14 January, 2006
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis on Friday categorically denied that Greece had engaged in "secret diplomacy" over the dispute over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Valinakis was replying to questions posed by main opposition PASOK MP Christos Papoutsis during a briefing of Parliament's European Affairs Committee on the results of December's EU summit.
In his question, Papoutsis had referred to press reports from FYROM that linked the so-called Macedonia issue with an invitation to FYROM Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva to attend a conference of Balkan countries in Athens.
"There is no secret diplomacy between Skopje and Greece concerning the name of the neighboring country. What Skopje's newspapers write is their own affair. Ms Mitreva could not be excluded and not be invited to the Inter-Balkan Conference in which all Balkan countries will participate," Valinakis underlined.
The deputy minister did not rule out the possibility of bilateral talks between Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and his Balkan counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting, however.
PASOK MEP Stavros Lambrinidis, on his part, said the government lacked a "Balkan" policy and urged particular caution in negotiations with FYROM to "avoid what happened with Turkey's EU accession, where we lost whatever we had won".
Briefing the committee on the results of the EU summit, Valinakis described the outcome as an "important success" for Greece, which had managed to secure a satisfactory funding package of €20.1 billion.
"Greece fought and won the crucial wager of the CAP, both in order to secure a satisfactory sum for the structural funds and for their proper utilization," he said.
Source: Athens News Agency