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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2004-03-11

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, March 11, 2004








  • [01] GETTING TO WORK Greece's political life is returning to its normal pace today, after the completion of the Ministry turnover procedure. "Beginning today, we are getting to work, the citizens have trusted us. We will respond to their expectations and to our debt", said P rime Minister Costas Karamanlis during the first Cabinet Meeting of the new government, while he recommended that his Ministers act with modesty and humility. Earlier, Mr. Karamanlis had met with outgoing Prime Minister Costas Simitis, for the traditional

    duty turnover ceremony, while prior to that the new government was sworn in. The New government includes 18 Ministers, one Alternate Minister and 27 Deputy Ministers. Two members of the new government are not MPs and two are women.

  • [02] DE SOTO IN ATHENS The resolving of the Cyprus issue is moving into the final stages, as Alvaro de Soto, Representative of the UN Secretary General will arrive in Athens for discussion today. Mr. De Soto stated that he is optimistic that a solution will be found before the

    deadlines that have been accepted by both sides in New York. The New York agreement is committing stated the New Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis yesterday, during the ceremony for the turnover of the Ministry. Negotiations for today have been cancelle d while there was a meeting presided over by the Prime Minister on the issue yesterday.

  • [03] AUCTIONS ON PUBLIC WORKS ONCE AGAIN His intention to do away with the mathematic formula used in the auction of public works and to move to the reinstitution of the system of auctions to the lowest bidder was announced by the new Minister of the Environment, Planning and Public Works in an

    interview to Antenna Television, who explained that a condition for the success of the lowest bidder auction system is that complete studies are and proper cost accounting are carried out. Mr. Souflias stated that he will discontinue the supply of electr icity to illegally constructed buildings.

  • [04] CYPRUS-OLYMPICS ON KARAMANLIS' AGENDA Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will have meetings with Ministers on the Cyprus issue and the Olympics, which are the two main issues on his agenda. The government has been called to deal with these issues, as there are constant developments and the dea dlines are closing in dangerously.

    It is indicative that the first meetings Mr. Karamanlis will have as Prime Minister are with the President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge and the President of the Cypriot Republic Tassos Papadopoulos.

    The new Foreign Minister, Petros Molyviatis, will meet with Representative of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, regarding the Cyprus issue, while he will also have a telephone communication with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    In yesterday's first Cabinet meeting, Mr. Karamanlis asked the members to get to work immediately. He pointed out that he will not stand for phenomena of corruption and arrogance and called them to act modestly and humbly. He made a commitment to do ever ything he can to respond to the expectations of the citizens.

  • [05] KARAMANLIS MEETING WITH FANI PALLI-PETRALIA An emergency working meeting was held today between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Alternate Minister of Culture Fani Palli-Petralia, in order for Mrs. Petralia to brief the PM on the progress of the Olympic preparations.

    The Prime Minister's meeting with his Minister, which was held in the Maximos Mansion, lasted more than an hour, and during her departure, Mrs. Petralia made no statements. She also met with Costas Kartalis for a detailed briefing, as he is the Secretary

    General responsible for the Olympics.

    The Alternate Minister and the government have expressed a wish for Mr. Kartalis to remain in his position, as he has detailed knowledge of the files regarding the organizing of the Olympics, and a proposal has already been made to him.

    Earlier this morning, Mr. Karamanlis had a cooperation with the new Secretary General of the Cabinet, Argyris Karras, as well as Ambassador Mr. Zafiropoulos. On the Prime Minister's agenda, there is also a meeting scheduled for today with Minister of Dev elopment Dimitris Sioufas.

  • [06] OLYMPICS THE PRIORITY FOR THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC ORDER The new Minister of Public Order Giorgos Voulgarakis had a meeting in his office this morning with the Head of the Fire Department Panagiotis Fourlas. The new Minister was briefed on the main issues of the relevancies of his Ministry, while in statements

    he underlined that the security of the Olympics is his top priority.

