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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-08

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Three new opinion polls
  • [02] FM chairs panel at Munich Security Conf.

  • [01] Three new opinion polls

    Three new opinion polls appearing in Sunday newspapers indicated leads of 3.5 to 3.9 percentage points by main opposition PASOK over the ruling New Democracy (ND) party.

    According to a KAPA Research poll, the results of which appeared in the Sunday edition of To Vima newspaper, PASOK was leading with 32.4 percent with regard to voter intent for national elections (which party the respondent would vote for if elections were held the following day), against 28.9 percent for ND, 7.7 percent for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), 7.3 percent for SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left parliamentary alliance led by Synaspismos), 4.2 percent for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, and 3.3 percent for the Ecologists-Greens party.

    The same poll incidated PASOK leading by 29.8 percent in voter intent for European Parliament elections, against 27.7 percent for ND, 8.4 percent for SYRIZA, 8.2 percent for the KKE, 4.5 percent for LAOS and 3.9 percent for the Ecologists-Greens.

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis, however, was considered by 40.7 percent of the respondents as the most suitable for prime minister, against 34.1 percent who opted for PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    Regarding the anticipated victor in the event of parliamentary elections, regardless of personal voting preference, PASOK was leading with 53.5 percent, against 31.1 percent for ND.

    Further, 54.8 percent of the respondents were against early general elections, compared with 39.8 percent who wanted early elections.

    In an MRB opinion poll appearing in the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos newspaper, voter preference with respect to general elections was 32.5 percent for PASOK, 28.6 percent for ND, 7.8 percent for SYRIZA, 7.2 percent for the KKE, 4.7 percent for LAOS, and 2.7 percent for the Ecologists-Greens. Regarding Europarliament elections, the voter preference was 30.3 percent for PASOK, 27.5 percent for ND, 9.4 per;cent for SYRIZA, 7.8 percent for the KKE, 5.3 percent for LAOS, and 3.5 percent for the Ecologists-Greens.

    In a Metron Analysis opinion poll appearing in the Sunday edition of Avghi newspaper, voter intent for national elections stood at 31.2 percent for PASOK, 27.6 percent for ND, 7.3 percent for SYRIZA, 7.1 percent for the KKE, 4.2 percent for LAOS and 3.8 percent for the Ecologists-Greens.

    Regarding voter intent for Europarliament elections, PASOK was leading with 29.0 percent, against 26.5 percent for ND, 8.2 percent for SYRIZA, 6.7 percent for the KKE, 5.0 percent for LAOS, and 3.0 percent for the Ecologists-Greens.

    [02] FM chairs panel at Munich Security Conf.

    Munich (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti) -- Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis chaired a panel on "Nato, Russia, Oil, Gas and the Middle East: The future of European security", in her capacity as chairperson of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) for 2009, in the context of the 45th Munich Security Conference.

    Also taking part in the panel on Saturday were Estonia president Toomas Ilves, Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, British foreign secretary David Miliband, and US Congresswoman (House of Representatives) Jane Harman, who replaced the originally scheduled Senator and former US presidential candidate John McCain.

    Below is the foreign minister's address to the panel:

    "Let me begin with a snap-shot of where we stand in the discussions on (Russian) President Medvedev‚s and (French) President Sarkozy‚s proposals at least in terms of process from the perspective of the OSCE chair.

    Although most countries are seemingly happy with the existing security arrangements, there appears to be widespread consensus that, to say the least, we need to engage in a dialogue on security issues.

    Most, also, agree that the OSCE is the appropriate forum for such a dialogue to take place. I am glad to note that those countries who had initially expressed reservations about the OSCE have now accepted that it is the best structure available.

    It goes without saying that -provided that there is agreement by all 56 OSCE participating states- Greece stands ready to organize meetings at any level that could launch, or more generally facilitate, such a dialogue.

    Now, putting on my national hat and without wanting to prejudice our discussion in any way, permit me to quickly touch on five quick points:

    First, discussions about European security usually begin with a reference to the fall of the Berlin Wall - and justifiably so. The world has never been the same since. It is a careless oversimplification, however headline grabbing and sensational, to speak of a return to the Cold War.

    Second, let‚s be frank. As the current crisis demonstrates we face common threats and common challenges. Needless to stress the significance to this panel of Russia, our partner in peace. Therefore, the least we can do is to take Moscow‚s proposal extremely seriously and engage in a meaningful and hopefully fruitful dialogue.

    Third, the way things stand today dividing soft and hard security amounts to drawing a line in the sand. Security is a two-way road. Aristotle in his Metaphysics argued that "the whole is more than the sum of its parts." Indeed, it is necessary to focus on the big picture and adopt a holistic approach. In light of current events, for example, would it be possible to ignore energy security?

    Fourth, we have to look for our common interests and -why not?- common values. Respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law, observing territorial integrity, refraining from the threat or use of force, are the cornerstones of our system and form the basis for our co-operative security. After all international law remains the most profound realpolitik.

    Fifth and final, is that there is a new kid on the block: the European Union. Particularly in view of the new US administration, we must assess the global role of the EU. We need a self-confident Europe that speaks with one voice. I have no illusions that there are different views within our Union but I would like to see a Europe and a USA working together as equal partners.

    In the meantime and as our discussions unfold we must not waste any time and move forward with the toolbox that we have in our hands. As Frank - Walter Steinmeier has said, diplomacy 'cannot afford fair-weather institutions'.

    On one hand, we should support the reactivation of NATO-Russia Council so that it reaches its full potential as soon as possible. We have plenty of potential areas of cooperation - one needs to look no further than the obvious: Afghanistan.

    On the other hand, we must boost the EU‚s neighborhood policy and our eastern partnership. We welcome the initiative of the Czech Presidency. After all, the European Union is the biggest and most successful post-war exercise in conflict prevention.

    And of course, we need to intensify our efforts to deal with the so-called frozen conflicts, which, as shown last August in Georgia, can turn hot very quickly.

    We have two tools here: the EU as proven by the intervention of the French Presidency last August and the OSCE which finds itself in the unique position of being the only European Security Organization that can rely on the political will and the resources of all major stakeholders.

    Here I would like to point that a major challenge for our Chairmanship is the continuation of the OSCE work in Georgia. Our focus remains humanitarian. We are convinced that the volatile situation on the ground requires more and not less OSCE presence."


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