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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK leader on social security issue
  • [02] FM attends Annapolis con'f on Mideast

  • [01] PASOK leader on social security issue

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday accused the government of "giving the final blow" to the country's social security system, which, as he said, "it (the government) has been undermining for the past four years."

    Speaking to reporters after chairing a party meeting on the government's initiative to open a dialogue on reforming the social security system, Papandreou said Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was "promoting policies that could be summed up as 'no' to public social security, 'no' to state funding of the system, 'no' to dealing of problems faced by the social security system."

    The government, the PASOK leader claimed, "says yes to the reduction of pensions, yes to the increase of the retirement age limit and yes to privatisation in favour of private interests."

    Papandreou said the government "is the only government in the world that extends an invitation for dialogue without having formulated a specific proposal. Either the government is not capable, or it is mocking us."

    He also claimed that the government "has no intention of solving the social security problem, it intends to dissolve it, something that PASOK had forecast in the pre-election period."

    Regarding the mergers of various funds, Papandreou said this should take place "with full understanding and agreement with interested agencies," and expressed his opposition to the transfer of funds' deficits.

    [02] FM attends Annapolis con'f on Mideast

    The invitation to Greece to participate in the international conference on the Middle East in Annapolis, Maryland, constitutes recognition of the Greek initiatives, the relations which have been developed, but also of the particular weight which Greece has acquired these past few years, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed in the course of a briefing in Washington on Monday.

    Bakoyannis expressed Greece‚s hope, but also that of the international community for the conference to be successful and in this context she underlined that it was in a spirit similar with that of Tuesday‚s conference that Greece‚s initiative had moved for the holding of a meeting of foreign ministers of UN Security Council members in September 2006 at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. Greece had proceeded in this move as then presiding country of the major UN body.

    Bakoyannis noted that the Greek government supports economically the efforts being made in the Middle East, while it participates in humanitarian missions in Lebanon. She said that Greece will be represented at the conference of donors which will be held in Paris in December.

    She also made known that Athens will promote ?an initiative of the next generation? through which youth and children from Israel and the Palestinian Territories will be invited for a period in Greece.

    The Greek foreign minister conveyed the hope of the Greek side for the Annapolis conference to be ?a starting point? of serious negotiations following the ?Road map which no longer leads anywhere." Bakoyannis noted that the objective is the existence of two neighbourly states which will live alongside each other peacefully, in conditions of security.

    Finally, she noted that the problems in the Middle East are inter-linked, but she stressed that in the ?heart? of the crisis is the Palestinian issue and she referred to the meetings being held just before the official start of the conference and the flurry of negotiations which have the full backing of the United States, aiming at the issuing of a joint communiqu?. She also assessed that from the moment where great possibilities exist for progress to be achieved and, in this aspect, the U.S. and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acted correctly and ?grabbed the bull by the horns.?

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