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On this transitional critical moment, our strategic cooperation with Russia is of extremely importance, said Alexis Tsipras , on historical meeting with President Putin
On his first trip to a European Union country this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Greece Friday to visit a secluded Christian Orthodox monastic sanctuary and eye energy and privatization deals in the cash-strapped country.
Putin has made only a handful of visits to EU countries since sanctions were imposed on Moscow two years ago in response to the Ukraine crisis.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the Greek government headquarters in the Maximos Mansion at 18:25 on Friday, after a short walk from the presidential palace, where he was met by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the steps leading up to the building. Putin was accompanied by the foreign ministers of Greece and Russia and the rest of the Russian delegation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was received by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the presidential mansion on Friday, immediately after his arrival in Greece, beginning the first of a series of meetings with Greek officials during his two-day visit.
“You visit to Greece comes at a crucial time, not only for our region but for all of Europe,” Pavlopoulos said as he met the Russian president on his arrival.
“Close cooperation between Russia, the United States and the European Union to end the war in Syria is exceptionally important for our time,” the Greek president added.
Responding, Putin said it was time to “proceed with specific steps in order to exploit the opportunities that exist for strengthening bilateral relations,” while noting an impressive increase in Russian tourists visiting Greece.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, center, arrives to the port of Dafni, at Mount Athos, Greece, Friday, May 27, 2016, a day ahead of Russia’s President Putin’s visit. Russia’s president is due in financially struggling Greece Friday for a state visit that will include a trip to a 1,000-year-old, all-male Orthodox Christian sanctuary in the north of the country. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill arrived on Friday at 10:45 at Macedonia airport of Thessaloniki and left straight for his pilgrimage visit to Mount Athos.
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis and Deputy Interior Minister Maria Kollia-Tsarouha welcomed the Patriarch with whom they had a brief meeting before his departure for Ouranoupolis and the monastic community of Mt. Athos.
Metropolitan of Kassandria Nikodimos and the Consulate General of Russia in Thessaloniki Alexey Popov were also present at the reception ceremony.
The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia will visit Thessaloniki on Sunday and will make a pilgrimage at the Cathedral of Aghios Dimitrios and afterwards will attend the liturgy at the Aghios Grigorios of Palamas Cathedral.
In his statement Amanatidis pointed out the relations that bind the Greek and the Russian people adding that “we all expect with hope the message that will send the Holy and Great Synod and the heads of the Orthodox Churches that will be held on Crete in June in a world that is plagued by huge social problems underling the role of the Patriarch as a factor of the Orthodoxy’s stability.
This year marks the 1,000th anniversary of the first recorded settlement there by Russian monks, in 1016. While most of Mount Athos’ 1,500 monks are Greek-born, male Orthodox Christians are allowed to live on the peninsula as monks, which male followers of other religions can visit but not live on. The 20 monasteries on the peninsula include one Russian, one Serbian and one Bulgarian, while Romanians, Moldovans, Ukrainians and Georgians also live there.
Mount Athos occupies almost the whole of the Athos Peninsula and is declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the most unusual places in the world and the only self-governing part of the Greek State, governed by the “Holly Community”. It is a community of priests based in Karyes that follows the Julian Calendar, along with other Byzantine edicts and mores. The Holy Mountain (as it is in Greek) consists of 20 monasteries, 12 sketes and about 700 houses, cells of hermitages.
The monasteries themselves are true masterpieces of traditional Macedonian and Byzantine architecture. Inside there is an unimaginable wealth of unique treasures, religious frescoes, rare mosaics and libraries full of arte facts including miniatures, books, codices and manuscripts.
Only men are allowed entrance into Mount Athos and all are required to obtain a special entrance valid for a limited period. Women can view the monasteries from a cruise along the west coast of Mount Athos.
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The management of the refugee crisis by Europe has been disappointing,
Alexis Tsipras made clear that
“Greece will not agree to deals (in the EU) if a mandatory allocation of burdens and responsibilities among member countries is not secured.”
“Some don’t realize that the common rules either apply to all or they don’t exist,” he said. “Also, agreements are either implemented by all or they don’t exist. It’s shameful for the decisions taken by the EU heads of state to be annulled by some sub-gatherings,” he said, noting Greece will demand its partners “to act responsibly”.
“We will not allow Greece to become a warehouse of souls,” he said.
Addressing worries that flow restrictions at the northern border could swell the number of migrants stranded in Greece, Tsipras said he would meet political party leaders to form a common stance before an early March summit of EU leaders on the migration crisis.
Migrants rescued by NATO vessels in the Aegean Sea will be returned to Turkey, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said early Thursday after the military alliance finalized an operation to monitor the smuggling networks that help people reach Greece.
“In case of rescue of persons coming via Turkey, they will be taken back to Turkey,” Stoltenberg added.
NATO vessels arrived in the Aegean last week, and are carrying out reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance activities, the NATO chief said, adding that the alliance is also establishing direct links with the European Union‘s border agency Frontex.
Participating NATO vessels can operate in Greek and Turkish waters, but Ankara and Athens have agreed not to send forces into each others‘ waters or airspace, Stoltenberg said. The two sides are embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute.
