|Tuesday, 21 May 2013|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-06-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>June 26, 2002
 IATA: Athens int'l airport 2nd in Europe, 3rd in world in passenger satisfaction
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)Just little more than a year after its opening, Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport has been ranked by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) among the top airports in the world, and holds the distinction of holding second place in Europe and third place in the world with respect to passenger satisfaction.
According to an IATA independent survey for 2001, the Athens airport ranked second in Europe, behind Helsinki's Vantaa airport, and third worldwide (Dubai airport ranked first) in the basic category "Overall Passenger Satisfaction" in the category of airports serving up to 15 million passengers per year.
It is noted that IATA's independent survey comprises the basic tool for measuring the level of airport passenger satisfaction worldwide.
Based on the views of the passengers, the 52 most important airports in Europe, North America, Asia, Oceania and the Middle East were assesses in several categories of services.
During its first year of operation, the Athens International Airport placed first among European airports in such categories as "facility of orientation within the airport facilities/Signs", "facility of transfer to other flights", "Catering facilities", "Comfortable waiting/loading areas", and "facility in parking", "cleanliness of buildings of airport complex", "passport checks", and "rest-room facilities".
The IATA survey reflects the Eleftherios Venizelos airport's steady course to establishing itself as one of the best and most competitive airports in the world, according to industry sources.
 G. Papandreou arrives in Turkey for BSEC summit
ISTANBUL, 26/06/2002 (ANA – N. Melissova)Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday attended a summit meeting here of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact member-states -- on the opportunity of the organization’s 10-year anniversary -- with talks expected later in the afternoon with Turkish leadership.
In an address to the BSEC leaders, Papandreou emphasized the need for the establishment of peace and security in the Black Sea region, something he called a prerequisite for the closer economic cooperation amongst the BSEC member-states.
He also promised that Athens, which represents the only European Union member-state in the organization, will further promote EU-BSEC ties, an initiative also mentioned in the final summit text.
Besides Greece and Turkey, other BSEC member-states include Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bulgaria, Albania, Ukraine and Moldavia.
In other developments, the “11” BSEC member-states reiterated that the organization’s 10-year course contributed to good-neighborly, regional cooperation, peace, stability and security.
Present at the sessions were eight out of the 11 states’ leaders, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Armenia President Robert Kocharian.
Greek, Turkish FMs discuss bilateral, EU affairs in Istanbul: Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday met with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem here and discussed the Euroforce issue, the Cyprus issue, the European course of Turkey and illegal immigration.
The two men, who met on the sidelines of a summit meeting here of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact member-states, called their meeting fruitful and Papandreou stressed that when Greece undertakes the presidency of the European Union on foreign policy and defense issues in July - in the event that the issue of the Euroforce is not resolved by the Spanish presidency - it will move on based on the specific positions that were formulated within the Union.
On his part, Cem insisted on the position that there is no European stance and that Papandreou has told him all that he considers important concerning the issue.
Both men agreed to work constructively toward a solution.
Speaking on the illegal immigration issue, Papandreou said that following the ratification of the Greek-Turkish relevant agreement by the Greek Parliament the two countries should set up a joint committee to determine ways to face the problem.
Earlier in the day, Papandreou visited the Phanar, where he met with Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, who will depart for the central Greek town of Volos on Wednesday.
 Seville summit results on Euroforce issue 'a great success', gov't says
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)The results of the European Union's Seville summit as regards the Euroforce issue were a great success for Greece since they had put Turkey on the defensive, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Tuesday in response to questions.
Protopapas pointed out that Greece's EU partners had agreed to a plan that fully satisfied Greek interests and had forced Turkey to react. This meant the planned European army was no longer a source of disagreement between Greece and its EU partners but between Turkey and the EU, he said.
"This result ensures our national sovereignty, our borders and all of our interests that are linked with the development of the European rapid intervention force," he added.
Asked what form a settlement of the issue might take, Protopapas said that when the issue was resolved with NATO, the EU's political decision based on the Seville decision would be included in the letter that would be sent by EU foreign policy and defense chief Javier Solana to NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson.
