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

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greeks launch 2007 in style
  • [02] PM upbeat in New Year message
  • [03] Greece wants reconciliation in Iraq
  • [04] Slovenia joins eurozone

  • [01] Greeks launch 2007 in style

    Greeks welcomed the start of the new year in all-night celebrations around the country, including a showcase fiesta in Athens with music, dance and fireworks in three central squares.

    The events arranged by the outgoing mayor of Athens, Theodoros Behrakis, also marked handover of the city to his successor, Nikitas Kaklamanis.

    "Together we are ushering in 2007, and together we will work to make Athens brighter, more beautiful and more humane, so that it becomes Europe's perpetual cultural capital," Kaklamanis told cheering crowds.

    On Monday, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received the country's political, religious, military, judicial and law enforcement leaders, who paid a customary visit to the head of state for an exchange of good wishes.

    Among Papoulias' guests were the prime minister, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, opposition party leaders, ministers, and parliamentary deputies.

    Earlier in the day, the archbishop led a traditional New Year's Day service at Athens Cathedral.

    [02] PM upbeat in New Year message

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis issued a New Year's message over the weekend, stressing that "we welcome the new year with self-confidence and optimism, that are based on all that we have achieved together."

    The prime minister added that "we shall intensify our efforts in 2007 since we are seeing the common goal coming closer and closer. We are focusing on the great and important things that are uniting us:Our vision for Greece that is creating more opportunities for all."

    Karamanlis referred to Greece's active presence in international developments and to a stronger Europe, security and cooperation in our region, a just and viable solution to the issue of Cyprus and achieving peace and security all over the world.

    "Greece is actively present in international developments. We are working with all our strength for a Europe that will be stronger, more social and closer to its citizens. A Europe that will speak to the world with a unified voice, based on the principles and values it believes in," he said.

    "I feel it is my political duty that we continue the joint effort to change things, to build Greece that we deserve. To do all that I can to see that the citizens' sacrifices will not be in vain. To always place collective interest above all," Karamanlis added.

    [03] Greece wants reconciliation in Iraq

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, referring to the execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, said in a statement at the weekend that "Greece, like all the member-states of the European Union, has abolished the death penalty" and expressed the wish that "it will be the last dramatic moment in the troubled history of Iraq."

    The foreign minister called on "the friendly people of Iraq to follow the path of reconciliation and of national consensus", stressing that it is "the only path that can lead to a peaceful, secure and democratic future."

    [04] Slovenia joins eurozone

    Slovenia adopted Europe's single currency on Monday, crowning its 15-year transition from

    a republic in Yugoslavia to the continent's most advanced post-communist economy.

    Tiny but prosperous Slovenia, which lies just south of Austria, became the euro zone's 13th member, in its first expansion since the currency was introduced in 2002.

    None of nine other countries that joined the European Union with Slovenia in 2004 are likely to adopt the euro before 2009.

    People celebrated on the capital's packed main square, lit by a laser sign beaming: "The Euro is Coming", Reuters reported.

    Officials said the first hours of euro adoption passed smoothly. More than 70 percent of Slovenia's cash dispensers, which had stopped working three hours before midnight to allow

    time for the switch to the new currency, were operating again by 4 a.m. local time.

    "I am very happy to say that no problems were reported thanks to the hard work done by my colleagues over the past months," Slavko Cimpric of Slovenia's Bank Association said.

    Many banks will be open on Jan. 1 and 2, both public holidays, to exchange tolars but no queues were reported so far.

    Slovenia, whose declaration of independence from the crumbling Yugoslav federation prompted a 10-day war in 1991, is now the wealthiest of the EU's ex-communist newcomers.


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