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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] US welcomes Greece's contribution to 'Foundation for the Future', next step in MidEast peace initiative
  • [02] PM in Tokyo, meeting with Japanese PM on Friday
  • [03] Athens road safety campaign

  • [01] US welcomes Greece's contribution to 'Foundation for the Future', next step in MidEast peace initiative

    The United States welcome Greece's decision to contribute financially to the establishment of the "Foundation for the Future", which is the next step in the initiative for the wider Middle East to strengthen democracy and advance reforms in the region, US assistant secretary of state for European Affairs Daniel Fried said on Wednesday.

    Replying to questions at the Foreign Press Centre in Washington, Fried expressed Washington's appreciation for the Greek government's move, adding that Greece would take part in the upcoming meeting of the initiative's protagonists, which would be held in Bahrain.

    "Greece is among the countries which, although not a member of the G-8, support the reforms in the region," Fried said.

    To a relevant question, he added that if Cyprus also desired to contribute to the initiative, it was welcome to do so.

    The second annual "Forum for the Future", a ministerial gathering focusing on political reform and involving countries from the Middle East, North Africa and the G-8 leading industrialised countries, will take place in Manama, Bahrain, on November 11 and 12, hosted by the governments of Bahrain and the UK, the current G-8 president. The first Forum was held in Rabat, Morocco, in December 2004.

    The Forum for the Future is a cooperative effort by the countries of the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) region, the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations, and other partners who seek to promote and develop political, economic, and social reform in the region.

    The Forum serves as a venue for regional civil society and business groups to express their reform goals and ideas to their governments. Its agenda seeks to advance the universal values of human dignity, democracy, economic opportunity, and social justice.

    Foreign ministers from across the BMENA region, the G8 and other partner countries will work to further reform in the areas of democracy, civil society and education. They will be joined by representatives of civil society organizations who carried out the vigorous agenda set in Rabat focused on transparency of governance, women in the workplace, legal reform and human rights.

    Two programs expected to come out of the Bahrain meeting were a Foundation for the Future to promote freedom and democracy and a Fund for the Future to provide money for small and medium businesses and spur economic growth.

    The "Foundation for the Future" would underwrite democratization projects, including support for independent media, while the companion "Fund for the Future" would back economic reform in the region, focusing on financing for job-creating small and medium-sized enterprises.

    File photo of US assistant secretary of state for European Affairs Daniel Fried (on the left), with Greece's deputy foreign minister Yannis Valynakis during the latter's visit to Washington in September 2005 (ANA/D. Panagos).

    [02] PM in Tokyo, meeting with Japanese PM on Friday

    Tokyo (ANA/A. Panagopoulos) -- Greece's prime minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Tokyo on Thursday, and was due to begin a four-day official visit with meetings on Friday with his host, Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi, and with Emperor Akihito.

    The purpose of Karamanlis' visit is to reaffirm the excellent level of bilateral political relations between the two countries, and to boost Japanese entrepreneuriship in Greece.

    Karamanlis' talks with Koizumi, scheduled for Friday afternoon, will also focus on international issues.

    Athens hopes to advance an action plan agreed between the two countries in March 2002 as well as joint ventures between Japanese and Greek enterprises in the Balkans and the Black Sea.

    The main sectors with potential for further developing bilateral economic cooperation include tourism, shipping, and culture.

    According to official figures, Greek exports to Japan amounted to 100.5 million euros in 2004, while japanese exports to Greece reached 1.06 billion euros.

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

    Later in the day, Karamanlis will attend a working lunch to be hosted in his honour by the Japanese business confederation Keindaren. A Greek business delegation, which is accompanying the premier for the first time, will also attend the working lunch. The delegation includes Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) president Drakoulis Foundoukakos, Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) chairman Odysseals Kyriakopoulos, Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBETH) president Dimitris Bakatselos, SEB N. Greece president George Mulonais, Association of Exporters of Northern Greece chairman Evgenios Pilalis, Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) chairman Nikolaos Efthymiou, Hellenic Investments Centre president Yannis Anastasopoulos, Hellenic Exports Promotion Organisation (HEPO) chairman Panagiotis Drosos, Helexpo fair organisers chief Aristotelis Thomopoulos, and other businessmen. He is further accompanied by deputy foreign minister Evrypides Stylianidis, who is responsible for foreign trade, and deputy government spokesman Vangelis Antonaros.

    Karamanlis will further give interviews to major Japanese newspapers and television networks.

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

    [03] Athens road safety campaign

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyiannis on Wednesday inaugurated a road safety campaign under the title of "Remember before you drive." It is an international campaign for road safety in which Greece is participating.

    Speaking at a press conference, the mayor said that every year over 2,000 people are killed and many thousands are injured and remain invalids for the rest of their life due to traffic accidents.

    "We must react. We must teach our children all the rules of road safety and traffic training. We must teach them to respect these rules," Bakoyiannis added.

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