|Tuesday, 21 May 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-05-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>May 15, 2001
 Papandreou calls on Albanian leaders to condemn terrorist acts in
FYROM BRUSSELS, 15/05/2001 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday called on Albanian leaders to "condemn terrorist acts of violence" in the northern regions of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), while speaking to reporters after an announcement by the Council of European Union Foreign Ministers hailing the formation of a national unity government in the neighboring country.
Earlier, the council had examined developments in FYROM and the Balkans in general, the Middle East issue and aspects of enlargement concerning the free movement of workers and regional policy.
Papandreou said the EU troika will visit Skopje, FYROM, on May 16, while EU High Commissioner Javier Solana, Balkan Stability Pact coordinator Bodo Hombach, presiding Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh and he himself will be visiting Tirana, Albania, on the same date.
The foreign ministers hailed the democratic holding of elections in Montenegro as an essential precondition for stability and expressed concern over ceasefire violations in southern Serbia, calling at the same time for a resumption of dialogue between Serb authorities and representatives of the Albanian community.
The ministers condemned every effort aimed at autonomy following acts of violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and expressed satisfaction over the initialing of the association agreement between the EU and Croatia.
The council also examined a report on the assessment of the violent confrontation in the Middle East in past months, which attributed responsibilities to both sides, but primarily the Israel.
Participating in the discussion between the foreign ministers, Papandreou underlined Turkey's conflicting stance on various issues, using as an example the positive ratification of the Ottawa Treaty on personnel mines and its insistence on intransigent positions on Greek-Turkish issues and Cyprus.
On the question of enlargement and the free movement of working people, the council discussed "a flexible proposal" as Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi termed the compromise proposal tabled by the European Commission and the EU's Swedish presidency. The proposal anticipates a two-year transitional exemption period from free movement for candidate countries, followed by three years of adherence to relevant national clauses for each member-state and then the option of each country over the next three years on whether it will implement common clauses or will request an exemption which will have to be approved.
On the sidelines of the Council there will be a dinner given by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, during which there will be a discussion on events in the Balkans, the Middle East and relations between the EU and the United Nations.
Greece welcomes new FYROM unity gov't, hope for stability in region: Greece on Monday welcomed the formation of a unity government in neighboring FYROM as an "important and positive development", expressing conviction that it would "contribute to stability in the region".
Foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis expressed conviction that, with this development, "the conditions will be created for political stability and development in the neighboring country but also in the wider region".
The new government in Skopje "will contribute positively, and with the help and support of the EU, Javier Solana and Greece, we hope that the negotiations will progress, the circle of violence will close, and there will be a cessation of hostilities," Beglitis said.
Referring to the FYROM name issue, Beglitis commented that the conditions had been created for completion of the relevant negotiations, particularly in view of the changes to the Constitution in FYROM.
 EU's permanent defense bodies to be fully operational by June
BRUSSELS, 15/05/2001 (ANA - V. Demiris)The operational capabilities of the European Union's military force and the course of establishing the permanent bodies of the "European Defense" were examined by the EU's informal defense ministers' council here on Monday.
Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who represented Greece, underlined the need for completion of the establishment of the bodies within the year.
Swedish Defense Minister Bjorn Von Sydow, who is presiding over the council as his country currently holds the six-month rotating Union presidency, said the military exercise program will begin in 2002 and will focus on preparing the Union's forces for crisis management situations.
The ministers adopted a five-year program of military exercises for 2000-2006, which will regard the force's operational capabilities.
Sydow said that the Union's General Staff would be operational by the end of June, while the other two of the three permanent bodies governing the "European Defense" are already operational, which include the Civilian Security Commission and the Military Commission.
Tsohatzopoulos stressed that EU member-states should upgrade their participation in the force, both in manpower and technical support.
He noted that EU-NATO relations and the problem that has appeared with Turkey's insistence in participating in the decision making process of EU defense issues, should not lead the Union to becoming a hostage of NATO's internal problems, stressing that the Union wanted a closer relation with the North Atlantic alliance.
The Greek defense minister also said that the decisions of the Union's leaders during summits were clear with regard to the structure and operation of the "European Defense" and they delineate the framework of EU-NATO cooperation.
He added that progress in the process regarding the defense and security of the Union is the basis for the establishment of a "European Defense and Security Identity" within NATO.
Tsohatzopoulos also expressed the hope that Turkey would receive the Union's messages and would respond in a positive way, adding that in the event that this will not happen then the EU will take the necessary decisions.
