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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM briefed by health minister on sector reforms
  • [02] FM visits Greek frigate in Beirut
  • [03] Papadopoulos: Turkey trying to avoid July 8 accord

  • [01] PM briefed by health minister on sector reforms

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday was briefed on the reforms being implemented in the health sector, during a meeting with Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    The minister referred to the adoption of a new system and programme on procurements, adding that health sector reforms are being implemented at a rapid pace.

    He said a procurement commission chairman will be selected amongst a number of candidates to ensure that all necessary requirements will be met and that the person appointed to the post will have the approval of the responsible parliament committee.

    Primary healthcare is also being promoted, said Avramopoulos, while a special emphasis will be given to prevention, with the establishment of a national council on prevention to convene with the participation of institutions and media representatives.

    Regarding statements by main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, referring to an alleged procurements' scandal, Avramopoulos said the allegations were unfounded, while he stressed that the current government has launched a major effort for transparency in transactions to reverse the situation it inherited.

    [02] FM visits Greek frigate in Beirut

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis visited the Greek Navy frigate "Hydra" at the port of Beirut on Thursday.

    Bakoyannis congratulated its skipper and crew for a job well done, stressing that thanks to their efforts Greece has a presence and a voice in the region.

    The frigate along with two other Greek naval vessels participate in the UNIFILMAROPS force, whose mission is to block the illegal import into Lebanon of weapons and military equipment.

    The frigate's skipper, Lt. Commander Yannis Samaras, referred to Greece's overall contribution to the region since last summer, when the Greek Navy was mobilized for the safe transportation of Greek and foreign nationals away from Lebanon's war zones.

    While in Beirut, Bakoyannis is scheduled to meet with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and later with Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Foreign Minister Tareq Mitri.

    The meeting with parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri was canceled due to the funeral of a parliament deputy killed in the terrorist attack that rocked Beirut on Wednesday.

    Caption: Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is greeted by skipper of the Hellenic Navy Frigate "Hydra" on Thursday, June 14, 2007, as the vessel is docked in Beirut's port. ANA-MPA / A. DOUKAS.

    [03] Papadopoulos: Turkey trying to avoid July 8 accord

    Turkey appears to be trying to slide out of agreements made for progress on the Cyprus issue, especially the agreement of July 8, 2006, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said in an interview with the ANA-MPA, released on Thursday.

    "It is my belief that the Turkish side wants to return to the position that the Annan plan, with a few decorative modifications, must be the basis for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem," Papadopoulos said, adding that this was the main reason why the July 8 agreement had not been implemented so far.

    He also categorically denied that his government had relegated a solution to the Cyprus problem to the distant future - stressing that a solution was urgent but could not be found unilaterally. He also flatly dismissed criticism that his policies were leading to a permanent division of the island republic.

    "I reject that charge as unacceptable because, apart from anything else, everyone knows that the conditions for promoting the separatist goals of the Turkish side did not originate with the Greek side or with me, but from the occupation of Turkish forces and the climate cultivated in the past, namely, that the Annan plan - which contains divisive provisions - could be acceptable," Papadopoulos stressed.

    The Cyprus president blamed the current stalemate over the Cyprus issue on the reluctance of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side to engage in substantial talks and the failure to implement the July 8 agreement, which called for the establishment of technical committees and working teams to carefully prepare the groundwork for talks leading to a Cyprus solution.

    He pointed out that the two sides on the island had reached a "common understanding" regarding the composition and the start of the operation of the working groups envisioned under the July 8 deal in March but that the Turkish side had then abandoned the effort.

    According to Papadopoulos, the Turkish Cypriot side was seeking to extricate itself from the process initiated by UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari, which departed from the Annan plan.

    "This policy is dictated by Ankara and we know this with certainty," the Cyprus president added.

    Asked to comment on Turkey's insistence on arguments claiming that the Turkish-Cypriots were "economically excluded", Papadopoulos said Ankara was no longer pushing for the recognition of the illegal regime in northern Cyprus as a separate state, since that would automatically exclude it from the European Union and the concomitant benefits, but was now attempting to "upgrade" the status of the illegal regime in a mistaken interpretation of both the letter and spirit of the 2004 EU directive for direct trade with Turkish Cypriots.

    He also stressed that the term "direct trade" did not arise in any part of the resolution of April 2004 nor in the later regulation arising from it.

    "We have stated to the European Union, and we constantly raise and argue in all countries and forums, that so-called 'direct trade' does not aim at the economic growth of Turkish Cypriots nor does it promote the second part of the decision of April 26, which is to promote the economic integration and reunification of Cyprus. Therefore, every provision of the regulation that does not serve reunification we legitimately and justifiably reject," he said.

    Asked whether Cyprus' position was understood by its EU partners and the international community, Papadopoulos claimed that Nicosia's view was increasingly accepted and that more and more EU member-states agreed that Turkey was seeking political rather than economic benefits via the regulation.

    Regarding the approach of new United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the Cyprus issue, Papadopoulos said that the Secretary General did not appear to have arrived at any firm opinion yet, adding that they were due to meet in September when the Cyprus president will travel to New York for the UN General Assembly.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.

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