12 December, 2003
GENEVA, 12/12/03 (ANA - F. Karaviti)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday said it would be ''useful'' if the United States were to review its decision to exclude countries that had opposed the war in Iraq from bidding for contracts to rebuild the country.
Papandreou made the statement after emerging from a meeting here with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, on the sidelines of the World Summit for an Information Society (WSIS), during which they discussed the Cyprus issue, the situation in Iraq and Greek initiatives to promote a global information society.
The Greek minister said he agreed with Annan on the need for unity in the international effort for Iraq's reconstruction.
''Given that we already have the approval of the United Nations with a resolution that was unanimously approved, and we all of us wish that the problems and confrontation of the past will become a lesson in how to handle these issues in a more united fashion, there should also be unity in the efforts for cooperation by all sides,'' Papandreou said.
He stressed that this particularly important, given that many countries that had absolutely nothing to do with the armed conflict were now being asked - by the United States, among others - to make a substantial financial contribution to this effort.
The Greek minister said the meeting had also given an opportunity for him to convey the desire of the Greek and Cypriot governments to continue negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem based on Annan's peace plan for Cyprus, which were abruptly ended a year earlier.
At the same time, he stressed that such a solution will have to take into account the fact that Cyprus was now a member of the European Union and that any such changes would have to allow the island to fully participate in European structures.
Finally, Papandreou said the meeting had covered initiatives that Greece intended to undertake jointly with the UN for the development of dialogue on the Information Society with non-governmental organizations.
''We had an opportunity to discuss Greece's initiative on the issue of electronic democracy and also specific proposals that we can undertake with the UN...especially for the reforms being promoted by Mr. Annan himself at the UN,'' Papandreou said.
The minister said this was a vitally important area and a very significant activity for Greece, which would greatly assist democratic institutions on a global level.
Source: Athens News Agency