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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-05-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Crisis Management Unit activated after Israeli forces storm NGO aid flotilla
  • [02] Alt.FM on occupation troops
  • [03] Thessaloniki Book Fair
  • [04] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Crisis Management Unit activated after Israeli forces storm NGO aid flotilla

    The Greek foreign ministry on Monday activiated its Crisis Management Unit and immediately sought information from the Isreali authorities on the safety of Greek citizens taking part in a shipment of humanitarian aid to Gaza after Israeli security forces stormed a flotilla of six ships carrying the aid for the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

    According to early information from the head of the Israeli army information service, more than 10 people were killed in the operation.

    Alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas has called an emergency meeting with Israeli ambassador in Athens Ali Yahya.

    Relatives of Greek citizens participating in the mission to Gaza may contact the ministry by phone at +30 210 3681730.

    According to a ministry announcement, the Greek Embassy in Tel Aviv has bee instructed to contact and official seek information and explnations from the Israel authorities on the Israeli Armed Forces' operation.

    The ministry secretary general also contacted Yahya for immediate information on the safety of the Greek citizens on board the flotilla, stressing once again the need for all the necessary measures to be taken for their safety.

    The ministry further reminded Greece's firm position that any activity of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) must be carried out freely, under the self-evident condition that it is lawful.

    It said that immediately upon expression of their intention to take part in the aid mission to Gaza, the Greek participants were informed of the serious security risks, while the ministry services also contacted the Israeli authorities for the safety of the Greek citizens.

    The ministry said it will continue to monitor the developments and take all necessary actions.

    Greek-Israeli air exercise discontinued

    An ongoing joint Greek-Israeli air exercise was discontinued on Monday after Israeli security forces stormed a flotilla of six ships carrying humanitarian aid for the Palestinian territory of Gaza, the Hellenic Air Force General Staff (GEA) announced.

    The exercise, code-named "Minoas 2010" commenced on May 25 and was due to run through June 3.

    Caption:ANA-MPA/file photo of the Greek ship which carried humanitarian aid to Gaza

    [02] Alt.FM on occupation troops

    Nicosia (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos) -- Greece's alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas called on Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to fully withdraw the Turkish occupation troops from Cyprus and to return the occupied sector of Famagusta (Varosha) to its legal inhabitants, the Greek Cypriots, in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of the Cypriot newspaper Fileleftheros ('Liberal').

    Droutsas also urged Ankara to abandon its "double policy" of verbal assurances of volition for a Cyprus solution while at the same time promoting partitionistic policies.

    The alternate foreign minister explained that such moves as troop withdrawal -- "and I do not mean semi-measures but a clear-cut decision for full withdrawal" -- and the return of Famagusta to its rightful inhabitants are "actions that Mr. Erdogan can make, thus proving that he is a leader who is truly changing the face of his country".

    Droutsas further said that Greece's support of Turkey's EU course is neither "random support" nor provides a "blank check".

    He also warned that those who endorse a special partnership with Turkey instead of full EU membership are undermining the reform effort in Turkey, and stressed that if partitionist policies were advanced distancing a Cyprus solution, "there will be no relationship with Turkey to discuss".

    On the calls for an international conference on the Cyprus issue, Droutsas explained the Greek position that such a conference would be meaningful provided the negotiation process has progressed sufficiently, with respect to convergence of views by the two sides, to enable substantive progress in the international aspects of the Cyprus problem.

    Further, an inviolable condition for an international conference is the participation of the Cyprus Republic in such a conference which, Droutsas said, cannot and should not substitute for the necessary "Cyprus solution" coming from Cyprus itself and a "European solution".

    When the conditions are ripe, an international conference on the international aspects of the Cyprus issue would be useful, Droutsas said, adding that Greece was in full agreement and coordination with the Cyprus government on that issue.

    He also stressed that Greece remains at the side of Cyprus and the Cypriot people "with actions, and not only in words", adding that it has proven this from the very first moment.

    [03] Thessaloniki Book Fair

    The 29th Thessaloniki Book Fair opened on Saturday along the shore outside the White Tower in the Northern Greek capital.

    The annual event is organised by the Publishers' Association of Northern Greece.

    This year, the Fair is dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the birth of the late actress and culture minister Melina Mercouri, who founded the event.

    The Fair will run through June 13.

    [04] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The clash between ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy (ND) on the SIEMENS scandal and ND leader Antonis Samaras' operation 'catharsis', the government's denationalisation programme and the effort to collect 13 billion euros from the VAT increases by the end of the year, the social security system and the start of dialogue on labour relations, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Following the Troika's (ECB, EU and IMF) orders pensions become....benefits".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Chaos and panic in PASOK over the continuous revelations in the Siemens scandal".

    AVRIANI: "Eminent Greek who lives in Germany has direct access to the Simitis (former PASOK government prime minister) system - He was the 'maestro' who directed the Siemens 'orchestra'."

    ELEFTHEROS: "University professors and National Institute of Geological and Mining Research made shocking revelations on the gold reserves in Greece".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Prime Minister George Papandreou sacrifices Simitis to save himself - Samaras gets rid of the 'dead weight' to create a new ND, aiming at catharsis before the party's Congress".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "PASOK and ND attempt to wash out their sins of the past - The appeals to the fact finding commissions is a war of impressions".

    ESTIA: "The scandalous bill on (the accountability of) ministers was passed in parliament with by PASOK-ND cooperation".

    ETHNOS: "Finance Ministry financial crimes squad experts are searching the Siemens lists".

    IMERISSIA: "Alarm over the revenues - Finance Ministry financial crime squad takes to the streets".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Denationalisation plan in search of 1 billion euros".

    TA NEA: "Troika demands pensions to be cut in half and increase of the retirement age to 65 with 40 years of work - Athens reacts".

    VRADYNI: "Secret agreement on freezing salaries - The dialogue on the labour relations begins without the labourers".

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