Washington calls on Karamanlis

In statements to the USA’s Greek community a few days ago, Burns praised the Greek prime minister and expressed the Bush administration’s desire «to welcome him again in Washington.» He said he himself had attended a two-hour working dinner with Karamanlis in Zagreb the previous week, adding that he had come to know the prime minister well while serving as ambassador in Athens. Burns said that as main opposition leader, Karamanlis had «behaved with dignity» and as prime minister «had done excellent work.» Burns emphasized Washington’s desire to work closely with the Greek government on a number of issues, including Kosovo, European-American relations and Cyprus. He noted that the time had come for a new initiative on the Cyprus issue in which he said the US was ready to play a leading role. In that context, Burns said he was discussing with the Cypriot government the possibility of his visiting Nicosia as an indication of Washington’s desire to remove the chill in relations that had followed the Greek Cypriots’ rejection of the Kofi Annan plan for unifying the island republic.