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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-07

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Final countdown to PASOK elections
  • [02] Papariga urges shift from 1992 policy on FYROM
  • [03] SYRIZA leader holds talks with Skopje gov't

  • [01] Final countdown to PASOK elections

    Candidates for the leadership of main opposition PASOK continued to tour the country on Wednesday as the final countdown to the party's internal elections on Sunday began. Current PASOK leader and opinion poll favourite George Papandreou started a tour of the island of Crete, while his main rival Evangelos Venizelos was speaking in Livadia, central Greece.

    Arriving in the Cretan city of Iraklion, Papandreou said he was visiting the island at a difficult time when it was having to face "phenomena of regression" linked to client politics that had to be put to an end "both here and all over Greece".

    He added that PASOK was also waging its own battle against the same phenomena and in order to become a party that genuinely expresses the democratic people.

    "In this battle, the people of Crete are not simply supporters, but are also waging the battle not just for November 11 (Sunday's election) but also for November 12, for a new beginning for PASOK and a new hope for Greece," he said.

    The PASOK leader also visited the Heraklion hospital, where a police officer who was critically injured by gunshot in an ambush on a police convoy during a drug raid on Monday in the Zoniana community was being treated.

    According to Venizelos, meanwhile, the "wager of the elections" was responsible for the current climate of tension within the main opposition party and he also appealed to friends and members of PASOK to come out in force to take part in Sunday's elections.

    He also repeated an earlier statement that "the true message of the elections is whether PASOK will create the conditions for a victorious result or whether it will suffer a strategic defeat".

    In comments on the police operation at Zoniana in Iraklio on Crete, Venizelos noted that this was not an issue that could be solved with a one-off police raid with live televised coverage and stressed that the problems were "known and long-term".

    Earlier on Wednesday, Venizelos stopped at a drug rehabilitation centre in Thiva, where he also met with the local mayor and local authority staff and the prefect of Viotia to discuss the region's environmental problems, especially pollution in the Asopos River.

    On Wednesday afternoon he is due to meet PASOK's prefectural committee in Lamia and address an open meeting in the city.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou (left) and veteran party member Apostolos Kaklamanis (right) talking across the aisle during the course of PASOK's National Conference on Sunday, 04 November 2007, in Athens. ANA-MPA/Katerina Mavrona.

    [02] Papariga urges shift from 1992 policy on FYROM

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Wednesday called on the government to "disengage" itself from the Council of Political Party Leaders decision of 1992 and agree with FYROM on a name for the neighbouring country containing the word "Macedonia" in an exclusively geographical context.

    Papariga made the statements to the press after a 45-minute meeting with prime minister Costas Karamanlis, saying that she had put forward three matters.

    The first matter was that: Any name agreed for FYROM could contain the word "Macedonia" in an exclusively geographical context, at the same time safeguarding Greece from any irredentist intent on the part of Skopje, noting that "there is nothing in our country that FYROM can set claim to".

    The second matter was that: 2007 has many differences with respect to 1992, since 1992 was the beginning of the drama in the Balkans, while today the EU and the US have established themselves in the region, and so has Russia, with its interventions on the pipelines.

    The government, she continued, must clarify its position and take a stance against Kosovo independence, because possible independence of Kosovo could lead to destabilisation.

    She also stressed that the creation of a "second US protectorate in the region" must be averted, warning that in such an eventuality, and because lack of a delineated border between Kosovo and FYROM "could lead to (the creation of) a second Albanian state".

    Regarding the Greek business presence in Skopje, Papariga said that the companies were not bridges of friendship, but "go there for profit". The bridge of friendship is the peoples, she said, and described the Kosovo issue as critical also for Greek-FYROM relations.

    The third matter, the KKE leader continued, was that she called on the government to react immediately to statements by Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki "who said we should go into Skopje and take land".

    Also, Papariga said, the KKE rejects the "chauvinistic propaganda of LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally party) and the cosmoplitan theories of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left party)".

    Replying to press questions, Papariga said that her party was not recommending any specific name. The KKE, she explained, was purely in favour of a geographical determination in FYROM's name.

    To another question on provocations by FYROM such as the renaming of the Skopje airport into "Alexander the Great Airport", Papariga said that such matters should be "left to the historians, because such issues cannot enter into the diplomatic relations between countries".

    Regarding the prospects for solution being found to the FYROM name issue, the KKE leader said that "things don't appear to be easy", adding that the FYROM leadership "is not even discussing" the problem, and "has strong backing".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga.

    [03] SYRIZA leader holds talks with Skopje gov't

    Alekos Alavanos, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party in Parliament and also of its main constituent member, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN), on Wednesday had a series of meetings with the state and political leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) during a visit to that country, which he said were conducted in a "warm and friendly climate".

    Alavanos was received by FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in the presence of the country's foreign minister Antonio Milososki, as well as by FYROM's President Branko Crvenkovski, the leader of the main opposition Social Democratic Union (SDSM) party Igor Ivanovski and the president of the Socialist Party Ljubisa Ivanov-Zingo.

    Their talks focused on bilateral issues, regional issues and the dispute between Greece and FYROM over the latter's name.

    After the meetings, Alavanos said that the aim of his talks in Skopje had been to underline the need for broader dialogue that would lead to a resolution of this dispute. He stressed that disagreements and different views between the two sides should not be an obstacle to discussion.

    Milososki said that emotions had to calm down and that "greater realism" was needed, so tht the two countries could work together in friendship and overcome the problems that exist. He underlined that Greece was his country's nearest and foremost neighbour and that FYROM expected help from Greece in achieving what Greece had succeeded in doing decades before, which was to join EuroAtlantic structures.

    He added that meetings like that with Alavanos on Wednesday help develop a climate of mutual understanding.


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