09 August, 2006
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who is in New York to attend a United Nations Security Council session on the Lebanon crisis, had a telephone conversation on Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on latest developments in the war-ravaged Middle East country.
Bakoyannis also had telephone talks with her French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy. Foreign Ministry Spokesman George Koumoutsakos said that Bakoyannis and Douste-Blazy made a detailed review of developments. The Greek foreign minister also had a meeting with Israel's UN Permanent Representative Dan Gillerman.
Bakoyannis had discussed earlier in the day the situation in Lebanon with the country's Culture Minister Tarek Mitri, who is acting foreign minister representing his government at the Security Council's forthcoming session. Koumoutsoukos said the talks focused on the proposed draft resolution, adding that Greece was aiming at the broadest possible acceptance of the text.
The spokesman said that Bakoyannis' contacts and talks will move within this framework, given that Greece assumes the council's presidency as of September 1. He reminded that UNIFIL peacekeeping force's mandate in Lebanon expires on August 31.
Koumoutsakos also said that Greece "hails the Lebanese government's brave decision and readiness to send 15,000 troops to southern Lebanon." He also expressed Greece's support for a "strong and reinforced" government in the Middle East country, which will be able to exercise its sovereignty on Lebanon's entire territory.
Responding to a relevant question, Koumoutsakos said that "it is a matter of principle and Greece cannot accept the presence of foreign troops in another country's territory."
As regards reports that the Republic of Cyprus might be the place of departure of a peacekeeping force for Lebanon, Greek diplomatic sources said that such eventuality would be a positive development, adding, however, that it was too early to begin a debate on any operational aspects of the mission.
Koumoutsakos reiterated that Greece, from the very start of the crisis, asked for an immediate ceasefire, underlining the need for a quick and immediate meeting of the Security Council.
"There is need for the Security Council to take decisions, as the situation on the ground is worsening, while Greece is working so as to have a blending of views for the broadest possible acceptance of and support to any resolution taken by the international community," Koumoutsakos noted.
“The Greek foreign minister is aiming with her presence to have a full briefing on the situation and participate in consultations and developments as Athens wants to respond successfully to her duties as president of the Security Council", he added.
Source: Athens News Agency