|Tuesday, 20 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 1, 2002
 Alleged 17N proclamation sent to newspaper
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)A proclamation claiming to represent members of the notorious "November 17" terrorist group still at large was printed in a special second edition by an Athens daily on Wednesday “with reservations”, as its editorial staff stressed.
The proclamation’s author writes that authorities have indeed struck a blow to the terror group’s “core”, although its members have vowed to continue the group’s activities.
The daily “Eleftherotypia” said it was printing the five-page document ''with reservations as to its authenticity'', which ''objectively is difficult to verify, even by the authorities''.
The purported “N17” proclamation was sent to the newspaper early Wednesday morning, one day after the deadly urban guerrilla group's alleged leader and 10 other gang members were jailed pending trial at Korydallos prison.
According to the newspaper, the proclamation, with a “new 17N stamp'” was left at dawn in a garbage bin near the paper’s offices.
The proclamation is dated in the beginning only as ''Athens, July 2002'', although at the end the date cited is Athens, July 30, 2002, and begins with the title of a theatrical play by Luigi Pirandello, ''So it is if so you think''.
In the proclamation, the author(s) admit that the police have struck a blow to the core of the organization, and that this ''alters our course somewhat, but does not cancel anything. It simply postpones''.
''We lost many comrades. We cannot deny this. We lost a large part of 'our family'. A large part of the dynamic of the first cycle. This alters our course somewhat, but it cancels nothing. It simply postpones,'' the proclamation said.
''And for it to be understood why there is no end -- at least the end thought by the 'petty employees' of the Americans, imagine four concentric circles, one inside the other, without any point of contact. Something like a target. Only, in our target, victory is not achieved by hitting the center. We're still alive. We learned from our mistakes and, fortunately, from the mistakes of the Greek police, and we carry on,'' it said.
The author(s) said they were sending a message ''to the so-called defenders of what is just'' that ''we will await the transparent trial that every citizen is entitled to. If it is in the least reminiscent of the theatre of the irrational or tragic-comic performances of courts during the junta period, the next targets will also have another purpose. The exchange of prisoners''.
Referring to the arrests of 17N members, the proclamation said that ''no, unfortunately, we cannot deny that members of the organization’s central body'' are ''in the hands of the police state and, inevitably, in a short time in the hands of supposed justice. Unfortunately they are''.
''But even more unfortunate is the fact that in the hands of the above are also persons totally uninvolved! The modern-day Don Quixotes who, for many of us, insist on sacrificing themselves on the altars of bonds and friendships that not even we ourselves could believe. In deference to their own desires, as they have arisen to date, we shall not defend them,'' the purported proclamation continued.
The author(s) further state that there had been no mistake made in the killing of British embassy defense attache in Athens (on June 8, 2000) Brigadier Stephen Saunders, and insist on linking him with the bombings on Yugoslavia.
The proclamation further claims that 17N is not comprised of ''killers of the innocent'' and ''robbers'', adding that the stolen money was used to self-finance the organization and given to individuals and families in need. It also attacks the mass media for its role.
The proclamation takes on an apologetic tone when referring to the victims of its actions who were not targets. ''No one wanted their death, but unfortunately nothing could be done about it'', the author(s) said, adding that ''young Thanos Axarlian was and is the shadow that will follow us until we meet him...It was the greatest misfortune in the organization’s course and the biggest burden in our souls''.
Axarlian was the young pedestrian killed in a botched rocket attempt against then finance minister Ioannis Paleokrassas in Syntagma Square in July 1992
The proclamation said that no citizen had anything to fear from 17N, and defended the killings the organization has committed.
It said that the organization, in the proclamations it had issued on the individuals it had killed, it had not included aspects of the victims' personal lives ''out of respect for their families'', and claimed that a videotape and photographs concerning one of its victims, shipowner Costis Peraticos, had been found by police in the group's Pangrati hide-out but kept secret.
The proclamation said that the group understood why the matter of the videotape and photographs had been hushed up, ''but if the need for information arises there are copies, as well as the negatives of the photographs", but warned that it could focus on the private lives of its victims because, to quote a popular saying ''there are all kinds of fruit in the garden".
"Pedophiles, extortionists, loan sharks, drug dealers, torturers, and the list goes on" In closing, the proclamation says that "we are fighters for Freedom. But of a Freedom that must be enthroned between Justice and Humanism, as the modern Greek enlightener Adamantios Korais used to say".
