|Thursday, 20 June 2013|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-06-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>June 17, 2002
 PM calls on ruling party officials to keep ranks over policy
Athens, 17/06/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Saturday called on senior officials of the ruling PASOK party to stay in line over policy or risk triggering economic instability in Greece.
''We do not have a split personality. And we are not free to choose whether to follow this line or that according to circumstances. Central committee members have commitments and responsibilities, and they must follow the line set by decision-makers,'' Simitis told the close of a two-day meeting of the group.
''This is linked to imminent political battles. If certain stances are adopted that are backed by individuals, among them senior PASOK officials, then economic stability could turn into economic instability,'' the prime minister warned.
Needed to ensure victory were unity and confidence in the party, he added.
Endorsing other speakers at the meeting that the bad side of PASOK was its own worst enemy, Simitis said: ''This is the opponent we have to overcome, swiftly and effectively.''
The prime minister also accused the main opposition New Democracy party of displaying a lust for power, and resorting to populist slogans instead of tackling issues head on.
''This demonstrates ND's fear and panic that its true identity will be revealed,'' he said.
''The party is trying to overcome its fear by using noise tactics, denial, accusations and nihilism, which is why it also even employs personal abuse,'' the prime minister said.
He asked rhetorically whether this image had so deeply penetrated the consciousness of PASOK members and senior officials that they saw ND as an easy opponent, therefore underestimating its influence.
''Nihilism and populism are never opponents to be taken lightly. It is often the simplistic that remains in the public's mind,'' Simitis added.
Ruling PASOK party secretary says soul-searching can pay off: The secretary of the country's ruling party, Costas Laliotis, said on Saturday that self-criticism by PASOK during a two-day meeting of its central committee could point the way to unity.
Closing the session, Laliotis told the committee that the debate had also raised questions on the identity of a modern-day socialist party, which could form a reference point for PASOK's national congress.
Foreign minister says ruling party needs new identity: Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Saturday that he believed a congress of the ruling party in early July should take the first steps in creating a new identity for PASOK.
The new version of the party would focus on grassroots politics, show sensitivity to problems faced by the public, and keep more closely in touch with the pulse of change, Papandreou said.
He was addressing a meeting of representatives from European socialist parties, invited to Athens for talks by the Andreas Papandreou Institute and Anna Diamantopoulou of PASOK, who is also Greece's commissioner at the European Union.
Both Papandreou and Diamantopoulou said that far-right parties in Europe were able to commune with the public by means of simple messages on complex issues, including unemployment, immigration and safety, which socialist parties had failed to resolve.
 Main opposition leader accuses PM of ''stooping so low''
Athens, 17/06/2002 (ANA)The leader of the main parliamentary opposition asked on Saturday how Prime Minister Costas Simitis could ''stoop so low'' in criticism he made a day earlier of the New Democracy (ND) party.
''I would like to express my regret, because a premier just cannot stoop so low. I would also like to express my concern that a weak premier is synonymous with conditions of political instability,'' ND leader Costas Karamanlis told supporters on the island of Zakynthos.
Acknowledging that the ruling PASOK party had effected changes in the country during its roughly 20 years in office, Karamanlis nevertheless charged that performance was negligible when set against high taxation and massive inflows of European Union funds.
''It is common knowledge that that the state today has succumbed to red tape and conservatism. Even ministers have admitted that there has been a dramatic outbreak of non-transparency and corruption throughout state business,'' he said.
ND leader accuses government and PM of being 'merchants of division': Addressing supporters in the Ionian island of Lefkada on Sunday, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis accused the government and Prime Minister Costas Simitis of being ''merchants of division'' and said ''nobody has the right to speak of a strong Greece if the Greek countryside is not strong.''
Karamanlis said all the ruling PASOK party cared about was ''hanging on to power,'' but ''it is fortunate that the citizens are not listening to them.''
He promised that if the ND came to power, it would create a ''National Strategy for Regional Development''.
The ND leader further said his party will proceed in the re-establishment of the Tourism Ministry and the reorganization of the National Tourism Organization of Greece.
Gov't accuses opposition chief of making personal insults: Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Sunday charged the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, Costas Karamanlis, with resorting to personal verbal attacks in the absence of specific proposals on politics.
''The leader of New Democracy is keeping up an unparalleled recital of abuse and personal attacks. This is the only way he can comprehend politics. He is unable to submit proposals and programs,'' Protopapas said in a statement.
 New electoral law ready in a year, interior minister says
Athens, 17/06/2002 (ANA)The new electoral law will be ready in one year and during Greece's EU presidency, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis told state-run NET television channel on Sunday.
Skandalidis explained that the electoral law will be more proportional than the present one and will also include the institution of ''a regional deputy''.
The minister, who excluded early general elections, assured that once the electoral law is ready, he would call to dialogue the political parties, deputies and parliamentary committees.
