|Monday, 15 October 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-08-30
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Papandreou and Kasoulides review prospects for progress on Cyprus, relations with Turkey
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou met in Athens on Tuesday with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides, focusing their talks on the next round of UN-led proximity talks on the Cyprus issue to be held in New York in September, the state of Greek-Turkish relations, and Turkey-European Union relations in view of planned negotiations on the neighboring country's partnership relation with Europe.
Following their meeting, which lasted for more than two hours, Papandreou said that the lengthy talks were indicative of the current "crucial situation" and gave assurances that there was complete coordination between the two governments regarding the actions and steps to be taken in the coming period.
Papandreou said the same issues will be discussed between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis when they meet in New York on September 8.
Kasoulides stressed that for Nicosia "the excellent cooperation between the two governments is the cornerstone of the success of its efforts." The Cypriot foreign minister added that the Greek-Cypriot side has entered the process of the UN-led peace talks in good faith and with political will for a settlement of the Cyprus problem, underling that Nicosia has expectations that the talks will henceforth be substantive.
Kasoulides assured that the two governments are in coordination as to how to achieve substantive talks, safeguarded by UN resolutions.
He added that efforts for a Cyprus settlement are influenced and connected with the state of Turkey's relations with Greece and the EU, with which it has a developing partnership.
The Cypriot minister also assured that the Greek Cypriot side hopes for a settlement of the Cyprus problem with the completion of the talks, adding, however, that "this depends on Ankara." At the same time, he underlined the role which the United States, the UN Security Council and the European countries can play.
Asked by reporters whether Athens will review its policies towards Turkey if Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash maintains his intransigent stance, Papandreou said that he hoped that there will be a corresponding good will on the part of the Turkish side.
"The policy we have been following for some time, which culminated in the agreement in the Helsinki EU summit (last December), aims to promote a European vocation for Turkey. This policy must be strengthened, although we shall see ups and downs; Greece has every reason to see Turkey in Europe, as this will have an impact both on bilateral relations and the Cyprus issue," he said.
Asked to comment on the social and economic crisis plaguing the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus, Kasoulides restricted himself to saying that the Cyprus government was observing the situation with particular attention.
Papandreou and Kasoulides also discussed at length the meetings which will be held in New York on the sidelines of the Summit for the Millennium, as well as of the UN General Assembly where the Cyprus issue will also be raised.
After a subsequent meeting with Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Kasoulidis said that the issue of persons missing since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was of a purely humanitarian nature but the efforts of the Cypriot government to resolve it were thwarted by Turkey's intransigent attitude.
Tsohatzopoulos said Cyprus' accession to the European Union was "a crucial turn which we wish to reach fast".
 Karamanlis attends EPP meeting in Gdansk to celebrate 20th year of Solidarity union
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)The leader of main opposition New Democracy, Costas Karamanlis, was among the politicians to attend a meeting of the European Peoples' Party (EPP) in Gdansk, Poland on Tuesday, which coincides with celebrations in the city of the 20th anniversary since the foundation of "Solidarity" - the historic shipyard workers union that some credit with bringing communist rule in eastern Europe to an end.
The chain of events triggered off by Solidarity's unprecedented strikes, led by shipyard electrician and later Polish president Lech Walesa, sent shockwaves through the Soviet Bloc in the 1980s and had brought down the Polish communist regime by 1989.
On the sidelines of the conference, Karamanlis had talks with Walesa himself, the Chairman of the Polish Council of Ministers Jerzy Buzek, Spanish Premier Jose Maria Aznar, Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov and Maltese Prime Minister Eduard Fenek-Adami. During a visit to the historic Gdansk shipyards, Karamanlis noted that the demand for solidarity was as relevant now as then: "It concerns European integration, since Europe needs to have common and jointly protected borders. It concerns enlargement and the countries that are seeking to join the European family," he said - noting that Cyprus, in particular, was one candidate-country that met all the required criteria.
Solidarity was also needed on a social level, the ND leader noted, particularly in combating unemployment. "Our priority must be jobs for everyone," he stressed.
