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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-30

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Molyviatis briefs President on foreign policy issues, Turkey's European course
  • [02] Simulation of fatal August aircraft accident completed in Hania
  • [03] Papandreou outlines demands for EU-Turkey, Greek-Turkish relations
  • [04] ND secretary meets with outgoing Palestinian envoy
  • [05] Thessaloniki hopes to get icon of St. Demetrius for Oct. 28 national holiday

  • [01] Molyviatis briefs President on foreign policy issues, Turkey's European course

    Foreign minister Petros Molyviatis said Friday that 'everything will be decided Sunday night" at the emergency meeting of the EU Council of Foreign ministers in Luxembourg, vis-a-vis Turkey's European course.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Molyviatis said he had briefed the President on "the latest developments in the major foreign policy issues and the prospects".

    Immediately afterwards, Molyviatis met with US ambassador in Athens Charles Ries.

    After the meeting, Ries expressed hope that the Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU would commence according to schedule on Monday, "as decided by the European Council (summit) of December".

    Asked to comment on the Greek government's stance vis-a-vis Turkey's European prospects, Ries said that for a long time Greece has made it clear that it considers it considers support of Turkey's European expectations to be of strategic importance.

    The British EU presidency on Thursday called an extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers for Sunday in Luxembourg, on the eve of the formal commencement of Turkey's European Union accession negotiations with the EU, after the EU's Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) failed on Thursday to adopt the negotiations framework for Turkey, or negotiations mandate.

    A spokesman for the British EU presidency said Thursday that it had not been possible for COREPER to reach agreement on the text of the negotiations mandate. According to sources, the stumbling block was Austria's insistence that the text should explicity offer Ankara a 'privileged partnership' with the EU as an alternative to full membership in the event that the accession negotiations were not satisfactorily concluded.

    The draft negotiations mandate acknowledges that the shared objective was Turkish entry into the EU, but states that the negotiations are an open-ended process, the outcome of which cannot be guaranteed beforehand.

    The draft EU political declaration, or negotiations mandate, is due to be presented by the EU's British presidency to Turkey on October 3 (Monday), at the formal commencement of the Turkey-EU accession talks.

    The spokesman added that efforts will continue and, prior to the EU foreign ministers' meeting, bilateral talks would be held between the British EU presidency and Austria.

    Την ελπίδα οι ενταξιακές διαπραγματεύσεις της Τουρκίας με την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση να αρχίσουν στις 3 Οκτωβρίου,«όπως αποφασίστηκε στο Ευρωπαϊκό Συμβούλιο του Δεκεμβρίου», εξέφρασε ο πρεσβευτής των ΗΠΑ Τσαρλς Ρις μετά το τέλος της συνάντησης που είχε νωρίτερα σήμερα με τον υπουργό Εξωτερικών Πέτρο Μολυβιάτη.

    Απαντώντας σε ερώτηση σχετικά με την στάση της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης στο θέμα, ο κ. Ρις επισήμανε ότι «εδώ και πολύ καιρό η Ελλάδα έχει καταστήσει σαφές ότι θεωρεί στρατηγικά σημαντική την στήριξη των ευρωπαϊκών προσδοκιών της Τουρκίας».-

    [02] Simulation of fatal August aircraft accident completed in Hania

    A simulation of the fatal flight that crashed in a north Attica valley on August 14 was completed on Friday at a training centre for Olympic Airlines pilots in Hania.

    The re-enactment is considered extremely important by experts investigating the causes of the crash and was carried out on a simulator used to train pilots to fly the same type of aircraft, the Boeing 737.

    The entire aircraft accident investigation commission were in Hania on Friday morning to observe the results of the simulation, headed by commission chairman Akrivos Tsolakis.

    Sources said that all the data currently available was fed into the simulator to re-enact the entire Helios Airways flight, which crashed killing all passengers and crew. The entire process lasted roughly four hours, after which the investigators left without making any statements.

