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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] China is safe country, Greek public order minister says, as Chinese press hails Olympics Security cooperation
  • [02] Tourism up 13pct in 2005
  • [03] Greece, Italy to sign agreement for natgas pipeline

  • [01] China is safe country, Greek public order minister says, as Chinese press hails Olympics Security cooperation

    The Chinese media on Friday hailed the commencement of cooperation between Greece and China on Olympic Games security, following a memorandum of cooperation signed on Thursday afternoon between Greek Police (ELAS) chief Lt. Gen. George Angelakos and Beijing's chief of police Zhenchuan Ma, in the framework of a five-day visit by a Greek delegation to China, headed by public order minister George Voulgarakis.

    Beijing will host the 2008 Olympic Games, following the successful 2004 Games organised by Athens.

    The memorandum concerns the transfer of experience and knowhow acquired by the Greek police during the planning and implementation of the Olympics Security Model.

    Voulgarakis, speaking on Chinese state television on Thusday, said the memorandum marked the commencement of an open cooperation between the two countries, adding that the cooperation, on the basis of the accord, would be made more specific during several specialised meetings between the two sides, aiming at Beijing's organising safe Games and winning the confidence of both athletes and visitors.

    Replying to press questions, Voulgarakis said the cooperation included training and utilisation of the human potential, stressing that the precise content of the blaeral cooperation would be determined along the way.

    China, he said, was taking an important step of cooperation with a country that had organised exceptionally safe Games.

    Voulgarakis further said that this cooperation comprised a great honour for Greece, as both were countries with a great history and civilisation.

    The Greek minister also lauded the progress made by Beijing in its preparations for the 2008 Games with respect to security.

    China is a safe country, but as Olympics organisers it has to deal with threats and enemies against all the other nations that will be taking part in the Games, he explained, adding that Greece had planned its own Games on the basis of that precept, acquiring a unique experience that it would share with China.

    The memorandum falls within the framework of cooperation between Chinese authorities and organisers and Greek authorities and police who are transferring the experience and know-how they gained from staging the 2004 Olympics.

    According to the agreement, any issues that arise as Beijing prepares for the 2008 Olympics will be resolved through the cooperation of Beijing's Coordinating Centre for Olympic Games Security and the Greek ministry's Security Studies Centre.

    After the signing, Voulgarakis said that "the cooperation between Greece and China on Olympic Games security does not only concern our excellent bilateral relations, but is mainly associated with the two countries' cultural heritage."

    He added that "Greece's objective, as the birthplace of the Olympic Games, is to contribute as much as possible so that the Beijing Olympiad be held in a festive and safe environment. The People's Republic of China is proceeding at a fast and steady pace. I am certain that in 2008 we will experience one of the most successful, and of course grand, Olympic Games in history."

    [02] Tourism up 13pct in 2005

    Tourism in Greece increased by 13 percent in 2005 compared to 2004, according to data provided by the Bank of Greece, while the increase in revenues from the same sector amounted to 3.9 percent.

    This development was underlined by Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, while inaugurating the 21st Philoxenia exhibition on Thursday night, which will end on November 6.

    "We have exceeded all expectations, even the most positive ones, such as those of the World Tourism Council which spoke of an increase in tourism of 11.6 percent," the minister said.

    Avramopoulos further said that the next steps are difficult and deep institutional reforms and qualitative changes are necessary on the basis of a new strategic prospect covering at least a decade.

    Lastly, he said that the main criterion is quality, responsibility, conscience, respect and authenticity through tradition and the true Greek elements of hospitality.

    [03] Greece, Italy to sign agreement for natgas pipeline

    Greece and Italy are to sign a bilateral agreement for the construction of a Greek-Italian natural gas pipeline linking the natural gas networks of both countries on Friday.

    Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas departed on Thursday for the Italian town of Lecce, where the agreement is to be signed. He is accompanied by Deputy Development Minister George Salagoudis and ministry general secretary Nikos Stefanou, the president and board chairman of Greece's state-owned gas company DEPA Rafael Moisis and officials from the foreign ministry, development ministry and DEPA executives.

    The agreement will be signed by Sioufas and Italian Minister of Productive Activities Claudio Scajola, while Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Mehmet Hilmi Guler has been invited to attend.

    The Greek-Italian pipeline will essentially be an extension of the Greek-Turkish pipeline and turn Greece into a conduit of large quantities of natural gas from the Caspian Sea and central Asia to the energy-hungry countries in western Europe.

    Construction will be undertaken by DEPA SA and Edison Gas of Italy. The two firms, which have formed a consortium named Poseidon Co. to build the pipeline, will share costs and revenue in the first phase of the project. The project is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2009.

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