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19 October, 2001
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis was briefed by Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday afternoon in light of Friday's informal EU summit meeting in Ghent where, among others, the euro's introduction as the Union's common currency is expected to be the focus of attention.
During their meeting, Papandreou briefed Simitis on the results of the European Union's general affairs council in Luxembourg, which focused on preparing the agenda of the informal summit and ended on Wednesday.
Following the meeting, Papandreou said that Greece is actively participating in the EU's efforts to confront the current crisis, specifically the issue of terrorism, as well as important regional issues, such as the Palestinian problem.
Papandreou once again condemned the assassination of Israel's tourism minister, which has led to increased tension over the Middle East issue over the past few days and underlined the necessity of a solution for the Palestinian issue through initiatives, especially those of the United Nations.
He said that the premier will have the opportunity to submit Greek opinions and proposals on the Middle Eastern problem during the Ghent summit and to report on Greek efforts for the development of a wider dialogue between civilizations and religions.
Commenting on the recent scare caused by terrorist attacks with anthrax bacteria sent by mail in other countries, Papandreou said "there is no need for panic ... we should be cool-headed".
He gave reassurances that Greek authorities have the capabilities to evaluate this new phenomenon, adding that "at this point we have no outbreaks and no suspicions that Greece is a target country".
Papandreou stressed, however, the necessity for correct briefing of public opinion and the undertaking of the necessary measures "with a sense of responsibility and without any panic", since everyday life should go on normally "for the benefit of citizens, democratic freedoms and the economy, subjects dealt with by the Greek government".
Source: Athens News Agency