Police believe 17N 'proclamation' not authentic, sources say: High-ranking police officials believe a proclamation allegedly sent by the ''November 17'' terrorist organization to an Athens daily early Wednesday was not authentic, reliable sources said.
Although police as of noon Wednesday had issued the no formal announcement, sources cited high-ranking police officials as saying the proclamation was not genuine.
This opinion was based on the fact that the style of the text was different than that of previous 17N proclamations, and also on the fact that no videotape or photographs concerning shipowner Costis Peraticos, who was slain by the group in May 1997 in Piraeus, was found in the organization’s hideout in Pangrati, as claimed in Wednesday's proclamation, the sources cited the police officials as saying.
Their opinion was further founded on the fact that certain points in the text of Wednesday's proclamation were not compatible with the ideology of the organization as appearing in previous proclamations, the sources added.
 ''N17 is in Korydallos prison'', public order minister says
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)''November 17 is in Korydallos prison'', said Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis on Wednesday, responding to questions by reporters concerning a proclamation, claiming to re-present members of the notorious ''November 17'' terrorist group, printed in an Athens daily.
The alleged proclamation by the urban guerrilla group was printed in a special second edition of ''Eleftherotypia'' on Wednesday.
Chrysohoidis was accompanying Prime Minister Costas Simitis on a visit to the Fire Brigade's Coordination Center where they were given a briefing on the center’s operations.
Asked on the authenticity of the proclamation, Chrysohoidis said all these were absurdities, whether it was genuine or not, it served a purpose for some people.
''For reasons of their own, some people want the shadow of 'November 17' to hang over Greece,'' he said, adding: ''Some are mudslinging against the families of the victims because the families, with their appearances, have moved public opinion which denounces terrorism.'' He further said that some people, with the proclamation, were being provocative particularly with their claims concerning a video and photographs of slain industrialist Kostis Peratikos that were found at the N17 hideout on Damareos street in the Athens suburb of Pangrati.
Prime Minister Simitis refused to make any comments on the proclamation or about terrorism, but when Fire Brigade chief Lieutenant General Panayotis Fourlas presented him with a fire brigade axe as a gift, Simitis said: ''We use our minds better in dealing with major issues.''
Constantopoulos: In a later press release related to the 'proclamation', Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos stressed that "democracy does not enter into a dialogue with terrorism."
"Eradicating terrorism must lead to the strengthening of our political system. That is why questions should not remain unanswered, nor should a needless and damaging confusion be cultivated. Strengthening of our democratic system means an eradication of this terrorist and murderous action, as well as the disclosure of its entire network," Constantopoulos emphasized.
 Savvas Xiros; fugitive Koufontinas formally charged in 'N17' probe
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)The man injured at the port of Piraeus last month during an apparent botched bombing attempt -- an incident that triggered a spectacular series of arrests of alleged "November 17" members -- was formally charged on Wednesday with several felony counts.
Sometime church mural painter Savvas Xiros' capture led to more than a dozen arrests of suspected members of the notorious urban terrorist group, including two of his brothers, as well as raids on two Athens apartments filled with the deadly ultra-leftist group's arsenal and files. An Athens appeals court prosecutor arrived at the downtown Athens hospital where the 42-year-old Xiros has been treated since the early morning hours of June 30 under heavy police guard to inform him of the charges.
Additionally, the same prosecutor, Kyriakos Karoutsos, filed similar charges against the only high-profile suspect still at large - Dimitris Koufontinas - the man most of those arrested claim is a top "N17" lieutenant and a prolific assassin, as well as the elusive terrorist gang's "treasurer".
According to sources, Xiros was charged with participation in a criminal organization; the manufacture, supply and possession of explosive materials; illegal weapons possession; several counts of homicide and attempted homicide along with robbery, among others.
What remains to be announced is whether Xiros will provide testimony to a special investigating magistrate in his isolated hospital room or whether he will be given a stay until his release from the Evangelismos hospital and transfer to a jail cell, something anticipated for mid-August.
Arrest warrants issued for two alleged N17 terrorists: A special investigator on Wednesday issued arrest warrants against alleged November 17 terrorist group members Savvas Xiros and Dimitris Koufontinas.
Xiros is being treated at the Evangelismos hospital in Athens since June 29 when a bomb he was caring exploded in his hands during a botched terrorist attack, causing him serious injuries, while Koufontinas is still at large.
