Politics: FM on Gaza initiative; statements by spokesman

Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis on Monday referred to “Greece’s aggressive diplomatic initiative” that bears “multiple messages on international level” and seeks the legal transport of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

In a brief meeting with the press, Lambrinidis pointed out that Athens is in consultation with the UN and the international community on the issue.

As regards his upcoming visit to Berlin on July 5-6 and Vienna on July 7, he underlined his intention to tour the European countries that “are on the front line in terms of diplomacy” and their people do not understand the efforts made by Greece.

On his part, foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said that this is “a time of responsibility” referring to developments in the Middle East and also in terms of the safety of the people who participate in the “Free Gaza” flotilla.

On the Greek initiative for the immediate transport of humanitarian aid to Gaza, he said Lambrinidis had a telephone communication with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The foreign ministry general secretary will meet on Tuesday with Arab ambassadors.

Meanwhile, an effort is being made to be in contact with the “Free Gaza” flotilla to have the humanitarian aid loaded over to Greek vessels.

Delavekouras reminded that Athens believes that the Gaza blockade should be lifted and that a peaceful solution should be found.

Referring to bilateral relations between Greece and Israel, he said they are “extremely improved and useful, considering that the two sides have complementary interests”.

He added that cooperation with Israel does not mean a complete identification with the latter's positions, stressing that this relationship will not have an automatic effect on Greece’s relations with the Arab world, “which are ancient and tested”.  
Referring to a recent telephone communication between Lambrinidis and his Russian counterpart, he said that they underlined the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation. They discussed Lambrinidis’ pending visit to Moscow and agreed that they will meet in New York in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.
Finally, Delavekouras expressed Greece’s intention to participate in a conference on Libya, scheduled to take place later this month in Istanbul, adding that Greece will continue its efforts for a peaceful solution to the conflict in the North African country.

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