NEWS

In Brief

GREEK-ISRAELI TIES

Foreign ministers agree on a start date for joint council Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and his visiting Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman yesterday agreed that a bilateral ministerial council would hold its first session in Israel by March. The establishment of the council – aimed at boosting cooperation in key sectors such as energy and tourism – had been discussed on Tuesday during a telephone call between Prime Minister George Papandreou and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. «We want to start economic cooperation as soon as possible,» Lieberman said. He added that Greece could help Israel in regional politics too. «Greece has the trust of both the Arab world and Israel, which is rare,» he said. FYROM NAME ISSUE UN to host February 9 talks United Nations-mediated negotiations aimed at ending a longstanding dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) about the latter’s official name are to resume in New York on February 9, the Foreign Ministry in Skopje said yesterday. UN envoy Matthew Nimetz is to continue talks with negotiators from FYROM and Greece, Zoran Jolevski and Adamantios Vassilakis. MP office blast Two women were slightly injured in Thessaloniki yesterday when a bomb went off outside the political office of Angelos Kolokotronis, an MP for the nationalist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS). The women, who were working in the office, were injured by flying glass. The blast, which occurred at 1.17 p.m., resulted in minor damage to the lawmaker’s office. About 10 minutes later, there was another explosion outside the office of a union for retired policemen nearby. Nobody was injured. Police said that the devices were made from cooking gas canisters. There was no claim of responsibility for the explosions by last night. Bishop rapped Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis yesterday condemned recent comments by Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus criticizing Islam and Greece’s Muslim community. Petalotis said that the remarks «foment racial and religious hatred.» Among other things, Seraphim had said that Islam’s main objective is «prevalence through violence.» The Muslim Union of Greece also condemned the bishop’s comments earlier this week. Illegal parking On the first two days of this week, municipal police officers in Athens issued more than 7,000 tickets for illegal parking, City Hall said in a statement yesterday. The statement said that inspections and penalties would continue despite the ongoing protest action by public transport workers. Rail theft A ring of thieves believed to have been removing sections of copper cable from railway tracks north of Attica caused some 1.3 million euros in losses while also putting the lives of passengers at risk, the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) said yesterday following the arrest of suspected ring members. Police are questioning five Pakistanis, one Indian national and an Albanian man in connection with the sabotage.