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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-06

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Italy's Fini says extra conditions for Ankara a 'mistake', calls on Turkey to recognise Cyprus
  • [02] Visiting US official thanks Greece for aid to hurricane-hit New Orleans
  • [03] WWF Hellas and EFG Eurobank present programme for the conservation of Parnitha's forest

  • [01] Italy's Fini says extra conditions for Ankara a 'mistake', calls on Turkey to recognise Cyprus

    Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini on Tuesday stressed that it would be a mistake for the European Union to tack on additional conditions for beginning accession talks with EU hopeful Turkey, although he unequivocally called on Ankara to recognise the Republic of Cyprus.

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had earlier received Fini during separate meetings.

    The visiting Italian FM's comments came after a meeting with his counterpart, Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, as talks expectedly focused on last week's "counter-statement" -- unveiled by the British EU presidency -- to offset Ankara's declaration in late July. The Turkish government at the time stated that it will not recognise EU member-state Cyprus until a solution to the Cyprus problem is attained.

    Turkey's diplomatic gambit was attached to an extension of a customs union protocol signed by the Ankara government to extend the pact with the EU's 10 new members, a group that includes Cyprus.

    "The European Council last December ascertained that Turkey fulfilled all of the conditions set out for it," Fini said, adding: "Turkey must at the same time bear in mind that there are issues that it cannot continuously leave for the future."

    Moreover, the Italian official praised Athens for what he called "its wise, intelligent, correct and very courageous" stance vis-a-vis Turkey's accession negotiations, while at the same time expressing a hope that such accession talks begin as scheduled on Oct. 3.

    "Ankara must also solve the major issues pending, such as recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, during the lengthy period that they (negotiations) will take," Fini nevertheless emphasised.

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, left, meets with visiting Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini in Athens on Tuesday. (ANA / A. Beltes)

    [02] Visiting US official thanks Greece for aid to hurricane-hit New Orleans

    Visiting US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Matthew Bryza on Tuesday expressed the US government's gratitude for Greece's offer of humanitarian assistance to the victims of hurricane-devastated New Orleans, during a meeting with Greece's foreign minister Petros Molyviatis.

    At the same time, deputy foreign minister Evrypides Stylianidis said Tuesday that "no unfortunate incident" involving a member of the Greek community in the stricken area has been reported.

    Bryza, who is on a two-day visit to Athens, told reporters after the meeting that finalisation of the technical details remained pending for the dispatch of the assistance.

    US ambassador in Athens Charles Ries, who also attended the meeting, noted that both he and Bryza had once again thanked the Greek government for their immediate response, stressing that "this action proves precisely how deep a relationship of friendship binds the two countries".

    Greece announced on Monday that it would provide emergency humanitarian and food assistance to the wider area of New Orleans in the US, which has suffered heavy damage from the devastating Hurricane Katrina.

    The Greek foreign ministry has undertaken an initiative to provide emergency humanitary assistance to help amelieriate the repercussions and provide aid to the hurricane victims and for restoration of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrine in the wider area of New Orleans.

    The Greek assistance included emergency humanitarian and food aid via the European Union, the despatch of a team of the EMAK disaster confrontation team to the area to help in rescue operations and the transportation of the population, and the despatch of two cruiseships to provide shelter for the coming months to locals left homeless by the hurricane, which would also be equipped with an operating room and a clinic, and would further host patients.

    [03] WWF Hellas and EFG Eurobank present programme for the conservation of Parnitha's forest

    World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Hellas and EFG Eurobank Ergasias on Tuesday presented a programme for the conservation of forest on Mount Parnitha entitled "Knowing, participating, protecting - Parnitha National Forest".

    Speakers at the press conference said the programme aimed to inform, sensitise and mobilise the public to protect the forest on the slopes of Mount Parnitha, just 30 kilometres from the Greek capital, which was the largest and most important in Attica.

    The programme's pilot phase will begin the voluntary participation of the bank's staff and the support of WWF, they said.

    According to information presented at the press conference, there is a population of 400 deer living on Parnitha and up to 42 species of mammals, of which 35 are protected and 25 are rare. There are also a recorded 1,100 species of plants, eight caves, 50 springs, in additional to archaeological sites and medieval castles within its bounds.

    A series of tours of the forests for adults and families have already begun as part of the programme, in additional to environmental education programmes for school groups and teachers.

    Representatives of EFG Eurobank said the bank had adopted an official environmental policy that included the promotion of "green" products and loans of favourable terms for businesses or entrepreneurs engaged in environmentally-friendly activities.

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias has been certified as an ISO 14001 environmental management standards company for its products and services in Attica.


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