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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-12

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Thessaloniki mayor to participate in Balcinet meeting in Sarajevo
  • [02] Papoulias briefed by Justice Min.
  • [03] Athens on FYROM name issue
  • [04] EU pleased with OA handling

  • [01] Thessaloniki mayor to participate in Balcinet meeting in Sarajevo

    Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos will depart on Thursday for Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, as the head of a municipal delegation expected to participate at the 9th International Friendship and Cooperation meeting amongst major Balkan cities' mayors. The meeting is organised within the framework of the Balkan cities network (BALCINET). The inter-balkan municipalities' cooperation, EU prospects of the western Balkan states, developing children-friendly cities, minorities rights, migrant policy and environment issues, will be discussed at the meeting.

    Papageorgopoulos said the next BALCINET meeting will take place in Thessaloniki.

    [02] Papoulias briefed by Justice Min.

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis on Wednesday at the Presidential mansion.

    Greeting the minister on arrival, Papoulias said that the resolution of the problems of the correctional system was a matter of quality of democracy, while Hatzigakis replied that the government has confronted in the best possible way the problems that had accumulated in the correctional system over many years.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Hatzigakis said that his ministry was ready to table in parliament two packages of measures for the solution of those problems. The first package, which he said would have no financial burden, was due to be tabled next week and would contribute to decongestion of the country's prisons, while the second package, which Hatzigakis said was more drastic, and concerned such issues as drugs and creating new prison facilities, was expected to be tabled near the Christmas holidays.

    Hatzigakis said that the inmates in the country's prisons were displaying admirable quality in their manifestations.

    He also said that the ministry was treating an existing problem with seriousness, "we are trying to release a large number of inmates", adding that the number to be released with the first measures was estimated at 1,500.

    The minister said that a new inroad was being opened up in the state's, government's and justice ministry's relations with inmates, adding that "we are determined to take revolutionary measures that will humanize and confront the harsh world of narcotics with a humane face".

    Hatzigakis further said that he intended to have a series of contacts with and visits to prisons, noting that an inter-party committee has been set up in parliament that will regularly visit correctional facilities, while the Ombudsman will soon be enabled to visit prisons as well.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of President of Republic Karolos Papoulias

    [03] Athens on FYROM name issue

    A foreign ministry spokesman on Wednesday was asked about recent comments by the US ambassador in Greece concerning the still unresolved FYROM "name issue", primarily the quote about Athens and Skopje themselves solving the dispute instead of waiting for a new US administration.

    Queried over the recent comments during a regular press briefing in Athens, spokesman George Koumoutsakos merely responded that the dispute "obviously affects the United Nations, within whose framework negotiations are being held, as well as the European Union".

    The spokesman said the statement, by US envoy Daniel Speckhard, was a "limited interpretation".

    Koumoutsakos also cited specific EU Council texts on the "name issue" and the "very clear language (in the text) adopted at the heads of state and government level by NATO."

    Moreover, he said the Greek side has never declined auxiliary interest and support of the negotiation process "from those who believe and have a sincere interest in helping, with their views and stance."

    Furthermore, Koumoutsakos repeated that Greece is neither delaying nor in a hurry to find a solution to finally resolve the only remaining difference between the two neighbours.

    "The time element isn't the deciding factor, the content of the solution is," he stressed.

    Finally, he echoed a standing view of Greek diplomacy and the government that the FYROM side is employing obstructionist and delaying tactics, something he said has been recognised by the president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Branko Crvenkovski.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos

    [04] EU pleased with OA handling

    European Commission vice-president and Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani expressed satisfaction over the "good cooperation" between the Greek government and the European Commission on the issue of Greece's ailing national carrier Olympic Airways (OA), in a statement in Brussels on Wednesday.

    Tajani, who presented on Wednesday the Commission's go-ahead for the privatization of Italian carrier Alitalia, said in reply to a press question on OA that he was absolutely satisfied with the way in which the Greek government was handling the matter of OA's privatization, and stressed the exceptional cooperation between himself and Greek transport minister Costis Hatzidakis.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of an Olympic Airways aircraft parked at Eleftherios Venizelos International airport in Athens


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