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29 January, 2002
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of NATO's Southeastern Wing, a day-seminar on "Euro-Atlantic policy for defense and security" was organized Monday at Athens' War Museum by the National Defense School.
Defense minister Yannos Papantoniou, addressing the event, stressed the need for close cooperation and coordination among all security forces on a global scale.
He also spoke of "distinct but not separated" duties of NATO and the EU.
The minister reiterated Greece's objections to the text on the Euro-army, noting that Greece opposed the transfer of problems from NATO to the EU, particularly when those problems originated from a non-EU member country.
Greece also felt that an Organization should not interfere in the internal affairs of another particularly in reference to its own initiatives.
Addressing the same event, US ambassador in Athens Thomas Miller endorsed the establishment of a European defense and security identity, but opined that the creation of new infrastructures for its implementation would be "unwise" and "financially unbeneficial."
"We must achieve a smooth cooperation between NATO and various organizations ... This is the challenge before us," the envoy said.
Both Miller and NATO's supreme commander of European forces (SACEUR) Gen. Joseph Ralston backed an increase in defense spending to confront future threats so as to consolidate a sense of security throughout the world.
Ralston and German ambassador to Athens Karl Heinz Kunha praised Greece's role in consolidating a climate of security in SE Europe.
Earlier, Papantoniou had received a 15-minute courtesy call by Ralston, attended by Greece's National Defense General Staff (GEETHA) chief Gen. Manoussos Paragioudakis.
Source: Athens News Agency