Wien, 3. December 2004 Press release

Plassnik: "Austria and Greece Wish for a Stable and Europe-Oriented Turkey"

03.12.2004

Minister for Foreign Affairs Met Greek Counterpart

Vienna, 3 December 2004 - Today’s working meeting of Foreign Minister Plassnik and her Greek counterpart Petros G. Molyviatis focused on European topics. In the run-up to the European Council of 17 December, the two Ministers for Foreign Affairs primarily discussed issues of EU enlargement. "In view of the upcoming decision of Heads of States and Governments about the potential opening of negotiations with Turkey, I was specially interested in learning about the view of a direct neighbour of Turkey," Plassnik said.

"Austria and Greece wish for a stable and Europe-oriented Turkey." The European Commission had found that Turkey made great progress in developing towards European standards but also listed a whole range of problems that continued to exist, primarily in the field of human rights.

In the talks Ms. Plassnik explained the Austrian position in respect of opening negotiations with Turkey, reminding that at the past Council of Foreign Ministers in Brussels, she had already called for the upcoming decision of the European Council to be prepared in a responsible way.

The issue of Cyprus was also addressed in the meeting. Foreign Minister Plassnik stressed: "I am confident that the process of rapprochement between Greece and Turkey will have a positive effect on the issue of Cyprus."