The spokesman added that Foreign Minister George Papandreou would be briefing the leaders of the political parties on the results of the summit.
 President arrives at Almaty, meets with Greek expatriates
ALMATY, 26/06/2002 (ANA - N. Mega-doukas)President Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived here on Tuesday, beginning a three-day official visit at the invitation of Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had visited Athens last July.
Kazakhstan is home to some 13.000 Greek expatriates and plays an important role in Eurasia, as diplomatic sources stressed, justifying the president's visit.
Stephanopoulos will meet with Nazarbayev on Wednesday and will discuss bilateral and international issues, while Deputy Foreign Ministers Andreas Loverdos and Yiannis Magriotis, who are accompanying the president, will sign three agreements with the Kazakh side.
Stephanopoulos was greeted at the city hall of Almaty by Greek expatriates, who presented their problems and requests, of which the highest on the list was the possibility of elderly people in the community visiting Greece, while educational and cultural issues also topped their agenda.
The president asked of the two deputy ministers to look into the possibility of satisfying the requests of the Greek community in this far off corner of the world.
Speaking to them, Stephanopoulos stressed the importance of every part of Hellenism and made special mention of the Pontian Greeks (originally from the Black Sea region), who make up the majority of Kazakhstan's Greek expatriate community, which, as he said, suffered exile and mass deportation by the Stalinist regime.
He noted that many Pontian Greeks came to Greece from the former Soviet Union, who are still facing problems of adjustment to Greek society and stressed the efforts of the Greek state to ameliorate the problems.
He called on them to come to Greece if they so wish, but stressed that nothing is secure as Greece has high unemployment.
Stephanopoulos called the Pontian Greeks one of the most pure parts of Hellenism, which repatriated after the genocide of the 1920 in Turkey. He underlined that the Greek Parliament recognized the genocide of the Pontian Greeks by the Neo-Turks and a day in May was set as a remembrance day of that sad day in the history of Hellenism.
Closing his address, the president called on the Greek expatriates to think of the homeland.
 Greek-Americans issue call for ''defense'' of 10-7 aid ratio to Turkey, Greece
WASHINGTON, 26/06/2002 (ANA)The three-decades old United States foreign aid policy toward Greek and Turkey is in jeopardy as the 2003 budget includes a 17-million-dollar aid package for Turkey, but none for Greece, nullifying the 10 to 7 ratio of aid between the two countries, a press release issued by the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes Abroad underlined.
''Make your U.S. Senators and Member of Congress aware that $17.5 million in military aid for Turkey and none for Greece has been requested in the fiscal year 2003 budget submitted to Congress by the Administration,” CEH leader said in their press release issued on Tuesday, in a call to Greek-Americans.
They called on them to stress to their representatives in Congress that if it ''acquiesces to this request, America would break its nearly three-decades-old precedent of the `10-to-7 ratio’ in military aid for Turkey and Greece. That ratio requires that for every $10 worth of military aid given to Turkey, $7 must be given to Greece to defend itself''.
The issue was raised out of fear for the loss of balance in the Eastern Mediterranean, as ''although relations between Turkey and Greece have improved dramatically in recent years, Greece still needs protection against regionally destabilizing elements within Turkey which have grown in recent days''.
Also the letter noted that ''the Cyprus government recently protested to the United Nations Turkey’s transfer of 5,500 more troops to the occupied area of Cyprus, bringing the total number of Turkish troops to over 40,000. This is in direct violation of American, UN, and EU policy, and adds to what the UN Secretary General called one of the most heavily militarized areas in the world''.
''Elements within Turkey that for years destabilized the region lost influence following the Executive Branch’s adoption of the `10-to-7 ratio’ in its FY1994 military aid budget. This position sent a signal to Turkey regarding America’s concern for the defense of Greece. Relations between Greece and Turkey improved and the two countries took great strides toward bringing regional stability to the area,'' the press release noted.
''Each year the Congress made sure that the ratio was included. Only one year was it broken during the appropriations process, then in a subcommittee bill, but the full appropriations committee restored it,” the press release stressed.
