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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Armenian President holds talks with Greek leadership
  • [02] PM leaves on four-day official visit to Japan
  • [03] Pavlopoulos presents programme for administration
  • [04] Greece can play important role in Kosovo

  • [01] Armenian President holds talks with Greek leadership

    "Armenia has a difficult neighbour, just as we have -- Turkey -- and that is why it understands better than anyone the problems in Greek-Turkish relations," Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said Wednesday after a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian, who is on an official visit to Greece.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Papoulias spoke of the excellent bilateral relations between Greece and Armenia, and on the two countries' cooperation in the economic and tourism sectors, in which he said there were significant prospects.

    Papoulias further said he was impressed by the interest displayed by Armenian youth in the Greek language.

    Kocharian expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by Greece to his country, and said he was satisfied with the discussions he had with Papoulias on bilateral matters as well as on the developments in the Balkans and the southern Caucasus.

    The Armenian president met afterwards with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    The official welcome for the Armenian presidential couple at the Presidential Mansion was attended by Parliamentās second vice-president George Sourlas, Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, Deputy Foreign Minister Yannis Valinakis, Deputy National Economy Minister Christos Folias, Deputy Agricultural Development Minister Alekos Kontos, and the leaders of the Hellenic Armed Forces and law enforcement authorities.

    Papoulias and his wife, May, will host an official dinner in honor of Kocharian and his wife, Bella Kocharian, on Wednesday night.

    The Armenian head of state later met with main opposition leader George Papandreou, with Greek-Armenian ties on the agenda of talks along with major international issues. No statements were made afterwards.

    [02] PM leaves on four-day official visit to Japan

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis leaves Wednesday afternoon for a four-day official visit to Japan, at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi.

    During his stay in Tokyo, Karamanlis will hold talks with Koizumi on international issues.

    The prime minister and his wife Natasha, who is accompanying him, will also be received by the Japanese imperial couple, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

    Karamanlis will further give interviews to major Japanese newspapers and television networks, while he will also attend a working lunch to be hosted in his honour by the Japanese business confederation Keindaren.

    The Greek premier will also meet with the chairperson of the Japanese Diet (bi-cameral parliament), and visit the city of Nikko.

    [03] Pavlopoulos presents programme for administration

    Internal Affairs, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos presented at the Zappion Hall on Wednesday the "Syzevxis" (Conjunction) programme which constitutes the main tool for the modernisation of Greek public administration.

    Pavlopoulos stressed that through this specific programme, "it is possible for bureaucracy to be dealt a blow effectively and for public administration to be converted from a despot to a servant of the people."

    The minister described the "Syzevxis" programme as a project "which will constitute the threshold of the entry of public administration into the 21st Century." He noted that it is the ministry's first major project in the business programme "Society of Information" which begins operating.

    The Public Administration National Network "Syzevxis" is implemented by the "Society of Information S.A.", is financed by the Business Programme "Society of Information" by 75 per cent and by the Public Investments Programme by 25 per cent. Its budget amounts to 100,000,000 euros, while the profit for the state comes to 65 million euros. The project can be used by 2,500 agencies of Public Administration and by 150,000 members of Public Administration, as well as by all the Greek citizens and businesses.

    [04] Greece can play important role in Kosovo

    Greece can play an important role in the developments in Kosovo due to its historic relations and its trade and investment ties with the countries of the region, US Under Secretary of State for political affairs Nicholas Burns said Tuesday, replying to a question by Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Maryland) while testifying before the Committee hearing on the topic "Kosovo: A Way Forward", a few weeks before the UN-sponsored Final Status Talks.

    To another question by Sarbanes -- who is a senior member on the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations -- on the prospect of a meeting of the Contact Group with the SE Europe Cooperation Process member countries, Burns said it considered it good for contact with those countries to be maintained.

    "At bilateral level, we are doing this. The US has had talks with the Greek foreign minister and with the Greek ambassador to the US concerning what our strategy and expectations should be. I hope those countries become involved. It is a good idea for the Contact Group and the SE Europe Cooperation Process countries to meet. I have no objections to that. But this has not occurred, to date," said Burns, who is also a former US embassador to Greece.

    Burns also said he was aware that former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, who has been appointed the UN special envoy to lead the talks on the future status of Kosovo -- endorsement of his appointment by the UN Security Council is pending this week -- would seek the contribution not only of the Contact Group but also of the neighbouring countries.

    In that framework, he stressed that FYROM had much to offer from its "experience in promoting multi-culturalism", as did Albania, which he described as "significant in the formulation of the end result".

    Turning to the economic aspects of determination of Kosovo's future status, Burns, who is third in rank at the State Department, stressed the need to strengthen transactions and investments, calling Greece a "leading investment force".


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