27 January, 2007
Greece's Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Friday said that the international community must succeed in its mission to make Afghanistan stable and secure and that Greece will continue to contribute to efforts for its reconstruction.
She made the statements in Brussels after taking part in Friday's meeting on the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan by NATO foreign ministers, on the sidelines of which she also met U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Turkish counter-part Abdullah Gul.
Developments in Kosovo following the recent elections in Serbia were also on the agenda during her talks with Rice - as in the NATO meeting earlier - while they also discussed Greece's possible entry in the U.S. Visa Waiver programme.
Bakoyannis noted that Greece issued high-security passports and hoped to join the Visa Waiver programme, which would mean that Greek citizens would no longer be obliged to obtain visas in order to visit the United States.
Speaking after the NATO meeting, the minister stressed that further efforts must be made to help the Afghan people, particularly in the social sector, such as education, health and the fight against drugs.
She said that Greece will continue contributing to the effort for the reconstruction of Afghanistan in the following way: with a 120-strong engineering battalion, which is already there; with the additional number of Greek officers who already fill various posts on the ISAF staff; extending the stay of a 45-staff hospital unit which is stationed in Kabul airport by six months; contributing 300,000 euros in 2007 to a special UN fund for dealing with drug problems; providing 500,000 euros in economic aid to four programmes for agricultural development, water resource management, education and health; donating 10 to 13 M-60 A3 tanks to Afghan forces.
Regarding developments in Kosovo, Bakoyannis said that NATO member-states wished to avoid possible problems after UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari submits his proposals regarding the future status of Kosovo.
With respect to Serbia, the minister said that following Serbia's entry into NATO's Partnership for Peace program, she expected that the EU would follow the same path of cooperation and trust.
Source: Athens News Agency