"The establishment of a European Defense is a political decision, which creates new dynamics and cannot be hindered by technicalities introduced by third countries," Tsohatzopoulos said.
He also stated that the convening of a formal meeting of the Union's defense ministers' council to discuss everything relating to the Union's defense policy is necessary.
Speaking on the Balkans and current conditions in the region, he noted that security there hangs by a thread, stressing that Europe should once again pay attention to the Balkans to avert a development like the one in Kosovo two years ago.
Tsohatzopoulos also pointed to the need for cooperation between the EU, Canada, Ukraine and Russia, as well as with the other international security organizations (the OSCE and the UN), which also constitute a wide institutional framework of world cooperation for common peace and security, as he said.
He further underlined the need for public opinion to be briefed on European security and defense "so as to make it clear that the EU is trying to consolidate the right of every European citizen to security and peace."
 Athens: Eurocourt ruling against Turkey's actions on Cyprus positive
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Athens on Monday reiterated that it considers last week's conviction of Turkey by the European Court of Human Rights for a variety of transgressions during the July 1974 invasion of Cyprus as a positive development.
The decision is positive, not only from a legal standpoint but from a legal and moral one, because it's the first time that the European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for such violations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis told reporters.
He added the decision should be implemented, "because we believe that since it is connected with the wider aspects of the Cyprus problem it will significantly contribute to a resolution of the problem."
Later on Monday, meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas also commented on Turkey's stated refusal to comply with the court's decision. Responding to questions, the spokesman said that Turkey was "moving in the wrong direction" and that it had an obligation to "respect the decisions of international courts."
The Strasbourg-based court last week ruled that Turkey was guilty of 14 violations of its human rights convention over the 27-year Turkish occupation of the island's north, in a case brought by the Cyprus government.
In a 16 to 1 vote, the panel of judges found Turkey responsible for human rights violations on Cyprus because of its military presence there, while it upheld complaints against Turkey referring to its failure to investigate the disappearance of Greek-Cypriots after the 1974 invasion; inhuman treatment of families of missing Greek Cypriots; denying Greek Cypriots the right to return to their homes; failure to compensate for loss of property; interference with freedom of religion; restrictions on education and discrimination against Greek Cypriots living in the Turkish-controlled north.
Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish invasion of the north in 1974.
The northern third of Cyprus has since been run by a Turkish Cypriot regime propped up by Ankara, which maintains 35,000 troops on the island and has brought an estimated 80,000 Asia Minor settlers to occupy territories abandoned by 180,000 Greek-Cypriots forced out of their homes.
 Yugoslav defense minister to visit Greece on Tuesday
BELGRADE, 15/05/2001 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)Yugoslav Defense Minister Slobodan Krapovic is to make an official visit to Greece on May 15-17 at the invitation of Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
According to an official announcement by the Yugoslav defense ministry on Monday, Krapovic plans to hold talks in Athens on bilateral cooperation in defense issues and measures to increase regional security.
Krapovic and Tsohatzopoulos are expected to sign two bilateral agreements for military cooperation and the involvement of Yugoslav military officers in multinational training centers and the support of peacekeeping operations.
The two sides will also discuss Greek initiatives to induct Yugoslavia in NATO's "Partnership for Peace" program and other bodies involved in consolidating security in the immediate and wider region.
During his Athens visit, Krapovic is to meet with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Alternate Foreign Minister Elisavet Papazoi, as well as visiting the Greek Parliament and meeting with Parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee.
 PM attacks main opposition's 'retrogressive' economic policy
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis sharply attacked main opposition New Democracy on Monday over its economic program, which is published on the party's Internet website.
The prime minister also expressed surprise at questions put to him by a member of the press, who suggested that in his latest appearances in Parliament and a PASOK youth conference last week the premier had appeared to be attempting a return to the past. He responded by saying that PASOK looked only forward, while ND was trying to take Greece back to the '60s and '70s.
Simitis said that ND's economic program suggested that "the best economic policy for Greece to implement was that of the 20 years between 1960-1980."
"If that is the case," the prime minister continued, "one should ask - and it is indeed remarkable that ND hasn't asked this itself – what were the work hours, conditions, wages and trade union liberties of that time, what were the conditions of health and safety in the workplace, what was the environment in which wage-earners worked?"
 Parliament president says feelings for Turkey 'friendly'
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said on Monday feelings for Turkey are friendly, adding however that "when we meet with no response we should stress reality."