Investigator Leonidas Zervombeakos might be visiting the hospital over the next few days to receive a testimony from Xiros, but there is also the possibility of Xiros not giving a testimony for as long as he is in hospital and giving it immediately after leaving hospital.
In another development, the remanding in custody until his trial was ordered for Nikos Papanastasiou, 50, who gave a two-hour testimony before Zervombeakos on Wednesday. Papanastasiou allegedly had a leading role in the terrorist group and used the codename ''Nikitas.''
According to reports, Papanastasiou is continuing to deny any involvement in the group. He is facing criminal charges since he allegedly participated in the attacks against publisher Nikos Momferatos and his driver Panayiotis Rousetis, the robbery at the National Bank's branch office in the Athens district of Petralona, in which policeman Christos Matis was murdered, and the attempted murder of American sergeant Robert Judd.
Speeding up 'N17' pre-trial inquiries discussed during prosecutors' meeting: Efforts to accelerate proceedings in the ongoing "November 17" investigation and related high-profile judicial proceedings dominated a meeting on Wednesday at the Supreme Court amongst the prosecutors involved with the internationally watched case.
The meeting was held at chief Supreme Court prosecutor Evangelos Kroustalakis' office, and also attended by the heads of the appellate court prosecutor's office and the Athens first instance prosecutor's office.
Speeding up initial pre-trial testimony and arraignments has been requested in order to avoid a 20-year statutory limitation on several crimes attributed to the notorious "N17" terrorist group in the early 1980s.
Additionally, speedier trials would preclude the pre-trial release of any of the more than dozen suspects currently charged with N17-related felonies. Under Greek law, no arraigned suspect can be remanded in custody more than 18 months without trial.
"In my meeting today (Wednesday) with appellate court prosecutors P. Verrios and Kyriakos Karoutsos, as well as first in-stance court prosecutors Sotiris Bayias and Ioannis Diotis, I had the opportunity to express my satisfaction over the flawless manner in which they are performing their duties, thus ensuring the legality of their investigatory actions," Kroustalakis said, adding:
"The institution of counsel (for a defendant) is a conquest of democracy, and his (counsel's) mission is sacred. Moreover, a defendant is presumed innocent until a relevant court rules he is guilty."
 Bush praises effort to eradicate 'N17' terrorist group
WASHINGTON, 01/08/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)US President George Bush was the latest international leader to offer up his praise over the recent unprecedented breakthrough in efforts to eradicate the elusive "November 17" urban terrorist group, during a White House ceremony where Greece's new ambassador presented his credentials.
In response to a written address by new Greek ambassador to Athens George Savvaides on Tuesday, July 30th,Bush expressed his satisfaction with the recent "positive developments" regarding the arrest of several "N17" suspects. He also mentioned both countries' commitment to the campaign against international terrorism following the dastardly Sept. 11 terrorist strikes in the United States
"This campaign against terrorism will be long and difficult, but we're reassured over the fact that we can continue to count on the Greek people's support," Bush said, while also citing Greece's participation in the US-led anti-terrorism operation "Enduring Freedom as well as in the international peacekeeping force stationed in Afghanistan.
On his part, the new Greek ambassador referred to the long-standing bonds of friendship between the two countries and the dynamic Greek-American community.
White House National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice as well as other NSC and State Department officials attended the ceremony.
 PASOK Executive Bureau convenes, discusses 'N17' case
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)Ruling PASOK's Executive Bureau met on Wednesday evening under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Costas Simitis and expressed the view that there was an improvement in the climate in favor of the government and the party.
According to reliable sources, the improvement in the climate was attributed to the government's successful efforts to eradicate the ''November 17'' terrorist group.
The same sources said the members of the Executive Bureau expressed the conviction that this effort will continue to the very end and concerns everyone from the top to the base of the urban guerrilla group's pyramid. All this, the Executive Bureau said, will be done with faith in the constitution, the democratic principles and legality.
All the PASOK Executive Bureau members agreed that the effort to eradicate ''N17'' is assessed positively by the citizens and that it is recognized that there was a plan, seriousness, responsibility and effectiveness on the part of the government, and that there is no intention of exploiting this success for party expediencies.
With regard to the alleged ''N17'' proclamation which was printed on Wednesday in the Athens daily ''Eleftherotypia'', the Executive Bureau accepted the assurance by Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis that it was a fake proclamation. This assurance is reportedly said to have been given by Chrysohoidis personally to Prime Minister Simitis who briefed the Executive Bureau on the issue.