 Gov't on illegal immigration problem in Thrace; reference to Turkey
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)The government reiterated on Tuesday that the country does not “feature open borders”, in the aftermath of numerous arrests of migrants attempting to cross the Aegean over the weekend as well as a uprising by detained illegal immigrants in NE Greece.
Government spokesman Christos Protopapas stressed that Athens has already implemented a framework law to legalize certain migrants in the country, before noting that bilateral agreements with other states to curb illegal immigration must be adhered to – a clear reference to Turkey.
Among others, the spokesman said Greek authorities believe efforts are underway to smuggle mostly Third World immigrants en masse into Greece – the nearest EU territory in SE Europe – from neighboring Turkey along the frontier in Thrace.
 FM Papandreou to brief political parties on latest developments
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou will brief representatives of all three of the opposition parties in Parliament, beginning on Wednesday with separate meetings with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos.
He will brief high-ranking main opposition New Democracy deputy Dora Bakoyianni on Thursday.
 PM to meet IOC president this week
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis had a meeting with the management of the National Center for Social Assistance on Tuesday morning, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced, after which he had a meeting with the Chinese ambassador in Athens.
At 14:30, the prime minister chaired a meeting with Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis to discuss public-sector wages policy, while this evening he will head a meeting of ruling PASOK's communications team.
On Wednesday morning, Simitis will have another meeting with Christodoulakis at 10:00 and with Skandalidis at 12:30, as well as meeting with Deputy Transport Minister Spyros Vougias at noon. At 13:30 the prime minister will attend a mixed meeting to discuss preparations for his tour of Preveza and Arta.
On Thursday, Simitis is to meet IOC president Dennis Oswald early in the morning, before chairing a meeting of the Cabinet to discuss a planned reform of the tax system, immigration policy and the handling of immigrants.
The prime minister is to meet President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday in order to brief him on the results of the European Union Summit in Seville, after which he will depart for a two-day tour of Preveza and Arta in northwestern Greece.
He is due back in Athens on Sunday to speak at a PASOK Youth Festival in Rendi.
In the coming week, the prime minister is scheduled to visit the Ukraine on July 2-3 and take part in a two-day nationwide organizational conference by PASOK.
 EU environmental council ratifies Cartagena Protocol
BRUSSELS, 26/06/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)The European Union's Environment Council on Tuesday ratified the Cartagena Protocol sending one more positive message to the world in light of the International Conference for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
Deputy Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Rodoula Zisi represented Greece.
The council was briefed on the progress made in the EU's regulations concerning the transport of genetically modified organisms and adopted conclusions on the basic issues related to bio-diversity, planned until 2010.
They also discussed issues on packaging materials recycling and adopted the policy of ''whoever pollutes pays'', placing the cost of the environmental responsibility on those who benefit from the production of such materials and only partially on the shoulders of the community.
 Prime minister visits Direct Social Aid center
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday visited the National Center for Direct Social Aid, set up by the government to help and support those in crisis.
The center represents an innovative network of welfare services that are activated in response to emergency calls placed to the 197 phone line for social support.
The 197 line is manned by trained social workers and psychologists, who offer callers moral support, counseling and practical assistance with a guarantee of full anonymity.
The service mainly targets vulnerable social groups, such as neglected or abused children, battered women and the underaged or elderly homeless.
During his visit, Simitis said that state services were necessary for social solidarity but were not enough in themselves and had to be backed up by caring individuals in the community who were prepared to offer their help to those in trouble.
He said the center was a decisive first step and would be followed up by a program of gradual development, such as a series of buildings in Attica and Thessaloniki that would serve as temporary shelters for those in need.
The prime minister was met and briefed on the center’s services by Health Minister Costas Stefanis and the president of the National Organization for Social Care Panagiotis Viglas and Deputy Health Minister Dimitris Thanos.
 Parliament speaker receives Cuban ambassador to Athens
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis on Tuesday received the new Cuban Ambassador in Athens Jorge Concepcion in Parliament.
Kaklamanis said that bilateral agreements between Greece and Cuba in all sectors should be activated, while the Cuban ambassador said that closer cooperation between the Parliaments of the two countries was the basis of all progress in bilateral relations between states.
