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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-02-16
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 DEADLY TRAIN-TRUCK COLLISIONSerres, 16 February 2006 (18:35 UTC+2)
Two people were killed and 18 were injured when a passenger train collided with a truck attempting to cross the rail tracks at a level crossing near the city of Serres, north Greece. Rescue crews arrived on the scene of the accident and rescue efforts were difficult because of the muddy conditions in the region as a result of the recent heavy rainfall.
The two people in the truck were killed and 18 on board the train were injured when it derailed after the collision. The injured were taken to the Serres General Hospital.
According to Hellenic Railways, OSE, the accident happened at 02.07 pm when the Piraeus-Alexandroupolis Intercity 70 passenger train collided with a truck attempting to cross the rail tracks. The four cars of the passenger train with 101 passengers on board derailed after the collision.
 DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER STYLIANIDIS MET WITH HIS IRAQI COUNTERPARTAthens, 16 February 2006 (17:45 UTC+2)
Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis met today in Athens with his Iraqi counterpart Hamid Al Bayati.
Mr. Stylianidis told his Iraqi counterpart that Iraq is a priority in the Greek policy for international development cooperation and assistance. Greece has allocated a total of 13.4 million euros for development programs in Iraq and is willing to continue to finance them particularly, in the sectors of education, health, good governance and culture.
Also, they discussed issues concerning the strengthening of bilateral economic relations with an emphasis on investment, trade and energy.
 KATSAV: THESSALONIKI IS A CITY OF TOLERANCE AND COHABITATIONThessaloniki, 16 February 2006 (17:30 UTC+2)
President of Israel Moshe Katsav characterized Thessaloniki as the city of tolerance and cohabitation pointing out that in no other city in the world the presence of the Jewish Community dates as far back as 2,200 years and in no other city in the world the Jews knew such an economic growth like in Thessaloniki.
Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Kalantzis gave a formal luncheon at the Governor's Mansion in honor of Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias and visiting Israeli President Katsav.
Thessaloniki is the city of Aristotle and the city where Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi Alkabetz was born whose hymns are sung by Jews all over the world, said Mr. Katsav speaking in the formal luncheon. Thessaloniki had opened up its arms embracing the Jews who left Spain and the history and culture of the Thessaloniki Jews began evolving in the 15th century, he said, indicatively stressing that stores were closed on Saturdays in Thessaloniki in a show of respect to the Jewish community.
Mr. Katsav also referred to the tragedy of the 50,000 Jews from Thessaloniki who perished in the Nazi concentration camps during WWII.
He expressed the belief that the Greek-Israeli relations will improve and thanked Mr. Papoulias for the invitation to come to Greece, adding that he will be very happy to welcome him to Israel.
Addressing the President of Israel, Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Mr. Kalantzis praised the contribution of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and stressed that its devastation during WWII was a major blow for the city itself and Greece in general.
Earlier, during Mr. Katsav's visit to the Jewish Culture Museum, mayor of Thessaloniki Vasilis Papageorgopoulos offered to the Israeli President a replica of the gold larnax of King Phillip II of Macedon.
The formal luncheon attended Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, Israeli ambassador to Athens Ram Aviram, main opposition Socialist Party PASOK deputy Akis Tsochatzopoulos representing PASOK leader Giorgos Papandreou, Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace general secretary Loukas Ananikas, Region of Central Macedonia director Giorgos Tsiotras, Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis, Mayor Vasilis Papageorgopoulos and local officials.
Later in the afternoon, Mr. Katsav will speak in the Jewish Synagogue and will be declared honorary member of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki.
 KOUFOUDAKIS: EUROPEAN SOLUTION TO THE CYPRUS ISSUE BY 2007Thessaloniki, 16 February 2006 (14:39 UTC+2)
A European solution is the only feasible solution to the Cyprus issue and can be achieved by 2007 through a diplomatic initiative within the EU framework, told ANA-MPA Cyprus Inter College rector PhD Vangelis Koufoudakis, who is in Thessaloniki as a guest of the American College of Thessaloniki, ACT, within the framework of the events held by The Michael S. Dukakis Chair in Public Policy and Service.