    [03] Papandreou outlines demands for EU-Turkey, Greek-Turkish relations

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday continued his sharp criticism of the government, touching mostly on press allegations of cronyism and favoritism in public-sector appointments, while at the same time outlining his party's demands regarding EU-Turkey and Greek-Turkish relations.

    The former foreign minister spoke to supporters and cadres during a fourth national council of PASOK.

    While beginning his address with attacks against the government over the alleged instances of favoritism and partisanship, in tandem with sternly criticising a public opinion view of "they're all the same", Papandreou charged that the government was following a policy of "artful neutrality" vis-a-vis the high-level political discussions currently swirling around Ankara's EU prospects.

    Among others, he called on the Greek government to aim for a "Helsinki II" bolstered by specific commitments, guarantees and a timetable, including the resolution of the Aegean continental shelf issue. He said Athens should propose a December 2006 timetable for solving pending issues, otherwise, Turkey should accept jurisdiction of the International Court at The Hague if negotiations fail.

    Regarding the long-standing Cyprus issue, he said a specific reference should be made to the commencement of stepped negotiations within a prescribed time period under the UN's auspices and with the active participation of the European Union, given that Cyprus is an EU member-state.

    Echoing long-standing Greek foreign policy strategy, he said such negotiations should lead to a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on the Union's acquis communautaire, while he said it was "self-evident" that implementation of the EU-Turkey customs agreement will begin.

    Additionally, Papandreou said a negotiation framework for the EU-Turkey accession talks should include a monitoring mechanism to make sure that Ankara implements and meets criteria.

    Finally, he criticised the government for implementing a 42-percent election limit for mayors and prefects in next year's local government elections.

    Gov't reaction

    In response to Papandreou's comments, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said:

    "With leaps into the past and efforts to perpetuate divisionary dilemmas that injured this land, the only thing that Mr. Papandreou is doing is to demolish the view of 'another policy' that he once cited."

    [04] ND secretary meets with outgoing Palestinian envoy

    Ruling New Democracy party secretary and top deputy Vangelis Meimarakis on Friday received the Palestinian diplomatic mission's envoy here, Marwan Abdelhamid, as the latter is expected to leave his post in Athens next month.

    Afterwards, Abdelhamid said he thanked Meimarakis for both his and the partyβs solidarity vis-a-vis the Palestinian issue.

    [05] Thessaloniki hopes to get icon of St. Demetrius for Oct. 28 national holiday

    A priceless Byzantine-era icon of St. Demetrius, patron saint of Thessaloniki, has been requested by the northern Greek city from an Italian museum in order to be placed on display for the October 28 national holiday, when Greeks celebrate their resistance to the Axis powers of WWII and the feast day of St. Demetrius two days earlier.

    The icon is a miniature, measuring just 9x6 centimetres, and portrays the saint in military uniform, bearing a lance and a shield, against a gold background. The icon is from the Sasso Ferrato Museum and dates from the 13th century. It was taken to Italy from Constantinople before the city was sacked and this is the second time it will be travelling outside Italy's borders after it was loaned for an exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum.

    The request of the icon was an initiative of the Thessaloniki municipality and the Italian Educational Institute in the city.

    According to the head of the Italian Institute in Thessaloniki Enzzo Perraro, the icon has historic as well as artistic value, being an example of cooperation between Greeks and the Catholic humanists that helped usher in the Renaissance.

    The icon's transfer has been approved by local authorities in Sasso Ferrato, while the approval of the Italian Culture Ministry is still pending. If the ministry's approval comes through, the tiny icon will be placed on display in the Church of St. Demetrius for about a month, city officials said.

    This year's holiday marks the conclusion of 17 centuries since the saint's martyrdom. According to Deputy Mayor of Culture Haris Aidonopoulos, the icon is considered of equal importance with the lost icon of the Virgin that was once paraded on the walls of Byzantium during a siege.


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