Kaklamanis, who was addressing a press conference at the end of a three-day tour of Thrace, northern Greece, said that reality cannot be passed over in silence in the name of rapprochement, referring to a decision by the European Human Rights Court which condemned Turkey for violating human rights in Cyprus during and after the invasion of the island in 1974 and for depriving Turkish Cypriots of their rights in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.
 Reppas blames PASOK'S bad poll results on social insurance crisis
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Polls that put ruling PASOK 9.1 points behind main opposition New Democracy were carried out in an "unfavorable" political climate, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Monday.
He was referring to two recent polls, both of which put PASOK firmly behind the main opposition in voter preference. The first, which had been carried out by Kappa Research and published on Wednesday, gave ND a 9.0-point lead and Prime Minister Costas Simitis and ND leader Costas Karamanlis equal responses on who was "most suitable for premier". A second conducted by Metron Analysis and unveiled on Sunday gave ND a 9.1-point lead, but here Simitis retained his usual edge over Karamanlis by nearly 1 per cent.
Reppas attributed the poor result to the controversial social insurance reforms that the government is attempting to make, saying that they mirrored "the public's disapproval on this particular issue."
The spokesman stressed, however, that the government steadfastly insisted that dialogue without prior terms or conditions was the only way forward on the social insurance issue.
The latest poll result was also commented on by Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Monday, who said it reflected the fact that the government's policies were similar to those of ND and tended toward the center-right.
 ND party announces bill for the protection of large families, mothers
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) will table a bill for the protection and in support for the large families of Greece, party leader Costas Karamanlis announced on Monday during his address to a party conference in Athens, in light of Mother's Day.
He said the bill ND intends to table soon will include the "Charter of the Greek Family's Rights", stressing that this charter is a text underlining the principles and positions of ND in support of the family.
He spoke of the negative indexes on which Greece ranks first, including inequality in women's participation in politics, stressing that it should change.
During his address he accused the government for what he called false pre-election declarations on issues such as social security reform and tax reform.
 Unions unveil their own study on social security reform
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Greece's two largest trade umbrella groups unveiled a detailed study on Monday that more-or-less reasserted their proposals for social security reform, just days before another 24-hour nationwide strike grips the country.
The study, composed by an institute affiliated to the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), comes almost a month after the government unveiled and then "froze" a set of measures to reform the country's overburdened social security system - including an increase in the retirement age for some categories of mostly younger wage earners and the lowering certain pension brackets.
The Labor Institute (INE) study stresses that "a triple" funding of the social security system - by the state, employers and wage earners - is necessary for the system's viability, while projecting the needs of various pension funds in the country at 700 billion drachmas annually at current rates. (One euro equals 340.75 drachmas)
A nationwide strike has been called by the unions for Thursday, May 17, including public transports, civil servants, media, lawyers and several other sectors.
INE also rejected private insurance and pension policies as a so-called "third pylon" of support for the ailing system, whereas it maintained that undocumented foreign workers must be legalized and simultaneously inducted into the system in order to reduce illegal employment.
According to a proposal in the labor unions' study, the grouping or merger of Greece's dozens of pension funds could only be accepted with the expressed prior approval of wage earners and pensioners pooled in those funds.
INE also pointed directly at what it called the "bleeding" of funds' reserves -- an often-repeated charge by the unions referring to mismanagement and dismal investment strategies by the leaderships managing the funds.
In highlighting trade unions' "battle cry" in the social security reform front, INE's study emphasized that "the system's shortfall is a social deficit, a lack of benefits".
In terms of the annual allocations for social security, as a percentage of GDP, the study forecast roughly an 8-percent figure until 2020, reaching 12 percent by 2050.
Conversely, INE forecasts that the social security system's "deficit" will increase from a 3-percent figure today to around 10 percent by 2050.
During a press briefing to unveil the study, GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos noted that "we're generally in favor of a dialogue, but by that we mean talks where we are contending for something ... we're not interested in a dialogue as a fabricated argument or as a cure for every ailment".
He also repeated the labor movement's standing position that more funding is necessary to keep the system afloat, but without curtailing pension rights.
The government, meanwhile, last week reiterated its call for an "across-the-board" dialogue with unions "without any preconditions".
 Three bids in sale tender for Olympic Airways
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)The Restis Group, Axon Airlines and a consortium led by Cyprus Airways each submitted a bid in a privatization tender for a majority stake in ailing national carrier Olympic Airways, Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis said on Monday.