The theme of social solidarity was also used by Karamanlis in his address to the EPP meeting, in which he particularly emphasized the need to speed up accession procedures for the Cyprus Republic, without political obstructions and interventions outside the European Union.
 Gov't session focuses on constitutional revision
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday chaired a high-ranking government meeting focusing on the issue of constitutional revision, a session that also included the ruling PASOK partys executive bureau.
On his part, PASOKs chief Parliament sponsor on the issue, former justice and development minister Evangelos Venizelos, told reporters afterwards that the constitutions revision, among others, allows the ruling party to restructure and better promote the sum of its policies.
He also stressed that PASOK will attempt to gain the oppositions consent for the revision of constitutional articles, even those where a clear majority is not necessary by the 300-member legislature.
In regards to the all-important issue of potentially altering the way Parliament elects a president of the republic, Venizelos reiterated the ruling partys position that the legislature should not be dissolved in case of failure to elect a president but reconvene sessions until an election is achieved.
 Stephanopoulos declared honorary citizen of North Kynouria in the Peloponnese
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Tuesday visited the Peloponnesian district of Astros Kynouria, where he attended a ceremony declaring him an honorary citizen of the North Kynouria municipality.
Stephanopoulos arrived in the town at 11:30 a.m. to a warm reception by local officials and the public, and immediately headed for the Zafiris Foundation where the ceremony was to take place.
In a speech delivered afterwards, the president referred to the history of the region and urged Greeks not to be insular but to learn from other races and cultures.
He also referred to the spate of wildfires that have sorely tried the entire country over the summer, pointing out that the sole responsibility for the fires lay with people themselves, who destroyed the environment and were constantly seeking to have rights without accepting the responsibilities these entailed.
Stephanopoulos also referred to the dispute between the Greek Orthodox Church and the government over the format of new state-issued identity cards, which no longer include the religious affiliation category, making a plea for an end to discord that he said could only cause harm. "Only if we are united as a people can we face the challenges of the times," he stressed.
In the afternoon, the president visited the site where the second national assembly of Greeks took place in 1823, followed by a visit to the local museum and an official dinner given in his honor by North Kynouria Mayor George Dalianis.
At 5:45 p.m. the president is to leave for a visit to Leonidio.
 Christodoulos meets Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Israeli minister
JERUSALEM 30/08/2000 (ANA - M. Papoutsaki)Archbishop of Athens Chistodoulos, head of the Orthodox Church of Greece, on Tuesday continued his visit to the Holy Lands with a trip to the Agios Savvas monastery in the morning and a visit to Bethlehem, where he was hosted to dinner by Patriarch of Jerusalem Diodoros.
Speaking at the dinner, Christodoulos referred to the problems of what he called "questionable globalization" and said the Greek Orthodox Church would do its utmost to ameliorate the "miserable happenings on the planet presently."
The Patriarch's speech, which on account of his poor health was read out by a deacon, expressed the Patriarchate's support for the Church of Greece and its strong interest in political, social and ecclesiastical events in Greece.
During a meeting later with acting Israeli Religious Affairs Minister Yoshi Beilin, the Archbishop asked that the status of the Holy Places, the Greek Orthodox shrines and the Patriarchate be maintained. According to reports, Beilin expressed his respect for the Patriarchate but refused to be committed.
 Bulgarian army officers visit 4th Army Corps in northern Greece
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Senior officers of the Bulgarian army, headed by the commander of the neighboring country's Rapid Deployment Force (RRC), General Zlatan Stoikov, are currently on a four-day visit to the 4th Army Corps in Xanthi, northern Greece, which began on Monday. The visit is being carried out in the context of initiatives to promote Greek-Bulgarian relations and bilateral friendship and cooperation.
During their stay, the visiting officers will be briefed at the 4th Army Corps headquarters and will be shown around formations and units within the Corps zone of responsibility, in the prefectures of Xanthi, Rodopi and Kavala.
A corresponding visit to Bulgaria was carried out last spring by officers of the Greek Armed Forces.
