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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-09-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis says at EU summit force no solution
  • [02] Sioufas dismisses accusations by PASOK

  • [01] PM Karamanlis says at EU summit force no solution

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing the European Union's summit on the crisis in Georgia here on Monday, stressed that force is no solution and it is not acceptable and pointed out that from now on all sides must show prudence and self-restraint. Speaking to the press, the prime minister underlined the very important role played by the EU in efforts to achieve a ceasefire and seek a peaceful settlement for the problem.

    Karamanlis, while stressing the positive role played by the French Presidency and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, expressed satisfaction over the six-point agreement reached on August 12 and pointed to the need for efforts to be continued for its full implementation.

    As regards the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Russia, the prime minister said that the EU had condemned it from the very beginning and added that respect for the territorial integrity of countries and for their national sovereignty constitutes a basic element of Greek foreign policy.

    Karamanlis also said that the EU intends to provide aid for Georgia's reconstruction, including the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and to examine ways of strengtheing its relations with this country.

    "We also probed the prospects of European presence in the region and we agreed to the immediate creation of an exploratory mission," the prime minister further said and noted that the European leaders also dealt with the wider framework concerning the EU's relations with Russia.

    "We agreed that Russia is an important partner for Europe and we must maintain a strong relation," he said and revealed that the 27 leaders called on the Council of Foreign Ministers and the European Commission to assess the situation and the EU's relations with Russia in light of the next summit.

    Karamanlis went on to say that the European Troika will be visiting Moscow in a week's time with the aim of achieving the full implementation of the six-point agreement.

    Karamanlis also mentioned that Greece is watching the crisis in the Caucasus with great attention and will continue to assist those suffering in a humanitarian way, as well as intensifying development cooperation with Georgia.

    Lastly, the prime minister stressed Greece's particular interest in the crisis in Georgia, which is also being boosted by the presence of tens of thousands of ethnic Greeks in this country whom, as he said, Greece had helped from the very beginning.

    [02] Sioufas dismisses accusations by PASOK

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, responding to accusations made by the main opposition PASOK party on the alteration of the results of the vote held in Parliament on the revision of the Constitution, said that the voting process was carried out in an impeccable way. "I was visited by PASOK's Parliamentary representatives, Evangelos Venizelos, Theodoros Pangalos and Christos Papoutsis, who handed to me two discs concerning the vote on the revision of the Constitution and asked me for my opinion of them," Sioufas stressed.

    He added that "the voting process on the amendment of articles of the Constitution on May 27 took place in an impeccable, indisputable and absolutely transparent way."

    Sioufas further noted in his announcement that "as all my colleagues in Parliament are aware of, on the previous day they were provided with three ballots with their names and surnames printed on them" and that "197 deputies from all the Parliamentary Groups, with the exception of the colleagues of PASOK, who did not participate and did not turn up to vote, participated in the voting process."

    Several ND deputies also disputed the allegations put forth by PASOK.

    PASOK charges

    Earlier on on Monday, main opposition PASOK Parliamentary group secretary Dimitris Reppas accused ruling ND of having tampered with the results of the final vote on revising the Constitution held in Parliament.

    A video which PASOK cadress claim backs up their assertion was shown during the press conference and copies were sent to the leaders of the three other opposition parties in Parliament by PASOK President George Papandreou, who called and spoke with each of them on Monday.

    In the presence of Parliament vice-president Filippos Petsalnikos and PASOK's press spokesman George Papaconstantinou, Reppas told reporters that the ballots of New Democracy MPs had been altered or removed after they were submitted and replaced by others.

    In the video, four New Democracy MPs involved with the collection and submission of ruling party ballots are seen conferring amongst themselves and then altering or screwing up ballots that had already been collected, PASOK claims.

    They included Ioannis Bougas, who signed for his colleaguesâ ballots, Costas Agorastos, who collected them, ND Parliamentary Group Secretary Yiannis Tragakis and deputy ND Parliamentary Group Secretary Fevronia Patrianakou.

    Reppas said the four had overstepped their boundaries and failed to fulfill their Parliamentary role, carrying out acts that falsified the will of the Parliament. He also claimed grave responsibility on the part of the prime minister and Parliament's presidency for allow Parliamentary procedure to be flouted in this way.

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