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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-29

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou on Mahatma Gandhi's legacy
  • [02] FM, OSCE SG discuss Kosovo, SE Europe
  • [03] Conference on climate change opens in Paris

  • [01] Papandreou on Mahatma Gandhi's legacy

    PASOK leader George Papandreou, in his capacity as Socialist International (SI) president, spoke in New Delhi on Monday at the ruling Congress Party's conference, where he referred to Congress founder Mahatma Gandhi's vision and values, which he said are closely linked with SI's principles, beliefs and its struggle in today's globalised society.

    Papandreou, Greece's former foreign minister, emphasised that Gandhi's life was in itself an example towards others.

    Addressing Congress delegates and international dignitaries, Papandreou presented a policy revolving around the triptych of ?peace, development and education", all in tandem with the implementation of the values related to social justice.

    He added that the international democratic and progressive movement owes a great deal to Mahatma Gandhi, whose philosophy is almost identified with the principles of the modern socialist movement, as expressed by the Socialist International.

    Regarding Gandhi's renowned promotion of ?non-violence" as a lever for social and political change, Papandreou said the latter was definitely not a ?weakness" of the Indian statesman's philosophy but a ?powerful practice".

    He referred to his own initiative regarding an ?Olympic Truce" for the 2004 Games, a policy that led the marching of South and North Korea athletes under one banner at the Athens Games. He also said the policy of ?non-violence" led to tangible results in Greek-Turkish relations, when he and the late Ismail Cem inaugurated a policy of rapprochement following the 1999 earthquakes in the two countries.

    Papandreou called on delegates, and through them the international peace movement, to struggle for the elimination of three walls in the world today, which are ?none other that the walls of Nicosia, Palestine and Mexico".

    Among others, he said the SI is committed to peace efforts in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Latin America, Asia and Africa, whereas he made particular reference to strife-plagued Nepal, the focus of a SI-sponsored peace initiative in 10 days.

    On Monday, Papandreou was received by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while he also met with 2006 Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Bangladesh-based Grameen micro-lending concept.

    [02] FM, OSCE SG discuss Kosovo, SE Europe

    Greece's Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday held talks with the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Amb. Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, who is on an official visit to Athens.

    In statements after the meeting, Bakoyannis said Greece considered the OSCE a "driving force" for stability and security over a very large area stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok and noted that Greece's major interest in the organisation was its main motive for seeking the OSCE chairmanship for 2010 or 2011.

    She also noted that the OSCE Secretariat had a "pivotal" role in efforts to reform the OSCE in line with the "new international collective security and cooperation environment" and underlined Greece's support in this effort.

    Apart from the need to reform the OSCE, Bakoyannis and Brichambaut discussed Greece's candidacy for the OSCE chairmanship, as well as developments in the Balkans and the future status of Kosovo.

    Another topic on the agenda was illegal trafficking in human beings, where Bakoyannis said Greece "has adopted a plan of action and proceeded to create the necessary legislative, administrative and financial basis" for the success of efforts against this phenomenon.

    "We are determined to intensify this effort even further," the Greek minister added.

    Brichambaut noted the OSCE's high degree of interest in southeastern Europe, pointing out that it currently had 3,000 people stationed there and a significant portion of its budget allocated to that region.

    Up to 1,000 of these had been in Kosovo since 1999, in a bid to help the province set up democratic institutions, protect minorities and create an environment that would allow the people of Kosovo decide on the best possible future status, he added.

    The OSCE Secretary-General thanked Athens for its interest and assistance to the OSCE's efforts to continue its activities and help all sides in Kosovo in order to establish peace, prosperity and rapprochement with Europe.

    Caption: FM Bakoyannis welcomes OSCE Secretary-General Brichambaut in Athens on Monday, Jan. 29, 2007. ANA-MPA photo / O. Panayiotou.

    [03] Conference on climate change opens in Paris

    Conference on climate change opens in Paris

    A closely-watched conference on climate change kicked off at UNESCO in Paris on Monday, with 500 experts meeting for three days behind closed doors to discuss the extent to which global warming poses a threat to the Earth, possibly before the end of this century.

    The members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are to prepare a 10-page summary of a scientific report running to several thousand pages that is designed to help decision-makers in their work. The text will be carefully studied word by word before it is adopted unanimously and released on Friday, February 2.

    According to experts, there is no doubt that the temperature of the Earth is rising and that this process is occurring at a rate that is extremely dangerous. Signs include the melting of the ice caps at the poles, rising sea levels and violent storms that wreak havoc on human life and property. That these climatic changes and their catastrophic repercussions are the result of human activity is now widely accepted by both scientists and governments.

    The three-day meeting is expected to update forecasts made by the IPCC in 2001 and include more references to possible repercussions to plant life, loss of polar ice and the increase in the temperature of the oceans.


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