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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Urgent waste management for Attica discussed by PM, Athens mayor
  • [02] Gov't points to T/C quip over 'illegal' army
  • [03] FM stresses need for security in Afghanistan

  • [01] Urgent waste management for Attica discussed by PM, Athens mayor

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday received newly sworn-in Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, the former health minister in the current government, with the paramount issue of integrated waste management for the greater Athens area dominating the meeting.

    After the meeting, Kaklamanis said they had discussed issues that concerned Athens and local authorities in general, such as local authority funding and finances, payment of a tax on beer and an increase in annual subsidies to local government from the state budget from 5% to 7%.

    According to the new Athens mayor, Karamanlis backed proposals on waste management and on local government finances, promising to discuss them with the new leadership that will emerge after elections for a new Central Union of Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE) board of directors in April.

    Asked if he would run for KEDKE's presidency, meanwhile, Kaklamanis said that the issue was premature.

    Regarding the Greek capital, in particular, Kaklamanis said he had asked that funds be immediately set aside in the budget for continuing the "Help at Home" programme that ends in May, as well as the transfer of funds currently managed by the environment ministry for the maintenance of drainage networks in Attica prefecture (the greater Athens area) to municipal authorities, who take over responsibility for keeping them unobstructed at the start of 2008.

    Kaklamanis, a radiologist by training and former state hospital department head, also briefed the prime minister on the progress of a twin redevelopment project in the district (Votanikos) surrounding the new football stadium and indoor arena for the Athens sports club Panathinaikos.

    Answering questions on the city's waste management woes, Kaklamanis said that a decision from Greece's supreme administrative court, the Council of State, was imminent regarding the creation of a new landfill site in the Grammatiko township (extreme northern Attica prefecture), while decisions were still pending regarding planned landfills in Fyli, north of Athens proper and below Mt. Parnitha, as well as Keratea, in eastern Attica prefecture.

    Until that time, he added, work would go ahead on a temporary landfill site. The mayor stressed that this was a huge expense but that there was no other choice, while noting that he had asked the premier to hasten construction of waste processing plants in the government's next four-year term.

    The City of Athens is the largest municipality and the most populous in the greater Athens area or Attica prefecture, which includes more than three dozen municipalities and hosts roughly half of the country's population and nearly two-thirds of Greece's economic output.

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, left, is greeted by then health minister Nikitas Kaklamanis outside the ministry in this file photo dated Thursday, May 19, 2005. ANA-MPA / P. Saitas.

    [02] Gov't points to T/C quip over 'illegal' army

    The government spokesman on Friday was called on to comment on a bizarre statement made by a spokesman for Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, as the former maintained that "the Turkish army is the only army deployed on Cyprus legally and in compliance with international agreements."

    The same T/C spokesman claimed that national guard forces belonging to the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus, which he called "south Cyprus", "have no legal basis".

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros merely reminded that the international community is "well-aware of which is the only occupation army on Cyprus based on UN resolutions and every international organisation."

    A Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state was illegally declared in 1983 on the roughly one-third of the EU member-state's territory that has been occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

    [03] FM stresses need for security in Afghanistan

    Greece's Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Friday said that the international community must succeed in its mission to make Afghanistan stable and secure and that Greece will continue to contribute to efforts for its reconstruction.

    She made the statements in Brussels after taking part in Friday's meeting on the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan by NATO foreign ministers, on the sidelines of which she also met U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul.

    Developments in Kosovo following the recent elections in Serbia were also on the agenda during her talks with Rice - as in the NATO meeting earlier - while they also discussed Greece's possible entry in the U.S. Visa Waiver programme.

    Bakoyannis noted that Greece issued high-security passports and hoped to join the Visa Waiver programme, which would mean that Greek citizens would no longer be obliged to obtain visas in order to visit the United States.

    Speaking after the NATO meeting, the minister stressed that further efforts must be made to help the Afghan people, particularly in the social sector, such as education, health and the fight against drugs.

    She said that Greece will continue giving military and economic assistance in the country in 2007 by: contributing a 120-strong engineering battalion; donating 10-13 M-60 A3 tanks to Afghan forces; extending the stay of a 45-staff hospital unit set up in Kabul airport by six months; providing Greek officers to fill various posts on the ISAF staff; contributing 300,000 euros to a special UN fund for dealing with drug problems; providing 500,000 euros in economic aid to four programmes for agricultural development, water resource management, education and health.

    Regarding developments in Kosovo, Bakoyannis said that NATO member-states wished to avoid possible problems after UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari submits his proposals regarding the future status of Kosovo.

    With respect to Serbia, the minister said that following Serbia's entry into NATO's Partnership for Peace programme, she expected that the EU would follow the same path of cooperation and trust.

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