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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-03-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karolos Papoulias begins duties as President of the Republic
  • [02] Talks on FYROM name issue to resume in next few weeks
  • [03] All pre-electoral promises will be fulfilled in four-year term
  • [04] PASOK leader Papandreou begins Lebanon visit in framework of EU socialists initiative

  • [01] Karolos Papoulias begins duties as President of the Republic

    Greece's new President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias held his first working meetings with his associates at the Presidential Mansion on Sunday, a day after he was sworn into the office in the 300-member Hellenic Parliament.

    At the same time, former President Costis Stephanopoulos, who turned over the post to Papoulias on Saturday after two successive terms in the office -- the maximum allowed under the Greek Constitution -- spent his first day as an ordinary citizen at his holiday home in Rio, near his home-town of Patras, with his children and grandchilden, and indulged in his favourite sport, bicycling.

    Papoulias arrived at the Presidential Mansion before noon, and held his first meeting with his old and new associates, while he was due to receive visits later in the day by his family.

    Leaving his home in the central residential district of Exarchia for the Presidential office, Papoulias told waiting reporters that "life continues: work, home, home, work...".

    The new President of the Republic, the sixth since the restoration of democracy in Greece, will receive courtesy calls from the political party leaders later in the week.

    His first official visit abroad in his new capacity is tentatively scheduled for May, when he will go to Moscow to attend events marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

    The 50th anniversar events, in May 1995 in Moscow, had been attended by Papoulias' predecessor, Costis Stephanopoulos.

    [02] Talks on FYROM name issue to resume in next few weeks

    New York (ANA/P. Panagioutou) -- UN-brokered negotiations between Greece and FYROM for finding a solution to the FYROM name issue will resume in New York in the next few weeks, UN secretary general Kofi Annan's special representative on FYROM, Matthew Nimetz, told reporters on Saturday after a working lunch with Greece's visiting deputy foreign minister Yannis Valynakis and the country's permament representative to the UN, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, in Manhattan.

    Nimetz indirectly but clearly conceded that the two negotiating continued to have different approaches to the issue.

    Nimetz told reporters that he had a "very good meeting" with Valynakis, adding that the deputy minister had explained the position of the Greek government.

    "Throughout these years, we have had many discussions, but Mr. Valynakis analysed the position very clearly," Nimetz said, noting that "the Greek government is devoted to resolving the issue in a way that satisfies everyone".

    He further expressed hope that progress would be made.

    Replying to a related press question, Nimetz explained that "a solution does not mean compromise, but rather understanding by each side", and added that "the two governments are responsible, and recognise that if tis problem is solved, it will be good for their countries and the region".

    He conceded, at the same time, that "obviously the positions differ, because if they held the same position, then we would have no issue (for discussion)", but added that "despite that, I see real interest for a solution, and we will continue the efforts".

    Valynakis, in turn, said that "this was one of the regular meetings we have commenced since last summer...We had a very interesting discussion".

    "I can also reiterate that I outlined the Greek government's position, that a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue would facilitate our bilateral (Greece-FYROM) relations, help in achieving stability in the Balkan region, which we all know is particularly necessary, and, naturally, would facilitate Skopje's course to the Euro-Atlantic institutions. It is something that we consider would be positive," Valynakis said.

    "The Greek side supports the conversion of the Balkans into a European neighbourhood. We hope that the other side will display the same constructive stance that we have manifested, and that it will realise precisely the need to proceed to its European perspective via the road of a mutually acceptable solution," the Greek deputy foreign minister added.

    Valynakis had a meeting earlier with the members of Greece's permament representation to the UN to examine issues concerning Greece's participation on the UN Security Council (as a non-permament member for the two-year period 2005-2006), particularly in light of Greece's assumption of the rotating Security Council presidency in July.

    Valynakis will visit Washington on Monday, where he will hold talks with US government officials at the White House and the State Department.

    [03] All pre-electoral promises will be fulfilled in four-year term

    All of the promises made pre-electorally by the government will be fulfilled by the end of the current four-year term in office, ruling New Democracy party (ND) secretary Vangelis Meimarakis said in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of Apogevmatini newspaper.

    Already, in its first year in office, the government has proceeded with important changes and reforms, he said.

    At the same time, Meimarakis clarified that there had been no change of direction in the government but, on the contrary, there was a systematic effort by other quarters to misinform and mislead the public opinion. "It does not arise from anywhere that we will postpone the materilisation of our pre-electoral pledges," Meimarakis stressed.

    The ND secretary further noted that "2005 is the year of reforms" that needed to be effected so that the country could progress, and reiterated that the present government "does not pull surprises and does not defraud anyone, it does not say one thing and then do something else".

    "Through dialogue and understanding, we will proceed with the structural changes, fully aware that major changes also give rise to some dissatisfaction," Meimarakis said, adding that "what should count is the good of all, and that is what we are obliged to do".

    [04] PASOK leader Papandreou begins Lebanon visit in framework of EU socialists initiative

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday commenced a two-day visit to Lebanon, in the framework of an initiative by the leaders of the EU member states' socialist parties, for talks with the political forces in Lebanon and the latest developments in that country, particularly following the assassination of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.

    Former Lebanese prime minister al-Hariri was assassinated in a car-bomb explosion in downtown Beirut on February 14. Twelve more people were killed and another 120 were injured in the massive explosion.

    Papandreou joins Paul Rasmussen, former Danish prime minister and current president of the European Parliament's grouping of socialist parties (PSE), French socialist party first secretary Francois Hollande, former French prime minister ahd former Socialist International president Pierre Mauroy, and Belgian socialist party leader Dlio di Rupo.

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