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Athens holds its ground in name dispute March 31, 2008

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Greece and FYROM still at odds as US ups pressure before NATO summit

The Greek government yesterday insisted that it would not be pushed into accepting a compromise on the Macedonia name dispute before Wednesday’s NATO summit, as Western pressure for an immediate solution intensified.

«No solution means no invitation for Skopje to join NATO» Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis told Parliament on Saturday, stressing «only a mutually acceptable solution… can form the basis for constructive relations within the alliance.»

Meanwhile US officials cranked up the pressure on Athens to agree to a settlement so that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) can join NATO. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Greece’s Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Friday night to stress Washington’s resolve. And, sources said, US President George W. Bush is considering inviting Karamanlis and FYROM’s Premier Nikola Gruevski for talks on the matter before the NATO summit gets under way.

Bakoyannis has stuck to her guns, dismissing Rice’s description of the name spat as «something that has to do with antiquity» and stressing, in an interview published in yesterday’s Ethnos, that «we are not a country that takes orders from anyone.» Bakoyannis added that «the pressure of time will not lead us to accept proposals in the form of an ultimatum.»

The Greek FM said she believed United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz might make a fresh proposal before Wednesday but said, «It will be difficult to reach a solution before the summit.»

But her FYROM counterpart Antonio Milososki said he thought a deal could be struck by then. «We are running out of time but I think the possibility (of an agreement) still exists,» he told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Slovenia on Saturday. He said FYROM’s parliament will today discuss Nimetz’s latest proposal for a solution to the name dispute – Republic of Macedonia (Skopje) – which is said to have appealed to FYROM.

Milososki and Bakoyannis had been due to hold talks in Slovenia at the weekend but the Greek side canceled the meeting after US pressure intensified.

Most European Foreign Ministers at the Slovenia summit avoided taking a stance on the FYROM accession issue. But Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned of the regional repercussions of blocking Skopje’s bid to join NATO. «This summit does not have the right to fail and must not replace more stability for less stability,» he said.

31-03-08_poster1.jpg  In the meantime Greece has strongly condemned the appearance of offensive billboards featuring the Greek Flag in Skopje. Greece handed over a protest note to FYROM, requesting an immediate removal of a billboard in Skopje showing a Nazi swastika attached to Greek flag.

Greece’s Ambassador to Skopje, Alexandra Papadopoulou, has been instructed, within the day, to make a strong demarche to the Foreign Ministry of FYROM, requesting the immediate removal of the offensive billboard.

31-03-08_poster2.jpg  “This unacceptable poster, which was circulated via a private initiative and raised on Skopje’s streets, directly insults our country’s National Symbol and our struggle against fascism and Nazism,” Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Koumoutsakos said.

“This incident demonstrates the huge mistake made by those who invest in nationalism and bigotry. It also confirms, once again, the correctness of Greece’s position that a necessary condition for the establishment of relations of solidarity and allied relations is, in practice, respect of good-neighborly relations between countries and peoples,” he added.

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Skopje ups the tension over name dispute March 26, 2008

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FYROM Premier accuses Greece of ‘blackmail’ before UN talks

Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) were last night involved in yet another effort to solve their name dispute but only after the neighboring country’s Prime Minister had accused Athens of trying to “blackmail” Skopje over the issue.

The comment by Nikola Gruevski came only hours before representatives from both sides were due to meet with the United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz in New York for further discussions aimed at finding some compromise. Nimetz was not due to make any public comments about the meetings until about midnight, Greek time, last night.

However, the statement by Gruevski earlier in the day appeared to heighten tension between the two sides ahead of yesterday’s talks.

The FYROM Prime Minister accused Greece of trying to get the result it wants from the negotiations by threatening to block Skopje’s bid to join NATO at a summit that begins in Bucharest on April 2. “The situation now is that Greece intends to use its veto if we do not accept its blackmail,” said Gruevski. “We cannot accept blackmail.”

He added that FYROM could break off talks with Greece if Athens decides to use its veto. “From what I can see now, I cannot be much of an optimist. In case of a veto from Greece, the negotiations will enter such deep crisis that perhaps they will be stopped.”

