HomeVoulgarakis 200516-12-2005: Press Conference after the four-party Conference between the Minister of Public Order and his counterparts, the Home Affairs...

16-12-2005: Press Conference after the four-party Conference between the Minister of Public Order and his counterparts, the Home Affairs Ministers of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey (Athens, 15-16/12/2005)

Athens, 16/12/2005
Minister of Public Order Mr. George Voulgarakis: A few months ago I had said that following an official invitation from Pakistan, I had met with the Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Sherpao. Having examined thoroughly issues of bilateral concern and interest, and having reached the conclusion that there are common problems in this greater region, we came up with the idea to hold a four-party conference between the countries facing common problems, so as to possibly find joint solutions, eventually leading to the peoples and governments being relieved from these problems.
In any case, the main idea was to make an effort to put order in all those things. This is when the concept of holding this four-party conference was born. I had suggested for this conference to take place in Athens and then the procedure was set off in order for Iran and of course, Turkey to participate.
This conference had been scheduled for the month of October, but this date had to be postponed due to the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan then. Yesterday and today this conference finally took place and we had the opportunity to discuss a number of issues concerning all four countries.
I would like to let you know that these talks went a long way in terms of discussion and achieved significant ways to approach these matters, either between the Ministers or between the experts. This approach is highly promising for the future, according to my point of view.
I am using the word ?promising?, because in the first place, the decision has been made to establish this initiative on a permanent basis, rotating between all countries in the future, since this the way to bring solutions to a series of problems we are all faced with. Therefore, the next conference shall take place in Istanbul. Mr. Aksu shall be our host there, whereas in the meantime experts from all countries shall draft the agenda including other issues, maybe of a vaster scope than the ones we discussed today in this room.
After a series of discussions between the experts and the Ministers, we reached an agreement on a text that I would like to read to you. This text has just been signed and constitutes a very important development.
This is the text upon which we have all agreed and that we, the four Ministers, have signed. I think that this statement brings a change of paramount importance, since it is the first time that the countries dealing with a not only common but also huge problem, manage to sit around a table and put order into things, a fact that heralds concrete results for the future.
This is all I would like to say. I shall now answer to all questions, if any.
Journalist Mr. Stamatis Skourtis: […] Which will be the form and the fields of action for this cooperation?
Minister of Public Order Mr. George Voulgarakis: In this statement we are describing a series of decisions that the competent committees shall then examine, assess and approach in detail. The most important outcome of this conference was that the four of us stated our political will to cooperate in these concrete fields of action.
How this shall be made possible, which shall be the means to implement this decision, which shall be the practices needing to be applied, which shall be the measures needing to be adopted, all this shall be the topic of discussion in the competent committees, which shall delve into this subject and find the way to bring things forward. As far as I am concerned, what I would like you to keep in mind is that there is a political will on behalf of the four of us to cooperate, to make our countries cooperate and thus, efficiently deal with such phenomena. The way to do so shall become obvious in our future course. Now, I do not know whether the Ministers would like to add something, if so they are more than welcome.
Journalist Mr. Petros Karsiotis: I would like to ask whether you have discussed with your counterpart from Pakistan the statements by his compatriots here in Greece according to which they have reportedly been kidnapped by unknown individuals in the past month of July and have been questioned on the London incidents.
Minister of Home Affairs of Pakistan, Mr. Aftab Ahmad Khan SHERPAO: My attention has been drawn on this issue, which I have discussed with our Ambassador in Greece. Although this is something that has appeared in the Press, our Embassy in Greece has not been informed neither by the relatives nor by anyone else who is reported to have been involved in this issue. Our Ambassador has made this public without any response whatsoever. This means that this incident has actually never happened. There is a large community of Pakistanis living here in Greece. Our citizens are lawful civilians and this is also what the Minister of Public Order has told me. They shall always be lawful and shall continue to work here in Greece to the benefit of the Hellenic Republic.
Minister of Public Order Mr. George Voulgarakis: Thank you very much.

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