He noted that NATO is uniquely placed to facilitate the cooperation and exchange of information between Greece and Turkey, as both countries are members of the alliance, while only Greece is in the EU.
Stoltenberg‘s comments came hours before a meeting Thursday of EU interior ministers in Brussels to discuss joint efforts to curb the migrant inflow.
On Wednesday, Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to intensify efforts to implement EU decisions and start NATO operations in the Aegean Sea immediately to counter smuggling networks to reduce migrant inflows, while hours earlier, Angela Merkel had a telephon conference with President Obama, and as well Francois Hollande and David Cameron, where the four of them agreed they were firmly committed to the Nato migration mission, noting the importance of Greece and Turkey working together and with the international community to ensure the mission’s success.
Four vessels under German command, including personnel from Canada, Greece and Turkey, were rerouted last week from another part of the Mediterranean Sea, according to NATO officials.
NATO agreed two weeks ago to help combat the flow of migrants to Europe in response to a request by Turkey, Greece and Germany. But work to agree the details of the operation ran into difficulties after Ankara signalled reluctance to take back anyone rescued at sea.
sources:: ANA- MPA ,europeonline
It surprising to hear that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chose to stress to UNHCR chief António Guterres during their meeting the need to include Afghan refugees in resettlement programs within the EU, while underlining the importance of developing safe passages for refugees through migration from non-EU countries, such as Turkey, directly to destination countries in the EU.
While the EU council is taking place tomorrow, October 15 to decide on the European agenda on priority actions on Migration crisis , which primarily concerns Greece….
A top U.N. official told Foreign Policy Tuesday that without increased support, Afghanistan risks spiraling into an even worse humanitarian crisis.
go to this story of Foreign Policy U.N. Fears an Afghan ‘Brain Drain’ as Taliban Surge Sparks Mass Exodus to Europe
“No official European documents raise the issue of joint sea patrols, but if Greece is asked,the answer will be no “–answered unofficially to the media the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias , on the scenario of joint Greek and Turkish patrols on the Aegean Sea for the EU’s external border protection,,,
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Alexis Tsipras, leader of SYRIZA who refreshed his people’s trust on his face, personally this time, by a smashing electoral victory on Sunday’s 20th election, has been sworn in as prime minister on Monday afternoon, and his government is expected to be sworn in a couple of hours.
SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras party, that had been split in a dramatic way one month earlier, came this time first with 35.473%, followed by a difference of 7,5% by the opposition party New Democracy, with 28.09%.
Soon after the announcement of the voting results, Tsipras told the media that as Independent Greeks (ANEL) party leader Panos Kammenos – his coalition partner in the former government – had publicly expressed his support, there has been a majority, therefore the way was open to form the government which he did, as soon as he was presented on Monday by the president of the republic with a mandate on Monday.
But Greece’s actual Crisis has no moment to wait, especially the Migration influx crisis, which stiflingly overloaded the biggest Aegean isle, reaching the peak of this oveload on the peak of the tourisistc season of this island on mid August till the first 10 days of September. On Wednesday, Alexis Tsipras will attend the emergency European Council meeting on the migrants issue where he will also represent Cyprus Republic President Nicos Anastasiades, by request of the latter, who is in the United States.
On Sunday, Tsipras will attend the United Nations conference, where he is expected to meet with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a reception for country leaders.
Tsipras’ now Emergency political priority as he said would be the proposal of the founding of a council on European issues, modelling the national council of foreign policy, where representatives of parties may participate institutionally, provide information and table proposals.
After the smashing NO of the Greek referendum, Greece’s people have much more than before an established belief that the country’s euro-“partners” have no intention of helping this Greece. Or, at least, this Greece by this (leftist) governmenet , which the eurolenders definitely dislike.
“There is no base of new negotiations, and solidarity is needed from both sides” Angela Merkel said today, on the greferendum-after euro-summit
But is this a joke?
It is almost half a year now, that the hope for which Alexis Tsipras was elected on January, has been unstopably canceled by the European creditors’ side, multiple times a day, every single day, since Alexis was elected . Today, it is true, Greeks have been left with no traces of hope for a more altruistic, humanitarian, or at least, fair stance form the European side.
And it is almost proved , that there hasn’t been any such intention from Euro creditors ever.
Here is how this was unveiled recently
It was just two days before the referendum in Greece , while the Greek’s agony, mass mind torture and mass despair, were rising on the peak, by closed banks frightening as never before the daily life in every single Greek household, and while the armed missinformation propaganda was chocking any thought of democratic freedom , when NYT decided to publish the true story, word-by-word, that led Greece to its worst No-way-out.
It was exactly just on time, two days before the referendum, that the Greek heart had started to overcome the foggy laid set up of misleading information , the scary blackmailing quotes of European aders and Greek exleaders claiming that a no would be a Grexit d nothing else, and also, it was the moment that Greeks, and especially the veterans Greeks had found the courage to stand on the line for 50 euros daily, -the most lucky of them-, or 120 weekly the pensioners-, but not minding at all for these moments, since the brave Greek heart had awakened Greek mind and had let them see beyond that presend foggy shade. Greeks looking straight to the clear blue sky and Greece’s horizon decided to say a brave NO to the world.
