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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-08-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM Bakoyannis on Caucasus crisis
  • [02] PASOK on FYROM, unemployment
  • [03] Nimetz meetings
  • [04] Wildfire near Konitsa

  • [01] FM Bakoyannis on Caucasus crisis

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said in Brussels on Wednesday that the consistent observance of the ceasefire, the confirmed final ending of operations, the return to the previous state and the beginning of a substantive dialogue are the four immediate targets that must be achieved to pave the way for a solution to the crisis in Southern Ossetia.

    The foreign minister further pointed out that avoiding resorting to force, as a means of resolving conflicts on the one hand, and respect for the territorial integrity of countries on the other have always been two fundamental principles of Greek foreign policy.

    Speaking after the European Union's extraordinary Council of Foreign Ministers on Wednesday, regarding the Caucasus crisis, she said that "we welcome yesterday's positive development that may constitute the starting point for a substantive effort for a final settlement of the problem, for the benefit of security and stability in the region."

    Bakoyannis went on to say that as far as Greece's overall stance is concerned "the region of the Caucasus is a complicated, geopolitically very important and sensitive region. Its stability is not only vital for regional, but for international security and peace as well. For this reason, every move there requires special attention, responsibility and prudence. The crisis in Southern Ossetia should not have begun. There have evidently been mistaken moves and decisions. Now, what is important is that it should not continue. Therefore, the consistent observance of the ceasfire, the confirmed final ending of operations, the return to the previous state and the beginning of a substantive dialogue is urgently required."

    The foreign minister stressed that "Greece's stance, as a member of the European Union and NATO and as the next Presidency of the OSCE, is shaped on the basis of these principles and following a detailed assessment of developments in every parameter of theirs, as well as on reaching an understanding with partners, friends and allies."

    Bakoyannis noted that "we have supported and we are steadfastly supporting the efforts of the French Presidency of the European Union and the initiatives of President Nicolas Sarkozy. The prompt and effective activation of France deserves congratulations. It is obvious that we place particular importance on the humanitarian dimension of the crisis and we are in a state of readiness to offer our assistance. The first Greek humanitarian aid mission is taking place at this moment with a C-130 aircraft."

    Lastly, the foreign minister said that "providing economic aid amounting to 100,000 euros, through the UN High Commission for Refugees, was also decided to relieve the refugees of Southern Ossetia who are heading to the North. Lastly, I wish to add that from the very beginning the Foreign Ministry placed special importance on the security of the ethnic Greeks, taking the necessary relevant action immediately."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    [02] PASOK on FYROM, unemployment

    Main opposition PASOK party spokeswoman Maria Karaklioumi, referring on Wednesday to the issue of the name of the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), said that "the only thing that must be discussed is the issue of the name of FYROM and for this reason we want to request from the Greek diplomat and negotiator to do what is self-evident in talks in New York, meaning to call for and receive the necessary clarifications, following the latest letter by (FYROM Prime Minister Nikolas) Gruevski to (UN envoy) Matthew Nimetz, that the only issue for discussion with the neighbouring country is that of the name."

    Karaklioumi also commented on the issue of unemployment, saying that "PASOK cannot share the assessments of the government that speak of a 'miracle', when unemployment has been recorded at 6.6 percent and we are raising (first of all) the question of how, when the growth rate of the economy and competitiveness are decreasing and the cost of living is soaring, are new jobs being created?"

    The spokeswoman called on the government "to abandon the creative assessment of unemployment and to proceed with the implementation of creative policies for the economy and, consequently, the handling of unemployment."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK headquarters.

    [03] Nimetz meetings

    UN envoy in talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Matthew Nimetz, said after meeting FYROM's delegation in New York on Wednesday, that was composed of Nikola Dimitrov and Martin Proteger, that the issue of FYROM's name "is solvable."

    Nimetz said that "ways and ideas" on achieving progress in the issue were discussed during the meeting, adding that there are "quite a few issues" between the two countries, but the "main issue", as he said, "is the issue of the name" and this is the mandate that he has from the UN Secretary General, based on the "interim agreement."

    The envoy further said that "complicated issues" exist, but that he believes that they will be resolved, provided that the issue of the name is solved.

    The UN Secretariat announced that "the main issue of the name was the focus of the meeting, although the relevant issues raised by the parties involved were also discussed. Mr. Nimetz will be meeting the Greek side later (at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Greek time) and he plans to travel to the region next week."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz.

    [04] Wildfire near Konitsa

    A wildfire that burst out in a forestland near Amarando village, Konitsa, northeastern Greece is in progress. The blaze has already burnt 20 acres. On the scene are operating major firefighting forces and a water dropping helicopter. The fire broke out in the Albanian territory but due to strong winds that are blowing in the area the blaze passed to Greece.

    The Epirus Fire Brigade Administration at an announcement released on Wednesday stated that a fire that broke out on Tuesday at Petoussi in Thesprotia prefecture was the result of arson. The fire burned 100 stremma of forestland.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of forest wildfire.

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