24 September, 2007
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Sunday met here with UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz to focus exclusively on the thorny “name issue” still separating Athens and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), with the latter reportedly offering no new proposal for a breakthrough.
Speaking after his meeting with Bakoyannis, the UN special envoy also ruled out any new proposal being tabled in the immediate future, adding that he doesn’t find such a prospect useful. He will meet with a FYROM representative at the UN headquarters this week.
The 45-minute meeting, held at the seat of the Greek representation, included an “extensive review” of the situation and the next steps for finding a mutually acceptable solution, according to a Greek foreign ministry spokesman after the meeting.
The Greek FM reportedly stressed “the particular importance for a constructive stance on the part of Skopje.” Additionally, the Greek side reiterated that any continuation of this problem will have an adverse affect, whereas a solution will have “positive repercussions in bilateral relations, regional cooperation and for FYROM’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.”
Nimetz stressed that work will continue on the basis of UN resolutions and the interim agreement, a decision he said is in line with the Greek side’s view.
The meeting came a day after Bakoyannis met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday, where she announced afterwards that there was room to resolve the difference with Skopje regarding the name issue, in view of a NATO decision -- expected at the end of the year -- on whether the Balkan country will accede to the Atlantic Alliance.
During the meeting with the UN chief, the Greek side set out its positions on a mutually acceptable resolution of the issue, within the framework of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Greece-FYROM 1995 interim agreement.
Moreover, the Greek FM also warned that perpetuation of the problem was dangerous. The Greek side further reiterated that Athens was keeping open all its prospects as a member of the EU and of NATO.
Bakoyannis and Ban also discussed the Cyprus issue, with a focus on the need for implementation of the July 8 agreement. The agreement "must be fully applied", Bakoyannis said, stressing that Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos has manifested his volition for its materialisation, and calling on the UN chief to encourage the Turkish Cypriot side to follow suit, given Ban's upcoming scheduled meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on Oct. 16.
A third topic of discussion during the Bakoyannis-Ban meeting was climate change, which is high on the agenda of the 62nd General Assembly, as the UN chief has organised a High Level Meeting on Monday on the same topic, which will be addressed by Bakoyannis.
The Greek foreign minister briefed Ban over the devastation caused by recent wildfires in Greece, as well as the Greek government's commitment to restore the environment to its previous state, a topic on which the UN chief expressed interest.
One of the round-table discussions at the High Level Meeting will focus on the establishment of a special Fund and other mechanisms for facing natural disasters, an issue which is also being promoted by Greece at the European Union level.
"Climate change is a global phenomenon and requires coordinated global confrontation," Bakoyannis said in statements after her meeting with the UN chief.
Meanwhile, according to a CNA dispatch, Greece and Cyprus on Sunday reaffirmed their common goals, efforts and tactics towards finding a solution to the longstanding Cyprus problem.
This was reiterated here by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos after a one-hour meeting on Sunday with Bakoyannis, as both arrived in New York City a United Nations General Assembly.
Cyprus Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis was also present at the meeting.
Papadopoulos told reporters afterwards that he discussed developments over the Cyprus problem and other matters of mutual interest with the Greek foreign minister, noting that "as always, we have reaffirmed that the targets, efforts and tactics are common."
Bakoyannis said she briefed Papadopoulos on her meeting a day earlier UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Papadopoulos was due meet the UN chief later on Sunday.
Bakoyannis said she repeated Athens’ full backing of the July 8, 2006 agreement, reached between Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the presence of UN Undersecretary for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari.
The Greek minister reiterated Athens’ strong support for the positions of the Cyprus government.
Source: Athens News Agency