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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-05-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't expresses satisfaction with PM's visit to Washington last week
  • [02] Japanese tourism to Greece projected to rise 10 per cent in 2005, Greek minister told
  • [03] Eurovision winner receives warm welcome upon arrival

  • [01] Gov't expresses satisfaction with PM's visit to Washington last week

    The government on Monday appeared wholly satisfied with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' official visit to the United States late last week, a visit that included a meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House -- the second such meeting in a year.

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos noted that the premier will first brief the president of the republic over results of his talks with US leadership, following by briefings of the country's political leaders. Roussopoulos accompanied Karamanlis on his US visit.

    During his regular press briefing, the spokesman highlighted Bush's comment of a "strategic partnership" with Greece, as well as the latter's praise for the two countries' bilateral cooperation.

    "We hadn't been accustomed (in the past) to seeing such gestures, quite the opposite, I would say," Roussopoulos said.

    Queried about closer ties with Washington vis-a-vis the fight against international terrorism by Islamist groups, Roussopoulos said:

    "An international effort has existed since the end of the 1980s to expand democracy. Our country, which gave birth to democracy, has played a significant role in the this effort, both in the Balkans and in the wider Middle East region ... Greece considers that this effort should not be restricted only to the greater Middle East, but should be of a longer duration and involve a greater geo-political area," he said, adding:

    "This initiative is developing in numerous ways, and it's a happy coincidence that Greece has just concluded its successful chairmanship of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation (BSEC) while at the same time assuming the (rotating) presidency of the South East Europe Co-operation Process (SEECP)," Roussopoulos reminded, while stressing Athens' continuous efforts at ending the Balkan peninsula's unfavorable portrayal as "Europe's powder keg".

    Finally, Roussopoulos again emphasised Athens' disagreement with Washington's abrupt recognition last November of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as simply "Macedonia", a name sternly opposed by Athens and the only remaining thorn in otherwise excellent Greek-FYROM relations.

    "We trust that the United States will buttress the United Nations' effort at finding a solution (to the name issue)," he added.

    [02] Japanese tourism to Greece projected to rise 10 per cent in 2005, Greek minister told

    Japanese tourism to Greece is projected to rise by 10 per cent in 2005 relative to 2004, when some 80,000 Japanese tourists visited the country, Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Anastasios Liaskos was told by members of the Japanese tourist industry. They said this was due to the successful organisation of the Olympic Games in Athens and Greece's improved image abroad.

    Liaskos was in Japan last week as part of the Greek delegation led by Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis that went to the EXPO 2005 trade fair.

    The deputy minister visited the Japanese travel agents' association and met its president Koji Shinmachi, with whom he discussed cooperation between tourist bodies in Greece and Japan and the creation of tourism products. Liaskos also presented a Greek proposal for a Greek-Japanese forum in Tokyo that Greece is willing to support significantly.

    The minister also held a press conference analysing the prospects of cooperation in tourism between Greece and Japan, such as a direct flight, exploitation of tourism real estate in Greece and Greece's promotional campaign in Japan.

    [03] Eurovision winner receives warm welcome upon arrival

    Elena Paparizou, winner of the 2005 Eurovision contest with the song "My Number One," received a warm welcome from officials and fans upon her arrival at Athens International Airport on Monday afternoon.

    Paparizou, along with all the members of the Greek delegation, was greeted by the airport's president and executive board members, and later by State Minister Theodoros Roussopoulos.

    Roussopoulos congratulated the Greek delegation as well the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), for contributing to Greece's success, the first since the country began participating in Eurovision 31 years ago.

    "We believed in what you did and you did it with modesty and professionalism. You promoted our country and proved that if one desires something enough, one can accomplish it," Roussopoulos said.

    Paparizou thanked everyone present for their warm reception, while ERT President Christos Panagopoulos referrred to the impeccable professionalism of everyone involved in this effort. "We won the distinction; we hand it over to the state to make the most of it," he added.

    Members of the Greek delegation are: Chrisos Dantis, composer; Natalia Germanou, lyrics; and Fokas Evangelinos, choreographer.

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