The response from Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was immediate. “Mr Gruevski’s comments, just a few hours before today’s crucial meeting within the UN framework, do not help the whole effort as they predict a negative outcome. We believe in this process and will not follow this line of thinking.”

Bakoyannis indicated that time was running out for finding a solution to the dispute before the NATO summit but that a “consensual, practical and enforceable” compromise could be reached.

Cyprus’ archaeology moulds a passion for pottery March 25, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Cyprus, Books Life.
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Brimbank, Australia, Deputy Mayor Dr Kathryn Eriksson has just had her third book published and has plans for two more.

A passion for archaeology since she was a young girl has led Brimbank’s Deputy Mayor, Dr Kathryn Eriksson, to have three books published, with plans for another two in the next two years. Dr Eriksson’s latest work is on the archaeology and history of ancient Cyprus.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “I’d always been interested in archaeology. I was the little girl in class always saying I wanted to be an archaeologist and the other kids would ask, ‘What’s that?’”

Dr Eriksson, whose work is internationally renowned, has been working on the book for five years on behalf of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.

Titled The Creative Independence of Late Bronze Age Cyprus, it is said to be the most comprehensive and definitive account of this period of ancient Cyprus (1580 to 1180 BC) ever published. It is volume 10 of a 14-book series. Dr Eriksson is a specialist in the area of ancient Cypriot ceramics of the Bronze Age.

In her earlier book, Red Lustrous Wares, she was able to establish that this form of pottery originated in Cyprus and not in Syria. The recent book adds to the previous one with a comprehensive analysis of another pottery form, White Slip Ware.

Kalamata’s liberation anniversary March 25, 2008

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Celebrations in Kalamata marking the 187th anniversary of the city’s liberation from Ottoman rule culminated last Sunday night with an official dinner in honour of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias hosted by Kalamata Mayor Panagiotis Nikas. 

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The dinner was also attended by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece,  government Ministers and local Municipal and prefectural authorities. Addressing the President, Mayor Nikas thanked him for honoring the event with his presence, stressing that Kalamata’s liberation meant a lot for the liberation struggle, as Kalamata was the first city to rid itself of the Turkish yoke.

In his return address, President Papoulias said that the anniversary celebration “fills our hearts with strength and passion for the safeguarding and preservation of our freedom”. In honoring all those heroes who fought for the national dignity and independence, one must draw from their sacrifices the necessary teachings to carry on, in these difficult times, on the steadfast national course, Papoulias added.

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The President said that a catalytical factor in the 1821 Revolution was “the faith in the sacredness of the struggle, and the power of the passion inspired by the justness of that struggle”. “It is our obligation to safeguard and make use of this precious heritage. It is our obligation to be prepared for sacrifices, individual and collective, to face the difficult circumstances today, and to prove that we are conscious of our country’s great and historical responsibility to the future,” President Papoulias concluded.

Name dispute talks to continue tomorrow March 24, 2008

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There was a climate of cautious optimism in Athens and Skopje over the weekend ahead of fresh negotiations on the Macedonia name dispute in New York tomorrow.

In Athens, diplomats said that a compromise could be reached ahead of NATO’s summit on April 2-4, where the possible accession of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is to be discussed. Officially Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was more reserved, saying, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, that she “felt neither optimistic nor pessimistic.”

Bakoyannis is to meet her FYROM counterpart Antonio Milososki on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Slovenia on Friday to discuss any headway made in New York by the two country’s representatives in United Nations-mediated talks.

On Saturday, FYROM’s President, Branko Crvenkovski, stressed the need for a “logical compromise” to the name dispute. FYROM’s envoy Nikola Dimitrov told reporters he had been given “precise instructions” but did not elaborate.

On the occasion of Greece’s National Day on March 25 March 23, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology, Greece News, Greek Diaspora, Special Features.
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Message of Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, Theodoros P. Kassimis, to all Greeks residing abroad >

Dear Compatriots,

It is with great pleasure and emotion that I am communicating with you on this historical day [25 March 1821] of National rebirth that brings to our minds so many memories and which is full of meaningful messages to Greeks, all over the world.

