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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-09-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM spokesman on FYROM
  • [02] Transport ministry bill unveiled
  • [03] SYN leader visits 73rd TIF

  • [01] FM spokesman on FYROM

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos spoke during Wednesday's regular press briefing of a "heavy climate which is aggravating" the negotiating process concerning the name of the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    Replying to questions on FYROM's European prospects and the course of negotiations to find a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue, the spokesman said that "lately, the government of the neighbouring country is systematically aggravating the negotiating process in a way that some optimism cannot be justified."

    However, he added that "the process is alive, no one must prejudge developments absolutely" and that "it is a foregone conclusion that at this moment the climate that has been shaped by a persistent stance that is characterised by insistence on intransigent positions, counterproductive statements, etc, is not a climate that can allow and that can justify optimism as to what will happen."

    Asked to comment on Thursday's meeting between UN envoy Matthew Nimetz and representatives of the two sides and whether the tabling of a new proposal is expected, Koumoutsakois said that "it is an objective ascertainment that this moment the atmosphere is presenting specific characteristics of a counterproductive stance" on the part of FYROM.

    "It is not our responsibility. The government of Skopje (FYROM) has had a policy throughout this period that is all the more nationalistic, all the more counterproductive. Its tactic and strategy has turned persistently to the past and, what is even worse, to an absolutely disfigured and distorted reading of the past and in this way it is in serious danger of losing the future," he said.

    Referring to possible information on some action that FYROM's delegation might be taking during the UN General Assembly, Koumoutsakos said that "countries are both represented and participate in this very serious process, having made their own options and having set their own priorities. Consequently, I shall not enter a discussion on what countries that will be participating are thinking, such as the neighbouring one. From then on, the Greek delegation and the Greek mission are fully prepared for this trip."

    Asked to comment on optimism being expressed by government officials in the United States on prospects of solving the name issue and the possible assumption of some initiative by the American delegation on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the spokesman said "the efforts or contribution for support for the UN process, which remains the only and the main process for finding a solution, are welcome. But as such. Not as independent initiatives apart from and outside the UN's framework."

    [02] Transport ministry bill unveiled

    The transport ministry on Wednesday unveiled a draft omnibus bill dealing with transport issues that it plans to table in Parliament. It said the bill was drafted following dialogue with all affected parties and harmonised Greek legislation with that of the EU.

    The bill deals with a wide range of issues, including the production for the first-time ever of a useful handbook that informs the public of everyday issues relating to transport, such as the process for acquiring a driving licence, registration, vehicle testing requirement and emission control cards.

    It also legislates for the institution of a permanent 'Green Transport' committee, whose job it will be to promote measures for cleaner and more environmentally benign transport, measures governing the establishment and operation of gas fuel stations and allows the circulation of 1200 cc engine taxis using liquid gas and natural gas.

    In additional to harmonising Greek and EU legislation for goods transit centres, the omnibus bill seeks to step up road safety measures with tighter controls and penalties for vehicles transport radioactive materials and the use of seatbelts and helmets by vehicle and motorbike passengers.

    It also creates a National Railroads Council as the supreme regulatory body for railroads and creates a Committee for the Investigation of Railroad Accidents and Incidents, rationalises the obligations of taxi owners and drivers and increases the maximum age of professional drivers from 65 to 67.

    Finally, it sets up a new Air Law Code Committee to reform and modernise the existing legal code for air transport in view of the rapid changes in civil aviation worldwide.

    [03] SYN leader visits 73rd TIF

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday paid a visit to the 73rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) and met the heads of the fair organisers HELEXPO SA Aristotelis Thomopoulos, TIF SA Dimitris Bakatselos and trade union delegations.

    After a briefing on the running, operation and problems faced by this year's TIF and its workforce, Tsipras toured the fair itself.

    He also noted his satisfaction at an announcement made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis that the current site of the fair would be converted into a metropolitan park for the city after the trade fair was moved to another location.

    In statements after the visit, he attacked the government and its "disastrous" policies:

    "We have a society in turmoil, a government that is running the ship aground and a cabinet that seems to think the problem lies with their communications policy, which they change every three days. The problem is not with the communications policy. The problem is the government's policy," he underlined.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of SYN leader Alexis Tsipras.

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