Monday, March 8, 2010

PM Papandreou holds talks with H. Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed on Monday the efforts being made by the Greek government to handle the economic crisis and accepted the suggestion by the Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou for the US and the other major economies of the planet to discuss the need to improve auditing apparatuses in markets during the next G20 summit.

During their 45-minute meeting at the State Department, the Greek prime minister and the head of American diplomacy also discussed developments on the issue of Cyprus, the Balkans and NATO operations in Afghanistan.

In a joint press conference, Clinton stressed "Greece's leading and strategic role in the Balkans" and praised the initiatives of Papandreou in the diplomatic field and on the issue of Greek-Turkish relations in particular.

The Greek prime minister pointed out that Greece was not calling for economic aid, neither from the US nor from any other, but was highlighting the need for better and coordinated checks by governments so that profiteering games against countries and peoples can be avoided.

"The economic crisis made us understand very well that we may suffer pressures, but the markets' functioning needs regulating mechanisms and this is the message I bring after talks with the other European leaders," Papandreou said, adding: "We have taken very difficult decisions regarding the handling of the (Greece's) deficit and the economy's growth. Always within the framework of green development. We have witnessed some speculation practices which can be handled through cooperation between the European nations and the USA."

He also underlined the goal of incorporating all the countries of the western Balkans in the European Union by 2014, while revealing that he intends to meet soon with his Turkish counterpart Tayip Erdogan in the framework of the effort to normalise Greek-Turkish relations.

"Yes, Western Balkan countries must belong to the European family, Greek-Turkish relations are very important for us and we support Turkey's efforts for EU accession, but there are problems that have to be solved such as the Cyprus issue and human rights," Papandreou noted.

"We want normal borrowing interests, we want political and not economic support. If any problems arise, the necessary tools, which will help us deal with speculators, will also be found," the Greek premier also added, while responding to press questions.

On her part, Clinton noted that "neither the prime minister nor Greece have asked for something, and we congratulate them for the steps they are taking."

"We want to avoid the negative consequences from a deregulation of the markets," she added.

In her opening statement at the start of the joint press conference, Clinton thanked the Greek prime minister "for his contribution to our cooperation for our presence in Afghanistan, but also for the cooperation of the two countries in the fight against terrorism. We discussed the problems in the Balkans and we know that Greece will help towards stability in the region."

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