|Saturday, 25 May 2013|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-06-03
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>June 3, 2002
 Prime Minister arrives in China for official visit
Athens, 03/06/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis' arrived in Beijing on Sunday to begin his official six-day visit to the People's Republic of China, with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and State Council Premier Zhu Rongji scheduled to receive the Greek premier on Monday.
Simitis, at the head of a large delegation of government officials and entrepreneurs, departed for the Far East country on Saturday afternoon, with a brief stopover in Tashkent.
Both sides are expected to sign a variety of bilateral agreements in light of Greece's EU presidency in the first half of 2003, as well as the Athens Olympics in 2004 and the subsequent Beijing Games in 2008. Among the most noteworthy agreements is one classifying Greece as a "preferred destination" for Chinese tourists, along with a pact eliminating double taxation and a memorandum of understanding in the defense industry sector.
Besides his official contacts, the Greek PM will visit the Great Wall of China on Monday and the Ming Dynasty tombs.
On Tuesday, Simitis will address a joint forum of Chinese and Greek entrepreneurs, before meeting with Li Peng, the chairman of the standing committee of the 9th National People's Congress (NPC).
On Wednesday, he will visit the city of Xian before touring Shanghai on Thursday.
Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Press Minister Christos Protopapas are joining the Greek premier on the visit, as are about 50 local entrepreneurs and business leaders.
 President of the Republic arrives in Singapore on his way to Australia, N. Zealand
SINGAPORE, 03/06/2002 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived here on Sunday, as he is scheduled to meet with his counterpart S.R. Nathan on Monday. Afterwards, he will tour several sites on the prosperous island republic.
After Singapore Stephanopoulos departs for an official weeklong visit to Australia and New Zealand.
He is scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on Tuesday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis is accompanying the president on the trip, along with a large delegation of Greek entrepreneurs.
Australia's PM announces official visit by Greek President: Australia's Prime Minister John Howard on Saturday said that he was looking forward to a meeting in Canberra with Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, who will be visiting Australia between June 4-9.
Howard expressed satisfaction that the 2004 Olympic Games would be held in Greece, the birthplace of the Games, and his conviction that the Athens Olympiad would be a success.
He said that he and Stephanopoulos would cover a wide range of issues during their meeting on June 6, including a long-awaiting bilateral agreement on pensions that has been bogged down in negotiations.
He also referred to the strong ties between Greece and Australia as allies in the 20th century's two world wars and because of the large ethnic Greek community in the country.
Stephanopoulos will depart from Athens on Sunday, June 2 for a tour of Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, from which he will return on Wednesday, June 12.
His first stop will be Singapore, where he will stay for two days in order to meet with Singapore's state leadership and attend a reception for the local Greek community.
He will then fly to Melbourne in Australia, arriving on Tuesday, where he will meet with the Victoria State government and attend a reception for Melbourne's large Greek-Australian community.
On Wednesday, Stephanopoulos will address a joint session of Victoria's Senate and state Parliament - the first time ever for a foreign head of state.
He will depart for Canberra on Thursday morning, where he will visit the federal Parliament and have a one-on-one meeting with Howard, followed by a meeting with the Australian cabinet and a joint press conference.
The Greek president will then go to Sydney in New South Wales on Friday, where he will stay for two days and have meetings with local state officials and Australian Orthodox clerics before he departs for New Zealand on the Sunday of June 9.
He departs from New Zealand on June 11, with a stopover in Singapore, before arriving back in Athens on June 12.
 Greek minister: Cyprus solution a 'bridge' for Turkey to the
EU ISTANBUL, 03/06/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)A solution to the Cyprus problem would act as a bridge that would bring Turkey more quickly into the European Union, Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos told an Istanbul conference on constitutional changes in the Community on Saturday.
He also noted that a solution on the divided island republic would ''pass through'' Europe's constitutional future and was an opportunity for the Turkish-Cypriot side and for Turkey.
The conference was organized by the European Center for Public Law, in collaboration with Istanbul University and the Turkish Barristers Association.
Venizelos emphasized that Cyprus' accession to the EU was not an aggressive strategy against Turkey.
''Greece can be an active advocate for Turkey in the EU, Greece can ensure Turkey's European future,'' he stressed.
The minister then noted that a stress on the constitutional aspects of the Cyprus issue was in some ways outdated, since discussion was now underway in Brussels with Turkey's participation on the form of the European Constitution.
''Cyprus' entry into the EU could provide a way of overcoming problems that have been discussed for decades without any agreement arising,'' he added.
