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31 January, 2002
The continental shelf issue is the only one Greece recognizes as an existing one with Turkey, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou reiterated in an interview to the state run NET television station on Wednesday.
This issue is not just acceptable by Greece, it was Greece that desired to resolve it as soon as possible, Papandreou said, stressing that this should take place "of course with a legal process leading to the formulation of a framework and the drafting of a common agreement at the (International Court) at The Hague, which would contribute technically to the final delineation of the continental shelf."
"We have conducted a dialogue over the past two years with Turkey on a series of subjects with positive developments in this sector and we should indeed discuss many problems," he said.
Speaking on the Cyprus issue and on contacts between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot community leader Rauf Denktash, Papandreou said that "it would be a mistake to attempt to extract conclusions from these first few contacts."
"This process will last, as UN General Secretary Kofi Annan said, for about six months, that is until June. Then he (Annan) will assess the extent the process has moved ahead and will state who was not helpful in the effort to resolve the Cyprus problem. So it is very early to evaluate the whole process," Papandreou said.
Protopapas on talks with Turkey: We can say no if there are problems:
Should problems arise during talks with Turkey, or if Turkey raised unreasonable demands, Greece still had the option of saying no, government spokesman Christos Protopapas pointed out on Wednesday.
The impending dialogue with Turkey will take place within the framework of international law and at a time when Turkey is keenly interested in its European course, government spokesman Christos Protopapas stressed.
Greece had to begin talks with faith in the country's positive image in the international community, on the basis of which initiatives were being taken to bring Greece into the heart of developments, he added.
Regarding a television broadcast on Tuesday, during which it was claimed that Greek and Turkish secret services had collaborated in the Ocalan case, Protopapas said that it was a general principle that all relevant services collaborated to deal with international terrorism.
The spokesman also noted, however, that former minister Theodoros Pangalos had given full answers regarding the specific issue on Tuesday.
Source: Athens News Agency