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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM signs Book of Condolences at Chinese Embassy
  • [02] Nature lovers,speleologists meet

  • [01] PM signs Book of Condolences at Chinese Embassy

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis visited the Chinese Embassy in Athens at noon on Thursday, and signed the Book of Condolences for the victims of the deadly earthquake that struck the Szechuan region.

    Karamanlis expressed grief for the victims, and his support for those who suffered losses in the disaster.

    On Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis told heads of state and government attending the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit in Pomorie, Bulgaria that Greece seeks a realistic, functional solution to the dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter's name,

    This should take the form of a viable, comprehensive agreement that would be sealed by resolution of the United Nations Security Council, he added.

    Karamanlis said Greece was seeking a win-win solution that would take the sensitivities of both countries into account and benefit the entire region.

    Noting that NATO had reached a joint decision at Bucharest, Karamanlis added that the time has come to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue.

    The Greek premier stressed that it was now a pressing need to find a solution that was in line with UN resolutions on this issue, which had now been outstanding for 15 years. Establishing good neighbour relations and resolving the name issue were now a priority if Skopje intended to join NATO, he added.

    He also reiterated Greece's steadfast support for incorporating all southeast European countries into Euro-Atlantic and European structures, stressing that this was a strategic choice for Athens with no ?discounts or exceptions?. At the same time, he noted that the terms agreed on by the EU partners and NATO allies applied to all candidate-countries, including FYROM.

    ?In all cases, this open doors policy followed by Greece implies that every country that chooses its European future is obliged to conform to fundamental principles; the European and Euro-Atlantic path has as its prerequisite an unswerving support and respect for good neighbour relations and the adoption of common principles that are applied equally to all candidate-countries,? Karamanlis stressed.

    He emphasized, meanwhile, that Athens' goal at NATO was not to isolate Skopje from NATO or the EU.

    In comments on the status of Kosovo, he stressed that this constituted a key challenge for both the Balkans but also Europe as a whole. He noted Greece's emphasis on the need for a mutually agreed settlement in a solution for Kosovo, while underlining that the EU should take a leading role on the issue of Kosovo, since EU values would provide guarantees of stability for the region.

    On the results of the elections in Serbia, the Greek premier expressed hope that talks between Serb political parties will soon lead to the formation of a government, which would continue to strive for Serbia's entry into the EU.

    On Bulgarian presidency, SEECP

    In statements after the summit meeting, Karamanlis congratulated the Bulgarian presidency of the SEECP on its work, especially as regards the effort to turn the SEECP into a Regional Cooperation Council for southeastern Europe, whose secretariat will be based in Sarajevo and housed in the Greek-Bosnian friendship building constructed using funds from the Greek Plan for the Reconstruction of the Balkans.

    According to Karamanlis, the new Council would mark a new era for regional cooperation that would mean greater responsibility for member-states on issues concerning the Balkans.

    The Greek premier also announced an initiative for establishing a regional developmental centre in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki and stressed that regional cooperation in the Balkans was an inseparable part of the European and Euro-Atlantic goal the countries of the region, which would assist in the European prospects of all the Balkan countries, so that in the long term they might become the southeastern axis of the EU.

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

    [02] Nature lovers,speleologists meet

    Environmentally aware speleologists and nature lovers seeking adventure will have a unique rendezvous in the beautiful landscape of the northern prefecture of Drama on June 13-22 to attend the 2nd Balkan Camping Meeting "Balkan 2008". Speleologists from 11 Balkan countries will have the opportunity to explore a number of caves in the region and make Balkan cooperation in the area of speleology and gorge management even stronger. They will discuss issues concerning scientific, exploratory, underwater and athletic caving, cave protection and preservation as well as gorge exploration, crossing and rescue, and training of minors. The meeting is co-organized by the Drama Prefecture, the Culture Ministry's Paleo-Anthropology - Speleology Division in Northern Greece and the Speleological Federation of Greece with the support of the Balkan Speleological Union (BSU).

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo


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