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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-12-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza
  • [02] Gov't, PASOK on Gaza violence

  • [01] EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

    European Union foreign ministers agreed in Paris on Tuesday night on a text calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza Strip, the dispatch of humanitarian aid and the intensification of the peace process.

    During the meeting of the 27, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis focused on the need for the implementaion of an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the opening of corridors for the dispatch of humanitarian aid.

    She also underlined the readiness of Greece to send humanitarian aid as soon as conditions of safety are guaranteed.

    At her arrival to the meeting, Bakoyannis made the following statement:"Greece believes that the international community and the European Union in particular must take action, it must take a specific initiative with the primary target being a ceasefire, a lasting ceasefire and, at the same time, the opening of humanitarian corridors. We need to send humanitarian aid to Gaza as soon as possible and there must be a ceasefire to enable the negotiating effort to be continued. There is no solution with force. Force cannot solve any problem. Therefore, we must take, all of us together, this initiative and I hope that tonight in Paris all of us shall be able to find a common policy to serve this target," Bakoyannis said on her arrival.

    Caption: ANA-MPA/EPA/Relatives of Palestinian four-year-old Lama and her nine-year-old sister Haia Hamdan mourn during their funeral in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, 30 December 2008. Lama and Haia Hamdan were reportedly killed after a Israeli missile strike in the north of Gaza Strip. Israel pounded more targets in the Gaza Strip as a massive military operation aimed at curbing rocket and mortar attacks from the salient entered its fourth day. At least 10 people died in the latest airstrikes, bringing the Palestinian toll of Operation "Cast Lead" to more than 360 dead and 1,700 injured. /MOHAMMED SABER

    [02] Gov't, PASOK on Gaza violence

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Tuesday with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis to review the latest unfortunate developments in the Middle East and the situation in the Gaza Strip.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Bakoyannis said "we are in agreement on the Greek government's proposals and preparations we have made in order to be present, first and foremost, at the humanitarian level".

    She said a condition for Greece's being able to provide humanitarian aid was for an "immediate truce, ceasefire, and a humanitarian corridor, which is necessary for the safe passage of medical aid as well as people who will need to go to Gaza to help the Palestinians, who are in an exceptionally tragic condition at this time". A main opposition PASOK spokesperson on Tuesday stressed that the party has repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. "All acts of violence are condemned, while the deadly Israeli air strikes in Gaza, which have killed hundreds of civilians, were condemned as soon as they started. The massacre has to end," Maria Karaklioumi stressed, pointing out that the acts of indiscriminate violence and bloodshed in the Middle East destroy any hope for a peaceful and viable solution. "The Israeli government, unfortunately, and it is not the only one, does not realise where escalating violence can lead," she said, noting that a blockade of Gaza has to be lifted to allow humanitarian aid to reach the Palestinian people. PASOK's spokesperson also condemned the ramming of the "Free Gaza" organisation's vessel by the Israeli navy. "An appeal is issued to the international community, the EU in particular, to assume their share of responsibility and make all possible efforts to defuse the crisis by reaching a ceasefire and engaging in peaceful dialogue," Karaklioumi said. "The EU will have to take action and the Greek government has to mobilise its EU partners toward this direction," she stressed. Karaklioumi also referred to telephone contacts PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou had within the framework of preparations for a new Mideast to be undertaken by the political grouping.

    Caption: ANA-MPA/EPA/ A Palestinian hurls a stone with a slingshot toward Israeli soldiers during a protest against Israeli airstrikes on Gaza in the West Bank city of Hebron, 29 December 2008. EPA/ABED AL HAFIZ HASHLAMOUN

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