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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-07

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou at Conference for the Disabled
  • [02] President Papoulias at awards event
  • [03] FM holds talks with U.S. envoy
  • [04] Interior minister on electoral law

  • [01] Papandreou at Conference for the Disabled

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, addressing the 7th Conference of the National Confederation of People with a Disability, said that PASOK's policy is always one of democratic consultation and called on people with a disability to be in constant contact with the party to help shape PASOK's positions together.

    Papandreou accused the government of invoking the economic crisis so as not to implement policies that will help the weaker because, as he added, it does not understand that now is the need.

    "Now is the time for us to guarantee that there will be no new exclusions due to the crisis. For us to guarantee social cohesion now, at the time of the crisis, not afterwards," Papandreou said.

    He further said that the government can serve special interests, the powerful, the banks and "our guys" while it seeks alibis in crises to avoid its real responsibilities.

    The PASOK leader noted that the government has left the country defenceless before the international crisis and hundreds of thousands of our fellow countrymen are passing the threshold of poverty and indigence.

    Lastly, Papandreou stressed that PASOK promises to create all the preconditions to enable the implementation of existing laws and, if necessary, to change them to facilitate the better defence of the rights of people with a disability.

    CAPTION: ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK party leader George Papandreou.

    [02] President Papoulias at awards event

    President Karolos Papoulias delivered awards to pupils, students and athletes from the Aegean islands, during a ceremony held in Athens on Saturday.

    The event was organised by the Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy ministry and was attended by the Minister and Deputy Minister Anastasis Papaligouras and Panos Kammenos, former Aegean ministers Antonis Fousas, Elizabeth Papazoi and Aristotelis Pavlidis, former minister Apostolos Kratsas and mayors from Aegean islands.

    The awards ceremony was carried out in the framework of the ministry's policy to lift the exclusion of islands.

    Addressing the ceremony, Papaligouras referred to the importance of the awards for both society and those receiving the awards as well, saying that it is a paramount social function since it strengthens the feeling of participation.

    Education and Religion Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos sent a message in which he stressed that education is the foundation stone of society, adding that it is the government's duty to invest in education since it is an investment for the future.

    CAPTION: ANA-MPA file photo of President Karolos Papoulias.

    [03] FM holds talks with U.S. envoy

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis held 45-minute talks on Friday night with the special envoy of U.S. President Barack Obama for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke.

    Bakoyannis also held talks with the State Department's second in rank James Steinberg, in her capacity as OSCE chairwoman as well, on the sidelines of the 45th International Conference on Security taking place here.

    Issues of international interest were raised during the meeting, including the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Moreover, the OSCE's role and mission was also discussed in relation to the issue of dialogue on the European Security Architecture, while brief reference was also made to the situation in the Balkans and to the very important role being played in the region by Greece.

    Replying to a question on whether Holbrooke made a specific request concerning Greece's presence in Afghanistan, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos replied negatively and stressed that the discussion concerned an overall exchange of views on Afghanistan, particularly in light of the elections scheduled to take place in the country in August.

    Bakoyannis also met her Romanian counterpart, with whom she discussed the situation in the Balkans, the prospect of tripartite cooperation (Greece-Bulgaria-Romania) and the repercussions of the international economic crisis in Europe and in the Balkans in particular, while the issue of regional cooperation on handling of energy security problems was also raised.

    CAPTION: ANA-MPA file photo of Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    [04] Interior minister on electoral law

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, speaking in an interview with the newspaper "Ependitis" (Investor), referred to the country's new electoral law.

    Pavlopoulos stressed that his proposal for the holding of the next Parliamentary elections with the new electoral law was self-evident.

    "It will secure governmental stability when the elections take place," he said, adding that "this does not mean election-mongering" and criticising the main opposition PASOK party for not accepting it and for observing an "irresponsible stance."

    Pavlopoulos denied election scenarios and stressed that "there is no question of early elections. We shall exhaust the four-year tenure. The only possibility of us going to elections is in 2010, if PASOK does not cooperate for the election of the President of the Republic."

    Asked to comment on the reappearance of terrorism, on the occasion of the attack on the police station at Korydalos, the minister said that investigations are continuing and that "I hope that we shall be led to positive results soon." Also referring to the shooting incident outside the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Athens earlier this week, he termed it unfortunate and isolated.

    CAPTION: ANA-MPA file photo of Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.


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