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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece, Moldova sign three cooperation accords
  • [02] FM discusses Mideast, bilateral ties with Syria's al-Assad

  • [01] Greece, Moldova sign three cooperation accords

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received his visiting counterpart from Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, at the presidential mansion, as the latter arrived in Athens the same day for a two-day state visit at Papoulias' invitation. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis also met separately with Voronin. No statements were made afterwards.

    Voronin commenced a two-day state visit on Tuesday at the invitation of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    The Greek president expressed pleasure at the Moldovan leader's visit to Greece, stressing the historic bonds between the two nations, given that many ethnic Greek leaders had lived and held high-ranking government posts in 18th and 19th century Moldova.

    "Ypsilantis had his headquarters there, and I am certain that there will be a gift from Moldova to Greece: The return of the home where Ypsilantis lived and worked," Papoulias said, in reference to Greek independence struggle hero Alexandros Ypsilantis.

    Turning to bilateral relations, Papoulis said they were "cloudless and problem-free", noting that there was an extensive legal framework that facilitated cooperation in all sectors, a cooperation that was "friendly and cordial", while the signing earlier in the day of cooperation agreements between the two countries contributed to further strengthening of those relations.

    The Moldovan president, in turn, noted that, from the very first moment, when he and Papoulias had planted two plane trees in the town of Milies (in mountainous Pelion district of central Greece in October 2005), relations have been cordial and friendly.

    "History has proved that countries with historic bonds do not necesssarily have friendly relations. But our case is different. Our long relationship is founded on friendship, and was strengthened by the common struggles for independence," Voronin said, adding his hope that "the present-day people of Greece and Moldova will continue developing these relations".

    Turning to domestic affairs in Modova, Voronin said his country was in a period of reforms, adding that it was very important to have Greece at its side along the hard road to accession to the European structures.

    Three bilateral cooperation accords were later signed by the two governments in the presence of Papoulias and Voronin.

    A memorandum of cooperation in the sectors of public administration, personnel management and organisation was signed by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Moldova's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Public Administration Vitalie Vrabie. A cooperation agreement in the sectors of culture, education and science was signed by Education Minister Marietta Yannakou and Vrabie, while an agreement for mutual assistance between the customs authorities was signed by Finance Minister Antonis Bezas and the director general of Moldova's customs service, Feodosia Furculita.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (L) greets Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin outside his Maximos Mansion office in Athens on Tuesday, June 12, 2007. ANA-MPA / G. ANTONIOU.

    [02] FM discusses Mideast, bilateral ties with Syria's al-Assad

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was received in Damascus on Tuesday by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, on the second leg of her tour of the Middle East.

    A 90-minute expanded meeting between the delegations of the two countries was followed by a half-hour private discussion between Bakoyannis and al-Assad.

    Briefing reporters afterwards, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos, who is accompanying Bakoyannis, said the two sides had an overall discussion on the situation in the Middle East, with the focus on Lebanon, the Palestinian issue and Iraq.

    Meanwhile, Koumoutsakos declined comment over a front-page report in an Israeli newspaper that Bakoyannis was conveying a message to al-Assad from the Israeli prime minister, merely noting that "Greece does not function as an envoy of another country, but conveys its own message, which is a message of dialogue without exclusions".

    The spokesman described as "exceptionally constructive" a later meeting by Bakoyannis with Syria's deputy prime minister for economic affairs, adding that the two sides had agreed on the need for further development of bilateral economic cooperation, with emphasis on construction, shipping, transfer of know-how, energy, tourism and agriculture.

    The next step regarding economic cooperation will be a visit by Greek Deputy FM Evripides Stylianidis to Syria, heading up a business delegation in the near future, Koumoutsakos said.

    Bakoyannis was also due to have separate meetings later with Syrian vice-president Farouk al-Shara and with Foreign Minister Walid Mualem.

    In the afternoon, before departing for Amman, the capital of Jordan, Bakoyannis will also meet with Damascus-based Patriarch Ignatios of Antioch.

    Caption: Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad (L) greets Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis in Damascus on Tuesday, June 12, 2007. ANA-MPA / A. DOUKAS

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