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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-02-03

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


CONTENTS

  • [01] FM MOLYVIATIS: NATIONAL INTERESTS AT THE HEART OF GREEK FOREIGN POLICY
  • [02] THIRTEEN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARRESTED IN SAMOS
  • [03] TRADE UNIONIST'S ALLEGED ASSAILANTS TO PLEAD CASE ON MONDAY
  • [04] COALITION SAYS PASOK, ND AGREED TO THIRD- COUNTRY PHONE-TAPS
  • [05] GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES PLAN TO BUILD A NEW AIRPORT IN HERACLION, CRETE
  • [06] POLICE ARREST TWO MEN INVOLVED IN ATTACK AGAINST LABOUR CONFEDERATION
  • [07] TWO WEAK EARTHQUAKES JOLT KASTORIA

  • [01] FM MOLYVIATIS: NATIONAL INTERESTS AT THE HEART OF GREEK FOREIGN POLICY

    Athens, 3 February 2006 (14:57 UTC+2)

    Greece's national interests "are at the heart of our foreign policy, but also in our own hearts," foreign minister Petros Molyviatis said Friday, during the swearing-in ceremony of new diplomats, presided over by Archbishop Christodoulos, with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias presenting the diplomas to the graduates of the Greek Diplomatic Academy, at the foreign ministry.

    Molyviatis added that "we protect and service them (the country's national interests) with prudence and sobriey, but also with unsahakeable determination".

    "We will not never allow the falsification of our country's rights and interests," the foreign minister added, while Papoulias told the new diplomats: "do not forget our country's need that you serve it with patriotism and devotion".

    Molyviatis explained that the foundationsof Greece's foreign policy were "respect of international law, the international treaties, and international lawful order".

    "Our firm goal is peace, security, stability, friendship and cooperation with all the countries of the world, and particularly with the neighbouring countries. We extend our friendship and cooperation to all those who respond to this policy of ours," the minister said.

    The backbone of Greek foreign policy was the European Union, Molyviatis said, adding that "we want a Europe that is united, not only economically and monetarily, but also in the political and defence areas".

    "However," he continued, "this does not hinder us at all from maintaining excellent relations with all the countries of the world, particularly with the US, Russia, Japan, China, and the countries of the Balkans and the Middle East."

    Both the foreign minister and the President underlined the complexity of modern-day diplomacy, while Molyviatis noted that "there are manyforms of diplomacy", and cited "multilateral diplomacy, parliamentary, cultural and, perhaps above all, economic diplomacy".

    Papoulias expounded on the improtance of economic diplomacy, and called on the new diplomats to "open up the roads of the Greek national economy" while, with respect to cultural diplomacy, he cited as an example the cultural cooperation with Italy, which he visited recently.

    "You will wage the battles in the difficult missions before you,for tackling the problems faced by Greece, a small country, in its region and the wider region," Papoulias said.

    The President also told the graduates that 50 years ago he, too, had been in their place, and had spent 12 years in the foreign ministry.

    Archbishop Christodoulos said "you know the demands of the Greek people, and we are certain that you will respond with all your powers to the patriotic, as the President said earlier, duty that our country bestows on you".

    Also present at the ceremony were deputy foreign ministers Evripides Stylianidis and Panayotis Skandalakis, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos, and many diplomats.

    [02] THIRTEEN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARRESTED IN SAMOS

    Athens, 3 February 2006 (17:13 UTC+2)

    Thirteen illegal immigrants from Afghanistan were arrested by police on the island of Samos on Friday morning.

    An operation to locate them began two hours after midnight, while all rules to protect against a possible bird flu infection were taken during their capture. They have now been taken to specially prepared quarantine ward at Samos Prefecture Hospital for necessary medical tests, before they are transferred to the Immigrant Reception Centre.

    The Turkish people-trafficker that brought them to Samos has once again managed to evade arrest.

    [03] TRADE UNIONIST'S ALLEGED ASSAILANTS TO PLEAD CASE ON MONDAY

    Athens, 3 February 2006 (17:11 UTC+2)

    The two men accused of assaulting the president of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) Christos Polyzogopoulos appeared before an examining magistrate on Friday were given an extension until Monday to prepare their case.

    Nikos Kountardas, 29, and Stelios Malindretos, 41, are accused of attempted homicide, robbery and inflicting obvious damage.

    Kountardas has denied the charges, claiming that he was elsewhere at the time of the attack, while Malindretos has claimed that he was forced to attack Polyzogopoulos at gunpoint by three Jehovah's Witnesses. He claimed to be carrying the air-gun and wooden club found on him at the time of his arrest out of fear for his life.

