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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM meets Ecumenical Patriarch
  • [02] KKE accuses govāt
  • [03] Voulgarakis at IMO con'f
  • [04] Koumoutsakos briefs Chinese press

  • [01] FM meets Ecumenical Patriarch

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis hosted a reception for visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos (Bartholomew I) on Friday at the foreign ministry, where she referred to the "new creative paths" in relations between the Church of Greece with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as the "notable international initiatives" undertaken by the Ecumenical Patriarch. Additionally, the Greek foreign minister again underlined Athens' determination to continue to offer its "unreserved support" for the unhindered operation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the reopening of the Halki theological seminary. Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece and other members of the Church of Greece hierarchy attended the event. Bakoyannis referred to the Ecumenical Patriarch as the first among equals, in the firmament of Orthodox Churches, and praised him for the notable initiatives he has undertaken for the promotion of inter-religious dialogue and the dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church. She also referred to his international actions for the protection of the environment, while stressing that the Phanar -- the seat of the venerable Patriarchate in Istanbul -- is Turkey's strongest European voice and the most ardent supporter of the country's European aspirations. Making a special reference to the problems faced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in EU candidate-state Turkey, Bakoyannis stated that they are "remnants of obsolete mentalities", adding that the policy followed by Greece has managed to place these problems clearly within the European framework, making their solution a proof of Turkey's adjustment to European standards. In a more direct reference to Ankara, the foreign minister underlined that Greece will make every effort to assist the neighbouring country realise that the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on its territory can become an important argument in its favor. Bakoyannis pointed out that recognition of the Patriarchate's "Ecumenical" character, its unhindered operation, its ability to renew its clergy through the reopening of the Halki School, the recognition of its legal entity and the protection of its property rights can constitute strong advantages for Turkey in "its long and difficult course toward Europe." On his part, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed the hope that Greece will continue to offer its wholehearted support to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, "the mother of All Churches".

    [02] KKE accuses govāt

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in Parliament on Friday accused the government of lacking planning for the confrontation of natural phenomena.

    KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga and six deputies of the party expressed their concern regarding the degree of dealing with problems arising from climate change or extraordinary disasters.

    The KKE deputies noted that Greece lags behind in paving a state policy for protection, resulting in local government and citizens having to undertake relevant measures.

    [03] Voulgarakis at IMO con'f

    Merchant Marine and Aegean & Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis referred to a "strategic vision for shipping in 2008-2018" and the major challenges for the next decade, during an address in London at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) conference. According to Voulgarakis, the shipping sector will face four major challenges in the next 10 years: maritime shipping's momentum and its structure; protection of the sea environment and reinforcement of maritime safety; lack of skilled manpower and adoption of new technologies in the seaport infrastructure and auxiliary facilities. Referring to the challenges faced as a result of globalisation, Voulgarakis said the Greek government has undertaken several initiatives for the modernisation and simplification of the national legal regime concerning seaport investments. "Greece is taking advantage of its unique geographic position, being in the crossroads of three continents," he said, adding that an international tender is underway as regards the privatisation of the container terminals in the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki. Earlier, Voulgarakis met with roughly 100 Greek and foreign shipping industry representatives in London, to whom he outlined the favorable legal environment offered by Piraeus for foreign shipping companies.

    Caption: Merchant Marine and Aegean & Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis during his address at the International Maritime Organisation conference in London on Thu.15 May 2008. ANA-MPA/CHRYSA PANOUSIADOU

    [04] Koumoutsakos briefs Chinese press

    Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos briefed on Friday Chinese journalists on the progress of Greece-China relations, the "harmonious and fruitful" cooperation of the two countries in international organisations as well as on Greece's foreign policy basic lines. The thirteen journalists are visiting Greece at the invitation of the Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. Koumoutsakos referred to the policy of principles based on the decisions and the UN resolutions, which China follows on the Cyprus issue, and reiterated Greece's policy in favor of One China. The spokesman expounded on Greece's geopolitical advantages for attracting business activities and tourists, saying that "it is a gate to a multimillion consumers' market, as well as a historic and beautiful country." As regards the Cyprus issue, Koumoutsakos stressed the need for good preparation at the level of the Working Groups and the Technical Committees with the aim to achieve the necessary progress before the commencement of direct talks between President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, towards finding a solution to the political issue. Koumoutsakos stressed that the Greek government supports the will of President Demetris Christofias in the new effort to reach a Cyprus settlement. Cyprus, an EU member state since May 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Regarding relations with neighbouring Turkey, the spokesman said that despite the fact that the climate has clearly improved, nevertheless problems emanating from Turkish claims still remained. Greece, he added, supports Turkey's EU prospects on the condition it abides by the prerequisites set by by the Union. Referring to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Koumoutsakos said Greece supported the neighbouring country's European prospects but that a problem still existed due to FYROM's attempt to usurp the name of a geographical region which belongs to three countries.
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