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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou, Christofias urge Turkey to fulfill obligations to Cyprus
  • [02] Natgas pipeline accord in parl't soon
  • [03] Philoxenia visitors mark 50 pct increase

  • [01] Papandreou, Christofias urge Turkey to fulfill obligations to Cyprus

    Turkey must fully meet its obligations to the Republic of Cyprus, first of all with implementation of its EU extended customs union protocol, and secondly with recognition of Cyprus and the lifting of all obstacles to the Cyprus Republic's participation in international organisations, Greek main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou said Monday, after a meeting with visiting speaker of the Cypriot parliament Demetris Christofias.

    "We consider that Turkey must fully meet its obligations to the Republic of Cyprus, first of all with the implementation of the Protocl, secondly with the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, and, of course, with the lifting of all obstacles to the Cyprus Republic's participation in international organisations," Papandreou told reporters after the meeting.

    He said that Cyprus' membership must be utilised in any new initiatives that arise, so that a solution to the Cyprus issue would, beyond international law, be also clearly a solution that fully takes into consideration the new European reality in Cyprus, in other words the incorporation of the EU acquis communautaire in any new proposal for a Cyprus solution.

    The PASOK leader also said the incompatibility of an EU candidate country commencing accession negotiations while it maintained occupation troops in an EU member state needed to be increasingly underscored.

    "It is a self-evident fact, but many times the international community forgets that this is the reality, an oxymoron and unacceptable reality vis-a-vis Turkey's course to the EU," Papandreou stressed.

    Christofias, in turn, said he briefed Papandreou on the recent visits by EU officials to Cyprus, as well as on Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Talat to Washington, at the invitation of US secretary of state Condeleezza Rice.

    "The goals of those visits were not assisting in a resolution of the Cyprus issue based on the UN resolutions, and on the European principles. They were more aimed at upgrading Mr. Talat's prestige, perhaps of the (Turkish Cypriot) pseudo-state itself, and an effort to place pressure on the Greek Cypriot side," Christofias said.

    He noted, however, that Talat had not been satisified upon his return from the US, because he had failed to attain the targets he had set, such as more direct flights to and direct trade with the Turkish occupied sector of Cyprus, and varous other things he and Turkey want to achieve.

    Christofias also said that he and Papandreou had discussed the issue of stressing the anti-occupation nature of the cyprus issue, adding that there was a methodic attempt by certain forces in the international field to suppress the occupation aspect and exonerate Turkey.

    "By involving the EU in the process for a solution of the Cyprus issue -- without removing it from its natural forum, which is the United Nations, becasue we are dealing with an occupation and a violation of international law, and the orgnisation that has established the rules of international law and is responsible for its preservation and implementation is the UN -- we believe that Turkey, if it wants to become a member of the EU, will have to abide by the principles on which the EU daily declares that it is founded: respect of the independence and sovereignty of the member states, and at the same time respect and implementation of human rights. Both are blatantly violated by Turkey in Cyprus," Christfias said.

    He called for coordination of actions and forces so as to utilise the EU procedures to underline this aspect of the Cyprus problem, so as to substantively pressure Turkey into respecting the EU principles, since it was entering the process of negotiations for its own accession.

    The two officials also discussed further strengthening of relations between PASOK and Cyprus' AKEL party, which is headed by Christofias, who invited Papandreou to Cyprus for the AKEL Congress that opens on November 24.

    [02] Natgas pipeline accord in parl't soon

    The agreement signed by Greece and Italy for the construction of a national gas pipeline linking the two countries will soon be tabled in parliament for ratification, development minister Dimitris Sioufas -- who signed the accord on Friday with Italian minister for Productive Activities Claudio Scaiola in the Italian town of Lecce -- announced on Monday, after a meeting with prime minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Sioufas told reporters he had briefed the premier on the signing of the agreement, adding that both governments fully supported "this important energy project".

    The minister said he had further briefed Karamanlis on the trilateral cooperation among Italy, Turkey and Greece in the energy sector, encompassing natural gas as well as the three countries' electricity grids, noting that energy cooperation was also an EU priority, and that the role of the three countries in energy matters was being upgraded.

    He also said that the Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline -- which will trasport natural gas from Russia, the Caspian and the Middle East via Turkey to Greece, and from Greece to Italy and the otherEU countries -- was progressing well, adding that the planning of the pipeline's route inside Greece was, too, progressing in a satisfactory manner.

    Asked whether a government reshuffle should be expected, Sioufas replied: "I have been telling you throughout the past 17 months that a reshuffle is not needed".

    [03] Philoxenia visitors mark 50 pct increase

    Tourism development minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Sunday expressed satisfaction with the projection efforts and tourism policy of the eastern Macedonia and Thrace region, during a visit to the 21st Philoxenia international tourism exhibition in Thessaloniki, Macedonia which has marked an average increase of 50 percent in number of commercial visitors over last year's fair.

    Avramopoulos made the statement to Eastern Macedonia-Thrace regional secretary general Michalis Angelopoulos during a visit to the regional authority's pavilion.

    Angelopoulos escorted the minister on a tour of the pavilion, and presented him with copies of two photographic publications on the region containing a DVD and CD with the sites, traditional songs and music of the region.

    He told reporters that this year's pavilion focused on the region's tourism policy, highlighting the region's tourism product and its comparative advantages so as to render Eastern Macedonia-Thrace one of the most important destinations for alternative and specialised tourism.

    Angelopoulos said emphasis was placed on incorporating the cultural aspect in local development and developing the dual concept of tourism-culture, through highlighting the regions archaeological sites and monuments, and the restoration and exploitation of traditional buildings and neighborhoods for cultural purposes.

    Also targeted was increase of the tourism flow and the duration of visits through the establishment of new tourism destinations and the creation of infrastructures for the development of thematic and alternative forms of tourism, such as agrotourism, ecotourism, spa tourism, adventure tourism, etc.

    Angelopoulos further outlined the plans for a racing car rally planned for spring. He said the rally itself would be preceded by five exhibitional events staged by racing cars in the capitals of the region's five prefectures, aimed at promoting the main rally in the spring, which was expected to attract a large number of racing fans.

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