04 January, 2007
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis this week listed off Athens' foreign policy priorities for 2007, citing the country's emphasis on playing a leading role on the European and regional levels and in boosting economic diplomacy as a lever of growth in the domestic economy.
Writing in a special Greek-language "Economist" edition entitled "Greece in 2007", Bakoyannis referred to the western Balkans' and Turkey's European prospects, saying the latter serve as the "strongest guarantee for the achievement of peace and stability in SE Europe."
She also reiterated Greece's desire to positively contribute to solving whatever pending problems in the region.
Regarding Kosovo, the Greek FM referred to efforts at finding a "balanced and mutually acceptable" solution.
As far as the "name issue" still ranking as a "thorn" in relations between Greece
and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bakoyannis said Athens has repeatedly shown, "in practice, its volition to find a mutually acceptable solution".
"...We're awaiting a corresponding and productive spirit from the other side, so that a solution leading to a full normalisation of relations is achieved, one that also facilitates its (FYROM) Euro-Atlantic aspirations".
In explaining Greek leadership's position on Turkey and the country's EU accession goal, Bakoyannis said Athens backs "the view that Turkey is gradually developing into a modern European democracy; one that adopts European principles and values in its domestic and foreign behaviour; one that is to the benefit of Turkey itself, our country and Cyprus."
She also reminded that ongoing efforts are continuing on the bilateral level to improve relations with Ankara, particularly through CBMs and a reduction in tensions in the Aegean region.
In other matters, Bakoyannis emphasised the Karamanlis government's efforts to transform the country from a mere energy consumer to an "energy transit hub" via an overland oil pipeline linking the Black Sea and Aegean, a natgas connection from Turkey that continues on to Italy as well as various high-profile upgrades in the domestic energy networks.
Finally, she said Greek diplomacy aims to improve trade and economic relations with Far East powerhouses (China, Japan and Korea) as well as energy-producing powers (Russia, Gulf States).
Source: Athens News Agency