A fourth firm that had expressed interest in the sale - Integrated Airline Solutions - requested an extension to bid that was refused, Verelis told reporters.
The tender's deadline for binding bids, which were submitted to tender consultant Credit Suisse First Boston, had already been extended.
Verelis said he would ask the three bidders to allow the content of their offers to be released to the media for reasons of transparency.
He added that the winning bid would be published, and he would personally brief party political opposition leaders and the airline's staff on the contract to be signed with the winner.
In nine days, Credit Suisse First Boston is to recommend one of the three bids to the government, with Verelis and National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou due to make the final decision.
ND to make investigation into OA public after Monday deadline: A warning that main opposition New Democracy would not allow the ailing national carrier Olympic Airways to be "sold for a song" was made on Monday by Anastassis Papaligouras, who handles OA issues for ND.
He made the statements during a press conference held by an ND committee investigating the plight of the airline. ND said it would announce the results of the investigation after a deadline for submitting bids for OA ends on Monday afternoon, while hinting that there were grave responsibilities within the government for bad management.
According to Papaligouras, the main opposition had unswerving faith in OA's viability and believed that privatization was the only possible course.
He said the findings of the committee would be published but not submitted to justice, though any public prosecutor would be able to use them as they would be a public document.
 Shipper says Greek merchant ships represent 17.4% of world fleet
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)The Greek merchant fleet represents 17.4 percent of the world fleet in terms of tonnage, the president of the Union of Greek Ship owners, Yiannis Lyras, said on Monday.
In March, 2000, Greek-owned ships totalled 3,548, or 150,966,324 tones.
Greek-flagged ships topped the league in European Union countries, representing 38 percent of the EU's merchant fleet, Lyras told a shipping meeting on the Ionian island of Cephallonia.
 Athens bourse ends sharply down in light trade
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Equities ended sharply lower on Monday in scant demand with institutional investors abroad seen selling stock in blue chips National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank.
Also depressing the market was a weak performance by European stock markets abroad on fears that the US Fed would not cut dollar rates by 50 basis points in the next session.
The general index ended 2.19 percent lower at 3,052.11 points. Turnover was low at 125.01 million euros, or 42.60 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 2.44 percent lower, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 1.47 percent.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: -2.23% Telecoms: -3.14% Insurance: -0.52% Investment: -0.92% Construction: -2.23% Industrials: -1.70% Holding: -1.71% Base metals: -1.63% Minerals: -1.09% Publishing: -2.68% Textiles: -2.72% Retailing: -0.35% IT: 956.35 -1.82% IT solutions: -0.92% Wholesale: -2.13% Food & Beverages: -1.92%
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended down 1.01 percent.
Of 355 stocks traded, declines led advances at 293 to 47 with another 15 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks were National Bank, Alpha Bank and GEKE.
Leading share closing prices (in euros): National Bank: 40.04 Alpha Bank: 30.00 Commercial Bank: 50.92 Egnatia Bank: 5.42 Eurobank: 16.78 Piraeus Bank: 13.70 Lambrakis Press: 11.80 Altec: 6.10 Intrasoft: 9.02 Technodomiki: 7.12 Titan Cement: 39.34 Hellenic Telecoms: 15.50 Panafon: 6.86 Hellenic Petroleum: 8.94 Attica Enterprises: 8.22 Intracom: 19.32 Mytilineos: 7.62 Minoan Lines: 4.70 Viohalco: 11.04 Coca Cola HBC: 15.36
Equity futures drop, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Monday, tracking the general index of the Athens Stock Exchange.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 2.44 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 1.47 percent lower.
Traded were 7,890 contracts on turnover of 54.2 million euros.
Bond prices drop in brisk sell-off: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished lower in heavy trade with players selling off paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.57 percent from 5.45 percent a day earlier.
The yield spread over German bunds was 49 basis points from 50 basis points in the previous session.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 1.83 billion euros (624 billion drachmas) from 1.79 billion euros (610 billion drachmas) in the trading day before.
Sell orders accounted for the bulk of turnover.
 Finance ministry circular outlines new expropriations code
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)A new code that came into effect in early May will greatly speed up the process of compulsory land expropriation by the government, according to a Finance Ministry circular released on Monday.
Under the new code, which dates from May 6 this year, mandatory expropriations will be declared and carried out entirely by regional general secretaries.
