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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM chairs inner cabinet meeting on tourism issues
  • [02] Turkish exercise during Bakoyannis' visit postponed
  • [03] FinMin in Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg
  • [04] ND maintains lead in latest GPO opinion poll

  • [01] PM chairs inner cabinet meeting on tourism issues

    The Inner Cabinet convened Tuesday, chaired by prime minister Costas Karamanlis, and discussed tourism-related issues.

    Tourism development minister Fani Palli-Petralia told reporters after the session that the efforts of the past two years have yielded results, adding that she had briefed the Inner Cabinet on bills being advanced by her ministry on spa tourism and agro-tourism.

    The minister stressed that Greece's traditional "Sun-Sea" tourism product will be enriched with new types of tourism.

    The goal, she said, was to render Greece one of the top popular tourist destinations.

    Earlier on Tuesday, the prime minister received the Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Silvia Cartwright, who is in Greece on an official visit. No statements were made after the meeting.

    At 10:00, Karamanlis had a joint meeting with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis to prepare for an upcoming visit by Bakoyannis to Istanbul on Saturday, when she is due to meet her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of a Greek-Turkish journalists' conference.

    [02] Turkish exercise during Bakoyannis' visit postponed

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Tuesday confirmed reports that a Turkish military exercise originally set to coincide with a visit to Istanbul by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had been partially postponed. The news was welcomed by Bakoyannis and Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, in comments after their meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    "Some basic activities of the Turkish aeronautical exercise have been postponed until the following week and the week after that," Antonaros said. According to reports, the exercise originally scheduled to take place on June 10-16 would now be held on June 17-24. Bakoyannis is due to arrive in Istanbul on Saturday and departs on Sunday.

    Asked about the contents of talks between Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of a journalists' conference taking place in Istanbul, Antonaros pointed out that political contact between representatives of different countries was something routine and did not usually produce the sensational results that journalists tending to expect.

    He also reminded reporters that Greece and Turkey were engaged in bilateral talks on a number of issues, including tourism, economic affairs and trade matters, some of which had arrived at agreements were others were still outstanding.

    "We want to fully normalise our relations with our neighbour and for this reason the political representatives of our country hold talks with their Turkish counterparts," Antonaros added.

    "I take this as a positive message," Bakoyannis told reporters when asked to comment on reports that the Turkish exercised had been pushed back, while Meimarakis described the decision as a move in "a positive direction".

    The Greek defence minister is due to depart for a NATO ministers' meeting later on Tuesday, while a meeting with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines is not out of the question.

    [03] FinMin in Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Tuesday will participate in a Eurogroup council meeting in Luxembourg.

    The Eurozone's finance ministers will discuss economic and fiscal developments in the Eurozone, the inflation rate and plans to expand the Eurozone.

    Alogoskoufis will also participate in an ECOFIN meeting on Wednesday with an agenda including EU-US relations, combatting tax fraud and reducing administrative burden on corporations. The EU finance ministers will also discuss plans to simplify VAT cross-border transactions.

    [04] ND maintains lead in latest GPO opinion poll

    The ruling New Democracy party (ND) was leading over main opposition PASOK party by 2 percentage points, according to the results of a GPO opinion poll released late Monday night.

    More specifically ND was leading with 34 percent with respect to "voters' intent" (which party the respondents would vote for if general elections were held tomorrow), followed by PASOK with 32 percent, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 7.4 percent, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party with 5.1 percent, and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Progress (SYN) with 3.6 percent, while 12.9 percent were undecided or declined reply.

    The lead widens to 16 percentage points with respect to the "most suitable for prime minister", with current prime minister and ND leader Costas Karamanlis amassing 49 percent of the respondents' preference -- up from 46 percent in a similar GPO poll in April -- against 33 percent who preferred PASOK leader George Papandreou as the most suitable.

    Also, to a question on which party they believed would win general elections if they were held now -- regardless of their own political affiliation or party preference -- an overwhelming majority of 63.9 percent opined that ND would win the elections, compared with 21.7 percent who believed that PASOK would emerge victorious.

    To another question, a majority of 54.9 percent of the respondents agreed with former President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos' recent proposal for referral of the Greek-Turkish differences to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    In addition 56.8 percent of the respondents gave a negative grade to the government's policy, while 66.9 percent assessed as negative the opposition exercised by PASOK, while 32.8 percent assessed its opposition tactics as positive.

    Particularly regarding Papandreou's decision to nominate Gul Karahasan, a woman member of the Moslem community and alternate secretary of PASOK's municipal organisation in Miki in the Xanthi prefecture, as the PASOK-backed candidate for the Drama-Xanthi-Kavala supra-prefecture in the upcoming local government elections in October, 58 percent of the respondents considered the choice of Gul as being negative.

    The poll further indicates PASOK as leading in the Athens-Piraeus supra-prefecture, with 41.5 percent of the respondents in favour of the Gennimata-Sgouros-Michas ticket, against 33.5 percent for the ND-backed Dinopoulos-Pipili-Spyridonas ticket.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros commenting on the GPO opinion poll results stated that opinion polls record tendencies at a given time, adding that the important point is that once again it was established that the Greek people in their great majority approve, support and encourage the government‚s reform efforts.

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