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Greece-Turkey agree on confidence building measures
2006-06-12 13:45:42

Nicosia, Jun 11 (CNA) -- Greece and Turkey have announced a series of confidence building measures with a view to reduce tension between the two NATO allies and help avert any future incidents.

Speaking after talks in Constantinople (Istanbul), Foreign Ministers Dora Bakoyianni and Abdullah Gul said these include an extension of the current moratorium in the Aegean, a direct line of communication between the military commands of the two countries, joint exercises to deal with natural disasters and a hot line between the top brass in Larisa and Eski Sehir.

On Cyprus, Gul said an important opportunity for a political settlement was lost in 2004 (when a UN-proposed solution plan was rejected) and wished for a solution that would take into consideration ?the facts on the ground in Cyprus.?

Referring to Monday?s Association Council with the European Union, Gul refrained from saying whether he would attend or not, noting a decision on the matter will be taken after the conclusion of the EU Council of Ministers meeting on Monday morning.

On Friday, EU ambassadors in Brussels failed to reach consensus on the text of their common position with regard to Turkey?s accession course and the matter has been referred to the ministerial meeting.

Britain turned down a compromise proposal by the EU Austrian presidency, put forward after Cyprus had not given its consent to a text that did not specify Turkey?s obligation to meet its EU commitments, in particular those relating to Cyprus (opening ports and airports to Cypriot vessels and aircraft).

Speaking to the press, Bakoyianni said she had ?an open, frank and constructive? meeting and added that Greece expects Turkey to meet the EU criteria for accession and to continue its dialogue with Athens to reduce tension.

Gul described his meeting with Bakoyianni ?useful, friendly and courageous?.

Greece and Turkey also agree on exchange of visits by officers of their respective port authorities, on building a bridge near Evros and setting up a special team to contain floods in the area of Evros river.

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