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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] President Papoulias, PM Karamanlis receive Cyprus' Christofias
  • [02] SI to launch big environment campaign
  • [03] Acceleration of repair of fire-stricken homes

  • [01] President Papoulias, PM Karamanlis receive Cyprus' Christofias

    The Cyprus issue, Turkey‚s European course and the situation on the island republic in view of presidential elections in February were discussed in the agenda of separate meetings held in Athens between President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanis and visiting Cypriot House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias. Referring to the meeting with Papoulias, Christofias -- a presidential contender in the Cypriot election -- stressed that he had the opportunity to thank the Greek president for his support for Cyprus' struggle and his current stance towards the long-standing problem. Christofias said he briefed Papoulias on the course of the presidential election campaign in Cyprus and the outcome of opinion polls.

    Referring to the meeting he had with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, he said he congratulated him for a natural gas pipeline inaugurated Sunday and pointed out that ?everything depends on us too?, responding to a question on the effect the Greek-Turkish relations have on the Cyprus issue.

    ?The development of relations with Turkey on behalf of Greece is not annoying to us. On the contrary, I believe ... these relations, if used correctly by the Greek government, and I believe they are, can help to change Turkey‚s stance on Cyprus, considering Turkey‚s wish to join the EU?.

    On whether elections in Cyprus affect Greek-Turkish relations, Christofias said no, adding that a constant exchange of views and coordination between the governments of Cyprus and Greece is necessary on issues concerning Turkey‚s course to the EU and the overall moves on the Cyprus problem.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] SI to launch big environment campaign

    The Socialist International (SI) has decided to launch a big campaign on the environment, according to a statement made by its President and PASOK party leader George Papandreou at the end of the Socialist International's relevant Committee session in Downing Street in London on Monday, with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown as host.

    The Committee sought progressive policies and the assumption of initiatives on the environment since, as it assessed, it is an issue threatening mankind, according to a phrase used during the session and conveyed to the press by Papandreou.

    Issues of Greek interest were also raised during the session, such as the re-election of Papandreou as PASOK leader, for which he was congratulated by his interlocutors and by Brown in particular, who also congratulated him for the good work he is carrying out at the Socialist International and promised to support all its initiatives.

    Papandreou also referred to the destructive wildfires that took place in the summer, and in the Peloponnese in particular, while his interlocutors listened with great interest to PASOK's proposal for the reconstruction of the wildfire-ravaged regions.

    The PASOK leader said in a statement that the environment is an issue of primary importance for Greece, that has a great opportunity of tackling it positively, but added that it will not have this opportunity and capability forever. He further said that Greece can play a leading role in handling environmental problems and have a comparative advantage on this issue.

    Papandreou also requested that every party that is a member of the Socialist International assume specific initiatives in its country that will be evaluated and the best will be chosen and proposed for implementation in the other countries as well.

    The Socialist International's Environment Committee ascertained that adequate technology exists at present to handle problems and that the resources that must be provided also exist. What is lacking, as it was stressed, is political will on the part of governments.

    The Committee will be continuing its sessions in various parts of the planet in an effort to achieve greater sensitisation by citizens in countries where the sessions will be taking place. Sessions are scheduled to take place over the next two years in Chile, India, China, the United States, South Africa, Sweden and Greece.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK leader and Socialist International president George Papandreou.

    [03] Acceleration of repair of fire-stricken homes

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works minister George Souflias met Monday with the head of the Special Emergency Support and Relief Fund, veteran diplomat and former foreign minister Petros Molyviatis and the members of the Fund's board, to discuss acceleration of the procedures for the repair and reconstruction of the homes that were damaged during the past summer's wildfires.

    Replying to press questions afterwards on the floods caused over the weekend by heavy to torrential rainfall, Souflias explained that no problem had arisen in areas such as Mt. Parnitha and the Alfeios River, where anti-flooding interventions have been carried out, despite the heavy volume of rainfall.

    Souflias said that the anti-flooding works on Mt. Parnitha had been very effective, thus no problems were recorded in Attica prefecture due to the heavy rainfall, while anti-flooding projects carried out by major construction firms in the fire-stricken areas, such as along the Alfeios, had also been effective.

    Regarding the region of Komotini, which suffered massive flooding over the weekend, Soulfias noted that the volume of rainfall had reached approximately 20 centimetres, "in other worlds the volume of rain that falls in Athens in half a year", adding that more anti-flooding projects needed to be constructed in the stricken regions by the regional and prefectural authorities.

    With respect to the repair and reconstruction of the fire-stricken homes with financing from the Special Emergency Support and Relief Fund, Souflias said the repairs permits would be issued within two months from the submission of the relevant applications, and to expedite this the staff at the relevant services in Pyrgos, Ileia prefecture -- where he said the greatest devastation was recorded -- would be reinforced, while the procedures for reconstruction of destroyed homes would also be sped up.

    Speaking in turn, Molyviatis said that approximately 250 applications for repairs have been submitted so far in Ileia, adding that efforts were being made to materialise the prime minister's decision that all the homes of the fire-stricken in the area would be repaired free of charge.

    He said the money for the repairs would be given in three tranches, in accordance with progress in the repair work, while with respect to reconstruction, three types of houses have already been approved.

    Molyviatis further described as "very, very good" his cooperation with Souflias, adding that the Fund has earmarked 2.7 million euros for immediate payment of the 100 forestry workers who built the wooden dams and other anti-flooding works for the protection of the Ancient Olympia archaeological site.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias.

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