|Thursday, 26 November 2020|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-22
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM Karamanlis on official visit to Australia, meets with NSW state premier IemmaSydney (ANA-MPA/A. Panagopoulos) -- Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday met with New South Wales state premier Morris Iemma, on the first official visit by a Greek prime minister in office to Australia. He is accompanied by foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and deputy foreign minister Theodoros Kassimis.
Karamanlis arrived in Sydney on Monday night, embarking on the first official visit by a Greek prime minister to Australia, following a visit to New Zealand, on an official tour of the region which will also take him to Vietnam.
The Greek prime minister met at noon with New South Wales state premier Morris Iemma, who hosted a luncheon in honour of Karamanlis and the Greek delegation.
In his address, Iemma stressed that Greece has a government that guarantees democracy, creates, and has given momentum and growth to the country.
He also endorsed the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, noting that a short while ago Britain had returned antiquities to Australia and that a similar move must be made with the Parthenon Marbles.
Iemma also praised foreign minister Bakoyannis, noting that she was Greece's first woman foreign minister, and calling her a courageous woman, underlining that she had suffered the consequences of terrorism, referring to the assassination of her husband, New Democracy MP Pavlos Bakoyannis, by the 'November 17' terrorist group in 1989.
In his return address, Karamanlis referred to the friendly relations between the two countries, noting that the bonds emanate also from the presence of a prospering Greek community in Australia.
Karamanlis said that the flow of trade and investments between the two countries should be increased, stressing that Greece was an ideal business partner for Australian companies wishing to enter the developing market of Southeastern Europe.
"The Greek economy is evolving into a more dynamic, more open and more competitive economy," he said.
He also expressed satisfaction over the scheduled signing, on Wednesday, of a Greece-Australia Social Security agreement, which he would co-sign with Australian prime minister John Howard in Canberra, noting that "a serious issue concerning thousands of people who have worked in the two countries will finally be settled with this accord".
Turning to the national issues, Karamanlis said that Greece consistently encourages the European prospect of all the countries of the region "with the complete confiction that such a prospect constitutes a strong incentive that can help in ensuring and promoting democratic and economic reforms that will lead to the development and stability of our wider region".
On the FYROM name issue, Karamanlis said that "we remain devoted to the UN process and look forward to a mutually acceptable solution, despite FYROM's provocative stance".
With respect to the Cyprus issue, he stressed that it is an international problem of military invasion and occupation, stressing that Greec'es policy was clear and consistent: "We support a comprehensive, just and viable solution for the reunification of the island, to the benefit of all its lawful inhabitants".
Karamanlis, who is accompanied by foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and deputy foreign minister Theodoros Kassimis, met earlier with Archbishop Stylianos of Australia on Tuesday, and attended a doxology.
Addressing local Greek Australians, Karamanlis praised the work of the Greek community abroad, stressing that the common goal was to build the future on the solid foundations that have been lain.
"Our thoughts focus on the next generation of Greeks abroad, all over the world, as the transition from one generation to the next brings about changes that we must be prepared to respond to, and to prepare for based on our timeless values and unity," the premier said.
He said that the Orthodox faith comprises a strong element of the identity of the overseas Greeks, adding that the role of the Church in preserving the Greekness of the coming generations was undisputable.
Also important, he continued, was the role of the overseas Greeks' organisations.
Karamanlis explained that, for his government, promotion and advancement of the Greek cultural identity was a top priority and, in that framework, the overseas Greek communities comprised a central element of its policy.
"The constant, two-way communication with the Greeks abroad and the smooth cooperation with the Church, the effort to create a climate of understanding among all the agencies of Hellenism, aim at consolidating conditions of unity of the Greeks Abroad, with the end goal being to reinforce the prosperity of our communities throughout the world," the premier said.
Karamanlis later inaugurated the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's Vassiliada Home for the Elderly, where he stressed that the Greeks of the Diaspora have waged tough battles for survival, and praised the Archdiocese of Australia for all it has contributed and for the new old-age home while, addressing the local Greek community, said that "you have always kept Greece in your hearts, and I want you to know that you are in our thoughts".
He announced that soon, a small bus would be donated to the old-age home to facilitate the elderly.
Karamanlis also visited the Greek Community Old-Age Home in Sydney, and the Greek Orthodox College of St. Spyridon, where he gave 22 outfits of the Greek national soccer team and soccer balls to the children, as well as books, noting that the students comprised "the future of Hellenism in this far-away country".
The students at the college are chiefly third-generation Greek Australians.
Afterwards, the Greek delegation cruised the port of Sydney by boat, while Karamanlis was scheduled to address a large gathering of local Greek Australians on Tuesday night, before departing for Canberra where, on Wednesday, he is slated to visit the parliament and meet with Australian prime minister Howard.
The Greek prime minister is due to meet afterwards with opposition Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Hellenic Australian Monument, to be attended by war veterans, while he will also address members of the local Greek community during an event at the Greek ambassador's residence in Canberra.
On Thursday morning, Karamanlis will go to Adelaide, where he will meet with South Australia state premier Mike Rann and Adelaide Lord Mayor Michael Harbison, followed by a reception for the local Greek community before leaving for Melbourne, where he will address the local Greek community at a dinner event.
Karamanlis will meet with Victoria state premier Steve Bracks and opposition members on Friday, while that same night he will address a large gathering of Greek Australians at the Rod Laver Arena.
On Saturday, Karamanlis will leave for Darwin, where he will meet with Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin, followed by a reception hosted by Martin.
At noon on Saturday, the Greek prime minister will depart Darwin for Hanoi, Vietnam, on the last leg of his tour.
On Sunday, Karamanlis will lay a wreath at the Monument to Heroes and Martyrs, and another wreath at the Ho Chi Ming Mausoleum, followed by talks with Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung, after which a tourism cooperation agreement will be signed and statements made to the press.
Karamanlis will also attend an official lunch hosted by Dung, followed by a meeting with Vietnamese president Nguyen Minh Triet.
The Greek prime minister will depart Vietnam on Sunday afternoon (local time), and is expected to arrive back in Athens shortly before midnight Sunday (Greek time).
 PASOK leader commends Ombudsman's OfficeMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou congratulated the Greek Ombudsman's Office for a job well-done in checking over the executive power on behalf of the citizens, during a meeting with Ombudsman George Kaminis on Tuesday.
The Ombudsman, by calling for answers and transparency, has a substantive role in the consolidation of the citizens‚ rights, said Papandreou, adding that his party supports the viewpoint according to which independent watchdogs should check over governments and power holders contributing to greater transparency while combating corruption.
The PASOK leader made the comments after meeting with Greek Ombudsman George Kaminis, who handed over to him a copy of the independent watchdog‚s annual report delivered earlier to Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
Kaminis stated that he also had the opportunity to present a brief account of his four-year term in office that ended on April 23.
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