28 September, 2006
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis held talks here on Wednesday night (Greek time) with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice focusing mainly on the Balkans, Kosovo and the Middle East problem. The problem of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as well as the visa waiver issue for Greek citizens traveling to the U.S., were also discussed.
"It was a useful and friendly meeting during which we discussed EU-Turkey relations and Greece's position," Bakoyannis told reporters after the half-hour meeting.
Bakoyannis reiterated to her counterpart that Turkey has undertaken the obligation to open its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and planes noting that Ankara was at "the time of decisions".
Bakoyannis said that there were extensive talks on Mideast developments and Iran's nuclear program on which European Union High Representative for defense and foreign policy Javier Solana was trying on behalf of the international community.
Kosovo was also the focus of extensive talks, the Greek foreign minister noted, adding that she put forward the Greek position that there should be the greatest possible acceptance by the two sides (Serbs and Albanians) and the necessity to support Serbia in its prospects to join the EU and NATO.
On the FYROM issue, Bakoyannis underlined to Rice the need for the finding of a mutually acceptable solution.
At the top of their meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised the Greek UN Security Council presidency while at the same time lauded Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis' diplomatic abilities in statements at start of the two ministers' meeting at the State Department on Wednesday night (Greek time).
"I would like to welcome Foreign Minister Bakoyannis in Washington. We had the chance to see each other many times in New York. This time we are in Washington and we will have the opportunity to continue our discussions on Greek-American relations and on a wide range of issues," Rice told reporters, adding that
Greece "is doing a good job as Security Council president." She also thanked Bakoyannis.
Responding to a question on a possible embargo against Iran, Bakoyannis said: "We are not there yet." On the same issue, Rice told reporters that she was in contact with European Union High Representative for defense and foreign policy Javier Solana, adding that if an agreement was reached to put an end on the enrichment of uranium by Iran, that would be a positive development.
Responding to a question whether Greece was in a position to play a role in the Middle East problem, given that it has good relations with both Israel and Arab countries, Rice said that Bakoyannis was "an excellent diplomat".
Source: Athens News Agency