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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-03-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Off-the-agenda debate on foreign policy
  • [02] Papandreou to meet Costas Simitis
  • [03] 'Revolutionary Struggle' claims Citibank attacks
  • [04] Acropolis opens to public

  • [01] Off-the-agenda debate on foreign policy

    A steadfast course of responsibility and insight was necessary, prime minister Costas Karamanlis said on Thursday, adding that there were inviolable 'red lines' that were unalterable and non-negotiable.

    Speaking in parliament during an off-the-agenda discussion on foreign policy, held at party leader level, Karamanlis stressed that his government would not back down a single step, adding that it was conducting foreign policy with outwardness and national confidence.

    The government was acting prudently and boldly on the country's just demands, the premier said, adding that the fundamental principles of its foreign policy were international understanding and cooperation.

    "We are in a period of serious global risks in energy sufficiency, the environment, poverty, but chiefly the global financial crisis. The international community is at its most difficult point in post-war history, facing a crisis that is not showing any signs of letting up. In that international environment, the only outlet is through global interventions," Karamanlis said.

    He said that his government was "dedicated to goals that are common for all the Greeks, to principles that have served and continue to serve the national interests", and stressed that "we are present in the international peace missions but also in the international efforts to combat piracy...we developed the guidelines of economic diplomacy, including major investments in China, while we also placed exceptional emphasis on the ecumenical Hellenism and subsidize actions of the Greeks abroad on all five continents".

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

    [02] Papandreou to meet Costas Simitis

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou will meet on Thursday with former PASOK Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    According to PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou, the two men will discuss and exchange views on all major issues.

    On Tuesday, Papandreou charged that Greece has, from a leader country in the wider region, become a problem country, while there was also a prevailing feeling that its international role was non-existent, giving rise to serious questions as to the country's repute.

    The PASOK leader added that the above sentiment was further exacerbated by the developments in the economy and the "lawlessness in the state', adding that Greece's presence in the EU was problematic, at best, and non-existent, at worst, while the country's absence in the regional developments in the Middle East and the Caucasus was a given fact and, in Greek-Turkish affairs, the government was complacent.

    The meeting also focused on defense issues, with Papandreou stressing that the priority should not be on new armaments, but rather on enhancing the battle worthiness of the Armed Forces, and charging that partisanism had been prevalent in the recent Armed Forces promotions and retirements.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou (R) and former PASOK prime minister Costas Simitis(L).

    [03] 'Revolutionary Struggle' claims Citibank attacks

    The 'Revolutionary Struggle' group has claimed two recent attacks against Citibank premises, in a proclamation sent to a weekly newspaper appearing on Thursday, and warned that it would continue to carry out such attacks, with previous warnings made to the media.

    In the proclamation sent to 'To Pontiki', the group assumes responsibility for the March 9 early morning explosion outside a Citibank branch in Athens' northeastern suburb of Filothei, which caused extensive damage to the branch and cars parked nearby, and for the failed February 18 early morning attempt at the Citibank office building in the northern suburb of Kifissia with a booby-trapped car packed with explosives which was neutralized by bomb-disposal experts.

    In the proclamation, the group denies that it had wanted to cause injury to innocent bystanders in the Kifissia attempt, and accused what it called the "paid hacks of the establishment, namely the journalists" of engaging in "geobbelian propaganda" in speaking of a 'blind hit' and an 'al Qaeda style attack', adding that the purpose of the attack had been "to destroy the infrastructure of this specific multinational, rendering its presence on Greek ground precarious".

    "Since, however, we intend to continue to carry out actions with time mechanisms and give warnings of them to the media, so that they will be carried out in a safe way, we declare that if there is any delay in making the warning telephone calls known and in the evacuation of buildings and areas, resulting in risk to the security of citizens, the police and the media that will have received the telephone will be solely responsible," the proclamation said.

    The group said that the targets, whether material or human, were selected on the basis of "social and class criteria", focusing on "the political and economic elite, the mechanisms of the capital and the state, the police guarding them", and not "the general public".

    Extensive reference is also made in the proclamation to the global financial crisis, the causes that led to it, and the "role" played by Citibank and banks in general.

    [04] Acropolis opens to public

    Culture Ministry's employees on Thursday cancelled their 24-hour strike and opened the archaelogical site of the Acropolis for visitors, in an act of good will after reassurances by Culture Minister Antonis Samaras for resolving the problem of paying contract staff working at the culture ministry through a bill to be tabled in Parliament within days.

    A number of staff at the ministry, who had originally been taken on with temporary contracts and had won temporary court orders allowing them to continue working at the ministry until their case was settled, had found their pay blocked by the Court of Audit after the start of the 2009, which refused to approve ministry payment orders on the grounds that there was no obligation to execute a court decision that was not final, so that staff were essentially working unpaid.

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