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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis: Greece backs mutually acceptable solution for Kosovo
  • [02] Papandreou: Gov't 'criminally negligent' on eco issues
  • [03] Gov't backs use of CCTV for security surveillance
  • [04] Continental to launch NYC-Athens route

  • [01] Karamanlis: Greece backs mutually acceptable solution for Kosovo

    BELGRADE (ANA-MPA - A. Panagopoulos) Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis underlined Athens' backing for a mutually acceptable solution in Kosovo that would define and promote its multi-ethnic character, following talks with Serb Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica in Belgrade on Tuesday.

    Karamanlis stressed that Greece, as a country within the region, was fully aware of the need for such a solution for the security and stability of southeastern Europe.

    Kostunica said that a solution must be based on compromise and must be in agreement with international law, while respecting the borders and the integrity of the country.

    He said that Serbia would not accept any solution that did not respect international law and the United Nations charter, nor any solution that was imposed and did not arise through compromise.

    The Serb premier also stressed that compromise could only be achieved through negotiations and voiced complaints about the lack of movement in UN-led negotiations over the past six months, though noting that UN special envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari was expected to present his proposals on January 26, shortly after general elections taking place in Serbia on Sunday.

    Karamanlis and Kostunica also discussed the construction of new roadways to enhance infrastructure in the area.

    Earlier on Tuesday, after being received by Serb President Boris Tadic, Karamanlis had stressed that the solution for Kosovo must respect human and minority rights, while providing protection to the Serb Orthodox Church in the province.

    The Greek prime minister underlined that all sides must avoid unilateral actions that attempt to pre-empt the results of the process now underway.

    Tadic stressed that Belgrade could not accept any form of independence for Kosovo and said that this would lead to destabilisation, noting that the Serb position could be summed up as "full autonomy, not independence". He also underlined that Serb policy for Kosovo would not be affected by the upcoming elections.

    In response to questions on possible independence for Kosovo, Karamanlis said that Greece had not shifted its position on this issue and was awaiting the UN envoy's proposals.

    In addition to Kosovo, Tadic and Karamanlis held talks on bilateral relations, noting that these were excellent and that Greece steadily supported Serbia's EuroAtlantic and European orientation. The Serb president noted that EU membership was among Belgrade's goals.

    They also discussed economic cooperation and the plan for Serbia's reconstruction, to which Greece will contribute significant funds.

    Karamanlis pointed out that supporting Serbia's EU and EuroAtlantic prospects was a strategic choice for Greece.

    The Greek prime minister expressed hope that Serb general elections on Sunday would be carried out in a way that demonstrated the country's democratic maturity to the international community, adding that a democratic government with a European orientation would accelerate the rate of progress toward the EU after the polls. He noted that the climate toward Serbia within the EU was more positive than in the past.

    [02] Papandreou: Gov't 'criminally negligent' on eco issues

    Main opposition leader George Papandreou on Tuesday accused the government of "criminal negligence" on the issue of the environment, following a meeting with environmental organisations. The meeting was held in preparation for Wednesday's discussion of proposed changes to article 24 of the Constitution, which refers to protection of forested land, by a Parliamentary committee.

    The president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) said the government was promoting measures that were policy favours for specific interests, with untold consequences for the life of the majority and future generations.

    "It is PASOK's duty to stop the degradation of the environment by this government," he stressed, underlining that PASOK did not view the environment as an obstacle to the country's development but as a comparative advantage and that this would be a fundamental choice in the new party programme.

    He invited environmental groups to take part in the discussion that will be held in the run-up to his party's programme conference, while informing the organisations attending the meeting that PASOK will refuse to agree to a revision of article 24.

    [03] Gov't backs use of CCTV for security surveillance

    The government on Tuesday defended its position to overturn prohibitions on the use of CCTV cameras along central Athens' main thoroughfares for law enforcement surveillance, instead of simply traffic management, as is the case today.

    The issue jumped to the forefront of debate on Friday, hours after an RPG slammed into the front of the US embassy, damaging a third-floor bathroom after missing the US emblem. Unknown assailants fired the small anti-tank shell from just across the street, Vassilissis Sofias Boulevard, a major roadway monitored by traffic cameras set atop tall metal poles.

    "The Greek state has acquired, at a great cost to Greek taxpayers, a system by which cameras were installed to protect both foreign visitors and the country's reputation during the (2004) Olympic Games," alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros told reporters on Tuesday. "Use of this system was judged to be positive. Therefore, how can some people claim that this effective system should not be employed for the protection of Greek citizens' lives and property? This is what the government desires, and for this reason it has taken recourse to the Council of State, whose decision is pending".

    The government and law enforcement community want to use the cameras, more than 200 out of the initial forecast of roughly 500, to monitor Athens' main roadway, whereas leftist groups have bitterly opposed the measure. Currently, a ruling by the independent Hellenic Personal Data Protection Authority prevents use of the cameras for anything but traffic management.

    Moreover, Antonaros declined to comment on the course of the investigation into the pre-dawn rocket attack.

    [04] Continental to launch NYC-Athens route

    US-based carrier Continental Airlines will commence regular flights between New York City and Athens beginning June 8, with daily service throughout the summer season, the airline announced on Tuesday.

    During the summer season, the NYC-Athens flights will be daily, while in the periods September-October and March-April there will be five weekly flights, and in the November-March period there will be three flights per week due to the anticipated seasonal reduction in dmeand.

    The flight from Athens to New York, which will take approximately 11 hours, will have the code number CO105, departing from the Eleftherios Venizelos international airport at 12:20 and arriving at New York's Newark Liberty International Airport at 16:30 local time.

    The return flight (NY-Athens), which will take approximately 10 hours, will have the code CO104, departing New York at 17:30 and arriving in Athens at 10:20 the following morning.

    The flights will be carried out by 174-seat Boeing 767-200ER planes, of which 25 seats will be business class.

    Ticket prices have not yet been determined, but according to airline officials the prices will be competitive and will be announced in the next few days, following agreement with American and Greek authorities.

    Athens will be the 29th city in Europe, and Greece the 16th country, in Continental Airline's overseas network.

    Caption: An undated handout photo issued on Friday 21 May 2004 by Continental Airlines shows a Boeing 777-200 Aircraft belonging to the company. ANA-MPA / EPA

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