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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 <>


  • [01] PASOK leader Papandreou meets with MPs from Central Macedonia
  • [02] Cultural ties between Greece and France tighter, Deputy Culture Minister says
  • [03] Italian FM Fini says extra conditions for Ankara a 'mistake', calls on Turkey to recognise Cyprus
  • [04] Greece named featured country at Cairo's 2006 tourism trade fair
  • [05] RAF Red Arrows perform above Faliro ahead of "Archangelos 2005" airshow
  • [06] Thessaloniki International Fair expects record number of visitors

  • [01] PASOK leader Papandreou meets with MPs from Central Macedonia

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party leader George Papandreou met with his party's MPs from Central Macedonia at PASOK's offices in Parliament on Tuesday as part of his preparations for his visit to the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair.

    During the meeting, Papandreou and the MPs debated whether the main opposition leader should limit himself to issues related to Northern Greece and Thessaloniki during his speech or not.

    According to sources, Papandreou decided to stay on the same wavelength as Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and to address general political issues.

    Papandreou was also advised to visit areas of high unemployment, a techonology park and rural areas.

    The PASOK MPs also provided Papandreou with information regarding promises the government has made but has not kept, as well as data indicating a rise in unemployment in the Thessaloniki prefecture, and the number of SMEs that have gone out of business since New Democracy has been in office.

    [02] Cultural ties between Greece and France tighter, Deputy Culture Minister says

    PARIS (ANA/O.Tsipira) - The good relations France and Greece maintain on cultural issues have improved even further, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis noted in statements he made after meeting with French Culture and Communications Minister Reno De Faber here on Tuesday.

    Among other things, Tatoulis and De Faber discussed the Greek initiative to bring together the culture ministers of Meditteranean countries, an initiative the French minister strongly supports, according to Tatoulis. The meeting is to take place in late 2005 or early 2006.

    The two officials also discussed the Greek proposal for the creation of a European Museum. The proposal will be a topic of discussion when EU Culture Ministers meet at Delphi in the first quarter of 2006.

    Greece has also proposed the creation of a Greek institute dedicated to researching the existence of ancient Greek ports in southern France.

    De Faber will be considering the proposal before making a decision.

    The Greek deputy minister invited De Faber to attend the exhibit of archaeological schools that will be held at Athens Concert Hall in October, during which the French Archaeological School, the first to open in Greece in 1846, will be honoured.

    In closing, Tatoulis said, "We have already established a great working relationship with the Beaubourg Cultural Centre and the Louvre, as well as with other French cultural organisations."

    The Louvre will be hosting a large Greek exhibit, while part of Beaubourg's exhibits will be on display in Greece.

    Tatoulis arrived in the French capital in order to attend the International "Melina Mercouri Awards" ceremony, organised by UNESCO, on Wednesday.

    [03] Italian FM 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 the visiting Italian deputy premier and foreign minister during separate meetings. Fini'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 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.

    On his part, Molyviatis expressed Athens' satisfaction with Tuesday's talks and confirmed the excellent state of relations between Greece and Italy, both on the bilateral level and within various international fora.

    The Greek FM noted that EU expansion, the Union's fiscal prospects as well as EU-Turkey relations were among the items on the agenda of talks, whereas both sides held converging views on a variety of issues.

    The situation in the Middle East and southeast Europe, in general, was also discussed, Molyviatis said, before stressing that joint efforts are necessary to ensure peace, democracy and stability in the wider region.

    "The catalyst for achieving all these goals is none other than the European prospect of all our neighbours," the Greek FM added.


    Regarding the situation in the Balkans, Fini initially referred to a "cloudy" situation in the region, before however, citing what he termed "significant steps" and initiatives by Rome and Athens towards rapprochement between Balkan countries and Europe.

    "If we want to give an European prospect to these countries we must first provide them with a European vision, as the path (towards Europe) will be long and difficult, but it can only be towards one direction: Europe," he stressed.

    Moreover, the deputy Italian premier said Greek-Italian relations were excellent, while focusing especially on robust trade and economic ties. He added that Rome's interest in upgrading bilateral relations also stems from the outstanding international image conveyed by Athens and the entire country during the successful hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games.

    The Italian minister said that while Olympic expenditures were surely high, the medium- and long-term investment entailed was quite momentous.

    In terms of combating illegal immigration, Fini said both Italy and Greece are "Europeans on the borders", a fact that forces Athens and Rome to turn the EU's attention to the Mediterranean.

    Furthermore, he again praised Greek-Italian cooperation in the fight to curb illegal immigration.

    "...if we want to deal with terrorism, we must absolutely avoid a clash between religions and civilisations," he noted.

