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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-02-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis to meet with visiting Cyprus President on Wednesday
  • [02] PASOK leader calls for 'social cohesion' debate
  • [03] Ioannina celebrates 94th liberation anniversary
  • [04] Central bank urges banks to reduce bad loans

  • [01] PM Karamanlis to meet with visiting Cyprus President on Wednesday

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, who arrived in Athens on Tuesday evening for high level talks in Athens. Earlier, Karamanlis was due to confer with foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis. After their discussions, Karamanlis and Papadopoulos will hold a joint press conference.

    Cypriot President Papadopoulos' meetings in Athens on Wednesday would be at top level, and indicated the good cooperation between Greece and Cyprus, national defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis said on Tuesday, replying to press questions after an Inner Cabinet meeting.

    Asked whether there was fear over possible reactions by Turkey, Meimarakis said that "we fear nothing", but added that "we are obliged, however, to examine and analyse every action so as to preventively face every move".

    Also speaking to reporters, foreign minister Bakoyannis stressed that cooperation with the Cypriot side is "continuous and good" while, in response to a relevant question, added that the foreign ministry has prepared the itinerary of the discussions that will take place on Wednesday.

    Papadopoulos arrived in Athens on Tuesday for a two-day visit and talks with the political leadership in Greece to discuss the latest developments concerning the Cyprus issue.

    The talks with Karamanlis will also cover the oil exploration and exploitation rights in the sea area south of Cyprus.

    The Cyprus president will receive the leaders of the Greek political parties separately on Wednesday afternoon.

    On Thursday, Papadopoulos is scheduled to meet with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, before returning to Cyprus.

    Later, during a regular press briefing, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that Cypriot President Papadopoulos will hold deliberations with President Papoulias, prime minister Karamanlis and the leaders of the political parties in Athens on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Meanwhile, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis warned Turkey on Tuesday, referring to the agreement concluded between by the government of Cyprus with Egypt and Lebanon over the exploitation of oil deposits in the eastern Mediterranean, that the implementation by sovereign states of self-evident principles and daily practice must not and cannot be disputed.

    Bakoyannis, who was briefing the members of the relevant Parliamentary Committee on developments regarding foreign policy issues, pointed out to Turkey that it must respect and respond fully to European criteria, placing emphasis on good neighbourliness.

    "I believe and hope that Turkey will not close it eyes to the prospect of a better future for itself. That, despite upsurges of fanaticism, it will remain bent on peace. We realise that it is experiencing an election period. However, it will not be an alibi for the creation of a climate of tension without a cause. It cannot be an excuse for non-stability," the foreign minister said.

    Focusing on the issue of Cyprus, Bakoyannis said that "our position was and is that Cyprus has the right to conclude agreements in the framework of international rules."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (R) with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos during a visit by the Cypriot President to Athens in July 2006. (ANA-MPA/P. Saitas).

    [02] PASOK leader calls for 'social cohesion' debate

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou has called for an off -the agenda debate in Parliament, at the level of political party leaders, on ?development, social peace and social cohesion?.

    In a letter he sent Tuesday to Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda, the PASOK leader said that ?after three years of the country‚s governance by the New Democracy, the government‚s hidden agenda has been revealed and despite its pre-election commitments, the policy it is following excessively burdens the low and middle incomes, while with a multitude of favourable provisions, it serves the interests of the few and the economically strong and makes social inequality acute.?

    He further noted that ?the reduction of the Greek economy‚s competitiveness, the conscious disdain of state-run businesses and their granting to foreign interests, leads to the shrinking of the country‚s productive basis, to the increase of unemployment and the undermining of the country‚s role and prospects.?

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou. (ANA-MPA/K. Mavrona)

    [03] Ioannina celebrates 94th liberation anniversary

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday night attended an event in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, marking the 94th anniversary of the liberation of Ioannina from the Ottoman rule.

    ?Today‚s anniversary is a day of memory and reflection. It reminds us that those who forget are forgotten. We attribute honor to the national gains of the past so as to have a creative present and a hopeful future,? Papoulias said in his address.

    Three days of events for the 94th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Ioannina, northwestern Greece, from the Ottoman Turks were launched on Tuesday afternoon, attended by President Papoulias and National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis.

    The municipality of Ioannina hosted a formal dinner on Tuesday evening in honor of the President, who delivered a commemorative speech following an address by the city mayor.

    The president attended a morning service at the Agios Athanasios Cathedral on Wednesday before visiting the 8th Army Division headquarters, which is due to be followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Bizani Fighters Monument.

    A formal dinner at the Army Officers‚ Club will be given in honor of the President after the completion of a military and student parade.

    President Papoulias is also scheduled to inaugurate the ?Balkan Wars 1912-13? and ?Epirotes in Venice, 16th and 19th century? exhibitions at the ?Kostas Frontzos? Folkloric Art Museum, while he will also visit the ?Alexander the Great? exhibition at the Municipal Library.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias. (ANA-MPA/K. Mavrona)

    [04] Central bank urges banks to reduce bad loans

    The Bank of Greece and the Hellenic Bank Association on Tuesday met to discuss the problem of outstanding loans in the domestic banking sector.

    Nikos Garganas, the Bank of Greece's governor, urged Greek bankers to intensify efforts to cut the current 6 percent rate of delayed loans to around 3-3.5 pct, currently the EU average.

    The problem with delayed loans is a "hot topic" in Greek banking sector, not only because of the high rate recorded by Greek banks, but also because of a new regulatory framework implemented by the Basel II rules. The new framework calls on financial institutions' board to determine the ceiling of accepted delayed loans and to report it to the central bank.

    The central banker also urged Greek banks to adopt a unified system of recording bad debt in their quarterly balance sheets.

    Under International Accounting Standards, banks are not obliged to record interest on loans delayed for more than six months (excluding mortgage loans).

    The Bank of Greece also called on local banks to implement a more efficient control of pricing of services, such as credit transfer payments and commissions.

    Caption: Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas. ANA-MPA / A. Beltes.

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