None could deny, of course, that the shock of the banks’ closure , which was scheduled to last throughout the pre-referendum week , and after, was not of the best sufficient tools to scare the Greek public on real terms, picturing a humble tomorrow, for all the Greek families in case they would vote for the NO, as the Euro creditors would see it, while they were keeping reassuring that this was it: You vote NO, that’s what your life is going to be, and worst….
But the NYT article, on July 3, surprisingly revealed on its article 48hs before the 5th of July referendum, that this was what W.Schaublhad suggested on the last nightmarish- for Greece eurogroup, when also, the “Take it or reave it” ultimatum was said straightly to Yianis Varoufakis, shamelesssly, in forn of all the Euro finance ministers in a supposted to be United Europe financila summit.
..Yanis, if you keep talking about the debt, a deal will be impossible, Mr. Dijsselbloem said, according to people who were briefed on the exchange between the two men.
Mr. Schäuble began criticizing Mr. Moscovici, the senior European Commission official, over his positive comments regarding the Greek offer.
Even the latest proposal from the creditors was too lenient toward the Greeks, Mr. Schäuble argued, saying that he saw little chance that he could get it past the German Bundestag, the national parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The only solution here is capital controls, he said, his voice rising.
But Mr. Varoufakis persisted on the issue of Greece’s staggering debt load, ignoring the admonitions of Mr. Dijsselbloem and others.
Then Mr. Varoufakis turned on Christine Lagarde, the French director of the I.M.F.
Five years ago, the fund had given its blessing to the first bailout, doling out loans alongside Europe despite internal misgivings that Greece would be in no position to repay them.
Now the I.M.F. was pushing Greece to sign up to yet another austerity program to access more loans even though the fund had now concluded that their initial misgivings were correct: Greece’s debt was unsustainable.
I have a question for Christine, Mr. Varoufakis said to the packed hall: Can the I.M.F. formally state in this meeting that this proposal we are being asked to sign will make the Greek debt sustainable?
Yanis has a point, Ms. Lagarde responded — the question of the debt needs to be addressed. (A spokesman for the fund later said that this was not an accurate description of the exchange.)
But before she could explain, she was interrupted by Mr. Dijsselbloem.
It’s a take it or leave it offer, Yanis, the Dutch official said, peering at him through rimless spectacles.
In the end, Greece would leave it.
And not only.
Greek bravery would win , though Yianis would have become, 10 days later, a “Minister No More”.
But it was not only this part of the harsh european manner towards Greece, of these latest words to Yianis Varoufis that set fire on the Greece- and- its -creditros relationships that led to the referendum. 0n the same article of the NYT , the whole proceedure, and intention, of a non agreement is unveiled
…That Monday, June 22, Greece’s technical team in Brussels submitted an eight-page proposal to their counterparts. The paper was an effort to bridge a six-month divide on how Greece planned to sort out its future finances.
For political reasons, the Tsipras government had said it would not cut pensions or do away with tax breaks that favored businesses serving tourists on the Greek islands. Instead, the new Greek plan envisaged a series of tax increases and increases in pension contributions to be borne by corporations.
The initial response seemed positive. Both Pierre Moscovici, a senior finance official at the European Commission who is known to be sympathetic toward Greece, and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of Europe’s working group of finance ministers who is one of Greece’s harshest critics, said on Tuesday that the plan was promising.
The Greek team was elated. For the first time, the Greek numbers were adding up.
The next morning, though, that optimism evaporated.
Greece’s creditors — the I.M.F., the other eurozone nations and the European Central Bank — sent the Greek paper back and marked it in red where there were disagreements.
The criticisms were everywhere: too many tax increases, unifying value-added taxes, not enough spending cuts and more cuts needed on pension reforms.
The Greek team couldn’t believe it. The creditors had seemed to dial everything back to where the talks were six months ago….
The specific NYT’s article, indeed, reading it back again, -from today’s point of reality, where Europeans find Again Greece’s negotiation role as inadequate-, is sheding light to thuth behind the Eurogroup closed doors, which Europeans, probably, never wanted to be unveiled.
Apart from that, it was also around those days of 3-5 of July that IMF decided to publishize officialy its report that had assesed the Greek dept as non susstainable, early enouph, and of which the Euroleaders had been fully aware. A publication of which, the Reuters had wrote that
the report could distract attention from a view they share with the IMF that the Tsipras government, in the five months since it was elected, has wrecked a fragile economy that was just starting to recover.
It was the dept reduction, restructure or reform, that had made Yianis Varoufas sying, while he was Finance minister that he would better cut his hand than sign an agreement without debt reform.
Finally , Yianis sacrifised himself on the altar of a deal for Greece, but debt reform still remains as priority on the table .
This is Yianis Varoufakis’ resignation statement as he released it on Monday July 6.
The referendum of 5 July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt bondage.
Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25 June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid no vote be invested immediately into a yes to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.
Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted “partners”, for my … “absence” from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the ministry of finance today.
I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.
And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.
We of the left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office.
I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new minister of finance, and our government.
The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous oxi (no) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.
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