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29 May, 1998
Athens would be prepared to agree to a step-by-step approach in resolving differences with Turkey if Ankara ended its aggressive policies towards Greece, Defense Deputy Minister Dimitris Apostolakis said yesterday during sessions of the 7th annual high-level US-Greek consultative committee conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The conference, co-chaired by Mr. Apostolakis and his US counterpart Jon Lodal, examined Greek-Turkish relations, the Kosovo situation and the Balkans, as well as NATO enlargement eastwards.
Mr. Apostolakis said "the creation of conditions of security and stability in our broader region is in Greece's legitimate interest. We believe NATO enlargement will contribute to this".
"Greece seeks the promotion of institutions and bodies of regional security in the Balkans," he said, mentioning his recent participation in a Tirana conference with area counterparts, which discussed the formation of a peacekeeping force in the region.
Regarding the Kosovo crisis, he said Greece's position was that there was an issue of human rights, as well as territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
After Mr. Apostolakis' speech, a Greek general staff representative briefed the session's participants on defense policy issues, including Greek-Turkish relations.
"Ankara's continuous and unilateral claims constitute points of friction and indications of hostile behavior," the representative said, adding that with this policy "Turkey becomes a factor of political, military and economic instability".
The conference ends this afternoon.
Source: Athens News Agency