 Greek stocks continue moving lower on ASE
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Equity prices continued moving lower on Tuesday as a late wave of selling dramatically reversed an initial rebound of prices on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Dealers said selling orders by a large mutual fund and a foreign institutional investor, during the last half hour of trading, changed both the climate and the trend of the market.
The general index ended 0.98 percent lower at 3,524.16 points, off the day's highs of 3,592.14 and the day's lows of 3,506.35 points. Turnover was a low 64.68 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.89 percent lower at 1,993.85 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 1.31 percent to 472.46 points
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 587.92 points, off 1.41 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 228 to 98 with another 20 issues unchanged.
Alpha Bank, Alfa Holdings, Hellenic Telecoms, Daios Plastics and Klonatex were the most heavily traded stocks.
 Equity futures slump, tracking Athens bourse
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Tuesday, in line with the indices on which they are based.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 0.89 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 1.31 percent lower.
Turnover was 10.55 billion drachmas.
A total of 1,180 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 4.78 billion drachmas.
On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 3,009 contracts changed hands on turnover of 5.76 billion drachmas.
 Bonds pick up steam in brisk trade
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Tuesday finished mixed in moderate to heavy across-the-board trade focusing on 20-year and 10-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.086 percent from 6.051 percent in the previous session.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 79 basis points from 81 basis points a trading day earlier.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 102 billion drachmas from zero the session before when the UK market was closed for a bank holiday and trade in Germany was slack.
Of the total, buy orders accounted for 58 billion drachmas of turnover.
Trade livened up in the last 15 minutes of the session on robust German GDP growth data
 Drachma ends down vs. euro, up vs. dollar
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)The drachma on Tuesday ended lower against the euro and higher versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 337.640 drachmas from 337.58 drachmas in the previous session. Also at the fix, the dollar was set at 374.89 drachmas from 375.07 drachmas a day earlier.
After the fix, the dollar rose sharply to 377.200 versus the drachma.
 Titan Cement shows H1 profit rise
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)The Titan Cement Group announced on Tuesday that its first-half earnings before tax, interest and depreciation rose by 24.2 percent to 28 billion drachmas against the same period of 1999.
Sales totaled 98.4 billion drachmas, up 9.6 percent on the first half of 1999, the company said in a statement.
Results gained from increased demand for cement in Titan's main markets, the statement said.
On Monday, the company announced that it was to purchase Tarmac America Inc., a US building materials manufacturer, for 636 million dollars.
The Greek cement maker said it has signed the takeover contract for Tarmac, a member of the Anglo-American Group Plc., in a deal due for completion in about two months after permission from US regulatory authorities
 Egnatia buys out foreign-owned Romanian bank
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Egnatia Bank announced on Tuesday that it had wholly acquired BNP - Dresdner Bank Romania SA, a subsidiary of Dresdner Bank of Germany and BNP Paribas of France.
The Romanian bank, which was founded in 1998 by the two multinational banks, handles private and corporate banking and treasury operations. It has a license to undertake the full range of banking products and services.
Egnatia plans to establish the bank's presence in all major Romanian cities, and launch retail and electronic banking operations, it said in a statement.
 Mytilineos signs contract for stake in Hellenic Vehicles Industry
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)An agreement was signed on Tuesday for the transfer of 43 percent of shares in state-owned Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELBO) to the Mytilineos Group for 4.15 billion drachmas.
A 5.0 percent stake was sold by the finance ministry, 18.86 percent by the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank, 13.29 percent by the General Bank, and 5.85 percent by the Air Force Social Insurance Fund.
The contract states that no redundancies will be ordered at ELBO, and pledges investments of around 12 billion drachmas.
Mytilineos also has an option to buy more stock at a later date, representing a holding of up to 60 percent in the company.
 Verelis defends bill for deregulation of telecoms
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Transport and Telecommunications Minister Christos Verelis said on Tuesday the telecommunications market will be fully deregulated on January 1, 2001, and defended a bill providing for the staffing of the National Telecommunications Authority (NTA) against opposition criticism.
