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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM, Pavlopoulos discuss restoring law and order in Zoniana
  • [02] Papandreou re-elected PASOK president
  • [03] FM briefed by Russian rep in Kosovo troika
  • [04] Gov't unveils programme for migrant integration

  • [01] PM, Pavlopoulos discuss restoring law and order in Zoniana

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos had a meeting on Monday morning to discuss issues concerning municipal government and the police operation to restore lasting law and order in the Cretan village of Zoniana. The discussion of municipal government issues was held in view of an upcoming conference by the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece, KEDKE.

    Pavlopoulos reported that the police operation in Zoniana - a village in the highlands of Rethymno prefecture on Crete - was going very well and would unfold so as to restore lasting order in the area without the lawless phenomena seen there previously.

    Asked how long police would remain in the area, Pavlopoulos replied "as long as it takes" and added that additional measures would involve installing authorities where they were needed and, in terms of legislation, of taking the measures that were needed to deal with similar situations elsewhere so that they did not arise in the future.

    The minister stressed that the government's effort for a solution would have a permanent and legal basis and that it was not simply being carried out for the sake of appearances or to solve the problem temporarily.

    He underlined, meanwhile, that the law enforcement operation fully respected the rights of local residents and was fully conscious of the fact that the problem was confined to a few individuals that were taking advantage of a certain state of affairs to carry out illegal activities, rather than the people of Crete as a whole.

    Regarding local government issues, Pavlopoulos said he would present the government's positions on the major reforms that must be carried out at KEDKE's conference, especially those referring to financial support for local authorities. He said this would be based on the discussion and agreement reached by KEDKE's president Nikitas Kaklamanis, the mayor of Athens, and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis.

    In a sweep of the entire area around Zoniana by special forces police that began last week, authorities have discovered weapons and ammunition - including bullets for Kalashnikov rifles - quantities of drugs, a number of stolen vehicles that have been used in robberies and were dumped in surrounding gorges and valleys, hashish plantations and remnants of stolen cashpoint machines that indicate the area may have been a base for a notorious gang of ATM robbers.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressing Parliament during the Prime Minister's Question Time.

    [02] Papandreou re-elected PASOK president

    Main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou clinched a landslide re-election to the party leadership in the first round of an internal party election, as the tally on Monday morning, with the results of 46 percent of the polling stations counted, gave Papandreou an ample victory of 59.50 percent, against 34.02 percent for MP and former minister Evangelos Venizelos and 6.13 percent for the third candidate, MP and former minister Costas Skandalidis.

    According to PASOK Charter and Certification Committee chairman George Anomeritis, the final results of the vote will be announced at noon on Tuesday, following a meeting of the Committee.

    In a statement in the early hours of Monday after it became apparent that his victory was irreversible, Papandreou called the election result the first major step in the direction of building a political system that respected the citizen and gave power and a voice to the Greek people.

    Venizelos, in an early morning statement, said that PASOK's "rival was and is conservatism, the Right and its government".

    He said that all who participated in Sunday's process "have a common goal: PASOK's victory and we will all work together for that".

    Papandreou statement

    Addressing the Greek people and PASOK voters, whom he thanked for their participation in the election process, Papandreou said he would spare no effort in the building of a political system that respects the citizen and gives strength and a voice to the Greek people.

    Papandreou was conciliatory and unifying in his message, stressing that "we are all comrades and brothers", but added that his mandate was clear-cut and strong vis-a-vis the "non-institutional centres and interests" and what he called "hegemony of the media", against those who wanted a "small and phobic" PASOK, and against conservatism.

    PASOK, he said, will have a new strategy with a new developmental vision for the autonomy of politics and the genuine expression of the people in decisions concerning them.

    The election, Papandreou continued, was the final day of an internal party process, but the first day of a new agreement for a new beginning and a new victorious victory.

    Papandreou further stressed that the mandate he received was binding also on all the PASOK cadres, adding that he will be "the president of the big, unified and victorious PASOK".

    He congratulated and thanked everyone who worked on the "impeccable" leader election process, and also congratulated Venizelos and Skandalidis on their participation in the election, which participation, he added "confirmed the meaning of the process".

    Papandreou said that in the next few days he would announce his first decisions, based on the large, clear-cut and binding popular mandate he received.

    Venizelos statement

    In an early morning statement, Venizelos welcomed the large turnout in the election and thanked, "from the bottom of my heart", all the PASOK members and friends who turned out to vote, regardless of who they voted for.

    "All who took part in the process want, we want, an institutional, collective, democratic and structured PASOK. The majority chose George Papandreou once again as the president of PASOK. I congratulate him and wish him every success in the mission he is shouldering for a second time," Venizelos said.

    He thanked all those who "spontaneously backed my candidacy, all over the country", noting that a "large, dynamic, groundbreaking and optimistic trend was formed", and adding that "I feel greatly honoured and a great sense of responsibility because such a trend is expressed from within my candidacy".

    "Our rival was and is conservatism, the Right and its government. All who took part in today's process have a common goal: PASOK's victory, and we will all work together for that," Venizelos concluded.

    PASOK spokesman Yannis Ragoussis, speaking Sunday evening after polling stations had closed, spoke of a massive participation in the party election, estimating the turnout at some 900,000 voters.

    Venizelos called Papandreou before midnight to congratulate him on his re-election, something done hours earlier by Skandalidis.

    Caption: PASOK President George Papandreou addresses reporters shortly after the results of the main opposition party's internal elections were announced at PASOK's central offices on Sunday evening, November 11 2007. ANA/MPA - K. Mavrona

    [03] FM briefed by Russian rep in Kosovo troika

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met Monday with the visiting Russian Federation's representative in the Kosovo mediation troika, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko.

    After the meeting, held at the initiative of the Russian official, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos told reporters that "Greece has a constant and particular interest in the issue of the future status of Kosovo, and this issue is included in and preoccupies all the international meetings of the Greek foreign minister with her counterparts".

    He added that Greece was also in contact and meetings with all the sides involved.

    Koumoutsakos said the Russian diplomat made an extensive and in-depth briefing on the current situation and the prospects for the efforts undertaken by the troika, adding that Bakoyannis reiterated Greece's position on the issue, namely:

    "A solution of stability for the region must be found with respect to the European principles and values. Even now, the greatest possible convergence of views must be sought, while seeking the greatest possible international legitimisation is also mandatory. It is necessary to formulate a uniform European stance on a European issue such as Kosovo."

    The Kosovo issue is also expected to be a key item on the agenda of Bakoyannis' meeting with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in Paris on Wednesday.

    Caption: Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis (R) receives visiting Russian Federation representative in the Kosovo mediation troika, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, in Athens on Monday, Nov. 12, 2007. ANA-MPA/A. DOUKAS.

    [04] Gov't unveils programme for migrant integration

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