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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis and Erdogan inaugurate Greek-Turkish natgas pipeline
  • [02] Papariga highlights pollution problem at Oropos
  • [03] Heavy rains cause problems throughout Greece

  • [01] Karamanlis and Erdogan inaugurate Greek-Turkish natgas pipeline

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on the bridge over the Evros River at Kipous on Sunday, at the border between Greece and Turkey, for the inauguration of the Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline that went into operation on that day.

    The two prime ministers shook hands and posed for a photograph, after which Karamanlis got into the Turkish premier's car and they went to Ipsala on the Turkish side of the border for an inauguration ceremony. This was the second time that the two prime ministers met on the bridge over the Evros River, the first time being in July 2005 when work on the project first began.

    The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, U.S. Secretary for Energy Samuel Bodman and Greek Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, who had been instrumental in the execution of the project as development minister.

    The pipeline is eventually expected to bring natural gas from the Caspian Sea via Turkey and Greece to Italy and from there to the rest of Europe.

    The two prime ministers inaugurated the project in twin ceremonies held at Ipsala in Edirne, Turkey and at Peplos in Evros, on the Greek side of the border, with Karamanlis sending a message that "we can plan actions and carry out works that contribute to building a better future".

    Addressing the Turkish side, meanwhile, the Greek premier stressed that Greece, its government and all its political forces were "once again seeking good neighbour relations, relations of cooperation, relations of continual rapprochement between the two peoples".

    In his own message, Erdogan expressed hope that the cooperation between Greece and Turkey on this first major and important project would extend to political and cultural issues between the two countries.

    PM to visit Turkey at the start of 2008

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is expected to visit Turkey around the start of 2008. This was agreed during a 20-minute meeting between Karamanlis and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday in the Turkish town of Ipsala, near the border with Greece.

    The two prime ministers had earlier taken part in a ceremony in Ipsala inaugurating the operation of a Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline.

    They said the exact date and details of the visit would be decided via diplomatic channels.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is due to visit Athens on December 3.

    There was no agenda for the meeting between the two premiers, who said they had discussed bilateral issues, Turkey's prospects of EU accession and the importance of the pipeline's operation for relations between their two countries.

    The Greek premier also had a brief meeting with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, during which they discussed bilateral cooperation in energy, economic affairs and trade.

    Party reactions

    Commenting on the inauguration of the pipeline in an announcement on Sunday, the Communist Party of Greece said the working and popular classes should treat the celebrations with distrust, because they would gain nothing from its operation.

    "The jobs created will be minimal, while the broader masses will not even benefit from cheap or safe natural gas, because this will be exploited by large business groups. On the contrary, the dangers that arise from imperialist competition, which is constantly getting stronger, in order to control energy and its pathways are extremely great," the announcement added.

    [02] Papariga highlights pollution problem at Oropos

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Sunday highlighted the problems faced by residents of Oropos as a result of the area's environmental problems and the pollution of their water.

    "This is a long-term crime in the area," Papariga stressed after her tour of Oropos, underlining that the problems were not limited to the Oinophyta area where they were first discovered but had spread to nearby Oropos, where depleted chromium had also been found.

    She criticised the government's policy, saying that the measures it had announced to date were "rubbish".

    Referring to the inspections and measures carried out, Papariga said these were nothing but inspections by prefectures and municipalities on industrialists and fines. This essentially meant that businesses would continue to pollute for years, while there was also a question about whether these fines were actually paid.

    Outlining the KKE's positions on this issue, Papariga said that it was no good to pay fines in order to continue polluting, because businesses were failing to comply with the laws. "This is where we need state inspections, by the ministry on industrialists who are aiming for excessive profits. This why this is all happening," she added.

    KKE's leader also stressed that all of eastern Attica was now drinking polluted water, adding that this was the price of progress and development based on looting the earth, nature and on the great exploitation of people themselves.

    She promised that her party would raise the issue in Parliament and at the same time begin a major campaign that anyone was free to assist for clean water and clean air.

    [03] Heavy rains cause problems throughout Greece

    The heavy rains of the past 24 hours caused problems throughout the country and several areas were flooded, the Greek fire brigade reported on Sunday. It said that fire brigade stations had received hundreds of calls, mainly to pump water from flooded homes and businesses.

    Hardest hit was the prefecture of Rodopi in northeastern Greece, where a state of emergency has been declared since Saturday. According to the fire brigade, it had received 360 calls for assistance in that area, while problems were also acute in the prefectures of Kavala, Drama and in Ioannina.

    In the Peloponnese, the fire brigade responded to 20 calls to pump flood water in the municipality of Falaisia while the village of Tourkoleika was cut off after a bridge collapsed and could only be reached by a special tracked fire-brigade vehicle. Civil protection services throughout the fire-stricken areas succeeded in averting serious problems due to the rains.

    Problems were also reported in Serres where homes were flooded and crops were destroyed, while a driver was rescued from his car at the last minute before it was swept away by a torrent of water.

    State of emergency declared in Rodopi after heavy rains

    A state of emergency has been declared in the prefecture of Rodopi in northern Greece after heavy rains caused flooding in the region, while an emergency meeting of local government officials was held on Sunday at the Eastern Macedonia-Thrace regional authority to discuss the problems that have arisen, with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Margaritis Tzimas in the chair.

    "The state is present, I congratulate the regional general secretary, the prefect and the mayor of Komotini and the authorities for the excellent coordination between them and I think we had a wonderful model of cooperation between state and local government in dealing with the problems of this intense storm that hit Rodopi," Tzimas said afterwards.

    He stressed that the weather conditions had been extreme and that the worst had been avoided, while Rodopi Prefect Aris Yiannakidis said they had been "unprecedented in their intensity and duration".

    Throughout the region, several roads have been cut off, about 140 sheep and goats were drowned at Mikro Kranovounio, rivers and torrents overflowed and dozens of homes in Komotini and the surrounding countryside were flooded since the rains started on Saturday.

    The military have also contributed to efforts to evacuate villages in the region and set up anti-flooding works, providing vehicles, equipment and personnel, while the fire brigade sent 120 firemen and 38 vehicles and rescued 10 people that were trapped.

    Serious damage was also reported in the prefectures of Kavala and Drama, where homes and businesses were flooded, cars were swept away and crops suffered damage. In the surrounding countryside, a fall of hail damaged olive groves and torrents overflowed, while a new road was swept away at Orfanos.

    Problems due to strong winds were reported from the harbour on the island of Rhodes, where the cruise ship "Dream" came loose from its moorings. The ship has been docked at the harbour for the past two months for repairs.

    It was only manned by a skeleton crew when it came loose and was adrift within the harbour, where there was a danger that it might collide with other vessels docked in harbour. The coast guard intervened and managed to tow the ship back with the help of three tug-boats.

    Minor damage and problems caused by the bad weather were also reported at several harbours of the Dodecanese island group.

    Problems caused by rains persist near Megalopolis

    Problems caused by the previous day's heavy rains continued in the plains around Megalopolis in the central Peloponnese on Sunday, where landslides had blocked roads and swept away bridges.

    In some villages, the power supply had been cut off and traffic on the Tripolis-Kalamata national highway was stopped for more than an hour when water covered the road near the villages Aghios Floros and Allagi.

    Fears have been expressed that if rains continued, the Alfios River might flood its banks.

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