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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-22

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek president calls on EU hopeful Turkey to respect religious, minority rights
  • [02] Greenpeace calls on Greeks to use cars less
  • [03] Greece beats Russia 66-61 in Eurobasket championship, qualifies for semifinals
  • [04] Greek and French FMs discuss PM's talks with French President, PM in Paris
  • [05] OA sale sale process likely to end within three weeks

  • [01] Greek president calls on EU hopeful Turkey to respect religious, minority rights

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Thursday reiterated his call to neighboring Turkey, a European Union hopeful, to unequivocally respect the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in the country if it wants to facilitate its course towards Europe. Papoulias, a former foreign minister, made the comments during his welcome for visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, the head of the venerable Istanbul-based Patriarchate.

    "If it (Ankara) wants a sincere and substantive (EU) accession course ... on the basis of principles and values, then it must embrace basic tenets of democracy, and respect, without discrimination, religious and minority freedoms," Papoulias said.

    He also noted that the scheduled commencement of Turkey's accession talks with the Union (Oct. 3) should act as a catalyst for such issues, "if Turkey's European course is to have a successful conclusion."

    Moreover, the Greek president also referred to the obstacles placed last week by the Ankara government vis-a-vis a visit by the Pope the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    Finally, Papoulias listed off a handful of steps that he said comprise a condition for a further rapprochement in already improved Greek-Turkish relations, namely, Ankara's recognition of the Patriarchate's ecumenical stature; the re-opening of the Halki Orthodox seminary as well as the legal protection of ethnic Greek charitable foundations and endowments in the neighboring country.

    [02] Greenpeace calls on Greeks to use cars less

    The environmental organisation Greenpeace urged Greek politicians and citizens to change attitudes regarding the use of cars in a statement it issued on Thursday on occasion of European Car Free Day.

    According to Greenpeace, there are 5 million vehicles (cars and motorcycles) registered in Greece which are responsible for 80% of air pollution in Athens and other urban centres during the year's hot months.

    Furthermore, Greenpeace noted that Greeks bought 290,000 new cars last year, while auto manufacturers spent more than 140 million in advertising.

    Numerous Greek cities have high levels of PM10, fine particles which to a great extent are created by the burning of fossil fuels in cars and are hazardous to human health.

    According to Greenpeace, Thessaloniki's PM10 levels exceed the permissible level of 50 g/m3 two days out of three; Athens one out of two days; followed by Larissa and Patras.

    [03] Greece beats Russia 66-61 in Eurobasket championship, qualifies for semifinals

    The Greek national basketball team beat Russia 66-61 on Thursday night and qualified for the semifinals of the men's 34th Eurobasket championship taking place in Belgrade. It is the first time in eight years that the national team manages to reach the semifinals, since the last time was in the Eurobasket championship held in Barcelona in 1997.

    The national team's top scorer in the match was Thodoris Papaloukas who scored 23 points in the quarterfinal played at the Beogradcka Arena stadium in Belgrade.

    Greece's opponent in the semifinals will be the winner of the match between Lithuania and France.

    The 10-minute scores in the match were 13-2, 33-26, 40-44, 61-66.

    [04] Greek and French FMs discuss PM's talks with French President, PM in Paris

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, who arrived in the French capital on Wednesday, held talks with his French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy on Thursday which focused, as he told reporters, on the preparation of meetings Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be having on Friday with French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

    The two ministers discussed bilateral relations in the political, defence and economic sectors, as well as cooperation between the two countries in international organisations and the European Union in particular.

    Molyviatis said the issue of enlargement and Turkey were a special topic of discussion with his French counterpart.

    "We discussed France's position which is very well known on this issue, as well as Greece's position, which, in any case, were expressed in the text of Europe's counter-statement to the statement by Turkey. All the positions of our side were satisfied in this text. The text, indeed, gives a satisfactory reply to the problems caused by Turkey's statement," the Greek minister said.

    "The next and probably more important text which constituted an object of long negotiations in past weeks is the negotiating framework which determines, generally speaking, Turkey's course in Europe," he added.

    Molyviatis stressed that Greece carried out "tough negotiations" on this text and has already been closed as regards Greek issues. However, it has not yet received final approval because some countries have reservations on certain other issues.

    The foreign minister further said that provided that it is finally approved and negotiations with Turkey begin on October 3 "I believe that gradually, in stages, the path will be paved for a new era in relations between Greece and Turkey. An era of peace and cooperation which shall benefit the Greek people and the Turkish people, as well as peace and stability in our entire region. The issue of Cyprus will also find a solution in this framework. I believe that this is a great service offered to the Greek people by the government of Costas Karamanlis, as well as to peace and stability in our region."

    The French foreign ministry's spokesperson said the meeting between the two ministers was "excellent", since an agreement was ascertained between both sides both on bilateral issues and on European ones.

    "We are on the same lines which allow us to proceed together, particularly on the issues of Europe which are very important both for France and Greece," he stressed.

    The French spokesperson also said that the two ministers discussed the bilateral agreement on cooperation between the two countries on security and defence issues which will be signed on Friday.

    [05] OA sale sale process likely to end within three weeks

    A privatisation process underway for national carrier Olympic Airlines is likely to end within three weeks, Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis said on Thursday.

    If a sale agreement is reached, it will be sent to parliament for ratification, Liapis told a house committee.

    Liapis declined to say what the government would do if the sale attempt fell flat as he said any statements on OA's future could damage the current situation.

    Two deputies and former ministers of the main opposition PASOK party - Evangelos Venizelos and Christos Verelis - acknowledged that Liapis was making a genuine effort to revitalise Olympic.

    They added that his endeavour contrasted with statements by other senior government members, whose statements had undermined the airline's status.


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