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Highlights of the joint statements of Foreign Minister Lambrinidis and Arab League Secretary General El-Araby (Cairo, 12 October 2011)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

STAVROS LAMBRINIDIS:

•    I would like to thank the Secretary General for the very substantial talks we had today. Greece sees the Arab League as one of the most important organizations; an organization with a catalytic role in our region. Greece is linked to the countries of the Arab world by longstanding and continuous contact based on traditional relations of friendship and trust.

•    The Secretary General and I discussed all the developments in our region. I briefed him on the meeting the EU Council of Foreign Ministers had the day before yesterday on the Palestinian issue, and the Quartet’s efforts. We also discussed developments on the issue within the framework of the UN.

•    We agreed to remain in close contact and continue to work together towards achieving the ultimate goal: the creation of a Palestinian state that co-exists side by side with Israel, in conditions of peace and security.

•    The issue being faced by the citizens of Libya regarding their future is another very real and serious issue that we discussed at the EU. Libya is taking firm steps towards democratization, but there are still great challenges to be met and real dangers to be faced. The Libyan people can prevail, and they will have the help of the international community.

•    The situation in Syria is cause for great concern. I thing that the role of the Arab League – and especially of the Secretary General, who enjoys the respect of all the players – is of critical importance.

•    I would like to thank the Secretary General again and assure him that Greece intends to develop ever-closer ties of cooperation with the Arab League. As Foreign Minister, I would like to invite him to visit Athens at the earliest opportunity.

•    Finally, I convey the warm greetings and great friendship of the Greek government and Prime Minister Papandreou.

NABIL EL-ARABY:

•    Again, thank you very much for this meeting, and I feel great pleasure at the fact that this meeting is a follow-up to the long talk we had in New York. At these meetings we discussed many issues that are developing currently and that we are confronting.

•    All the countries of the Arab world have especially historical and traditional relations with Greece.

•    The current Greek government truly is one of those that understands the region’s problems and wants to play a role not only of understanding, but also of action in this field.

•    It is very important that Greece is a member of the EU and can play that role. As we discussed, the EU really is the one showing balance in international relations, and we look forward to closer cooperation with the EU with the help of a friendly country like Greece.

•    We discussed issues pertaining to the Arab world – particularly the Palestinian issue – and I would like to underscore and emphasise the fact that the Greek government took a noteworthy position on the Palestinian issue. We are happy not only about that, but also because of the influence Greece exerted, and I think that this reflects the strong relationship between Greece and the Arab countries as a whole.

•    The Minister also talked to me about other issues concerning Europe and the positions being formulated, and he explained some issues on which I did not have a complete picture, and I am grateful for that. We also discussed other issues concerning the Arab world, and we exchanged views on what might be expected in this regard in the coming months. I am certain that the Arab world’s relations with Greece will develop more and more.

•    It is very kind of the Minister to invite me to Greece, and I thank him. I have visited Greece many times, and I look forward to travelling to Athens and meeting with him there.

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