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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-07-01

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece ready for UN Security Council presidency, FM says
  • [02] Gov't seeks consensus on pension system reform, FinMin says
  • [03] Papandreou: Treating Ecumenical Patriarchate according to EU rules is in Turkey's interests

  • [01] Greece ready for UN Security Council presidency, FM says

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis expressed his confidence on Friday that Greece - which will assume the UN Security Council presidency for the month of July - is ready and able to rise to the challenge and will serve its term successfully.

    "My belief stems from the fact that Greece's foreign policy has always been based on respect for international legitimacy, international law, international rules and the universal values of peace, security and balanced economic growth throughout the world," Molyviatis said.

    "We believe that protection and respect for human rights is necessary in order to achieve these goals. The institutional and political protector of all these is the United Nations and of course the Security Council, whose presidency we are assuming" he added.

    Molyviatis said that Greece's success during its presidency will depend on constant cooperation with all Security Council members, both permanent and non-permanent.

    He also referred to plans for reform within the UN and promised that "we will work with all Security Council members in this great effort for a UN which will fullfil the hopes and vision of peoples around the world."

    According to a statement issued by Foreign Ministry Spokesman George Koumoutsakos, the Greek presidency will deal with issues, such as East Africa, the Middle East, terrorism and the replacement of those peacekeeping troops whose term is coming to a close.

    The programme will be finalised during the first meeting of the Security Council under the Greek presidency on July 5, after it has been discussed with all council members.

    The programme also includes an open session over which Molyviatis will preside. The session is to focus on cases of humanitarian crisis within the context of the council's role as keeping the peace and ensuring security.

    [02] Gov't seeks consensus on pension system reform, FinMin says

    A dialogue on the country's pension system will be a long-term procedure while the government does not intend to reach any decisions over the issue during its four-year term, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Friday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with a visiting delegation of International Monetary Fund's officials, the Greek minister expressed the hope that the dialogue, to begin soon, would reach a consensus between political parties so that the issue would not have to be a pre-election point of friction in the next elections.

    Commenting on the country's fiscal deficit, Alogoskoufis said that information arriving from Brussels (bringing the country's deficit to 6.7 pct of GDP from 6.1 pct initially reported) were not accurate and that negotiations between Greek finance ministry and EU's authorities were currently underway.

    "Our effort to implement this year's budget is difficult but will be successful," Alogoskoufis said.

    [03] Papandreou: Treating Ecumenical Patriarchate according to EU rules is in Turkey's interests

    ISTANBUL (ANA - A. Kourkoulas) The leader of main opposition PASOK George Papandreou on Friday urged Ankara to abide by EU rules on human rights in its dealings with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, stressing that this would be in Turkey's own interests.

    Papandreou was speaking in Turkey, during the graduation ceremony for the class of 2005 at Sabanci University.

    During his visit to Turkey, Papandreou visited Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar, Istanbul and discussed issues concerning the Patriarchate.

    After the meeting, PASOK's leader said Turkey stood to benefit by highlighting the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which he said was "Turkey's link to the Christian world and proved that the country was multicultural."

    "I see that in Turkey there are fears concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I think that there shouldn't be any fears. I believe that to have the centre of Orthodox Christians in a Moslem country is an advantage for Turkey, for Europe and for the entire world," he told reporters.

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