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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis congratulates new Slovenian PM
  • [02] Athens condemns Mumbai attacks
  • [03] Greece on FYROM issue

  • [01] Karamanlis congratulates new Slovenian PM

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday sent congratulations to the newly elected Prime Minister of Slovenia, Borut Pahor.

    In his letter, Karamanlis outlined the common targets and principles that both countries share while he expressed his conviction that bilateral relations and relations within the framework of the European Union will be even further enhanced.

    [02] Athens condemns Mumbai attacks

    Two Greek citizens, a man and a woman, were stranded but not held hostages, at one of the Mumbai hotels targetted by terrorists on Wednesday evening, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Thursday, adding that there were no Greek citizens among the hostages.

    He added that Greek authorities were in contact with the two individuals, while Greece's ambassador in New Delhi was headed to Mumbai, India's financial and cultural hub.

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, referring to the concerted attacks, said "yesterday's terrorist attacks in India give rise to sentiments of abhorrence and anger internationally".

    She called the attacks "cold-blooded and cowardly criminal acts we all condemn in the most categorical and unequivocal way".

    "We condemn the attacks because, first and foremost, they are actions that violate every sense of respect for the loftiest of human rights, the right to life, as well as respect for human dignity," Bakoyannis said.

    Caption: Indian fire fighters rescue guests from the Taj Mahal hotel after the exchange of fire between the police and terrorists in Mumbai, India on 27 November 2008. Terrorists killed 80 people and wounded more than 200 late Wednesday in a series of coordinated attacks across India's financial hub Mumbai, officials and news reports said.Heavily armed gunmen in groups of two to four opened fire with automatic weapons and lobbed grenades in 10 places in south Mumbai, including the five-star Taj and Trident hotels, the city's main railway terminus, a hospital, a cafe, a pub and a cinema hall. The targets seemed to be areas frequented by tourists.ANA-MPA/ EPA/STR

    [03] Greece on FYROM issue

    A Greek foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday said recent statements by regional leaders concerning a resolution of the still unresolved fYRoM "name issue" are positive, speaking during a regular press briefing in Athens.

    Spokesman George Koumoutsakos was responding to press questions related to recent statements by Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who again called for a solution to the outstanding bilateral problem that was preventing a full normalisation of relations between Athens and Skopje. Koumoutsakos said statements that reinforce the prospects for a solution to the thorny issue are positive.

    "...however, for the past two months the other side (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia {fYRoM}) has still not appointed a (new) negotiator for the UN negotiation process, but at the same time is seeking recourse to the International Court against Greece for alleged breaches of the 'interim agreement'," Koumoutsakos reminded.

    In an unrelated development, and queried over another statement by Berisha concerning the obscure "Cham issue" that periodically emerges on the horizon of Greek-Albanian relations, Koumoutsakos merely referred to the establishment of several joint committees -- comprised of representatives of both governments -- assigned the task of discussing an array of issues.

    "The extent to which these committees will discuss legal or property issues depends on the course of negotiations. Of course, as far as Greece is concerned there is no Cham issue," Koumoutsakos stressed.

    Berisha was quoted as saying recently that the "...Cham issue has not ceased to exist, but in a legal framework..."

    The Chams are usually identified as a predominately Albanian-speaking group once centred exclusively in the extreme northwest Greek prefecture of Thesprotia and the adjoining area of extreme southwest Albania. Several Cham clan leaders and affiliated paramilitaries were accused of directly collaborating with fascist and Nazi occupation forces in the region during the Second World War, causing the entire community to flee war-ravaged Greece for neighbouring Albania as the worldwide conflagration shifted in the Allies' favor and amid Greece's liberation from Axis occupation. Following the collapse of a Stalinist regime that ruled Albania for more than four decades various groups of self-styled Cham activists in southern Albanian have sporadically aired claims against the Greek state for property abandoned or confiscated because of wartime collaboration and war crimes, among others.

    Conversely, the spokesman echoed the Greek government's recent appreciation towards the neighbouring country for an agreement opening the way for the establishment of two military cemeteries in southern Albania where the remains of WWII-era Greek soldiers who fell during the Greek-Italian war will be properly buried -- nearly seven decades after the conflict.

    "The positive decision is the result of efforts by both sides, and in terms of Greece, coordinated efforts by the foreign and defence ministries. It is the successful conclusion of a long process, for which the foreign minister (Dora Bakoyannis) has already thanked the government of Albania and the Albanian people for the resolution of a long-standing matter characterised by a heightened humanitarian dimension. Implementation of the agreement is now a matter of time. I would like to express the hope and wish that it (agreement) proceeds as quickly as possible," Koumoutsakos said.

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

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