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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-04-17
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greece's positions are 'firm and founded on international law and treaties', foreign ministry spokesman replies to Turkish PM's interviewGreece's positions are "well-known and firm", and founded on International Law and the International Treaties, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said Sunday, replying to a press quesion over statements by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an interview appearing in Sunday's edition of the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.
"The Turkish prime minister's statements, as they are attributed in the article, constitute a repetition of the well-known Turkish views. On those views, also well-known and firm are Greece's positions, positions which are founded on International Law and the International Treaties," Koumoutsakos said.
"Indeed, the respect of good neighbourhood relations, which are dictated by the European Union in the conclusions of last December's European Council (summit), demands attitudes that are in accordance with International Law, the International Rules and Treaties," the spokesman said.
Greece, he added, "believes in the need for continous improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, and also that Turkey's European orientation will contribute to that".
Erdogan spoke on Greek-Turkish relations and the Aegean in an interview with Kathimerini daily appearing in Sunday's edition of the newspaper, but taken before the recent incident at Imia islets.
Erdogan maintained that Turkey "has the right and liberty to execute flights above the Aegean, not recognising the Greek national airspace of 10 (nautical) miles, and considering the space between six and ten (nautical) miles as international airspace". Consequently, he added, one should not expect of Turkey "to relinquish its liberty and right".
The Turkish premier claimed that Greece, not Turkey, was responsible for the tension in the Aegean, blaming the tension on what he called a "systematic abuse" of the responsibility over the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and Greece's 10-nautical-mile national airspace.
Turning to Greek-Turkish relations, Erdogan considered that "they are on a satisfactory orbit since 1999", but also spoke of "unresolved problems" between the two countries, which he claimed were "bilateral differences", adding that his country desired a "just and lasting solution to all the problems, with respect to the mutual interests of the two countries".
 Greece to profit 30-50 million dollars annually from Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipelineGreece will profit between 30 and 50 million dollars annually from the transportation of oil via the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, the country's deputy development minister George Salagoudis estimated on Sunday.
Speaking at a press conference in Thessaloniki, where earlier in the week Greece, Bulgaria and Russia signed a political agreement for the cross-border pipeline, Salagoudis outlined the benefits to arise from the project, budgeted at approximately 700 million euros.
The 285-kilometre pipeline to carry Russian oil from Burgas in Bulgaria to Alexandroupolis in northern 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. It is anticipated that the pipeline will forge a new outlet for Russian oil and for oil from the Caspian Sea to Europe and America.
Greece's prestige was being upgraded, immediate economic benefits will ensue, and new jobs will be created both during the construction of the pipeline and during its operation, while it will also comrpise a permament source of development for Thrace, Salagoudis said.
He also anticipated that the pipeline would spark the creation of new enterprises, and at the same time assured that all measures would be taken, with ultramodern installations, to fully safeguard the environment.
Further, according to the preliminary blueprint for the pipeline's route, the pipeline would not pass through inhabited areas but through plains areas, the deputy minister explained.
He said the signing, on April 13, of the inter-state agreement constituted "a historic moment and will comprise a global model", adding that the companies that have undertaken the construction of the pipeline estimated that some 35-50 million tons of crude oil would flow through Alexandroupolis in end-2008.
Replying to a press question, Salagoudis ruled out the prospect of cancellation of the project, although he did say there could prospectively be a delay.
Outlining the New Democracy government's work in the energy sector in its one year in power, Salagoudis said that major progress has been achieved, while the spread of use of natural gas had also been advanced.
The Attica natural gas corporation EPA had made 1,600 links to the natural gas grid in 2003, while the number of link-ups jumped to 7,000 in 2004, while in Thessaloniki the link-ups with the grid more than doubled from 6,200 in 2003 to 13,000 in 2004, Salagoudis said.
Explaining the low cost of natural gas consumption, Salagoudis noted the example of the AHEPA hospital in Thessaloniki, which spent 520,000 euros for heating oil in the winter of 2003-2004, while the next winter, following its link-up with the natural gas grid, the expenditure was reduced to 182,000 euros.
Salagoudis further noted the government's "agressive policy" vis-a-vis renewable energy sources, given that Greece was required, by 2010, to bring itself into line with an EU directive providing that 20 percent of the energy balance must come from renewable energy sources.
 Greek citizens want 'tougher stance' on Turkey and FYROM, opinion poll showsThe Greek citizens want a tough stance vis-a-vis Turkey and FYROM, according to an opinion poll conducted by RASS, appearing in the Sunday newspaper TO PARON.
According to the opinion poll, conducted on April 13-14, worhty of note is the fact that the respondents said they were not satisfied either with the government's handling, or the opposition's stance, which amassed fewer positive votes than the government. Also worthy of note is that the toughest positions were taken by respondents who identified themselves as voters of the two smaller opposition parties represented in parliament: the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN).
More specifically, to a question on "what should Greece do in relation to the FYROM name", 72.8 percent of the respondents said the government must "toughen its stance and make it clear that Greece will not agree to FYROM's accession to NATO and the EU with the name 'Macedonia' ", while 25 percent said that Greece should "accept the compromise solution for the sake of preserving stability in the region".
Also, 54.5 percent of the respondents considered "mistaken" or "rather mistaken" the government's handling on the FYROM issue, while 35.3 percent considered the handling "correct" or "rather correct", whereas 29.5 percent considered PASOK's stance "correct" or "rather correct", while 53.8 percent considered it "mistaken" or "rather mistaken".
To the question "what should the government do following the new Turkish provocation at Imia islets", a vast majority of 79.9 percent of the respondents said that the government must "toughen its stance and make it clear that Turkey's deportment does not justify entry into the EU", while 16.8 percent opted in favour of continuation of support of Turkey's accession course.
Also 34.6 percent of the respondents considered as "correct" or "rather correct" the government's stance "on Turkey's provocativeness", while 359.5 percent considered the government's stance "mistaken" or "rather mistaken", whereas 30.1 percent considered PASOK's stance on the issue "correct" or "rather correct", while 54.2 percent considered it "mistaken" or "rather mistaken".
 Dust cloud from North Africa casts shadow over southern Greece, air transport disruptedA thick cloud of dust particles carried by strong southerly winds from North Africa blanketed several parts of southern Greece on Sunday, causing cancellations and serious delays in air transport due to low visibility.
The dust cloud reached the greater Athens area and several other regions of the country in the late morning, restricting visibility to a few hundred metres and creating a stifling atmosphere.
Southern Greece, and particularly the large island of Crete, was most seriously affected by the dense haze, which hung over parts of the Aegean after arriving on the back of gale force winds earlier in the day and overnight.
Crete was the hardest hit by the weather phenomenon, as all air and sea traffic to the island was cancelled.
Aegean Airlines cancelled its flights to Irakleio, while three Olympic Airways flights to Crete and Rhodes in the afternoon were also cancelled. Also, three charter flights from Brussels, Nice and Paris to Irakleio landed instead at Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport until conditions improved enough to allow the planes to continue on to Crete.
National Meteorological Service (EMY) staff members told the ANA that the phenomenon was "usual for the season"; one comprised of dust particles was carried from the Maghreb and across the Mediterranean by strong southerly winds.
Meteorologists said the phenomenon was due to low pressure fronts over North Africa, which caused so-called "Saharan depressions". The latter resulted in a dense cloud of dust being thrust upwards and northwards by southerly winds prevailing on the sea.
(Caption: The north side of the Acropolis can barely be seen from Athinas Avenue in the Greek capital's centre on Sunday afternoon, after a dust cloud covered the entire greater Athens area throughout much of the day. ANA / M. Maroyanni).
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