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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] Dep. FM in southern Italy
  • [03] Current acc't deficit slips in Jan-Mar

  • [01] PM signs book of condolences at Chinese embassy

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis visited the Chinese embassy in Athens at noon on Thursday, and signed a book of condolences for the victims of the deadly earthquake that struck the Sichuan region earlier this month.

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

    "The disastrous earthquake that struck the Sichuan region in China, leaving behind a large number of dead and injured, has shocked the entire world, giving rise to sentiments of fear over the magnitude of the physical destruction, and deep grief for those who were lost. Greece shares in the pain of the Chinese people and their mourning. In these difficult moments, are thoughts are with those who were affected," the prime minister wrote.

    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.

    ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] Dep. FM in southern Italy

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis arrived in Italy on Thursday to begin a four-day visit to the Greek-speaking villages of southern Italy, the remnants of "Magna Graecia" on the Italian peninsula. The deputy foreign minister's tour will cover the regions of Calabria, Apulia and Salento, where a Greek dialect is still spoken, in the form of "Griko" in Apulia and "Graecanik" in Calabria. Since the 1990s, the Italian government has been particularly active in preserving local dialects and minor languages in the country, while the local constitution in Calabria has recognised Graecanik, thus allowing its teaching in schools. Kassimis' visit is held with the support of local authorities, and as part of attempts to highlight efforts at strengthening cultural ties and reinforcing the common roots that still exist between Greece and southern Italy. ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Deputy FM Theodoros Kassimis.

    [03] Current acc't deficit slips in Jan-Mar

    Greece's current accounts deficit shrank by 7.0 percent in the first three months of 2008, to 8.3 billion euros, reflecting higher absorption of community funds and higher shipping foreign exchange revenues, the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.

    The central bank, in a report, however, noted that the country's trade deficit widened by 11 percent to 10.4 billion euros, reflecting a 37 pct jump in fuel import spending. Net payments for ship purchases fell by 332 million euros in the January-March period. The trade deficit, excluding ships and fuel, showed that export proceeds rose by 9.3 pct, while import payments jumped 11 pct.

    The services sector's surplus jumped by 47 pct, reflecting higher proceeds from transport and shipping services, while gross proceeds from travel services grew by 5.7 pct. The incomes deficit grew by 258 million euros due to higher net payments on interest, dividends and profits.

    The current transfers surplus more than tripled reflecting a 69 pct increase in EU fund transfers to the general government in the three-month period. The capital transfers surplus fell by 356 million euros to 1.5 billion euros.

    The financial transactions balance showed a net outflow of 335 million euros of direct investments in the January-March period, while portfolio investments showed a net inflow of 6.95 billion euros.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of the por of Piraeus.


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