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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-07-03

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM meets with merchant marine minister, UGS
  • [02] Conference in Athens on underwater tourism
  • [03] Cyprus House call for Marbles
  • [04] FM on visit to Armenia

  • [01] PM meets with merchant marine minister, UGS

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Friday with merchant marine minister Anastassis Papaligouras, and later received the presidium of the Union of Greek Shiowners (UGS).

    Papaligouras told reporters afterward that the discussion focused on the impact of the global credit and financial crisis on the shipping sector, and the problem of piracy at sea.

    The minister stressed that the safety of the crews and the ships was of grave concern, given that Greece is the world's number one maritime power, adding that Greece was a contributor to the EU's anti-piracy force (EUNAVOR) off Somalia for confrontation "of the anachronistic phenomenon of piracy in the 21st century".

    The EU in November 2008 formally launched an anti-piracy security operation (EUNAVOR) off the Somali coasts, in its first-ever naval mission, dubbed Operation Atalanta, under which EU ships also help protect UN and other vessels transporting aid to the area.

    They also discussed the issue of maritime training and ways of attracting youth to the shipping profession and incentives for keeping the graduates of the maritime academies in the profession.

    The prime minister later received the UGS presidium, headed by the Union's president Theodore Veniamis, on a courtesy call.

    Veniamis said in reply to press questions after the meeting that the repercussions from the crisis in Greek shipping were "controllable".

    He also said that they had a "very good exchange of views" and also discussed the piracy problem.

    Caption: Prime minister Costas Karamanlis (R) with Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) president Theodore Veniamis. (ANA-MPA)

    [02] Conference in Athens on underwater tourism

    Tourism Development Minister Costas Markopoulos underlined that boosting underwater tourism in Greece is among the goals set, addressing a relevant conference hosted by Athens' "Apogevmatini" daily.

    Opening the conference, Markopoulos pointed out that a special reference to scuba diving tourism will be made in the draft law for special forms of tourism, while the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) will support scuba park projects. Two of the four parks currently in the works will be ready by 2010, Markopoulos stated.

    Referring to the tourist arrivals recorded so far, Markopoulos reiterated that the ominous projections for the current year have been proven wrong and called for calm.

    [03] Cyprus House call for Marbles

    The Cyprus House of Representatives has called for the return of Parthenon sculptures to Greece. In a resolution which the House plenary adopted unanimously on Thursday, Cypriot MPs called on the British government and every other competent authority of the United Kingdom to give a definite end to the adventure of the Marbles, by returning them to their natural space.

    Having debated the issue of the return of the Parthenon sculptures to Greece and taking into consideration the opening of the New Acropolis Museum, the House called on all countries as well as UNESCO to renew and intensify their efforts for the return of the Parthenon sculptures to Greece ''and for the reintegration of this unique element of the global cultural heritage to the natural space where it belongs''.

    The House expressed its deep satisfaction over the functioning of the New Acropolis Museum and congratulated the government of Greece and all others involved in its establishment.

    Today it is obvious that the Marbles must be placed next to the other marbles, in their museum, next to Acropolis itself, the resolution added.

    Furthermore, the House said it joined its voice ''with millions of citizens in the whole world who ask for the restoration of the Parthenon sculptures to Greece.''

    It added that the functioning of the New Acropolis Museum, which was inaugurated on June 20, constitutes the strongest argument for the security, maintenance and exhibition of the Marbles as a single monument of cultural heritage.

    [04] FM on visit to Armenia

    Greek foreign minister and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) chairperson-in-office Dora Bakoyannis was in Yerevan on Friday, where she met with her Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian.

    Speaking to the press afterwards, Bakoyannis said: "It is a real pleasure to be in Yerevan. A Greek feels like home in Armenia. Our peoples have shared too much history together and this has built strong, long lasting ties that continue to serve as a catalyst for our two countries relations. The signing of the aviation agreement is testimony of our excellent relations".

    "I am here today both in my capacity as Chairperson of the OSCE and as the Foreign Minister of Greece. I am here as a friend who can contribute in Armenias path towards a closer relationship with Europe and its institutions," Bakoyannis noted.

    "Let me start with the OSCE. As you probably know, last weekend, Greece hosted the first-ever informal ministerial OSCE meeting that launched the Corfu Process. I want to thank Minister Nalbandian for his significant contribution. We count on Armenias continued support as we embark on our open and frank dialogue on European security, in view of the Athens December Ministerial Meeting," she added.

    "Today we will inaugurate the OSCEs new offices in Yerevan. It is very important that the OSCE Office in Yerevan enjoys such a high level of cooperation with Armenia. Its activities include mitigating the impact of the financial crisis at a critical time, co-operation with the police and supporting the office of the Human Rights Defender. I am confident that we can deepen this cooperation. The Office is here to serve the people of Armenia and to assist them as they build an open, free and democratic society. As they lay the foundation for a stronger civil society, respectful of its past and ready to take the future into its own hands," Bakoyannis continued.

    "For more than a year now, Armenia and Azerbaijan (which Bakoyannis visited on Thursday) have participated constructively, at the top level, in a new round of negotiations that have inspired optimism. Talks are at a critical point. I am encouraged by the political will expressed by both sides and the Minsk Groups commitment to bring about positive results," she said.

    Bakoyannis further stressed that: "Armenia is an important country for stability in the South Caucasus. While continuing political reforms at home, it had begun a sensitive dialogue with Turkey. It has demonstrated maturity and self-confidence that larger and stronger countries often miss. I wish you well in your efforts and express sincere hope they will be successful".

    In closing, Bakoyannis noted that Greek-Armenian bilateral relations "are excellent".

    "Greece and Armenia are natural friends and partners. We consider Armenia as part of Europe and we are ready to work with you in order to bring your country closer to the European Union," she concluded.

    Foreign Minister Ms. D. Bakoyannis departs on Wednesday, 1st June 2009, to Baku, Azerbaijan, and on Thursday, 2nd June, to Yerevan, Armenia, under her capacity as Chairperson of the OSCE.

    In Baku, Ms. Bakoyannis will meet, firstly, with Azerbaijans Parliament President Mr. Asadov, she will visit the offices of the OSCE mission while she will hold meetings with the representatives of political parties. On Thursday 2 June, the foreign minister will be received by the President of Azerbaijan Mr. Aliyev and will meet with her Azeri counterpart Mr. Mammadyarov.

    The same day, Ms. Bakoyannis will arrive in Yerevan where she will inaugurate the offices of the OSCE mission and will meet with the President of the Armenian Parliament Mr. Abrahamyan.

    On Friday, 3 June, the foreign minister will be received by the President of Armenia Mr. Sargsyan and will meet with her Armenian counterpart Mr. Nalbandian. Finally, she will hold meetings with representatives of political parties.


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