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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-02-07

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] CLARIFICATIONS IN THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE
  • [02] SNOWY WEATHER MOVES TO THE SOUTH
  • [03] MOLYVIATIS-MORATINOS MEETING
  • [04] PAPANDREOU-LAVROV MEETING
  • [05] THE US AMBASSADOR ADDRESSED THE SUPREME JOINT WAR COLLEGE
  • [06] DISAPPEARANCES OF CHILDREN INCREASED 143% IN 2005
  • [07] GREEK CREWS HELPED TO OPEN SNOW-COVERED ALBANIAN MOTORWAY
  • [08] ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS READY FOR "VELVET SEPARATION"

  • [01] CLARIFICATIONS IN THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE

    Athens, 7 February 2006 (11:21 UTC+2)

    Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and Minister of Justice Anastasis Papaligouras will brief the parliamentary committee on institutions and transparency on the mobile phone-tapping case.

    Minister of State Thodoris Rousopoulos stated that after the court investigation is completed the government will call for an inquiry committee to investigate the case, stressing that the government is very serious while handling the specific case.

    Main opposition Socialist Party PASOK President Giorgos Papandreou called for the resignation of the responsible government ministers.

    [02] SNOWY WEATHER MOVES TO THE SOUTH

    Thessaloniki, 7 February 2006 (11:05 UTC+2)

    The new wave of snowy weather that hit Greece two days ago moves to the east and south of the country accompanied by strong storms, gusty winds and low temperatures.

    In Thessaloniki, the sky is cloudy with limited snowfall expected to end within the following hours. Schools in Thessaloniki are open.

    Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport and seaport are also open.

    Temperature is -6C in Chalkidiki, while schools are closed in the prefecture of Kilkis with temperature dropping to -7C. Florina in northwest Greece also has -7C and Kozani -8C, while all cars using the road network in western Macedonia, north Greece need snow chains.

    [03] MOLYVIATIS-MORATINOS MEETING

    Athens, 7 February 2006 (18:04 UTC+2)

    The need to revive the European Constitutional Treaty ratification process was pointed out by Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

    The main issues on the agenda were bilateral economic relations, the Balkans and developments in Kosovo as well as the situation in the Middle East after Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections.

    On the issue of Cyprus, Mr. Moratinos stated that Greece and Spain respect international law and wish to facilitate efforts toward a final solution, adding that Spain is very happy with Cyprus' EU accession and has very good relations with Turkey.

    Regarding a statement made yesterday by a British diplomat in favor of Kosovo's independence, Mr. Molyviatis referred to the decisions of the UN, the EU and the Contact Group providing for a process, the principles and the criteria necessary to define the final status of Kosovo. He added that the process is already underway and the final decision should respect the criteria and values included mainly in the Contact Group decisions.

    Referring to developments in the Palestinian territories, Mr. Moratinos pointed out the need for the Palestinian Authority to hold talks both with Hamas and Fatah and called on the international community to wait for the outcome of those talks. He clarified, however, that the new Palestinian government should respect international law, denounce violence and recognize the state of Israel.

    [04] PAPANDREOU-LAVROV MEETING

    Athens, 7 February 2006 (17:21 UTC+2)

    Main opposition Socialist Party PASOK leader Giorgos Papandreou met with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today and discussed Kosovo, the Middle East, developments after the election victory of Hamas, energy issues and Iran.

    Mr. Papandreou stated after the meeting that Greece and Russia share excellent relations adding that he also discussed with Mr. Lavrov developments concerning the Cyprus issue, Russia's role in the international community and the United Nations and the solution of the Cyprus issue within the framework of the UN resolutions.

    According to Mr. Papandreou, Mr. Lavrov expressed the wish for closer cooperation between them within the framework of his new duties in the Socialist International to be able to further coordinate their actions.

    [05] THE US AMBASSADOR ADDRESSED THE SUPREME JOINT WAR COLLEGE

    Thessaloniki, 7 February 2006 (16:20 UTC+2)

    US ambassador to Athens Charles Ries in a lecture he gave today in the Supreme Joint War College in Thessaloniki on Transatlantic Cooperation through NATO stated, among others, that he wished NATO enjoyed better reputation in Greece where sometimes people who dislike the US foreign policy identify it with the alliance and this is not fair.

    In the lecture he gave at the college's invitation within the framework of the training of armed forces officials, Mr. Ries stated that Greece and the United States share more than feelings and mutual understanding. He highlighted the special contribution of the Greek armed forces to the NATO operations and the high level of military training in Greece.