It also changes the preconditions and process of declaring mandatory expropriations, the system of mapping out properties and provides for compensation for lost income due to delayed payment of compensation due to the owner.
 All crewmembers of Greek and Turkish freighters safe after collision, minor damage reported
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)All crew members of a Greek and Turkish cargo ship that collided between the islands of Kythira and Elafonissos were safe and well, and only minor damage was caused to the Turkish freighter, the Greek merchant marine ministry said Monday.
The Greek-flagged freighter "Zini", belonging to the ELMAR Shipping Company, and the Turkish-flag "Captain Ismail" collided at 10:05 p.m. Sunday when the Turkish vessel suddenly changed course.
The captain of the Zini immediately reported the incident, and a search and rescue operation by nearby vessels and a C-130 Hercules and Super Puma helicopters to locate the second vessel, amid fears it may have sunk.
The Turkish vessel was located some two hours afterwards in the bay of Neapolis, Laconia.
The incident occurred as the Zini, loaded with lumber, was sailing eastwards at a distance of 5 nautical miles east of Kythira and the westbound Captain Ismail, loaded with iron, suddenly changed direction and rammed into the Greek vessel.
The 30-member crew of the Zini and 16-member crew of the Captain Ismail were all well, and both vessels had suffered minor damage, according to their captains.
The Neapolis port authorities were investigating the circumstances of the collision.
 Unknown assailants stole Jewish Cemetery property, caused damages to graves
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Unknown assailants on Monday broke in the office of the Thessaloniki Jewish Cemetery and stole a cordless telephone, causing damages to the office and while on their way out of the cemetery they unearthed six marble gravestones breaking two of them.
Apparently the vandals climbed over the stonewall fence and broke in the office hopping to find valuables.
Thessaloniki police is investigating.
 Aegean Airlines to install portable defibrillators on its planes
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Aegean Airlines announced that it would be installing portable defibrillators - devices that deliver an electric shock and stop the spasmodic ineffectual heart contractions known as fibrillation - on all its aircraft on Monday, to enable it to provide immediate assistance to passengers suffering a heart attack on board.
The airline said that the device, which it called an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED), is very simple to use and does not require expert medical staff to be on hand. The device itself, when connected to a patient through two electrodes, shows whether a patient is fibrillating or not.
According to an Aegean Airlines press release, its cabin crews are to be trained in the use of the machines by Gamma Air Medical.
Large foreign airlines, such as Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, American Airline, Delta Airline, Swiss Air, United Airlines and Lufthansa have already equipped their planes with such devices.
 Top gov't committee gauges Athens 2004 progress
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Olympic preparations once again dominated the government's docket on Monday, as a high-ranking cabinet committee supervising coordination amongst several ministries and Athens 2004 organizers (ATHOC) was chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
In addressing the meeting, Simitis noted that the pace of preparations and planning has definitely accelerated over the past year, "something that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has verified", while warning that "we must all continue at the same intensive pace."
One of the proposals discussed included the transfer of an Olympic slalom and canoeing venue from the Schinias site to coastal land across Athens' old airport. A rowing center would still be constructed at the site.
The proposal was made by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who said any transfer would spare the area of "heavy construction" with repercussions to the surrounding environment and the nearby site of Marathon.
However, ATHOC head Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki reportedly appeared negative to such a prospect, saying no decision has been made when leaving the meeting at the prime minister's office. Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis also aired his concerns over possible delays associated with any transfer.
Objections over the Schinias site as an Olympic venue have been aired by the Athens Academy, the Archaeological Society and by several environmental groups, including WWF-Hellas, which claims construction will cause irreversible damage to the area's fragile ecosystem.
Conversely, ATHOC has repeatedly stressed that the entire area will be upgraded, environmentally safeguarded and cleared of illegal land use, a small private airport and dilapidated former military facilities - a view publicly endorsed by the government and the IOC.
 Hellenic Radio & TV named media sponsor for 2004 Olympics
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)State-owned Hellenic Radio & Television SA (ERT) has been named media sponsor for the 2004 Olympic Games to be hosted by Athens.
ERT has offered 5.7 billion drachmas, of which three billion drachmas represent free advertising time.
The decision was taken by the board of the domestic organizing committee for the Games and the contract signed by the committee's president, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and ERT's president, Panayiotis Panayiotou.
Angelopoulos-Daskalaki told reporters that the organizing committee had met 93 percent of its sponsorship target through five sponsorships out of a total of forty.
