem of Chechnya, but added that Russia should not be isolated.
Papandreou, who is due back in Athens on Saturday, and Albright also discussed latest developments on the Middle East problem.
Source: Athens News Agency