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Interview: Foreign Ministry Secretary General Zepos on NET TV, with journalist M. Sarafoglou (excerpts)

[On the situation in Libya and the preparedness of the Greek state]

·       The situation is still developing. The Greek state has taken all measures to assist our fellow citizens if need be.

·       Jointly with the Defence Ministry, we are looking at and discussing what decisions we can take.

[On the situation in Egypt and Ambassador Zepos’s recent visit to Cairo]

·       What I saw in Egypt that I hadn’t seen at earlier times – during my posting to Egypt – was a general sense of freedom, hope and pride on the part of the Egyptians regarding what is happening in their country and what they themselves achieved.

·       Greece has a special relationship with Egypt – a very old, traditional and friendly relationship. We have the Greek Egyptian community, the Patriarchate. There are many reasons, and historical reasons, of course, as I said, and first of all we want to see exactly where things stand and what we can offer.

·       What we want is a stable Egypt in our region, because Egypt is a pivotal country in the Arab world. But Greece isn’t giving advice about how Egypt should move ahead. Egypt has undergone a serious process recently and has responsible people who will decide on where and how the country should proceed. What we can offer, and we said this, is that if we can be of assistance, on the level of the organization of civil society or the organization of political parties – for Egypt has functioned for many years with essentially a single-party state – in these sectors or in others where they may request our help, we are open to helping the Egyptians.

[On Foreign Ministry operation and finances]

·       As you know, Greece is going through a difficult time. Without question, the Foreign Ministry has to join in helping to confront this situation. What I would just like to add is that given that the Foreign Ministry, through its Embassies and all of the Missions Abroad, is a special case – it isn’t a public service somewhere in Greece – it needs to be seen to that these services can operate normally, without difficulties, because I think that at precisely this time, which is difficult for our country, it is of great importance that our representation abroad function correctly so that it can help the country in this state of affairs.

Last Updated Tuesday, 22 February 2011