187 years ago, our ancestors, deprived of any substantial material means and falling short in number, motivated by the dream of a free homeland, fought against not only a powerful enemy but also against the prevailing status quo, which was dominant in Europe of the 19th century. It was an unequal fight, and seemingly destined to fail; however they won. They won because they believed in what nobody could even conceive, sacrificing their lives in the battlegrounds, unwilling to compromise themselves with the idea of defeat, which would have resulted in the loss of the dream of freedom. They won giving to us a free Greece, which with many efforts, sacrifices and hard work has earned the respect and the appreciation of its partners amongst the Nations.

187 years after, the challenges that our country is facing are different but not less important, consisting in the preservation of its territorial integrity, the protection of its cultural legacy and the defense of its rights. The battles are fought on a daily basis, not on battlegrounds, but in various fora, and as Greeks we are expected to prove that we are worthy of the legacy that our ancestors left us. We should never forget that what they achieved was the result of unity and resolve in the final cause. Let us then proceed as of this day, guided by the very same elements, proving once more to the rest of the world that the greatness of nations is not computed and measured by digits, numbers and material means, but by the heart, the courage and the grit shown whenever circumstances are challenging and demanding. We owe this to our ancestors, and furthermore to our children and ourselves.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all health and prosperity, and I avail myself of this opportunity to extend to you my warmest patriotic greetings.

Theodoros P. Kassimis.

Sparta Journal > Discovering Ancient Spartan and Greek History March 23, 2008

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Sparta Volume 3 No 2. Discovering Ancient Spartan and Greek History > The second issue of the Sparta Journal, magazine’s third volume, continues to be a unique journey to ancient Spartan history.

Markoulakis Publications have produced the second issue of the third volume (volume 3 no. 2) of the printed and online educational periodical entitled Sparta. The periodical is accessible for review purposes for all visitors to the following website > www.sparta.markoulakispublications.org.uk.

Read about the decision-making of Sparta and answer the question: what was the theory that propelled Sparta into war? Read the answer written by Nikolaos Markoulakis.

Did the Kings of Persia seek to win hearts and minds as they extended their empire? Cyrus, in 546BC, defeated Croesus, King of Lydia, and swiftly overran the Greek cities of Ionia. Four years of bitter fighting ensued (498-494 B.C.) before King Darius was finally
victorious. Travelling with Xerxes on his march to Greece was ex-king Demaratus of Sparta. Should that king be Leotychides, or the much more respected Leonidas? Was there any hope of stopping Xerxes? Read the answers written by Robert Montgomerie.

In the Odyssey, Telemachus, searching for news of his father’s return from the Trojan war, visits King Menelaus and Queen Helen at Sparta. Explore the King Menelaus’ palace complex with the assistance of Robert Montgomerie.

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as “Doric Philosophy”. The Doric Greeks of Crete and Laconia did practice philosophy and may be the founders of Greek philosophy. First, this article is about doing forensics; rediscovering Doric philosophy. It is about restoring some things that have been lost or obscured. Second, this is a “general overview” article. This article doesn’t go into detail but covers rapidly many points and ties them together into a coherent whole. This article is about generating interest and further research and speculation. By W. Lindsay Wheeler.

Focusing on an unusual 6th century monument discovered in Sparta, this article seeks to identify the two couples depicted on its broad sides and the function of the standing snakes on its flanks. The aim of the article is not only to resurrect discussion of this highly unusual monument after a period of neglect, but to bring to the readers’ attention, with both text and images, some aspects of Spartan visual culture in the 6th century with which they may not be familiar. Written and illustrated by Jane E. A. Anderson.

The periodical is available for subscribers in both print and electronic versions. To view the subscription rates and prices, visitors should go to the Sparta website and follow the Subscribe & Order link. This will direct them to the subscribers’ choices and prices. The website electronic payments use Paypal.

Sparta (ISSN 1751-0007) is an incorporated title with the Journal of Laconian Studies (ISSN: 1749 5814) and the former Sparta’s Journal (ISSN 1747-0005). The free electronic version of Sparta’s Journal is available on the Sparta website under the Volume’s Archive link. The website also offers a great number of free monthly articles, news and announcements that focus on Spartan and ancient Greek history.

Sparta also introduced a series of supplements, which will cover concisely important issues of the ancient Spartan society by original academic research material -more information at > http://www.sparta.markoulakispublications.org.uk/?s=supplement

For further information > www.markoulakispublications.org.uk