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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-11-15

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Obama visit: Tsipras hails Obama's visit to Athens and Berlin 'at a time of crucial decisions'
  • [02] Man who held offensive banner at Greece-Bosnia-Herzegovina football match identified
  • [03] Arrivals of American tourists to Greece doubled during Obama presidency-tourism body
  • [04] Protesters march towards American embassy despite ban

  • [01] Obama visit: Tsipras hails Obama's visit to Athens and Berlin 'at a time of crucial decisions'

    In joint statements with U.S. President Barack Obama in Athens on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that Greece was welcoming a U.S. president that had strongly defended the values and democracy and freedom, fighting for the rights of all irrespective of race, sex, colour and religion.

    Hailing Obama presence in Athens and later in Berlin, at a time when decisions would be made that concerned all of Europe, Tsipras stressed that cooperation and solidarity was necessary for the of solutions that will once again stabilise European edifice put it back on the rails toward progress.

    Tsipras dwelt especially on the U.S. president's very different approach to the economic crisis that erupted in 2008, noting that he had taken the U.S. economy down a completely different path from that chosen by Europe. The results, eight years later, were more than visible, the prime minister added.

    "The decision to expand the monetary base and emphasis on boosting employment led to impressive growth rates and a steady reduction in unemployment," Tsipras pointed out. "On the other hand, the European leadership's insistence on austerity keeps European economies trapped in stagnation, creating incalculable political and social problems."

    The Greek prime minister said his meeting with Obama had given him an opportunity to discuss the economic challenges facing Greece and all of Europe, "challenges that if not faced in a collective and decisive way could lead us to political and social regression."

    They agreed, Tsipras said, that modern societies needed hope and prospects to fend off the rising scepticism and national retrenchment that now threatened them. The international community had seen the need for this clearly whenit had agreed to a debt settlement for defeated Germany in 1953, linking this to a growth clause. Now, a strong Germany that was the economic powerhouse of Europe has a duty to do the same, Tsipras said.

    "Greece and the Greek people faced the harshest consequences of crisis, with a disastrous austerity programme that made the problems worse instead of solving them. In four years, we lost 25 pct of our GDP and unemployment soared to 27 pct. Now we have managed to get back on our feet, have succeeded in avoiding the disaster that threatened and are rebuilding our economy step by step... we are restoring confidence in the prospects of the Greek economy," he said.

    Tsipras acknowledged Obama's very important support when the Greek crisis was at its peak in the summer of 2015, and his role in achieving a positive outcome when the six-month-old SYRIZA government had been forced to make some tough decisions "not just to stay in eurozone but to preserve EU's unity."

    "I believe we made the right choices, historically," Tsipras said, while adding that after seven years of tough measures, Greece's economy and society "cannot cope with more austerity."

    A reduction of the debt, revision of the agreed surpluses after 2018 and Greece's entrance in the European Central Bank (ECB) quantitative easing programme were what Greece had a right to expect on the basis of the existing agreements, he added, and the time to do this was now.

    The prime minister said his talks with Obama had covered a range of bilateral issues, especially ways of enhancing bilateral economic and trade cooperation in a series of sectors, such as energy, tourism, agro-foods, R&D. They covered significant prospects emerging via Greek shipping to make Greece a transport and energy hub linking Europe with Asia and Africa, as well as the energy infrastructure projects now underway, and potential for cooperation between Greek and U.S. businesses.

    Lastly, Tsipras referred to their discussion on regional issues, noting Greece's role as a pillar of peace and security in a volatile region, using its position in the EU and NATO to promote peace, stability and security in the region, even more so for cross-border security and against the threat of terrorism.

    Despite its serious economic difficulties, Tsipras added, Greece had offered support to the refugees that landed on its shores and stuck fast to its principles even after the Balkan corridor was closed through unilateral actions. In spite of the pressures and the limited support from many EU countries, Greece insisted that the only way to deal with the refugee crisis was to respect international law, cooperation with the countries of origin and transit and tackling the causes that led to migration.

    "In this context, we underlined on the importance of the continued implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement and the continuation of the NATO operation in the Aegean. We stressed the need to do everything possible in order to ensure peace and stability in Syria, Iraq and Libya," he said.

    With regard to Turkey, Tsipras said he had underlined that respect for international law and international treaties was a condition for regional stability and security, without threats of war. With respect to his talks with Obama on the Cyprus issue, Tsipras said they both expressed support for the crucial talks now underway and noted that he will be meeting Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday.

    At the same time, he said there was a need for "extreme caution" at this stage, since crucial issues were still open. "Our goal is for this solution to benefit all Cypriots and contribute to the island's progress. This cannot happen while Turkish troops remain," he noted.

    [02] Man who held offensive banner at Greece-Bosnia-Herzegovina football match identified

    Police identified the man who held an offensive banner during the football match between Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina last Sunday at a World Cup qualifying match.

    A banner with the slogan "Noz, zica, Srebrenica" ("Knife, wire, Srebrenica") was displayed among Greek fans during the game, referring to the killing of thousands of Bosnian Muslims by ethnic Serb forces in Srebrenica in 1995.

    According to judicial sources, the man will appear before the prosecutor in Piraeus shortly.

    On Monday, Deputy Sports Minister Giorgos Vasiliadis sent a letter to the head of Greek police requesting the identification and arrest of those involved.

    [03] Arrivals of American tourists to Greece doubled during Obama presidency-tourism body

    The arrivals of American tourists to Greece doubled during the presidency of Barack Obama, the head of Greek tourism businesses association SETE, Andreas Andreadis, said in a tweet on Tuesday.

    "The arrivals of Americans in our country doubled to 900,000 per year during the Obama presidency," Andreadis tweeted, adding these arrivals translated into direct revenues of over one billion euros.

    [04] Protesters march towards American embassy despite ban

    A few thousand protesters who had gathered at the Athens Polytechnic started marching towards the American embassy to protest against the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama, despite a ban announced by police.

    Protesters are currently on Stadiou Avenue and will soon meet with riot police vans which have blocked Stadiou at the junction with Amerikis street. Separate protests have been announced for this evening by anarchist groups, the Popular Unity party, anarchists and labour union PAME.


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