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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-05

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't meeting on economy
  • [02] Police officer charged with attempted homicide for shooting U.S. embassy guard
  • [03] FM to chair European security panel at Munich int'l conference
  • [04] MIG interest in OA acquisition

  • [01] Gov't meeting on economy

    The inter-ministerial committee on economic policy convened Thursday chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Finance and Economy Minister Yannis Papathanassiou said afterwards that the meeting focused on the specialization of the updated stability programme already submitted to the EU which he will outline in a press conference to be held at his office during the day. Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis referring to the Olympic Airlines (OA) national carrier issue and the proposal submitted earlier in the day by the MIG Group commented that the relative tender has entered a new phase and an invitation has been directed to the business community mainly in Greece.

    Hatzidakis also stated that a Greek business group has already submitted a proposal in principal which will be examined with the appropriate seriousness, as in the case of any other proposal that may be forthcoming.

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

    [02] Police officer charged with attempted homicide for shooting U.S. embassy guard

    A public prosecutor on Thursday press charges of attempted homicide and illegal weapons use against the police officer that shot and injured a security guard at the U.S. Ambassador's residence the previous day.

    The evidence regarding the case will now be forwarded to the 16th examining magistrate, who has been asked to order a psychiatric evaluation of the accused.

    The officer requested and received an extension to prepare his testimony, which he will give on Friday.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, a defence lawyer for the accused apologised to the injured man on behalf of his client's family and conveyed their wishes for a speedy recovery. He claimed that his client had failed to provide a convincing explanation about what had prompted him to shoot.

    "He told us that after the attacks that have been taking place recently, he became frightened when he saw the man coming towards him armed," defence lawyer George Panagopoulos said, referring to a shooting incident against the Korydallos police station a few days before, where armed terrorists opened fire against a police guard stationed outside the station.

    He said the defence intends to claim that the accused was suffering from psychological problems that had not been apparent beforehand, noting that the officer had recently been examined by a psychiatrist at his parents' suggestion and may have been given medication.

    [03] FM to chair European security panel at Munich int'l conference

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis will on Saturday chair a panel discussion on European security, with the focus mainly on its energy aspect, during the two-day 45th international conference on security that opens Friday in Munich, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Thursday during a regular press briefing.

    Scheduled to take part in the panel are British foreign secretary David Miliband, Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, US senator John McCain and Russian deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov, Koumoutsakos added.

    He also said that, on the sidelines of the conference, Bakoyannis would have bilateral meetings with her Bulgarian and Romanian counterparts, and with US president Barack Obama's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, clarifying that the meeting with Holbrooke was taking place at the US official's request.

    Replying to press questions, Koumoutsakos elaborated that the topics to be discussed by the panel chaired by Bakoyannis were NATO, Russia, oil, natural gas, the Middle East, and the future of European security.

    [04] MIG interest in OA acquisition

    Athens-listed Marfin Investment Group (MIG) on Thursday announced interest in the acquisition of Greek national air carrier Olympic Airways (OA) so that the carrier would remain in Greek hands, at the same time offering to the Greek state the option of renationalization.

    A MIG announcement said that the Group will "participate in the direct negotiation process for the acquisition of Olympic", adding that "we offer voluntarily to the State the option of renationalization", and expressed the wish "that our initiative will be embraced by all political parties and the Greek people".

    "In the critical and challenging economic environment that we are currently experiencing, the continuation of OLYMPIC's operations is of vital importance to the Greek tourism industry, employment, national sentiment and Greece's status in the international investment community. OLYMPIC is an inseparable part of our history, identity and everyday life and we all desire its continuing existence in order to, among other, bolster our national pride once again," a MIG announcement said.

    "In light of the above, MIG has decided today (Thursday, February 5) to respond favourably to the invitation by the Interministerial Privatisation Committee and is ready to proceed to direct negotiations with the State so that OLYMPIC will continue to operate within the realms of Greek entrepreneurship. Should our negotiations reach fruition, we intend to voluntarily offer to the Greek Government the option to renationalise OLYMPIC at any point in time up until 3 months following the next general elections," the announcement said.

    "We hope that our initiative will be treated in line with our true intentions and beyond any political considerations or agendas. We are prepared to jointly participate in this process with any other robust and sound business or investment group that may wish to do so. Furthermore, we would even contemplate to withdraw from the process should another sound business entity be able to secure the successful outcome of this process and does not desire our involvement," the MIG announcement continued.

    "We would like to highlight that following completion of the negotiations, the ultimate decision for the acquisition of OLYMPIC will be made by the Board of Directors of MIG taking into account, inter alia, whether our initiative for the future of our national air carrier has achieved the desired political consensus and social acceptance," the announcement added.

    The announcement further noted that Athens-headquartered MIG "numbers in excess of 50,000 employees and associates and has a presence spanning over 40 countries" and is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with 58 percent of its share capital held directly or indirectly by Greek strategic, institutional and retail investors and 24 percent held by international institutional investors, while "Dubai Group owns an approximately 18 percent stake in the company and is represented on the Board of Directors by three non-executive members and has no involvement in the management of the company".


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