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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-03-02
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 FM Bakoyannis to receive OSCE official on TuesdayForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will receive the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) chair's Personal Representative for Combating Anti-Semitism, Rabbi Andre Baker, on Tuesday, a foreign ministry announcement said.
Bakoyannis is currently chair-in-office of the OSCE.
 Greece condemns attack on Greek tourist coaches in FYROMGreece on Monday condemned an organized attack against three Greek tourist coaches in FYROM the previous night, warning that such actions hurt relations between the two peoples.
A group of some 20-30 people attacked three Greek tourist coaches in downtown Ohrid as they were waiting for Greek holidayjakers to return from a tour.
According to local media in FYROM, the assailants spray-painted various ant-Greek slogans on the coaches, while eye-witnesses said they also threw stones and sticks, causing damage to one of the coaches.
The incident was also condemned by Ohrid residents, who noted that such actions mar the lake-side town's tourism image.
The incident was being investigated by Ohrid police.
In Athens, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos strongly condemned the "organized attack by unidentified perpetrators against Greek visitors and their property".
"Such actions unfortunately harm the communication betweel peoples, and are the visible result of the ethnicism and the bigotry against Greece that is purposely being cultivated recently in Skopje," Koumoutsakos said.
Greece, he added, "calls on the authorities of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to protect the Greek citizens who visit their country, and for the arrest and punishment of those guilty of yesterday's (Sunday's) unprovoked attack".
 FM at Gaza donors summitCairo (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas) -- Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis represented Greece at Monday's summit of the 80 donor countries for the reconstruction of Gaza, held in the Eyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh at the initiative of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
Addressing the summit, Bakoyannis reiterated Greece's constant and active concern not only on the crisis in Gaza but also peace in the region of the Middle East, as well as its devotion to a solution of two viable states (Palestine and Israel) living side-by-side in peace and security.
She further expressed the Greek people's solidarity with the Palestinian people, and pledged five million dollars for the people of Gaza in addition to the continuous humanitarian aid forthcoming from Greece.
Greece, on January 1, was the first western country to despatch humanitarian aid to Gaza, which included large quantities of medical and medicinal suppolies, as well as blood, and such despatches are continuing to the present, while recently Greek state television organized a TV marathon that raised some 1.2 million euros for Gaza.
Bakoyannis, who is accompanied by deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy matters Miltiades Varvitsiotis, told reporters that Greece supports the efforts of the Egyptian government for an endo-Palestinian dialogue aimed at establishing a Palestinian unity government and for the peace process to proceed as quickly as possible.
In an interview with Al Ahram newspaper, Bakoyannis stressed that stability and security in the Middle East was a priority of Greek foreign policy.
"Greece wants to play an effective role in the Middle East peace process and strongly endorses the solution of two states," she added.
Bakoyannis also said that Greece supports Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in his efforts to achieve national conciliation.
Greece, she continued, further stresses the importance of opening of all the crossings to Gaza in order for the problems faced by the Palestinians to be ameliorated, and also supports the Arab peace initiative and considers that all efforts for Gaza reconstrution are key to the peace process finding its way again.
Bakoyannis said that the international communitymust exhaust all efforts to bring peace and stability to the Middle East region, in which "the shocking images of terror and war revealed on television must not be repeated".
She noted that Greece backed the Egyptian initiative for ending the war in Gaza, adding that the situation there remained critical and required caution so that the truce between Israel and the Palestinians may be stabilized.
The Greek foreign minister further noted the close and historic bonds between Greece and Egypt, which she said shared a common cultural heritage.
 Reactions on EU extraordinary summitThe opposition parties reacted on the weekend to the outcome of Sunday's extraordinary EU summit held in light of the global financial crisis, which was attended by prime minister Costas Karamanlis.
Main opposition PASOK press officer George Papaconstantinou said that Karamanlis had taken with him to Brussels "the dramatic figures of the collapse of the 2008 budget, figures that up until a few days ago he had been hiding from the Greek citizens".
The premier, he added, was "returning the same way that he left (for the summit), without ideas, without a plan for the country, without credibility on that which he should have sought for our country".
Greece, he said, cannot exist from the crisis only through restrictive policies. Developmental policies were needed that would boost the citizens' income and invest in the future, he said, adding that, above all else, credibility was required, something which the present govenrment "simply does not have".
Responding to the PASOK press officer's statement, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that "those who comprise the leadership team in PASOK are the last to deserve to speak of credibility".
He said that those who sacrifice the national interests on the altar of petty party populism were the ones hugely lacking in credibility, as were those who refused to look reality straight in the eyes and those who do not know, or pretend to not know, precisely what is being discussed in the European Union.
The Greek people, Antonaros continued, were awaiting prudent and responsible actions for an exit from the crisis, and the Karamanlis government fully met those expectations both at home and internationally.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said that the EU summit had proved the very slim margins for management that the liberal and social-democrat governments had at their disposal, given their decision to shift the weight of the crisis onto the working people's shoulders.
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) europarliamentarian Dimitris Papadimoulis said that Karamanlis was calling for consensus, without proposing anything specific.
He said that the only thing that mattered to the prime minister was remaining in power in order to continue his neo-liberal policy, placing all the burden of his government's failure on the shoulders of the socially weaker strata.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis said that the prime minister had returned from Brussels clearly more troubled than he had arrived there.
Karatzaferis added that national rallying was necessary in light of the crisis, which apparently even the strongest economies in the world were unable to adequately confront.
 Patras CarnivalThe beginning of the 40-day Lent period leading up to Greek Orthodox Easter was celebrated throughout Greece on Clean Monday, with the traditional kite flying and delicacies of the Greek fast.
The annual Patras carnival on the eve of Clean Monday featured more than 40,000 revelers this year and 144 theme floats, as well as a hidden treasure hunt.
Joining in the celebrations, that lasted throughout the day, was a group of revelers from Sienna, Italy, with medieval trumpts and flags, while a troupe from Rome staged an airborne muscial performance.
Other events included a 'chocolate war', local dances and the burning of King Carnival, ending with a fireworks extravaganza.
Similar celebrations were held in several cities around the country.
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