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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis winds up official visit to New Zealand, heads to Australia
  • [02] Extra buses, trains for Champions League final

  • [01] PM Karamanlis winds up official visit to New Zealand, heads to Australia

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday held talks with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, following a wreath-laying ceremony at the island nation's national cenotaph -- tomb of the unknown soldier-- on the first official visit by a Greek prime minister to the country.

    Karamanlis, who is on a tour that will also take him to Australia and Vietnam and who is accompanied by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Deputy FM Theodoros Kassimis, also met with members of New Zealand's cabinet, as he cited the very strong historic background of the two countries' bilateral relations.

    During his talks with Clark and the Cabinet, Karamanlis stressed that the celebration of the anniversary of the Battle of Crete, commemorated this week, and his presence in the country reflected in the most official and essential manner the excellent relations between Greece and New Zealand.

    Karamanlis said common struggles during WWII have forged strong bonds between the two peoples, adding that this was a precious legacy for the coming generations.

    In addition to the historic past, both Karamanlis and Clark referred to the active presence of the Greek community in New Zealand.

    Talks focussed on the economic, commercial and educational sector, while issues concerning the EU, Kosovo, developments in Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue were also discussed. Karamanlis further briefed his New Zealand counterpart on the FYROM "name issue".

    Asked during a press conference whether Greece placed prior resolution of the name issue as a priority to FYROM's accession to NATO, Karamanlis replied that the Greek position was "crystal clear".

    "Our aspiration is for a jointly acceptable solution to be found to the name issue under the UN-brokered process. We have proven our constructive stance. We have done that which we had to do. It is the government of FYROM that must abandon its intransigence, which belongs to the past, and turn towards a European future. It must abandon propagandistic actions, irredentist attitudes and rationales towards an EU and NATO member state. It must abandon practices and actions that do not respect the principle of good neighbourhood relations. That is the only safe way that can lead Skopje to a smooth Euro-Atlantic course," the Greek premier explained.

    Clark, in turn, noted that New Zealand hoped for, and Greece backed, Turkey's accession to the European Union.

    She also outlined the educational reform being advanced in her country, the reduction of unemployment, boosting of electricity production from renewable energy sources, noting that the target was to reach 100 percent electricity production from renewable energy sources from the present 74 percent.

    Clark further called for joint events marking the Battle of Crete, and at the same time described as "important" Greece's decision to join the international whale protection treaty.

    Karamanlis and the Greek delegation received a traditional Maori welcome later upon arrival at the New Zealand parliament.

    Replying to questions, Karamanlis said that the events that will mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete, in 2011, will be more pronounced than those held to mark the 50th and 60th anniversaries while, later, at an event at the Monument to the Battle of Crete, the Greek premier decorated surviving New Zealand veterans of the Battle of Crete.

    Addressing a reception for the local Greek community in Wellington, Karamanlis thanked them for their contribution to worldwide Hellenism, stressing that Greek history and culture were elements "that make us all proud".

    He said that Orthodoxy was a fundamental element that determined Hellenism's course throughout the centuries.

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis shakes hands with a WWII veteran during a special ceremony at the Battle of Crete Monument in Wellington, New Zealand on Monday, May 21, 2007. Karamanlis, on the first official visit by a Greek premier to the Pacific island nation, decorated surviving Kiwi veterans of the historic May 1941 battle. ANA-MPA / G. ANTONIOU.

    [02] Extra buses, trains for Champions League final

    The Athens public transport organisation (OASA) will increase the number of buses and trains serving the Athens Olympic Stadium (OAKA) on Wednesday so that fans attending the Champions League final between Liverpool and Milan can easily get to and from the stadium.

    In an announcement on Monday, OASA said it would also modify bus routes for lines A8 (Polytechnio - Nea Ionia - Maroussi), X40 Express (OAKA - Acharnai - Olympic Village) and X41 Express (OAKA - Acharnai - Olympic Village), which will now stop 700 metres before the OAKA stadium at the square between Artemidos and Dionysiou streets.

    The X14 Express (Syntagma Square - OAKA) will run all through the night, while the X40 and X41 express buses will no longer pass through the station Irini on the Piraeus-Kifissia electric train line. Instead, a new route will pass through the Attiki Odos tollway on Kifissias Avenue to the terminal and return the same way.

    The electric train line (ISAP) and lines 2 and 3 of the Athens metro will operate throughout the early morning, as will the Proastiako suburban railway line between the airport and Neratziotissa Station, without stops.

    Caption: The Champions League trophy on display at the municipality of Maroussi's city hall in north Athens, Wednesday, May 16, 2007. ANA-MPA / O. PANAGIOTOU.

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