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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-01

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou backs PM on FYROM issue
  • [02] Social security bill passed
  • [03] Deputy FM visits Egypt
  • [04] Broadband Cities 2008 conf'
  • [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Papandreou backs PM on FYROM issue

    "This is not the time for criticism...it is the time to strengthen Greece's voice in this critical negotiation," main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said on Tuesday, after a meeting with prime minister Costas Karamanlis, held at the former's initiative, ahead of a crucial NATO summit that opens Wednesday in Bucharest, adding that "Greece is being wronged" and facing pressure "even from allies and partners" over the FYROM issue.

    "Greece is in a crucial negotiation. There are pressures even from allies and partners, and I consider that Greece is being wronged," Papandreou told reporters after his meeting with the prime minister at the Maximos Mansion government headquarters.

    "This is not the time for criticism. We have made criticism, and will continue to do so wherever and whenever necessary. It is the time to strengthen Greece's voice ahead of this critical negotiation, and that is why I came to meet with the prime minister," Papandreou said, adding that PASOK's position was "crystal clear", and a position that was shared by the entire Greek people: "We want a solution composite name with a geographical determinant, for all uses, without exception".

    "We must say 'no' to all forms of a dual name, and of course 'no' to every effort at 'back-door' accession of the neighboring country to NATO without prior solution of the name problem," the main opposition leader stressed.

    The PASOK leader said that he had volunteered to the prime minister to visit Skopje "even at the last minute" in order to "strengthen our country's negotiating position and contribute to a just solution of this problem".

    Addressing himself to the people of FYROM, Papandreou warned that "actions of extreme symbolism, such as those that offend us all and our national symbols, are deplorable", adding his belief that "they do not express the entire people of the neighboring country, because we have a common future together, a common future for the Balkans, a common future of peace and stability in the region".

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday 1 April 2008 outside the Maximos Mansion.ANA-MPA/PANTELIS SAITAS

    [02] Social security bill passed

    The government's closely watched social security reform package was passed by Parliament late Monday afternoon, with the ruling New Democracy party majority of 151 voting in favour, while 146 MPs of the opposition voted against in the 300-deputy legislature.

    The vote came with a three-day delay following the tabling of a no confidence motion against the government on Friday by main opposition PASOK, a motion that was defeated by the government majority.

    Meanwhile, four proposals for the holding of a referendum on the social security reform were tabled by each of the four opposition parties in Parliament, that is main opposition PASOK, Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) immediately after the voting of the bill.

    Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas announced that the debate on the proposals will begin on Tuesday afternoon and, according to a Parliament's relevant regulation, it will conclude after three parliamentary sessions with a roll vote. A three fifths majority , that is 180 out of 300, vote is needed for the ratification of the proposals.

    [03] Deputy FM visits Egypt

    Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas arrived in Cairo on Monday afternoon at the head of a business mission in an effort to promote bilateral economic relations in the form of commerce or of investment plans in industry and services.

    On Tuesday, a business forum will be held with the participation of Greek and foreign entrepreneurs, while Doukas will have bilateral meetings with ministers and deputy ministers and representatives of economic agencies, as well as with the president of the Cairo Stock Exchange.

    The aim of the visit, which is being held a few months after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's visit to Athens in December 2007, also concerns the strengthening of political relations. Doukas will meet with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

    Egypt is a country chosen by Greece for the developmental aid of Greece, which from the beginning of 2007 has given for developmental aid in the broader region 3.5 million euros.

    The visit also aims at the strengthening of the traditional cultural bonds between the two countries.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas

    [04] Broadband Cities 2008 conf'

    The city of Trikala in Thessaly, central Greece, will organise the annual global conference of Broadband Cities 2008 in October, following its designation as the host city during the 9th INEC (International Network of e-Communities) conference held in Amsterdam and Almere, Netherlands, host of the Broadband Cities 2007 event.

    Trikala won the hotly contested designation of host city for the Broadband Cities 2008 event due to its speedy materialisation of broadband investments, culminating in the fiber optics network constructed and nearing completion by Trikala, the first Digital City in Greece.

    The current INEC network comprises Trikala, Almere (Netherlands), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Valletta (Malta), Stockholm (Sweden), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Utopia (Utah, USA), Seljtarnarnesbaer (Iceland), Sao Paolo (Brasil) and, more recently, Manchester (UK), while during the Trikala event an agreement will be signed, during a special ceremony, for expansion of the INEC network to include the cities of San Francisco (California, USA), Seattle (Washington, USA), Cologne (Germany), Barcelona (Spain), Vienna (Austria), Helsinki (Finland), Seoul (Korea), Taipei (Taiwan) and several cities in Australia and South Africa.

    [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The diplomatic fever in Athens, Washington and Skopje over the FYROM name issue ahead of Wednesday's NATO Summit in Bucharest mainly dominated the front pages in Athens' newspapers on Tuesday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Farmers: How they will be taxed - Analytical charts for all the produce".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Resistance to the pressures over the name - Karamanlis government refuses to consent to Skopje accession to NATO without a prior solution (to the name issue)".

    AVGHI: "Inequalities in incomes divide Greece - GDP (2006): 26,000 euro (annual, per capita) in Attica prefecture, 11,500 in western Greece".

    AVRIANI: "The Americans threatening to topple Karamanlis - They demand he backs down on the Skopje issue and halt cooperation with Russia in energy sector and weapons systems".

    CHORA: "The telephone lines afire - The dramatic behind-the-scenes of the final hours (before the NATO summit)" with prime minister Costas Karamanlis and foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis calling their NATO counterparts to elucidate Greece's stance on the FYROM issue.

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "We're going to the NATO summit in Bucharest...prepared for everything".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Bush's (US president) open blackmail against Athens - The US president does not understand, or...knows something".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Wednesday, 18:30 - Tomorrow the critical day for the Skopje issue - Karamanlis-Papandreou (main opposition PASOK leader) in joint 'front', with the 'hot lines' on fire".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Mammoth profits for banks - Athens-listed companies post 39 percent increase in profits in 2007".

    ESTIA: "The Sirens (mythical creatures who with the irresistible charm of their song lured mariners to their destruction on the rocks surrouning the island they lived on) of populism also sweeping the government in their stride".

    ETHNOS: "Front of resistance to the pressures (over FYROM issue) - George (PASOK leader Papandreou) lodges demarche with US ambassador, to meet with prime minister (on Tuesday morning, at his own request)".

    KATHIMERINI: "Trickery and pressures from Washington over FYROM issue (to ensure FYROM accession to NATO) - Karamanlis-Papandreou meeting".

    LOGOS: "Provocations and intense behind-the-scenes - Prime minister determined not to bow to the pressures".

    NIKI: "Veto, the reply to the provocations - Greece will put the 'stooges' of the US in their place".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Dynamic movement of clash with plutocracy, EU and NATO".

    TA NEA: "US pressing for accession under the name 'FYROM' (in order to circumvent veto by Greece) - It wants Skopje to enter NATO 'through the back door' ".

    TO VIMA: "With veto in hand, Karamanlis goes to Bucharest - Tough diplomatic bargaining over Skopje's name".

    VRADYNI: "Athens' 'hot line' on the Skopje issue - Karamanlis to wage the huge battle tomorrow, with solid domestic front".


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