European security tops agenda

Greece will preside over a meeting between NATO and Russia and a gathering of foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Corfu this weekend, which aims to draw up a new framework for the European security structure. NATO and Russian officials are due to meet today on the Ionian island, which will host a two-day gathering of the OSCE officials. Greece currently holds the rotating presidency of the organization, which is Europe’s top security body. The Corfu meeting has been awaited with some anticipation by diplomats, as it will be the first such encounter between NATO and Moscow diplomats since Russia clashed with Georgia last August. «We’ve been waiting for the Russians to flesh out their ideas,» a senior US State Department official told Reuters. Greece is hoping that it will be able to help bridge any divides between Moscow and the West. «The aim is to create a different atmosphere and relations between the West and Russia,» said Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. Her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, is expected to expand on Russia’s proposal for a «new security architecture» in Europe. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg will represent the USA after Hillary Clinton was forced to remain in Washington due to an injury. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said yesterday that he would also make the short trip to Corfu to attend the talks. Athens is also hoping to use this weekend as an opportunity to conduct some bilateral diplomacy. Bakoyannis is expected to conduct her first meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu since he was appointed earlier this year and talks with her counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Antonio Milososki have also been lined up.