Deputy Pangalos says ruling PASOK should face possibility of electoral defeat: Ruling PASOK Deputy and former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos said in an interview to the ''Vima tis Kyriakis'' newspaper that PASOK is closer than ever before to the possibility of an electoral defeat.
''I do not wish to be absolute but from now on PASOK should face electoral defeat as a fact,'' he said.
Referring to the local government elections this coming October, Pangalos claimed that ''if we fall below twenty prefectures, we should hold an extraordinary congress.''
Pangalos rejected scenarios of a change in the PASOK leadership during the current four-year tenure, saying that Prime Minister Costas Simitis remains ''indisputably PASOK leader and future prime minister'' and that ''the elected prime minister leaves only after an electoral defeat.''
Asked whether the election of the PASOK president by the rank and file of the party would most likely lead to the election of (Foreign Minister) George Papandreou, Pangalos replied that ''it is very probable as the rank and file is identified with the name Papandreou.''
On the possibility of the return to the main opposition New Democracy Party (ND) by Free Citizens Movement (KEP) and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, Pangalos said that ''it is clearly to the benefit of the ND.'' He added that ''an ND victory would cause me despair not because we will lose power but because I view that an ND government would not be good for the country.''
 FYROM reports Greek complaint over lake enrichment project
SKOPJE, 17/06/2002 (ANA - N. Frangopoulou)Greece has made two verbal complaints to the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the handling of an enrichment project for a lake that straddles the border of the two countries.
The country's environment minister said that the Greek government had complained of failing to receive timely notification of technical specifications for the project in Doirani Lake, which has lost much water in recent years, according to newspapers in FYROM.
Works began in May and is due for completion by the end of September.
The Greek side was also worried about the possible repercussions on the water level of the nearby Axios River, which flows into Greek territory, the minister was quoted as saying.
 Greek PM to visit Australia
MELBOURNE, 17/06/2002 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to pay an official visit to Australia, Greek diplomatic sources said on Saturday.
A date has yet to be set but Athens has proposed an autumn visit, before local elections are held in Greece, the sources said.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard is to visit Greece early in July.
 European unity may narrow gap between Orthodox, Catholic churches
Athens, 17/06/2002 (ANA)Visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos said that the attainment of political and economic unity in Europe could help to bring about a major rapprochement between the Orthodox and Catholic churches.
In an interview to the Sunday Kathimerini newspaper, Vartholomeos said that differences in theology and dogma between the two sides should not act as a stumbling block to cooperation in resolving the problems faced by people living in modern societies.
The Istanbul-based Patriarch arrived in Crete on Saturday at the start of a weeklong private visit to the southern Aegean island.
In Iraklion to receive Vartholomeos were church, government and regional officials.
Education Minister Petros Efthymiou presented Vartholomeos with the Crete Technology and Education Institute's award for 2002.
The Patriarch is visiting the island as guest of economist Minos Zombanakis in Kalyves, Hania.
On Sunday, Vartholomeos was to be declared an honorary resident of Hania.
On Monday he will visit the world-famous Samaria Gorge, and on Wednesday travel to the nearby island of Gavdos.
On Thursday Vartholomeos is to deliver a message on environmental protection in Rethymnon.
He will also launch a radio station of the Cretan archdiocese.
Patriarch declared honorary citizen of Hania: Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos was declared honorary citizen of Hania, Crete on Sunday night.
The ceremony took place at the square of the municipal market of Hania in the presence of Aegean Minister Nicos Sifounakis and all the local leaders of the city.
 Wave of strikes next week against pensions bill
Athens, 17/06/2002 (ANA)A barrage of strikes is scheduled for the coming week to protest against a government pension reform bill whose debate begins in parliament on Tuesday.
Workers on Athens buses and the old metro line are to stage a 24-hour strike on the first day of debate, joining a walkout called by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece, which represents nearly a million workers in the private and public sectors.
In a concerted move, the civil servants union will also stay off the job on Tuesday, disrupting state services.
Hospitals and health centers run by the state Social Security Foundation are to continue strike action throughout the week.
Emergencies will be handled under a minimum staffing requirement that is mandatory by law.
Also taking part in Tuesday's strike are civil aviation workers, with air traffic controllers set for a 24-hour walkout on Wednesday. Severe disruption of flights is expected.
In addition, seamen are to launch rolling 48-hour strikes beginning on June 18, the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation said.
The strike call is for seamen on all categories of ships to press for a signed agreement with Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on social insurance coverage, and the creation of a sector unemployment fund.
On Wednesday, staff on the old Piraeus to Kifissia metro line will also stage a walkout from 1300 to 1700.
 Banks to reopen on Monday after strikes
Athens, 17/06/2002 (ANA)Bank workers throughout the country are to return to work on Monday after their union called off rolling 24-hour strikes to protest against the government's pension reform bill.
