Foreign policy is the premier’s call

The change of guard at the country’s Foreign Ministry has fueled speculation that Greece is poised to alter its Cyprus policy. However, all such speculation is groundless. The country has one and only one foreign policy line – and that is carved out by the prime minister, in this case Costas Karamanlis. The above rule applies to all policy domains but especially to foreign policy, which binds the country on an international level. To be sure, individual politicians may hold their own personal views on different issues. But it is the duty of the government to carry out the decisions reached by the prime minister. Any other policy, regardless of its degree of independence, is undesirable and cannot be tolerated. After all, it would not make sense for various government members to undertake different international commitments. Particularly on the Cyprus issue, Costas Karamanlis was clear about the context of Greece’s foreign policy. In an interview with the Fileleftheros daily of Cyprus, Greece’s conservative leader said, «In April 2004, the Cypriot people made a decision that we all have to respect.» Moreover, Karamanlis ruled out any possibility of Greece accepting a slightly revised version of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s reunification plan, which was massively rejected in the Greek-Cypriot referendum two years ago. «A new, carefully prepared round of negotiations, without arbitration and tight time frames, must begin within the UN framework with the aim of reaching an agreed settlement that will be acceptable to all sides on Cyprus,» Karamanlis said, effectively aligning himself with the official position of the government in Nicosia. Greece’s prime minister is the guarantor of the country’s foreign policy. He is solely responsible for any change of course which he deems will serve Greece’s interests.

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