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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-30

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM inaugurates Museum of Democracy on Aghios Efstratios
  • [02] Burns: Skopje must be sensitive to Greek concerns

  • [01] PM inaugurates Museum of Democracy on Aghios Efstratios

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday morning inaugurated the Museum of Democracy on the Aegean island of Aghios Efstratios, his third visit to the island in the last four years.

    "Today we are together inaugurating the Democracy Museum, a work of memory and honour. The place that in the dark years of Greek history in the past century had housed the hospital of those displaced for their political beliefs - among them Yannis Ritsos, Menelaos Lountemis, Manos Katrakis, Titos Patrikios - is being preserved, highlighted and delivered to this generation and the next," the prime minister underlined.

    Greece is now a democratic country with rule of law and that the 33 years since the restoration of democracy, all the political forces of the country had "succeeded in leaving behind the dividing lines and labels that had divided society and hurt the country", he added.

    Karamanlis stressed, however, that the quality of democracy that Greece enjoys today and the national reconciliation, unity and unanimity of Greeks in the face of major and important issues is not and should not be considered self-evident.

    "In order to reach this point, we had to all overcome bigotry and prejudice, to heal the wounds of decades, with responsible and visionary leaders from all sides making brave steps forward," he said, mentioning Andreas Papandreou, Harilaos Florakis, Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, Mikis Theodorakis, Leonidas Kyrkos and Ilias Iliou.

    He also referred to the relation of trust that had to exist between citizens and politics. "We made a promise to change things, to give realistic and reliable solutions to the problems bequeathed from yesterday. I'm not saying that all was done perfectly, but I can look you in the eye and say that we have achieved many and important things. Every day that passes, our work improves the present and creates a better tomorrow," the premier said.

    As an example, he mentioned the ferry connections to the island, saying that the situation here had improved and that procedures were currently underway to complete plans for enlarging and modernising its harbour and other projects planned for the island.

    The prime minister departed for Aghios Efstratios on Thursday night from Salamina on the Navy frigate 'Psara', accompanied by Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Merchant Marine and Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis and Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis.

    During the trip, he observed navy exercises and dined with the sailors, while at 8:15 in the morning he dropped a wreath in the sea at the point where an airman had been lost.

    He was received at the harbour of Aghios Efstratios by the community leader, residents and school children and then briefed on the island's problems. The prime minister visited the island's nursery and primary school, the gymnasium and lyceum, presented the children with PCs, a projector and a home cinema kit and then had a coffee at the coffee shop in the island's main village before his departure for Athens.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis visiting the island of Aghios Efstratios

    [02] Burns: Skopje must be sensitive to Greek concerns

    MADRID (ANA-MPA) -- Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis held talks here on Thursday, on the sidelines of the OSCE's ministerial session in Madrid, with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, who called on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to show sensitivity to Greek concerns over the "name issue". Burns called on the government of Skopje to show greater sensitivity for Greek public opinion and for the Greek government and realise that some of their actions were very provocative. Burns said after his meeting with Bakoyannis. Referring to the same issue, the Greek minister said that "we are ready to attend constructive dialogue and negotiating and we are expecting Mr. (UN special mediator Matthew) Nimetz in Athens in the coming days with this spirit."

    Burns made the following statement to the Greek press: "I had a long discussion with Mrs. Bakoyannis, whom I listened to very carefully. I mentioned to her that that I told the Foreign Minister of FYROM (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), A. Milososki that we believe that the prime minister and the government of Skopje must show greater sensitivity for Greek public opinion and for the Greek government. They must realise first that some of their actions were very provocative. Having lived many years in Greece, I understand the importance of the issue for the people and the government of the country. We requested from Mr. Nimetz to become involved again and we hope that a solution will be found that both countries can support. The government of Skopje must realise that it has the responsibility of meeting Greece halfway and show sensitivity for Greek concerns. Some actions by Skopje were unnecessarily provocative. We realise the importance of the heritage of Macedonia in Greek history, the modern-day political stage, in the hearts and minds of the Greeks. We hope that progress will be achieved and you must be certain that the United States will support a solution agreed to by both sides." The two officials also discussed the Middle East issue and the recent Annapolis conference, from where the Greek delegation arrived to attend the meeting in Madrid, as well as the question of Kosovo. Burns praised Greek presence at the international conference on the Middle East, saying, "I am pleased that Greece participated in the Annapolis conference as a full member. I am grateful to Mrs. Bakoyannis for the support she is offering for efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, for the creation of a Palestinian state after 60 years and the creation of conditions of security in Israel. The role of Greece, which is being involved in this procedure, is very important. The Annapolis conference was a great success. We must continue the hard work now, continue this process and achieve further progress." Referring to Kosovo, Burns said that efforts are being made, in the framework of the OSCE, to achieve a good development on the issue.

    He conceded that "the coming months will be very difficult since there will be a transitional period there" and expressed the hope that "this will happen peacefully, with stability and there will be no violence."

    Commenting on her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, she said that they ascertained the very good level of economic and political cooperation and discussed the agenda of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' visit to Moscow.

    FM spokesman on FYROM

    Asked by Greek reporters to comment on Greece's reaction in the event that the government of Skopje "makes some move for the sake of impression" by lifting the renaming of Skopje's international airport, an eventuality that the neighbouring country is reportedly considering, according to press reports, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said that "such a thing would not constitute a reason for the reversal of the Greek position, of Greek policy, that is focused on the essence of the issue." Skopje has renamed the airport to "Alexander the Great", provoking a Greek reaction.


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