19 May, 2004
New York 19/5/2004 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)
Greece's prime minister Costas Karamanlis arrived early Tuesday (Greek time) in New York for a five-day official visit to the US that will include talks with UN secretary general Kofi Annan later in the day and with US president George Bush on Thursday.
Karamanlis and his wife Natasha, accompanied by foreign minister Petros Molyviatis, deputy foreign minister Yannis Valynakis, deputy foreign minister for Greeks Abroad issues Panayotis Skandalakis, state minister and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos and other government officials, arrived in NY at 1:30 a.m. Greek time and was greeted by Greek-American children at the St. Regis hotel in Manhattan, where they will be staying until Wednesday night (Greek time), with bouquets of flowers.
Karamanlis is due to meet first, at 5:00 p.m. (Greek time, 10:00 a.m. NY time) with Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios of America, to discuss cooperation between the Greek State and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, including the educational system of the Greek-American schools in the US, which fall under the authority of the Archdiocese. One hour later, Natasha Karamanlis is due to visit nursery and high schools in the Aghios Dimitrios parish in Astoria.
The prime minister is due to attend a lunch in his honor at the 'New York Times' building, hosted by the newspaper's publisher, which will be attended by the paper's press staff and several Greek-American personalities. According to press sources, the journalists were expected to pose questions on all aspects of the organization of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, particularly Games security, as well as on the Greek Cypriots' rejection of the Annan Plan in a referendum on the island last month, while they were also expected to ask his view on the current situation in Iraq.
At 10:00 p.m. (Greek time, 3:00 p.m. NY time) Karamanlis and the Greek delegation are scheduled to have a half-hour meeting with the UN chief, focusing on the Cyprus issue, particularly in view of Annan's much-awaited report to the UN on Cyprus. The meeting will also be attended by Under-secretary general for political affairs Kieran Prendergast, possibly by the UN chief's special advisor on the Cyprus issue Alvaro de Soto, and other general secretariat officials.
At 10:40 p.m. (Greek time, 3:40 p.m. NY time) Karamanlis will hold a press conference, at the UN building, for Greek and foreign journalists, to be followed by an interview on CNN.
At 2:00 a.m. Wednesday (Greek time), the National Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) will host a banquet in the prime minister's honor, to be attended by presidents of overseas Greeks organizations, university professors, and people of the arts and letters.
Karamanlis will continue his NY program on Wednesday morning (US time) with a meeting with the 'Wall Street Journal' press staff, while at noon he will attend a lunch hosted by the Hellenic American Business Council, which he will address on the investment opportunities provided by Greece in the area of SE Europe, before the Greek delegation's afternoon departure for Washington D.C., where he will meet Thursday with Bush.
Natasha Karamanlis is also scheduled to visit the Ronald McDonald House foundation, where hundreds of children of various nationalities -- including children from Greece and Cyprus -- suffering from cancer are hosted, with their parents, for the duration of their treatment at NY hospitals.
Costas and Natasha Karamanlis will further visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY, where they will be given a guided tour of the exhibition "Byzantium, Faith and Strength".
Source: Athens News Agency