ADDRESS
BY H.E. THE PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC Dr. KAROLOS PAPOULIAS TO THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS Mr. BAN KI-MOON AT THE DINNER HELD IN HIS HONOUR AT THE PRESIDENTIAL MANSION


Presidential Mansion,  November 4, 2009

Dear Mr. Secretary General,

 

I am particularly pleased to welcome you toAthens on the occasion of your attendance at the proceedings of the 3rd Global Forum on Migration. As a founding member of the United Nations, Greece is a faithful custodian of the timeless values which the UN Charter subscribes to. The spirit of the Charter is always timely. For that reason mankind turns to the UN to resolve conflicts such as those in the Middle East, Cyprus, the Sudan and Afghanistan. Mankind also turns to the UN to resolve international problems such as environmental protection, climate change, sustainable development and natural disasters. In other words, mankind turns to the United Nations to build a better future. It is, of course, the UN which shapes international law.

 

It is clear that there cannot be global equilibrium and peace if the gap between those who have those who do not continues to grow. The demand for a more equitable international economic order of things it more timely than ever.

 

There are many, clear-cut challenges. Effective solutions will not come about from the political will of the few and the selfless. They will emerge from the political will of the many, provided that that will is transformed into realistic plans and the corresponding political acts. On point of principle, Greece is in favour of multilateral cooperation and will support any relevant multilateral initiatives. We want the UN to be powerful and effective, to play a substantive collective role on the international political stage. We have no illusions, but we will no desist from adding our voice to the voices of all those working towards the same end.

 

Mr. Secretary General,

 

As you are well aware, Greece has consistently been striving to main good neighbour relations and partnerships with all states in the area based on reciprocity and compliance with the principles of international law and international legitimacy.

 

The UN is playing a vital role in resolution of the Cyprus question. Greece looks forward to the reunification of Cyprus as a state and in terms of its society, economy and institutions. The Cyprus question never stopped being a problem of invasion and occupation. Its solution cannot be achieved without removing the consequences of invasion and bringing occupation to an end. For decade now UN resolutions have set out the general framework for a solution. In order for the solution to the Cyprus question to be sustainable, it must be functional. No community must be able to raise barriers to the functioning and activities of the state. The solution must respect fundamental democratic principles, human rights and the principle of the rule of law. It must also include the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Cyprus. There must be no umpirage or timeframes.

 

The accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union makes it easier to find a solution because it offers both communities the guarantees of a wider institutional framework of values and safeguards. The solution can now only be a European one, in other words a solution compatible with the acquis communautaire, the fundamental principles and values on which the Union is based and operates. By the very nature of things, the European Union is now an important factor in the process of solving the problem. Of course, it will not replace the role of the UN, but is an involved party and as such has a say about the process and the substance of the settlement to be reached.

 

The fact that a candidate for accession such as Turkey dos not recognise a Member State of the European Union, such as the Republic of Cyprus, is a blatant paradox which strikes at the very prestige of the Union itself.

 

The solution to the Cyprus question is a separate process from Euro-Turkish relations but it is clear that Turkey’s European aims have no hopes if the Cyprus question remains an open wound.

  

Mr. Secretary General,

 

15 years ago the Security Council recognised that there is well-founded dispute over the name of FYROM. For that reason, it agreed on a temporary name, and also put in place a dispute resolution procedure under the auspices of the United Nations.

The problem is simple. The geographical area Macedonia has been a multinational region since the Middle Ages. It is not the homeland of any one nation.

 

The wrong committed by FYROM is that although as a state and nationality it is just a part, it presents itself as the whole. They call their state ‘Macedonia’ and their nationality and language ‘Macedonian’ because in using those names they are attempting to register a claim to all of Macedonia. Their rhetoric on the major fragmentation of the Macedonian homeland also serves that same end.

 

Greece is not seeking to baptise the neighbouring state or any such thing. It is resisting the said attempt at usurpation. We support the idea of a composite name with a geographical identifier for the state which will be for all purposes, with the sole objective of the names reflecting the reality of the region, in the spirit of the good neighbour principle, and not as something poisoning bilateral relations and the climate in the wider area.

 

Greece supports the idea that good neighbour relations between countries cannot be built on unsettled issues. My personal attempts to resolve this matter as Minister of Foreign Affairs are well-known. We signed the Interim Agreement in 1995 to allow a compromise solution to emerge from a climate of consent which reflects the reality of the region. Unfortunately, FYROM converted the negotiating procedure into a pretext. Following that, Greece had no other choice but to make a mutually acceptable solution a condition for FYROM’s accession to the European Union and to NATO. Until this outstanding issue is settled, Greece cannot give its consent. The key to FYROM’s accession to the halls of Europe and NATO lies with FYROM itself.

 With those thoughts in mind, it is my hope that your presence here will fuel useful and constructive debate on the issues concerning the international community and global public opinion.-

 

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