PM on foreign offensive
A domestic squabble in Parliament last night over the government’s foreign policy was seized upon by the prime minister as a perfect opportunity to send out strong messages to neighboring states with which Greece has differences. «I want to be absolutely clear,» said Costas Karamanlis as he tackled the issue of the name disagreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) during yesterday’s foreign policy debate. «An accession process to join the EU can only exist under two circumstances; either after a mutually acceptable solution or under the FYROM name.» Athens is expecting a third, and possibly final, proposal on the matter from UN envoy Matthew Nimetz after rejecting his most recent one. Karamanlis told Parliament that Greece demanded that its rights be respected. «It (Greece) demands that agreements be respected by everybody. Nobody should forget this,» said Karamanlis. «I think the message is clear,» he added, a barb that was also aimed at the USA, which Athens feels has been meddling in the affair. The premier reiterated that Greece retained the right to block FYROM’s attempts to join international organizations. Karamanlis also went on the offensive over Turkey’s behavior, calling for Ankara to comply with EU values if it wanted to become a member of the Union. «[These are] values and prerequisites that are not compatible with casus belli or the occupation of European land,» said the prime minister in reference to Turkey’s failure to lift the threat of war over the Aegean and its continued presence in Cyprus.