The Executive Bureau also discussed PASOK's political planning for the coming period, which will intensify from August 20 in view of the local government elections in October.
Concerning the forthcoming local elections, it was assessed that the prevailing climate is much better than in 1998 and this is attributed both to the favorable conjuncture being shaped from the eradication of ''N17'' and to the fact that there are much fewer candidacies from PASOK than in 1998.
 Gov't to press Turkey over illegal immigration problem
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)Athens on Wednesday said it will make all the necessary diplomatic representations with Turkey so that the neighboring country, in turn, steps up its efforts to better tackle the nagging problem of illegal immigration.
The announcement came during a top meeting of Cabinet members in the Greek capital -- chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis - and only weeks after police and local officials in a northeastern border prefecture warned of a veritable flood of mostly Third World migrants attempting to across the Evros River - which separates the two countries.
Evros prefecture, in the Thrace province, is the only Greek territory that shares land borders with Turkey, borders divided by the slow-moving river known in Greek as Evros and "Meric" in Turkish.
Additionally, the government said will be create a standing inter-ministerial body to closely monitor the problem of illegal immigration and focus on related policies and actions.
On his part, Foreign Minister George Papandreou - who signed a historic bilateral "migrant re-admittance protocol" on behalf of Greece with former Turkish FM Ismail Cem last November - expressed a hope that Ankara will take the necessary measures to "ensure its European prospects". He also said Turkey's stability also matters to Greece.
In terms of the Europe-wide problem, Papandreou said Greece's EU presidency in the first half of 2003 will promote decisions taken during the Seville EU summit.
Deputy Interior Minister Lambros Papadimas will chair the new inter-ministerial body, while the general secretaries of the interior, foreign affairs, public order, justice, health and national defense will also participate.
 Simitis briefed by Defense Minister
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)Efforts to reorganize the armed forces' structure as well as to improve living facilities at various bases around the country dominated Wednesday meeting between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
Additionally, the minister briefed Simitis over the course of several weapons procurement programs and plans to streamline the armed forces' budget.
 President Stephanopoulos gives awards to high school pupils
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)President Kostis Stephanopoulos gave awards to nine pupils from European senior high schools at a special event held at the old Parliament building in Athens on Wednesday night.
The pupils won the awards in the ''Pythia 2002'' competition, organized by the European Cultural Center of Delphi, on the subject of democracy.
President Stephanopoulos congratulated the pupils and said ''you succeeded in approaching ancient Greek wisdom.''
The pupils, who were accompanied by their teachers, came from Denmark, Spain, Belgium, both the French and Flemish-speaking sectors, Austria, Russia, the Netherlands, Germany (Bavaria) and Ireland.
The Center’s dean and president Eleni Glykatzi-Ahrweiler referred to the importance of the ancient Greek language with which, as she said, freedom of thought is expressed since it contains the virtue of democracy, adding that the lesson by Greek culture is ''die upright instead of living on your knees.''
 Budget for 2003 to fund social insurance, tax overhaul
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Wednesday that the budget for 2003 being drafted was designed to fund social insurance and a tax overhaul underway.
"It will finance social insurance in order to effect in practice a bill that was recently passed, thus making reality this major reform. The budget will also fund a tax overhaul through which we hope to shape a new reality for growth of the Greek economy," Christodoulakis said after a meeting with the prime minister.
 EIB approves 215 mln euros loan to fund major Greek projects
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Christos Pahtas on Wednesday signed two new agreements, worth 215 million euros, with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the construction of part of Egnatia Road and the Eastern Regional Road in Thessaloniki.
The first project envisage construction of the Igoumenitsa-Panagia section, a distance of 123 km. EIB has approved a total of 840 million euros for the project with 300 million euros already paid to the Greek government.
Both projects are co-funded by European Structural Funds.
Mr. Pahtas also discussed with EIB's officials plans to fund projects in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the extension of Athens Metro, construction of a new railways network, supply of new buses, modernizing the Thessaloniki and Heraklion airports and works to improve Greek harbors.
The Greek minister said that the construction of Egnatia Road was a high priority for the government and that it was one of the biggest projects ever constructed in the country.
 FM and Agriculture Minister discuss agricultural policy
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Agriculture Minister George Drys on Wednesday discussed European Union enlargement in the crucial agricultural sector and the intermediate Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) revision.
