Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos attended the informal meeting of EU defence ministers in Budapest on Friday, where he underlined Greece’s readiness to offer its good services to all partners and third countries in order to facilitate operations underway for the protection of their citizens.

The meeting focused on EU foreign policy issues and the latest developments in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly Libya, while EU peace operations and EU-NATO relations were also discussed.

Venizelos suggested holding an international conference under the UN auspices for the coordination of all operations in the region. He also underlined the need for the EU to consider a single European policy for Africa, stressing that he “realizes its difficulty due to the special interests, historical and other, many EU countries have in the region”.

The defence minister also briefed his counterparts on the Greek armed forces’ operation on Thursday for the repatriation of Greek nationals from Libya.

During a discussion on the EU-NATO relations held in the presence of NATO SecGen Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the defence minister rejected an attempt to upset Turkey’s EU accession course that takes place in accordance with the European acquis.

Venizelos also met with his French counterpart Alain Juppe and discussed bilateral cooperation and the new NATO command structure-related developments.