© Copyright Embassy of Greece 1996-2005. All Rights Reserved.
07 March, 1997
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, during a meeting with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday, spoke of bilateral relations, Greece's role in Europe and in the Balkans, and Greek-Turkish relations.
"Greece has an important role to play in rebuilding Europe. We will continue to work together on issues such as Bosnia and the Balkans," she said.
"The US is ready to help, if it can, in resolving long-standing differences between our allies, Greece and Turkey, in the Aegean and elsewhere. We will also discuss opportunities which exist to promote a solution between the sides in Cyprus and we will make a review of the situation in Albania. Relations between Greece and the US are strong and are becoming all the stronger," she said, welcoming Mr. Pangalos at the State Department yesterday.
Ms Albright said Washington has "a great interest in the Cyprus issue", describing it as a "top priority" and saying 1997 is "a year of opportunity to resolve it due to the prospect of Cyprus' accession to the EU."
Referring to the Aegean, the Secretary of State said "it is very important for Greece and Turkey to discuss these issues. We are concerned over increased tension in the Aegean. It is a question of two NATO allies. The region is strategically important and we think that the best way to have the issues resolved is through dialogue between the two countries."
Commenting on the Albanian crisis, Ms Albright said the US is "concerned over the wave of refugees and we believe that the sole solution is a peaceful settlement. We are carefully watching the whole situation. We support the OSCE's mission under (former
Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzky, as well as the EU's mission."
"We will not impose a solution on the political problem in Albania. The political forces in Albania must find a solution and take the country out of the present situation," she said.
Mr. Pangalos described the meeting as "very useful", adding that Greece's relations with the US "are steadfast and continuous."
The foreign minister extended an invitation to Ms Albright to visit Greece, which was accepted.
Speaking on Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Pangalos said "the position of the US that a dialogue is necessary is known. They explained to us of course that with this word they do not necessarily mean negotiations, as Turkey is seeking.
"We have never turned down the possibility of there being political contacts between Greece and Turkey even if it is to ... see the list of our differences and see whether we can revise it."
Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said "We will not take spectacular initiatives. This is not the job of foreign ministers."
Replying to a question by a Turkish reporter on Turkey's position in Europe, Mr. Pangalos said "Turkey certainly belongs to Europe. It is a big part of European history and Greece will never change its position on this, because if Turkey is not a part o f European history, then neither is Greece a part of European history. But we believe that those people in Ankara who promote differences which do not exist in reality and express territorial claims and threats of war against Greece should reconsider the whole approach of Turkish foreign policy.
"There are no real issues between Greece and Turkey which cannot be resolved very easily, given that some will calm down. This is what we are calling on Turkish officials to do."
He called on Turkey to "stop threats and claims against Greece. You can find an important ally in Greece, because we know each other well. We have great interests in being together."
Referring to Albania, Mr. Pangalos said "both the missions of the OSCE and the EU will be supported and we will both contribute to their success to the extent that we can."
He noted that Greece is in contact with the Albanian leadership and parties.
Source: Athens News Agency