    The US ambassador stressed the need for the military officers to be trained with references to the Greek classics stating, among others, that Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great.

    He characterized NATO as the most successful military alliance in the world and expressed satisfaction because the voices in the West calling for the dissolution of NATO did not prevail after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. In a different case, there would be no interventions to stop ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina and avert an even more bloody conflict in Kosovo, stated the US ambassador.

    Mr. Ries wondered if there would have been a government in Skopje to cut the size of the army and bring it into line with the Euro-Atlantic specifications if there was no road map for the country's accession into NATO. He also referred to the participation of Greek pilots in the monitoring of the US airspace after September 11 and to the Greek contribution to the transport of over 100 tons of humanitarian aid to Pakistan within the framework of the mission undertaken by NATO.

    He used the attack on a Panama-flag cruise ship off the coasts of Somalia as an example of international threat against Greek interests, stressing that NATO can make the seas safe.

    He also said that Greece offered to take over the medical support of the international force in Kabul, Afghanistan and supply it with the necessary equipment.

    Mr. Ries said that Greece is a leader when the alliance goes to the sea and used the Sea Training Center in Crete as an example, while he also referred to the unbeatable ability displayed by the Greek military in the transport of military aid for the Iraqi army ahead of last December's elections.

    Responding to a question by Joint War College students on the recognition of FYROM by the United States as Republic of Macedonia, the US ambassador stated that the aim was to prevent a new civil war in the country after the Ochrid agreement being disputed by the nationalists. He reiterated that his country will recognize the outcome of the negotiations in the UN, pointing out that the application for the country's accession into NATO and the EU was filed under the name FYROM. He expressed the wish that the whole issue will not affect Skopje's Euro-Atlantic prospect.

    Responding to a question on the likelihood for NATO to evolve into an anti-Muslim alliance, Mr. Ries stated that it is important for the alliance to have good relations with the Muslim world and assured that his country supports the principle based on which all the members of the alliance are equal.

    Each year, at least one US army officer studies in Thessaloniki's Supreme Joint War College. This year is Major Pete Huie who attended the same 9-month Greek language courses in Washington with Mr. Ries.

    The US ambassador arrived in Thessaloniki this morning especially for the lecture which was scheduled to take place in early December last year but was postponed when his plane was unable to land due to thick fog.

    [06] DISAPPEARANCES OF CHILDREN INCREASED 143% IN 2005

    Thessaloniki, 7 February 2006 (14:35 UTC+2)

    Disappearances of children in Greece rose 143% in 2005 compared to 2004, according to the Chamogelo tou Pediou Association (meaning smile of a child), an association against child abuse.

    The association handled 14 cases in 2004 compared to 34 in 2005. Based on figures it has provided, the children who disappeared were mainly Greek followed by children with Albanian nationality. The majority of the children were 7-12 years old.

    Regarding the outcome of the investigation, the available figures show that 8 of the 14 lost children cases handled by the association in 2004 were solved namely 57.14% (10 boys, 4 girls, 11 of them with Greek nationality).

    In 2005, 11 of the 34 children (18 boys, 16 girls, 24 Greek, 6 Albanian) who had disappeared were found (30.9%).

    [07] GREEK CREWS HELPED TO OPEN SNOW-COVERED ALBANIAN MOTORWAY

    Thessaloniki, 7 February 2006 (12:01 UTC+2)

    West Macedonia Region employees with snowplows and salt-throwing vehicles participated in an operation to remove the snow covering an Albanian motorway.

    In total three snowplows and other vehicles participated in the operation at the request of the Korce Region in Albania. They were headed by Kastoria Prefect Konstantinos Liantsis and removed the snow from a 30km-long part of the Kristallopigi-Korce-Malik motorway.

    This is the second year Greek crews participate in snow removal operations to help keep the Albanian road network open during the winter.

    [08] ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS READY FOR "VELVET SEPARATION"

    Athens, 7 February 2006 (11:36 UTC+2)

    Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece stated that he is ready for the "velvet separation" of State and Church speaking yesterday in a meeting on the occasion of a holy celebration held in Penteli, Athens in the presence of hierarchs, priests and university professors.

    Archbishop Christodoulos stated characteristically that we will not gather outside the parliament building with armored tanks nor take up machine guns to shoot against all those who are different from us.


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