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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-12-17

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek, fYRoM foreign ministers meet in Athens, discuss confidence-building measures
  • [02] EU report sees 'minimal' decrease in migrant flows from Turkey
  • [03] Preparations ahead of Greece, Cyprus and Israel trilateral meeting
  • [04] PM's office denies that 'parallel programme' bill was withdrawn
  • [05] Bank of Greece decision on property foreclosure procedures for creditors

  • [01] Greek, fYRoM foreign ministers meet in Athens, discuss confidence-building measures

    Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), Nikola Poposki, on Thursday announced that they will continue regular bilateral visits, in a bid toward building trust in bilateral relations.

    In a joint press conference after the meeting, Kotzias said they were both "happy with the initiative we took, the confidence-building measures. We already have five measures on which we are progressing creatively, and the next six. We are satisfied with the meetings that took place for the political dialogue between our very high-level diplomats, and we want to face the future and all of the issues the two countries are looking at with trust, within the new international environment as well as in the relations between us."

    He said the two sides wanted to cooperate on the refugee issue and contribute to the stability of the wider region, noting that Poposki had met Alternate Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas to discuss ways to develop police cooperation.

    They also discussed ways to enrich cooperation in the economy and tourism sector, as well as fYRoM's European perspective, Kotzias said, adding that they had "a particularly interesting conversation" about the neighboring country interest in connecting to Greece's energy networks.

    "We both want there to be good cooperation between the two states, and we want voices of extremist nationalism and irredentism to be isolated... We want to capitalize on the talks taking place at the UN on the central problem of the name," he added.

    Poposki, on his part, confirmed a desire for deeper cooperation with Greece and said it was an important step on the part of Greek agencies - such as the citizen protection ministry - that they were talking with FYROM.

    "We talked about a number of issues. We concluded on which sectors are the ones where our positions differ, and we also identified the sectors that are important for our two countries," he said, noting that the Skopje's government's strategy was to have good relations with Greece.

    Referring to the refugee crisis, he said that cooperation and a positive stance must also be reflected in the management of the refugee issue. "We need to do whatever we can to provide decent conditions for the people passing through our countries, and I believe that the European Union can also make its own contribution here," he said.

    [02] EU report sees 'minimal' decrease in migrant flows from Turkey

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni) -- A decrease in the flow of migrants casting off from Turkey to reach various Greek islands has been "minimal," according to a report presented at Thursday's European Council by the Luxembourg EU presidency.

    Despite the Nov. 29 agreement between the EU and Turkey for a 'Common Action Plan' to deal with the migrant crisis, the reduction in refugee flows in December compared with November was very small, with up to 4,000 third country nationals landing each day in December from 5,000-6,000 a day in November, the report said.

    On the relocation programmes for refugees, it noted that these remained at "unsatisfactory levels" since only 184 asylum seekers have been relocated from Italy and Greece by Dec. 16, out of a targeted 160,000 relocations.

    [03] Preparations ahead of Greece, Cyprus and Israel trilateral meeting

    A second trilateral meeting of representatives of Greece, Cyprus and Israel was held in Jerusalem at the foreign ministry secretary generals level, ahead of a summit of the three countries, which is expected to take place on Jan. 28 in Nicosia.

    The meeting focused on energy development, illegal migration, counter-terrorism efforts, tourism, environment, water resources management, research and technology.

    During the political consultations held "the three sides discussed regional and international issues, in the Middle East and in the eastern Mediterranean."

    The first trilateral political consultations took place in Athens on Nov. 12, 2014.

    [04] PM's office denies that 'parallel programme' bill was withdrawn

    The government's draft bill for the "parallel programme" has not been withdrawn, an announcement issued by the Greek prime minister's office said on Thursday, while condemning what it claimed was the "irresponsible" stance of the three opposition parties that walked out of the debate before the relevant Parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

    "After the departure of the three parties from the Parliamentary process, with the groundless complaint that the draft bill tabled using urgent procedures created a fiscal burden and derailed the budget, equally groundless impressions were formed with a risk of creating obstacles to the negotiation and the government's work for tackling the humanitarian crisis," the announcement said.

    Earlier, main opposition New Democracy interim president Yiannis Plakiotakis on Thursday charged that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras should "admit to his inability to govern", speaking after reports claimed the SYRIZA-ANEL government withdrew its so-called "parallel economic programme" draft bill from consideration by Parliament.

    "He [Tsipras] should confess his inability to govern and take initiatives to overcome the country's political problem," Plakiotakis said in a statement.

    "The withdrawal of the bill on the 'parallel program' proves once more that everything Mr. Tsipras and his government officials said in the previous period was meaningless and for domestic consumption," he added.

    [05] Bank of Greece decision on property foreclosure procedures for creditors

    The Bank of Greece on Thursday issued a decision outlining the procedures and criteria for determining a debtor's maximum debt repayment capacity and the amount that creditors can receive in the case of a property foreclosure, within the framework of the process outlined in the so-called Katseli law for the protection of mortgaged primary residences.

    The central bank's decision was published in the government gazette and will go into effect as of Jan 1.


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