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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-02-02

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud on Sunday
  • [02] President Stephanopoulos addresses business forum
  • [03] FM gives interview to CNN Turk channel
  • [04] President Stephanopoulos begins official visit to Syria
  • [05] FM holds brief meeting with Turkish counterpart in New York

  • [01] Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud on Sunday

    02/02/2002 18:23:48

    Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country, which is likely to turn to light rain mainly in the southwest. Winds variable, light to moderate, turning very strong in the Aegean. In the north, temperatures will range from OC to 12C; on the rest of the mainland from 4C to 15C; and in the Aegean islands from 8C to 14C. Light cloud over Athens, with temperatures between 5C and 14C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 3C to 13C.

    [02] President Stephanopoulos addresses business forum

    02/02/2002 17:13:23

    DAMASCUS (ANA - N. Megadoukas) - President Kostis Stephanopoulos said on Saturday his visit to Syria will constitute the beginning of a closer, longer and more profitable cooperation in relations between Athens and Damascus.

    President Stephanopulos, currently an a three-day official visit to Syria, was addressing a forum of Greek and Syrian businessmen, underlining the important role businessmen can play in economic development.

    He added that what is also necessary is the activation of governments to enable necessary measures to be taken to facilitate business activity.

    President Stephanopoulos expressed respect for Syria's late president Hafez al-Asad, father of the country's present president, saying that he had friendly feelings for Greece, feelings which Greece reciprocated with sincerity.

    Earlier, during his talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, President Stephanopoulos referred frequently to his father and to his close friendship with the late Greek prime minister and founder of the PASOK party Andreas Papandreou.

    [03] FM gives interview to CNN Turk channel

    02/02/2002 16:18:36

    NEw YORK (ANA - T. Ellis) - Foreign Minister George Papandreou, in statements to the CNN Turk television channel, said contacts between Athens and Ankara have started two years ago with positive results.

    He added that they include agreements ratified by Parliament, the signing of many other agreements, the decrease in tension and cooperation at economic level.

    Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum over the weekend, Papandreou said what is important is the beginning of "exploratory contacts at diplomatic level" to ascertain whether through diplomatic channels "the achievement of a framework allowing for further progress is possible."

    Referring to Turkey's willingness to resort to the International Court at The Hague and the fact that it is following Greece's will for an exploratory dialogue at diplomatic level, Papandreou said it is the will of both sides to find a "common framework" safeguarding mutual respect, respect for territorial integrity, international law, respect for what has already been agreed, the peaceful settlement of differences and the existence of a common European future.

    On the question of the dialogue's time framework, he said that instructions have been given to diplomatic services to have discussions begin as soon as possible.

    Questioned whether he feels the same pressure as his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem when he turns up for talks on such issues as the Aegean, Papandreou said the issues separating the two countries are longstanding and are surrounded by many myths and problems.

    Papandreou added that what is essential is to have extremist voices, fear and force put aside to enable the promotion of common interests which are far more than those separating the two countries.

    [04] President Stephanopoulos begins official visit to Syria

    02/02/2002 15:35:50

    DAMASCUS (ANA - N. Megadoukas) - President Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived in Damascus, Syria, on Saturday on an official three-day visit to the country at the invitation of President Bashar al-Asad.

    He is accompanied by Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis, Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos and a group of Greek businessmen who are active in the region.

    Talks between the two presidents will focus on bilateral economic and business relations, the region's problems, primarily the Palestinian issue, and a briefing on Greek national issues.

    Greece atributes particular importance to contacts with Damascus, due to Syria's role in the Arab world and to relations Greece is continuing to maintain with countries in the region.

    According to reports, President Stephanopoulos pointed out in his contacts with his Syrian counterpart that in Middle East issues Athens has always and consistently applied a policy of principles and moral commitments and reiterated the support of Athens for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, which will result from talks in the framework of the peace process based on UN resolutions.

    In parallel, President Stephanopoulos underlined that Athens recognises Israel's right to live in security within its internationally-recognised borders.

    [05] FM holds brief meeting with Turkish counterpart in New York

    02/02/2002 15:09:07

    NEW YORK (ANA - T. Ellis) - Foreign Minister George Papandreou held a brief meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem on Friday and agreed to have a private and lengthy discussion with him on bilateral relations during the World Economic Forum taking place here, possibly later on Saturday.

    Papandreou said the Greek government has instructed senior diplomats to begin exploratory contacts to ascertain the possibility of resolving the continental shelf issue, as well as other major issues not related to territorial disputes, such as the question of the Patriarchate.

    The talks will be conducted on Greece's behalf by the foreign ministry's civil director, who will be discussing with his Turkish counterpart the possibility of drawing up an agreement based on a common framework to enable these issues to be settled by the International Court at The Hague.

    Papandreou said the whole framework should be based on specific principles, such as respect for territorial integrity, international treaties, international law and European vested interests, as well as paragraph 4 of the Helsinki summit agreement and all that it anticipates.

    He underlined the existence of an "unprecedented change" to the degree that certain agreements have been ratified in Parliament. He further said that the beginning of direct talks in Cyprus and its accession course have changed the entire scene, while Turkey's European candidacy sets out a "road map" containing the country's commitments.

    Papandreou said these facts constitute an "important conjuncture" which can be of help in the effort to change bilateral relations as well.

    Papandreou participated in a round-table discussion on Friday (together with Cem and other officials) on the issue of Europe's possibility of defining and exercising a unified foreign policy.

    His position, as well as that of his interlocutors, was that Europe is going ahead with a unified foreign policy and should strengthen its security by further develping its military power and consolidating its cohesion at operational level.

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