Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bakoyannis, Rice meeting in Berlin

Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakaoyannis held talks "in a very friendly atmosphere," as she said, with her U.S. counterpart Condoleezza Rice in Berlin on Tuesday, focusing on the course of negotiations on the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the issue of Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations and the so-called "Visa Waiver," the exemption of Greek citizens from the process of entry visas to the United States.

The talks were held on the sidelines of an International Donors Conference on boosting law and order in the Palestinian territory that took place in Berlin. Briefing Greek reporters after her meeting with Rice, Bakoyannis clarified that on the name issue there is no ground for resolving the problem by July 9 and that such an issue was not even raised by the American side.

The character of the discussion in this respect was an "informative" one, the minister also said in light of the arrival of special envoy Matthew Nimetz in Athens on Thursday and afterwards in FYROM.

"I expressed the hope that these negotiations will have an auspicious conclusion, also hoping that the side of FYROM will also abandon pre-election rhetoric and will enter the essence of the negotiations," Bakoyannis said.

Replying to a question on what was Rice's contribution during the discussion, the minister said that "Mrs. Rice is well aware of the issue of the name (of FYROM) and of the Cyprus issue, which we also discussed... She is well aware of the issues, she has involved herself a great deal and, as you know, she is an experienced minister who is also aware of the essence of the problems."

Bakoyannis, who has already departed for Athens, concluded by saying that "the discussion was sincere and, as you know, Greek-American relations are good and are based on strong foundations."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008. ANA-MPA / A. DOUKAS.

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