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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-06-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Papandreou meets Libyan leader Kadhafi
  • [02] Greek-Bulgarian police cooperation

  • [01] PM Papandreou meets Libyan leader Kadhafi

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday held a two-hour meeting in Tripoloi, Libya, with Muammar Kadhafi, something unusual for the Libyan leader. As Papandreou told Greek reporters afterwards, the meeting had its political aspect as well as its emotional human dimension.

    The Greek premier said that they had the opportunity of referring to the past, remembering the beginning of relations which is due to late Andreas Papandreou and Muammar Kadhafi, as well as the Libyan leader's surprise visit and that of late Fancois Mitterrand to Elounda in Crete where Andreas Papandreou had invited them.

    As regards the political part, talks focused on issues concerning political developments in the wider region and on Libya's role in Africa, since Libya can constitute a gateway to the "black continent."

    Also discussed were the Palestinian problem, the Cyprus issue combined with the efforts of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, Greek-Turkish relations and the crisis surrounding the Gaza Strip and how ways can be found to promote humanitarian aid.

    A strategic economic cooperation agreement between Greece and Libya was also signed on Wednesday afternoon.

    Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi spoke of a historic day, while he said that the instruction given by Libyan leader Muamamar Kadhafi is for Libya's economic relations with Greece to develop in every way.

    On his part, Greek Prime Minister Papandreou spoke of a clear message and the revival of an old relation between the two countries that had begun by late Andreas Papandreou and Muammar Kadhafi.

    It was announced that the agreement is included in a memorandum that was signed on the part of Greece by Minister of State Haris Pamboukis and on the Libyan side by the Economy and Planning minister.

    The main sectors included in the cooperation memorandum are telecommunications, transportation, energy, tourism, farm products, archaeology, the construction of infrastructure works, mainly port works, real estate, pharmaceutical industries, health and education.

    Both sides set tight time limits for the implementation of the agreement and the first assessment of its implementation will take place in three months.

    A special work group was also created that will monitor the course of the entire cooperation and for which the Libyan prime minister expressed his government's desire for it to turn from a strategic cooperation agreement into a partnership relation.

    [02] Greek-Bulgarian police cooperation

    A cross-border police cooperation agreement was signed in Sofia on Wednesday by visiting Greek Citizens' Protection Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis and Bulgarian Interior Minister Cvetan Cvetanov.

    The agreement is aimed at preventing public safety threats and combating cross-border organized crime through a framework of closer cooperation and information exchange.

    Speaking to reporters, Chrysohoidis characterized the two countries as "strategic allies" and reaffirmed Greeceās support to Bulgariaās bid to join the Schengen area.

    He stated that after the recent inauguration of the Zlatograd-Thermes border crossing in Thrace, northeast Greece, by the prime ministers of Greece and Bulgaria "we will make sure that security will be guaranteed in the free movement of the people". He also underlined that organized crime is the biggest enemy of democracy and social peace and expressed satisfaction over the signing of the agreement.

    Chryssohoidis praised the Bulgarian nationals living and working in Greece, stressing that they contribute to the economic development of Greece and Bulgaria, while underlining that they constitute a bridge of friendship between the two peoples.

    On his part, Cvetanov characterized the talks with Chryssohoidis as "productive" and referred to the online communication between the Greek and Bulgarian police that will help in combating trafficking in humans and drug trafficking as well as any other form of cross-border organized crime. He also thanked Greece for its support to Bulgariaās bid to join the Schengen area in 2012.

    The two ministers also commented on the problem of illegal immigration during a joint press conference after they signed the agreement, replying to press questions.

    Cvetanov noted that this had been a central issue of the last European ministers' council in Brussels, where Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus had all supported a uniform position.

    "You know that for eight years now there has been no solution to a most important problem with especial significance for this area. It concerns the non signature of the migrant readmission agreement between the EU and Turkey," he pointed out.

    He said the three countries of southeast Europe had a shared position on this, along with Malta, since they were under the greatest 'pressure' from migrants arriving via Turkey.

    The Greek minister, on his part, noted that the phenomenon had taken on the dimensions of a humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people coming to Europe in the hope of a better future.

    Given the current economic crisis, however, he warned that this phenomenon could well "torpedo" the foundations of European societies.

    "We must speak plainly: the key is called 'Turkey'," Chrysohoidis underlined, pointing out that Greece has also signed a bilateral agreement with Turkey for the readmission of migrants, based on which it had submitted 80,000 applications for migrant readmission since 2001 of which only 2,500 had been accepted.

    The Greek minister said that as long as southern European countries entered into reliable agreements with the Magreb countries, the majority of the migrant flow was channeled through Turkey. Once Bulgaria also joined the Schengen Treaty it would also find itself targeted as a transit country for migrants, he added.

    Through the presence of FRONTEX forces on the land and in the air between the borders of Greece and Turkey, Europe was now aware of the situation and FRONTEX would soon acquire a base in Piraeus, Chrysohoidis said.

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