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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-07-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM holds meetings with foreign officials
  • [02] German FM on Greek crisis
  • [03] US skipper in Gaza vessel flotilla arrested
  • [04] Traffickers, illegals intercepted; forged Romanian documents seized
  • [05] Greece met the challenge even amid crisis
  • [06] Samaras: Snap elections now
  • [07] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] PM holds meetings with foreign officials

    ANA-MPA/Prime Minister and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou held consecutive bilateral meetings on Friday afternoon with the heads of socialist parties and movements participating in the SI's conference in Athens.

    Papandreou met Turkish main opposition Republican Party president Kemal Kilicdaroglu. He stressed to him how important it is "for Greece to overcome the crisis for all the countries in the region."ana-mpa

    On the question of Greek-Turkish relations, Papandreou stressed that they are developing dynamically and, in this framework, economic cooperation being developed is important, particularly in tourism, businesses and trade.ana-mpa

    On his part, Kilicdaroglu thanked the PASOK party leader for the invitation and termed important the latter's address at the beginning of the SI's sessions. The Turkish politician expressed the wish for Greece to overcome the economic crisis soon and, referring to relations between the two countries, termed them very good, mentioning that about 600,000 Turks come to Greece every year.ana-mpa

    Earlier, Papandreou met with the President of Finland's Parliament Eero Heinaluoma with whom he discussed, according to reports, developments in the European economy and the actions of the Greek government, with the ratification of the Medium-term Programme and the Enabling Law, to overcome the crisis.

    The meeting between the Greek prime minister and China's Deputy International Relations Minister Liu Zieyi is considered equally important. The two men referred, according to well-informed sources, to the deepening of the very good relations between the two countries and the development of economic cooperation in tourism, energy and shipping.ana-mpa

    The chinese official thanked Papandreou for Greece's contribution to the taking out of Chinese workers from Libya.ana-mpa

    The prime minister also held meetings with the President of Serbia Boris Tadic, the President of Iraq Jalal Talabani, the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus Yiannakis Omirou and the joint president of the Socialdemocrat party of fYRoM Radmila Sekerinska.

    The sessions of the Socialist International's directorate will come to an end on Saturday.

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou (R) meets with Turkish CHP President Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Friday 1 July 2011 on the sidelines of Socialist International meeting held at the coastal Athens suburb of Vouliagmeni. ANA-MPA/Vassilis Filis

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    [02] German FM on Greek crisis

    German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle ruled out the possibility of Greece exiting eurozone or leaving a united Europe, in comments carried by an Athens weekly on Saturday.

    He added that he has never considered Greece's expulsion or exit from the eurozone, "how could I ever want one of the sources of European civilisation to be outside Europe?"

    Westerwelle supported the Greek government's policy over a boost in competitiveness, underlining that "the best medicine most of the times has a bitter taste".

    The top German diplomat was also queried on the stance of main opposition New Democracy and ND leader Antonis Samaras, stressing that "I recognise his privilege to have a different option, but I have the right not to accept it, and to warn him of the danger that will arise if reforms are overruled."

    Moreover, Westerwelle noted that German politicians had recently referred to Greece in an arrogant manner, calling such statements improper. Conversely, he said many anti-German banners and slogans aired during protests in by certain Greek media "left a bitter taste".

    Concluding he noted that the debt cannot be ameliorated with new debts, but only by fiscal discipline and reforms.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    [03] US skipper in Gaza vessel flotilla arrested

    -P/Port authorities on Saturday arrested the 60-year-old skipper of the US-flagged vessel "Audacity of Hope", which was intercepted a day earlier just off the Perama dockyards as it headed for Gaza in the eastern Mediterranean.

    Coast guard vessels stopped the ship two nautical miles from Perama -- a coastal industrial district west of Athens proper -- and forced it return to port.

    The American skipper of the ship was sent before a Piraeus prosecutor hours after his arrest -- a flangrante delicto process -- who slapped him with felony charges. The defendant requested and received a 48-hour stay to provide a statement. He remained in custody. ana-mpa

    The ship is part of a nine-vessel flotilla, carrying activists and aid to Gaza, which aims to breach the Israeli navy's sea blockade of the Palestinian enclave.

    On Friday, Citizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis announced that vessels registered under the Greek or a foreign flag are banned from leaving Greek ports if destined for the sea region of Gaza, a decision that drew sharp criticism by the flotilla's activists and supporters.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    [04] Traffickers, illegals intercepted; forged Romanian documents seized

    A 36-year-old Afghan man and a 32-year-old Iraqi were arrested on Saturday on the Igoumenitsa-Preveza highway on charges of transporting in two Iraqi illegal migrants and two children in separate vehicles.

