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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-08-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Bakoyannis meets with India's Sharma
  • [02] Call on PASOK to assist with education reforms

  • [01] Bakoyannis meets with India's Sharma

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met in Athens on Monday with Indian Minister for External Affairs Anand Sharma, as talks expectedly focused on implementation of UN resolution 1701 for Lebanon and the situation throughout the Middle East. Bakoyannis stressed, in fact, that Greece, which will hold the rotating UN Security Council chair next month, "will do whatever it can to contribute to this direction, and in general, to efforts for stability and peace in the Middle East."

    She also briefed Sharma over her recent trip and contacts in the Mideast, noting that "the time has come for vigorous diplomacy, both in terms of Lebanon as well as over the Palestinian issue".

    In reference to a matter of particular importance to New Delhi, Bakoyannis said Athens supports, in principle, the election of a new UN general secretary from Asia, in tandem with the personality traits and skills such a candidate will possess.

    In terms of bilateral relations, the Greek FM cited the excellent level of Greece-India ties, adding that both countries share fundamental principles and values as well as common positions on numerous international issues. Bakoyannis stressed that civilisation and cultural matters are paramount in the Greece-India relationship, with Athens, in fact, looking forward to the opening of a Modern Greek language and studies seat at the Nehru University of New Delhi in the next few months.

    Finally, touching on the scourge of international terrorism, Bakoyannis said both sides agreed that there is no justification for "cowardly and blind violence that injures peace and peoples' and nations' progress."

    On his part, Sharma emphasised the need for increasing and boosting bilateral cooperation in the fields of technology, communications, IT services, agriculture, science, shipping and, of course, cultural exchanges.

    The Indian minister later attended a reception in his honor hosted by Bakoyannis, where he cited his government's support for expanding the UN Security Council's membership, "we believe that Greece will help, as it has always done in the past. India has ambitions as far as the UNSC is concerned," he said, adding that Bakoyannis was also invited to visit the sub-continent.

    Finally, Sharma said India has not taken any decision as yet on whether to participate in the new UN multinational force for Lebanon, saying New Delhi wants a clear mandate and rules of engagement for such a force, before again stressing that his government has not ruled out the participation of Indian troops.

    (ANA-MPA photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis meeting with Indian Minister for External Affairs Anand Sharma in Athens on Monday)

    [02] Call on PASOK to assist with education reforms

    The government on Monday issued an atypical invitation to the leader of the main opposition, PASOK leader George Papandreou, to contribute towards the establishment of a package of reforms for the country's public education system, a more-or-less sharp response to the latter's criticism a day earlier of education ministry measures.

    In commenting on Papandreou's disapproval of the government's high-profile decision to institute a mandatory 50-percent average (10 out of a perfect score of 20) for university and technical school entrance, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the PASOK leader's "expanded field of studies and abundant experience with education issues as a former education minister along with his own studies" should allow him to work with the government "on the major issue of education reforms".

    "George Papandreou should avoid vague references that simply indulge. To indulge (supporters) is a policy that, to a certain degree, may have produced results in the past. Today, though, Greek citizens want to hear the truth, and Mr. Papandreou must help in the realisation that changes are necessary," the spokesman stressed.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Minister of State and Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos)

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