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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Ministers satisfied with results of Papoulias visit to Arab states
  • [02] May Day celebrated in Greece

  • [01] Ministers satisfied with results of Papoulias visit to Arab states

    DOHA (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis) - Ministers accompanying Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on a tour of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain on Monday stressed that they were fully satisfied with the results of the trip, which they described as an "absolute success". The Greek mission has so far visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar and is due in Bahrain on Tuesday.

    Papoulias departed for the region on Saturday accompanied by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis, Deputy Economy Minister Petros Doukas and several Greek government officials.

    Sioufas spoke of a "new era" in relations between Greece and the Arab states visited by the Greek mission and was highly optimistic about the future.

    The minister said that he had stressed Greece's potential as a gateway for investments in the Balkan region, the Black Sea and the EU in talks with officials in the two countries.

    On Monday, Sioufas met Qatar's premier Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani and members of Qatar's government and the two sides agreed to set up two committees to discuss matters of mutual interest, leading to the signature of bilateral agreements. Greece is interested in having Qatar supply liquefied natural gas and oil.

    Two Greek-flagged newbuilt ships are currently transporting liquefied natural gas from Qatar to third countries, while another three ships are now being built.

    According to Kefaloyiannis, cooperation in merchant shipping has already begun and has a good future. He said that Arabs desired cooperation with Greece and talked openly about joint investments and businesses in Greece. They also showed interest in tourism and marine tourism and were currently seeking a spot in the Ionian to build a large marina, he said.

    Possible cooperation in the ports of Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Igoumenitsa and Tymbaki on Crete was another topic discussed, he added.

    The Arab side has also shown great interest in the construction sector and are seeking Greek construction firms to carry out their projects, an area that the Greek ministers believe holds great potential for the sector.

    Knowhow acquired by Greece through hosting the Olympic Games in food safety and electrical installations was another area of interest, since Qatar will be hosting the Asian Games.

    For the Greek side, talks on cooperation in air transport held major interest since it directly concerned the ailing national carrier Olympic Airlines (OA). During talks with Doukas, it was decided that there should be cooperation between OA and Qatar Airways in areas such as marketing and joint flights.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] May Day celebrated in Greece

    May Day was celebrated on Monday with two separate rallies in central Athens. The first took place at Pedio tou Areos Square in Athens at 10.30 a.m. and was organised by the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) and the Athens Labour Centre (EKA).

    Addressing the rally as its central speaker, Athens Labour Centre President Grigoris Felonis warned that any attempt by the government to make major changes to the social insurance system would result in an "unprecedented confrontation", such as the recent trade union and youth protests in France.

    Felonis also referred to the "inroads made on worker incomes" by rising prices and asked for an increase to unemployment benefit, which had remained at the same level for the past three years.

    Speaking on the sidelines of the rally, ruling New Democracy (ND) Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis stressed that ND's focus was on working people and that the party was working hard to solve the many and major problems that existed in terms of unemployment.

    The secretary of the Central Political Committee of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party, Nikos Houndis, expressed his party's support for those facining unemployment and high prices and for the protection of trade union rights.

    He also expressed his opposition to the prospect of a new war in Iran and asked the government to withdraw a bill that he said gave NATO "suzerainty" and to not allow the use of the naval base in Souda for "new military adventures".

    The second rally took place at the same time and was organised by the Greek Communist Party-affiliated labour group PAME at Ethnikis Antistasis Square and which concluded outside the U.S. Embassy.

    In statements at the rally, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga said that the party sought unified action against the "barbarism of modernisation and reforms and against the barbarism of the so-called globalisation".

    Separate rallies were also held in Thessaloniki, Macedonia.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

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