Meanwhile, the Turkish press on Saturday welcomed statements made by Venizelos after a meeting Turkish Deputy Premier Mesut Yilmaz the previous day, with the Turkish daily ''Hurriyet'' describing them as historic in a front-page introduction to an exclusive interview with the Greek culture minister.
In the interview, as during his meeting with Yilmaz and in statements to a meeting of Greek and Turkish business people, Venizelos had said that Athens was absolutely prepared to support and actively strive for Turkey's accession to the EU.
''We seek, want and hope for a European Turkey. Our goal is for Turkey to become a member of the EU as quickly as possible. This will not only be a huge success for Turkey but for Greece as well, since it will mean that the accession criteria set by the EU at Copenhagen have been met,'' he told the gathered business people.
Cem pessimistic about Cyprus solution: According to a report by the ANA correspondent on Cyprus, meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem appeared less than sanguine on Saturday about the prospects of a solution on the island republic.
After a visit to the occupied territories held by the Turkish-Cypriot regime in northern Cyprus, Cem said he could not be optimistic about the outcome of direct talks between the Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot sides.
He expressed his government's full support for the illegal regime of Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the establishment of two separate states joined in a loose federation on the island.
Turkish Minister for Cypriot Affairs Sukru Sina Gurel went even further, saying that Cyprus' accession to the EU was contrary to Turkey's interests and international treaties.
He ruled out any change in Turkish policy on the Cyprus problem and said that Cyprus should only become part of the EU after the political problem on the island was solved and at the same time with Turkey.
Venizelos meets Ecumenical Patriarch in Fanar: The Greek culture ministry's program coincided on many levels with the goals and activities of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Saturday during a meeting with Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos I.
Venizelos particularly stressed the ecological conferences organized by Vartholomeos and said the ministry would also support the fourth shipboard conference that would begin next week in the Adriatic.
Vartholomeos thanked the minister for his support to the Patriarchate and wished him every success.
 Greek army chief at NATO council session
Athens, 03/06/2002 (ANA)Greece's army chief, Lt.-Gen. Panagiotis Harvalas, will participate in the annual council of army general staff chiefs from NATO's southeast wing, scheduled for this week in Istanbul.
Army chiefs from the United States, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Hungary are set to participate.
Issues up for discussion include the role of alliances and coalitions in the fight against terrorism; the negative effect of terrorism on democratic institutions, populations' morale and land forces; as well as necessary measures to fight terrorism.
 PASOK secretary in Cyprus, meetings with party leaders
NICOSIA, 03/06/2002 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Laliotis over the weekend held successive meetings with the leaders of Cypriot parties.
Speaking after a meeting with AKEL party leader and Cyprus House of Representatives' speaker Demetris Christofias, Laliotis called for calm-headedness in the face of continued Turkish provocations. He also reiterated that the Cyprus problem ranks as a major national issue for ruling PASOK and all of Greece's political forces.
On his part, Christofias stressed that Ankara's policy vis-a-vis the Cyprus issue leads Turkey itself to impasses and problems.
Laliotis' visit and Christofias' comments come in light of Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem's illegal visit to the Turkish-occupied parts of the island republic over the same weekend.
Moreover, the Turkish FM was quoted as warning that the Turkish Cypriot side would not be forced into accepting a deal to reunite the divided island republic, even in the face of EU pressure.
''No one should be under the belief that Turkey or the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' is obliged to or responsible for accepting a resolution no matter what the cost,'' Cem said in an address in the occupied regions late on Saturday.
Only Ankara recognizes the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state illegally set up on the areas it controls, whereas the free parts of Cyprus under the internationally recognized government of Nicosia rank as a frontrunner for European Union accession in the next wave of the Union's expansion.
 Hyatt-led consortium picked as highest bidder for Mont Parnes casino
Athens, 03/06/2002 (ANA)A state-appointed committee over the weekend unanimously designated the Hyatt/Hellenic Technodomiki consortium as the highest bidder in an international tender to purchase a 49-percent equity stake and management of the Mont Parnes Hotel & Casino.
The bid by the consortium reached the 92-million-euro mark, according to reports, as the tender also foresees an option to acquire an additional 2 percent at a later stage.
The committee’s decision will be conveyed to Hellenic Tourist Assets SA, which oversees the hotel and casino resort built on a mountaintop overlooking Athens, and before an inter-ministerial committee approves procedures governing the tender -- the last step before Parliament ratification.
