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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-05

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

August 5, 2002


  • [01] Investigations continue into theft of weaponry from army depot on Kos
  • [02] Lesperoglou arrested following annulment by Supreme Court of court decision
  • [03] N17 suspect not being held at embassy, U.S. envoy says
  • [04] Weaponry found hidden on Athens hill
  • [05] FM spokesman welcomes reforms in Turkey, calls for their speeding up
  • [06] Energy self-sufficiency anticipated for Crete, development minister says
  • [07] Social Security Foundation doctors to stage strike on Monday
  • [08] ATHOC president on security of Olympic Games, arrest of 'N17' members
  • [09] Illegal immigrants detained near Kavala
  • [10] President: UN Secretary General concerned with lack of progress
  • [11] Omirou declared presidential candidate
  • [12] Famagusta people demand justice for Cyprus
  • [13] Government welcomes property purchase warning

  • [01] Investigations continue into theft of weaponry from army depot on Kos

    Athens, 05/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Army, assisted by security police, is continuing intensive investigations to track down those responsible for the theft of weaponry from an army depot on the island of Kos.

    It was announced on Saturday that the theft was discovered late Friday night, during a regular inventory at the depot, and it is believed that the break-in occurred on Thursday night.

    According to press reports, taking part in the investigations is a public prosecutor, while until late Saturday night all the officers at the army camp gave statements and all leave has been suspended.

    The lists of all the officers and soldiers who have served in the specific camp are being investigated at the Army General Staff.

    Police have also taken fingerprints from a G3A3 rifle, which the culprits abandoned near the camp during their escape.

    Following completion of the inventory, the Army General Staff announced on Sunday that 17 .45 caliber pistols, three HK11 submachine guns, and three G3A3 rifles had been stolen.

    Defense Minister Yannos Papantoniou, who arrived on the island earlier on Friday on holiday, was immediately informed of the theft.

    Papantoniou, who is in constant contact with the army officials conducting the investigation, was in turn keeping Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis up-to-date on the investigation.

    Deputy Press Minister Telemachos Chytiris told reporters on Saturday that a thorough investigation had been launched into the theft, adding that such ''isolated incidents'' had occurred in the past and had been for the purpose of selling the stolen weaponry.

    Asked whether the theft was linked with the ''November 17'' terrorist group, Chytiris warned against linking everything to terrorism.

    He said most of the 17N members were presently in Korydallos prison, and those still at large would be also found and sent to jail.

    Commenting on the theft, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party 'shadow' defense minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos said on Saturday that the theft of the weaponry from the Kos military camp was a ''major political issue''.

    ''At a critical period in which the security of the country and its citizens is a primary concern and priority, the government did not do the self-evident, in other words the taking of security measures to avert such incidents which embarrass the armed forces and the country internationally,'' Spiliotopoulos said.

    He said ND was concerned over the latest incident of arms theft and called on the government to take all the necessary preventive security measures concerning the guarding of crucial armed forces and security forces materiel.

    [02] Lesperoglou arrested following annulment by Supreme Court of court decision

    Athens, 05/08/2002 (ANA)

    Avraam Lesperoglou, a suspect arrested on terrorism-related charges in 2001 but released later the same year, was arrested again late Saturday night by Athens police following the annulment by the Supreme Court of a court decision acquitting him of the attempted murder of a police officer in the Athens district of Exarchia on October 24, 1982.

    Lesperoglou, 49, who was arrested outside his home in the Athens suburb of Peristeri at 10 p.m. on Saturday, appeared before the public prosecutor on Sunday and will be taken to court on Monday morning.

    Lesperoglou had been released from prison in November 2001 after a revisionary martial court accepted a petition for his parole after serving three-fifths of a 3 1/2-year sentence for dodging conscription.

    On October 24, 2001, Lesperoglou was acquitted on charges of accessory to murders carried out by the left-wing terrorist group ''Anti-State Struggle'' in the spring of 1985, including that of public prosecutor George Theofanopoulos on April 1, 1985, two security guards in the robbery of an armored car belonging to the Credit Bank outside a supermarket in the Athens district of Galatsi on May 6, 1985, and three police officers in a clash with police in the Athens district of Gyzi on May 15, 1985.