 Athens 2004 president denies interest in Athens mayorship
Athens, 15/05/2001 (ANA)Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki on Monday denied speculation she will be the joint candidate of both mainstream parties for the Athens mayorship in next year's local elections, saying relevant reports resemble "science fiction."
Replying to questions by the press following an Interministerial Committee meeting on the Olympics' preparation, Daskalaki said there is no question of her contesting the Athens mayorship and pointed out that the only thing she is interested in at present is the best possible preparation for the Olympic Games.
Referring to an opinion poll publicized several days ago, which shows her enjoying considerable popularity, Daskalaki attributed her popularity to the important task being accomplished by the Organizing Committee.
 Cyprus calls on Turkish side to reconsider stance on European Court ruling
NICOSIA, 15/05/2001 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government on Monday called on the Turkish side to reconsider its stance with regard to last week's European Court judgment that condemned Turkey of gross human rights violations in Cyprus, pointing out that nobody has so far evaded international law and order for too long.
Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the government expects the UN and other interested parties in the Cyprus question to act in line with the said Court ruling, noting however that UN approaches on a Cyprus settlement are within the spirit of UN resolutions, that provide for a bizonal, bicommunal federation, and of respect for human rights.
"I would like to express the government's regret at the position taken by Rauf Denktash (Turkish Cypriot leader) and Ankara with regard to the Court ruling, which offers the island's two communities the chance to deal with the Cyprus problem on the basis of international law and order and the rule of law," Papapetrou said.
Denktash said the decision gives him a very good reason not to attend any more peace talks for a settlement, claiming it has left nothing to be negotiated. Turkey has described the ruling as "wrong".
Denktash withdrew from the UN-led proximity talks last November, demanding recognition of his self-styled regime in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus before he returns.
"Turkey's reaction indicates that it is angry with the decision, which I believe is the wrong approach, and I call on Ankara and Denktash to reconsider," Papapetrou told his daily press briefing, five days after the European Court of Human Rights said Turkey was guilty of continuous human rights violations of Greek Cypriot displaced persons, of Greek Cypriot missing persons and their relatives, of Greek Cypriot enclaved in the occupied areas and of Turkish Cypriots in the occupied part of the Republic with regard to their right to a fair trial.
Papapetrou said that the sooner Turkey realizes that its stance leads nowhere, the better it can serve the interests of the Turkish Cypriots.
Asked what the government expects of the UN and others as far as a comprehensive settlement is concerned, he said "it is our long standing demand that the UN have to be in line with the decision", noting however that in general the UN has not stepped out of line with respect to the letter and the spirit of resolutions it has adopted for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
He said that the Greek Cypriot side is working, within the context of the UN peace talks, on those elements in UN non-papers or in UN ideas that are not satisfactory with a view to have them amended.
"The Court decision strengthens our negotiating position for a solution that would respect human rights and international law, elements included in a statement by UN Secretary General last November," the spokesman said.
Replying to questions about Turkey's refusal to comply with a previous Court judgment in the case of Titina Loizidou relating to human rights abuses as well, he said court decisions by themselves do not solve the question of Cyprus but they consolidate the political effort for a settlement.
He said Turkey would have to understand that it cannot continue to pursue its European aspirations and ignore Court rulings and run contrary to European Union laws and regulations.
"Sooner or later the noose around Turkey will become tighter," he said.
 President Clerides meets with political party leaders
NICOSIA, 15/05/2001 (CNA/ANA)Political party leaders on Monday unanimously stated that no decisions were taken during President Glafcos Clerides' official visit to Greece earlier this month and that a meeting of the National Council will be held after the May 27th House of Representatives elections.
The party leaders made statements on the issue after separate meetings with President Clerides, following uproar that the President did not inform them on his visit to the Greek capital between 2 and 4 May.
Ruling Democratic Rally leader, Nicos Anastassiades, told reporters that the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the national problem, will convene after the parliamentary elections and will discuss last week's decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) where Cyprus won its fourth inter-state application against Turkey for human rights violations.
Opposition left-wing AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias said President Clerides assured him no final decisions were taken regarding the Cyprus problem and the island's European Union accession course during the president's visit to Athens. The only decisions taken concerned Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou's visit to the US, he said.
On his part, Democratic Party leader Tassos Papadopoulos expressed the opinion that the more frequently the National Council convenes, the better informed the president and the political leaders will be.
