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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM orders measures to clean up sport sector
  • [02] Greece, Romania discuss econ. ties
  • [03] Kassimis meets Albanian PM
  • [04] Justice Min. meets Demetrios
  • [05] Aegean Cuisine promotion

  • [01] PM orders measures to clean up sport sector

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday gave instructions for the taking of immediate measures aimed at cleaning up the sector of sport, during a 90-minute meeting with culture minister Michalis Liapis and deputy culture minister for sports Yannis Ioannidis.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Liapis said that the prime minister was briefed on developments in the doping scandal in the national weightlifting team, adding that the premier gave instructions for immediate measures so that the ministry could proceed in a clean-up of the sport sector.

    "I am not one for big words, I am a man of action," Liapis said, announcing that in the next 10 days he would table in parliament an amendment to a bill already tabled on combatting violence in sports fields, which amendment would aim at cleaning up the sport sector.

    "We do not want medals at all cost," Liapis said, stressing that "the time has come to table an institutional weapons cache in order to have healthy sports, clean athletes and, above all, to protect our youth", and adding that "we want medals, but above all we want clean athletes".

    Ioannidis, in turn, said that he wanted "clean sport", and the country's youths "in the stadiums for their physical and mental health", and called on parents to not be afraid of their children becoming involved in sports.

    "Let's not confuse the medals with doping," he said, adding that there were also "clean medals, without doping", and cited the example of Emil Zatopek, who a few decades ago won three gold medals in Track and Field (1952 Olympics in Helsinki in the 5km and 10 km runs and the marathon, his first-ever) "which no one else has accomplished to this day, despite the advancement of scientific support", and the example of Bob Beamon, whose Long Jump world record (in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City) took more than two decades to be broken.

    Replying to questions during a press briefing later, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros referred to the statements by Liapis and Ioannidis after their meeting with the prime minister, and stressed that the present government has undertaken specific initiatives.

    "Don't forget under whose initiative the Doping Control Center was set up," Antonaros said,adding that the political volition of the government and prime minister was a "given fact, and beyond dispute".

    [02] Greece, Romania discuss econ. ties

    A continuation of economic reforms, combined with closer cooperation between countries in Southeastern Europe has much to offer to the citizens in the region, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Friday, while he expressed his optimism over the outlook of the economy in the wider region.

    Speaking to reporters, in Bucarest, after a meeting with his Romanian counterpart Varoujan Vosganian, in the framework of an official two-day visit to Romania, the Greek minister said the meeting reaffirmed the possibilities of further expanding bilateral economic relations.

    The two ministers agreed to set up a joint commission, aimed at offering consultation to Romania over a more efficient management of community funds offered by the European Union.

    The Romanian Minister expressed his satisfaction over the course of trade and business relations between the two countries, underlining the significant investments made in sectors such as banks, insurance, infrastructure, telecommunications and real estate development. He also noted that the energy sector offered significant prospects of cooperation.

    Alogoskoufis also met with Romania's central bank governor Mugur Isarescu and will address a business dinner organised by the Hellenic-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday evening.

    The Greek minister said Greek investments in Romania totaled around 3.0 billion euros, and that Greek was the third largest foreign investor in the country after Holland and Austria.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis

    [03] Kassimis meets Albanian PM

    Greek deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, on a visit to Albania, met on Thursday evening with Albanian prime minister Sali Berisha, and on Friday morning with labor, social issues and equal opportunity minister Koco Barka, who is of Greek descent, shortly before leaving Tirana to tour Greek minority villages.

    Kassimis was greeted on arrival Thursday by Berisha and representatives of the state and political leadership, at the start of his four-day visit to Albania, in a climate of enthusiasm over the invitation to the country to join NATO extended at the recent Alliance summit in Bucharest.

    During their meeting, Berisha thanked the Greek government for its assistance to Albania and ifor undertaking the publication of text books for the Greek minority schools, and pledged that dialogue would begin soon on replacing/amending the geography and history books taught in Albanian schools, which have been deemed unacceptable by Greece, stressing that "education must help us look to the future rather than the past".

    He also expressed appreciation for Greece's contribution to the Sagiada-Konispol-Sarande Corridor road project, which is co-funded by the Hellenic Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans (HiPERB), under which nearly 50 million euros are earmarked for Albania, of which some 30 million are set out for the Corridor project.

    Berisha further asked Kassimis to convey to Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis an invitation to pay a formal visit to Albania.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the Albanian prime minister said that Kassimis' visit, which came on the heels of "the successful visit of foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis" provided an opportunity for a constructive and friendly discussion on further development of bilateral relations in all sectors -- economic, political, cultural -- and more particularly in the sectors of education and health.

    He also expressed satisfaction with "the progress in our bilareral relations also in matters concerning both the Greek minority in Albania and the Albanian economic immigrants in Greece", adding that the "we will, as friends, jointly continue this progress in the future".