The main opposition New Democracy party charged during a debate in Parliament earlier that the bill's provisions did not ensure transparency in procedures and favored particular business interests.
Verelis said the ministry would retain overall responsibility for policy, while NTA would control implementation of procedures
 Selonda SA turnover rise to 5.5 billion drachmas in 1st half
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Selonda SA, a Greek listed aquaculture company, on Tuesday reported that its consolidated pre-tax profits rose to one billion drachmas in the January-June period, while consolidate turnover totaled 5.5 billion drachmas.
The company has successfully completed an ISO 9002 quality control inspection for its products.
 Delta Holdings reports 23 percent rise in pre-tax profits
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Delta Holdings on Tuesday reported a 23 percent rise in pre-tax profits for the first half of the year to 4.3 billion drachmas, up from 3.5 billion the same period in 1999.
Total operating results increased by 88 percent to 5.0 billion drachmas, while consolidated sales rose 13.5 percent to 70 billion drachmas, up from 62 bln last year.
 Hellenic Bottling's pre-tax profits rise 18.1 pct
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Hellenic Bottling SA, on Tuesday reported a 18.1 percent rise in its pre-tax consolidated profits, after minority rights, for the first six months of 2000 to 23.6 billion drachmas compared with the same period last year.
A company statement said results were burdened with an 1.7 billion drachmas charge for the takeover of Coca-Cola Bottling.
Sales volume fell by 3.0 percent while turnover increased by 10.6 percent.
 Construction group reports increased turnover in 1st half
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Hellenic Technodomiki - Aktor - TEB, a Greek listed construction group, on Tuesday announced a 71.6 percent rise in its consolidated turnover in the first six months of the year to 68.8 billion drachmas, from 40.1 billion drachmas the same period in 1999.
Pre-tax profits totaled 8.1 billion drachmas from 4.6 billion last year, an increase of 76 percent
 Despect Hellas reports hefty 1st half results
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Despec Hellas on Tuesday reported a spectacular 312 percent jump in its 1st half pre-tax profits to 1.1 billion drachmas, up from 277 million in the same period last year.
The company's consolidated turnover rose 209 percent to 15 billion drachmas from 4.8 billion in 1999, with the company predicting a rise to 40 billion drachmas this year.
Despec, a member of Pouliaddis Group, plans to expand in information technology sectors, such as digital photography, CD Rom and CD's software, digital storage, home entertainment, m-computing, m-business and m-entertainment.
 Vernicos Yachts announces 22.5 pct rise in net profits
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Vernicos Yachts Maritime on Tuesday reported a 22.5 percent rise in its net profits for the first half of 2000 to 400 million drachmas, compared with 326 million drachmas in the same period last year.
Charter revenues totaled 294 million drachmas, from 200 million last year, up 46.4 percent, while total sales income rose 56.9 percent to 762 million drachmas over the same period.
Vernicos Yachts expects its net profits to total 900 million drachmas this year, up 50 percent from 1999.
 Euroconsultants seeks listing on New Stock Exchange
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Euroconsultants SA has filed an application with the Thessaloniki Exchange Center seeking listing on the New Stock Exchange launched by the Athens bourse.
The company plans a share capital increase and public offering. Alpha Trust Securities will act as consultant to the issue with P & K Capital Securities as the main underwriter.
Euroconsultants SA is the first company based in northern Greece to seek listing on the new market.
The share capital increase plan envisages issuing of 630,000 common shares of a nominal value of 200 drachmas each. A total of 30,000 shares will be offered through private placement and the remaining 600,000 through a public offering. The company's turnover totaled 824 million drachmas in 1999.
The new capital will be used to fund expansion plans in Greece and abroad and building its own offices in Thessaloniki.
 Wildfires under control, Israeli team departs
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Most of the devastating wildfires that raged across rugged northwest Greece and Arcadia prefecture have been extinguished or are under control, fire brigade officials said on Tuesday.
Firefighters, however, remained on high alert as a precaution against the rekindling of forest fires.
