|Thursday, 22 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-24
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PASOK meeting on citizen-state issuesThe government was placing its petty party expediencies above the public interest with respect to the Security Corps, and was trying to cover up its lack of plan and effectiveness under supposed strictness, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said on Tuesday, addressing a meeting of his party officers on citizen-state-local government issues.
Papandreou also said that PASOK intended, possibly later on Tuesday, to table a request in parliament for an off-the-agenda discussion on matters concerning the security of the citizens.
The request charges that the country has fallen into anomy, while the public sentiment was one of dissolution of the state and disdain of the institutions, combined with a general climate of economic insecurity, and puts forward an issue of credibility of the government and its responsibilities.
 Inner Cabinet to convene for briefing on economyThe Inner Cabinet will convene in a full session in Parliament on Wednesday at noon and focus on the government's economic policy, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stated. "The ministers and deputy ministers will be briefed on the latest facts considering that the (international economic) crisis is evolving and new symptoms are emerging," he said, stressing that "all governments are focused on them and an extraordinary EU summit meeting will be held next weekend." Antonaros stated that no discussion on bank privatisations was held in the government, and referring to the eyebrow-raising position expressed by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou -- who said nationalisations of domestic banks was not of the question -- pointed out that promptly taken initiatives have provided the local banking system with all the necessary tools to fully meet its social role. He also stressed that relevant legislation exerts the necessary pressure on the banks to respond to their social role, while the Bank of Greece also has a specific role. On the likelihood of new taxes, Antonaros pointed out that "the unfolding economic crisis is unprecedented and needs to be closely watched while doing everything possible to limit its consequences, including necessary adjustments." The announced spending cuts that proceed through specific initiatives and actions is the tool we want to use, he stressed.
 FM interview in Greek-American paper in light of US visit (RECASTS)NEW YORK CITY (ANA-MPA / P. Panagiotou) -- Greek-US relations are exceptional and are enhanced by the Greek-American community's significant presence, however, significant changes and surprises should not be anticipated in the wake of Barack Obama's assumption of the US Presidency, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said in an interview appearing in the Greek-American newspaper "National Herald" (Ethnikos Kirykas) on the opportunity of her current visit to the United States.
Referring to her upcoming meeting in Washington with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and replying to a question on what changes she'd like to see in Greek-US relations, Bakoyannis said she did not believe that substantial changes or surprises should be expected in bilateral relations between the two countries, which are traditional and exceptional relations.
In that context, Bakoyannis said she believes Greece will have a fruitful cooperation with the new US leadership for the advancement of their bilateral ties and more generally their cooperation on the international scene.
Besides, she added, both the new US President and his associates have indicated that they were knowledgeable on the issues of particular Greek interest, and expressed abelief that Hillary Clinton will be a very active secretary of state who, with her extensive experience, will bring a new dynamic to US foreign policy, always within the framework of her country's steadfast strategic interests. Consequently, Bakoyannis added, she looks forward to a fruitful cooperation with Clinton and her associates to the mutual benefit of both countries.
To a question on the "exacerbation of Turkish provocations in the Aegean" and whether Greece was considering a change of stance regarding the neighbouring country, Bakoyannis stress that Greece has a long-term strategy on Greek-Turkish relations.
The developments in 2008 did not help in achieving speedier and more effective steps in improving the relations between the two countries, she said, adding that the Turkish provocativeness was not a new phenomenon, nor have there been periods in which that behavior was more limited.
Turkish provocations have existed in the last decades and continue to exist, and this was being confronted by Greece with a steadfast, calm and serious policy; in a structured and effective way, and with clear-cut positions and strong arguments, thus fully safeguarding Greece's national interests, she said.
Bakoyannis stressed that she did not believe that Greece's policy, which was founded on a structured and long-term strategy, should change with respect to Turkey. "Greece continues to be vigilant, and on every occasion brings Turkey's provocative attitude to the attention of its friends and allies."
Turning to the FYROM "name issue", Bakoyannis stressed that Greece remained firmly and constructively in the UN-brokered negotiation process on the issue, despite the delay tactics employed by the neighbouring country's leadership. "Greece's positions have been and continue to be crystal clear", she said.
At the same time, one should not forget that Greece's positions are also NATO Alliance positions, both in the framework of the European Union and of NATO, the foreign minister elaborated.
Bakoyannis further expressed genuine regret over the results arising from FYROM's stance. She said that those in power in FYROM are by themselves raising obstacles to the fulfilment of their people's European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, knowing full well that a resolution of the name issue is a condition for FYROM's accession to the Atlantic Alliance and for its smooth course to Europe. Greece, she added, hopes that the neighbouring country will abandon its outdated tactics, ones reminiscent of "a bad Balkan past".
As for the economic situation, Bakoyannis noted that for the past year and a half the world was facing the largest post-war financial crisis.
In this difficult conjuncture, the Greek government was literally exhausting all margins to widen and reinforce the social protection network provided by the state, she said, opining that, in light of the severest credit crisis in recent years, there was no room for petty party expediencies and populist attitudes.
Everyone, she stressed, was obliged, with their actions and stance, to back the government in the difficult task it has undertaken of bringing the country out of the crisis with a structured plan and strategy.
 Telethon for Palestinian peopleA telethon hosted by state ERT television on Monday in support of the suffering Palestinian people in Gaza Strip yielded roughly 1.2 million euros from donations by viewers from Greece and abroad who watched the event, which was aired on ET1 and ERTWorld. The telethon was held in cooperation with eleven trade unions, international organizations, local governments, etc. namely, GSEE, ADEDY, UNICEF, Athens-Piraeus Supra-prefecture, ENAE, KEDKE, GESEVE, Athens Bar Association, Technical Chamber of Greece, Athens Medical Centre and Athens Pharmaceutical Association. The money raised will be used for the restoration of the Christian Hospital that was reduced to rubble during the recent bomb attacks. Technical Chamber civil engineers will undertake to redesign the hospital which, when completed, will offer its services to local residents regardless of their religion. Meanwhile, a solidarity concert in support of the people of Palestine was staged on Monday evening by the Palestinian Community in Thessaloniki sponsored by Thessaloniki prefecture municipalities. All proceeds will be used to purchase medical and pharmaceutical supplies to be shipped to Gaza.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of recent march in Athens in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
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