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09 November, 1999
National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed yesterday in light of US President Bill Clinton's visit this week to Athens that Greece's strategic interests called for a "substantive, mature and wholesome dialogue" with Washington.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos spoke during an event at an air force facility northwest of Athens, which marked the culmination of the four-day celebrations for Archangels Michael and Gabriel, the patron saints of the Hellenic Air Force.
Commenting on possible reactions during the Clinton visit, the Greek defense minister referred to excessive concern and "intentional petty-party politics".
He also said the US president's visit represented an important political moment for the course and role of Greece in the broader geopolitical region, while the Greek government, "beyond any sentimental reactions", will discuss with the US side the complete peace strategy that Athens is promoting in the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans.
"...We need to take steady steps on the basis of a clear strategy which promotes the interests of both Greece and Cyprus," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.
Gov't condemns incidents:
Meanwhile, the government yesterday condemned the strafing of the Hellenic American Union building in downtown Athens over the weekend.
Two suspects on a motorbike fired six shots at the building before speeding off, only breaking a few windows.
"It may appear that there was no security (at the building) but don't be too sure about this," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas added, responding to a question as to why the site was unguarded.
Source: Athens News Agency