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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-03-18

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

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


  • [01] Lay-offs in tourism sector inevitable, industry head says
  • [02] Industrial import prices down 1.7% in Jan.
  • [03] Korydallos prison guards to again stand trial
  • [04] Bakoyannis briefs president, repeats offer to host OSCE meeting
  • [05] Athens on fYRoM FM's letter

  • [01] Lay-offs in tourism sector inevitable, industry head says

    Lay-offs in the tourism sector are inevitable, Nikos Angelopoulos, the president of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), said on Wednesday.

    Addressing the annual general assembly of travel agents (HATTA), Angelopoulos urged for the expansion of employment subsidies offered to enterprises, and stressed that measures announced by the government to support the tourism sector are inadequate to deal with the crisis. He underlined that authorities have delayed the country's ad campaign abroad.

    Meletis Tzaferis, the secretary general of the tourism development ministry, said the ministry was launching a dialogue to draft new legislation to deal with problems facing travel agents.

    The president of the travel agents' association, Elena Fili, in her address, underlined the difficult year ahead for Greek tourism and stressed that cooperation by all sides was needed to deal with the consequences.

    [02] Industrial import prices down 1.7% in Jan.

    Greece's import composite index in the industrial sector fell 1.7 pct in January 2009, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistical Service said on Wednesday.

    The statistics service said the index was up 8.6 pct in January 2008 and down 1.3 pct in January 2007. The import index rose 0.1 pct in January from December 2008.

    The statistics service attributed the 1.7-pct decline in the index in January to a 2.0-pct rise in intermediate goods, a 1.5-pct rise in durable goods, a 0.6-pct rise in capital goods and a 12.2 pct decline in energy goods.

    [03] Korydallos prison guards to again stand trial

    The three prison guards and a helicopter pilot implicated in the Hollywood-style repeat helicopter escape from the Korydallos Prison on Feb. 22 by notorious convicts Vassilis Paleokostas and Alket Rizaj will again stand trial following their acquittal in a first instance court shortly after the escape. A new trial will be held following an appeal by the first instance court prosecutors' office in the port city of Piraeus, while a court date is pending.

    The helicopter pilot and two of the prison guards were in the first trial, while a third guard received a 6-month suspended sentence for illegally possessing a gun that was residence during a police search. A prison chief warden implicated in the escape was found guilty as charged and was handed down a three-year suspended sentence.

    [04] Bakoyannis briefs president, repeats offer to host OSCE meeting

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Wednesday briefed President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on the initiatives of the Greek chair within the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    "The Greek presidency aims to contribute to establishing peace and stability in the extremely sensitive area of the Caucasus and Central Asia" said Bakoyannis after the meeting.

    She also repeated that the Greek chair is seeking to facilitate dialogue, considered necessary by all sides, on proposals put forward by the Russian and French presidents on European security.

    Earlier, Papoulias had also referred to Greece's proposal to host an informal OSCE foreign ministers' meeting in Athens in the summer to discuss redesigning Europe's security architecture, made by Bakoyannis on Tuesday during an EU-OSCE Troika meeting in Brussels.

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will leave on Monday for Tbilisi, Georgia to preside over an OSCE meeting.

    [05] Athens on fYRoM FM's letter

    Greece on Wednesday reiterated that it wholeheartedly believes that efforts by Athens and Skopje must focus on the outstanding "name issue", which it called "critical", as well as on negotiations under the United Nations' auspices.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos made the statement in announcing that Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has received a letter from her counterpart from the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM).

    In briefly discussing the contents of the letter sent by fYRoM Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki, Koumoutsakos referred to previously cited proposals, namely, a "peace and cooperation treaty", a bilateral committee of education and history experts as well as a framework for development of bilateral ties.

    The letter reportedly arrived at the foreign ministry in Athens on Tuesday.

    "A solution to this problem (name issue) will be the catalyst (for improved relations) ... other types of conduct are merely a temporising tactic and belie an attempt to reverse priorities and an attempt to divert the negotiation from its objective," Koumoutsakos said.

    Referring to the gist of FM Milososki's letter, namely, the greater development of bilateral relations, the spokesman reiterated that the "course of relations depends on the implementation of the (September 1995) 'interim agreement'. A solution to the name issue will also serve as a catalyst for the development of bilateral relations, regional cooperation and the neighboring country's European prospect."

    Conversely, Koumoutsakos did not rule out the possibility of a reply by Athens.

    Moreover, he announced that Bakoyannis, in her capacity as chairwoman of the OSCE presidency for 2009, will visit the former Yugoslav republic to Greece's north after presidential and local government elections there on Sunday. Nevertheless, he noted that the Greek foreign minister's pending visit to Skopje has no relation to bilateral ties or the "name issue".

    Asked about a recent report by a UN human rights expert on the situation of minority rights in EU and NATO member-state Greece, Koumoutsakos referred directly the recent and exhaustive responses by the Greek ambassador at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    Koumoutsakos also mentioned, in reply to a press question, that Greece will not send observers to fYRoM for the coming elections there in order to avoid any misunderstandings or attempts to involve the Greek presidency of the OSCE in the election-monitoring process.

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