15 June, 2007
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday sent a clear and strong message for an end to violence, for moderation and for continuous dialogue from Beirut, the city that is mourning the victims of Wednesday's terrorist attack, including Parliamentarian Walid Eido.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Tarek Mitri expressed his gratitude to Greece and to Bakoyannis personally, for their continuous solidarity for Lebanon from the beginning of the crisis, last summer, to date.
Speaking at a joint press conference given by the two foreign ministers, in the presence of Prime Minister Faoud Siniora, Mitri said "Greek solidarity has been continuous from the beginning of the war, with its contribution to the safeguarding of our sea borders and with the economic support that it is providing for us." He said that Bakoyannis's choice to close her tour of the Middle East with her visit to Lebanon is "a symbolic but very strong act," adding that his country counts for Greece.
"On behalf of my government and of the Lebanese people, I express my gratitude to this country and to the foreign minister in person, who is visiting us for the third time in a year," he said.
Bakoyannis extended her condolences to the families of the victims and of the Parliamentarian slain and to the entire Lebanese people, saying that "our message is clear and sincere. Put an end to violence, moderation, hard work and continuous dialogue should prevail."
She further said "if you want me to tell you my personal view, terrorism cannot provide an answer to any of the problems facing the world."
The foreign minister reiterated, just as she did throughout her entire tour of Middle East countries - Israel, Palestinian territories, Syria, Jordan - that Greece "has a steadfast, substantive and tangible interest in the region."
"This is reflected and confirmed in this series of visits as well, that I am carrying out in the countries in the region, at a really crucial time conjuncture" she added.
Shortly before leaving for Athens, where she was due to return on Thursday night, Bakoyannis met with the leader of the Patriotic Front party and leader of the Maronites general Michel Aoun.
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis visited the Greek Navy frigate "Hydra" at the port of Beirut on Thursday.
Bakoyannis congratulated its captain and crew for a work well done, stressing that thanks to their efforts Greece has a presence and a voice in the region.
The frigate "Hydra" and other two Greek Navy warships participate in the UNIFILMAROPS force, whose mission is to protect Lebanon from imports of weapons and military equipment that could have a destabilizing effect on the country.
Frigate Captain Lieutenant Commander Yannis Samaras referred to Greece’s overall contribution to the region since last summer, when the Greek Navy was mobilized for the safe transportation of Greek and foreign nationals away from Lebanon’s war zones.
While in Beirut, Foreign Minister Bakoyannis is scheduled to meet Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and later Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Foreign Minister Tareq Mitri.
The meeting with parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri was canceled because of the funeral of a parliament deputy killed in the bloody terrorist attack that rocked Beirut on Wednesday.
Source: Athens News Agency