FM justifies her domestic role

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis yesterday defended her visit to the Muslim minority in northeastern Greece after opposition MPs complained that it is not her role to meddle in domestic matters. «The foreign minister is a central figure in the government and has the right to make officials visits to all parts of Greece,» said Bakoyannis. «I was instructed by the prime minister to visit Thrace.» The two-day visit marked the beginning of a busy period for Bakoyannis, who is due to meet with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Athens next month. The government said yesterday that Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos will visit Greece on February 21. Bakoyannis will also head a Greek diplomatic mission to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday as Greece steps up attempts to develop closer economic ties with Arab countries.