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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Leftist leader visits ANA-MPA
  • [02] Dozens of illegals rescued off Crete
  • [03] Stability Pact coordinator Busek on western Balkans

  • [01] Leftist leader visits ANA-MPA

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos will be the main speaker on Thursday at the opening day of the party's 5th youth congress at a university amphitheatre in Athens. Earlier, Alavanos visited the offices of the ANA-MPA in Athens, where he was briefed on the agency's new multimedia services, i.e. Internet radio, Internet TV etc.

    [02] Dozens of illegals rescued off Crete

    Roughly 200 illegal migrants were rescued by authorities on Thursday from a small motorship that ran aground in the sea region off the Kato Zakro site of southern Crete in rough seas. One death was reported amongst the exactly 204 illegals, which was attributed to diabetes, whereas several others suffered from hypothermia. Police arrested six men out of the eight-member crew on migrant smuggling charges. Acting on a tip-off from an anonymous caller, the coastguard has scoured the sea region beginning on Wednesday. The vessel is believed to have disembarked from Egypt. Caption: ANA-MPA file photos shows the arrival in the Cretan port of Ierapetra of another migrant-laden vessel intercepted by the Greek coast guard on January 3, 2002.

    [03] Stability Pact coordinator Busek on western Balkans

    The "Thessaloniki Agenda" promoting the European prospects of the western Balkan states has to be reactivated, Stability Pact for SE Europe special coordinator Erhard Busek stressed in an interview with the ANA-MPA, on the sidelines of an event held in Thessaloniki on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of a business advisory council for SE Europe (BAC SEE).

    Busek said the time has come to move ahead with the agenda, while he attributed the slow pace in the materialisation of 2003 commitments to, among others, the Union's self-absorption with a number of other issues, such as the adoption or not of a draft European Constitution.

    According to the Austrian diplomat, the country closest to becoming a full member of the European family is Croatia, while he characterized the initialing of Stability and Association Agreements with Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina as a good sign.

    However, he admitted that there are problems that have to be resolved in countries like Bosnia, where "it appears that there are certain people who are looking backwards", as well as Kosovo.

    On the Kosovo issue, in particular, Busek said that for the time being there is no compromise solution in sight because both sides do not appear willing to compromise, while he called on the EU to assume an active role in the region.

    "Let me state it clearly: Kosovo is a European issue and it's our responsibility to make an effort toward reaching a solution", he stressed, adding that he is in favor of a European force taking over the region's administration (replacing UNMIK) "because we Europeans are more capable of handling the problem, being more familiar with the region".

    After eight years of an active presence in SE Europe, the Stability Pact will be replaced in February by the Regional Co-operation Council (RCC).

    According to Busek, the Stability Pact managed to bring a stable democracy to all the region's countries and brought at the same table the countries of a region that was tormented by the plague of war during the 90s. This was achieved either under the umbrella of the Energy Treaty for SE Europe or through institutions such as the Regional Centre against Cross-border Crime operating in Bucharest.

    Achievements are only one side of the coin, said Busek, adding that the other side is everything that has not been done and concerns the sectors of education and health, which were neglected due to other more urgent priorities.

    "The real change accomplished in SE Europe is that the region's countries are now in the position to take over and lead developments, taking the place of the European Union and the United States in the driver's seat," he concluded.

    Caption: Stability Pact for SE Europe special coordinator Erhard Busek during an interview with the ANA-MPA in the northern port city of Thessaloniki on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007. ANA-MPA / NIKOS ARVANITIDIS

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