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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-03-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papoulias to be sworn-in as new president on Saturday; Karamanlis praises outgoing Stephanopoulos
  • [02] Greece, Russia, Bulgaria move closer to oil pipeline project
  • [03] Gov't on FYROM 'name issue'
  • [04] Carnival in Greece culminates

  • [01] Papoulias to be sworn-in as new president on Saturday; Karamanlis praises outgoing Stephanopoulos

    Outgoing President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Saturday will turn over the head of state post to former foreign minister Karolos Papoulias, who was elected by a large majority of Parliament MPs last month.

    On Friday, Stephanopoulos received Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at his office, with the latter praising the manner in which the outgoing president exercised his duties over the past 10 years, calling his tenure as "exemplary".

    ?During his 10-year tenure, Mr. Stephanopoulos served the state, the institution, the country and Hellenism, in general, with a very high degree of responsibility,? Karamanlis said after exiting the presidential mansion.

    Stephanopoulos has served for two terms as the president of the republic, a total of 10 years.

    Both major parties in Parliament, ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK, expressed their support for Papoulias, a top one-time PASOK cadre, who received a record number 279 votes out of the 300 MPs in the legislature.

    The 15 deputies from Parliament's two smaller parties, the Communist Party (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) voted "present".

    Papoulias will be sworn-in in Parliament's main chamber after first laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    [02] Greece, Russia, Bulgaria move closer to oil pipeline project

    Greece, Bulgaria and Russia on Thursday took another step towards building an oil pipeline linking Burgas with Alexandroupoli, after representatives at a three-party meeting in Moscow agreed to sign a political memorandum on the project on April 15.

    Greek Development Deputy Minister George Salagoudis participated in the Intergovernmental Commission's meeting in the Russian capital.

    An initiative group, formed by oil companies interested in the project, examined all financial aspects, saying that the three governments' positions on the project were fully satisfactory and recommended that all three representations sign a political memorandum.

    The signing of the protocol will take place in Sofia.

    Under the protocol, the political memorandum could be signed earlier if procedures were finished ahead of time.

    The initiative group examined all presented data related with the oil pipeline, covering both the condition prevailing in the Black Sea and any alternate routes of promoting crude oil exports.

    A report, prepared by the group, concluded that the Burgas-Alexandroupoli project was the best plan and in the interest of all three parties, the oil industry and companies.

    The Greek minister expressed his satisfaction over the development and particularly for the fact that all interested companies concluded that the project was viable.

    [03] Gov't on FYROM 'name issue'

    The government on Friday reiterated that Athens continues to support bilateral negotiations with the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter's name, a standing 'thorn' in otherwise excellent relations.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros made the statement at his regular press briefing in answer to questions citing a "pending resolution" of the dispute.

    "Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. (Yiannis) Valynakis held talks in New York over a solution to the problem, which is none other than a mutually acceptable name within the framework of the United Nations," Antonaros added.

    Asked if optimism is warranted, the spokesman said: "After three years of inactivity by the previous (Greek) government, the pace today has accelerated".

    Relations between Greece and the former Yugoslav state to its north have dramatically improved since the two countries signed an interim agreement in New York nearly 10 years ago under the UN's auspices. Currently, only the "name issue" ranks as a difference, albeit a prickly one, between Athens and Skopje.

    Successive Greek governments, the overwhelming majority of public opinion in the east Mediterranean country as well as numerous ethnic Greek communities around the world are adamantly opposed to FYROM's attempt to use the name "Macedonia", citing historical and political reasons.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Greece and FYROM are responsible for continuing negotiations to find a mutually acceptable solution, with Athens repeatedly pointing to the term "mutually".

    [04] Carnival in Greece culminates

    Greeks all over the country joined in the carnival festivities, culminating on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks were expected to travel to the countryside to celebrate carnival on Sunday and Clean Monday.
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