The OTOE union said that talks on Friday with government ministers had led to an acceptance of key demands for the sector, leading to amendment of the bill that workers were protesting.
 Police officer gets 10 years in jail for migrant trafficking
Athens, 17/06/2002 (ANA)A police officer and a merchant seaman on Saturday were each sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 15,000 euros on charges of migrant trafficking, court officials on the island of Samos said.
The two were found guilty of illegally transporting 24 Iraqis from Izmir, Turkey, to the Greek island of Ikaria on June 11.
The police officer was identified as Christos Demertzis, 44, and the seaman as Nikos Hatzipavlou, 39.
The two men denied the charges and lodged an appeal.
 Britain's McRae wins Acropolis Rally for third year
Athens, 17/06/2002 (ANA)Briton Colin McRae won the Acropolis Rally for the third year in succession on Sunday to score his first victory of the season.
Ford driver McRae came home 24.5 seconds ahead of Peugeot's Finn Marcus Gronholm with Spaniard Carlos Sainz third.
 Weston: UN resolutions are on the table
LARNACA, 17/06/2002 (CNA/ANA)US State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston has expressed his country's continuous support to UN resolutions on Cyprus noting that these resolutions are part of the UN-led peace talks, aiming at the settlement of the protracted Cyprus problem.
Speaking on Saturday at Larnaca Airport, prior to his departure from the island, Weston, who came to Cyprus after talks in Ankara and Athens said he had made clear to his interlocutors what the US view as necessary for the peace process to move forward.
Invited to comment statements by Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus Sir David Hannay to CNN Turk, Weston said that ''Sir David speaks for himself and for the UK'' and that his country ''has made its views very clear in the past about what it thinks the settlement has to be''. He added that ''the US policy says (there is) one country here''.
According to CNN Turk Hannay had spoken in his interview of two sovereign states in Cyprus, something that was denied later by a Foreign Office spokesman.
Weston said his discussions were ''very extensive and substantial not only on the island with both leaders (Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash) but also in Athens and in Ankara'' where he met with government officials.
He also noted that these discussions ''have been directed to add urgency to the negotiations with a view to reach the goal which is a just and durable comprehensive settlement in a relatively short time available.''
''It remains to be seen how successful we have been in this particular trip to move the process forward, to generate the necessary political will, to reach the goals we've discussed for a long time'', Weston added, noting that he leaves from this particular trip ''hopeful that we'll be able to do that''.
Answering a question Weston said that ''the whole (UN) Good Offices Mission under which this (peace talks) is taking place is governed by the Security Council resolutions (on Cyprus), so obviously the resolutions are part of all these''.
He also recalled that his country, which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has been voting for ''many many years'' resolutions on Cyprus.
 Cyprus protests increase of Turkish troops in occupied areas
UNITED NATIONS, 17/06/2002 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government has strongly protested the recent reinforcement of Turkish troops, occupying the island's northern third since 1974, with the deployment of approximately 5,500 soldiers in the occupied areas, that raised the number of the Turkish troops to over 40 thousand.
In a letter to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Sotos Zackheos said ''this action flagrantly violates resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council and of other international organizations, such as the Non-Aligned Movement and the Common-wealth, which call, inter alia, for the withdrawal of the occupation troops from Cyprus''.
Zackheos called on Annan and members of the Security Council ''to undertake the necessary demarches toward the Government of Turkey, so that it will immediately reverse this new fait accompli and put an end to its aggressive policy, which is contrary to the spirit and letter of the United Nations Charter''. He added that the Cyprus Government would closely follow the developments on this issue, as well as, the results of these demarches.
The Cypriot diplomat noted that ''between 24 May and 9 June of this year, an approximate number of 5,500 troops of the Turkish Armed Forces have arrived and were deployed in the occupied area. This considerable reinforcement of the occupation force raises the number of its troops to over 40,000.''
He also said that ''the increase in Turkish troops follows other recent provocations by Turkey such as the illegal entry and conduct of research in the territorial waters and the continental shelf of Cyprus by the Turkish oceanographic vessel Piri Reis and the announcement of the subordinate local administration of the occupying power, of the extension of its so-called 'territorial waters' to 12 miles.''
''It is obvious that these actions constitute a deliberate attempt on the part of Ankara to create and maintain, at the local and regional level, an atmosphere of tension, fear and intimidation,'' Zackheos underlined and added that ''this situation victimizes both communities including the Turkish Cypriot population that has to live with the over-bearing presence of the Turkish occupation troops in an environment of repression and the stifling of free expression.''
Zackheos recalled a statement of the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Mesut Yilmaz, published in the Turkish daily Hurriyet on 11 May 2001 that, ''after ten years the number of Turkish troops we deploy in Cyprus will be greater than the number of Turkish Cypriots living there.''