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19 January, 2002
His recent trip to the United States and the country's increasingly strong position within the international community dominated an address by Prime Minister Costas Simitis to ruling PASOK's central committee on Friday.
The prime minister stressed that there was no room for fear and the old dependent and subservient mentality in contemporary Greece.
The meeting had been called to discuss strategy for local elections to be held later this year but Simitis put emphasis on the results of his US trip, the country's course within Europe and the euro-zone and domestic policy directions.
Simitis said his talks in the US had strengthened bilateral political and economic ties and revealed common positions and goals, as well as opening new channels of communication and building up relations of trust with US President George Bush and the US leadership.
He further claimed that the visit had reaffirmed relations of equality between the two countries, which had been earned by Greece, and had highlighted its role in the surrounding geopolitical region through a policy that defended common values and sought to create a wider region of peace, cooperation, development and respect for international law.
Turning to Greece's aims within the European Union, Simitis said that these included Cyprus' accession to the Community, European enlargement and deeper European cooperation, as well as preparing for Greece's EU presidency in the first half of 2003.
Other goals mentioned by Simitis were support for initiatives to solve the Cyprus problem and improving relations with Turkey, provided the latter made efforts to end any negative climate as soon as possible, as well as consolidating stability in southeastern Europe.
The goal of greater justice in society and a more powerful and modern EU were still the province of progressive forces, Simitis told the PASOK central committee, and not a task for conservative ways of government that had divided society and ignored the interests of the wider masses.
"The Greek people are seeking a new position, a new security and a new prosperity within United Europe, not new adventures," Simitis said.
Source: Athens News Agency