|Saturday, 17 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-08-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 7, 2006
 Defense Minister Meimarakis on crisis in the Middle East
ATHENS, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)National Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis has said that "the government not only was not absent from the crisis in the Middle East, but also made a substantial intervention."
In an interview in Sunday's edition of "Eleftherotypia" newspaper, Meimarakis, responding to criticism which the government has received, mainly from the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), referred to "the participation of the Navy in operations for the evacuation of foreign nationals from Lebanon and to the humanitarian aid which our country is giving from the very first moment."
He stressed that he dismisses this criticism and said that "interventions were made both by the Prime Minister (Costas Karamanlis) and by the Foreign Minister (Dora Bakoyannis), who pioneers in the efforts of the international community for peace in the Middle East."
The defense minister said that "it is premature for us to discuss whether Greece will take part in a peacekeeping operation, given that there is not yet a request."
To a question whether he believed that the developments in Lebanon will have an affect on Greek-Turkish relations, Meimarakis replied that "I do not see it possible," adding that "Greece is working for the creation of a climate of zero tension in the region."
Referring to the recent visit to Turkey by National Defense General Staff chief Admiral Panagiotis Hinofotis, Meimarakis termed its results as "encouraging." He said that "in this visit military issues were discussed which have to do with confidence-building measures and the techniques for the greatest results of these measures were examined."
Meimarakis also stressed that "Greece supports Turkey's European course." However, he underlined that "the government has made it clear that a blank cheque is not given to anyone," given that "that Turkey's complete adherence to relations of good neighborliness is demanded."
On the armaments program and particularly on the purchase of aircraft, the minister said that "the needs of the Air Force have been covered in part with the purchase of 30 F-16" and that "for the other 30 required for the number of 60 new aircraft to be completed, we will make an assessment both on the operational aspect as well as on the cost."
On armaments, he said that "the aim of government is for expenditures to be reduced and not exceed one per cent of the Gross National Product.'
 Deputy FM Stylianidis on Greece's humanitarian aid to Lebanon
ATHENS, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis has said that "Greece has yet again received the praise of the international community and particularly the moving 'thank you' by those affected by the war in Lebanon for its immediate and effective reaction."
In an interview in the Sunday edition of "Adesmeftos Typos" newspaper, Stylianidis said "the Foreign Ministry activated all its strength for the evacuation of thousands of people from the war-zone who were not only Greeks but also other European and American citizens, while with the coordinating responsibility of Hellenic Aid, we were the first who reached the battle field, transporting not without danger, considerable amounts of humanitarian aid."
The deputy foreign minister recalled that "already transported to Lebanon, with six C-130 cargo planes of the Air Force and Navy carriers, have been loads of cargo with medicine and other useful material which was gathered by non-government organizations under the coordination of Hellenic Aid."
He said that "at the same time, Hellenic Aid also undertook to transport a part of the international aid, while a fund raising has begun in Greece and the money which will be collected by private individuals, agencies and non-government organizations will be deposited in a special account and will be used, both in the phase of the granting of urgent humanitarian aid, as well as in the phase of the reconstruction after the ceasefire and the imposition of a permanent ceasefire, which we hope and struggle for it to be imposed as soon as possible."
Greek Navy carrier "Chios" to transport humanitarian aid to Lebanon: The Greek Navy carrier "Chios" was due to depart on Sunday from Larnaca, Cyprus, to the port of Beirut, transporting Greek and international humanitarian aid, with the coordination of the Foreign Ministry's Hellenic Aid (International Development Cooperation Service).
The Foreign Ministry announced that two tons of humanitarian aid will be transported to Lebanon, which was gathered by the non-governmental organization "Greek Rescue Group", as well as 30 tons of humanitarian aid by the Cyprus Doctors of the World.
This part of humanitarian aid comprises medicine, foodstuff, blankets and hygiene items.
 Israeli ambassador and Egyptian Deputy FM refer to Middle East crisis
7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)In statements from Chania, Crete, on Sunday, Israeli Ambassador in Athens Ram Aviram and Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Magda Sahim referred to the crisis in the Middle East.
The Israeli ambassador spoke of "the critical moments" Israel "is going through from the attack by a group of terrorists," as he described Hezbollah.
"We are at a very critical moment. Unfortunately, 24 days before, Israel received a military attack by a group of terrorists which is based in Lebanon and hides behind citizens. We had no other option but to defend our country," the ambassador said.
Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Magda Sahim said:"Egypt is very close to what is going on and we express our sorrow. What is happening is an answer which is not wise and does not propose solutions to the problems of the Middle East. We hope for a ceasefire the soonest possible so that a peaceful solution be found. For as long as non-combatants are being killed, this solution cannot be found in the region."
