24 April, 2007
Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday pledged the Greek government's "full and active support" to visiting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' efforts for the consolidation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state, during a meeting in Athens with the Palestinian leader, adding that Greece will "continue to work, both in the United Nations and the European Union and at bilateral level, for the advancement of the peace process".
A solution to the Palestinian issue "will bring peace from the Mediterranean all the way to the Gulf," he added, speaking to journalists after the meeting.
Abbas thanked the Greek premier for the Greek government's steadfast support, and stressed the need for a lifting of the embargo, noting that "my people have been living a tragedy over the past year".
Karamanlis described the talks with Abbas as "constructive", stressing that the Palestinian President's visit was taking place at an "exceptionally criticial stage for the developments in the Middle East", but at the same time noted that the conditions for finding a solution were "riper than ever".
The premier spoke of Greece's steadfast support to President Abbas' efforts, particularly following the Mekka agreement and the formation of a government of national unity.
He described as an "immediate priority" the building of mutual confidence, in accordance with the Quartet criteria, adding that the building of confidence with the continuing dialogue between Abbas and Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert would allow for a substantive discussion and negotiation of a just, final and viable solution to the major issues dividing the two sides.
A viable solution, he stressed, comprised a viable and democratic Palestinian state that would co-exist peacefully and im mutual security with the state of Israel.
Karamanlis outlined Greece's actions in the Un and the EU aimed at advancement of the peace process, as well as its contribution towards meeting the immediate needs of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
He further reaffirmed the Greek government's readiness to support the peace process at bilateral level as well.
"Resolution of the Palestinian issue is of decisive importance, in order that the prerequisites will exist for peace in the wider area of the Middle East, from the Mediterranean to the Gulf. For this reason, we will continue to seek ways of advancing substantive negotiation and work for the consolidation of the peaceful coexistence between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples," Karamanlis said.
Source: Athens News Agency