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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-07-23
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Karamanlis inaugurates ESOAB-funded building in SarajevoSARAJEVO (ANA-MPA - N. Pelpas) Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday had a meeting with his counterpart in the Bosnia and Herzegovina government, Council of Ministers Chairman Nikola Spiric, for talks that focused on bilateral relations and the tiny Balkan state's European Union perspective.
The meeting with the Bosnian Serb politician was conducted in a very friendly climate and delegations from the two sides later signed bilateral agreements for avoiding double taxation and for economic and technological cooperation.
The agreements were signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis for Greece, while the other side was represented by Bosnian Finance Minister Dragan Vrankic and Foreign Trade Minister Slobodan Puhalac.
In a press conference after the meeting with Karamanlis, Spiric thanked the Greek premier for Greeceās assistance toward his country's economic reconstruction and for supporting its efforts to join Euro-Atlantic structures.
Karamanlis confirmed that relations between the two countries were excellent on all levels and referred to the economic assistance given to Bosnia and Herzegovina by Greece via the Greek Plan for the Reconstruction of the Balkans (ESOAB), noting that the new Greece-Bosnia and Herzegovina Friendship Building being inaugurated on Monday, whose renovation was financed by ESOAB, was confirmation of Greece's determination to support Bosnia.
"I am happy to inaugurate the Friendship Building of our people whose renovation was 80 percent funded by ESOAB," Karamanlis said, adding that the building would be a symbol of the friendship between the two people in the centre of Sarajevo.
The Greek premier also underlined Greece's support for Bosnia's eventual accession to the European Union:
"Greece supports the Euro-Atlantic prospects of Bosnia and Herzegovina with all means - political, economic and military - as a guarantee for the development and stability of the region," he stressed.
He said that Athens is in favour of the immediate signature of a Stability and Association Agreement between the EU and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as soon as the latter fulfilled the necessary criteria.
The Greek premier also held talks with the country's three-member federal presidium.
PM inaugurates Greece-Bosnia and Herzegovina Peace and Friendship Building
Following their meeting Karamanlis and Spiric officially inaugurated the recently renovated Greece-Bosnia and Herzegovina Friendship Building in the heart of Sarajevo, for which ESOAB contributed 80 percent of the total cost or 13.5 million euros.
The impressive 20-storey "Joint Institutions Building" had suffered severe damage during the Bosnian war of 1992-1995.
Accompanied by Spiric, Karamanlis unveiled a plaque at the entrance of the building, which said that the building had been renovated with economic assistance from Greece.
The Greek premier gave a brief speech, in which he noted that the building was the first major project funded by ESOAB that was completed. He announced that the next major project to be carried out using ESOAB funds was the rebuilding of a hospital in Sarajevo, to which the Greek government would contribute 1.2 million euros.
He stressed that projects such as these confirmed Greece's "unfailing support" toward Bosnia and Herzegovina, while again underlining Athens' support for the European prospects of Bosnia and the rest of southeastern Europe, ending with the wish that the building would "remain a symbol of the peace and friendship of all the peoples in the region, for us and future generations".
Karamanlis arrived in Sarajevo on Monday for a 24-hour visit that ends on Tuesday morning. Next on the Greek premier's agenda was an official luncheon with Spiric and a visit Camp Butmir, the headquarters of the European Union Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) and of the Greek contingent to the EUFOR.
The Greek prime minister was accompanied by minister of state and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, and deputy foreign minister Evripidis Stylianidis.
Political and economic relations between the two countries have undergone rapid development since they first established diplomatic ties in 1996, and Greece has steadfastly backed Bosnia-Herzegovina's efforts to consolidate political stability and develop its economy.
Greece's developmental aid to the country in 1996-2002 exceeded 55 million dollars, while 19.5 million euros have been earmarked for Bosnia-Herzegovina under ESOAB.
Greece is also a major investor in the country, with Greek investors ranking 7th among the foreign investors in the country.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
 Papandreou slams ND for 'unjust taxation'Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday accused the New Democracy government of adopting tax measures that were "unjust towards the average Greek family and attacked average and low incomes."
