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Alternate FM Xenogiannakopoulou’s reply to a question in Parliament from SYRIZA MP T. Dritsas

Alternate FM Xenogiannakopoulou’s reply to a question in Parliament from SYRIZA MP T. Dritsas regarding “the government’s position on the Palestinian state.”

Ms. Xenogiannakopoulou: I am aware of my colleague Mr. Dritsas’s great interest in and struggles for vindication of the struggles of the Palestinian people. And you are absolutely right when you say that the state of affairs and current events – with the overall developments we are seeing in our region and, naturally, in Egypt – lend great urgency to developments concerning the peace process. And that is why I would like to inform you that in the European Council conclusions of this past Friday, in Brussels, there is a special paragraph regarding the need to give new momentum to the peace process, in the midst of the developments we have been experiencing recently.

Greece’s position is clear and longstanding. Greece is always present in the Middle East and has traditional ties with the Arab world. And you are well aware that this position of ours is expressed in all the international fora, including the EU organs, regarding the achievement of a just, viable and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question. A solution, of course, that – in order to be viable in the long term – will be based on the creation of two independent states that will coexist in peace and security in the region. And precisely because we undertake initiatives and because we have, on the one hand, this traditional historical relationship of trust with the Arab world, and, on the other, our relationship with the state of Israel, we can play this role. That is, we can be creative in the direction of finding such a just and viable solution.

Beyond that, I would like to remind you – because the EU is monitoring these issues in an ongoing manner, and I will agree with you that the EU should deal with the question of the peace process in a much more dynamic and proactive manner – that in the conclusions, when special reference was made to this at the Foreign Affairs Council this past December, it was once again set down that all the member states agreed on our readiness to recognize the Palestinian state when this is appropriate: When the peace talks and process have reached such a point where this can be carried out.

I would also like to remind you that last December we had the pleasure of having the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Abbas, here in Athens, where we reaffirmed, once again, our country’s firm position, which has full acknowledgment from all the political forces in Palestine. And in fact, in this direction, I would like to inform you – because this is something we conveyed to president Abbas at that time – that we are moving ahead to upgrading the status of the Palestinian Ambassador to Athens, precisely as a political and symbolic move. And from now on the Palestinian Ambassador will present credentials to the President of the Republic. To date, these credentials were presented to the Foreign Minister. And this starts with the current Ambassador of the Palestinian Authority to Greece, who next week will present credentials to the President of the Hellenic Republic.

Last Updated Tuesday, 08 February 2011