He briefed Kaklamanis on the political situation in Cuba and on developments concerning Cuba's international relations in the new world order.
 Gov’t announces cuts in non-social budget spending
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)Greek Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Tuesday said that the government decided to cut non-social spending in this year's budget in an effort to save around 100-150 billion drachmas and to facilitate the budget's smooth implementation.
The decision was taken during a meeting of the government's economic staff, chaired by Mr. Christodoulakis.
The meeting also examined a process of drafting next year's budget, which will also include changes in the taxation system in the framework of a wider government plan to reform the tax system in the country.
The meeting also decided to complete by the end of July discussions between the Finance ministry with other government ministries over 2003 spending, to agree by the end of September all tax factors and tax-exempt levels included in a tax reform plan, and submit 2003 draft budget to parliament in the first 10 days of October.
 Government discusses public-sector reforms, wages policy
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)The progress of public administration reforms and negotiations for a collective labor agreement with the civil servants' union ADEDY were discussed by a government meeting on Tuesday, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Present at the meeting were Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Deputy Finance Minister George Floridis and PASOK General Secretary Costas Laliotis.
The issues were discussed relative to the new budget and planned revenue policy, particularly with respect to public-sector wages policy and the negotiations with ADEDY that began last week and are to resume on July 3
 Development minister visits Ecumenical Patriarch
ISTANBUL, 26/06/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos visited Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Fanar on Tuesday.
Tsohatzopoulos arrived in Istanbul to inaugurate an international energy conference on the transfer of energy from the Caspian Sea region to Europe. The conference was due to begin on Tuesday. He briefed the Ecumenical Patriarch on meetings he will be having on the sidelines of the conference and stressed the particular importance of promoting cooperation in the energy sector for the entire region.
 Greek stocks jump 2.02 percent higher on ASE
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks jumped 2.02 percent in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with investors returning in the market after a three-day holiday, encouraged by a positive climate in international bourses.
The general index rose 2.02 percent to end at 2,242.88 points, with turnover an improved 150.3 million euros.
The Telecommunications, IT, Retail and Bank sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (2.30 percent, 2.23 percent, 1.74 percent and 1.56 percent, respectively). Hellenic Telecoms' share price rose 3.23 percent.
On the other hand, the Investment, Textile and Cement sectors suffered losses (0.29 percent, 0.15 percent and 0.13 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 1.83 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.96 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.81 percent up.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 202 to 105 with another 49 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded shares in value were Viohalko, Hellenic Telecoms, Football Pools, Axon Holdings and Coca Cola.
Equity index futures finish higher: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished higher on Tuesday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a normal premium and on the medium cap index a 1.0 percent discount.
Turnover was 66.8 million euros.
The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips gained 1.82 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks rose 0.96 percent.
Bond prices down in heavy trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Tuesday finished lower in heavy trade focusing on ten-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.29 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 30 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 2 billion euros.
Sell orders accounted for over half of trade.
 IOC Coordinating Committee president in Athens on Wednesday
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordinating Committee President Denis Oswald will be heading a small group of technocrats on Wednesday making another check to ascertain progress achieved in preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Oswald, who stated recently that ''only over the past six months have considerable steps of progress taken place in preparation in light of the 2004 Olympic Games'', will meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Oswald will be having meetings with Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou, Transport and Communications minister Christos Verelis, Deputy Labor Minister Lefteris Tziolas and Deputy Culture Minister Nasos Alevras.
Oswald will also be meeting Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki who will be accompanying him on his visit to the prime minister.
 Opinion poll gauges local interest, views for 2004 Games
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)The first-ever opinion poll publicized by the Athens 2004 organizing committee (ATHOC) apparently shows a rising interest amongst local residents’ regarding the upcoming Games, although 75 percent of respondents said they are not interested in leasing out their homes to visitors.
Several positive, as well as negative aspects, were found in the poll unveiled by ATHOC on Tuesday at its Nea Ionia district headquarters, with 45 percent of respondents saying they are closely following preparations for the Games.