    Mr. Voulgarakis pointed out that the Olympic Security drill code-named "Aspis Irakleos 2004" that began yesterday. At the same time he mentioned that the structure of the Ministry will not change until the Olympics.

  • [07] S. SPILIOTOPOULOS: THE GREEK PEOPLE ARE SAFE His reassurance that the Greek people have nothing to worry about was given by Minister of National Defense Spilios Spiliotopoulos, on his first day at the Ministry of Defense.

    Mr. Spiliotopoulos arrived at the Ministry at 7am and asked to be briefed on current affairs by the Head of the General Staff of National Defense and the sector chiefs. "The detailed sector by sector briefing of the Deputy Ministers and myself will begin

    today, so that we can start handling issues from our very first day".

    Among his priorities, as he pointed out himself, are the security of the Olympics, the pay increase for permanent officials of the armed forces, the decrease in defense expenditures and the gradual decrease of obligatory military service.

    It should be noted that Mr. Spiliotopoulos has served as Alternate Minister of National Defense in the past and that in the past he was a fighter and helicopter pilot in the Air Force.

  • [08] MINISTERS' FIRST DAY Strategic planning in dealing with Greece's problems in the education sector and other issues regarding Olympic education were the main points of interest of the new Minister of Education, Ms. Marrietta Giannakou, according to her statements as she arriv ed at the Ministry this morning.

    Ms. Giannakou noted that the priority agenda has already been formulated. On his side, Deputy Minister of Education Mr. Spyros Taliadouros mentioned that his priority is for education issues to be dealt with, with a spirit of consent and dialogue.

    Meanwhile the new Minster of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos, was briefed on current affairs and pending issues in the sectors of public administration and local government by his predecessor, Mr. Costas Scandalidis, in a meeting held in the Ministry of the Interior this morning. Mr. Scandalidis wished the new Minister all the best in his work, and referred to the way the elections were held, stressing that the whole procedure was the result of modernizat ion, that it had a very small cost and much clearer terms than previous elections.

    On his side, Mr. Pavlopoulos thanked Mr. Scandalidis for his cooperation today and in the past, when their roles were reversed. "Political life continues and democracy demands continuation", said Mr. Pavlopoulos, pointing out that in the past, despite an y confrontations he may have had with Mr. Scandalidis, they cooperated creatively in certain issues.

    The new Minister also had meetings with close associates and ministry officials. Deputy Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos will deal with the public administration sector and Deputy Minister Thanasis Nakos will be in charge of local government issues.

    In statements Mr. Pavlopoulos stressed that he aims at restoring the trust between citizens and the state. "We have work to do and we will be judged by that work", he added.

    The new Minister of Health Mr. Nikitas Kaklamanis, is in a familiar setting, as, according to his statements upon arriving at his office this morning, he was a fighting doctor before entering politics.

    Speaking of the Ministries priorities, he referred to public health and health in 2004, and the absorption of funds from the 3rd Community Support Framework.

    Tomorrow Mr. Kaklamanis will visit the multi-clinic to function in the Olympic Village during the games.

    The review of the joint agricultural policy on cotton, oil and tobacco is the first issue on the agenda of Minister of Agricultural Development and Foods Mr. Savvas Tsitouridis, in view of the meeting of the Council of Ministers on a European Union level , to be held in 10 days.

    Speaking about the main goals of the Ministry, Mr. Tsitouridis stressed that ND's program commitment was the creation of a Ministry to intervene throughout the food chain and deal with very important issues, such as quality, safety, the healthiness of ou r foods in an overall way.

    "We care about having the product from the field to the shelf. Interventions are required. We must move to the administrative and legislative interventions required so that we may intervene throughout the food chain very soon", added Mr. Tsitouridis.

  • [09] PRIME MINISTERS CONTACTS TODAY An informative meeting with Minister of Development Mr. Dimitris Sioufas was held this afternoon by Prime Minister Mr. Costas Karamanlis. "We started with briefings and a lot of work since yesterday and will continue in the same way", said Mr. Sioufas im mediately following the meeting.

