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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-04-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Renowned singer Grigoris Bithikotsis dies
  • [02] Foreign minister comments on bilateral relations with Turkey, upcoming visit to Ankara
  • [03] Greece, Russia, Bulgaria sign political pact Tues for new oil pipeline
  • [04] Gov't says efforts at finding solution to FYROM 'name issue' continuing

  • [01] Renowned singer Grigoris Bithikotsis dies

    Renowned folk song singer and composer Grigoris Bithikotsis died at an Athens hospital on Thursday, where he had been treated since January. He was 83.

    According to attending doctors, he had contracted blood poisoning and multiorganic inadequacy.

    Bithikotsis was born in the Athens district of Peristeri. He was one of the eight children of a poor family and showed an interest in music since his childhood days.

    He served Greek music for over five decades and before meeting composer Mikis Theodorakis, which undoubtedly had an impact on his career, he was an accomplished singer and composer, having sung songs by Markos Vamvakaris, Vassilis Tsitsanis, Giorgos Mitsakis and Yiannis Papaioannou.

    A big concert was organised in June 1997 to honour the 50 years of his contribution to folk songs, while the culture ministry organised a similar concert in 2002.

    Bithikotis had composed over 80 songs in his career, many of which had become great hits, such as "Formal sweetheart", "Crazy girl", "Pale moon" and "A beautiful coach with two horses."

    He also worked with all the great Greek composers, such as Manos Hadzidakis, Stavros Xarhakos and Dimos Moutsis, singing great songs from poetry by Nikos Gatsos, Lefteris Papadopoulos and others.

    Bithikotsis was also awarded the Golden Cross of the Order of the Phoenix by president Kostis Stephanopoulos in January 2003, as well as the Gold Medal of the City of Athens.

    The singer had a daughter, Anna, and a son, Grigoris, who is also a singer.

    [02] Foreign minister comments on bilateral relations with Turkey, upcoming visit to Ankara

    The mass violations and infringements of Greek airspace and waters in the Aegean by Turkish forces were clearly not consistent with the spirit and substance of good neighbourly relations, Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis told Parliament on Thursday.

    Molyviatis, who is due to carry out a working visit to Ankara on April 12-13, was responding to a question put by main opposition PASOK MP Mihalis Chrysohoidis about the overall course of Greek-Turkish relations and Turkey's obligations toward the European Union.

    The minister stressed that violations have been Turkey's standard practice for very many years and that Greece dealt with them in the required manner, both in the air and at sea, as well as on a diplomatic level.

    "Greece is taking all action necessary to ensure that issues of Greek interest are recorded in all texts that are drawn up in view of the start of [EU] accession negotiations with Turkey," he said.

    The minister also reiterated that a series of criteria and conditions for Ankara were set during the European Council in December, including a clear commitment to promote good neighbourly relations.

    "Turkey's course is being monitored by the European Council," he added.

    Referring to his upcoming visit to Ankara, Molyviatis said he will be having talks and meetings with the entire Turkish leadership to discuss matters of mutual interest, which would also aim to continue and enhance efforts to improve bilateral relations.

    [03] Greece, Russia, Bulgaria sign political pact Tues for new oil pipeline

    Greece, Russia and Bulgaria are to sign a political agreement in Sofia on Tuesday for construction of a cross-border oil pipeline, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Thursday.

    "This is a historic moment. Signing the memorandum will resolve an issue that has been pending for 13 years, and it sets the basis for construction of a work that will contribute to a geo-strategic upgrade of the region and our country, as well as strengthening cooperation among the three countries involved," Sioufas told a news conference.

    The 285-kilometre pipeline to carry Russian oil from Burgas in Bulgaria to Alexandroupoli in Greece has an estimated investment cost of 750-800 million US dollars with an annual capacity of 35 million tonnes of oil. It will supplement a sea route through the Bosphorus for transportation of the product in the region.

    "In combination with other energy networks being planned in the region, our country will become an energy hub," Sioufas said.

    Other projects on the drawing board are a link between Greek, Turkish and Italian natural gas networks; a natural gas pipeline for the western Balkans; and a regional energy market for southeastern Europe and the Black Sea.

    [04] Gov't says efforts at finding solution to FYROM 'name issue' continuing

    The government on Thursday emphasised that efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution to the 'name issue' still plaguing relations between Athens and Skopje are continuing "at an intensified pace after the squandering of three years" -- the second half of the quote serving as a direct criticism of the previous Simitis government.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros made the statement in answer to press questions over the foreign minister's upcoming contacts with local political leaders regarding the FYROM 'name issue'.

    Asked if a political leaders' council (chaired by the president of the republic) will be convened in case of a breakthrough development, Antonaros said that if necessary the government will consider such a prospect.

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