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    Athens cabinet shaken up; former Defense Minister out of a job

    Hürriyet Haber
    16.02.2006 - 10:44 | Son Güncelleme:

    Significant changes to the cabinet of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in recent days have resulted in a new Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyanni, and a new Defense Minister, Evangelos Meimarakis.

    The replacement of former Greek Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopulos, who is said to be very upset by the loss of his post, is being viewed by the Greek press as having links to certain events having to do with Turkey over the past two years.

    A brief look at some of the events pointed to by the Greek press as critical in Spiliotopulos' replacement:
     
    In a 2004 taped statement to Hurriyet reporter Nur Batur in Athens, Spiliotopolus asserted that Greek plans were to reduce Greek air space from 10 miles to 6 miles, saying "We are in the year 2004 now. There is no reason for excessive force." This statement made great waves in Athens, where government officials denied such plans.
     
    The former Defense Minister also caused a large controversy when he asserted that the previous administration had been involved in some corruption during the purchase of weapons from other countries. Greece's relations with Russia and France suffered at the time as a result of these comments.
     
    New Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was warm on Annan plan
     
    Meanwhile, at a swearing in ceremony for new Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Bakoyannis said that her priorities would be the Cyprus problem as well as the bettering of relations between Greece and Turkey. Greek Cypriot authority leader Tasos Papadopoulos, who is said to be uncomfortable with the new changes in the Athens government, issued a written statement praising former Foreign Minister Petros Moliviyatis for his work, and asserting that cooperation on the Cyprus issue would continue with Bakoyannis. Noteably, while mayor of Athens, Bakoyannis had expressed support for the Annan plan which was rejected by Papadopoulos.
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