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17 June, 2000
Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Friday Greece should continuously seek positions in the complicated and changing environment of modern-day international reality, adding that Greece's international presence is not a policy of isolationism.
Papandreou was speaking at a conference organized by the National Bank of Greece on "EMU-Greece in Europe-The start of a new challenge."
Addresses were also made by main opposition New Democracy party Deputy Dora Bakoyianni and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Deputy Orestis Kolozov.
"We do not support heroic inertia and a denouncing policy. We cannot remain there. We should continuously seek positions in the complicated and changing environment of modern-day international reality," Papandreou said.
"Greece's international presence is not a policy of isolationism. It is based on principles such as respect for international law and protection for human rights. In parallel, it seeks ways of modern expression which are not covered by classical diplomacy."
Outlining the country's policy in the Balkans, the foreign minister said Greece should contribute to their rapprochement with Europe and to the shaping of a common vision with the Balkan countries. He said application of the European model in the region could lead to the overcoming of problems if certain principles are accepted such as respect for borders and protection for minorities and for the territorial integrity of countries in the region.
Speaking on the repercussions of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) on foreign policy, he said accession to EMU reflects an internal dynamism and provides the country with new possibilities in exercising foreign policy.
Papandreou said Greece's relations with Turkey are based on international law, adding that Turkey's rapprochement with Europe also provides a new opportunity for a solution to the Cyprus issue.
"Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership should utilize this opportunity. Otherwise, it will very soon be faced with the dilemma of Cyprus joining the European Union without the Turkish Cypriots," he said.
Papandreou referred to common interests with Turkey which could be enlarged without, however, this leading to the doubting of Greece's sovereign rights.
Bakoyianni spoke of very positive repercussions resulting from Greece's accession to EMU and added that Greece should revise its strategy to utilize the possibilities which are offered both in Europe and on the international scene.
Referring to the Balkan region, she said that Greece should clarify its position towards the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and show that it is seriously interested in this country's integrity.
"This relationship should be based on reciprocity. The interest of both countries requires an immediate and overall application of a solution to the problem of the name without victors and vanquished," she said.
Bakoyianni said the strategy of Turkey as an EU member is a correct medium-term option. However, she said rapprochement with Turkey without it having revised its positions on "gray zones" and casus belli is a failure for the government.
She further said that Greece should promote, at European level, apparatuses for the periodical and explicit control of Turkey's progress in the direction of satisfying conditions set at the EU Helsinki summit.
Bakoyianni also said that Greece should continue to give top priority to the Cyprus issue.
Kolozov expressed his party's rejection of the prospect of European unification, as it is being attempted by the EU, and termed EMU an expression of Europe's intention to participate in international competition and the effort to dominate markets.
"Following the collapse of socialism, international relations are determined by the principle of the powerful imposing themselves on the weak. This brings us many years back and for this reason we should react decisively," he said.
Source: Athens News Agency