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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou comments on FYROM
  • [02] Olympia ready for Olympic Torch

  • [01] Papandreou comments on FYROM

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou said on Monday Skopje should make a compromise on FYROM's name issue. "They must also make compromises so that we can shake hands tomorrow," he said. He also called on the government to undertake international initiatives.

    Speaking at his party's regional conference of eastern Macedonia and Thrace in the northern city of Alexandroupoli on Monday, Papandreou said that PASOK was first in setting the "national red line" on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) name that consists of a "mutually acceptable name with a geographic determination, no double name and a veto in the event of a deadlock."

    Papandreou further said that "we shall support the government if it strongly supports in the negotiations what Mr. (Prime Minister Costas) Karamanlis said, we shall contribute to see that the message is also sent to Washington: no pressures on Athens but on Skopje," while calling on FYROM's government, at the same time, to consider its historic responsibilities.

    "They must also make compromises so that we can shake hands tomorrow," he said, "since we are neighbours as peoples and we are living in the same region."

    Papandreou also called on the government to undertake initiatives in the direction of the UN, the European Union and the United States on finding a solution.

    [02] Olympia ready for Olympic Torch

    During a visit to ancient Olympia to inspect restoration work carried out on the site on Monday, Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis declared Olympia ready for the ceremony to light the Olympic Flame on March 24 and said restorers had "achieved a small miracle". The site and especially the surrounding vegetation had suffered extensive damage during the mega-fires that raged across the Peloponnese last August.

    "We are ready to receive the Chinese delegation that will pick up the Flame with a minimalist and modest ceremony, as befits the spirit of the Olympic Games," he said.

    Commenting on the work done to restore the site's vegetation, Liapis said the ministry had not wanted to "create a virtual reality for the sake of TV cameras" or change the natural balance of the area.

    "We wanted to boost the natural regeneration of the environment, respecting the history of the site, and we have achieved this. The work done at ancient Olympia was unprecedented but we have succeeded and, in a few years, the natural environment will be fully restored," he said.

    He expressed the government's thanks to all the bodies and state services involved in the effort, and also the donors and sponsors that had supported the effort financially.

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