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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-06-12

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Athens satisfied with compromise in EU-Turkey talks following Cyprus deal
  • [02] Papoulias visits Trikala prefecture, Meteora
  • [03] Latest opinion polls focus on ties with Turkey
  • [04] Patriarch on Greek FM's visit to Istanbul

  • [01] Athens satisfied with compromise in EU-Turkey talks following Cyprus deal

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis expressed satisfaction here over a compromise solution reached by the European Union's foreign ministers on Monday concerning the opening of the first of 35 policy "chapters" foreseen in negotiations with Turkey.

    Bakoyannis said consensus was ultimately achieved with the agreement, while issues raised by the Republic of Cyprus were safeguarded at the same time.

    According to the foreign minister, this is a positive development in extremely complex and difficult negotiations during which, as she added, Athens backed the justified concerns of Cyprus and strived to achieve consensus.

    Bakoyannis further said the twin commitments Turkey has undertaken as a candidate country towards the EU and the Republic of Cyprus have been secured with the temporary closing of this first chapter, which focuses on science and development.

    The foreign minister also pointed out that the agreed text places particular emphasis on the implementation of the customs union protocol and that the outcome confirms the correctness of the strategic option determined and implemented by Greece.

    Lastly, Bakoyannis said developments were also positive regarding the content of the paragraph referring to Turkey in the text of conclusions for the upcoming European Council, one expected to be endorsed by EU leaders in Brussels on June 16.

    Meanwhile, the compromise agreed to by the European Union's foreign ministers underlines the importance of Turkey complying with the Association Agreement, including the Additional Protocol and Customs Union, as well as the Partnership Relation, which constitute basic elements of pre-accession strategy. Failure to implement commitments in full will affect the overall progress of negotiations. Taking this into consideration, the EU underlines all the relevant elements of the Declaration of the EU and of member-states of Sept. 21, 2005. According to the above, the EU, if necessary, will return to the specific chapter at the right moment.

    According to European diplomatic sources in Luxembourg, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn indicated that it is the last warning to Ankara regarding the fulfilment of its commitments and that the 25-nation bloc will fully scrutinise Turkey's progress in October.

    Caption: Foreign Minister Bakoyannis (L) talks with High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana during a past meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Klosterneuburg, Austria last May. ANA-MPA/EPA photo /G. Schneider.

    [02] Papoulias visits Trikala prefecture, Meteora

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias toured the prefecture of Trikala, central Greece, on Monday to visit the Meteora site, while on Tuesday he will also visiting a military training centre in capital of the prefecture.

    Papoulias attended a luncheon at noon on Monday and in the afternoon visited the Agios Vissarion-Dousikos monastery.

    On Saturday, President Papoulias unveiled a monument at the entrance of the town of Distomo and laid a wreath at the mausoleum built in memory of local inhabitants executed by Nazi occupation forces 62 years ago.

    [03] Latest opinion polls focus on ties with Turkey

    A handful of local opinion poll results regarding Greek-Turkish relations were unveiled on Sunday, in light of a recent surge in public opinion interest in the state of bilateral relations with the neighboring country and across-the-board political deliberations over Athens' long-term policy vis-a-vis Turkey's European aspirations and Turkish leadership's continuing claims in the Aegean.

    In one particularly interesting opinion poll, sampling residents of four eastern Aegean islands, 77 percent of respondents said they did not believe Ankara truly desires a full normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations. Moreover, 44.8 percent said they favored extending Greece's territorial waters to 12 nautical miles despite whatever protestations by Turkey, including threats of wars (casus belli).

    Results from the same poll showed that 74.9 percent of respondents -- from the islands of Lesvos, Hios, Samos and Rhodes -- rejected a recent proposal by former president Kostis Stephanopoulos to refer differences to the International Court at The Hague as far as it concerns the prospect of Greek isles' demilitarisation, with 76.3 percent saying they would feel insecure following such a development.

    Furthermore, 78.4 percent of the islands' respondents said national affairs are of great concern to them.

    The opinion poll results, collected by the firm Rass, were published in the weekly "Paron" newspaper.

    Meanwhile, 48 percent of respondents in an opinion poll published in the Athens daily "Kathimerini" said they believe relations with Ankara have worsened; 42 percent said relations have remained the same and 6 percent said ties have improved.

    Conversely, 72 percent of respondents said the possibility of an armed conflict with Turkey is unlikely in the next few years. A majority, however, said Turkey's possible accession to the European Union will have negative repercussions for the Union.

    The poll was conducted by the firm VPRC.

    Finally, results of an opinion poll published in the "Vima" newspaper show that only one out of four respondents believes Turkey should enter the EU, while 43 percent said they believe the neighboring country's accession course will at some point be interrupted.

    A large majority, 85 percent, of respondents said Ankara held expansionist designs against Greece, whereas 79.5 percent of respondents emphasised that Athens must block EU-Turkey accession negotiations in case Turkey does not fulfill the Union's conditions and prerequisites for membership.

    The poll was conducted by the Kapa Research firm.

    ANA-MPA file photo of Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    [04] Patriarch on Greek FM's visit to Istanbul

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Monday referred to Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis' meeting with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Istanbul on Saturday, noting that "we derived strength from her persistence to the ideals of Greek-Turkish friendship and cooperation."

    "We hope that there will also be a response from the other side so that the two neighboring peoples advance together in peace and stability in our region, with mutual respect and fairness," he added.

    ANA-MPA file photo of Vartholomeos.


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