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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis chairs meeting on earthquake relief
  • [02] PASOK leader on earthquake-stricken
  • [03] FYROM talks on Thursday

  • [01] PM Karamanlis chairs meeting on earthquake relief

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis chaired a meeting on Monday afternoon, focusing on the issue of remedying damage caused by Sunday's earthquake in the northwestern Peloponnese.

    The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias, Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos.

    Speaking after the meeting, Souflias expressed his solidarity for the earthquake sufferers and said that he proposed that what had been applied for wildfire sufferers last summer should also apply for the earthquake-stricken. The minister added that his proposal was accepted by the prime minister.

    According to the proposal made by Souflias, the homes that collapsed or that will have to be demolished should be rebuilt with state funds. He further said that his ministry has 60 engineer crews that are inspecting houses affected by the earthquake and called on the inhabitants of the stricken regions not to enter homes that have been classified with either a red or a yellow colour.

    Referring to the feud between seismologists, he said that a public quarrel harms their credibility and pointed out that the ministry has received no study concerning the prediction of earthquakes.

    "There is no prediction of earthquakes, anywhere in the world," Souflias said, adding that the ministry "is studying these reports that are coming to the ministry and is carrying out inspections of public buildings."

    The minister further said that "it would be good if these studies were given to the civil leadership of the ministry as well" and revealed that only the Papazahos group has sent a study to his office so far.

    "There is no worry, but we are on the alert," he said.

    The measures will be presented analytically by Roussopoulos later in the day.

    [02] PASOK leader on earthquake-stricken

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday expressed his deepest condolences to and support for the families of the victims of Sunday's strong earthquake in the western Peloponese and for all those who suffered losses.

    In a written statement issued on Monday, Papandreou said that the Peloponese, which had been traumatized by last summer's wildfires, had received a new, big, blow before it was able to recover from the first blow.

    "Unfortunately, a new big problem has been added to the abandonment to which it has been left by the present government. We have no need of the well-known, public relations-oriented practices, in other words those that we witnessed last summer," Papandreou said, adding that "we need immediate, practical support and a plan for the residents of Achaia and Ileia (prefectures)".

    Papandreou called for the immediate survey of the damages in order for meeting the everyday needs of the earthquake-stricken, and called for the "necessary coordination and long-term measures, since the Peloponese must finally stand on its own two feet again".

    The PASOK leader also referred to the integrated plan for reconstructio of the fire-stricken regions that his party tabled in parliament last week in the form of a draft law, stressing that "this program can form the foundation for formulating additional measures, taking the new conditions in consideration".

    "We have a proposal. We call on the government to rise to to its responsibilities and the circumstances. We also call on the scientific community to contribute responsibly to the consolidation of a climate of calm and security," Papandreou said, adding that PASOK, from the very first moment, "have been at the side of our co-citizens affected, and commit ourselves to fighting for solutions that will give hope and prospect".

    [03] FYROM talks on Thursday

    The UN General Secretariat announced on Monday that the secretary general's special envoy in talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Matthew Nimetz, will be meeting the representatives of the two sides in New York this week, with an official meeting taking place at the UN headquarters on Thursday June 12.

    According to the announcement, Greece will be represented by ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis and FYROM by ambassador Nikola Dimitrov.

    Meanwhile, Nimetz is expected to hold separate meetings with the two ambassadors in New York first, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    Greece and FYROM are taking part in UN-brokered talks to resolve the "name issue" of the former Yugoslav republic. Greece is opposing the use of the term "Macedonia" by FYROM on the grounds it conceals irredentist designs against its own northern province of Macedonia.

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