Greek FM expresses Athens' concerns over recent developments in E. Mediterranean

Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis late Saturday expressed Athens' concern over what he called Ankara's "threats and hostile actions against the Republic of Cyprus, speaking from the podium at the 66th UN General Assembly.

Lambrinidis sternly condemned what he called Turkey's hostile "rhetoric" and reiterated Greece's support for the UN-brokered peace process to unify the island republic.

He further juxtaposed Turkey's polemics with Athens' stance, stressing the latter's commitment to exploratory talks with Turkey on the issue of delineating the Aegean's continental shelf, adding however, that in case Turkish leadership decides against cooperation, then the issue should be referred to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

In other points raised during his address, Greek foreign minister referred to the need to broaden and deepen international cooperation in order to face whatever challenges, such as climate change and desertification, along with security threats, such as nuclear proliferation, terrorism and piracy.

Closer to home, he cited Athens' standing "Agenda 2014" initiative to promote the European prospects of the western Balkans, while also referring to increased cooperation at the regional and trans-regional level.

Turning to developments in the wider region, Lambrinidis expressed Greece's complete support for the "Arab Spring" and what he said was the "rights of peoples" for democracy and a better life, touching particularly on Greek actions vis-a-vis the recent conflict in Libya, such as the evacuation of thousands of third country nationals from the North Africa country, support of the NATO 'no fly' decision and a continuous Greek diplomatic presence in Benghazi.

Regarding the timely issue of the Palestinian Authority's request for recognition of independence by the UN body -- a matter that dominated the limelight at the 66th General Assembly -- Lambrinidis repeated Greek policy in support of Palestinians' right to their own nation, as well as in their right to petition for such recognition.

"Palestine has the right to exist as an independent state, just as Israel has the equal right to exist in complete and unwavering security," he emphasised.

In another matter, Lambrinidis said Greece will be a candidate for a seat on the Council of Human Rights for 2012, and as such, requests the support of the UN's member-states for the slot.

Finally, the veteran diplomat touched on the thorny and still unresolved "name issue" involving Greece and the neighbouring former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), reiterating Athens' desire for a solution via a "fair compromise" that includes a name with a geographic determinant, for use by all (erga omnes).

"We want a resolution to the matter so that we can develop the huge prospects entailed in relations between our two countries, on the basis of directness and sincerity," he said.


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