|Tuesday, 23 January 2018|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-05-14
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Tsipras and Putin underlined need of strengthening the relations between Russia and GreecePrime Minister Alexis Tsipras underlined the strengthening of the Greek-Russian relations in the sectors of economy, trade and tourism in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Belt and Road forum that is taking place in Beijing.
In the last years, said Tsipras, a significant increase in trade and in the number of tourists from Russia to Greece is recorded. Both governments are closely cooperating on the strengthening of the bilateral relations in all sectors. For this reason, Greece and Russia will prepare the new Joint Ministerial Committee meeting.
On his part, Putin thanked the Greek prime minister for his efforts to strengthen the relations between the two countries. He referred to the need to further deepen the bilateral relations.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Digital Policy minister Nikos Pappas were present at the meeting.
Tsipras posted on his twitter account: With President Putin we discussed on the strengthening of our bilateral relations and the developments in the region".
 Seriously injured in train derailment dies increasing the number of victims to threeA person that was seriously injured in the train derailment late Saturday near the city of Thessaloniki and was hospitalised in Papanikolaou hospital died on Sunday increasing the number of the victims to three.
Two more persons that are seriously injured and another four that are suffering from lighter injuries are being hospitalised in the same hospital.
Two persons were killed and seven injured when a train derailed at 21:45 on Saturday and a carriage fell on a residence in the area of Adendros close to Thessaloniki.
According to TRAINOSE, the reasons of the accident are unknown.
The train with 100 passengers on board was carrying out the route Athens-Thessaloniki and the accident occurred 200 metres away from Adendros.
 It is highly possible to reach an agreement on the debt very soon, gov't spokesman Tzanakopoulos saysIt is highly possible to reach an agreement on the debt very soon, stated government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos in an interview with radio "Athina 9.84" on Sunday.
Tzanakopoulos noted that "for us the main issue is the country to be included in the quantitative easing programme and "anything that leads to a debt settlement that will open the door to the country's inclusion is acceptable for us" he underlined.
He clarified that, ahead of the Eurogroup meeting on May 22, the primary surpluses must be defined in order a comprehensive agreement to exist because on this depends the size of the mid-term measures for the debt. He noted that the discussion will certainly open at the next Eurogroup meeting and expressed the wish that it will be completed in the specific meeting.
"If we don't succeed to complete the discussions on May 22 and some more days are needed, I believe it is not that terrible" Tzanakopoulos concluded.
 PM Tsipras: Greece is returning to growth which opens up remarkable opportunities for investment and tradeIt is with great pleasure that I address today, the high level Forum for the One Belt One Road project, said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaking to the forum in Beijing on Sunday.
A far-reaching 21st initiative, building on the wisdom of the ancient Chinese concept of the Silk Road. I congratulate China and personally President Xi Jinping for his vision and for his warm hospitality in hosting this Forum.
And I want to underline the great importance that such a vision has, in our times.
At times when all of us around this table face increasing global and regional challenges: in the economic and financial system, in human mobility and migration, in security and regional stability.
In these times - when the temptation is great to respond to the crises of globalization by increasing isolation [and protectionism] and by raising walls - this initiative highlights a vision of connectivity, cooperation and dialogue across Europe and Asia, but also other parts of the world.
In this context, we believe that it is becoming a crucial vehicle for expanding economic growth, trade and investment.
It is crucial for maximizing investment synergies and promoting trade, transport, energy and telecommunications networks, through projects that can have a big impact on national economies.
On this basis, we will actively support that the Initiative pays due attention to strengthening scientific and technological innovation, as well as integrating small and medium-sized enterprises in global value chains.
Furthermore, we are convinced that coordination with other regional frameworks such as ASEM, the EU-China Connectivity platform, or China-Europe Land-Sea Express Route will add value to the initiative.
Of course, while always promoting a rules-based, transparent and inclusive international trading system, with the World Trade Organization at its core.
What is particularly positive for us is that the goals of the Belt and Road Initiative are compatible with our own regional economic goals.
And our dynamic, comprehensive, strategic partnership with China sets a solid basis for working in this direction.
Greece - after many years of severe crises - is returning to a growth path which opens up remarkable opportunities for investment and trade.
My country is once again taking full advantage of its unique geopolitical identity as a country of Europe, the Mediterranean, the Balkans and the broader Black Sea region, but also as a maritime country with potential for advancing relations, far beyond its neighbourhood.
In this framework Greece is expanding its role as an important regional hub in the fields of trade, transport, energy, telecommunications, logistics, culture and tourism.
The Greek people have lived at the crossroads of three continents for thousands of years, trading, working and migrating all over the world.
As a country with a rich cultural heritage and a world leader in the tourist industry, we highly value the importance of this initiative, for people-to people contacts, cultural exchanges and tourism.
This year is the Greek-Chinese cultural exchange year, a few weeks ago we c´´perated closely on setting up the first Ministerial Conference of the Ancient Civilizations' Forum, while -in the field of tourism - direct flights between Greece and China will be starting very soon.
As a leading maritime country, looking for new trade routes, we see the great opportunities in the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
An increasing number of Greek shipowners build their ships in China, while our biggest port - the port of Piraeus where a very important investment by COSCO has been made - is becoming a global gateway to Europe for products coming from Chinese and other Asian ports, including through the Suez Canal.
From Piraeus port, the merchandise can easily be transported by rail to many destinations in the Balkans and in Central Europe.
In this spirit, 2015 was the Greek-Chinese maritime year, China will be the main guest country in this year's Thessaloniki Trade Festival, while we are working hard on new regional infrastructure projects.
Finally, on a diplomatic level, we consider that this multilateral forum sets the ground for important new initiatives.
Greece is in any case actively promoting ambitious diplomatic initiatives for cooperation and dialogue, on the basis of international law, with all the countries of our broader region.
And we see important potential for establishing triangular relations around infrastructure projects in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.
In this framework, Mr President, I would like to once again thank you for today's very important forum and underline the importance that Greece attaches to the development of the Belt and Road Initiative."
 Omnibus bill tabled in parliament late SaturdayThe omnibus bill on the changes in pensions, measures for the fiscal target and reforms along with measures for the social support and labour changes, the mid-term fiscal strategy framework for 2018-2021 and other provision was tabled in parliament late Saturday. The draft bill will be discussed in the relevant parliamentary committees on Monday and Tuesday under urgent procedures and will be submitted to the plenum to be voted on Thursday 18 May.
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