|Sunday, 11 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 23, 2002
 Economy, terrorism, elections top gov't cabinet meeting's agenda
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)The economy, terrorism and the upcoming municipal elections dominated the agenda of the government's cabinet meeting on Thursday, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis who gave a positive assessment of the progress of the government’s work.
The premier advised his ministers to maintain alertness for handling anticipated political attacks from the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, placing emphasis on minor problems along with perspectives, so that the government can set the agenda of the current political scene.
Speaking of the economic policy Simitis said that the margins for more concessions were particularly slim, due to current adjustments in the insurance draft-bill and tax reforms.
Simitis called the government's approach, in the light of possible farmers' mobilizations and demands, as "consistent", adding that the revision of the European Union's agricultural policy contained elements that benefit small and medium producers, while "our country is going to process an application for national subsidization prior to the EU Ministers meeting on 24 September".
Simitis set the tone saying "small problems-big goals" that points to an important parameter of the government's aims until the next general elections.
He called the steps toward absorption of the Third Community Framework "significant", emphasizing however, that more efforts would be required, while he referred to the outcome of the National Action Plans on unemployment and social exclusion as "positive".
The eradication of corruption was also in the government's agenda, as a matter of fact with the use of "exemplary action".
Asked about recent incidents of unjustified price hikes, government spokesman Christos Protopapas did not hesitate to launch criticism against the ND, saying that the main opposition party had not adopted a responsible stance on the issue since "at the moment exactly when we had the first positive signs, ND Deputy Giorgos Alogoskoufis put all the blame on the government, pretending he knew nothing about the businessmen...".
Furthermore, according to Protopapas, Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos reaffirmed his ministry's commitment to a "complete respect of law during the investigations on terrorism, as well as the government's trust on the judicial authorities".
Simitis said that ND would sharpen opposition criticism to the point of a filibuster in the light of the upcoming municipal elections in October, which constitute a "crucial political battle, directly linked to the country's course toward further growth and modernization".
With regard to Cyprus' accession to the EU the prime minister said that "things were moving smoothly", since "Turkey proved weak in its arguments". It is expected that the European Commission report of 16 October will be positive, while heightened interest and anticipation is shared for the upcoming meeting between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and UN Secretary General Koffi Annan, which might lead to a new phase of intense negotiations.
Following the cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister referred to Greece's expectations from the upcoming World Summit on the Environment and Sustainable Development, to be held from 26 August to 4 September in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He said that the eradication of poverty, the accomplishment of social integration, economic growth and environment protection can only be achieved through global partnerships.
There is no doubt that the European Union will play a decisive negotiating role in the flow of financial assistance to the developing countries, as well as for the recipients to make progress in the areas of human rights, international law and the acquirement of knowledge about the market economy for more efficient and effective results, the prime minister said.
According to Simitis, Greece will play an important role since the Summit coincides with the Greek presidency of the EU, but also due to the boosted role of the country in southeastern Europe; Greece, the prime minister said, has forged a national strategy on the Environment and it is decided to carry out its commitments.
Simitis was escorted by Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Town Planning and Public Projects Minister Vasso Papandreou, both of whom will represent Greece at the Summit, which takes off next week.
He also said that two issues were still open, one being the change of venue for the EU Summit in Greece within Thessaloniki, as it would be very hard to provide security for the city's international fair grounds were the summit was to take place, while the second issue was of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games projects.
ND spokesman: Commenting on the prime minister's address at the cabinet meeting, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that ''Mr. Simitis also appeared today like a newly-elected prime minister, announcing to his ministers a thousand-fold repeated series of program positions, the implementation of which, however, he continuously refers to the future.''
''Yet again, Mr. Simitis attempted to load his own mistakes on former ministers, the choices of whom, of course, he fully supported. It is apparent that the Prime Minister is at a tragic impasse. In any case he proves this when he attributes to the main opposition intentions which refer to PASOK practices and logic,'' he added.
Concluding, Roussopoulos said that ''however much this disturbs Mr. Simitis, the ND will continue to place as its first objective the defense of the interests of the country and of the Greek people. We will not follow him in his attempt to create tension and artificial polarization.''
 PASOK's Executive Bureau convenes, discusses local elections, terrorism
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)Ruling PASOK's Executive Bureau convened on Thursday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Costas Simitis and dealt with the government's policy planning for the next 18 months as well as the party's planning for the next 60 days leading up to the local government elections in October.
According to sources, it was underlined by all at the meeting that the implementation of the government policies should be stepped up and that planning should have a distinct character and stable orientation.
The PASOK cadres noted that the authorities had dealt a crushing blow against terrorism and underlined that the government must show steadfast dedication towards the complete eradication of the phenomenon.
 FM to receive US envoy
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou will receive US ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller on Friday, the foreign ministry announced on Thursday.
 Deputy foreign minister due in Nicosia on Friday
NICOSIA, 23/08/2002 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Deputy Foreign Minister for expatriate affairs Yiannis Magriotis is due in Nicosia on Friday to attend the POMAK-PSEKA expatriates conference on Monday.
On Sunday, meanwhile, Magriotis will attend a seminar for repatriated ethnic Greeks.
During his visit to Cyprus, the Greek minister will be received by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, the head of the Cypriot Parliament and political party leaders in order to discuss a program for promoting Cypriot culture in European capitals prior to Cyprus' accession to the EU.
 Local Greenpeace chapter pressures gov't over Johannesburg summit
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)The local chapter of Greenpeace has handed over the signatures of some 30,000 Greek citizens to the environment ministry that call on Athens to back the promotion of renewable energy sources worldwide during the upcoming Johannesburg international summit.
