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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-01

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Annan-Papadopoulos statement 'positive', Athens says
  • [02] Papandreou criticism over 'Kapodistrias'
  • [03] FM: Cyprus developments 'positive'
  • [04] Interior Minister opens dialogue on public admin programme

  • [01] Annan-Papadopoulos statement 'positive', Athens says

    The joint statement made after the meeting between Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in Paris was "a positive step in the right direction," government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Wednesday.

    "It is known that the Greek government is prepared to contribute to finding a just and viable solution in the framework of the United Nations, which is in accordance with international law and compatible with the principles of the EU. In this framework, the next steps must be careful and very well prepared," Roussopoulos added.

    The statement was also greeted as a "very positive development" by Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos:

    "We consider that it constitutes a step in the framework of our position in favour of a carefully and thoroughly prepared launch of a process of talks for settling the Cyprus issue," he said.

    According to Koumoutsakos, the Cyprus President briefed Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on the results of his meeting with Annan on Wednesday morning.

    He said that the Greek side, while considering that it is too early to make an assessment and especially on issues like demilitarisation, is aware that the "character and message going out" is in harmony with the Greek position calling for a stage of substantial preparation that will create the safety net to avoid a new failure.

    In response to other questions, Koumoutsakos said he was unaware of any document from Turkish authorities seeking to activate a ban of flights by Cypriot aircraft through Istanbul's Flight Information Region (FIR).

    The spokesman said Athens was aware of a ban preventing Cyprus Airways and the Cyprus state airline Charter Eurocypria from flying through Istanbul's FIR and said that a possible extension of the ban would need to be confirmed.

    Should this be the case, it would be further proof of Turkey's unconstructive and inelastic stance, he added.

    The spokesman also stressed that all issues were examined and evaluated in the framework of the decisions that have made Turkey a candidate-country for joining the EU.

    Annan and Papadopoulos issued a joint statement after a meeting in Paris on Tuesday, during which they agreed to continue their ongoing dialogue "with the expressed aim of accelerating the search for a comprehensive, fair and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem.''

    They expressed hope that an agreement for continued discussion between the two communities on the island on a series of issues might lead to a full resumption of the negotiating process, while noting that this must be timely and based on careful preparation.

    The two men also agreed that it would be beneficial for all concerned and would greatly improve the atmosphere for further talks if progress could be achieved on further disengagement of forces and demilitarisation of the island, on the complete de-mining of Cyprus and on the issue of Famagusta.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] Papandreou criticism over 'Kapodistrias'

    Arriving on Crete for a two-day tour in the prefecture of Lasithi on Wednesday, main opposition leader George Papandreou launched into a barrage of criticism against the government, which he said was trying to "Balkanize" Greece by weakening the 'Kapodistrias' plan for larger local authorities.

    As he addressed local residents in the central square of Neapolis, beneath two banners protesting against an amendment that removed the Vrahasi community from the municipality, PASOK's leader said the government was promoting division and disagreement between citizens and that New Democracy "did not want strong local communities but powerless citizens, who will be dependent on central government or local party officials".

    Papandreou stressed that PASOK would not only restore the first Kapodistrias plan but also go one step further, moving to Kapodistrias 2 for even more powerful municipalities and strong local development.

    According to PASOK's leader, the government's decision to divide up the municipalities created under the Kapodistrias plan were party-political favours and 'client' politics.

    He warned that the move had "opened the floodgates" and marked the start of the countdown for the present government, which championed small and powerful minority interests and divided the people in order to remain in power.

    The government's decision was also criticised by Neapolis Mayor Nikos Kastrinakis, saying it had been done through "lies, transactions and graft and without dialogue with local society," while asking Papandreou for his support to prevent the division of the municipality.

    Government reply to Papandreou

    Reacting to Papandreou's criticism, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos reminded the main opposition leader that he had personally called on the government to "provide a solution to the problem of Vrahasi" at KEDKE's conference on October 22, 2004.

    At that time, he had called on Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos to 'sit at the negotiating table with Vrahasi and KEDKE and provide a solution to the problem, and now that the government is giving the solution that he himself requested, he rejects and condemns it, Roussopoulos added.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [03] FM: Cyprus developments 'positive'

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis on Wednesday described as "particularly positive" the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, speaking to reporters after a meeting with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Bakoyannis, who had a telephone conversation with Cyprus president Tassos Papadopouos, said she briefed Papoulias on her recent meetings in Brussels and also on her upcoming Balkan tour, which begins Thursday.

    "The President of the Republic is always kept abreast of foreign policy matters," Bakoyannis said.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [04] Interior Minister opens dialogue on public admin programme

    Minister of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Wednesday sent a letter to all ministries and prefectures effectively beginning the dialogue for the design of a programme aimed at making public administration more efficient.

    According to Pavlopoulos, since this is the first time that a comprehensive programme is being put together for the reorganisation of public administration on both a central and local governmental level, input from all involved parties is crucial in designing an effective programme.

    The aim of the programme is to strengthen the role public administration plays in the country's development, updating it and creating innovative and high-quality services for citizens and companies, Pavlopoulos said in his letter.

    The minister also makes reference to achievements made thus far in public administration, saying that while progress has been made the sector has not sufficiently kept up with challenges posed by current developments.

    The progress made has been in electronic governance within the context of the Information Society programme and institutional modernisation, he said.

    However, according to Pavlopoulos, the weaknesses within public administration are the complex regulatory framework defining the government's transactions with citizens and businesses, fragmentation of duties and the excessive number of procedures imposed on citizens when dealing with public sector agencies.

    Subsequently, the delays caused by bureaucratic practices discourage business activity and investment, he said.

    It is therefore urgent that a comprehensive programme aimed at correcting these weaknesses be designed and implemented immediately, Pavlopoulos noted.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.


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