The four-day fire in northwestern Greece killed seven elderly people last week and severely ravaged Ioannina prefecture over the weekend. The elderly victims were found in their homes despite an evacuation order. They died from burns or asphyxiation.
Government measures for fire-stricken areas are expected to be announced on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a 60-man strong Israeli team of specialized air force personnel, complete with two firefighting helicopters and a C-130 transport plane, departed from a military airport in the southern Peloponnese on Tuesday, after having focused their efforts over the past week on a massive blaze in mountainous Arcadia prefecture.
In comments to reporters, Israeli officers termed their cooperation with Greek colleagues as well as the hospitality of local residents in Kalamata as excellent.
 Turkish illegal immigrant meets tragic death in Evros minefield
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)A Turkish illegal immigrant met a tragic death on Tuesday when he wandered onto a marked and fenced-off minefield while attempting to cross the Greek border into Evros.
The dismembered corpse of the unlucky man, who bore no identification documents, was retrieved by a team of army mine-sweepers called to the scene.
Police also arrested 22-year-old Palestinian Ali Mohammed, who was trapped within the minefield after the explosion.
According to the Mohammed, he and the deceased had swum across the Evros River into Greece during the night, and had not realized in the dark that the fenced-off area was a minefield, believing that it was there to fence off the border of Greece and Turkey.
 Albanian man sought in fatal stabbing of compatriot
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)A 23-year-old Albanian illegal immigrant was stabbed to death Monday evening in a community near Thessaloniki, with authorities searching for a compatriot of the victim as the primary suspect.
The victim was identified as Gzim Gzoka, while the assailant, who allegedly fled the scene, was listed as Skelgim Merkaj, 25.
According to witnesses, the two men quarreled before coming to blows outside a grocery store in the community of Halastra.
 Court arraignment pending for six suspects linked to int'l cocaine ring
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)Six Greek nationals arrested on various charges stemming from an US-led raid on a major international cocaine smuggling ring last week are due to face a local prosecutor on Tuesday.
All six suspects, as well as a ship owner arrested in France, are involved in the shipping sector. The ring was allegedly centered in Venezuela, while reports state that authorities in both Venezuela and the United States have so far confiscated some eight tons of cocaine
 Young man hangs himself due to mistaken belief he caused death of another
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)A 22-year-old ethnic Greek man from Georgia was found hanged on Monday in the countryside surrounding Ormyleia in Halkidiki.
Though police have not yet made any official announcement, sources said that the unnamed 22-year-old is thought to have committed suicide in the belief that he caused the death of a young woman who was a passenger in a car he was driving, which collided with another vehicle on the Dionysos-Ormyleia road. According to the same sources, the girl was not in fact dead but had merely passed out.
 Greek-American art exhibition opens Sunday
Athens, 30/08/2000 (ANA)The largest ever exhibition of works of prominent Greek-American artists is scheduled to open at the State Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki's Lazariston monastery on Sunday.
The exhibition, entitled "Modern Odysseys - Greek-American artists of the 20th century," includes 110 paintings, sculptures, video productions and photographs of 35 artists representing various modern aesthetic forms. It is part of events in the framework of the 65th annual Thessaloniki International Trade Fair opening next week, in which the United States takes center stage as the honored nation. A parallel large exhibition of works by Andy Warhol is held at the city's Macedonian Museum of Modern Art.
Ninety of the works displayed come from large museums -such as Queens Museum of Art in New York- and private collections in the U.S., and the rest from similar sources in Greece.
The exhibition will be inaugurated at 7 pm and will last until November 30
 Austerity measures imposed in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus
NICOSIA, 30/08/2000 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said on Tuesday that no special campaign was needed on behalf of the Greek Cypriot side to indicate that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, acts and operates as a proxy of Ankara, as "all foreigners are aware of this".
