31 May, 2006
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Tuesday reiterated the government's position regarding a proposal made by Greece's former president Kostis Stephanopoulos for a change in Greece's policy toward Turkey, referring reporters to the statements made on the issue by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis the previous day.
Bakoyannis on Monday underlined that Athens had a steady policy toward Turkey and had refused to be drawn into an answer on what she called "simplistic lines of black-and-white" regarding Greece's policy toward the neighboring country.
The spokesman also repeated that there was no differentiation between the views expressed by Bakoyannis and Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis regarding Stephanopoulos' proposals, noting that their statements had been "in the same spirit" and that Greek strategy toward Turkey remained "steadily the same for many years now".
Regarding last week's mid-air collision between Greek and Turkish fighter jets over the Aegean, Roussopoulos said that the possibility of a joint Greek-Turkish fact-finding committee to look into the causes of the incident was not under consideration.
In response to other questions, meanwhile, he noted that it was a standing Greek policy to recognize only one outstanding difference with Turkey, that of delineating the extent of the Aegean continental shelf.
He also echoed Bakoyannis' view on Monday regarding the Stephanopoulos proposal, saying that the former president's intervention was "interesting as an event in itself and as a result of the discussion that had arisen from it", while noting that the government "was keeping its ears open".
In an article appearing in a Sunday newspaper, Stephanopoulos had said that Greece should now take recourse to the International Court at The Hague for all outstanding differences with Turkey - and not just that of delineating the Aegean continental shelf - in accordance with the 1999 Helsinki decisions, noting that attempts to reach a solution with Turkey via other means had failed.
Roussopoulos said that the cabinet had been informed about an incident on Tuesday involving a Turkish patrol boat near the Imia islets, which the defense minister later said has ended, while noting that the government was not currently considering a meeting of the political party leaders to discuss major foreign policy issues.
He also noted that all announcements concerning a summer 'moratorium' with Turkey in the Aegean continued to apply.
"Maintaining some sort of calm requires great effort. The government has, however, repeatedly stated that all this comes under the framework of monitoring conducted by the EU during Turkey's European accession course," he added.
Source: Athens News Agency