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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-11-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: Tear down last 'wall' on Cyprus
  • [02] Papandreou-Clinton meeting in Berlin
  • [03] Court to rule on Piraeus dockworkers strike
  • [04] Container traffic up 10.2% in Thessaloniki
  • [05] Gov't outlines tourism targets
  • [06] Stocks end 0.48% lower

  • [01] PM: Tear down last 'wall' on Cyprus

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA) -- Attending celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday called on Europe to tear down the last remaining wall within its borders, namely, the wall that still separates and divides the island of Cyprus.

    "As Greeks and as Europeans we must shout out: Tear down the last wall, the one that divides Cyprus in two," Papandreou underlined in his address.

    The Greek premier underlined that a free and united Europe should not tolerate walls or occupation forces, and promised to fight for a Europe free of any kind of "wall".

    "This is the kind of Europe we want and it is not just our intention but also our promise to fight for such a Europe and for the Cyprus that we envisage," he emphasised.

    Papandreou described the current day as a "historic anniversary" when Germans and European citizens stood up and demanded that the Berlin Wall be torn down, "along with all walls that trapped the so many people of Europe in totalitarianism, autocracy, fixations and prejudices, opening the horizons for democracy and freedom."

    These heroic actions and moments underlined the "wager of democracy, which is to daily tear down walls that keep citizens away from politics and do not put him at its centre," the premier said.

    [02] Papandreou-Clinton meeting in Berlin

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis) - Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou detailed his government's initiatives in a series of foreign policy issues during an informal meeting here with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday, on the sidelines of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    The meeting was held at the initiative of the Greek side to better present Athens' positions.

    Papandreou referred both to his recent trip to Istanbul and his meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as to Greece's initiative on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), stressing that "Greece is playing a leading role in the Balkans again and desires to contribute decisively to (the region's) EU accession course."

    The Greek prime minister made it absolutely clear that a precondition for fYRoM's accession course is the solving of the neighbouring country's name, in accordance with "national red lines" that has been set on the part of Greece, meaning a composite name with a geographical qualifier for all uses without exception.

    Papandreou also referred to his initiative for an informal acquaintance meeting with Skopje's Gruevski, which took place in Brussels recently.

    The Greek prime minister further briefed Clinton on his recent trip to Cyprus, his talks with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and the island's other political forces and underlined that "we must let the two communities discuss their future openly and freely, under the umbrella of the EU."

    Papandreou pointed out that whatever agreement is reached must fully respect the acquis communautaire to enable it to be a workable European solution.

    On the occasion of Clinton's recent meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, the prime minister also focused on the issues of the Patriarchate.

    On her part, Clinton agreed that the new Greek government is a government that takes initiatives.

    [03] Court to rule on Piraeus dockworkers strike

    (ANA-MPA) -- A ruling on the legality of an ongoing strike action called by the Federation of Port Workers of Greece (OMYLE) and the Association of Dockworkers of the Piraeus Port Authority SA (PPA SA) will be issued by a Piraeus Court late on Monday evening or early Tuesday.

    The country's chambers of commerce and 48 businesses have filled a class action lawsuit against the 1,500 striking dockworkers in the port of Piraeus, claiming that their financial interests are being hurt. The dock workers union is opposing implementation of a contract giving Chinese multinational Cosco concession of the Piraeus container port -- one of the biggest direct foreign investments in Greece over the recent period.

    [04] Container traffic up 10.2% in Thessaloniki

    (┴═┴-MPA) -- The Thessaloniki Port Authority on Monday said container traffic rose 10.2 pct in the January-September period, compared with the corresponding period last year, while noting that OctoberÔs traffic grew by around the same rate.

    Figures released by the port authority said container traffic totaled 192,243 TEUs in the nine-month period this year, from 174,429 in 2008, while cargo traffic fell by 34.13 pct in the same period.

    Thessaloniki Port said total cargo volume was down 10.7 pct in the January-September period to 10,499,423 tons, from 11,758,741 tons last year. The number of commercial ships that reached Thessaloniki fell to 1,434 in the nine-month period from 1,753 last year (down 18.2 pct), while the number of passengers eased slightly (1.64 pct).

    Stergios Brozos, head of cargo activities in the port, said container traffic in October grew by 10-12 pct compared with the same month last year.

    [05] Gov't outlines tourism targets

    LONDON (ANA-MPA) -- Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou outlined the key-points of the government's new policy on tourism, speaking here on Monday within the framework of the World Travel Market (WTM) international travel trade show.

    The deputy minister underlined the necessity for slashing red tape, development of what she called "green tourism", a national strategic marketing planning and the upgrading of the available tourist product. "Filling the legislative voids will help in curbing bureaucracy," Gerekou said, stressing that within this framework, dysfunctions in Greece's cavernous public administration will be dealt with "drastically" to attract foreign investors.

    As regards green development, the main goal is to support investment plans that will contribute to saving in energy and resources, utilisation of renewable energy sources (RES) and a reduction of waste.

    Based on available figures, Greece had a 1.6-pct share in the global tourist market in 2008 with 50 pct of visitors coming from five European countries. Moreover, 50 pct of all international arrivals are recorded in the period between July through September, while four airports received roughly eight million tourists annually.

    Inaugurating the Greek pavilion at the WTM exhibition, Gerekou underlined that Greece can offer quality tourism services despite the economic crisis.

    A total of 37 companies and local administration agencies active in the tourism sector participate in the 800-sqm Greek pavilion.

    [06] Stocks end 0.48% lower

    Greek stocks ended slightly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, ignoring a rally of prices in international markets. The composite index fell 0.48 pct to end at 2,688.49 points, with turnover soaring to 418 million euros, boosted by the transaction of a block trade in Alpha Bank (around 9.0 million shares as part of a private placement).

    The FTSE 20 index fell 0.78 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.31 pct and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.28 pct.

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