Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas stressed the need for democratic dialogue in Egypt during statements on Wednesday after a meeting visiting Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd.

"Yesterday's speech by President Mubarak may act as a new point of contention or the springboard for democratic dialogue. Egypt has need of the second," Droutsas said.

The minister referred to a "deep political crisis" in Egypt that had its roots in the Egyptian people's justified demand for changes and reforms, for the respect of basic freedoms and "the right to dream of a better future".

The aim was for Egypt to emerge stronger and more democratic, more united and able to depend on its "own strength, with respect for sovereignty and independence without foreign intervention," he added, urging political forces in Egypt to work together to overcome the crisis.

He also underlined that Greece will stand by Egypt's side and support efforts for a new society that respected the country's history and strategic role "with all our strength".

The foreign minister congratulated Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Dollis for successfully coordinating an operation to evacuate 180 Greeks from strife-torn Egypt.

Australian FM meets president of republic,

Visiting Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd was received on Wednesday by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

Rudd expressed his satisfaction over the Greek-Australians' great contibution in handling the recent floods in Queensland and Brisbane.

Earlier in the morning, the Australian foreign minister met with Prime Minister George Papandreou with talks focusing on bilateral relations, the world economic crisis, the name issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) and the Cyprus problem.