    Lesperoglou was serving a jail sentence of three and a half years imposed by a court martial for evading military service, while on March 27, 2001 an appeals court overturned a 17-year sentence imposed on him for the attempted murder of police officer George Psaroudaki during a 1982 burglary attempt, after doubts arose as to whether he had taken part in it.

    In June 2001, Lesperoglou was additionally sentenced to seven months imprisonment for using a false passport and possessing forged official stamps when he was arrested at Athens airport in December 1999, after 16 years on the run, but was cleared of the additional charge of illegal entry into Greece.

    [03] N17 suspect not being held at embassy, U.S. envoy says

    Athens, 05/08/2002 (ANA)

    US. Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller, in an interview to the Sunday edition of '' To Vima'' newspaper, termed as ''crazy and irresponsible'' scenarios that Dimitris Koufontinas, an alleged member of the ''November 17'' terrorist group who is being sought by police, was being held at the U.S. Embassy.

    ''I wish we had him,'' said Miller, adding that he was afraid of a possible new attack by Koufontinas and likely by other ''N17'' members who have not been arrested.

    [04] Weaponry found hidden on Athens hill

    Athens, 05/08/2002 (ANA)

    A hand grenade, dynamite, detonators and other weaponry were found buried on the hill of Arditos, in central Athens on Sunday afternoon.

    Police believe that the weaponry belongs to one of the small terrorist groups and not to the ''November 17'' terrorist group.

    Police do not exclude the possibility that there may be more weaponry hidden in the area and searches are being conducted on the entire hill.

    [05] FM spokesman welcomes reforms in Turkey, calls for their speeding up

    Athens, 05/08/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign ministry spokesman Panayotis Beglitis, referring to the recent adoption by the Turkish National Assembly of legislative reforms, said in a statement on Sunday that ''Greece firmly supports Turkey's European orientation, in accordance with the decisions of the (EU) European Council in Helsinki.''

    "The adoption by the Turkish National Assembly of legislative reforms constitutes a positive step in the direction of the full implementation of the political and economic criteria of Copenhagen and of the Helsinki decisions," the spokesman added.

    ''The European Union and the member-states are awaiting the speeding up of the changes and the implementation of the acquis communautaire, as these are set out in the text of the partner relationship.

    ''At the same time, we are closely observing the practice of the Turkish authorities towards the self-ruled institutions of the Greek minority in Istanbul. This practice, which contravenes international treaties, will be assessed by the European Union within the context of the assessment procedure of the Turkish candidacy.''

    [06] Energy self-sufficiency anticipated for Crete, development minister says

    Athens, 05/08/2002 (ANA)

    The new electricity production unit in Atherinolakkos, Lasithi on the island of Crete will be completed in accordance with the timetable, development minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos assured on Saturday, speaking in Hania.

    At the same time, the development ministry has approved 18 proposals for the utilization of renewable forms of energy on the island of Crete, which, combined with the creation of another electricity unit most likely to be build in Rethymno, would provide energy self-sufficiency for the island, Tsohatzopoulos added.

    The minister was speaking at the Polytechnic University of Crete in Hania, where he toured the facilities and discussed progress in various research programs with the personnel.

    Tsohatzopoulos also referred to the tourism sector, noting that 13 billion dr. in funds had been earmarked next year for infrastructures and projection, and anticipated tourism this year would mark only a slight decline from the 13 million tourists that visited Greece in 2001.

    He said that the ministry had earmarked 111 billion dr. over the next four years for Crete via the Third Community Support Framework (CSF), for the sectors of energy, industry, commerce and tourism, aiming at a modern economy and technological development. Of that sum, 40 billion dr. would go to the energy sector.

    [07] Social Security Foundation doctors to stage strike on Monday

    Athens, 05/08/2002 (ANA)

    Doctors of the Social Security Foundation (IKA) have announced a 24-hour strike on Monday, demanding the permanent employment of 5,500 of their colleagues who are being employed on a temporary basis.

    The IKA branches will operate with a skeleton staff.

    The IKA doctors have also announced a 48-hour strike on August 12-13.

    [08] ATHOC president on security of Olympic Games, arrest of 'N17' members

    Athens, 05/08/2002 (ANA)

    Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki referred to recent developments around the issue of terrorism in Greece and their repercussions on the security of the Olympic Games, in the context of a three-hour program of New York's Greek community radio station ''Hellas FM'' on Friday.

