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Mediterranean Quarterly 12.1 (2001) 1-10

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Principles of Greek Foreign Policy

George A. Papandreou

Greek foreign policy in the post-Cold War era retains the fundamental principles that have shaped our country's destiny. In a nutshell, the foreign policy of Greece is geared to defend and promote our national interests in the context of our alliances and commitments, to seek peace and stability in the region, and to assist the global community in its efforts to alleviate pain, end hunger, reaffirm the rule of law, and deal with the causes and the occurrence of violence. Situated in a critical corner of the globe, Greece has long experience and painful memories of war and violence and is fully prepared to use that experience toward creating a peaceful world.

Violence might be an intrinsic part of humanity, but so are relentless efforts to rule it out, to regulate antagonism, to peacefully address confrontational situations, and to prevent hatred and prejudice. Whether we come together to understand each other or we come together to debate each other, our goal has always been to better our lives and build a more secure future--something that is better achieved in a peaceful environment.

Since ancient times we have attempted to establish norms of peaceful coexistence, and in our effort we have built traditions, religions, and political structures. Through these norms we have tried to battle a fate seemingly dictated by force, poverty, oppression, prejudice, chronic and contagious diseases, inequality, and a withering environment. Throughout history our efforts have taken various forms, but they have all commenced with a unique first step: an overriding principle that in order to solve problems we need to come together as a people and as members of the human family. [End Page 1]

September 2000 was a month marked by two events that brought our world closer together than at any other time in history: the United Nations Millennium Assembly of world leaders and the twenty-seventh Olympiad. At the dawn of the twenty-first century nations met, competed, clashed, differed, and disagreed. And yet our world has never looked more united or more determined to tackle its problems as one indivisible community.

In the current environment, our efforts to build a better world for our children can and ought to be pancosmic. We each have our roles as governments, as communities, and as individual citizens, but we can all contribute to a future that inspires in our children the will to grow free and to create in safety and peace.

As UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan very wisely stated during his address at the Millennium Assembly: "We face global challenges which oblige us to work together. If that is true in the economic and social sphere, it applies even more to the challenges of massacre and war." These words command even more authority coming from a man whose political skill, moral stature, and devotion have contributed, in numerous cases, to the resolution of conflicting issues.

When a child misses its childhood and its education in a dark prison cell, when a child is maimed from the explosion of a mine, or when a child dies of hunger, of AIDS, or in war, we witness not just a tragic event or the sad state of some distant community. In today's world, when a child dies we lose another ray of hope that our global community will come together as one, that we shall live in peace, and that we will finally tackle the challenges expected of us.

In Greece, we have become deeply conscious of this reality. What goes on in a neighboring community directly affects the way our children will grow and develop. So we have made a commitment to our world and more specifically to our region, and I would like to outline this commitment.

The Millennium Assembly and the Olympic Games of September 2000 symbolize the beginning of an era for my country. After the 2000 General Assembly completed its work, Greece raised the Olympic flag in Sydney, and for the second time in almost a century, the...


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pp. 1-10
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Archived 2019
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