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25 October, 2000
"Greece is at the forefront of SE Europe's evolution into an area of peace and prosperity," foreign minister George Papandreou said Monday night, addressing an event at the Western Policy Center in Sacramento, California, during his ongoing US visit.
Turning to the role played by Greece in the political change in neighboring Yugoslavia, Papandreou said Greece had the opportunity to be a protagonist in the creation of a "community of values" in the Balkans along the model of the European Community (forerunner of the European Union) established after World War II with the aim of setting up a model of peaceful coexistence and cooperation among the peoples who had lived through that tragic experience.
"The region must return to normality, and Greece is prepared to grasp this historic opportunity," Papandreou said.
"Relations among the countries of the region must be founded on the acceptance of common values. Without any border changes in the Balkans, we must create a region of democracy and prosperity," he said.
Turning to Turkey and its relations with Greece and the European Union, the foreign minister said that Greece sought of its neighboring country "to proceed within the framework of the common values we share with our European partners".
"We seek a small revolution: restriction of the army's role, respect of human and minority rights. We seek also the fall of the last wall in Europe, that which divides Cyprus," he said.
Papandreou met Monday with prominent Greek-American businessmen, while on Wednesday he is due to meet with US Republican presidential candidate George Bush's senior national security aide Condoleezza Rice, at Stanford University.
Source: Athens News Agency