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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Rehhagel to remain on Greek bench
  • [02] Folias: no strain over South Stream

  • [01] Rehhagel to remain on Greek bench

    Noted German coach Otto Rehhagel on Monday officially renewed his contract to lead the Greek national football team until the summer of 2010, the country's soccer federation (EPO) announced, cementing an agreement announced late last month.

    A laconic statement issued by the federation merely cited the contract extension with Rehhagel -- who will turn 70 in August -- by far the most successful coach in the national team's history. Greece beat Portugal 1-0 in July 2004 to win its first-ever European Championship with Rehhagel on the bench.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek national football team coach Otto Rehhagel, dated Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2004.

    [02] Folias: no strain over South Stream

    Relations between Greece and the United States had not been strained by the signing of an agreement with Russia for the South Stream natural gas pipeline, Greece's Development Minister Christos Folias stressed on Monday. He attributed objections raised to the agreement by U.S. State Department officials last week to an incorrect briefing regarding the deal.

    "There are no differences, nor have our relations been strained. We agree absolutely with the United States that the aim is the non-creation of monopoly or single-supplier situations. If you depend on one [source], then you are doomed from the start," Folias underlined.

    The minister also addressed the concerns expressed in Washington that the South Stream would in some way delay or sideline the Turkey-Greece-Italy (TGI) pipeline bringing natural gas from Azerbaijan, which the U.S. favours on the grounds that it will reduce Europe's dependency on Russia for energy.

    He pointed out that the TGI would begin operating in 2012, while the South Stream would at best begin operation in 2015, and said that the two were not in competition.

    "The two pipelines are complementary, the one does not depend on or negate the other. We need them both," he stressed.

    According to Folias, Greece currently covered 77 percent of its needs with natural gas from Russia, while in 2012-2013 the dependency on Russia gas will have been reduced to less than 50 percent.

    The development minister noted that the plans for the South Stream's route had not yet been finalised, adding that the likeliest route would pass through Greece directly to Italy via an underwater pipeline but not ruling out the possibility that it might pass through Albania as well.

    Meanwhile, he noted that negotiations were underway with Turkey to ensure the passage of one billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from Azerbaijan via the Greek-Turkish pipeline, with a meeting scheduled to take place shortly in Athens between the four countries involved - Greece, Italy, Turkey and the supplier Azerbaijan.

    In statements last Thursday, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Bryza stressed that priority must go to the construction of the TGI pipeline and said that the supply of 80 percent of natural gas consumed by Greece by one company, Russia's Gazprom, laid the country open to the dangers of depending on a monopoly.

    Bryza warned against allowing completion of the TGI to languish in favour of South Stream, expressing doubts whether "all sides" in Greece appreciated the importance of the TGI arriving in the market first and adding that, otherwise, Greece might end up with only the South Stream.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Greek Development Minister Christos Folias taken on April 15, 2008.

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