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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis on first-ever official visit by Greek prime minister to Vietnam
  • [02] Six hikers dead, one missing in torrent on Lousios River

  • [01] PM Karamanlis on first-ever official visit by Greek prime minister to Vietnam

    Hanoi (ANA-MPA/A. Panatopoulos) -- Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday invited his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung to pay an official visit to Greece, during his own state visit to Vietnam, the first-ever by a Greek premier to the country.

    The Greek prime minister, accompanied by foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and deputy foreign minister Theodoros Kassimis, arrived in Hanoi on Saturday evening following a 10-day official tour that also encompassed a two-day visit to New Zealand and a six-day visit to Australia, the first by a Greek prime minister to all three countries.

    Karamanlis, speaking to reporters after a meeting with Dung in Hanoi, stressed that Vietnam, with its rapidly developing economy and active participation in international organisations, has become a new addition as a financial partner of Greece.

    During the meeting, a tourism cooperation agreement between the two countries was signed, with deputy foreign minister Theodoros Kassimis signing on behalf of Greece.

    Karamanlis said the talks covered a broad range of bilateral relations, noting that cooperation between the two countries was good while strengthening of their cooperation in the economic and commercial sectors was aspired to, and mutual support and cooperation in international organisations was also agreed.

    Greece has agreed to back Vietnam's candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in the period 2008-2009. Vietnam had backed Greece's successful candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council, on which it served in the period 2005-2006.

    Dung, in turn, accepted Karamanlis' invitation, adding that he aspired to further reinforcement of the relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries on a permanent basis, stressing that the Greek prime minister's visit "will bring a new era in our bilateral relations".

    The Vietnamese prime minister further noted that Karamanlis backed the economic reforms being advanced in Vietnam, adding that negotiations were currently underway for two more cooperation accords between the two countries in the sectors of the economy and avoidance of double taxation.

    Both prime ministers noted that bilateral cooperation could be further expanded to the sectors of shipping and technology, in addition to the sectors of tourism and commerce.

    In 2006, the trade balance between Greece and Vietnam was 84 million dollars, and the target was to reach 100 million dollars, with continuous improvement, Dung said, adding that Vietnam was acknowledged by many countries as a market economy, and stressing that, as a new member of the World Health Organisation (WHO), it would live up to its obligations.

    Karamanlis said that relations at political level were very good, adding that these relations should also be reflected in the sector of economic cooperation.

    Earlier, Karamanlis laid a wreath at the Monument to Heroes and Martyrs, and another wreath at the Ho Chi Ming Mausoleum.

    After their talks and joint press conference, Dung hosted an official luncheon for Karamanlis, who later also met with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet.

    The Greek prime minister will depart Vietnam on Sunday afternoon (local time), and is expected to arrive back in Athens shortly before midnight Sunday (Greek time).

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis (L) shakes hands with Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoiduring the first visit by a Greek head of government to Vietnamsince the two countries normalized relations in 1975. (EPA/STR)

    [02] Six hikers dead, one missing in torrent on Lousios River

    At least six hikers were killed and one was still missing on early Sunday afternoon after a group of 18 hikers were swept away by a torrent on the Lousios River in Arcadia prefecture the previous evening, according to rescuers.

    According to officials, a group of 18 hikers from Athens, after visiting the nearby towns of Dimitsana and Stemnitsa, set off for a walk along the riverbed and an ascent of a waterfall, and were swept away by a torrent of water and mud due to rainfall a little while earlier as they attempted to cross the river.

    Searchers, who continued non-stop throughout the night, have so far recovered six bodies and rescued another 10, while one was still missing.

    An 11th survivor was spotted by air on Sunday afternoon, and rescuers were on their way to the spot.

    The bodies have been taken to Pan-Arcadian Hospital in Tripolis for identification by relatives. The survivors were also taken to the hospital, where they were given first aid treatment, while three were hospitalised overnight for precautionary reasons.

    The fire brigades and police forces of Tripolis, Megalopolis and Vytina immediately mounted an extensive search and rescue operation by land and air to locate the hikers after the torrent on Saturday afternoon, while EMAK emergency rescue teams rushed to the area from Athens and Patras, aided by four Super Puma all-weather helicopters. Teams of army commandos (LOK) as well as volunteer organisations from all over the Peloponese and other parts of the country also rushed to the area to join the operation.

    Civil Protection secretary general Panayiotis Fourlas also arrived on the spot on Friday evening to coordinate the efforts, accompanied by Fire Brigade inspector for southern Greece K. Kakos and brigade deputy chief Fotis Papas.

    Police psychologists were also at the scene to provide support to the relatives of the victims.

    The Tripolis Security police were also questioning the owner of the agency that organised the ill-fated excursion.

    Caption: A survivor from the tragedy on the Lousios River attempts to communicate with her family after being rescued. (ANA-MPA/N. Kotsiaris)

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