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31 May, 2000
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday dismissed recent press speculation regarding alleged friction between himself and National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Papandreou said he and Tsohatzopoulos enjoy an "excellent working relationship".
The Greek FM had previously briefed Simitis on developments in various foreign policy issues, particularly relations between Athens and Ankara in light of his recent contacts with Turkish FM Ismail Cem on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Florence.
He again stressed that no "differences of opinion" between himself and Tsohatzopoulos exist, adding that he has meetings with the Greek defense minister on a regular basis.
Additionally, he said he has agreed with Tsohatzopoulos over the content of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) being discussed between Greece and Turkey, while he also downplayed the issue related to the composition of a joint foreign and defense ministries committee focusing on CBMs.
Papandreou simply said that it does not greatly matter how institutional cooperation between the two ministries is accomplished.
Meanwhile, in a related development, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas called cooperation and coordination between Greece's foreign and defense ministries 'very good'. He added, however, that the establishment of a joint committee of officials from the two ministries has not yet been given final approval.
"Ways of improving this cooperation will be sought," he said.
Source: Athens News Agency