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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-22

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis chairs expanded meeting at defence ministry
  • [02] Thessaloniki's White Tower to serve as museum
  • [03] Czech President Klaus begins visit
  • [04] FM Bakoyannis in Moscow for talks
  • [05] Gov't reiterates position on EU-Turkey ties

  • [01] PM Karamanlis chairs expanded meeting at defence ministry

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday chaired an expanded meeting at the national defence ministry on matters related to the operation of the armed forces and the course of the government's efforts in this critical sector, as the meeting was attended by the ministry's civilian and military leadership.

    During the 2 1/2-hour meeting, Karamanlis stressed that the government "is advancing the modernisation of the military based on meritocracy, the rational use of the available resources and transparency in the management of the public monies".

    "We are proud of our armed forces, which are devoted to democracy, peace and defence of our national sovereignty with self-denial ... they are a factor of stability in the wider region through their participation in international missions; they guarantee world peace through implementation of decisions of the international community while, with their social contribution, they have earned the confidence of the citizens," Karamanlis said, pledging that "the state will stand by their side, assisting in their effort to maintain morale and preparedness at a high level".

    Accompanied by Cabinet secretary Argyris Karras and director of the prime minister's press office Yannis Adrianos, Karamanlis arrived at the ministry at 10:30 a.m. where he was greeted by the entire civilian and military leadership, headed by national defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis, and inspected honor guards aligned in the ministry's courtyard.

    The premier was briefed by the civilian and military leadership on matters concerning the military's operational readiness.

    Caption: PM Karamanlis inspects an honor guard at the defence ministry in Athens on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006. ANA-MPA photo / P. Saitas.

    [02] Thessaloniki's White Tower to serve as museum

    Thessaloniki's trademark White Tower will officially serve as a museum, beginning next year with a permanent exhibition on loan from the nearby Byzantine Museum.

    A multimedia platform within the the Tower's circular walls will also allow visitors the opportunity to view the city's 2,300-year history on video walls.

    The White Tower, located on the northern port city's sea wall, will reopen to the public with the inauguration of the exhibition in mid 2007, officials said here on Wednesday.

    Caption: The White Tower in Thessaloniki. ANA-MPA photo

    [03] Czech President Klaus begins visit

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday formally received Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who arrived in Greece earlier in the day for an official two-day visit along with his spouse, Livia Klausova.

    Several ministers were present for the formal welcoming ceremony at the presidential mansion in Athens, whereas both leaders later held close-door talks.

    Papoulias will host a reception for the Czech first couple on Wednesday evening.

    [04] FM Bakoyannis in Moscow for talks

    Greece's foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis was in Moscow on Wednesday for talks with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov covering a wide range of issues, including Turkey's EU prospects, the Middle East, Iran and the western Balkans, as well as bilateral cooperation.

    In an interview with the Russian daily Kommersant, appearing in Wednesday's edition, Bakoyannis said discussion would also cover Greek-Russian cooperation and partnership relationship at international level, chiefly in the framework of the UN Security Council, on which Greece holds a non-permanent seat until the end of the year, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Organisation, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    To a question regarding advancement of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, Bakoyannis replied that she was "in the pleasant position of saying that preparation for the signing of the relative agreement is obviously proceeding well", while she expressed optimism that the target deadline for signing the agreement by the end of the year would be met, stressing that "the political volition exists on the part of all sides involved, and I am in the pleasant position to say that we are moving on the right path".

    Questioned on whether criticism against Russia of engaging in so-called "energy blackmail" was also voiced by European countries, Bakoyannis replied that words such as 'blackmail' and 'accusation' "have no place in the relations between Europe and Russia, which are characterised by a climate of ?friendship and mutual respect".

    Russia, she said, was a key international factor and an EU ally, and was also a basic factor in geopolitical and security issues, as well as a fundamental supplier of energy resources to the EU.

    Bakoyannis further stressed the need for diversification of energy sources and seeking more environmentally-friendly sources, and expressed hope for a speedy commencement of the negotiations between Russia and the EU which, she noted, was looking at energy cooperation with the goal of signing a comprehensive agreement.

    Questioned on Greece's position on Kosovo, the foreign minister reiterated that this must comprise the object of dialogue and negotiation, advised a more realistic approach by both sides, and stressed Greece's position that the achievement of a long-term comprehensive solution not be sacrificed due to time limitations.

    On Turkey's EU prospects, Bakoyannis reiterated Greece's position in favour of Turkey's EU accession, on condition that it totally fulfils its agreed commitments emanating from the negotiating framework and the additional Protocol to the Ankara agreement.

    [05] Gov't reiterates position on EU-Turkey ties

    The government on Wednesday reiterated that Turkey must fulfill commitments it has undertaken towards the EU if its accession process is to progress.

    "Turkey must fulfill a series of obligations that it hs undertaken in order for its accession process to proceed," government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said during a regular press briefing and in reply to questions concerning Premier Costas Karamanlis' meeting in London on Tuesday with British PM Tony Blair. He also reiterated Greece's well-known positions on the issue of EU-Turkey relations.

    Asked to comment on a statement a day earlier by EU enlargement Commissioner Ollie Rehn, namely, that the EU 25 should in December, at the EU summit, stress the need for the reactivation within the UN of efforts for a Cyprus solution, Roussopoulos said "all the Greek governments from 1974 to the present have stated their support for UN efforts towards a resolution of the Cyprus issue".

    Every reference of this kind at an international meeting was in faavour of a Cyprus solution, he added.


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