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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-10-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Exclusive Interview with Cyprus President on Papandreou visit
  • [02] Tsipras: policy U-turns
  • [03] Dock workers suspend strike

  • [01] Exclusive Interview with Cyprus President on Papandreou visit

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA - A. Viketos) Cyprus President Demetris Christofias described an upcoming official visit to Cyprus by Greece's new prime minister George Papandreou as "extremely important", during an exclusive interview with the ANA-MPA released on Sunday.

    "His visit will give us an opportunity to talk at length and coordinate our actions with regard to the crucial issues that face us at this time," Christofias noted, adding that the agenda for their talks was likely to take in Turkey's European accession progress, in light of a strategic goal to use this as a way of promoting a solution of the Cyprus issue.

    Cyprus' president also expressed confidence that Greece and Cyprus would "continue the excellent cooperation that existed under the government of Costas Karamanlis" under the new government of George Papandreou, adding that the meeting would be an opportunity to examine these relations and improve them even further.

    "Greece is Cyprus' main support in its struggle to achieve a solution that will end the occupation and reunite the territory, the people, the institutions and the economy in the framework of a bizonal, bi-communal federation," he said.

    In light of the upcoming crucial developments on this issue, the two governments would work even harder, with full cooperation and coordination, in order to exploit all opportunities that arise for achieving their goals and defending the vital interests of their countries, Christofias added.

    Regarding the progress of his talks with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on solving the Cyprus issue, Christofias said that the progress was slower than he had hoped but not negligible.

    "A year into the negotiations and with the completion of the first round, there was some relative progress that did not match our expectations, since despite the fact that on some issues we have achieved convergence, there are other issues on which we have major differences. The negotiations have, of course, now entered a second and decisive round, during which we are called to use the work done in the first round and find more convergences that will lead to an agreement on the various aspects of the Cyprus issue in order to open the way for a solution. I continue to believe that the prospects of arriving at a solution still exist," he said.

    Expressing hope that the proposals of the Turkish-Cypriot side would be more constructive and more flexible during the second round, Cyprus' president also noted that Nicosia expected Turkey to actively assist in this direction, in accordance with recommendations made by the European Commission's progress report on Turkey's accession bid.

    On the proposal for an 'interim agreement' for issues relating to the Cyprus issue, Christofias rejected the idea as "counter-productive" in the context of finding a comprehensive solution, saying that it would divert the two sides from their goal and further delay the process.

    "As you know, our fundamental principle in these negotiations is that 'nothing is considered agreed unless there is agreement on all issues'. This is a guarantee that there will be no backing down but also allows us to seek solutions for more difficult issues, with mutual compromises. Given this, we cannot accept the reasoning of an 'interim agreement'," the Cyprus president stressed.

    [02] Tsipras: policy U-turns

    PASOK has already started telling people to 'lower the bar' of their expectations, which it had itself created prior to the elections, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras said during his first-ever address in Parliament. He was speaking on behalf of the left-wing party alliance during Saturday's debate on the policy statement announcement by the government and Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    "Where New Democracy spoke of an 'audit', you speak of a 'record'. The citizens, working people, young people that are being suffocated by the current economic conditions voted you into power in order to change things. Not to continue the same policy as the previous New Democracy government," Tsipras stressed.

    He cited the negotiations for the sale of the Piraeus container terminal to COSCO as the first symptom of a government U-turn from policies announced prior to the elections.

    Tsipras also dismissed the economic policy announced by the government as "wholly unsatisfactory" saying it lacked clear positions and answers on what it intended to do.

    [03] Dock workers suspend strike

    Workers at the commercial port of Piraeus decided to suspend their strike on Saturday, following a meeting held with Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli.

    Unionists considered the proposals made by the minister positive and strike action that began on October 1 was suspended. Consequently, the port will function as normal as of Sunday.

    In statements afterward, Katseli hailed the decision and the port's return to normal operation from Monday, thanking all the parties involved for their cooperation and contribution to finding a solution acceptable to all.

    "I look to a continued constructive cooperation between the ministry and the workers and in this spirit asked the trade union bodies to submit their proposals for the dialogue underway between the Piraeus Port Organisation (OLP) and the container terminal operators on the issues of the concession agreement," she said.

    The minister added that the positive outcome proved "that with substantive dialogue, a spirit of cooperation, constant effort and determination, we can solve even the most complex problems in ways beneficial to the public interest."

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