    According to police, the two alleged traffickers drove the would-be migrants from Athens to Igoumenitsa in order for the latter to try and board an Italy-bound ferry boat. All four migrants possessed forged Romanian passports, while claiming to have paid 10,000 euros each to an unknown man in Iraq for eventual passage to Germany.

    One of the traffickers also possessed a forged Romanian passport and a driver's licence, whereas the car's plates were stolen.

    The group of arrestees was led before a local prosecutor.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    [05] Greece met the challenge even amid crisis

    The top organisers of the 2011 Special Olympics of Athens on Friday issued a press release on the occasion of the ongoing Games and this week's politically-charged violence, which was centred in Syntagma Square in front of Parliament.

    "Violent protests, tear gas, and broken glass in Syntagma Square top the international headlines but the people of Greece led another demonstration this week. 25,000 Greeks have come together every day to join the 'Dignity Revolution', cheering for unity, working for unity, standing for unity. Sadly, the press has missed the story," the press release stated.

    Signed by the chairman and CEO of Special Olympics International, Dr. Timothy Shriver, and the president of the 2011 Summer Games' organising committee, Joanna Despotopoulou, the statement added:

    "... Even amidst economic anxiety and political upheaval, a special session of Greek Parliament was held to commemorate the declaration of The Promotion of Sports Integration in Schools Act, a landmark law that promotes the full inclusion of youth with intellectual disabilities through sport. The law mandates a different model of education for Greece's youth in the future -- a model that focuses on learning the social and emotional lessons of unity.

    "Volunteers from throughout Greece have also demonstrated their unwavering commitment to these Games despite formidable obstacles. Amidst city-wide transportation strikes, over 300 volunteers found their own way from Athens to the Glyfada golf course to enable the golf tournament to continue uninterrupted. And together with nearly 25,000 others, the volunteers are providing our athletes with a world-class Olympic experience," the statement read, adding:

    "There can be little doubt that the political and economic struggles of Greece have created deep and painful wounds. Millions of Greeks are suffering. The crisis is far from over. But Greece did not fail the athletes of Special Olympics and the athletes of Special Olympics have not failed Greece. They have given her perhaps the greatest gift: hope itself."

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    [06] Samaras: Snap elections now

    ANA-MPA/Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Saturday repeated his mantra of "renegotiation of everything", referring to Greece's commitments to its Eurozone partners and the EC-ECB-IMF "troika", as emanating from the Memorandum and the recently ratified Medium-Term Fiscal Strategic Framework.

    Both agreements are part and parcel of the 110-billion-euro bailout granted to Greece last year in order to stave off sovereign default, as well as a more-or-less prerequisite for any future bailout. ana-mpa

    In comments published on Saturday in an Athens weekly, Samaras noted that "now is the hour that the entire course of our economic policy, which was implemented as of last year, should be re-evaluated. This policy was proved wrong in everything. Never before has an economic policy been so miscalculated."

    He again underlined that three things are necessary: "an alternative plan; another government to implement it, and a smooth transition from the wrong initial plan to the alternative one.

    Samaras insisted that if the current economic mix does not change then ND will not vote the new loan agreement, even if the ruling PASOK governments requests 180 votes in Parliament to pass the legislation.

    Last week's mid-term programme was passed by a simple Parliament majority of 155 MPs out of the 300-deputy legislature. ana-mpa

    Moreover, Samaras emphasised that various "injustices" recently enacted via tax hikes and pension cuts affecting the lower-income sections of Greek society will be overturned "as soon as a drastic cut in the (annual budget) deficit allows this ... If our policy is fully implemented then this will happen in three to four years".ana-mpa

    Finally, he rejected the idea of a referendum in the autumn -- a proposal being floated by the government -- and reiterated that he wants snap elections.

    His comments were carried in the weekly "RealNews".

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    [07] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The weekend edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The ratification of the Mid-Term Fiscal Strategy Programme and the affiliated enabling law, disbursement of the fifth tranche of the bailout loan as well as the new tax bill mostly dominated the headlines on Saturday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Layoffs begin and in Public Utilities and Organisations".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "State health sector: Reduction in hospital beds".

    EPOCHI: "Indignados movement persists, people resist.

    ESTIA: "Irresponsible political system".

    ETHNOS: "Tax bureaus shut down, revenues to be collected by private companies".

    IMERISSIA: "Signal for PPC plant sales".

    KATHIMERINI: "Next day's 10 fronts".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Course towards deep recession in second half of year".

    PROTO THEMA: "Foreigners: come and build wherever you want".

    REAL NEWS: "Be courageous until 2025 - Berlin, Brussels' secret plan for new loan".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "With intensity in battle for working classes' development".

    TA NEA: "And now? What's after the Mid-term storm".

    TYPOS: "Europe seeking emergency exit from Mid-term".

    VIMA: "German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle: Greece outside eurozone unimaginable".

    VRADYNI: "When's the best time for self-employed professionals to retire".

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


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