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WTO voted for the Greece`s amendment supported by Argentina and Cyprus in the GA in Dakar, Senegal

REPORT – WTO GA 2005 – DAKAR: Greek delegation which is represented by Deputy Minister of Tourism of Hellenic Republic Anastasios Liaskos in the…

REPORT – WTO GA 2005 – DAKAR: Greek delegation which is represented by Deputy Minister of Tourism of Hellenic Republic Anastasios Liaskos in the 16th General Assembly of World Tourism Organization in Dakar, Senegal managed to pass the amendment regarding that a member of WTO must be also a member of United Nations too. Argentina and Cyprus supported Greece in the vote procedure which took place in the 16th General Assembly of WTO.



The Secretary General mentioned very eloquently in his report the new challenges lying ahead for the WTO in its new capacity as a Specialized Agency of the U.N. The Deputy Minister of Hellenic Republic Anastasios Liaskos mentioned two more.



The first challenge is that the WTO, having convinced through its technical assistance the developing countries of its usefulness, must also make more evident to all the developed tourism generating countries, members or potential generating countries, members or potential members, that their participation to it, under its new status, will bring tangible benefits to them.



The second challenge for the new WTO is to avoid the temptation and risk of being indirectly involved in matters of political nature. The proposal amendments of the WTO stations are a good example. We hail the fact that in article 5 paragraph 1, it is stated that the full members of the WTO must be members of the United Nations.



In the same way we believe that it must be clarified in article 6 paragraph 4 that the states that will introduce to the WTO General Assembly the candidatures of new Associate members established in their territory, must also be members of the United Nations.



Otherwise, if the WTO accepts as “ sponsors” of the new Associate members and thus cooperates and indirectly recognizes states that are not accepted or recognized by the United Nations, our Organization will have to play a political role that does not belong to it and is not compatible with its new capacity as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations.



We do hope that during the examination of the above amendments of the examination of the statutes we will have the possibility and time to submit such proposals that will improve their wording, stated Mr. Liaskos.





Statements of Mr. Liaskos about WTO and Greece in the 16th GA



Mr. Liaskos said that WTO has become stronger and its image and status have been upgraded, since the WTO has been recognized as the sole spokesman for tourism within the U.N. system. Unfortunately, we enter this new phase in the history of our Organization in a difficult international conjuncture and in a challenging worldwide environment. At that point, we must say that we were glad to see our Organization responding quickly and promptly to crises by creating crises management and recovery committees, special task forces of experts, as well as by calling emergency sessions of the Executive Council and by elaborating action plans for overcoming reprecautions of these disasters.



We have to add to that the wide range of activities, which are foreseen in our program of work for the current and the next biennium, including the Project STEP for poverty alleviation and the operation of the World Ethics Committee, which promotes deontology in tourism and a voluntary conciliation mechanism for all tourism stakeholders. Mr. Liaskos added.



Taking into account all these accomplishments of the last years, the spectacular increase in the WTO’s membership and the sound financial situation of our Organization, due to the prudent management of all its resources, I want to congratulate the Secretary General and his very efficient staff for their excellent work and I take the opportunity to declare that the Greek Delegation will be glad to support the re- election of Mr. Frangialli to the post of the WTO Secretary General for the next four years. We also want to thank the outgoing Deputy Secretary General for his excellent work.



Deputy Minister of Tourism of Hellenic Republic Anastasios Liaskos said that Greece, a founding member of the WTO, has been an active player during the thirty years of its existence. Greece has been President and member if the Executive Council, President and for many years Vice-President of the Commission for Europe, Vice-President of the WTO Committee for the Sustainable Development of Tourism and active partner in the WTO Project for the Tourist Promotion of the Ancient Silk Roads. Moreover, Greece has hosted meetings of various organs of the WTO and it had been candidate for hosting the fifteenth WTO General Assembly.



Mr Liaskos emphasized that Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, has organized the Olympic Games of 2004 in Athens. This athletic mega event was also a mega event from the point of view of tourism. Greece benefited from the worldwide publicity covering the Games, a publicity that no country in the world could afford to pay by itself. Infrastructures have been modernized and expanded, new airport, new highways, new means of transport, new hotels and other tourist facilities, new athletic grounds.



Whereas in the previous five years we had a stagnation or downward trend in tourist arrivals, this year, after the Olympics, we have inverted this trend and we expect a considerable increase in the number of foreign tourists.

Now we have the pleasant dilemma how to valorize the many new facilities to the benefit of foreign investments and tourism.



We have created a Ministry of Tourism, we have launched on time our new tourist campaign, we have passed a new law on incentives for tourist investments, we will organize nine forums in the most important tourism generating countries to promote the new favorable entrepreneurial climate in Greece and we present in all major international tourism fairs and exhibitions.



We are confident that through our deliberations here and through our concerted efforts under the auspices of the WTO we will be able to overcome the difficulties of the present and lay the foundations for an unhampered and sustainable development of tourism in the years to come,
Mr. Liaskos concluded.

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