Replying to questions, Papapetrou pointed out that the recent decision of the Turkish National Security Council was not necessary to confirm what has been obvious for many years now. Turkey's powerful body has approved a set of economic measures to be imposed on the self-styled regime in the Cyprus Republic's northern areas, occupied since the 1974 Turkish invasion, in a bid to repress riots organized by native Turkish Cypriots under the slogan "This country is ours". The Turkish Cypriot newspaper "Kibris" reported on Tuesday that the Ankara-imposed set includes a total of 76 austerity measures.
In November 1983, the occupation regime declared a UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence), which the UN has branded "legally invalid". The UN Security Council has called on all states not to recognize any other state but the Republic of Cyprus and not to facilitate the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime. Only Turkey recognizes the pseudostate
 Cyprus gov't calls for restoration of status quo in Strovilia
NICOSIA, 30/08/2000 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou on Tuesday expressed hope that the UN Security Council would undertake its responsibilities regarding the situation in the Strovilia area, if the status quo is not restored soon.
Papapetrou said that representations were made on Monday to the UN and its Security Council, deploring the visit by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to Strovilia and raising once again the demand for the restoration of the status quo ante in the area.
The Turkish occupation forces illegally put up a checkpoint in this south-eastern area as part of measures against the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in retaliation to the non-inclusion of an addendum in a report by UN chief Kofi Annan for the renewal of the Force's mandate with a Turkish demand for separate discussions with UNFICYP.
The spokesman said that "the Strovilia issue is not just an issue of altering the status quo by 200 meters, but means many other things", that is it indicates the intentions of the occupation regime and "poses great questions about the credibility of the peace-keeping force and its presence in Cyprus".
Asked if the Strovilia issue could halt the ongoing UN-led proximity talks on the Cyprus problem, Papapetrou said that the National Council, advisory body to the President on the national issue, has decided in cooperation with the Greek government that it was not a reason to stop negotiations.
Proximity talks, separate meetings of the UN with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, began last December and a fourth round is scheduled to start on September 12, in New York, aiming at paving the way for substantive negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied the island's northern third.
 Greek and Turkish Cypriot business people initiate meetings
NICOSIA, 30/08/2000 (CNA/ANA)As Greek and Turkish Cypriot people have separate meetings with President Glafcos Clerides and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Rauf Denktash this week, the government notes that this second track diplomacy is universally acceptable but is no substitute to government policy on the political question in Cyprus.
"The government has given its consent and expressed moral support to these efforts by the Brussels group, which is an independent team and does not implement government policy nor does it draft out policy," Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said here on Tuesday, commenting on Monday's meeting of about 20 Greek and Turkish Cypriot business people with Denktash.
The group, due to be received by the President on Thursday, reflects the actions of the private sector, and its members discuss matters of interest to every citizen which could be implemented without the involvement of the government, Kasoulides said.
Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou backed any move by Greek and Turkish Cypriots aiming at rapprochement between the two communities but does not run the risk of giving recognition to the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus.
"Any such move is welcomed and positive and we consider the initiative by the Brussels group as a contribution to this direction," he said.
Replying to questions, the spokesman made it clear that nobody is authorized by the government to negotiate on behalf of the government
On their part, two members of the team, Phanos Epiphaniou and Dinos Lordos, told CNA that the group aims at promoting projects to restore historic monuments, introduce classes to teach Greek and Turkish, protect the environment and improve communication between the two sides
 "Kypria 2000" cultural festival begins Sept. 4
NICOSIA, 30/08/2000 (CNA/ANA)The International Festival "Kypria 2000", which has been running for a decade now, is the most important cultural event in Cyprus, Education and Culture Minister Ouranios Ioannides told a press conference held Tuesday in Nicosia.
Introducing the events which will take place over the next few months, starting September 4, Ioannides said that more than 300 distinguished Cypriot and foreign artists will take part in different events which include performances by the Chamber Orchestra of Bratislava, the National Theatre of Northern Greece and the Cyprus Theatre Organization.
The events also include performances by the Cyprus State Orchestra, the "Batsheva" Dance Company from Israel, the "Sinequanon" Dance Group from Greece, and the National Operatic Stage.
The curtain of the Festival falls in February 2001 with exhibitions related to video by Cypriot, Greek and French artists.