Additionally, a significant increase (11 percent) was recorded in the percentage of respondents willing to contribute volunteer services, from 35.4 percent in a previously undisclosed poll to 45.6 percent in the latest poll released on Tuesday. Another 26.7 percent of respondents said they would be willing to volunteer in order to “experience the thrill of the Games”.
Conversely, very few respondents (13 percent) combine the upcoming Olympics with a permanent return of the Games to Greece.
Moreover, 67.7 percent of Athens residents queried said they would remain in the Greek capital for the Games in August 2004.
In a bit of a surprise, there was no question on respondents’ opinion regarding the 2004 Games’ mascots, instead the poll asked whether the two ancient figures are recognizable – which garnered a 68 percent rating.
Finally, 87.6 percent of Athenians said the Games are extremely significant for the country; with 84.7 percent of Thessaloniki resident interviewed agreeing, as opposed to 90.8 percent of Patra residents, 94.2 percent of Irakleio, Crete residents and a whopping 98 percent of Volos residents queried for the poll.
All of the above-mentioned cities will host the Olympic soccer tournament.
The opinion poll was conducted by the VPRC firm for ATHOC.
 Thessaloniki Israelite community choir in Vienna
VIENNA, 26/06/2002 (ANA - D. Dimitrakou-dis)The 30-member choir of the Thessaloniki Israelite community will be giving a concert with choir music at the famous Jewish Museum in Vienna on Thursday, at the museum's invitation.
The choir will be conducted by Costas Papazoglou and accompanied by pianist Vangelis Portokallis.
The choir, officially representing Greece, will be participating in the International Choir Festival in Salzburg, Austria, on June 29 with a concert at the city's Festival Mansion
 Mediterranean News Agencies' general assembly in Athens
Athens, 26/06/2002 (ANA)The Mediterranean News Agencies' 11th general assembly will be taking place in Athens on June 29-30 with the participation of representatives from 18 Mediterranean countries.
The Athens News Agency (ANA) will be organizing a special seminar before the general assembly entitled ''2004 Athens Olympic Games and Mediterranean News Agencies-The digital challenge.''
The seminar will be taking place at an Athens hotel and will be inaugurated by Deputy Press and Mass Media Minister Telemahos Chytiris.
Addresses will be made, among others, by Vassilis Skountis, director of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee's news services, John Coomber, the person in charge of Australia's National News Agency for the coverage of the Sydney Olympics and ANA general director Andreas Christodoulides.
During official dinners, presentations will be made of the ''Cultural Olympiad'' by Deputy Culture Minister Nasos Alevras and of the ''Olympic Truce'' by Foreign Minister George Papandreou or a representative of his.
About 50 representatives will attend the seminar and general assembly from 18 Mediterranean news agencies and observers from the Independent Press Service, the Arab News Agency Federation and the Asian News Agency Union.
 Greeks, Italians hold dubious honor as EU's television fanatics
BRUSSELS, 26/06/2002 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)Greeks and Italians hold the highest standing in television viewing in the European Union, according to a study of the EU's television market conducted by Eurostat and published on Tuesday.
Greece is also the country with the highest ratio of antenna usage for television reception and the lowest in satellite dish usage in the EU, while Greece ranks second to Sweden in subsidies to state television stations.
According to the report, Italians watch an average of 239 minutes of television per day, while Greeks come a close second with 236 minutes per day, compared with the residents of Luxembourg who watch television for only 124 minutes per day and rank at the bottom of this list, which gave dubious honors to Greeks and Italians.
As for the antenna usage, the report noted that 97 per cent of Greeks use the traditional style airwave receptor with Italians standing much lower at 88 per cent, compared to Belgium's and The Netherland's 1 per cent, while the EU average stands at 51 per cent.
 Candidate countries optimistic about accession
PROTARAS, 26/06/2002 (CNA/ANA)Negotiators from six applicant countries, aspiring to join the European Union by 2004, appeared optimistic on Tuesday that they will achieve their objective.
Representatives from Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Cyprus, said after a two-day meeting here that they had a very useful and productive exchange of views and decided to meet again in early October in Budapest, before the European Commission issues its progress reports on each applicant country on the basis of which the EU Council will decide which to invite to join.
