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Statements of Foreign Minister Droutsas and his UK counterpart, Mr. Hague, after their meeting in London

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Mr. Hague: It was my great pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas to London today. Britain and Greece have a long history of partnership and co-operation. When we work together, we achieve results which benefit our mutual prosperity and security as demonstrated in our cooperation on counter-terrorism and our common support for international efforts to bring stability and security to Afghanistan. Our discussions focused on our shared priorities including: supporting and encouraging a Cyprus settlement, European enlargement to countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey and our shared commitment towards renewed urgency on taking forward the Middle East Peace Process. I am confident that our talks today will enable us to build on our already strong relationship over the coming years.

Journalist: Is Cyprus on the Agenda?

Mr. Hague: Well of course Cyprus is always on the agenda, in which we always have to work hard within the European Union and particularly in Greece and the United Kingdom. But there are of course many other issues for us to discuss today as well, including the deposition of Middle East in the Middle East peace process, the recent events in Egypt and Tunisia and how the European Union can assist with the future of Egypt and an extremely important subject for us to discuss at the Foreign Council next week and there are many ways which we can strengthen the cooperation on foreign policy between Greece and the United Kingdom

Mr. Droutsas: Thank you very much William. I can only say that the relations between Greece and the United Kingdom are traditionally very strong and thank you very much for this meeting. We have the chance to discuss issues you have just mentioned. Cyprus as you said of course is in the interest of both of our countries that want to see here a viable solution within the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the acquis communautaire.

We also have the chance to discuss of course the Middle East and especially Egypt. Here I would like to say that Greece is part of the region. It is our immediate neighbourhood, so we can offer quite some experience. Let me also say - since we are talking about transition to democracy in Egypt and also in the Arab world - that Greece is the birthplace of democracy.

I also have to say that it has a symbolic essence, and here we can cooperate because as I said Greece is the birthplace of democracy, but Britain has the first Parliament, so also here we can send the necessary messages. Allow me also to add another topic that we will be discussing today, it is the Balkans and the EU enlargement in the Balkans, with the very close cooperation between our countries. It is again Greece’s immediate neighbourhood, where we have common interest and where I think cooperation would be very strong and very intensive.