Speaking to reporters before a meeting with economic and social partners and with other agencies, Papandreou said his party proposed a taxation scheme "which is an instrument of growth and fair redistribution, a transparent tax system, simple and effective, which will support green development, social cohesion and innovation."
"That is why we debate with social partners preparing for the PASOK government of tomorrow," Papandreou concluded.
Finance ministry responds
Responding to Papandreou's statements, the finance ministry charged that the main opposition leader "once again tries to mislead Greek citizens. He distorts reality and conceals his own plans."
Papandreou "forgets that he participated in governments which imposed 50 new taxes, he forgets that his governments of yesterday have increased tax burdens from 30.5 per cent of the GDP in 1993 to 35.8 per cent in 2003," the ministry's announcement added.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.
 Fire-fighting plane down on Evia, crew killedA Canadair CL 415 fire-fighting plane crashed at 15:46 on Monday while taking part in an operation to put out a major fire on the island of Evia, at an area called Tsakei near Styra. According to the Fire Brigade Operations Centre, the aircraft crashed into a mountain side near the village Dilesos while attempting to put out a fire in the region with its two-man crew on board, who were later found dead by a search-and-rescue team sent by the fire brigade's Emergency Rescue Squad (EMAK), in an operation that employed two helicopters. The causes of the accident will be investigated by a fact-finding team from the Greek Airforce, who have already travelled to the area in a helicopter. The wildfire broke out earlier on Monday in an area of low shrubs and olive trees and was threatening homes in the area. Five aircraft, aircraft, two helicopters and a large number of firemen were deployed to put out the blaze. News of the plane crash also reached the Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who was informed by Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis while in Sarajevo where he is currently on an official visit. The prime minister interrupted an official luncheon with his Bosnian counterpart Nikola Spiric in order to contact Meimarakis, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras in order to be briefed on the incident. The premier is expected to make statements on the issue later on Monday. Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of a Canadair firefighting aircraft in action.
 PM congratulates Erdogan on re-electionSARAJEVO (ANA-MPA - N. Pelpas) Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the phone and congratulated him on his party's victory in the Turkish general elections on Sunday.
In his talks with the Turkish prime minister, Karamanlis invited Erdogan to "work together to create conditions that will lead to even better cooperation between our two countries".
During earlier statements on the Turkish election result that Karamanlis made in Sarajevo, where he is on an official visit, he urged the new government to pick up the pace of reforms required by the European Union.
"I would like to believe that yesterday's result will contribute to Turkey continuing its reform efforts with greater efficiency and at a more intense pace and, of course, carrying out the commitments in has undertaken in the framework of its European perspective," Karamanlis said.
He also underlined that Greece was following and actively supporting this effort with strong interest.
"To have Turkey progress on the path toward democracy and Europe, to prove in practice its respect for international law and international treaties is in the interest of both the Turkish people and our entire neighbourhood," the Greek premier added.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is in Sarajevo on a 24-hour visit that ends early on Tuesday.
CAPTION: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan just after casting his vote at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey, 22 July 2007. ANA-MPA/EPA/KERIM OKTEN
 Greece once again gripped by heatwaveGreek authorities were on Monday preparing to deal with the repercussions of yet another major heatwave that is sweeping the country, with temperatures in some areas expected to reach up to 44C.
Tuesday is expected to be the hottest day of the week but temperatures will remain steadily above 40C throughout the country until Thursday.
The highest temperatures are expected in Larisa, Argos, Corinth, Trikala, Thessaloniki, Drama, Kavala, Serres and Katerini.
The Civil Protection General Secretariat has alerted all state services and local authorities to be prepared to deal with incidents linked to the high temperatures and set in motion the health ministry's Perseus plan, in which hospitals and the ambulance service are on standby.
The Public Power Corporation (PPC) is also on red alert as power consumption is once again expected to peak and test the limits of the power grid.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of children in central Athens fountain.
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