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20 March, 2003
The Greek EU presidency on Tuesday (early Wednesday, Athens time) briefed the chairman of the US Senate subcommittee on European Affairs on Euro-Atlantic relations and on the European Union's policy on a series of issues of mutual interest, including the Iraq crisis.
Greece's ambassador in Washington George Savvaides and European Commission ambassador Guenter Burghardt briefed subcommittee chairman George Allen on the EU positions on a variety of issues.
On the matter of Iraq, Savvaides stressed that the EU countries agreed on the substance of the issue, namely Iraq's disarmament, but differed on the method of achieving that goal.
Senator Allen said that there was much more that unites the US and the EU than divides it, adding that, on the issue of Iraq, the US respected the decisions of its allies, if they did not take part in the military operations.
Savvaides also noted that there were many margins for international cooperation in post-Saddam Iraq in order to secure that country's future as well as stability in the wider region of the Middle East.
The Greek envoy further outlined the importance of the EU's enlargement with 10 new countries, which would be signing the accession treaty on April 16 in Athens, and also the ongoing discussions on a new constitution for Europe.
Savvaides also briefed Allen on the goal for an EU common foreign and defense policy, as well as the importance of the EU-US summit scheduled for June 25 in Washington.
Burghardt, in turn, briefed the US official on the role the EU was playing in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, in the Balkans and in the Middle East, given that the European Union and its member states comprised the largest donor in humanitarian and developmental assistance internationally.
Source: Athens News Agency