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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis briefed on Nimetz proposal
  • [02] Papandreou briefed by FM on Nimetz proposals
  • [03] AHEPA raps visa program delay
  • [04] 8 tenders for top tourism sites

  • [01] PM Karamanlis briefed on Nimetz proposal

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday met Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who briefed him on the latest developments surrounding the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) after the new package of ideas submitted by UN mediator for the name issue Matthew Nimetz.

    "We are in the midst of negotiations and have specific positions and goals; the talks will continue so that there can be a result that satisfies both countries, so that a solution can be found without winners or losers," stated Bakoyannis as she left the meeting with the premier.

    Asked to predict the outcome of the talks, Bakoyannis refused, saying that "we are engaged in negotiations, with due responsibility and seriousness, and we want the other side to do the same".

    Following her meeting with the premier, Bakoyannis also briefed Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias on the latest proposal submitted by Nimetz and stressed that Greece was "in the middle of a very difficult negotiation."

    The prime minister also met on Thursday with former prime minister and ruling New Democracy (ND) party honorary leader Constantine Mitsotakis.

    No statements were made after the meeting.

    Karamanlis also met later with visiting former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin.

    [02] Papandreou briefed by FM on Nimetz proposals

    Main opposition PASOK party president George Papandreou on Thursday stressed that a "double name" formula to solve the FYROM "name issue" is unacceptable, following his briefing by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis over the latest proposals submitted by UN envoy Matthew Nimetz a day earlier. "With our proposals and responsible stance we have formed a national 'red line', namely, adoption of a name (for FYROM) with a geographic qualifier to be used in all instances, and rejection of a double name," he said, adding that "the Nimetz proposals do not meet the terms of the national red line." "We obviously say no to any discussion on issues beyond that of the name; issues that are unacceptable to us," Papandreou added. Meanwhile, a government spokesman earlier said that the package of ideas submitted by Nimetz, within the framework of ongoing negotiations, is being evaluated with proper caution and a constructive attitude. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos also pointed out that the Greek side has presented, in a very specific way, its positions, "having as an objective the definite solution of this very important issue in a mutually acceptable way." Responding to a press question on whether the prime minister and the foreign minister are planning to travel abroad to gain broader international support, Roussopoulos stressed that "any means that will be helpful in finding a solution to the issue has been employed, is being employed and will continue to be employed."

    [03] AHEPA raps visa program delay

    The head of the largest and oldest Greek-American organisation, AHEPA, on Wednesday expressed his concerns over what he called the Bush administration's failure to include Greece in the visa waiver program.

    In a letter to the US president, AHEPA president Ike Gulas reminded that although Greece fulfills all the criteria for inclusion in the programme, it appears that the east Mediterranean EU and NATO member-state has "fallen victim" to the current US administration's displeasure over Athens' stance at the Bucharest NATO summit in April 2008, where FYROM's membership bid was experienced a "train wreck" because of the latter's failure to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the nagging "name issue".

    Gulas, who stressed that he spoke on behalf of philhellenes and three million Americans of Greek descent, said Athens has worked closely with US officials over the past few months to meet Homeland Security and State Department demands.

    Despite these initiatives, the AHEPA president added, the Bush administration has decided to "freeze" the visa waiver process.

    AHEPA, founded in 1922 as the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, also called on its members to send letters to the White House expressing their disapproval.

    The Bush administration recognised the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its so-called "constitutional name", days after George W. Bush was re-elected in November 2004.

    Caption: AHEPA President Ike Gulas is shown in a file photo dated Monday, 30 June, 2008, during a press conference in Athens. ANA-MPA / ALEXANDROS BELTES.

    [04] 8 tenders for top tourism sites

    Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Thursday announced the launch of eight new tenders by the Tourism Development Co. (ETA), the completion of two others while another five tenders are in their final stage.

    Presenting ETA's strategic plan, Spiliotopoulos said the ministry aims to improve management of state property, while he noted that ETA manages real estate property valued more than 1.2 billion euros.

    The minister said that Savvas Real Estate will take over the Tsagarada Xenia Hotel, paying an annual lease of 144,000 euros and will invest 1.5 million euros to restore facilities.

    J&P Avax, Vioter and Vernicos will take over the Faliro Marina for a 2.5-million-euro annual lease, paying a down payment of 35.7 million euros. Both contracts have a 35-year duration.

    Five more tenders have entered their final stage, Corfu casino, Vytina Xenia Hotel, Skiathos Xenia Hotel, Rhodes Golf and Anavyssos (Attica).

    The new eight tenders include the Nafpaktos spa, two large real estate properties in Kala Nera, Magnesia prefecture, as well as the previously state-run Xenia chain hotels on the island Thassos and at the northern Greece sites of Platamonas and Pelio.

    Spiliotopoulos said ETA will invest 4.3 million euros for the Athens-area's Alimos Marina, Vouliagmeni beach and marina, along with funding for the Kaiafas and Ypati spas this year, while it planned to invest 15 million euros over the next two years.

    ETA's profits rose by 7.0 percent in 2007.

    Caption: A file photo dated Wednesday, 16 May, 2007, shows an aerial view of the Athens-area Flisvos marina, following its privatisation and renovation by the firm Lamda TechnOL Flisvos Marina S.A. ANA-MPA / Civitas / NIKOS DANIILIDIS

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