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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis winds up official visit to New Zealand, heads to Australia
  • [02] Papandreou calls for 'major change'
  • [03] KKE leader Papariga on election strategy
  • [04] FinMin comments on economy, PASOK

  • [01] PM Karamanlis winds up official visit to New Zealand, heads to Australia

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday held talks with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, following a wreath-laying ceremony at the island nation's national cenotaph -- tomb of the unknown soldier-- on the first official visit by a Greek prime minister to the country.

    Karamanlis, who is on a tour that will also take him to Australia and Vietnam and who is accompanied by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Deputy FM Theodoros Kassimis, also met with members of New Zealand's cabinet, as he cited the very strong historic background of the two countries' bilateral relations.

    During his talks with Clark and the Cabinet, Karamanlis stressed that the celebration of the anniversary of the Battle of Crete, commemorated this week, and his presence in the country reflected in the most official and essential manner the excellent relations between Greece and New Zealand.

    Karamanlis said common struggles during WWII have forged strong bonds between the two peoples, adding that this was a precious legacy for the coming generations.

    In addition to the historic past, both Karamanlis and Clark referred to the active presence of the Greek community in New Zealand.

    Talks focussed on the economic, commercial and educational sector, while issues concerning the EU, Kosovo, developments in Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue were also discussed. Karamanlis further briefed his New Zealand counterpart on the FYROM "name issue".

    Asked during a press conference whether Greece placed prior resolution of the name issue as a priority to FYROM's accession to NATO, Karamanlis replied that the Greek position was "crystal clear".

    "Our aspiration is for a jointly acceptable solution to be found to the name issue under the UN-brokered process. We have proven our constructive stance. We have done that which we had to do. It is the government of FYROM that must abandon its intransigence, which belongs to the past, and turn towards a European future. It must abandon propagandistic actions, irredentist attitudes and rationales towards an EU and NATO member state. It must abandon practices and actions that do not respect the principle of good neighbourhood relations. That is the only safe way that can lead Skopje to a smooth Euro-Atlantic course," the Greek premier explained.

    Clark, in turn, noted that New Zealand hoped for, and Greece backed, Turkey's accession to the European Union.

    She also outlined the educational reform being advanced in her country, the reduction of unemployment, boosting of electricity production from renewable energy sources, noting that the target was to reach 100 percent electricity production from renewable energy sources from the present 74 percent.

    Clark further called for joint events marking the Battle of Crete, and at the same time described as "important" Greece's decision to join the international whale protection treaty.

    Karamanlis and the Greek delegation received a traditional Maori welcome later upon arrival at the New Zealand parliament.

    Replying to questions, Karamanlis said that the events that will mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete, in 2011, will be more pronounced than those held to mark the 50th and 60th anniversaries while, later, at an event at the Monument to the Battle of Crete, the Greek premier decorated surviving New Zealand veterans of the Battle of Crete.

    Addressing a reception for the local Greek community in Wellington, Karamanlis thanked them for their contribution to worldwide Hellenism, stressing that Greek history and culture were elements "that make us all proud".

    He said that Orthodoxy was a fundamental element that determined Hellenism's course throughout the centuries.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PM Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] Papandreou calls for 'major change'

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou will meet with his party's economy and social policy committee on Monday at the political faction's headquarters. On Saturday, addressing his party's two-day programme conference, he said the party will begin a "struggle" to rid the country from the "worst government it has ever had."

    Papandreou also called once again for early elections -- elections are normally due in Greece in March 2008 -- that, in his view, must have two preconditions.

    First of all, "scandal"s, as he charged, must be clarified, at least from a political point of view, to enable confrontation ahead of elections to be based on the parties' programmes only.

    In addition, Papandreou said Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis must not use national issues as an election ploy to lead the country to elections.

    Caption: File photo of PASOK leader George Papandreou. ANA-MPA

    [03] KKE leader Papariga on election strategy

    An article by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga was published in Sunday's edition of the daily "Rizospastis" -- the KKE's official newspaper -- in which she said the strategy of the two major parties was the cause of problems of the working classes.

    "A criterion to vote should be the awareness that the daily problems faced by the working class, the self-employed, poor farmers and the overwhelming majority of youth and women derive from the strategy of the two major parties, ruling New Democracy (ND) party and main opposition PASOK," Papariga wrote.

    Referring to the next general elections, she said that the elections "are not determined by the ethos and the style or the kind of managing (of the system)," noting that "if the general line is not condemned, if no rift is created in the bi-partisan alternative, then valuable time is lost for the movement to be able to place obstacles to the new anti-popular measures which will be implemented."

    Referring to the tactics followed by the ND and PASOK, she said "the quarrel between them is not 'rigged', it is real. It expresses the acute antagonism between the ND and PASOK as to who will be the driver and who will be the co-driver. It is dangerous, because it disorientates, incorporates and eventually corrupts and buys out conscience."

    Caption: KKE leader Aleka Papariga. ANA-MPA.

    [04] FinMin comments on economy, PASOK

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Sunday dismissed the latest main opposition PASOK criticism, noting that the latter cannot "mislead" the Greek citizens.

    "PASOK cannot mislead the Greek citizens again. The citizens see that the government has proceeded in the improvement of the economy, maintains its commitments, has a plan and guarantees the country's future and the prosperity of the Greek people," Alogoskoufis said.

    "The Greek people these days had the opportunity to see yet again what PASOK means. PASOK, which as government, led in the greatest looting of public wealth with the enormous hidden deficits and the debts it left behind it. PASOK, which as government, led in the looting of the deposits of the Greek citizens through the Stock Exchange. They have never apologised to the people for these crimes. They are attempting yet again to mislead the Greek citizens. For three years, they are danger-mongering on the course of the economy. They fell short and instead of recognising it, today they are attacking the European Commission," the FinMin added.

    Responding to his statements, PASOK deputy Vasso Papandreou said, "the citizens are daily witnessing the repercussions of the New Democracy party's policy and they will give their answer in the general elections."

    Caption: A file photo of FinMin George Alogoskoufis. ANA-MPA.

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