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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-06-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] EU affairs, Turkey top PM's agenda in Sweden
  • [02] Papandreou in Israel for SI peace initiative
  • [03] Rare coin depicting Brutus returned
  • [04] OECD's Gurria received by Papoulias

  • [01] EU affairs, Turkey top PM's agenda in Sweden

    European affairs and the European Union's relations with Turkey were at the top of the agenda during talks held here on Tuesday between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his Swedish counterpart Goran Persson, while the Swedish side raised the issue of EU-Russia relations and international energy policy.

    Outlining Greek positions regarding Turkey, Karamanlis reiterated Greece's support for Ankara's European prospects and said it should be able to expect full EU membership, provided that it fulfilled all the criteria set by the EU.

    Persson noted that accession talks for EU enlargement always had problems in the early stages, while noting that the problems between Turkey and Cyprus did not surprise him.

    He predicted that the problems would be overcome, however, and that Turkey's accession negotiations would continue. Persson also emphasised that all chapters in EU accession talks should be opened and that when Turkey fully implemented the criteria and incorporated Community legislation it should then become a full member of the EU.

    According to the Swedish prime minister, however, this would be a lengthy process.

    The two leaders also discussed issues related to the Balkans, with Karamanlis referring to the outstanding dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the tiny republic's adopted name of "Macedonia", as he again stressed that Greece has exhausted all margins for compromise on this issue.

    Greece objects to the use of the name Macedonia by its northern neighbour on the grounds that the name is shared by a northern Greek province on FYROM's southern border and might give rise to future expansionist claims against Greece, as well as being historically misleading.

    Karamanlis also called for an end to the "period of reflection" for the EU Constitution and said that the EU should start moving forward on this issue.

    Persson referred to the EU's relations with Russia and said that Sweden was not interested in Russian natural gas because it was developing alternative forms of energy, while noting that Sweden does not encourage the Russo-German natural gas pipeline.

    Prior to his meeting with the Swedish prime minister, Karamanlis met the leader of Sweden's main opposition Moderaterna party Fredrik Reinsfeldt and visited the Vasa Museum, featuring the salvaged and now complete 17th-century ship "Vasa".

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, right, with his Swedish counterpart Goran Persson on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 at the Sagerskan residence in Stockholm where the two met for talks during an official lunch. EPA/ ANA-MPA photo /J. HENRIKSSON

    [02] Papandreou in Israel for SI peace initiative

    Socialist International President George Papandreou, the leader of Greece's main opposition PASOK party, arrived in Israel on Tuesday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials over an intended SI-brokered peace initiative, even as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated to new heights following the abduction of an Israeli soldier by Hamas gunmen.

    Papandreou had a 40-minute meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that focused on the latest developments in the conflict in light of the abduction and the new situation it had created, as well as the steps that Israel intends to take next unless the hostage is released.

    Livni also expressed concern that the Fatah security forces appeared to have lost control of the situation in the Palestinian territories.

    Papandreou proposed a regional conference to promote dialogue and attempt to rebuild a climate a trust between the two sides once the present crisis had been overcome.

    He is expected to meet Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz later in the day, while a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza may possibly take place late in the afternoon.

    Earlier, the Greek main opposition leader had also met with the new Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, who replaced the ousted Irineos following last year's highly damaging property and corruption scandal.

    Papandreou stressed that he had arrived in Jerusalem at a very difficult time for the Middle East, while noting that in talks with Palestinians and Israelis the goal was to stand by and support the work of the Patriarchate, which he said was very important.

    PASOK's leader arrived in Israel from Tehran, which he had visited for an SI initiative concerning Iran's nuclear programme. After a meeting with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Papandreou said they had discussed efforts for a peaceful resolution of the crisis and an SI initiative that might contribute to finding such a solution and highlight the possibilities for cooperation between Iran and the international community.

    He also noted that the Iranian side appeared willing to contribute to finding a solution to the problem and said that he was prepared to continue contacts and initiatives on an international level with other leaders who are influential in the region.

    Caption: PASOK leader George Papandreou, right, is received by Jerusalem Patriarch Theofilos on Tuesday, June 27, 2006, in the West Bank. ANA-MPA photo / V. Filis.

    [03] Rare coin depicting Brutus returned

    A rare silver coin -- denarium -- bearing the bust of Marcus Junius Brutus, dated 42 BC, and issued during the Roman Civil Wars by a mobile military mint, was returned to Athens on Tuesday and delivered to Culture Minister George Voulgarakis by the Greek embassy in London's cultural attaché.

    According to Voulgarakis, the coin is the fifth valuable ancient artifact returned to Greece over the last three years. It will be kept at the Numismatic Museum of Athens, where it is scheduled for display in 2007.

    Official figures point to 58 similar coins around the world today.

    Brutus committed suicide during the second battle at Philippi on Oct. 23, 42 BC, using the dagger with which he assassinated Julius Caesar.

    In June 2005, the Greek embassy in London was informed that unidentified Greek nationals had sold the coin to Classical Numismatic Groups Inc for 18,000 pounds. The company returned the coin unconditionally at the Greek state's request based on the EU directive regarding illegally exported cultural goods.

    Other repatriated artifacts over the last three years include a marble statue piece, returned by Gorny & Mosch House in Munich, dated the Augustus' time and bearing a relief presentation of Nereus and Hercules; a bronze figurine from Samos removed from the Museum of Vathi during the Second World War, and coins from the Asini archaeological site in the northeastern Peloponnese discovered during the Swedish Archaeological Institute's excavations in the 1920s.

    Caption: Culture Minister George Voulgarakis shows off the rare silver denarium for reporters on Tuesday, June 27, 2006. ANA-MPA photo / K. Mavrona.

    [04] OECD's Gurria received by Papoulias

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday morning received visiting Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary General Angel Gurria, who is in Athens for talks with the Greek government and to attend a two-day meeting of the organisation's education ministers that opened the same day at the coastal resort of Lagonissi, south of the capital.

    No statements were made to the press after the meeting, which took place at the presidential mansion.

    The OECD meeting at Lagonissi, chaired by Greek Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou, will be attended by the education ministers of some 35 OECD member-states and Gurria, as well as 200 observers from around the world.

    The meeting, entitled "Higher Education: Quality-Equality-Effectiveness", is the first to be held away from the OECD's Paris headquarters by the organisation's education ministers.

    Gurria had separate meetings on Monday with Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, Agricultural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos, and Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) president Dimitris Daskalopoulos.

    Caption: A file photo of Gurria. EPA/ANA-MPA.

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