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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: FYROM name must have geographic qualifier
  • [02] Venizelos addresses PASOK congress

  • [01] PM: FYROM name must have geographic qualifier

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday again reiterated Greece's position regarding the "name issue" with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), saying that a composite name containing a geographic qualifier could put an end to a nagging problem that has had a negative impact on regional stability and cooperation.

    He was speaking during a press conference in Brussels following earlier meetings to discuss the FYROM name issue with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on the sidelines of the European Union Summit taking place in the Belgian capital.

    The Greek prime minister reiterated that Athens was participating constructively in the UN-sponsored process for finding a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue, pointing out that this was an issue concerning good neighbour relations.

    In calling for a composite name containing a geographic qualifier, Karamanlis said such a solution would be "clear and practical", while noting UN Security Council resolutions referring to the negative impact of perpetuating the problem.

    He also stressed that the issue affected FYROM's otherwise excellent bilateral relations with Greece, as well its ambitions to join EuroAtlantic structures.

    "No solution means no invitation, in other words no accession to NATO," he emphasised, while underlining that the Greek position was clear and unambiguous.

    Relations amongst allies and relations of mutual support could not be built on a basis of unresolved issues, the Greek premier added.

    "This is the position that it applies today; it will apply tomorrow and will continue to apply until a solution is achieved that is mutually accepted," he stressed.

    Questioned about the political crisis now unfolding in Greece's neighbour to the north, Karamanlis expressed hope that this would not be used as an excuse to perpetuate the problem.

    "We want to believe and we hope that political developments in the neighbouring country will not be used either as an excuse or as an alibi for perpetuating a 17-year deadlock through a false, compromise settlement. It is evident that such an approach cannot be accepted," the Greek premier said. He also noted that Greece had already "covered a great distance" in order to approach FYROM's positions and that it was now time for the other side to do the same.

    Replying to questions about a meeting held on Thursday between Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and FYROM's Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, the prime minister stressed that there was no need to fear discussion when one has clear positions and that no problem was caused.

    "I judged it advisable for the foreign minister to attend the meeting. If such meetings serve the interests of the country, no further answer is needed," he said.

    For the same reason, he said he met with the leaders of Greece's partners and allies and had shaken hands with Gruevski the previous day, adding that he would have been more than willing to detail the Greek positions if his FYROM counterpart had chosen to raise the issue.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] Venizelos addresses PASOK congress

    High-profile main opposition PASOK deputy Evangelos Venizelos on Friday warned party delegates against any idea of a ?grand coalition? between ruling New Democracy (ND) and PASOK, speaking at the party‚s 8th congress in Athens.

    Venizelos, a top deputy in past PASOK governments and a leadership contender during the party‚s leadership election last November, said such a proposal was being promoted by ?certain individuals in the country‚s political and media? establishments.

    In qualifying his criticism of the government, and especially vis-a-vis recently tabled social security reforms to rescue the country‚s ailing pension system, Venizelos, an attorney and law professor, referred to ?class-based ruthlessness? and ?social conservatism?.

    Turning to PASOK and the party‚s recent poor showings in a handful of opinion polls, the Thessaloniki-area MP said ?the movement (i.e. PASOK) is amid the most difficult period in its history, appearing as part of the problem and not as part of the solution??

    ??There are progressive segments of the population who regard it (PASOK) as a part of the past and not of the future, and who doubt that it (PASOK) has something better to give than ND,? he said.

    Among others, he also stressed that society‚s message to PASOK was given with the election defeat of Sept. 16, a ?message? he said, however, was lost in the subsequent leadership election for the party‚s helm - where he was handily defeated by incumbent George Papandreou.

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