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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Parliament rejects censure motion against gov't
  • [02] Athens furious over Skopje insult
  • [03] FM: Athens won't bow to pressure
  • [04] AEK demolishes Olympiakos 4-0

  • [01] Parliament rejects censure motion against gov't

    Parliament rejected, in the early hours of Saturday, a censure motion against the New Democracy government tabled by main opposition PASOK party over a social security system reform, with 152 votes in the 300-member House. 138 deputies voted in favour of the motion, while 10 declared themselves "present".

    Wrapping up a three-day parliamentary debate, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis reiterated his government's strong determination to go ahead with planned reforms.

    "We do not play games with the future of our society. We do not capitulate in front of problems. We do not retreat in front of difficulties. We are not playing with the prospects of our homeland," Karamanlis underlined.

    "Citizens have trusted us, because we are a force of responsibility, a force of stability, a force of reforms. This is what we have promised. And we do not intend to fall short of our promises," the premier said, adding that the citizens placed their confidence in his government in order "to put Greece in an orbit of reforms and changes".

    Karamanlis strongly attacked the main opposition party saying that it was only aiming at "covering up its non-credibility, its lack of political positions and its lack of a comprehensive view of the problems faced by citizens," adding that the censure motion was "the product of an antagonism" between PASOK and the Left.

    Turning to the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), the premier charged that it "wages a game against institutions for a few minutes of publicity."

    No mutually acceptable FYROM solution means no NATO invitation

    Premier Karamanlis also reiterated in his address that Greece will not consent to an invitation to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for NATO entrance, unless a mutually acceptable solution to the land locked republic's name issue.

    "Only a mutually acceptable solution, ratified by the UN Security Council, that is, a cohesive and global solution, with sufficient guaranties for its implementation, can be the basis for building relations of alliance and relations of solidarity," Karamanlis told Parliament during a debate on a censure motion against his government tabled by the main opposition PASOK party.

    "If not," the premier cautioned, "it is crystal clear that, at this stage of the lengthy and ongoing negotiation, we will not reach a solution. And no solution means no invitation."

    Terming as "disappointing" the fact that "even now, at this crucial moment of the negotiations on the name of FYROM, the leadership of the neighbouring country steadfastly demonstrates a negative and unproductive behaviour," Karamanlis nevertheless reiterated that Greece would continue participating in the UN-sponsored negotiating process "with moderation and determination".

    [02] Athens furious over Skopje insult

    Greece angrily condemns insult to nat'l symbol on Skopje billboards

    Greece reacted angrily on Sunday to an unprecedented provocation in the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), as several outdoor billboards in the capital of Skopje depicted an adulterated Greek flag, with the blue Cross morphed into a Swastika.

    "This unacceptable poster, which was circulated via a private initiative and raised on Skopje's streets, directly insults our country's national symbol and our struggle against fascism and Nazism," a foreign ministry spokesman tersely said on Sunday afternoon in response to a press question.

    "This incident demonstrates the huge mistake made by those that invest in chauvinism and bigotry. It also confirms, yet again, the correctness of Greece's position, namely, that a necessary condition for the establishment of relations of solidarity and relations amongst allies is, in practice, respect of good-neighbourly relations between countries and peoples," spokesman George Koumoutsakos emphasised, speaking days before a NATO summit will consider admission for landlocked FYROM.

    The spokesman also announced that Greece's diplomatic representative in the neighbouring one-time Yugoslav state has been instructed to table Athens' severe protest over the provocation to FYROM's foreign ministry as well as to demand the immediate removal of the offensive billboard.

    The Swastika imagery on the Greek flag -- in place of the Cross -- was the first item covered by most television news programmes in Greece on Sunday evening, touching on a particularly sensitive nerve, given that the east Mediterranean country sustained monumental damages and loss of life during World War II during successive Italian and German invasions, followed by a triple occupation (1941-1944) by Nazi German, Italian fascist and Bulgarian troops.

    According to an ANA-MPA dispatch from Skopje, the controversial billboard ads ostensibly promote a photographic exhibition in the city's cultural centre from April 3 to May 3.

    [03] FM: Athens won't bow to pressure

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was quoted here on Sunday as reiterating that Athens will not be influenced by the short time remaining until this week's NATO summit in Bucharest in its positions regarding a mutually acceptable solution to the nagging "name issue" involving the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    "Pressure due to time constraints will not force us to accept proposals under the veil of ultimatums," Bakoyannis was quoted as saying in an article published by the "Ethnos" newspaper on Sunday.

    "We are in the middle of negotiations, which undoubtedly have watersheds. One such defining moment in negotiations is the Bucharest summit ? Greece does not, however, waver and does not exercise its foreign policy under deadlines placed by others," she added.

    The Greek FM also said that she believes UN mediator Matthew Nimetz may table a new proposal for a mutually acceptable solution, without however, ruling out the possibility of an intervention by the US president to achieve a breakthrough.

    Moreover, in answer to a press question, Bakoyannis reminded that Greece is a country "that does not accept orders or follows orders by anyone".

    In statements on the same issue but in a different Athens daily, Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis offered his view that there is enough time after the NATO summit to achieve a solution with the neighbouring, landlocked state.

    "(Prime Minister) Costas Karamanlis has emphasised that phony solutions will not be accepted," Meimarakis was quoted as saying in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia".

    "No solution to the 'name issue' means no invitation, as far as Greece is concerned," Meimarakis said, echoing repeated statements by Greek leadership over the recent period.

    Caption: Greek FM Dora Bakoyannis is shown in a file photo dated Thursday, March 13, 2008, at a EU summit in Brussels. ANA-MPA/ TATIANA BOLARI.

    [04] AEK demolishes Olympiakos 4-0

    AEK Athens obliterated league-leader Olympiakos Piraeus 4-0 on Sunday evening during the 27th week of play in the Greek Super League football championship. The loss leaves Olympiakos with 61 points to 60 for cross-town rivals Panathinaikos Athens and 59 for AEK.

    Panathinaikos edged tough Panionios Athens 2-1 at home at the same time, in a match that witnessed four penalty kicks, two for either side, with the home club making good on its two, as opposed to Panionios, which missed its first penalty kick.

    In other action:

    Asteras Tripolis-Veria 2-0

    Ergotelis Crete-Levadiakos 2-1

    Larissa-Apollon Kalamarias 2-1

    Iraklis Thessaloniki-OFI Crete 1-0

    PAOK Thessaloniki-Atromitos Athens 1-0

    Xanthi-Aris Thessaloniki 0-2

    The standings after 27 games:

    1. Olympiakos 61

    2. Panathinaikos 60

    3. ΑΚ59

    4. Aris 46

    5. Asteras Tripolis 41

    6. Larissa 39

    7. Panionios 38

    8. Xanthi 36

    9. PAOK 35

    10. Iraklis 31

    11. OFI 29

    12. Atromitos Athens 28

    13. Ergotelis Crete 27

    14. Levadiakos 24

    15. Veria 21

    16. Apollon Kalamaria 19

  • Apollon Kalamaria has had one victory over Olympiakos overturned and penalised one point.

    Caption: AEK Athens' Brazilian superstar Rivaldo (yellow & black jersey) fights for the ball against Olympiakos Piraeus midfielder and Argentine international Luciano Galletti on Sunday, 30 March 2008, at the Athens Olympic Stadium during the 27th week of play in the Greek Super League. AEK defeated Olympiakos 4-0, with Rivaldo voted the match's MVP. ANA-MPA/ INTIME SPORTS


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