The main goal of the Dukakis Academic Chair, inaugurated in September 1999 by distinguished Greek American politician Michael Dukakis, is the organizing of lectures and discussions on public interest issues and mainly, current issues in north Greece and the Balkans.
Speaking in ACT on Cyprus - The Future Course, Mr. Koufoudakis stressed that the solution is feasible because the Cyprus Republic is in a position today to forge alliances with other European countries such as France, Austria and Spain given the fact that Turkey has not met the obligations it had undertaken toward the EU with the opening of its EU accession talks, among them, the recognition of the Cyprus Republic.
Mr. Koufoudakis stressed that in order to reach such a solution the UN, Great Britain and the United States should realize that it is to the interest of all to reach a solution to the Cyprus issue in compliance with the European principles.
Such a solution would lift an obstacle from Turkey's EU accession course and show that the United States can cooperate with the EU and the UN for the solution of an old international community problem.
 THE PRESIDENTS OF GREECE AND ISRAEL COMMEMORATE THE HOLOCAUST VICTIMS IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 16 February 2006 (14:26 UTC+2)
President of Israel Moshe Katsav and Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias paid homage to the 50,000 Jews of Thessaloniki who perished in the Nazi concentration camps during WWII in a ceremony held today at the Holocaust Monument at Eleftherias Square in Thessaloniki.
The two presidents arrived in Thessaloniki by plane coming from Athens and at 12.23 pm they were at the Holocaust Monument. They were accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis and Israeli ambassador Ram Aviram. They were welcomed by Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Kalantzis, local government officials and Thessaloniki Jewish Community President David Saltiel.
A memorial service was held at the monument followed by a wreath laying ceremony by Presidents Katsav and Papoulias who proceeded to unveil a memorial plaque. A moment of silence was observed followed by the national anthems of Israel and Greece.
The ceremony attended German ambassador Wolfgang Schultheiss, Spain's consul general Sevi Revah, the 3rd Army Corps commander lieutenant general Elias Petsas, and local government officials.
The two presidents visited the Jewish Culture Museum followed by a formal luncheon given in their honor by Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Kalantzis.
Later in the afternoon, Mr. Katsav will visit the archaeological site of Vergina with the royal tombs of the Macedon kings.
 PAPOULIAS-KATSAV VISIT THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 16 February 2006 (12:56 UTC+2)
Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias and Israeli President Moshe Katsav visit Thessaloniki today.
They will lay wreaths at the Holocaust Monument, visit the Jewish Culture Museum and attend a formal luncheon in their honor at the Governor's Mansion.
President Papoulias will depart for Athens while Mr. Katsav will visit the archaeological site of Vergina and afterwards he will address the Jewish Synagogue where he will be declared honorary member of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki.
 KARAMANLIS-AHERN MEETINGDublin, 16 February 2006 (18:52 UTC+2)
Bilateral relations, the Constitutional Treaty of Europe, the EU cohesion and the European enlargement to include the Balkans were the main issues discussed today by Prime Ministers of Greece and Ireland, Costas Karamanlis and Bertie Ahern, in a working lunch in Dublin.
Mr. Karamanlis stated that he had a very interesting meeting with the Irish Prime Minister adding that bilateral relations are excellent and the two countries share very useful and effective cooperation in the international fora, adding, however, that cooperation can improve further and large part of the talks was dedicated to this issue.
Mr. Karamanlis also said that he briefed Mr. Ahern on the Greek positions on regional and international issues with an emphasis on the situation in the Balkans, Turkey's European prospect, the Cyprus issue and the Middle East.
 WARM RECEPTIONBerlin, 16 February 2006 (13:17 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis meets today in Dublin with his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern.
The excellent level of the Greek-German bilateral relations and cooperation in the field of European policy were underlined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in their first joint press conference held fifteen minutes after their tete-a-tete meeting and before the opening of the talks of the two state delegations within the framework of a working dinner.
The German Chancellor reserved a warm reception to the newly appointed Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyiannis who arrived with a slight delay because of the meeting she had earlier at the German Foreign Ministry with her counterpart Frank- Walter Steinmeier.