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USA agrees to a UN role in Iraq for ‘the day after’

What was the main outcome of your trip? The main thing is that Greece’s voice carries more weight than it did in the past, both because of its current six-month presidency of the European Union and the prestige the country has acquired due to the policy it has exercised in recent years. We are in a position to promote our interests effectively. If you could tell me what was said in Washington, what points would you mention? That they said yes to a role for the UN in postwar Iraq, yes to bridging the divide between Europe and the US, and a yes in principle to cooperating with Greece on consolidating conditions of stability in our region, focused on a fresh start for the Cyprus initiative. I have the feeling that we are experiencing a historical paradox. The US wants to say thank you to Greece for its stance and Greece doesn’t want to listen. There is no question of any thanks. Greece has absolutely not offered any special military facilities to the US, we have stated that. I told my interlocutors that we are against the war. We are simply fulfilling our treaty obligations. As this argument is being frequently put forward, I would like to ask whether, beyond the morality or immorality of the war, Greece is considering the cold facts of what our own interests are in this situation. We have already seen that Turkey is having serious difficulties and Greece is being upgraded as an interlocutor within the international system. That would be confirmed if Turkey stabilizes. If the US presence in Iraq and its becoming a Middle Eastern power destabilizes Turkey, for example, by means of the Kurdish question, then that would not be in Greece’s interest. However, it is too early to draw conclusions. There could be positive effects for Greece’s strategic position; there could be negative ones. We have just taken delivery of the new fighter aircraft. Until better conditions of security are established in the region, we will have to keep boosting our defenses. If New Democracy was in power at the moment instead of PASOK and did what you were doing with regard to Iraq, would you have gone out into the streets? Agreements were abided by in 1991 as well, but there there was additional help, as far as I know. Now, there is no additional assistance being given. However, it would not be an issue, whether under ND or PASOK, because non-adherence to treaties would lead to a major crisis between Greece and the US, one that would put at risk our national interests and the country’s security, which is based on certain relationships that it is not in our interest to disturb. What did you talk about in your hour with Rice? We had a very interesting discussion. Ms Rice is not only national security adviser, but a professor of political science and international relations, and I think that we have certain things in common in our analyses of international issues and we were able to discuss these issues in depth. For example, Ms Rice sees progress with a European army as a positive development and feels that European and America have no choice but to get through the crisis and once again have a closer and lasting cooperation. She was also particularly interested in the Ergodan government in Turkey, the political profile of the Turkish prime minister’s party and his relationship with the «deep» state, and the likelihood of that government following a reformist policy, contributing to the reorientation of Turkey’s international relations in a direction that is more consistent with its obligations. We also talked a lot about the UN’s role in establishing the landscape in Iraq after the war is over, but also in dealing with the danger of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. At some point, the question of Iraq will be over. How will we deal with the next issue, such as Iran or North Korea, if this ever eventuates? Was this issue raised? Of course. We said that the international community, particularly Europe and the US, should establish a framework with rules for dealing with these issues, without resorting to individual wars, like the one being waged in Iraq right now. That seems strange, given that the war is going on? The war is happening because obviously, the framework set by the UN was not adequate. So should we change the UN? It is time to have another look at the UN’s role so that it becomes better at finding solutions. For example, even if the US wins now, it does not mean there will be a solution. It could lead to further instability and more terrorism. The same and worse could happen in future. Ms Rice realizes that.