According to reports, agriculture ministry officials briefed Papandreou, who is the ministries' coordinator since he will be presiding over the General Affairs Council where important political decisions are taken, on Greek positions on the agricultural sector.
Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis and other officials attended the meeting.
Drys said there will be more frequent cooperation between the two ministries on the finalization of Greek positions and seeking alliances with member-states facing the same problems regarding intermediate revision.
 Development Minister rejects opposition comment of tourism crisis
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Wednesday rejected main opposition ND political party leader's comments of a crisis in Greek tourism, saying they were unrealistic.
Speaking to reporters, during a news conference held at Greece's National Tourist Organization’s offices, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that Mr. Karamanlis' comments was a political maneuver aimed to reverse an improve public climate for the government and urged main opposition parties to be briefed over developments in tourism in parliament debate.
Referring to this year's tourist arrivals, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that although accurate figures could not be offered at the time, he acknowledged that arrivals would be flat at last year's levels.
''This year is affected by a negative international climate, created by the terrorist attacks in the US and a 50 percent decline in outgoing tourism in the United States and a more than 10 percent drop in outgoing tourism in the UK and Germany.
Tsohatzopoulos said that by the end of June Greek airports recorded a 100,000 to 150,000 decline in tourist arrivals numbers, a relatively small decline compared with last year's figures.
The Greek minister said that although some traditional tourist destinations, such as Santorini and Kos, were recording lower arrivals, other domestic destinations were recording increased number of tourist arrivals.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that Greece would spend around 13 billion drachmas in its tourist promotion program for the year 2003.
 Public Gas Enterprise, Edison Gas sign natural gas memo
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)The Public Gas Enterprise and Edison Gas of Italy on Wednesday signed a memorandum of cooperation for the transportation of natural gas from central Asia to western Europe through Turkey, Greece and Italy.
Under the plan, an undersea pipeline is to be built between Greece and Italy to transport the fuel.
The two companies plan to conduct preliminary studies in 2002, leading to a feasibility study for the pipeline that is due for completion by March 2003, industry sources said on Tuesday.
Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said after the agreement was signed that Greece and Thessaloniki, the country's second city, would become a European hub for natural gas and electricity.
 Athens bourse falls 5.47 pct in July vs. June
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)The general index of the Athens Stock Exchange fell by 5.47 percent month on month in thin, nervous, volatile trade, adversely affected by bear markets abroad and a push by institutionals for short-term gains.
In the last two sessions of the month, the bourse appeared to consolidate around 2,100 points after showing a solid support level at 2,000 points earlier in the month.
In July, the FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 7.43 percent; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks lost 6.16 percent; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap paper fell by 9.04 percent.
The market closed at 2,115.39 points in July, down 18.37 percent from the beginning of the year
Turnover in July was 2,419.458 million euros with 511 million euros of the total representing a transfer of 19 percent of stock in the Football Pools Organization.
ASE ends lower on profit taking: Greek stocks succumbed to profit-taking selling on Wednesday to end lower in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index ended 0.47 percent down to 2,115.39 after spending the biggest part of the session in positive ground.
Turnover was a low 95.5 million euros.
The Construction, Holding and IT Solutions sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.41 percent, 1.16 percent and 1.08 percent, respectively), while the Textile, Food-Beverage and Telecommunications sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (1.72 percent, 1.71 percent and 0.71 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.47 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 0.93 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.62 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 193 to 132 with another 37 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecoms, Space Hellas, Football Pools Organization and Alpha Bank.
Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures drop: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange fell on Wednesday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a discount of over 1.0 percent. Contracts on the mid-cap index broke even.
Turnover was 100.4 million euros.
The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 0.47 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks lost 0.93 percent.
In stock futures, greatest interest was seen in Hellenic Telecommunications Organization.
Bond Market Close: Prices rise in active trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished higher in heavy trade focusing on five-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.12 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 34 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 2.4 billion euros.
Buy orders accounted for over half of trade.
 Costa-Gavras to participate in the Cultural Olympiad
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)Exiting a meeting with Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesday, renowned director Costa-Gavras, announced his participation in the Cultural Olympiad, a major event for Greece.
In collaboration with the American Ballet Theater, Costa-Gavras will direct a big performance with a Greek and ecumenical character at the New York City Opera, which will in continuation be staged in Greece with the participation of opera singer Agni Baltsa, and singer Giorgos Dalaras.
