26 November, 2005
The European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have a catalytic role to play in terms of safeguarding security and peace, a task that Greece has contributed to and will continue to do so, Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis said, inaugurating the 15th international symposium on 'Stability and Cooperation in Euro-Atlantic region-Greece in the new environment' organized by the Athens-based Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation on Friday.
NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Jean Fournet, US and Russian Ambassadors to Greece Charles Ries and Andrey Vdonin, as well as former President of Austria's Parliament Werner Fasslabend noted in their speeches that in order to effectively address emerging, complex threats, coordination on an international level, through multilateral structural partnerships, is necessary, governed by consensus, which will take into consideration the interests of each side.
Specifically, Fournet referred to the recent international exercise, organized by Greece and held within the framework of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue.
Reis, on his part, said that Greece's contribution to NATO's successes was significant and also benefited the country.
He reiterated the reasons that led to the US recognizing the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by its constitutional name, "Republic of Macedonia", and called on Greece and its neighbor to agree on a new 'modus vivendi.'
The US ambassador also expressed optimism regarding Kosovo and said he was against the creation of a so-called Great Albania.
As for Turkey, Reis said it had the ideal system within the Islamic world of ensuring the peaceful co-existence of Islam and Democracy, although he admitted that there was room for improvement.
Vassilis Magginas, President of the Greek Parliamentary Committee for Defense and External Affairs, highlighted the differences between the EU and NATO.
According to Magginas, NATO uses military means, while the EU employs political and economic means. The organizations' close cooperation would be more beneficial if Turkey did not obstruct it by refusing to recognize the Republic of Cyprus.
He reiterated Greece's support of Turkey's EU accession, saying that should Turkey become marginalized there is a greater risk of bilateral relations becoming strained.
Magginas also referred to Greek-Albanian relations, pointing out that certain behaviors have emerged recently "which are bothersome and cannot be accepted."
As for FYROM, Magginas reiterated that Greece will accept its neighbor in other international organizations only by the name "FYROM" or another name which both sides will agree on.
Finally, Magginas also referred to other foreign policy issues, noting that power and strength prevail in international relations rather than what is just.
"Understanding this reality will help promote foreign policy," he said.
Former Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that the concept of EU and NATO as strategic partners means making decisions together on security strategy and specific methods of intervention.
"If the US wishes to play a separate, autonomous role, this will weaken NATO's role, since this is the par excellence forum where security issues are discussed," he said.
Source: Athens News Agency