03 October, 2006
Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday called for an off-the-agenda parliamentary discussion on Greece's role in international developments, in a letter submitted to parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki, while he also conferred with foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis on Greece's presidency of the UN Security Council during the month of September, which was concluded on Sunday, as well as on her bilateral contacts with the US political leadership during her visit last week to the UN headquarters in New York and to Washington.
Bakoyannis said after the meeting that parliament would also be briefed.
The premier stated in his letter to the parliament president that the recent developments in European affairs, the international community and the Middle East were many and significant, and stressed that Greece assumed an active and, in many instances, a leading role, adding that the country's presidency of the UN Security Council in the month of September contributed substantially in that direction.
Karamanlis also said that further initiatives were also being planned in that direction in the near future, adding that Greece at the same time was working for a continuous improvement in Greek-Turkish relations through the development of Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs), and also for a viable and functional solution of the Cyprus issue.
Given the above facts, and in accordance with Article 143, Paragraph 2 of the Rules of Parliament, the government was seeking an off-the-agenda discussion, at political party leader level, so as to brief parliament.
Foreign minister Bakoyannis told reporters after briefing the prime minister on Greece's UN Security Council presidency last month and her bilateral contacts with US government officials that the Hellenic parliament would also be briefed.
Questioned on Turkey's stance and recent statements by the Turkish political leadership, Bakoyannis noted that autumn was a period during which decisions were due to be taken by the Turkish leadership "and it will show whether it will honor its signature on the European obligations it has assumed".
"Together with our (EU) partners, we will evaluate these decisions," Bakoyannis added.
Bakoyannis spoke of "tension and rhetorical exacerbation, in which Greece has no reason to follow suit, as Greece has expressed its views with firmness, consistency and determination".
"We are monitoring the situation calmly, and will evaluate it," the foreign minister added.
Replying to questions, Bakoyannis attributed this rhetoric to the decisions that Turkey must take, but also to the pre-electoral climate in the neighboring country.
Questioned on premier Karamanlis' outstanding visit to Ankara, she replied: "As you know, we are in the process of trying to find the dates. I do not have a specific date for Mr. (Turkish foreign minister Abdullah) Gul's visit to Athens, nor for the prime minister's visit to Ankara".
To another question on the prospect of early general elections, Bakoyannis was categorical that "I do not see early elections (on the horizon), nor do I see any reason for early elections".
Asked to comment on the result of the Austrian elections over the weekend, Bakoyannis said that the outcome had been a "surprise". She said that outgoing chancellor Wolfgang Schues-sel, whose party suffered a narrow upset victory by the Social Democrat's in Sunday's national elections, had had good cooperation with Greece, and has frequently backed the Greek positions, such as on the Cyprus issue.
She also wished success to the new Austrian government.
Source: Athens News Agency