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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK on Olympic Airlines
  • [02] Athens metro strike on Thursday
  • [03] FM on FYROM UN proposals
  • [04] Cyprus President receives KKE head
  • [05] Greek stocks soared 9.54 pct

  • [01] PASOK on Olympic Airlines

    The positions of the main opposition PASOK party on the issue of the ailing Olympic Airlines company, in light of Thursday's discussion in Parliament on the package of measures for the airline's employees, were presented on Wednesday by the party's transport sector rapporteurs Nikos Sifounakis, Haris Tsiokas and Fotis Hatzimichalis.

    They also replied to the 11 "myths", as Sifounakis said, of the government and the relevant transport minister "which they made up to cover up the truth regarding the sale of the national carrier."

    According to PASOK's officials, the allegation by Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis that Olympic's accumulated losses by the end of the year would exceed 2.6 billion euros is not true.

    The government, they added, "did not support and did not defend at the European Union and in European courts the decisions taken by Greek courts on debts, on the contrary it undermined the future, in Brussels, both in government and in the opposition."

    They further stressed that Olympic had 48 aircraft in 2007, while in June 2008 they decreased to 38, meaning that 22,000 flights were not carried out and also meaning two million passengers less and a total loss of revenues amounting to 230 million euros.

    [02] Athens metro strike on Thursday

    The Athens Metro will not be running throughout the day on Thursday, due to a 24-hour strike by metro employees seeking the signature of a collective labour agreement and other demands.

    Other public transport services, such as buses, trolleys, tram and the ISAP electric railway will be operating as usual.

    [03] FM on FYROM UN proposals

    The new set of proposals presented by United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz was "not satisfactory as it stands," Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said on Wednesday. She made the statement while briefing Parliament's Standing Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs on the latest developments surrounding the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    "It is not satisfactory on a series of points, which are rejected, problematic or unclear. Only after the necessary clarifications and corrections could this document become a basis for achieving a solution," Bakoyannis said.

    She also ruled out any negotiations outside the framework stipulated by UN Security Council resolutions: "To express an interest in encouraging and assisting negotiations is one thing, but it is quite another to attempt to directly or indirectly weaken or to undermine them.?

    At the same time, the minister sent a message of "friendship and cooperation" to the ordinary people of FYROM, pointing out that past cooperation had always benefited both sides - both Greek business people that had invested in the country and the local population, which had found employment at thousands of jobs created there by Greek enterprises.

    "This cooperation acquires a new significance in these days of global economic crisis. This is of paramount interest to FYROM, which borders on and can strengthen its cooperation with a country - Greece - that belongs to the strong European group of Eurozone countries," she said.

    Greece's foreign minister was strongly critical of the stance displayed by FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in his handling of the name dispute negotiations, accusing him of "deliberately cultivating a 19th-century-style nationalism and fabricating reasons to demonise Greece."

    According to Bakoyannis, Gruevski "has consciously chosen intransigence over his country's and his peopleās European and Euro-Atlantic prospects, choosing instead to establish and strengthen his own personal policy for prevailing in the neighbouring country".

    The minister additionally criticised the "self-contradictory messages and positions" expressed by the negotiators sent by Skopje to the talks, who according to Bakoyannis appeared to be working at cross purposes.

    "While Greece participates with one negotiator, who is fully authorised, has clear instructions, enjoys the government's trust and has the necessary margins in which to maneuver, Skopje has two negotiators and now officially admits that one represents the country's president Branko Crvenkovski and the other Mr. Gruevski," she pointed out.

    According to the minister, this "dual representation" did not contribute to the clarity of the talks and raised serious questions about whether the positions expressed by the other side could be considered binding and reliable.

    "As long as these matters remain unresolved, they will have negative repercussions on the negotiating process," she stressed.

    Bakoyannis warned, meanwhile, that Athens was not prepared to consider a "conditional" agreement with Skopje, while stressing that Greece would persevere with the process underway at the UN and sincerely desired to find a mutually acceptable solution.

    "Greece is neither dragging its feet, nor in a hurry. We want the rules of the game to be made clear. We ask that Mr. Gruevski and his government desist from provocative behaviours," the minister said.

    CAPTION: File photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis (ANA-MPA).

    [04] Cyprus President receives KKE head

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga was received by Cyprus Republic President Demetris Christofias in Nicosia on Wednesday, with talks focusing on the Cyprus issue and other matters of mutual interest.

    Commenting after the meeting, Papariga stressed that she expressed support to the work and efforts made by the Cypriot president for a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem.

    "These are difficult times for a solution," she pointed out and added that the "Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots must live in peace in a bizonal federation forming a single state entity and international presence."

    Papariga stressed, referring to President Christofias, that "the Cyprus issue is in safe hands" pointing out, however, that "the appropriate timing in terms of the international situation and a positive stance on behalf of the other side, are necessary in order to reach a solution."

    Responding to a question on whether she will have contacts with the Turkish Cypriot political parties she said that "such contacts are much easier to be made by AKEL."

    Earlier, Papariga, who is visiting Cyprus following an invitation by the ruling left-wing AKEL party, had also a meeting with AKEL affiliated Pancyprian Labour Federation's (PEO) general secretary Pampis Kyritsis.

    Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are engaged in talks with a view to finding a negotiated settlement that will reunite the island republic.

    [05] Greek stocks soared 9.54 pct

    Greek stocks recorded one of their biggest one-day rebounds ever in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, as investors became aggressive buyers in the wake of strong gains in international markets. The composite index ended at 1,969.84 points, up 9.54 pct with turnover a moderate 325.1 million euros, of which 12.4 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors scored gains, with the Telecoms (15.81 pct), Banks (12.32 pct), Raw Materials (11.57 pct), Financial Services (11.41 pct) and Healthcare (9.54 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index jumped 10.82 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 6.04 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index jumped 8.33 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 242 to 26 with another 21 issues unchanged.

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