Cyprus' chief negotiator with the EU George Vassiliou told a press conference here that the meeting, the 17th of its kind, was ''successful'' and shows that applicant countries are making a real effort to create the right climate for their membership talks.
''We all believe that the EU summit in Seville this past weekend reiterated categorically that enlargement will take place within the defined timetable, as initially agreed, and that the December
Copenhagen summit will decide on the ten countries to be invited to join,'' he said.
He welcomed as ''favorable'' the Seville extract on Cyprus, pointing out that the EU repeated its wish to see a reunited island join the Union and a solution found on the basis of relevant UN resolutions.
Vassiliou said that during the Danish EU presidency, in the second half of this year, candidate countries have to solve the important issues relating to Agriculture and Budgetary Provisions.
He explained that the EU position on budgetary matters is that no country, in the first years of accession, should be paying out more than it receives.
Hungary's representative Endre Zuhasz said there was a discrepancy between statements by high-ranking political personalities and numbers relating to the finances of applicant countries, as these are presented at the negotiating table by the European Commission.
Pavel Telicka, from the Czech Republic, was optimistic that everything will end with ''good results at the end of this year with accession expected at the beginning of 2004.''
''Any other scenario, let us admit it, would be a failure,'' he added.
The representative of Estonia Alan Streimann said there is no reason for anyone to be pessimistic when one considers that already many important changes have taken place successfully.
''Things are going very well so far and there is no reason to believe that it will start going in a different direction,'' he said, adding that it is possible to conclude negotiations in Copenhagen.
Polish chief negotiator Jan Truszczynski said the EU and the candidate countries have invested a lot in the enlargement process and the time has arrived for big decisions to be taken soon.
Slovenian negotiator Andrej Engelman said he was certain accession would take place by 2004, despite the problems that have to be resolved between now and accession.
 Territory discussed at direct talks
NICOSIA, 26/06/2002 (CNA/ANA)The territorial issue was at the epicenter of Tuesday's meeting between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, in the context of the fourth round of UN-led direct talks, aiming at a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem.
The other three core issues addressed at the talks are governance, security and property.
The talks, which lasted approximately one hour, are held in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto. CNA has learned that Denktash did not respond to the Greek Cypriot side's positions but noted he would do so.
 US Ambassador designate calls for settlement
WASHINGTON, 26/06/2002 (CNA/ANA)The US believes there is a real chance to reach a settlement in Cyprus before the European Union decides on enlargement in December, US Ambassador designate to Cyprus Michael Klosson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He also said Washington will continue to back UN efforts to find a solution and will press others to do the same. He reiterated that a solution must be based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation that should address the legitimate concerns of both sides.
"The US has long believed that it is important to achieve a just and durable comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem because it would benefit Cyprus, the region and US interests," he said.
He added that "there is a real window of opportunity now to reach a settlement in the direct talks between the two leaders (President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash), before the EU takes its decision on enlargement at the Copenhagen Council in December."
He said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto are playing "a critically important role in this process" and the US will continue to make every effort to support their efforts.
"We will continue to press others to do the same and to call for greater urgency in the negotiations," he added.
Klosson said it was ultimately up to the two leaders to reach an agreement that will lead to a comprehensive settlement.
"We believe that a Cyprus solution must be based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation and that it is possible to reach a settlement that addresses the legitimate concerns of both sides and promotes regional stability," he said.
Referring to bilateral relations, he said these are "strong" and expressed US appreciation for Cyprus' cooperation in counter-terrorism since the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the country's willingness to be a "good friend and partner on other matters of importance to us."
He said recently the government of Cyprus was of "enormous help" when it agreed to allow thirteen Palestinians, who were besieged in Bethlehem, to stop over temporarily on their way to final destinations in the EU.
The Ambassador designate welcomed recent visits to the US by Cypriot high-ranking officials and, being the US chief of mission in Hong Kong, he said he saw some similarities between the US bilateral agenda with Cyprus and Hong Kong.
Klosson is to replace Ambassador Donald Bandler, who leaves in the summer.