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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM discusses bilateral relations with Albanian counterpart
  • [02] Gov't fends off criticism over OA, points to 1994-2004 period cited by Barrot
  • [03] Communist party leader visits 70th TIF, criticises other parties

  • [01] PM discusses bilateral relations with Albanian counterpart

    NEW YORK (ANA - A. Panagopoulos) - Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis held a meeting with his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha in a very good climate, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly here on Thursday and, according to government sources, the two leaders discussed bilateral relations and exchanged invitations to visit each other's country. It was the prime minister's first meeting with Berisha, following his election to the premiership of the neighbouring country.

    Special reference was made during the meeting to the ethnic Greek minority and Berisha mentioned that his government includes a minister of Greek origin.

    Karamanlis attended the UN General Assembly's sessions since the morning, while Deputy Foreign Ministers Evripidis Stylianidis and Yiannis Valynakis represented Greece at the General Assembly's roundtable discussion and at the informal Francophony session.

    According to Greek diplomatic sources, Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis might be meeting with the special mediator on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) name Matthew Nimetz in the next few days.

    The same sources said that Greece has expressed its positions on proposals made by Nimetz and will not discuss the possibility of a double name. They also added that no new initiative and no new proposal is expected at the moment on the part of the special mediator.

    [02] Gov't fends off criticism over OA, points to 1994-2004 period cited by Barrot

    The government on Thursday appeared unforgiving in its criticism of previous PASOK governments' actions vis-a-vis ailing national carrier Olympic Airways/Airlines (OA), less than 24 hours after the European Commission ordered OA to return upwards of 500 million euros to the Greek state. In briefing reporters during his regular press conference, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos dismissed questions referring to the government's "haste" in resolving the OA quagmire and of "indirectly benefiting" the state-run company's competitors.

    In reply, Roussopoulos cited a statement by then prime minister Costas Simitis in September 2004 during his address at the Thessaloniki International Fair, namely, that conditions were ripe for resolving the situation at OA.

    The spokesman also pointed directly at statements, made a day earlier, by EU Commissioner Jacques Barrot, who spoke of "problems that began in 1994 and lasted until 2004".

    "If, therefore, 10 years are not enough for a political decision to be taken, then obviously we have differing opinions over the concept of haste," Roussopoulos said.

    He added that the entire OA issue could be debated in Parliament if one of the four parties in the legislature made such a request.

    Furthermore, he echoed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' pledge over the weekend that OA employees will not be left without jobs.

    Finally, Roussopoulos offered a detailed account of OA's losses in 2003, noting that Olympic Airways recorded damages of 388 million euros; a debt-free spin-off, Olympic Airlines, posted losses of 23 million euros within a span of 18 days, whereas Olympic's domestic arm recorded a 30-million-euro loss.

    "In total, OA posted 441 million euros in damages in 2003. In other words, that figure translates into 1.5 million euros per day," Roussopoulos emphasised, while noting that cost-cutting management policies in 2004 cut losses by 100 million.

    [03] Communist party leader visits 70th TIF, criticises other parties

    Visiting the 70th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Thursday, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga was critical of all the other parties in Parliament, while she described the promise made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis that Greece will make an economic recovery in 2008 after two years of sacrifices as 'a great lie'. She also dismissed main opposition PASOK as "not worth a penny", pointing out that the present government was simply taking the policies of Simitis' government one step further.

    Regarding the other left-wing party in Parliament, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology, Papariga said it was equally responsible because it took the same tack as the two major parties and had greatly lowered its standards.

    She called on voters to detach themselves from two main parties and lend strength to KKE, while noting that new political formations were likely and that KKE would look on these favourably and be ready to open talks with them.

    She also blamed the other parties in Parliament for the problems of the national carrier Olympic Airlines, formerly Olympic Airways, and said she was in favour of keeping OA as the only airline in Greece.

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