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15 February, 2006
The new ministers and deputy ministers in prime minister Costas Karamanlis' New Democracy government were sworn in on Wednesday February 15th, by Archbishop Christodoulos, in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, following a sweeping reshuffle announced on Tuesday.
After the ceremony, the Archbishop wished the new government members strength and success in their task.
The ministers and deputy ministers were sparing in their statements, while the new foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis -- who leaves the post of Athens Mayor following her appointment to the government -- said she had packed her briefcase to accompany the prime minister on his visit to Berlin, for which he was due to depart later on Wednesday, adding that more trips were also planned.
After the swearing-in ceremony, the new ministers went to the Maximos Mansion (government headquarters) for the traditional 'family photograph', and from their to their respective ministries for the handover ceremonies.
The Cabinet will hold its first meeting, in its new composition, after the handover ceremonies.
The list with the new cabinet members is here.
In the mean time,
Greece's new foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis said that she would place priority on the large, open issues of Greek foreign policy, with the Cyprus issue at the top of the list, and thrust also on Greek-Turkish relations and developments in the Balkans.
She was speaking during the handover ceremony in which she assumed the foreign ministry portfolio from outgoing foreign minister Petros Molyviatis, a long-standing career diplomat, who announced his retirement from public service on Tuesday following the announcement of a major government reshuffle.
During the handover ceremony, which took place after the swearing-in of the new government ministers and deputy ministers, Molyviatis congratulated Bakoyannis, "the first Greek woman foreign minister", on her apointment and expressed conviction that she would succeed in her task.
"Mrs. Bakoyannis needs no introductions. She is a strong presence in public life, with high popularity, and I am certain that she will carry on the same way in the foreign ministry, too," he said, and also outlined the achievements made during his own term in the foreign ministry.
"We gave the Cypriot people the ability to freely decide their destiny, without adverse consequences for either Cyprus or Greece. We continued to improve Greek-Turkish relations, and we rendered the Greek-Turkish matters EU-Turkish matters," Molyviatis said.
"We ensured that Skopje's European course was comprehensible only with the name FYROM and the obligation that it contributes to finding a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue. We strengthened our position in the European Union, where Greece is respected for its determination and constructive attitude," he continued.
Further, "we upgraded our bilateral relations with the US, Russia and other countries. We expanded Greece's influence in the Balkans. We did not allow, nor will allow, the falsification of our national interests. This is the heart and soul of our foreign policy," the 77-year-old retiring career diplomat said.
Molyviatis also thanked all the services of the foreign ministry for their contribution to his efforts.
Bakoyannis, in turn, said that it was a "privilege" to succeed Molyviatis "who, with his long efforts, put his mark on the country's foreign policy and earned respect".
"I believe I speak on behalf of all the Greeks, when I say a big 'thank you'. Your opinion and advice will always be valuable to me," she told Molyviatis.
The new foreign minister said that the New Democracy government's foreign policy was founded exclusively on the national interests, was consistent and had continuity, was exercised above and beyond petty partisan expediencies, and aimed at the greatest possible consensus, in cooperation with the parliament.