    Earlier the Prime Minister had meetings with Secretary General of ND's Central Committee Mr. Vaggelis Meimarakis, with whom he discussed government-party relations, with the new Secretary of the Cabinet Mr. Argyris Karras, and with Alternate Minister of Culture Ms. Fani Palli-Petralia.

    This afternoon, he will meet with the President of the "Athens 2004" Olympic Organizing Committee and will then meet with the Ministers of Public Order Giorgos Voulgarakis, the Environment, Planning and Public Works Mr. Giorgos Souflias.

  • [10] KARAMANLIS CONDOLENCES TO SPANISH PM A telegram expressing his condolences was sent to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, drawing on today's tragedy in Madrid, was sent by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    The Greek government is observing developments, while Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis had a telephone communication with Spanish Commissioner Loyola de Palacio, to whom he conveyed the warmest sympathies of the Foreign Ministry and condemned the terro rist attack.

  • [11] CONGRATULATIONS FROM POWELL TO MOLIVIATIS Greek Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis had a telephone communication with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    The telephone call was made, according to Mr. Moliviatis, at the initiative of Mr. Powell who wanted to congratulate him on his new duties.

    The two men talked about the Cyprus issue and the Olympic Games in Athens and Mr. Powell wished success.

  • [12] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -2.46% at 2409.26 points, while the volume of transactions was at 199.6 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 305 had losses and 29 had gains, while the value of 59 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [13] MOLIVIATIS-DE SOTO MEETING ON CYPRUS The course of the Cyprus issue was at the center of the one-hour meeting Greek Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis had with UN negotiator Alvaro de Soto which was characterized as very positive and useful.

    Mr. de Soto expressed the hope that there will be an agreement before May 1 and Cyprus will enter the EU as a united country. He ruled out the likelihood for an extension in case no solution is reached and denied information on the existence of a second plan.

    Mr. de Soto also stated that Mr. Moliviatis assured him that he will continue the policy of the previous government on the issue of Cyprus.

    Responding to a question by a reporter concerning the level at which the four-party meeting will be held, Mr. de Soto said that he cannot give an answer yet. A similar response was given by Mr. Moliviatis as well who pointed out that the issue is open fo r discussion.

    To the question whether there will be a ratification by the parliaments of Greece and Turkey before a referendum is held in case an agreement is reached, Mr. de Soto stated that this is an issue which is under discussion and an effort is made to find a s olution to the problem.

  • [14] CONDOLENCES BY THE ARCHBISHOP TO THE SPANISH PRIME MINISTER Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece sent a letter of condolences to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar for today's multiple terrorist attack in Madrid that killed at least 173 people and injured hundreds more.

    In his message, the Archbishop expressed his deepest sympathy for the tragic event as well as the clergy's and the Greek people's, stressing that he prays for peace to prevail in the country and the souls of the Spanish people.

    The Archbishop's message has as follows: "Your Excellency, on hearing the sorrowful news of today's repulsive attack on innocent people at three train stations in Madrid, we express our deepest sympathy and extend, along with all our clergy and our pious

    Greek people, our utmost fervent prayers to our Lord for the prevalence of His peace to Your country and the souls of Your friendly people.

    May the Lord help Your Excellency in these tragic moments and guide You with His wisdom to the most effective and peace-bringing actions."

  • [15] PAPANDREOU-DE SOTO MEETING UN Secretary General special representative on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who is in Athens for consultations, had a meeting with PASOK President Giorgos Papandreou.

    After the meeting, Mr. de Soto stated that he came for contacts with the new government and had a very useful meeting with Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis, adding that he also met with former Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    According to a statement by PASOK, Mr. Papandreou reiterated to Mr. de Soto that PASOK backs the effort for an operational and viable solution to the political problem in Cyprus in accordance with the European standards.


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