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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 <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece bids farewell to 2008
  • [02] Anti-war groups held press briefing outside Israeli embassy
  • [03] Papandreou calls for Gaza ceasefire

  • [01] Greece bids farewell to 2008

    Celebrations were being held throughout the country on Wednesday to ring in the New Year.

    Members of associations, clubs and societies all over Greece were calling on political leaders throughout the day to sing traditional New Year carols.

    The Lambrou children's choir sang carols to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at the Maximos Mansion (government headquarters), where the premier, his wife Natassa and their twins exchanged good wishes and gifts with the choir members. Among the gifts presented to Karamanlis by choir members was a greeting card in which the children had written what they would do if they were the prime minister. One of the children told the prime minister that he was very saddened over the renewed outbreak of violence in the Middle East, in which many children had lost their lives, stressing that all the children of the world have a shared dream of a better future.

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou exchanges gifts and wishes and danced traditional dances with members of the Amisos and Kimolos associations, who sang traditional carols at the PASOK offices in downtown Athens.

    The Association of Workers from the Philippines (KASAPI) called on the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) headquarters, and sang traditional carols.

    The city of Athens municipal choir sang carols to Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis.

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will attend the armed forces' annual New Year's Eve Ball at the Officers' Club of Athens on Wednesday night.

    On Thursday morning, New Year's Day, the entire state and political leadership will attend a traditional New Year's church service at the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral.

    Caption: An ANA-MPA file photo shows the exterior of the Greek Parliament building during a previous New Year's Eve celebration.

    [02] Anti-war groups held press briefing outside Israeli embassy

    Representatives of various anti-war groups and pro-Palestinian held a press conference Wednesday outside the Israeli embassy, part of mobilisations in response to recent developments in the Gaza Strip. A representative of the "Free Gaza" movement, referring to a ramming by the Israeli navy, of a vessel carrying humanitarian aid, stressed that a new attempt to bring medicine and physicians to Gaza will be made within the next few days.

    [03] Papandreou calls for Gaza ceasefire

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said on Wednesday that his party has from the outset called for, and is reiterating today, the self-evident: an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, while he unequivocally condemned all acts of violence.

    Papandreou said that, as president of Socialist International (SI), he had undertaken an initiative for "promoting the convening of a regional conference with the participation of all the countries of the region, which I believe is the proper channel for finding a peaceful and viable solution".

    "We condemned, and condemn, the Israeli bombings in Gaza, the victims of which are thousands of lives of the unarmed population," Papandreou said, and called for an immediate end to the bombings, a truce and a ceasefire.

    "The massacre -- because that is what it is -- must stop immediately," Papandreou stressed.

    He also stressed the necessity for lifting the isolation of Gaza, so as to render possible the provision of humanitarian aid to the unarmed Palestinian population, and expressed his backing for the recent appeal by the UN Security Council.

    "As president of Socialist International and PASOK, I support the organisation of missions to the region for the provision of all forms of humanitarian aid," Papandreou said.

    The PASOK leader referred to his contacts with "governments, parties and personalities", noting that "we can contribute in the direction of a truce".

    "I repeat my appeal to the international community and the EU to assume its responsibilities and make every possible effort for an immediate agreement for a permanent truce and return to the path of dialogue," Papandreou concluded.


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