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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou: Abhorrence over the attack
  • [02] Bakoyannis talks with Nimetz

  • [01] Papandreou: Abhorrence over the attack

    The leader of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) George Papandreou on Friday unequivocally condemned the terrorist strike against the United States Embassy in Athens earlier the same day.

    "United, we will all tackle every action that undermines the security, interests and international relations of our country," he stressed in a statement, while noting that the attack was an action that was against the interests of the Greek people and the country.

    PASOK's president said that his party when in government had "with consistency and responsibility defended security and enhanced Greece's prestige, succeeding in a methodical and decisive way to strike a blow against terrorism".

    "We embedded a sense of security in Greek citizens, we established a global image for Greece of prestige, safety and security," he added, noting that his party would deal with the latest developments in the same spirit.

    The main opposition leader, however, also accused the government of having in the years since them squandered a "valuable capital" in the area of public order and security, as well, noting that there were "specific political responsibilities" for this.

    The attack occurred at 5:58, when suspected leftist terrorists fired a rocket-propelled grenade into the heavily-guarded embassy building in central Athens from across the street, causing extensive damage but no injuries.

    Papandreou on Friday telephoned Ambassador Ries, who briefed him on the early morning projectile attack against the embassy in Athens, which caused minor material damage and no injuries.

    Papandreou expressed to Ambassador Ries his condemnation of and abhorrence over the action.

    According to a PASOK announcement, the ambassador briefed Papandreou on the incident, and the PASOK leader stressed to Ries that the preceding PASOK governments had worked insistently and methodically, striking a strong blow to terrorism, "and we had the hope that we would not see such phenomena again".

    Papandreou further expressed hope that the incident would not create problems in the good bilateral relations between the two countries.

    At 16:30, PASOK's president is scheduled to meet with UN Special envoy for the FYROM name issue Matthew Nimetz.

    Meanwhile, problems faced by the port city of Piraeus were discussed in a meeting Papandreou had at noon on Friday with the new mayor of Piraeus Panagiotis Fassoulas.

    Fassoulas commented afterwards that all municipalities face financial problems but Piraeusâ problems are slightly bigger, stressing that legislative regulations are imperative to solve those problems that linger since 1967.

    Fassoulas also said that he shares the same views on local government with the leader of PASOK and expressed satisfaction for the interest he displays in Piraeus.

    On Friday evening, Papandreou is scheduled to meet Mikis Theodorakis at Filopappou.

    [02] Bakoyannis talks with Nimetz

    Efforts to mediate in the issue over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were "affected and not in a positive way" by FYROM's recent decision to change the name of Skopje's Petrovec airport to "Alexander the Great", United Nations special mediator Matthew Nimetz said on Friday after meeting Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis in Athens.

    Nimetz noted that Athens' positions on the issue were "absolutely clear" and said his talks with Bakoyannis had covered the issue of FYROM's name, the interim agreement, bilateral relations between Greece and FYROM and the issue arising over the name of the Skopje airport.

    The UN envoy added that he would be travelling to Skopje on Saturday in order to hold talks with the other side.

    According to foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos, Nimetz was given a detailed, in-depth briefing on Greece's positions by the foreign minister.

    He also reiterated Greece's position in favour of "the peoples of the Balkans building a common European future, in which they look forward and not back to the distortion of the past".

    He stressed that the Greek side had made several constructive steps toward finding a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue, while pointing out that the renaming of Skopje airport to Alexander of Macedon was in contravention of the Interim Agreement between the two sides.

    Earlier, Koumoutsakos had listed these constructive steps made by Greece:

    "We have accepted, as a basis for negotiation, the proposal by the UN special mediator Matthew Nimetz of early 2005. We consider that the responsibility lies with the other side which, even now, can follow the example of Bulgaria and Romania and other peoples of the Balkans, who are proceeding with their gaze turned to the common European future and are not taking steps backward, persisting in a falsification of the past.

    Referring to the FYROM government's decision to rename Petrovec airport, the spokesman described the move as "totally unfounded, with respect to its historical aspect, and clearly counter-productive with respect to its political aspect".

    Koumoutsakos had stressed the "multiple positive effects" that the finding of a mutually acceptable solution would have, first of all on bilateral relations, which he said would have a spectacular improvement on a political and economic level, secondly on regional cooperation and stability, and thirdly on the course of the neighbouring country's Euro-Atlantic aspirations "on the basis of relations of good neighbourhood and trust, which comprise EU principles and an obligation of the candidate country".

    To a question on whether Greece reserved its right of veto on FYROM's accession to international organisations, Koumoutsakos replied that "the Greek policy on this matter is absolutely founded on that which is provided under Article 11 of the Interim Agreement".

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