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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-07-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis, President Sarkozy hold Paris talks in 'very cordial' climate
  • [02] Gov't measures for victims of fires

  • [01] PM Karamanlis, President Sarkozy hold Paris talks in 'very cordial' climate

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had lengthy talks in Paris on Monday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace, in a climate that was termed "very cordial".

    The talks continued later on and during a working luncheon hosted by the French president.

    Much of the talks was covered by issues of bilateral relations in which the "close political and economic cooperation" was registered.

    The two leaders expressed their desire for closer cooperation and better coordination for the handling of natural disasters in light of the ongoing extensive fires which as experience shows, cannot be faced by any country on its own and given that the problem of fires will have to be dealt with in the future in the Mediterranean region due to to broader climate change.

    Premier Karamanlis and President Sarkozy also discussed the possibility of a "joint provision of equipment for the fight against such phenomena", as Karamanlis said, while Spokesman for the French president David Martinon referred to the need of creating a Euromediterranean fleet of airborne means for joint firefighting.

    "France is one of the most important partners of Greece. There are possibilities for an even closer cooperation with mutual benefit," Karamanlis told reporters after the talks.

    Greek-French relations "are relations of trust having prospects without limits, beyond the bilateral framework, as far as cooperation within the European Union and the Meditarranean region is concerned," President Sarkozy told the Greek prime minister.

    The two leaders also talked on European Union perspectives, while they expressed their common satisfaction on the compromise text of the Reform Treaty. It was also agreed that the process for the Intergovernmental Conference should be completed during the current Portuguese EU presidency.

    President Sarkozy reiterated his proposal for the founding of a Mediterranean Union, which the Greek side is viewing positively in principle, but, as Karamanlis said, "we must examine it in relation to the existing institutional frameworks of cooperation in the region of the Meditarranean."

    The two sides also touched on issues standing high on the EU agenda, such as developments in the western Balkans and Lebanon, while the Greek prime minister drew the attention of the French leader to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) name issue, as he had also done earlier during his talks with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, saying that "we have taken the necessary steps, now we are wiating from the other side to correspond."

    On the level of bilateral relations the issue of cooperation in the defence sector was also discussed.

    Prime Minister Karamanlis said that "we are not yet in the process of choosing and when the time comes, every move will be made in the most open, clear and transparent manner. On our side, we are particularly interested in having Greece participating in the process of production."

    In the framework of economic cooperation, the increase of Greek exports to France by 26 per cent in 2006 and the increase of French investments in Greece, were ascertained.

    Both in the sector of commerce and of that of investments, France is one of the most important partners of Greece, Karamanlis underlined, before adding that his visit was "a very important one".

    CAPTION: French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) welcoming Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at the steps of the Elysee Palace, in Paris on Monday (Photo ANA-MPA/K.Trikalitis)

    [02] Gov't measures for victims of fires

    The government on Monday announced a series of measures for the victims of the devastating fires in the prefecture of Corinth last week, following a meeting at the prefecture's headquarters.

    Participants in the meeting included Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Bassiakos, Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias, the general secretary of the Environment and Public Works ministry, the head of the Peloponnese Region authority Angela Avouri and local elected officials.

    In statements afterward, Pavlopoulos expressed the government's support for all those who had suffered losses, asked forgiveness from the victims of the fires and gave his thanks to fire-fighters, the prefecture and local government and ordinary people for their contribution to putting out the fire.

    "A total of 2,500 hectares have been destroyed by the fire, of which 1,500 were forest and the rest were agricultural crops," Pavlopoulos said. He announced that aerial photography of the burnt regions has already begun and reforestation decrees will be issued within the week.

    "The same measures will apply as on Parnitha, while the reforestation will also be monitored by satellite," he said.

    The area would be declared hit by an act of God and there would be full compensation for the damage, he added.

    The first step would be a record of those whose houses had been burnt by municipal authorities so that the victims would immediately received emergency aid of 3,000 euros, while victims would also be issued a container as temporary housing.

    Emergency funds of 600,000 euros will also go to the Corinth Prefecture, in addition to the 400,000 euros already given, while the municipality of Tenea and Corinthia would receive 200,000 euros and that of Sykionia another 50,000 euros.

    The damage to the Timios Stavros Monastery will be covered by the prefecture, while the Peloponnese Region authority will cover the cost of lighting for Akrokorinthos.

    The tourism minister, on her part, reported that the fires in Corinth had not led to cancelled bookings and that it continued to be an attractive tourist destination. She said money would be sent to advertise the prefecture, with a stronger campaign than in previous years.

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