At the same time, Sahim expressed the hope that "on Tuesday, the UN Security Council will at least manage to conclude on measures for a ceasefire so that the governments of Lebanon and Israel be able to approach each other."
Aviram and Sahim were in Chania within the framework of the sessions of the International Institute of Political and Economic Studies which were held at the Mediterranean Agricultural Institute and organized by the American Studies Foundation and the Greek Union for Atlantic and European Cooperation.
A greeting was sent to the delegates at the sessions by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, in which, among other things, refers to Greece's efforts for peace in the region, and its contribution in the effort to ease the crisis.
"We express our concern and our expectations that the international community will respond to the demands and to the complex situations in the Middle East," Bakoyannis said in her greeting, adding that "we hope that finally it will find the will and means to deal with a situation with an unbearably tragic humanitarian cost."
Bakoyannis added:"Greece is the first country which generously offered its help to the troubled people of Lebanon and with its great merchant fleet already played an important role in the evacuation of Lebanon. Within this context, we must also congratulate the Republic of Cyprus for its enormous role, the transportation and hospitality of tens of thousands of people from the region of Lebanon."
 KKE opposes draft UN resolution on Lebanon
ATHENS, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Sunday expressed its opposition on a UN Security Council draft resolution on the Lebanon war jointly prepared by the U.S. and France.
"The draft resolution on Lebanon jointly tabled by France and the U.S. at the UN Security Council is an unacceptable text which fully vindicates Israeli aggressors, justifies their countless crimes and with a provocative bluntness makes clear that the common objective of the imperialist forces was and continues to be the wiping out of the resistance by the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples," the KKE said in an announcement.
"The U.S.-French agreement shows that the provocative support to Israeli aggressiveness also concerns the U.S. and the European Union's plans in the region. It is an organic part of the plan for the "broader Middle East" and its so-called democratization against the interests of all peoples of the region," it added.
The KKE called on the Greek government not to support and not vote for "this unjust and aggressive draft resolution" and invited Greek citizens to participate in a protest rally on Tuesday, August 8.
Synasmismos calls for a 'nuclear-free Middle East': Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) Political Bureau member Panos Trigazis, who is responsible for the party's foreign policy, on Sunday said that "the most effective and reliable solution is for the Middle East to be converted into a nuclear-free zone."
In an announcement, he said that "an international conference on the matter must be held, within the framework of the United Nations, with the participation of all the countries of the region and of the five official nuclear powers."
Trigazis added that "the U.S.-French plan concerning the war in Lebanon and which is advanced to the UN Security Council, is completely unacceptable," noting that "it does not foresee an immediate ceasefire, while the slaughter is continuing, neither the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Lebanon."
A Synaspismos announcement on Saturday said:” The anti-nuclear and anti-war outcry of Hiroshima which the American militarists turned into a vast graveyard on August 6, 1945, is much stronger this year where Israel's war against Lebanon is raging. On the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the first nuclear holocaust, SYN believes that within the framework of the struggle for a nuclear-free world, the proposal for a nuclear-free Middle East acquires particular importance."
Meanwhile, Synaspismos candidate for the Athens-Piraeus supra-prefecture, Yiannis Panousis, in a statement on Saturday on the occasion of the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, said:” The dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima did not simply seal the end of the war, but at the same time opened the door for mass exterminations, of blind strikes with thousands of innocent dead. Neither humanitarian law, neither the law of war, neither any international treaty can any more intercept the perception and practices for 'a total eradication of the enemy'."
Panousis added:"It is not simply an issue of nuclear danger and devastation. It is that since then, humanity does not manage to bury in time its dead (in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon)."
Concluding, he said that "the person who so easily kills his fellow-person, is neither an imperialist nor a revolutionary. He is simply the enemy of his children, that is, the future of humanity."
 Interior Minister Pavlopoulos visits Rhodes, says priority will be given to regions
ATHENS, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos visited the island of Rhodes over the weekend and said on Saturday evening that "the country's future depends on the regions and local government and this priority becomes action by the government."
Earlier in the day, he chaired a meeting at which taking part were Southern Aegean Region secretary-general Haralambos Kokkinos, Dodecanese Prefect Yiannis Maheridis, deputies Anastasios Karamarios and Vassilis Chrysis and the administrative council of the Local Union of Municipalities and Communities.
"The declaration by the prime minister (Costas Karamanlis) that the time has come for the regions was not simply a signal but a government priority," said Pavlopoulos, stressing that "the country's future depends on the progress of the regions and of local government and this is seen also by the 4th Community Support Framework (CSP) with which this priority becomes action."
The minister accused the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement of "hopelessly attempting to distort the truth" and presented data showing that the absorption of funds for the Regional Operational Programs "has more than doubled and the funds to local government has tripled."
