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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-07-01

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM spokesperson on media reports of intelligence monitoring by US agencies
  • [02] Evangelos Venizelos replies to allegations concerning Pomaks in northern Greece
  • [03] Tourism Minister: We must present our best face to tourists

  • [01] FM spokesperson on media reports of intelligence monitoring by US agencies

    Necessary data is still not available in order to comment on news reports on the monitoring of Greek and other diplomatic missions abroad, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras said on Monday.

    Replying to press questions concerning media reports alleging worldwide monitoring of communications by US intelligence agencies, the spokesman said that "Greece fully respects the provisions of international law that govern the operational status of diplomatic and consular missions. For this reason, Greece cannot comprehend the media reports regarding monitoring of Greek and other diplomatic missions by the services of a country that is a friend and ally."

    He added, "The content of the media reports in question – the investigation of which has already been initiated by the competent Greek services – will be examined closely. It goes without saying that, depending on the findings, the necessary explanations will be requested."

    [02] Evangelos Venizelos replies to allegations concerning Pomaks in northern Greece

    Efforts to alter or impose a specific cultural identity are unacceptable and will be dealt with in the framework of the law, Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in a document presented to Parliament on Monday, following a question on allegations "Pomaks are denouncing attempts to turn them into Turks, through bribes."

    Venizelos replied in writing to Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) MP Christos Pappas, who quoted the Greece 2012 Human Rights Report as saying that members of the Pomak community in northern Greece claimed that "members of the Turkish minority pressured them to deny their Pomak identity as being separate from the Turkish one. Pomaks claimed that members of their community were given monetary incentives to self-identify as Turks."

    "Such reports are always studied by the Foreign and other related ministries and services, and are evaluated overall within the framework of international relationships," the Foreign minister said.

    "References and conclusions related to the Muslim minority in Thrace in the above report show the efforts by certain circles to impose the cultural identity of the largest group of the Muslim minority (those of Turkish origin) on specific cultural groups, that is, on Pomaks and Roma," he added.

    "The cultural or other unique features of the three groups of the minority, including the Pomaks and Roma, are absolutely respected," Venizelos asserted. "Every group can freely develop - through its cultural or other associations, publications, etc. - initiatives and actions to preserve and promote its beliefs and customs, traditions and in general its unique cultural features, as befits a free and democratic country."

    As he clarified it, "Efforts to alter or impose a specific cultural identity on them are unacceptable and are dealt with in the framework of the law."

    Venizelos underscored the fact Greece is consistently observing its obligations, as they are defined by the Lausanne Treaty and related international laws, following a policy of full equality and equal treatment before the law, with absolute respect of the rights and religious freedom of Muslims.

    "The effort to deal with problems of the minority, in order for it to become better incorporated in local and national frameworks and for its well being is continuous, within the freamwork of a cohesive and multi-faceted policy," he added.

    [03] Tourism Minister: We must present our best face to tourists

    The VAT reduction in food services "is the best way to have a competitive product", but there is nothing new on the issue yet, Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogiananni told ANA-MPA WebTV on Monday.

    "We do not have news regarding the VAT reduction in food services. As you already know it is one of the issues that Tourism Ministry has requested, because we believe that it is the best way to have a competitive product," said Kefalogianni.

    The Tourism Minister made a plea to all professionals involved in tourism to present "Greece's best face", to keep prices down and to offer good accomodation and cleanliness.

    "We are in the middle of the tourism period and we must all have in mind that if we want the very good tourist flow to our country and the optimistic messages we have been receiving from the start of the year to be realised, all professionals of tourism and anyone coming in contact with visitors to our country must show the best face of Greece," Kefalogianni said.


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