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13 June, 2002
Visiting main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis met with US Secretary of State Colin Powell here Tuesday afternoon (local time) for talks on a variety of subjects, including the campaign against international terrorism, the "Euro Army" issue and, of course, the Cyprus problem.
In statements to reporters afterwards, Karamanlis noted that he again outlined his party's objections to the so-called "Ankara Text" vis-a-vis the 'Euro Army's' future scope and operational capability, adding that while New Democracy supports NATO-EU cooperation, necessary alterations must be made to the text for Greece to accept it.
Conversely, a US official earlier told the ANA that Washington considers the "Ankara Text" -- worked out jointly by US and British diplomacy to overcome Turkey's objections -- as part of a "very good" agreement.
Fight against terrorism:
In terms of the paramount issue of fighting international terrorism, the ND leader reportedly stressed to his US interlocutors that Greece is among the countries that has suffered dearly from such phenomena, with his own party, in fact, mourning victims of terrorism.
Karamanlis added that a future ND government's determination in the anti-terrorism campaign was a given.
Regarding the long-standing Cyprus problem, Karamanlis reiterated that Athens wants the issue solved on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions and the EU's acquis communautaire, before echoing Greece's standing position of backing Cyprus' EU accession regardless of a prior political solution to its 28-year division.
Moreover, he said the main opposition party backs Turkey's European orientation, but also expects the neighboring country to respect and implement European principles.
Finally, Balkan developments were also briefly discussed in the half-hour meeting, with the ND leader stressing that stability in the often strife-ridden Balkans emanates from respect of human rights and the inviolability of borders, along with attainable prospects that countries in SE Europe will at some point join NATO and the European Union.
Karamanlis was accompanied to the State Department by Greece's ambassador to Washington, Alexander Philon, and ND Deputies Dora Bakoyianni, Petros Molyviatis and Aristotelis Pavlidis.
Meeting with VP Cheney:
Earlier, the ND delegation was received at the White House by US Vice President Dick Cheney, with talks centering on international terrorism, the safe hosting of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the "Euro Army" issue and efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
Karamanlis said the discussion, attended by Bush administration national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, was ''very useful'', while he described the level of bilateral relations as ''good.'' However, he added that relations could become even better.
According to a White House official, Cheney referred to America's experience with the winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and stressed the need for more to be done for the safe hosting of the 2004 Athens Games.
Satisfied with contacts in U.S.:
Karamanlis on Wednesday expressed satisfaction over his contacts with members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with whom he primarily discussed the issue of Cyprus.
Karamanlis met with the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden, the Minority Leader of the Senate, Trent Lott (R-MS), and Senators Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and the member of the House of Representatives Mike Bilirakis (R-FL).
The ND leader left for New York where he will be visiting UN secretary general Kofi Annan at the international organization's headquarters and then he will be returning to Athens.
Source: Athens News Agency