Venizelos said that Costa-Gavras had accepted his proposal for participating in the ''KOTINOS'' Prizes International Committee, whose remaining members will be announced after the end of the summer.
''He is Greece's cultural ambassador to the world'' the culture minister said referring to Costa-Gavras, who on his part did not make any efforts to hide his excitement over the government's proposal.
 Peter Ustinov at the Herod Atticus as Prometheus
Athens, 01/08/2002 (ANA)World-renowned actor Sir Peter Ustinov will appear at the He-rod Atticus Odeon on 9 August in the role of Prometheus, at a fundraising performance for the ''traffic-light children''.
''The creations of Prometheus'', Ustinov's soliloquy based on the myth of Prometheus, is a role which according to UNICEF's famous goodwill ambassador represents one of his biggest artistic dreams.
All active goodwill UNICEF ambassadors, including Roger Moore, Liv Ulman, Hary Belafonte, Nana Mouschouri and French president's wife Bernadette Chirac have been invited to attend the performance.
Peter Ustinov has served as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador at numerous national and international events, aiming to alert the sensitivities of the public toward social issues.
 Greek Cypriot side accepts UN invitation for Paris meeting
NICOSIA, 01/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)The Greek Cypriot side interprets the UN Secretary General's invitation to President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for a meeting in Paris on September 6 as "a reflection of the anguish of the UN and the Secretary General, not only for the lack of progress in the talks but also for the snagging in the process".
Announcing the president's positive response to Kofi Annan's invitation, which was handed over on Wednesday morning by UN chief's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said there was no indication that Annan would be presenting a specific solution plan in Paris.
He added that the letter/invitation notes the difficulties in the peace process and asks the President to have a separate meeting with him in Paris and a joint one with Annan and Denktash.
Papapetrou said President Clerides "has replied positively and I understand that so will Mr. Denktash, and that the meeting will take place".
He noted that the Secretary General would be having separate meetings with the leaders of the two communities and will then see them together.
Referring to the UN-led direct talks in Nicosia between Clerides and Denktash, Papapetrou said the first meeting after the August break would probably be held on August 26.
Replying to questions, Papapetrou said the invitation to meetings in Paris was not connected with forthcoming European Union decisions on the islands' accession course.
President Clerides and Denktash launched UN-led direct talks in January this year, with a view to negotiate until a comprehensive settlement is reached. The leaders of the two communities are now in their fifth round of talks.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 Amato: Europe needs reforms to better face future challenges
NICOSIA, 01/08/2002 (CNA/ ANA)Europe needs reforms to better face challenges in the future, as many significant changes have occurred that require Europe to change, Vice President of the Convention on the Future of Europe and former Prime Minister of Italy, Giuliano Amato, said here on Wednesday.
Delivering a speech on the ''Future of Europe'' at a gathering in Nicosia hosted by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Amato said that European citizens expect from Europe to play a better role in defending its values and citizens.
''European citizens feel threats, such as environmental problems, illegal migration and organized crime and they want to create a better world,'' Amato said, adding that European citizens ''expect Europe to react and Europe is on its way''.
He also noted that Europe has to adapt its machinery to new demands, as the machinery it has now was initially conceived for only six countries.
''Soon Europe will be consisting of 27 countries and it has to respond to these new demands and challenges and this is why the Convention on the Future of Europe was created'', Amato added.
He stressed that Europe, in terms of machinery, ''can collapse upon us if it stays like this'', adding that this would be a risk.
Analyzing the new demands Europe is facing, he pointed out the need for ''more Europe'' in terms of foreign policy, fighting organized crime and defending the environment and human rights.
On the other hand, Vice President of the Convention on the Future of Europe also noted that European citizens demand for ''less Europe'', since there is a trend for local administrations to be responsible for their regional affairs.
Amato said that before the singing of the Treaty of Rome, the European countries were solving their problems through military means.
Giving a note of optimism, he concluded by saying that ''50 years have passed since the Treaty of Nice and so many things have changed, and 50 years in history is a very short time''.
The Vice President of the Convention, who was received earlier on Wednesday by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, is paying a short working visit to the island.
Amato and the other Vice President of the Convention, former Prime Minister of Belgium Jean-Luc Dehaene, are currently visiting candidate countries for EU membership to brief them about developments in the Convention for Europe.