    Polyzogopoulos did not recognise Malindretos in a line-up, however, though he could not explain how the man's fingerprints had been found on his car, while he said that Kountardas had features resembling those of a young man that approached him on Tuesday night shortly before he was attacked.

    The two men were identified and arrested on the basis of finger prints found on the car Polyzogopoulos was driving when he and his associate professor Savvas Rombolis were attacked by a group of youths, while they were also recognised by eyewitnesses.

    [04] COALITION SAYS PASOK, ND AGREED TO THIRD- COUNTRY PHONE-TAPS

    Athens, 3 February 2006 (15:54 UTC+2)

    Accusations of "violating the Constitution" and "extreme actions meriting a charge of treason" were levelled by Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology leader Alekos Alavanos on Friday during a press conference about the phone-tapping affair revealed by the government the day before.

    During this he also revealed that, under a PASOK government in 2000, Greece had signed an EU directive allowing one EU country to monitor the telephones of another without any technical involvement by the country under surveillance.

    He called on the present New Democracy government to terminate the contract signed by its predecessor and the Independent Authority for the Protection of Privacy to take immediate action and assign blame and the appropriate fines where they were due.

    Alavanos noted that ministers of the present government had signed a presidential decree on the procedures and techniques for lifting telecommunications privacy about a year ago, shortly after the government had found out about the phone-taps.

    The Coalition president stressed that Vodafone bore a high degree of responsibility, both for covering up the affair but also for destroying the pirate 'ghost' software and thus making it impossible to detect the receptors of the "hijacked" calls.

    Alavanos announced that he will be beginning a series of meeting regarding the phone-tapping affair from Monday with the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, ministers, the Privacy Committee, the Greek intelligence service EYP, while on Thursday the Coalition will organise a protest rally at Propylaia on this issue.

    [05] GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES PLAN TO BUILD A NEW AIRPORT IN HERACLION, CRETE

    Athens, 3 February 2006 (14:16 UTC+2)

    Greek Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis and Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Friday announced an ambitious plan to build a new international airport in Heraclion, Crete, and stressed the government aimed to promote the island of Crete as an air transport hub in eastern Mediterranean.

    The plan, budgetted at around 1.1 billion euros, is expected to be completed in 8-10 years. The new airport at Kasteli, will be build in joint venture with private companies and will contribute effectively in the developing of the region of the country's economy in general, Liapis said.

    The two ministers visited the "N.Kazantzakis" airport in Heraclion and were briefed by airport authorities over the problems facing the airport. Later on they visited the site of the new airport in Kasteli.

    Speaking to reporters, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said the project would substantially contribute in the economic growth of Crete.

    Liapis said the government was creating the necessary environment to attract new investments and to create new job positions in the region. "I have already ordered the Civil Aviation Agency to proceed with all preparatory actions for drafting a survey on the project," he told reporters.

    The Greek minister said the ministry has earmarked 2.1 billion euros for projects to upgrade and modernise the country's regional airports. Liapis said the new airport in Heraclion Crete would have a runway with a length of 3 km, a two-direction ILS, parking slots for 44 aircraft and a terminal able to service 5,000 passengers in peak times.

    [06] POLICE ARREST TWO MEN INVOLVED IN ATTACK AGAINST LABOUR CONFEDERATION LEADER

    Athens, 3 February 2006 (12:57 UTC+2)

    Two men involved in the beating up of General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Christos Polyzogopoulos and of his associate professor Savvas Rombolis in Athens earlier this week were arrested by police on Thursday and will be brought before a public prosecutor.

    The two assailants are 28 and 40 years old and were identified by finger prints found on the car Polyzogopoulos was driving when he was attacked by a group of youths, while they were also recognised by eyewitnesses.

    [07] TWO WEAK EARTHQUAKES JOLT KASTORIA

    Athens, 3 February 2006 (12:54 UTC+2)

    Two weak earthquakes jolted Kastoria in the early hours of Thursday, sending local residents out onto the streets, but seismologists were reassuring and no damage was reported.

    According to the Thessaloniki Aristotelion University's Geophysics Laboratory, the first earthquake, measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, was recorded at 1:55 a.m., while the second trembler, measuring 4.3 R, was recorded five minutes later.

    The earthquakes were recorded at a distance of 140 kilometres from Thessaloniki, with their epicentre in Lake Kastoria, and were felt throughout Kastoria prefecture and in the neighbouring prefectures of Florina and Kozani.

    The trembler woke many local residents, who rushed out into the streets, but there were no reports of material damage as at 9:00 a.m.

    Thessaloniki University seismologist Vassilis Karakostas told ANA-MPA that the two tremblers were most likely part of the normal seismic activity in the region, given that there was no indication of seismic exacerbation in the area.


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