The other bidder in the tender was the Casino Club Loutraki-Piraeus Bank consortium.
In February, Hyatt Regency Hotel & Tourism SA reported an 11.45-percent increase in its net pre-tax profit last year to 12.9 billion drachmas from 11.58 billion in 2000. A company statement at the time said increase profits reflected higher net operating results, while turnover rose 4.32 percent to 49.5 drachmas billion in 2001.
Hyatt Regency said its Thessaloniki Casino turnover totalled 45.98 billion drachmas last year, up 3.66 percent from 2000, with the hotel capacity rate exceeding 73 percent. Hotel turnover was 3.55 billion drachmas, an increase of 13.6 percent.
The company's gross profit margin rose to 40.26 percent in 2001 from 39 percent the previous year.
Equity capital, including seasonal pre-tax and distribution profits, rose 15.4 percent to 33.8 billion drachmas.
 Constantopoulos forecasts early elections; Venizelos doesn't
Athens, 03/06/2002 (ANA)Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos was quoted over the weekend as pointing to early elections after the first half of 2003, noting in a press interview that "the government has every reason to pursue early elections after the completion of the Greek EU presidency".
In an interview published by the Sunday edition of "Eleftherotypia", Constantopoulos reiterated his small party's demand for a more simple representational election system, even if it means implementation after any upcoming general ballot. He also charged both main parties - ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy - with attempting to 'annex' the left.
Conversely, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos - one of the ruling party's top cadres - categorically ruled out early elections, during his published interview in the Sunday edition of "To Vima".
He also stressed that Prime Minister Costas Simitis will again lead PASOK into the next general elections.
 Minister Papadopoulos says he won't run for Parliament in next elections
Athens, 03/06/2002 (ANA)Health Minister Alekos Papadopoulos will apparently not be a candidate for Parliament in the next general elections, with an Athens newspaper on Sunday quoting the veteran politician as saying he wants to "make a career change".
Conversely, the Sunday edition of the daily "Kathimerini" quotes Papadopoulos as saying he would like to remain at the health ministry's helm until ongoing reforms in the country's public health system are completed -- a reform he termed a veritable "revolution" and one aimed directly at "standing vested interests".
According to later reports, Papadopoulos spoke with Prime Minister Costas Simitis by phone - as the premier was headed to Beijing for an official visit - where the former stressed that his decision was taken purely for personal reasons.
 Justices call for re-write of bill for state compliance with court rulings
Athens, 03/06/2002 (ANA)The Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, on Saturday called for a re-write of the justice ministry's draft bill dealing with the compliance of the state sector with court rulings and the promotion of justices to the Council of State. The Council had been asked to give its opinion on a draft bill executing the Constitution that had been prepared by the ministry.
A majority of the Council found that the bill in its present form was unsuccessful and problematic in terms of the Constitution.
They chiefly objected to the fact that the imposition of sanctions against offending state services had been split into a two-stage process - one to determine the offence and another to determine the penalty - and also the fact that arbitration had been assigned to a single-member court, rather than the courts issuing the rulings or the courts above them.
Another problem noted was the fact that penalties remained fixed, regardless of how long the offence continued.
 CoE's Gil-Robles begins visit to Greece
Athens, 03/06/2002 (ANA)The Council of Europe's (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights, Alvaro Gil-Robles, began an official four-day visit to Greece on Sunday for a regularly scheduled tour.
On Sunday, Gil-Robles visited a handful of gypsy settlements in the Aspropyrgos area, west of Athens proper, before meeting with representatives of 22 non-governmental organizations.
Gil-Robles also met with the director of the ombudsman service, Nikiforos Diamantouros and the head of the national committee for human rights, Aliki Maragopoulou.
 Merchant marine minister to inaugurate shipping exhibition on Tuesday
Athens, 03/06/2002 (ANA)The 'Posidonia 2002' shipping exhibition is to open its doors on Tuesday at the Piraeus Exhibition Center (OLP), after Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis conducts the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 in the morning.
After the ceremony, the minister will tour all the pavilions in the exhibition, accompanied by Greek and foreign dignitaries and members of the shipping industry.
Posidonion 2002 conference on shipping to be held on Monday: The Posidonion 2002 conference will take place at the Athens Concert Hall on Monday, beginning at 9:00. The conference will discuss how the shipping industry has been affected by the wider economic, transport, trade and energy issues that have become key concerns in the globalized economy and by changes seen internationally.
These issues will be analyzed in depth by a group of speakers that will attempt to give an overall picture of world trade and the challenges facing the shipping industry.
