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14 January, 2000
British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday held talks focusing on the Cyprus problem and the internal situation in Yugoslavia. Papandreou said he briefed his British counterpart on his contacts in Cyprus earlier this week, while Cook emphasised that the current United Nations initiative had to lead to a solution putting an end to the present regime of division on the island.
"I briefed Mr. Cook on the current climate in Cyprus, a climate of expectancy for developments, one might say, but also of concern... caused by discussions and scenarios of a confederation which appear at times," Papandreou said.
Cook said they also had the opportunity to exchange views on issues concerning the Balkans and the future of Europe.
"We discussed issues of common interest, focusing on how to tap and build on the big achievements of the Helsinki summit... (where) we helped start a new relationship between Turkey and the EU, and established ... that even though the European Union desires a solution in the present division of Cyprus, this will not be a condition for its membership of the Union ... These achievements would not have been made possible without the resoluteness, the courage and the capability of the Greek government. Mr. Papandreou made a decisive contribution to these positive developments," he said.
In reference to Yugoslavia Papandreou said they discussed developments in Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, and the prospects of democratisation in the country and of its relations with Europe. He said there was a substantive exchange of views on these issues and expressed the opinion that Britain appreciated the Greek role in the region.
"We would like to see a deepening of democracy in Yugoslavia, a flourishing of democratic forces which would open new prospects for the country in Europe," he said.
Source: Athens News Agency