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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-06-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] SAE Youth Network global initiative for return of Parthenon Marbles
  • [02] OSCE ministers' summit concludes on Corfu
  • [03] Russian FM on NRC
  • [04] FM on OSCE goals

  • [01] SAE Youth Network global initiative for return of Parthenon Marbles

    The World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) Youth Network announced on Sunday that it was launching a global initiative for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

    Youth Network coordinators, who attended a SAE presidium conference in Thessaloniki, announced the launch of three initiatives. Through the use of modern technology, the SAE youth will create an electronic petition that will be addressed not only to the young people of Greek descent, but also to the youth of the countries in which they live.

    SAE Europe Youth Coordinator Costas Symeonidis told ANA-MPA that "we are proud of the newly-inaugurated New Acropolis Museum and all the good words that have been written about it in the international press" adding that the effort was being commenced in order to inform the youth around the world on the dimensions of the problem, so as to create a dynamic.

    The first signatures will be turned over to the Museum in December, during a visit by the Coordinating Councils of the SAE Youth Networks after their meeting in Thessaloniki.

    Also, simultaneous events will be organised in many cities around the world in December to inform the local societies on the campaign for the return of the Marbles.

    [02] OSCE ministers' summit concludes on Corfu

    A closely watched Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) informal meeting of foreign ministers concluded on the Ionian island of Corfu on Sunday, presided by Greek FM Dora Bakoyannis, as Greece holds the OSCE chairmanship for 2009. The OSCE conference comes on the heels of a NATO-Russia ministerial meeting on Saturday, during which the two sides agreed to resume formal cooperation on a broad range of security issues in their first high-level meeting since the crisis in Georgia.

    Addressing the opening session on Sunday morning, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) Bakoyannis told her 55 OSCE colleagues that ethnic tension and unresolved differences burden the climate and create conditions that recycle the tensions and increase distrust.

    "It is necessary, therefore, to renew the democratic procedures and to serve the common target, which is dialogue on European security," Bakoyannis stressed, adding that the Greek chairmanship committed itself to make every effort for the reopening of that process, which aims at achieving a collective commitment on the security issues over a 10-year horizon.

    Noting that it would take time to bridge the differences, Bakoyannis recalled that it had taken 2,500 meetings and 660 proposals to reach the Helsinki accord, adding that "in order, therefore, to rid ourselves of the chronic discriminations and clash rationales 35 years after Helsinki, systematic effort is required".

    "Our Odyssey has just begun," Bakoyannis concluded.

    Caption: ANA-MPA photo / SIMELA PANTZARTZI

    [03] Russian FM on NRC

    Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov called for a return to the founding principals of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), in a press conference after the NATO-Russia ministerial meeting held Saturday afternoon on the island of Corfu, the first such high-level meeting since the crisis in the Caucasus.

    He said that the NATO-Russia Council convened (at foreign minister level) after a long time, with positive results and a sincere exchange of views.

    "We need to return to the founding principles of the NATO-Russia Council, especially on the indivisibility of European security," Lavrov said, adding that his views on the issue "coincide" with those of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (who also attended the Corfu meeting), who he called "one of the fathers of the NATO-Russia cooperation".

    On Russia's decisions regarding recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Lavrov said that they were "irreversible", but added that the meeting had been useful in averting new clashes.

    [04] FM on OSCE goals

    Athens' policy goal for the informal Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers' council in Corfu over the weekend was to enhance and strengthen mechanisms for step-by-step dialogue to deal with old and new conflicts, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, the summit's host, stressed at its conclusion on Sunday.

    Bakoyannis, speaking at a press conference following the summit on the Ionian island, also emphasised that Greece's goal -- as the chair of the 2009 OSCE president -- is to consolidate Europe's security and prosperity, "in our neighbourhood, and all the way to Vancouver and Vladivostok."

    "We are tabling a political volition to overcome the challenges of security we face, guided by the spirit of a comprehensive, cooperative and indivisible security," Bakoyannis said, while initially referring to a "Corfu process" for strengthening the OSCE mechanisms aimed at a step-by-step conflict resolution within the organisation's scope.

    In response to other questions, the Greek FM accepted that the "journey" towards the OSCE ministerial summit in Athens next December will be "long", while she noted that the Greek diplomatic delegation in Vienna -- the OSCE's seat -- will explore ways to formulate a more "structured dialogue, with specific thematic sections, where the focus will be on dialogue and the ways to implement it."

    According to reports from the Corfu summit, the top challenges needing resolution include Georgia, simmering conflicts in the Caucasus and the Transdneister, a pending agreement on conventional weapons, energy security and climate change.

    New and emerging threats, moreover, include illegal immigration, terrorism and cyber-crime.

    Asked about the increasingly menacing problem of illegal immigration, and particularly its effects on Greece, Bakoyannis said she discussed the matter with several attending foreign ministers, while adding that "closer cooperation is necessary between states in order to achieve re-admission protocols with countries that have not signed such agreements, as well as to implement agreements that have been signed."

    In conclusion, the Greek minister underlined that "our partners trusted us; they backed our initiative to commence the "Corfu process". For two straight days we discussed Europe's security, something that demonstrates that there is a new wind guiding us towards making this dialogue more substantive ... the next step is to work harder to achieve an agreed-to text for Athens."

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