FM hopes for new deal on Cyprus

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who met with outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York yesterday, expressed optimism about exploratory talks on the Cyprus problem but was less upbeat on the prospects for resolving a dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) regarding the latter’s official name. «There is no news as such. There is optimism that talks under way (between technical committees) in Cyprus will progress,» Bakoyannis said after talks with Annan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. According to sources, Bakoyannis told President Karolos Papoulias by telephone that she does not expect any UN-backed initiative on Cyprus until early next year, as Annan’s term in office expires on December 31. As regards the issue of FYROM, Bakoyannis said she had reiterated Athens’s stance that Greece’s neighbor cannot join the EU or NATO unless the name dispute is resolved. Bakoyannis met with her counterpart from FYROM, Antonio Milososki, over the weekend but said he was «far too new» to the job for them to have real dialogue. Greece’s FM also discussed the Middle East crisis and Greece’s aid to Lebanon with her Lebanese counterpart, Fawzi Salloukh. «We are extremely appreciative of Greece’s role and its overall stance,» Salloukh said. Today Bakoyannis is to meet with Senator Hillary Clinton in Washington and tomorrow with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.