He further said that it makes no difference when the UN-sponsored proximity talks on Cyprus will resume or whether Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will participate, "but what the Turkish Cypriot leader will put forward at the negotiating table and most of all, that he should not be given anything in return to go back to the talks".
Social Democrats Movement President Vassos Lyssarides said he does not foresee any developments on the Cyprus problem before September, therefore there is enough time for the National Council to convene and discuss the various scenarios both on the Cyprus problem, the island's EU accession path and the parliamentary elections.
Lyssarides said it is up to President Clerides to announce anything regarding his talks in Athens.
United Democrats leader George Vassiliou said no decisions had been taken to justify a National Council meeting.
Furthermore, Vassiliou said it would be catastrophic for Cyprus' accession course if the Greek Cypriot side demanded a change of the agreed basis for a Cyprus settlement, especially after the ECHR decision. "The only thing we would achieve in such circumstances would be to undermine accession and to give Denktash the right to submit his proposal for confederation and two separate states on the island".
A joint communique issued by the governments of Greece and Cyprus after President Clerides' talks with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, said the two sides "reconfirmed the mutual willingness of Greece and Cyprus to support the UN Secretary-General's efforts aiming at finding an overall, just and permanent solution based on Security council decisions for the creation of a bizonal, bicommunal federation".
Regarding the island's EU accession course, the communique noted that Cyprus remains firmly in the frontline of candidate states and that its accession "provides a unique opportunity to create conditions of security and prosperity for all Cypriots, within the framework of the great European family".
 Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties issue joint communique
NICOSIA, 15/05/2001 (CNA/ANA)A European Court ruling which last week found Turkey guilty of human rights violations in Cyprus was the subject of discussion during Monday's meeting of Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties.
According to a joint communique issued at the end of the meeting, the leaders and representatives of the parties "commented on the recent political developments in connection with the solution of the Cyprus problem and EU accession process. They exchanged views on the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)".
The Greek and Turkish Cypriot parties will meet again on June 20th.
Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat told reporters "nobody should have the illusion that this decision will replace the negotiation process for a solution" to the Cyprus problem. He said "political matters are always superior to legal matters because, in the end, the political conditions and activities actually forge the legal issues". Therefore, the decision of the Court, he said, "should not be misinterpreted in this manner and everybody should concentrate on a solution".
Talat claimed the decision came in response to Turkish "misbehavior, especially on political matters" because of the Turkish Cypriot withdrawal from the UN-sponsored proximity talks last November. "I think the reply came from the court of the human rights. This is my interpretation about this issue", he said. Left-wing AKEL leader Demetris Christofias said the Court's decision surely does not solve the Cyprus problem, which will be solved in the political arena, but added that his party believes it should be exploited for promoting views, which restore the human rights of all Cypriots through a settlement.
Democratic Rally Vice-President Panayiotis Demetriou said the Turkish side undermines the decision and does not attach great significance to it in order to comply with the ruling.
"Our side believes that the decision is an additional tool which can be used in the international arena to persuade Turkey...to end the situation in Cyprus which is a gross violation of all human rights", he added.
Democratic Party Acting President Nicos Kleanthous stated that no one can dispute the approach of the ECHR and "this should guide us all to a positive approach", adding that "what alarms the Turkish Cypriots is their prospects and future".
The meeting was attended on the Greek Cypriot side by the Democratic Rally, the Democratic Party, AKEL, the United Democrats and the Eurodemocratic Reformist Party. The Turkish Cypriot parties, which took part, were the Republican Turkish Party, the Communal Liberation Party and the Patriotic Unity Movement.
 Greek Cypriot abducted by Turkish occupation troops
NICOSIA, 15/05/2001 (CNA/ANA)A 74-year-old Greek Cypriot was abducted on Sunday by Turkish occupation troops on "charges" of trespassing the buffer zone and was later taken to an illegal "court", which "remanded" him for three days.
According to UNFICYP's Spokesman Major Dezso Kiss, Costas Dalitis 74 from Nicosia was abducted on Sunday evening on the Larnaca-Nicosia main road near the buffer zone and on Monday was taken to a so-called "court" in the occupied north on "charges" of drunkenness and of entering the buffer zone.
On May 17, Dalitis is due to appear in an illegal "court" to answer the alleged "charges". On Monday, he was examined by a Turkish Cypriot doctor, while UNFICYP Civilian Police and a doctor are to visit him on Tuesday in the occupied north.