He said that "in no way will the administrative infrastructure of the country change," adding that "the five supra-regions which will be created will be apparatuses of support of the municipalities and prefectures for the implementation of the projects of the 4th Community Support Framework."
On Sunday, Pavlopoulos reiterated the need for local government to be further strengthened and for particular emphasis to be given in the development of the regions, noting that this was the government's priority.
Pavlopoulos inaugurated on Sunday the municipal stadium of Kamiros, a project which started being built 13 years ago. He said that this fact "constitutes a characteristic example that the State in previous years did not help local government as much as it should have."
He added that "our commitment is that local government should have all the necessary means to operate according to its needs."
He later visited the hotel complex "Elafos and Elafina" in the region of Profiti Ilia which operates under the responsibility of Kamiros municipality.
At noon on Sunday, he visited Attavyros municipality where he inaugurated the new town hall. Its construction cost 1,250,000 euros.
 Greece's ruling ND party deputy Kalogirou visits Cyprus
NICOSIA, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA/CAN)Greece's ruling New Democracy (ND) party deputy Christina Kalogirou, who is in Cyprus on the occasion of an anti-occupation event organized by the municipality of the Turkish-occupied city of Famagusta, assured Cyprus Parliament President Demetris Christofias on Saturday that "the solution of the Cyprus problem is the main concern of the Greek government and of the Greek people."
Kalogirou stressed that "I say this through knowledge and with complete awareness that Greek foreign policy and Greek diplomacy are committed to the objective of a just solution of the Cyprus problem."
 Justice minister drafting bill for cracking down of corruption in the private sector
ATHENS, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras is drafting a bill for the cracking down of corruption in the private sector, it was announced on Saturday.
With the new bill, a level of protection of transparency in all transactions is established in Greece, similar with that of the countries of the Council of Europe.
The bill ratifies the Council of Europe's Penal Law Treaty on corruption, as well as the added to this protocol, and foresees the taking of measures for the combating of the exertion of influence, money laundering of income from corruption offences and of balance sheet offences or the covering up of other illegal acts.
Thus, any one who attempts with intent to exert influence or offer any exchange to any person (director, private individual in a position) so as to benefit illegally, will be punished with imprisonment ranging from one to five years.
 Employment Minister Tsitouridis criticizes PASOK's V. Papandreou over Emporiki Bank issue
ATHENS, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis has launched a stinging attack against Vasso Papandreou, head of the Economy Department of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), regarding the issue of the sale of Emporiki Bank.
In an interview in the Sunday edition of "Ethnos" newspaper, Tsitouridis accused Vasso Papandreou that "she is threatening administrative of social insurance funds," and termed such actions as "unacceptable, third-world and interventions of shame."
The employment minister also said that "the reactions of the bank's employees come from a minority which gives a rearguard battle." He underlined that "he does not understand their reactions," given that "not only jobs are not endangered, but also new prospects are opening for the expansion and increase of jobs in and out of Greece."
Replying to a question regarding the extension of the "Naoussa model" in other regions as well, Tsitouridis said that it will be implemented in regions "with double the rate of unemployment of the national average and such regions are Florina and Kastoria and in essence the whole of western Macedonia." He said that the implementation of the specific "model" will be implemented in the textile and tobacco sectors.
He also said that there will be a legislative initiative in autumn for the creation of a Social Solidarity Fund.
To another question, Tsitouridis said that "the status of early retirement will not be harmed and supported will be all those who after the age of 50 find difficulty in finding a job so as to complete the required time for them to get their pension."
Regarding the finding of new resources for the social insurance system, the employment minister said that with legislative initiative in autumn, a "unified apparatus of inspection" will be created for all the social insurance funds.
 'Agricultural August 2006' events inaugurated in Crete
7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)Deputy Development Minister Anastasios Nerantzis has said that the standardization and certification of quality products "can constitute the spearhead of the extroversion for Crete's agricultural products, but also the 'passport' for their conquest of the international markets."
He made the statements while opening the"Agricultural August 2006" events which are taking place in Hania, Crete.
Nerantzis and Agricultural Development and Foods Ministry secretary-general Christos Avgoulas on Friday night inaugurated at the city's old port the exhibition of agricultural, traditional and local art products, at which 83 businesses of Crete are participating.
The deputy development minister referred to the government's efforts and initiatives for the projection and promotion of olive oil but also of other agricultural products.
On his part, Hania Prefect George Katsanevakis said "the projection and promotion of local products is the basic target of 'Agricultural August', which is taking place for the 8th consecutive year."
The "Agricultural August" events will continue until August 13.
 Culture Minister Voulgarakis on strategy for return of the Parthenon Marbles
ATHENS, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)Culture Minister George Voulgarakis has said that "the strategy for the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles must be shaped on a realistic basis and independent of nationalistic-centered obsessions."
