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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-03

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin briefs PM on 2009 budget
  • [02] Greek envoy briefs Congress
  • [03] Greek DM to attend SEDM meeting

  • [01] FinMin briefs PM on 2009 budget

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis conferred with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Friday, in view of a presentation of the draft state budget in Parliament on Monday. Alogoskoufis said a Parliament plenary session gets underway on Monday while the Eurogroup and ECOFIN will also convene early next week. He pointed out that this is a tough period for the international economy with far reaching implications on all European countries, adding that more details will be given on Monday. Regarding the Vatopedi Monastery furor involving the exchange of state land for monastic property, Alogoskoufis said that all pending transactions have been frozen, while public agencies have been advised to facilitate a prosecutor investigating the case. He also referred to an executive order by the prime minister to repeal all earlier ministerial decisions issued in 1999, 2002 and 2003 that recognised Mount Athos monastery's ownership over state land. The same decision will render as null and void all land exchanges and transfers between Vatopedi Monastery and third parties. "The country maintains political and economic stability," alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stated earlier during a regular press briefing in the Greek capital, rejecting views that the government is preparing ground for early elections. "The government has the majority in parliament and continues its reform programme," Antonaros stressed. Regarding the international credit crisis, he reminded that the prime minister and the economy minister had referred to the issue several months ago outlining its likely consequences, while stressing, however, that the Greek banking system remains secure and stable. Responding to a question on whether the social security system is also guaranteed by the government, he said all pension and relevant bonuses are guaranteed. CAPTION: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during statements after the meeting of the Council of Ministers on the Economy, Thursday 2 October 2008. ANA-MPA/ G. Antoniou.

    [02] Greek envoy briefs Congress

    The important international role played by Greece as a major force in international shipping, which is of strategic importance for the United States and the global economy, as well as the country's heightened economic presence in SE Europe, were underlined in the briefing made to US Congressional staff members on Thursday by the Greek ambassador to Washington. The briefing on Greek foreign policy issues, made in the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Hall, focused on Greece's role as an energy hub with the construction of energy pipelines through Greek territory, namely, the Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline carrying Caspian natural gas, the under-construction Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, the recently signed South Stream natural gas pipeline, along with the lesser-known but vital and operational Thessaloniki-Skopje pipeline. Ambassador Alexandros Mallias thanked members of the US Congress for supporting the Greek positions on the FYROM "name issue", underlining the Greek government's will to reach a mutually acceptable solution that will open the door to Euro-Atlantic institutions for the landlocked one-time Yugoslav republic north of Greece. The veteran Greek diplomat, who served as chief of the Greek liaison office in Skopje in the past, moreover, did not mince words in referring to FYROM. He warned that months-long intransigence by FYROM's leadership, in tandem with virulently irredentist and aggressive propaganda by pro-FYROM circles against Greece, was not behaviour inconsistent with a prospective member of Euro-Atlantic institutions. Mallias, a former Greek envoy to Tirana, also noted that the EU and NATO hopeful experienced shaky snap elections in June and that, most recently, domestic discord has erupted in Skopje as well. "Greek positions on the FYROM name issue are clear," Mallias said. He reiterated Athens' standing position to back a composite name with a geographic qualifier to be used in all instances, with a relevant reference in the country's constitution and on passports as well as ratification by the UN Security Council. Additionally, the Greek ambassador referred to the Cyprus issue and efforts of the Republic of Cyprus' political leadership for a solution based on UN Security Council resolutions and European rules and principles. Furthermore, he referred to the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, property and inheritance rights of the dwindling ethnic Greek minority in Turkey, as well as the issue of Imvros and Tenedos, two islands in the northeastern Aegean that were once predominately inhabited by ethnic Greeks before wholesale land appropriations by the Turkish state occurred. Finally, he lamented the fact that Greece has not yet been included in the US visa waiver programme, despite pledges made by Washington since August. CAPTION: A file photo dated 17 January 1996, shows Mallias (R) with then FYROM Foreign Ministry official Ivan Tosevski in Skopje. ANA-MPA/ EPA/ G. Licovski.

    [03] Greek DM to attend SEDM meeting

    Defence ministers from Southeastern European countries will meet in the lakeside city of Ohrid, in the southwestern part of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on October 7-9, the country's defence ministry announced here on Friday.

    Defence ministers and representatives from countries participating in the Southeastern Europe Defence Ministerial/SEDM will be taking part in the regional meeting.

    Greece will be represented by Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis.

    According to the announcement, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will also take part in the meeting, while he will hold talks with the country's leadership.

    Twelve countries are participating as full members in SEDM: Albania, Bulgaria, FYROM, Greece, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Slovenia, the United States, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Ukraine, while four other countries, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro, are participating as observers.

    CAPTION: File photo shoes Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis in Thessaloniki on Wednesday 18 April 2007. ANA-MPA/ N. Arvanitidis.


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