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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: The islands are a 'precious national capital'
  • [02] PASOK leader criticises government

  • [01] PM: The islands are a 'precious national capital'

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday called the country's islands a "precious national capital", and pledged that his government will place even greater weight on solving the problems they face, addressing a meeting of local officials and government members on the island of Kasos, which he visited on May Day, and was declared an honourary resident of the island.

    Karamanlis arrived on Kasos early Tuesday morning, after a 14-hour overnight sail aboard a Navy gunboat named after the island, accompanied by national defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis. He spent most of the trip on the boat's bridge, conversing with crew members and dining with them in the mess room.

    Shortly after his arrival, the premier chaired a meeting at the Kasos City Hall, where he was briefed on the local problems and pledged that his government would contribute in every possible way to solving them.

    The meeting was attended by Meimarakis, minister for the Aegean and island policy Aristotelis Pavlidis, deputy foreign minister Yannis Valynakis, Southern Aegean Periphery chief Charalambos Kokkinos, Dodecanese Prefect Yannis Macheridis, and other local authorities.

    Local authorities and inhabitants of the island, who greeted Karamanlis on his arrival, thanked him for fulfilling a past pledge and tendering a project for the construction of the island's harbour, which is considered a project of vital importance for Kasos.

    The contract for the project is slated to be signed on June 12.

    After the meeting, Karamanlis was declared an honourary resident of Kasos, following a unanimous decision by the City Council in appreciation for the premier's advancing of a solution of the 27-year-old problem of the island's harbour.

    Addressing the event, Karamanlis thanked the local residents and outlined his government's efforts for an integrated island policy, and the steps it was taking for the development of the periphery with funds from the EU's 4th Community Support Framework (CSF), and for the development of tourism.

    Karamanlis later left for the island of Rhodes, from where he would return to Athens.

    During a visit to Kasos in 1999, Karamanlis, as main opposition leader at the time, had pledged that a Navy vessel would be named after the island. Six years later, as prime minister, Karamanlis fulfilled his pledge, and the gunboat that brought him to the island on Tuesday was named "Kasos" in 2005.

    Caption: Prime minister Costas Karamanlis (L) on the bridge of the Navy gunboat Kasos, with Navy General Staff (GEN) chief, Vice-Admiral Dimitris Gousis (R). (ANA-MPA).

    [02] PASOK leader criticises government

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the government, speaking to reporters in Heraklion, Crete, saying that his party will "strike out at every rationale of appropriation of state property".

    A blow will be struck against depravity, hypocrisy and cover-up, he said, adding that "we are at the side of the working people, the Greek citizens and the Greek family, in the struggle they are waging for a just society, and together we will put an end to a blatantly unjust policy, that of New Democracy, which has shrunken the family income, and has arbitrarily backed the few and the 'friends' against the many".

    Papandreou further accused the government of "undermining the social state, public education, health, social insurance and welfare".

    "We shall put an end to a policy that perceives that the state belongs to them, that it is the spoils to be divvied up in a depraved political looting of the Greek people's toil and of the social insurance funds," he said.

    Responding to the PASOK leader's statements, minister of state and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said later that "Mr. Papandreou has nothing to say about the present, seeing that the current government is tidying up the economy, creating new job positions, institutionally safeguarding transparency, and shedding light on every suspicious dealing and bringing it to justice".

    "Mr. Papandreou has nothing to guarantee on the future, and is 'absent' from all the major reforms to the Constitution and in the education sector, systematically avoiding to submit even one specific proposal for the land and the citizens," Roussopoulos said, adding that the PASOK leader "wants the Greeks to forget the past, to forget the (preceding PASOK) governments of the fiscal lies and lack of transparency, the unemployment and the stock market crime, in which he participated as a top-ranking minister," Roussopoulos continued.

    "Acrimony and polarisation are the last 'life raft" for Mr. Papandreou and his party," the government spokesman concluded.

    May Day was marked in Heraklion with a rally outside the local Labour Centre, attended by merchant marine minister Manolis Kefaloyannis who represented the government, Papandreou, MPs, and local authorities, officials and working people.

    After the rally, which was addressed by Heraklion Labour Centre president George Skouladakis, a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Monument to the Working Class.

    A separate rally was held at Eleftherias Square by the PAME trade union group.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou at the May Day rally in Crete. (ANA-MPA).

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