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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Burns: Time for progress on FYROM name issue
  • [02] Controversial school history book withdrawn

  • [01] Burns: Time for progress on FYROM name issue

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Buoyancies met in New York on Monday evening (Greek time) with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, a former American ambassador to Greece, with talks focusing on developments in the Balkans, especially on Kosovo issue and the Cyprus problem. They also discussed the Middle East, Greek-Turkish relations, and EU-Turkey relations.

    "The time has come for progress on the FYROM 'name issue'," Burns said, adding that, for this purpose, the two countries (Greece and FYROM) must devote themselves to constructive and productive negotiations.

    "This is our message to Skopje, and the spirit of our meeting today with the (Greek) foreign minister," Burns said in statements after his 70-minute talks with Buoyancies.

    On the FYROM name issue, Burns noted that the United States has always backed negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations, adding that the two countries must devote themselves to constructive and productive negotiations, while stressing that "this is our message to Skopje and the spirit of our meeting today with the foreign minister".

    "We wish to exercise our influence and urge Skopje, as we do with Athens, that the time has come for progress, and I believe that Ambassador (Matthew) Nimetz (the UN special mediator on the FYROM name issue) is an effective negotiator and that the process will progress," Burns said.

    The US official said he and Buoyancies also discussed Kosovo, "where the US and Greece are working towards finding a solution that will be good for the Balkans and for Europe", stressing that Greece is a strong ally and that "we are very good friends, and have a relationship of trust with the Greek government".

    On the Cyprus issue, Buoyancies said that she outlined Greece's positions in favour of the Gambari process and its speedy advancement.

    "We had a very good discussion on the Cyprus issue. I look forward to my meeting with (Cyprus) President (Tassos) Papadopoulos on Wednesday (on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly), and I very carefully listened to the foreign minister's (Buoyancies) advice. The United States hope that progress will be made and that the UN will restart the process," Burns said.

    On the Middle East, he said advancement of the peace process, with the holding of an international conference, was in the common interest of all, and that Washington was working in that direction.

    Burns and Buoyancies further discussed the prospect of Greece's inclusion in the all-important US visa waiver programme, on which the Greek foreign minister said "substantial progress" has been made.

    Caption: Greek FM Dora Buoyancies (L) meets with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns on the sidelines of the 62nd UN General Assembly in New York City, on Monday, 24 September 2007. ANA-MPA / D. PANAGOS.

    [02] Controversial school history book withdrawn

    A controversial history book for the sixth year of Greek primary schools is to be withdrawn and replaced by the old history book, recently appointed Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis announced on Tuesday.

    The minister said the decision was reached after the Educational Institute expressed grave reservations regarding the content of the amended version of the much-criticised school text book.

    In the meantime, Stylianidis has given orders to reprint the old history text book and hand it out to this year's classes, while at the same time arranging for a tender to choose the authors of a new history book for that class.

    Clarifying his decision, he also stressed that the younger generation could not become guinea-pigs for any kind of experiment.

    Stylianidis' predecessor Marietta Yiannakou had steadfastly resisted demands for the withdrawal of the book but had finally agreed that it should be revised based on the recommendations of the Athens Academy. The revised version of the book was originally scheduled to be distributed in Greek schools at the start of the academic year but was never handed out, with the ministry claiming that it had been delayed by printers preparing election material.

    The minister added that he intended to examine all outstanding issues at the ministry one at a time in order to give immediate solutions, while the appointments and transfers of teachers were expected to be complete by October 5.

    The book in question was first distributed to classes in 2006 and was much criticised for the way it presented the role of the Church in the years when Greece was under Ottoman rule and during the 1821 war of independence, as well as its toned-down description of events like the Turkish attack on Smyrna - present-day Izmir - in which tens of thousands of Greeks were forced to flee and thousands were killed.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of new Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis.

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