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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-11-23

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras: Obama's visit was a strong message of support
  • [02] Greek minority affairs a 'fundamental element' in Greek-Albanian relations, foreign minister says

  • [01] PM Tsipras: Obama's visit was a strong message of support

    U.S President Barack Obama's visit to Greece was a strong message of support for our country, the government and our efforts to get the country out of the crisis, stated Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during his address to SYRIZA parliamentary group on Wednesday.

    He noted that Obama's visit also sent a strong message on the need to support Democracy and individual rights in a period when the rise of the extreme right is threatened.

    Tsipras underlined that the same visit sent a message that Greece is not a country to be avoided, as it was in the disastrous period 2010-2015.

    The second review of the Greek programme will be concluded, the prime minister added, and there will soon be positive signs concerning the country's debt that will end the "left interlude" speculation.

    In spite of the fiscal restrictions that were known before the elections in September 2015, the 2017 draft budget forecast 2.7 pct of GDP growth and that the primary surplus target will be surpassed, Tsipras pointed out.

    "With the budget we are increasing spending on health, education and social protection," the prime minister said, urging MPs to "get out of their offices" and listen to ordinary people's problems, as well as promoting the government's work.

    While admitting that there was some disappointment in the government, because people had hoped for faster economic growth, Tsipras also pointed out that "everyone here, as well as society, knows that to abandon the effort mid-stream and turn back is a recipe for failure."

    "Our goal is that SYRIZA will not be yet another crisis government but the government that gets the country out of the crisis," he said.

    Regarding the Cyprus talks and his discussion with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Tsipras said they had agreed the effort for a Cyprus solution must continue and the next steps laid out "so that we have positive developments on this front also."

    He also commented on issues relating to respect for international treaties, such as the Treaty of Lausanne, noting that the Greek government showed "particular sensitivity" on such issues.

    "The Greek government will not accept this unacceptable historical revisionism. Turkey must understand that the Treaty of Lausanne is not questioned by anyone in the international community," Tsipras said.

    We will not question the binding legal documents that constitute the pillars of our relations nor will we allow anybody to question them," he said.

    [02] Greek minority affairs a 'fundamental element' in Greek-Albanian relations, foreign minister says

    Greek minority issues, including those relating to property, are fundamental elements of Greek-Albanian relations, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in a letter sent on Wednesday, replying to questions tabled by MPs on the demolition of Greek minority-owned residences and businesses in Himara, southern Albania.

    Kotzias stressed that these issues were also linked to the existing state of Albanian justice and rule of law, alongside Albania's standing obligation under treaties to respect and protect human and minority rights throughout its territory. Reforms in the justice sector and protection of human and minority rights were two of the five key priorities that Albania must implement fully and in a sustainable way, as a condition for examining the start of EU-Albania accession negotiations, he pointed out.

    The minister underlined that the "illegal and provocative planning to demolish the properties of our diaspora in Himara and the attempt to implement this are a blatant violation of human, minority and property rights of the members of the Greek ethnic minority of the region."

    These actions showed clearly that Albania's claim that minority rights were respected throughout the country was false, Kotzias added.

    The minister accused Albania of continuing the anachronistic practice of "minority zones" established under the old Hoxha regime "beyond which minority rights are not recognised". "Thus in areas like Himara, where a significant population of Greek descent traditionally lives, minority rights are not recognised. It is a long-standing effort on Tirana's part to 'Albanise' those regions and eradicate their Greek element," he added.

    The Greek side had responded to the illegal Albanian arrangements in Himara by first expressing its concern and then, following Albania's continued negative stance, by lodging a demarche with the Albanian ambassador in Athens and informing international organisations and its EU partners, Kotzias said.

    "We have made it absolutely clear to the Albanian side that the Greek government and public opinion put great emphasis on the defence and protection, in practice, of all the rights of the ethnic Greek minority, including the right to property/ownership. The foreign ministry is closely following all the issues that concern ethnic Greeks in Albania and always proceeds to take the appropriate actions to defend and protect their rights and to best serve our national interests generally," Kotzias said.

    The degree to which Albanian adheres to these commitments is being monitored, assessed and is a prerequisite for further continuance of its European accession course," he added.


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