Influential members of the shipping industry will also assess its public image, common beliefs surrounding shipping and try to explain misunderstandings that arise over crucial shipping issues, suggesting ways in which the industry could improve its image and deal with serious problems.
 Morgan Stanley index revisions hide no surprises for Greek bourse
Athens, 03/06/2002 (ANA)The Greek bourse inched up one place among European markets, from 15th to 14th, based on a revision of Morgan Stanley Capital International indices for developed markets that will be effective from Monday.
Overall, Friday's revision of MSCI developed market indices brought small and largely anticipated changes in the weighting of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE).
The weighting of MSCI-Greece in the MSCI-Europe index went up to 0.55 per cent from 0.52 per cent, while it increased to 0.13 per cent from 0.12 per cent in the MSCI Standard All Country World.
Morgan Stanley also removed the shares of the Lambrakis Press Organization (DOL) and Fourlis from its MSCI-Greece index, which is used as a gauge for placements in Greek stocks by institutional investors abroad, adding the Public Power Corporation (PPC) with a 2.82 per cent weighting. The number of stocks making up the index has been reduced from 23 to 22.
In addition, the weighting of Panafon-Vodafone in the index has been reduced to 3.64 per cent from 4.35 per cent, while the weighting of Viohalko has been increased to 2.86 per cent from 2.64 per cent and that of Intracom to 2.97 per cent from 2.53 per cent.
 1.3 million euros for 'Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus' program next year
Athens, 03/06/2002 (ANA)A total of 1.3 million euros will be allocated during the 2002-2003 period for the "Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus" initiative, according to a decision by a joint committee meeting on the island of Samothrace over the weekend.
Taking part in the sessions were Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis, Cyprus' Finance Minister, Takis Clerides, and Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis.
 Clerides says Cyprus cannot be left out of EU enlargement
LARNACA, 03/06/2002 (CNA/ANA)President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides said on Sunday that it was not possible for Cyprus to be excluded from the group of countries to accede to the EU during the next enlargement of the bloc.
Speaking at Larnaca Airport on his departure for Denmark, which will take over the rotating EU presidency for the second half of 2002, President Clerides also commented on the Turkish National Security Council recent decision, saying that Turkey does not appear to satisfactorily meet its obligations towards the EU for internal changes and reforms or on the Cyprus problem.
Referring to the direct talks he is engaged in with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, with a view to solve the Cyprus problem, the president said they would be meeting again on Wednesday and possibly wrap up the issue of security, which is one of the core issues of the Cyprus problem. The others are governance, territory and property.
He said the National Council, top advisory body to the president on the Cyprus problem, would be briefed on Thursday, June 6, on all developments.
Replying to questions, President Clerides said Cyprus' EU accession course is proceeding smoothly. On the other hand, he said that Turkey had not met certain European demands, i.e. it had neither abolished the death sentence nor amended its Constitution so as to exclude the military from playing a significant role in political decision-making.
''On the Cyprus problem, which was one of the issues progress had to be made on, we do not yet know'' what Turkey's policy will be, the president said, noting that this would become clear through the stance Denktash would maintain at the Cyprus talks.
Referring to Cyprus' EU accession course, the president said Cyprus was one of two countries that could not be left out of the next enlargement. He explained that Germany would not vote for enlargement without Poland and Greece would not vote without Cyprus included in the next wave of countries to join the Union.
President Clerides will hold talks in Copenhagen with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who invited him to Denmark, on Cyprus' EU accession course, the Cyprus problem and bilateral relations.
He will also visit the Danish Parliament to brief the Parliamentary Foreign and European Affairs Committees on Cyprus' EU accession course and the Cyprus problem.
The president returns from Denmark on Tuesday, June 4.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 UK says Turkish Cypriot announcement has no legal significance
LONDON, 03/06/2002 (CNA/ANA)The United Kingdom does not recognize the regime set up illegally in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus and thus the announcement from the Turkish Cypriot side regarding an increase of its ''so-called territorial waters to a 12-mile limit'' has no legal significance.
Answering a question by CNA, a Foreign Office spokesman said that ''as far as the United Kingdom is concerned, the declaration of a 12-mile limit of its territorial waters by the Republic of Cyprus in 1964 is the only relative fact''.
The announcement by the Turkish Cypriot side ''has no legal significance'', he added, noting that ''the United Kingdom has made it clear on numerous occasions that it does not recognize a separate state in the north of Cyprus''.