    [04] Greece named featured country at Cairo's 2006 tourism trade fair

    CAIRO (ANA/F Dalabekos) - Greece has been named featured country at Cairo's international tourism trade fair in 2006, Egyptian Tourism Minister Mohamed Al Magrabi said on Tuesday. Al Magrabi was speaking to reporters after in a meeting in the Egyptian capital with the visiting head of the Greek National Tourism Organisation, Aristidis Kaloyeropoulos.

    The minister congratulated his counterpart, Dimitris Avramopoulos, for a rise in Greek tourism this year, and noted that Cairo was interested in learning from a dynamic Greek state publicity campaign to help its own endeavour.

    Al Magrabi and Kaloyeropoulos, who invited the Egyptian minister to Greece, discussed a joint business forum that will be held by the two countries to showcase investment opportunities.

    Also discussed at a meeting with the president of Cyprus Tourism Organisation, Fotis Fotiou, was tripartite cooperation with the island republic that is being established to attract visitors from the US, India and China.

    Finally, the Greek and Egyptian officials debated concrete plans to reopen a Greek tourism school in Cairo that closed down in 1988.

    The school is likely to open in 2006 for three-year courses. Eligible will be members of the Greek community and students from the Middle East, closening ties between Greek tourism and the Arab world, according to sources.

    Under a pact signed by Avramopoulos and Al Magrabi, the school, which had closed due to a cash shortage, will operate under the aegis of the two countries' governments. In the past, the Melachrinio School produced mostly Greek graduates, who excelled professionally in hotels around the world.

    Avramopoulos said during a visit to Cairo that the current revitalisation of ties with Egypt was long overdue; and that shipping routes should be established between the two countries.

    Greece is seeking closer business ties with Egypt, following a visit to the Arab country last year by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Signalling the impetus for a new chapter in economic links was Avramopoulos' follow-up visit this year.

    Corporate investments in Egypt by Greek firms top 500 million US dollars, led by Titan Cement Co., Zeritis, the Vardinoyiannis group and Chipita snacks.

    According to the Greek embassy's counsellor for trade and economic affairs, Dimitris Nikas, business ties between the two countries have been further reinforced by an agreement allowing mutual protection of investments; and a pact on avoidance of double taxation that is in the final stage of formulation.

    Twinning arrangements are in place between corresponding Greek and Egyptian trade groups, including stock market authorities and national tourism organisations.

    [05] RAF Red Arrows perform above Faliro ahead of "Archangelos 2005" airshow

    A squadron of Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) Red Arrows that will be participating in the international airshow "Archangelos 2005", gave a display on Tuesday afternoon over Faliro in the presence of numerous Greek officials and the British Ambassador to Greece Simon Gass. Mayor of Faliro Dionyssis Hatzidakis thanked the Hellenic Airforce and the British Royal Air Force for giving residents in the area the chance to enjoy a Red Arrows display.

    The nine aircraft will return for the Archangelos 2005 airshow in Tanagra on September 16-18.

    The Archangelos Airshow has been organised by the Greek Airforce to honour its patron saint the Archangel Michael for the first time this year, with aircraft from 19 military airforces and 12 aerospace companies taking part, in addition to the Red Arrows.

    [06] Thessaloniki International Fair expects record number of visitors

    A total of 1,070 exhibitors will participate in this year‚s Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, due to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday. The 70th TIF will cover an area of 44,000 square metres with Helexpo SA, the organisor of the fair, seeking to attract a record-number of visitors through a series of cultural events such as as concerts, art exhibitions and fashion shows with an entry fare of five euros. Helexpo‚s president Aristotelis Thomopoulos, speaking to reporters during a news conference, said the company‚s new strategic planning would ensure its profitability and announced that the new strategy focused on the business field with the organising of the 1st International Business Conference (September 14-16), the Global Exchange, the Expopartenariat and the BOSS programme.

    This year‚s fair will take place at Helexpo‚s recently renovated centre with 833 direct and 237 indirect exhibitors from 28 countries around the world (up from 20 last year).

    Official national participations rose to 21 this year from 13 in 2004 and include Egypt, Armenia, Bulgaria, Brazil, France, Germany, US, Japan, Italy, Israel, India, Indonesia, Cyprus, Hungary, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro, Slovakia, Syria and Turkey.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is expected to deliver his traditional inauguration speech on Friday presenting the government‚s economic policy directions and to visit TIF‚s facilities on Saturday. Other politica party leaders are expected to visit TIF next week with George Papandreou, main opposition PASOK party leader, to hold a news conference on Sunday, 18 September.

    Speaking to reporters, Dimitris Bakatselos, Thessaloniki International Trade Fair president, said he would present to the Prime Minister a programme of rebuilding the trade centre and said that TIF‚s telecommunications tower would be delivered to the public at the end of October after completing a renovation project worth 1.35 billion euro.

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