In an interview in the Sunday edition of "Chora" newspaper, the minister said "such a strategy is necessary so that its objective purposes be feasible."
Voulgarakis also said that the request for the return of the Parthenon Marbles "must be detached from the supra-patriotic and nationalistic perceptions which swayed to date the policies which were sought to be paved or which were implemented."
This detachment, he said, "will give the possibility so that the request of repatriation to exactly have the meaning of the restoration of culture throughout the whole of mankind."
The culture minister also said that the return of the Parthenon Marbles "could not but be harmonized with the spirit of the era and with conjunction."
He explained that "the terms of this diplomatic game," as he described the whole procedure for the return, "are determined by rules of reciprocation." In this context, "our country, due to its numerous antiquities, can lend or grant monuments of its classical heritage or superb works of art, so that they can be put on show in exhibition tours abroad," he said.
 President Papoulias inaugurates 'Speech and Art Festival' in Lefkada
7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias inaugurated in the Ionian island of Lefkada on Sunday evening the 51st Festival of Speech and Art and the International Conference dedicated to architect and archaeologist Wilhelm Dorpfeld.
In his address, Papoulias expressed his particular joy of being in Lefkada, "the island which enchants all those who visit it, an island with countless artistic powers, birthplace of many of the most important creators who contributed in the development of modern Greek culture."
 Te Deum held in Thessaloniki in memory of Roma executed by Nazis
7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)A Te Deum was held in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Sunday in memory of the thousands of Roma (Gypsies) who were executed by the Nazis.
The service was held at the church of Saint Nektarios, in Menemeni municipality.
It is estimated that the number of Roma executed throughout Europe ranges between 400,000 to 500,000.
 Car bombed in Athens suburb of Ekali
ATHENS, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)A car was bombed at 2 a.m. on Saturday on Lofou 5 street, in Athens' northern suburb of Ekali and police attribute the explosion which occurred to "personal differences."
The explosion was possibly caused by a hand grenade which was thrown by two unidentified persons riding a motorbike.
The car belongs to a security company employee, who was on duty at the time outside the home of a businessman who is away on holidays.
 Cars and motorbikes fire-bombed in Athens district of Kallithea
ATHENS, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)Unidentified youths at 3:15 a.m. on Saturday fire-bombed with flammable liquid cars and motorbikes which were parked at the junction of Aghion Panton and Sapfous, in the Athens district of Kallithea.
Five motorbikes and a car which were parked on the road were damaged by the fire.
 Ship pollutes Attica coastline
ATHENS, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA)A ship which polluted the coastline of Attica on Saturday has not yet been located.
According to port authority officials, the ship, while sailing off the coast of Attica, polluted, by spilling oil, a radius of 30 meters in Vouliagmeni, and a radius of 20 meters in Varkiza.
Municipal crews spread to the two coasts to clear them from the oil spill.
The main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Sunday accused the government of "indifference in dealing with the problem" in the Saronic Gulf.
 Acting President briefs foreign guests on Cyprus
NICOSIA, 7/8/2006 (ANA/MPA/CAN)Acting President of the Republic and House President Demetris Christofias briefed Saturday foreign MPs and other
guests who were in Cyprus for Saturday's annual anti-occupation ceremony entitled ''solution - reunification - peace'' organized by the Famagusta Municipality.
Speaking after the meeting, Famagusta Mayor Yiannakis Skordis said the discussion of the issue of Famagusta, within the framework of the technical committees "can offer a lot to issues of substance and day to day issues''.
Member of the British Parliament Eddie O' Hara speaking on behalf of the British delegation said ''we are long standing friends of Cyprus in the British Parliament and have a long commitment to the solution of this problem''.
''This violation of the human rights not only of Greek-Cypriots but of Turkish-Cypriots on the past 32 years, we feel that as if each year goes by the problem becomes more urgent for a solution because facts are established on the ground'', he added.
"And you will be well aware," he stressed, "that in the Bay of Salamis in particular the facts are been established on the ground and set in concrete in the foundations of holiday villas, built on the property of Greek-Cypriots in the occupied area."
''We reaffirm our commitment to the solution of this problem and we reaffirm our political particular commitment to the solution of the problem of Famagusta which we feel has the potential to be the key and the catalyst for a wider solution of the Cyprus problem with the former rightful Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots coming back to a regenerated city, coming forward to a solution of the Cyprus problem and prosperity for a united Cyprus'', he concluded.
MP of New Democracy Christina Kalogirou reaffirmed that the Cyprus problem is the first priority of the Greek government.
Patra Mayor Andreas Karavolas said that during the briefing with Mr. Christofias, he was informed about the latest developments on the Cyprus issue and expressed hope that a solution be found the soonest possible.