    Angelopoulos-Daskalaki stressed that "security remains and will continue to remain the first priority of 'Athens 2004'''. She viewed as very encouraging the recent arrest of members of the ''November 17'' terrorist group as it was a very important step towards the total eradication of terrorism in the country.

    The ATHOC president added that the progress which has been made for the eradication of ''N17'' "creates a more positive environment for the safe holding of the Games."

    Angelopoulos-Daskalaki stressed however the need for a continued state of alertness and preparedness particularly with regard the planning of security, given that following the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, there was a possibility that at any moment of time any country could face threats on its security.

    The ATHOC president also noted the initiatives, which the Greek government has undertaken with 36 countries for the security of the Olympic Games. Among these countries are the United States of America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Israel.

    Commenting on reports in a section of the international press, which placed in doubt the holding of safe Games in Greece, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said that Athens answered to all these reports "with its work." She stressed that the best experts were working for the Games, and this was also the view of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

    [09] Illegal immigrants detained near Kavala

    Athens, 05/08/2002 (ANA)

    Border guards on Saturday detained 40 illegal immigrants on a side road near Kavala, police said.

    They said the illegal immigrants -- from Iraq, India and Bangladesh -- were picked up on the Greek-Turkish border by an unidentified man driving a truck to take them to Thessaloniki, from where they were to continue on to Athens.

    Police said that the driver fled the truck and disappeared when he spotted the border guards on the road.

    The truck was confiscated, and deportation procedures have been set in motion for the illegal immigrants, police said.

    [10] President: UN Secretary General concerned with lack of progress

    NICOSIA 05/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan seems to be concerned with the absence of substantive progress in the Cyprus peace talks, President Glafcos Clerides believes.

    The president said because of this Kofi Annan has invited him and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Rauf Denktash for a meeting in Paris in early September to see what is to be done.

    ''It seems that the UN Secretary General is anxious because there has not been any substantive progress in the Cyprus question and he wants to see us to decide what to do next,'' the president said in Paphos, where he is spending part of his summer holidays.

    Replying to questions, he said he has not been informed about UN plans to put forward a proposal on a political settlement at the Paris meeting, scheduled for September 6.

    Extending the invitation to the Paris meeting, through his special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, the UN Secretary General said this will give the opportunity to ''take stock and see if a course can be charted for the way ahead.''

    Direct talks between President Clerides and Denktash, which began in January this year, are in a summer recess for ''evaluation, reflection and rest''. Talks will resume on August 27.

    De Soto has said he was ''optimistic'' about a breakthrough in the talks because he believed this was feasible.

    [11] Omirou declared presidential candidate

    NICOSIA 05/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Yiannakis Omirou, president of the Social Democrats Movement (KISOS), is the party's candidate for the 2003 presidential elections.

    The decision was taken at Sunday's party congress, which considered two proposals, one to support Omirou's candidature and one to join forces with AKEL and the Democratic Party (DIKO), which have already chosen their presidential candidate (DIKO president Tasos Papadopoulos).

    Omirou's candidacy was endorsed by 799 votes in favor. The alternative proposal received 43 votes.

    Accepting the candidature, Omirou called for unity and said ''trust us to turn our vision into reality.''

    Cyprus is striving to achieve a political negotiated settlement through peaceful means and join the European Union.

    [12] Famagusta people demand justice for Cyprus

    NICOSIA 05/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriots from the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, foreign dignitaries, government and other officials gathered again this year as close as they could to this eastern coastal town to remind the international community that they will continue their struggle for freedom and justice.

    ''We do not forget our homeland. Famagusta and all other occupied towns and villages are waiting for us and we shall continue to strive for a just and viable solution, through peaceful means, consistent with UN resolutions that would safeguard human rights,'' President Glafcos Clerides said in a message he conveyed to the protest rally, organized by Famagusta municipality near Dherynia village on Saturday.

    The president called on the international community to act ''more decisively to break the deadlock in the Cyprus question and achieve a settlement prior to the country's accession to the European Union.''

    Clerides has been engaged in peace talks with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Rauf Denktash since January this year but so far no progress has been achieved towards a comprehensive settlement because of Denktash's demand on the creation of two separate states on the island.

