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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Bryza discusses issues of mutual interest with government ministers
  • [02] No evidence of foul play in Korydallos prison fire

  • [01] U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Bryza discusses issues of mutual interest with government ministers

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valynakis held talks at noon on Friday with visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Bryza, focusing on issues of mutual interest, developments in the region of southeastern Europe and Euro-Atlantic relations in general.

    "The European prospect of our neighbourhood is very important for both the United States and the European Union, because with this prospect there will be a neighbourhood of stability, cooperation and prosperity in southeastern Europe, which is in the interests of all," Valynakis said after the talks.

    Bryza also met with Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianidis and Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas. These two meetings focused on energy-related issues and Greece's role as a regional energy transport hub.

    "We are speaking about the changing of our neighbourhood, of the Balkans, of southeastern Europe, into a European neighbourhood, given that almost all the countries in the region are proceeding, each one with different speeds of course, towards Euro-Atlantic incorporation. This means that in order to get there they must fulfill all the conditions, preconditions and prerequisites first which have been set by the European Union and have been described clearly in relevant texts," he added.

    Valynakis further pointed out that these countries' European prospect "will produce opportunities for all, not only those bordering with our neighbourhood but in general for all the countries that can participate in the new European neighbourhood of cooperation and prosperity."

    Energy issues discussed in Stylianidis-Bryza meeting

    Energy-related issues and Greece's role as a regional energy transport hub dominated talks here on Friday morning between Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianidis and visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza.

    Stylianis said after the meeting that their talks centred on the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    The deputy minister said the Greek side briefed Bryza on the progress of work of the pipeline and on the expediency of the project, which gives new opportunities for the refuelling of the international market from one further network and operates complementary in the flow of oil through the Bosphorous Straits.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Stylianidis reiterated to his American interlocutor that the Greek side views as particularly important the participation of U.S. companies in the constructuction of the oil pipeline.

    Bryza also met with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Friday and discussed the country's energy policy and its international role in energy markets.

    The Greek minister presented issues related to the operation of an Energy Community, the projects of building two natural gas pipelines, one between Greece and Italy and another between Greece and Turkey, an oil pipeline project between Burgas in Bulgaria and Alexandroupolis in Greece and the Greek position in an EU policy for a safe, competitive and sustainable energy in Europe.

    The US official will attend, as an observer, an energy ministers' council to be held in Thessaloniki on Saturday.

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

    [02] No evidence of foul play in Korydallos prison fire

    The government on Friday expressed sorrow at the deaths of three inmates and the serious injury of a fourth during a fire that broke out in Korydallos prison in Athens on Thursday. Meanwhile, police said their investigation into the causes of the fire had uncovered no evidence of foul play. Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras visited the prison, on returning from Brussels, and announced that he had suspended the prison's director.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros had earlier announced that Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras was cutting short a trip to Brussels and returning to Athens later in the day to personally take over handling the affair.

    He said the minister had already ordered a sworn administrative inquiry into the cause of the fire, to discover and punish those responsible, while the prison was visited on Thursday night by the justice ministry's general secretary.

    Antonaros also noted that the government had begun a programme for the urgent construction of six new prisons with greater capacity that would provide improved conditions for inmates, the first of which was due to be delivered in Trikala within the next few weeks.

    According to the preliminary police report, two detectives from the Crimes against Life department, a coroner and policemen from the crimes department were sent to investigate the fire that broke out in cell 80 on D wing of Korydallos prison.

    The search has so far revealed one handprint on the window pane and the possibility that the prisoners set the fire themselves has not been ruled out. Investigating officers are hoping that the injured man will recover sufficiently to shed light on their investigation.

    The cause of the fire itself is being investigated by the justice ministry and fire department.

    The blaze claimed three victims who were burnt alive, a Greek and two Romanian nationals, while a third Romanian man is now being treated at the Erythros Stavros hospital ICU for life-threatening burns.

    A coroner said the charred remains of the three men could only be identified using DNA testing, while both an autopsy and a toxicology exam were impossible.

    The three men killed were later identified as Nikolaos Stroumbakos, Marian Greca and Fanel Paduraru (aka Dimitris Niculescu and Gabril Pacil). The man in hospital was identified as Nikolae Radu.

    Prison authorities have had to imposed additional security measures since the fire because dozens of prisoners in both D and C wings are refusing to eat prison meals in protest.

    An investigation has also been launched by the public prosecutor/supervisor of the prison Antonis Liogas, who intends to examine the two guards on duty on the night of the fire but also some 20 prisoners in adjacent or nearby cells. The public prosecutor will additionally investigate complaints by inmates that the two guards delayed in responding to their calls for help and in unlocking the cell, as well as in calling the fire department.

    Korydalos prison director suspended

    Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras visited the Korydalos prison, on returning from Brussels on Friday, and announced afterwards that he had suspended the prison's director G. Marinaros.

    Papaligouras said that the investigation is proceeding regarding the causes and the conditions of the death of the three inmates and the injuring of a fourth, adding that those responsible will be punished.

    The justice minister further said that an administrative enquiry has already got underway, as well as a preliminary enquiry by a prosecutor. He also talked to inmates during his stay at Korydalos prison.

    Lastly the justice ministry denied on Friday night that a Kurd detainee in the prison's third wing had set himself on fire.

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

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