Athens: Obama’s Emissaries Are Going Around The Balkans


News From Greece
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Feb 16 2009

The emissaries of the US president Barack Obama arrived in Nicosia
yesterday to meet the Cyprian leaders, in order to discuss the
possibilities for progressing towards uniting the island. The
delegation is leaded by the senator from Illinois Richard Darbin, who
is accompanies by the finance minister of the State Alexis Yanoulis,
American with Greek origin, whose close friendship with Obama is
frequently stressed by the Greek media.

The messengers of Barack Obama will talk in Nicosia with the Cyprian
president Dimistris Hristofias, in Athens with the Prime Minister
Kostas Karamanlis and with the Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyanni. Senator
Darbin will also go to Turkey, accompanied with the chairman of the
Congressional Study Group on Turkey and congressman of Florida Richard
Wexler. In Ankara, they will be greeted by the President Abdilah Gul,
and in Istanbul by the ecumenical patriarch Vartolomey.

The tour of Barack Obama’s emissaries is expected with great interest
because during his presidential campaign he expresses some definitive
opinions about the political situation in Southeast Europe. The
Greek politicians were very happy by this, especially because those
opinions were differing quite a lot from American politics in this
region up to now. Not once, as a regular politician and a presidential
candidate Obama expressed his support for the Armenian genocide and
the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation in Cyprus. How far he will
get in annoying Turkey, which is his key ally with Iraq, Iran, and
Afghanistan, we will find out soon.

Greece is expecting the discussions nervously. Of course, Athens
wouldn’t mind Washington’s support for solving the Cyprian problem,
strengthening the institution of the ecumenical patriarchy in Istanbul,
and pressuring Turkey on some other topics but the Greek diplomats know
that everything has a price. And words like Kosovo and Afghanistan
rise on the horizon. As already known, Greece will not recognize
Kosovo in order not to offend its allies Serbia and Russia and also
everybody knows that Greece does not like sending its army abroad,
it doesn’t matter whether it is to satisfy Obama’s will or not.

Senator Darbin’s office renounces that it is bringing any messages from
the US president and stresses that the visits of the Illinois senator
are entirely of private and informational character. "Mr. Dabin’s
position, as part of the Senate and the commission of allocating
financial support, gives him the right to manage delegations and to
make official visits in foreign countries – to meet representatives
of foreign governments and to discuss the regional contacts of the
US. This tour will give the opportunity to Mr. Dabin to get to know
the progress, which made and the challenges we will be facing in the
future," says the message.

The Greek media is excited by the fact that one ordinary senator
and another even more ordinary State minister will be accepted by
the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister and not by the chairman
of the parliament and by the respective friendship commission with
the US. To the insisting questions of the diplomatic journalists, the
spokesman of the foreign ministry Giorgios Koumoutzakos answered: "The
necessary important attention should be paid to those meetings." And
when asked what exactly that importance is, he answered "I think I
already answered that question."

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