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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece and Italy sign agreement on natural gas pipeline
  • [02] Greek-Chinese relations have good growth prospects
  • [03] PASOK leader tours Thesprotia
  • [04] Defence minister to brief parliament on F-16s purchase
  • [05] Ecumenical Patriarchate could be Europe's bridge with Islam

  • [01] Greece and Italy sign agreement on natural gas pipeline

    ROME (ANA/L. Hatzikyriakos) - Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Italian Minister for Productive Activities Claudio Scaiola signed an agreement on Friday for the construction of a natural gas pipeline.

    Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Mehmet Guler was also present at the signing.

    In a statement released after the signing, all three ministers acknowledge the significance of linking the three countries' natural gas networks as one of the five priorities in developing the Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN) to enable the transfer of natural gas from the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean region to Turkey, Greece and Italy.

    According to the ministers, linking the networks will contribute to improvements in safety, availability and diversifying natural gas sources for the broader region and the European Union.

    The ministers also note in the statement that their governments have already supported the linking of the natural gas networks of Greece and Turkey, which is being carried out by Greece's DEPA SA and Turkey's BOTAS.

    Italy's Edison S.p.A. and DEPA SA are responsible for the linking of the networks of Italy and Greece.

    Finally, Sioufas, Scaiola and Guler emphasised that they are willing to cooperate in order to facilitate the construction of the pipeline and linking the networks. They also agreed to continue their constructive dialogue on energy matters related to the broader region.

    [02] Greek-Chinese relations have good growth prospects

    Greek-Chinese relations have favourable growth prospects, while the Chinese market offers significant investment opportunities to Greek businessmen, Geng Liang, chairman of the Shanghai Stock Exchange said on Friday.

    Addressing an official dinner table, organised by the Business Council of Greece and China in an Athens hotel, Mr Geng Liang said China was focusing on attracting foreign direct investments by introducing special incentives. The value of FDI in China totalled 61 billion US dollars in 2004. China's capital market was rapidly growing in the last 15 years, with the country's two stock exchanges trading shares in 1,381 enterprises with a total capitalisation of 3.3 trillion RMB, or 24.38 percent of the country's GDP in 2004.

    The Shanghai Stock Exchange has a dominant position in China's capital markets, with total capitalisation accounting for two-thirds of the country's capitalisation.

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis expressed his belief that bilateral economic relations would strengthen more in the future. The Greek minister said China was making a dynamic entry in international economic scene offering great opportunities for those wanting to invest in the country, or to export products, services and know-how to the vast Chinese market.

    China is a significant trade partner for Greece, Alogoskoufis said, adding that the trade balance for Greece would improve in the future. The Greek minister also underlined the significant advantages offered by Greece's strategic geopolitical position and its participation in the Eurozone.

    Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Evripides Stylianidis said he would personally lead a delegation of 100 Greek enterprises and technocrats from seven ministries to an official business visit to Beijing and Shanghai in November 26. "Our aim is to persuade Chinese businessmen to conquer our wider region markets and for us to promote our exports of products and services," Stylianidis said. The Greek minister stressed the significant of promoting economic diplomacy and underlined the very deep roots of the two countries civilisations as the best vehicle of achieving closer economic relations.

    Theodore Fessas, president of the Business Council of Greece and China, in his address, said the best way to come closer with China and its enterprises was to establish serious bilateral relations and to acquire a better knowledge of the market and to invest capital and know-how on mutual interest sectors.

    [03] PASOK leader tours Thesprotia

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday wound up a tour of Thesprotia with a visit to the port-city of Igoumenitsa in western Greece, where he was met by the prefects of Thesprotia and Preveza.

    In a short speech, Papandreou said PASOK considered Epirus a top priority area for rapid convergence, which had to be achieved through investments in people and in the quality of agricultural products, which had to have a 'name of origin' and be competitive.

    Afterwards, he visited the mayor of Igoumenitsa and then visited a local venue frequented by young people, where he stayed for about an hour talking with young people in the area.

    In an earlier address at Paramythia, the second stop on his tour, the main opposition leader said that the Greek people "once again demanded a renewed PASOK to govern the country after the next elections, because the country faced huge problems that must be solved."

    He had also underlined PASOK's faith in farmers and the need to use the new CAP in the best possible way, so that there was a new form of agricultural development.

    Papandreou commenced his tour on Friday morning with a stop in Dodoni.

    He said his party would insist on a heating fuel subsidy, adding that this was a demand of the residents of all the mountainous regions of the country, due to the low temperatures prevailing there in the winter and that it was a matter of solidarity and humanity.

    The PASOK leader met with the local government authorities and residents of the town, who complained about the low producer's price of milk.

    [04] Defence minister to brief parliament on F-16s purchase

    National defence minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos on Friday called for the convening of parliament's standing committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs for Wednesday morning.

    According to a ministry announcement, the convening of the committee would enable him to brief the members in detail on all aspects of the imminent procurement of F-16 fighter jets for the Hellenic Air Force, and give him the opportunity to reply to any questions put forward.

    [05] Ecumenical Patriarchate could be Europe's bridge with Islam

    London (ANA/ L. Tsirigotakis) -- Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos stressed that the Ecumenical Patriarchate could play an important role in a constantly developing Europe and become Europe's bridge with Islam, during a lecture Thursday night at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.

    Speaking on the theme "The role of Religion in a Europe that is constantly changing", he said that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which was headquartered in an almost exclusively Moslem city, had all the credentials to undertake the role of a bridge between Europe and Islam.

    In the same way, the Patriarchate's huge support for Turkey's European course was linked to the conviction that the accession of a purely Moslem country in its folds would benefit Europe, on the condition that Turkey would desire to adopt the European principles such as respect of religious freedoms and the rights of the minorities, Vartholomeos said.

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