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27 October, 1998
"If you can't have your friends for neighbors, then you seek to make your neighbors friends," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday, referring to Athens' foreign policy in general and relations with Turkey in particular.
Greek foreign policy aspired to relations of peace and cooperation with all countries, he told a press briefing when asked to comment on a statement by Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis in an interview with an Athens daily newspaper, namely, that war with Turkey was perhaps inevitable.
Mr. Reppas said, adding however, that "friendship must obey rules and conditions such as the avoidance of provocative actions."
"That is how Greece acts, and would wish that the other side did the same," Mr. Reppas said.
"But this is not the case, and that is why there is tension between" Greece and Turkey, he added.
Greece, he said, believed that things would not lead to such a "major crisis", which it did not want, just as all sensible people did not want. Asked about two Hellenic Air Force F-16 fighters remaining at the Paphos air base, he said that although the jets' permanent base was in Greece's territory, in the context of the Greece-Cyprus joint defense doctrine, such a temporary stationing increased stability in the area and the island republic's defense.
Source: Athens News Agency