    ''We know we have a difficult task ahead but we shall not cease to hope that with UN help and the help of other states that can exert decisive influence on the Turkish side as well as the invaluable assistance of Greece, we shall at the end of the day be vindicated,'' Clerides said.

    House President Demetris Christofias talked about a new deadlock in the peace effort and called on the UN to abandon their approach of keeping an equal distance from the two sides involved in the talks.

    ''We have all the good will to reach an honorable compromise with the Turkish Cypriots but we are also determined to see that the solution secures the single sovereignty of the country, its international personality and one citizenship,'' he said.

    Christofias warned that a political settlement, which is not based on international law, would allow Turkey, on the pretext of its election campaign, to continue to waste time instead of working for a settlement.

    Ankara, he said, might also exploit US plans to attack Iraq to create a crisis in Cyprus with a view to block a solution and raise obstacles to EU accession.

    Addressing specifically Famagusta refugees, he said ''the issue of Famagusta should continue to have a prominent place in our efforts to find a settlement.''

    The UN said in resolution 550 of 1984 that it considers any attempt to ''settle any part of Varosha (Famagusta) by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.''

    Famagusta mayor Kikis Kazamias said the municipality is and has been very active in promoting abroad the plight of this former thriving holiday resort, seeking assistance from the international community to free the town.

    ''We have to insist on the principles of UN resolutions for a single state under a bizonal, bicommunal federal roof,'' he said.

    Kazamias said the prospect of EU accession is a ''positive challenge'' for Greek and Turkish Cypriots alike as well as for Turkey but so far Denktash and Ankara have torpedoed every effort for a settlement.

    He said the international community has not managed nor has it wished to persuade Denktash to work in line with UN decisions on Cyprus so as to pave the way towards a resolution of the problem.

    The rally approved a petition calling for concerted action to achieve an immediate withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops and illegal settlers and the full restoration of human rights and freedoms. The petition stresses the importance of a successful outcome in the UN-led peace talks that would ensure the reunification of the island, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    British MP warns Turkey: Turkey has no place in the European Union, if it does not help resolve the Cyprus question, British Labor parliamentarian Tom Cox has told Ankara, warning the Turkish government that unless it exerts its influence on the Turkish Cypriot leader to reach a negotiated settlement, its application for EU accession will be shelved.

    Addressing on Saturday the peaceful anti-occupation rally on behalf of participating foreign dignitaries, to mark 28 years of Turkish occupation of the town of Famagusta, Cox said he would never abandon his struggle to see Cyprus and Famagusta free from Turkish troops.

    ''Now as we see major changes in Turkey as it seeks to improve its image for membership of the EU, I say to those people in Turkey and to the members of the EU who negotiate with them, do not ever forget Cyprus,'' Cox said at the gathering organized by Famagusta municipality in Dherynia, near the UN controlled buffer zone, on the east of the island.

    Cox stressed that ''until Turkey uses its influences on Denktash, there will be no membership of the EU for Turkey and with our friends here we will campaign at every opportunity to delay any application by Turkey until the issue of Cyprus is resolved.'' He said he has not lost hope for freedom and justice and promised never to relinquish the struggle for freedom.

    The Labor deputy said he would oppose any attempt to pursue the idea of two states in Cyprus, because as he pointed out ''there is only one sovereign state, the Republic of Cyprus.''

    The anti-occupation rally was attended by the island's political and ecclesiastical leadership, a Greek parliamentary delegation, party leaders and parliamentarians and scores of people.

    [13] Government welcomes property purchase warning

    NICOSIA 05/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou has welcomed as "a move in the right direction" a warning by the British government to its nationals about the risks of buying property in Turkish occupied Cyprus.

    "This is a move in the right direction. Our efforts to inform world opinion about this unacceptable and highly risky policy of selling Greek Cypriot property in Turkish occupied Cyprus to foreign nationals has yielded some tangible results," Papapetrou said on Saturday, invited to comment on a Foreign Office travel advice.

    The advice said the non recognition by the British government of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus and the possibility of a future political settlement could have implications for those considering buying property in the north.

    "Before purchasing a property, you are advised to appraise yourself fully of the situation and to seek legal advice," the travel advice warned.

    The warning came in the wake of media reports about foreigners, including Britons, buying property belonging to Greek Cypriot refugees from the illegal regime in the Republic's occupied areas, which nobody but Turkey recognizes.

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