    Speaking in turn, Kassimis said that it had been ascertained once again that the two governments reflect the desire of their two peoples for a common future, adding that one of the top items of discussion had been the strengthening of the education activity of the Greek minority in Albania and "we noted with pleasure that a solution of the few problems of the past has already been set in motion, so that, unhampered by the past, we can head together to an optimistic and auspicious future".

    He said they had also discussed Albania's EU aspirations.

    Kassimis also met Thursday with education and science minister Genc Pollo, with whom an agreement was reached to move ahead with an inventory of the infrastructure needs of minority schools so that improvements can be made with Greece's assistance, and with Speaker of the Albanian Parliament Jozefina Topalli, who stressed that the goal of the country's parliament is to develop closer ties with the Hellenic Parliament and, in that framework, asked Kassimis to convey an invitation to Greek Parliament president Dimitris Sioufas to visit Albania.

    The Greek deputy foreign minister also had talks with his Albanian counterpart Edith Harxhi, in which both sides noted the progress in bilateral relations.

    Kassimis' last meeting on the first day of his visit to Albania took place at the offices of the Unity for Human Rights Party (PBDNj), with chairman Vangjel Dule and the party's council. Note was taken of the problems being faced by the minority, the activities and initiatives of which Greece will be supportive in the areas of education, health and infrastructure. Kassimis expressed the belief that the contribution of the Greek minority and PBDN to Albania's progress is very important to the development and future of the country, and he did not hide his satisfaction at the significant steps that have been taken to protect the rights of the Greek minority.

    Dule thanked the Greek government for its ongoing interest in the future of the Greek minority, for its undivided support for Albania and the vision of Albania's incorporation into the Euro-Atlantic structures, as well as for the constant effort being made by Greece to strengthen stability, peace and prosperity in the Balkan region

    "Greece's role in Albania is of particular importance because public opinion here monitors Greek initiatives with very close interest," Dule said following the meeting.

    Kassimis further visited the seat of the Holy Archdiocese of Albania and gave a welcome speech at the opening of an exhibition of Byzantine icons from Korca at the National Gallery in Tirana. The restoration of the icons was carried out by the Byzantine Culture Museum and European Centre for Byzantine and post-Byzantine Monuments, in Thessaloniki, in collaboration with the National Museum of Medieval Art in Korca.

    On Friday morning, Kassimis met with labor minister Barka, for an exchange of views on prospects of strengthening the Albanian economy.

    "We will begin talks concerning the reinforcement of Professional Orientation Centers, particularly in the field of tourism, which is a highly promising sector for the development of southern Albania," said Kassimis after the meeting.

    Barka expressed his appreciation to the Greek government for its support to Albania stressing that "Greece always stands by us, especially in difficult times". He also referred to the cooperation between the Albanian labor ministry and Greek employment ministry, noting that very soon a wider cooperation protocol in all sectors will be signed.

    Kassimis will carry out a tour of minority villages, including Narta, Himara, Sarande, Livadeia, Mesopotamo, Bouliarati, Dervitsani and Korca, before leaving to return to Athens on Sunday.

    Caption:Greek deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis(R) and Albanian President Sali Berisha in Tirana on Thursday 10 April 2008.ANA-MPA/STR

    [04] Justice Min. meets Demetrios

    Issues concerning Greece and the Greek-American community were discussed by Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis and Archbishop Demetrios of America during a meeting at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Offices in Manhattan, New York. In statements made afterwards, Hatzigakis underlined the justice ministry's interest in the Greek expatriates and their role in the revival of Greek traditions and the strengthening of the Greek identity. He said that the justice ministry goals are not limited just to promoting institutional reforms, and underlined the social and educational objectives set. On his part, Archbishop Demetrios stated that they had a very constructive meeting, underlining the minister's difficult task in the sector of justice which, he said, is often rocked by tensions. Hatzigakis visited New York coming from Boston, where he was the Grand Marshal in the March 25 Greek Parade. Caption: Greek Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis (L) and Archbishop Demetrios of America (R) in New York on Thursday 10 April 2008. ANA-MPA/DIMITRIS PANAGOS

    [05] Aegean Cuisine promotion

    A special programme for the promotion of the local cuisine of the Aegean islands is being implemented within the framework of the continuous effort in support of entrepreneurship on the Dodecanese and Cyclades islands. The Aegean Cuisine programme, undertaken by the Centre for Business and Technological Development of South Aegean (KETA) following the example of Italy and Spain, includes a number of actions that will promote the original Aegean island cuisine both in Greece and abroad, upgrade the training of professionals and support them on marketing issues. The first phase of the programme, that will last until June 2008, includes a round of meetings with businessmen and professionals from all south Aegean islands.
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