Environmental advocacy groups have gathered an estimated 1.5 million signatures for the initiative.
Among others, the local chapter wants the Greek government to commit, in writing, to backing renewable energy sources.
 Cell transfers for three 'N17' suspects
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)Three out of the 14 "November 17" terrorist suspects being held at Korydallos prison were transferred to other cells on Thursday.
Specifically, Pavlos Serifis, Theologos Psaradellis and Vassilis Tzortzatos were individually transferred from the women's block to another maximum-security cellblock in the men's penitentiary.
All of the "N17" suspects have been jailed in individual cells.
Korydallos is the largest correctional facility in Greece, consisting of four separate prisons.
 Development Minister Tsohatzopoulos to visit Cyprus on Monday
NICOSIA, 23/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos arrives here Monday, heading a multi-party delegation, for talks on issues relating to high technology, industry, energy matters, tourism and consumer concerns.
The minister is expected to sign or initial four cooperation protocols on tourism, energy, industry and high technology with Cyprus Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Nicos Rolandis.
The Greek minister will be received by President Glafcos Clerides and have separate meetings with House President Demetris Christofias, the House Trade and Industry Committee and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Tsohatzopoulos, a former defense minister, will be honored by the House Defense Committee for his contribution to the defense of the Republic of Cyprus. The minister will depart from Cyprus on Wednesday.
 Main opposition blames gov't for consumer price rises
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Thursday blamed the government for a recent rise in consumer prices, bringing fears of resurging inflation.
"Inflation has resulted from major flaws and delays in government policy, which have made the Greek economy less competitive," ND's economic affairs spokesman, George Alogoskoufis, said in a statement on Thursday.
"Those who have created unemployment and low competitive-ness, are the ones who are creating inflation. It is not by chance that inflation in Greece is double the European Union average," Alogoskoufis charged.
 Public prosecutor launches inquiry into illegal fuel trade
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)The public prosecutor's office on Thursday launched a preliminary inquiry into allegations of that fuel was being adulterated by illegal fuel-smuggling rings during a debate on the government's fuel bill in Parliament.
The inquiry will investigate the accusations regarding an illegal circuit that also includes government employees.
 Council of State rejects seamen's motion against government
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)The Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, has rejected a motion by the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation to suspend the civil mobilization of striking Greek seamen ordered by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the merchant marine ministry in June. The court's decision was announced on Wednesday.
 Leftist groups plan protest at TIF
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)A handful of leftist and peace groups, including the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), on Thursday announced that they will hold a protest rally outside the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) early next month.
The protest, on Sept. 6, is timed to coincide with the arrival of Prime Minister Costas Simitis. The Greek prime minister customarily inaugurates the annual trade and commercial exhibition, the largest in the country.
The groups, under the umbrella name of "Action: Thessaloniki 2003", warned that the upcoming rally is a "step in the direction of preparing" for the EU Summit in 2003.
 Broad outline but no firm figures set for gov't tax reforms
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)Changes in the tax system being mulled at the finance ministry include a rise in tax-free income, the abolition of a minimum income tax tag on luxury goods and services, higher tax-free limits for large families and a retention of the top tax bracket.
This was the broad outline that Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis presented to Prime Minister Costas Simitis during their meeting on Wednesday but the meeting did not arrive at any final decisions or firm figures regarding the size of the new tax-free limit or new rates of taxation.
 Stocks down in profit-taking
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)The Athens bourse finished lower on Thursday, with players raking in short-term profits from the five last sessions, which brought a 3.44 percent rise in prices, traders said.
The general share index shed 0.63 percent to end at 2,191.14 points. Turnover was 86.6 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.07 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.68 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities 0.17 percent up.
Of 351 stocks traded, declines led advances at 196 to 106 with 49 issues remaining unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Klonatex, Hellenic Telecoms, Informatics, Space Hellas, and Naoussa Textile Mills.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 93.3 mln euros.
Bond Market Close: Turnover at 2.7 bln euros.
 Huge queues at Kakavia customs post as Albanians return from holiday
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)Huge queues formed at the customs post in Kakavia on Thursday as Albanians living and working in Greece began to return to the country en masse from their holidays.
Customs officers at Kakavia said that they were doing their best to process all the arrivals as quickly as possible but stressed that all the legal controls and inspections required of non-Schengen Treaty citizens would be enforced without exception.
''We are on no account prepared to allow the citizens of a foreign country to enter Greece without the legal checks,'' a customs officer told the ANA.
He also warned that queues at both Kakavia and Kristallopigi would not be substantially reduced until the beginning of September.
In fact, customs posts have orders to be particularly stringent in their checks so as to thwart drug smugglers working for the Albanian mafia, who might take advantage of the heavy traffic in order to bring drugs, particularly heroin, into Europe through Greece.
Despite the extra staff at customs post, the frequent checks on luggage and cars mean long delays for the estimated 8,000-10,000 Albanians re-entering Greece through Kakavia each day.
 Next AHEPA conference in Greece
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis on Thursday met with the new presidium of the longest Greek-American organization active in the United States, AHEPA, with the agenda focusing on promoting Greece's image in America, the 2004 Olympics as well as developments in the region.
AHEPA, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, has also announced that it will hold its next conference in Greece, 32 years after it last held it annual gathering in the country.
 AIEST world conference in Greece next year
Athens, 23/08/2002 (ANA)The International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (AIEST) has decided to hold its annual conference in Greece for 2003. The AIEST conference will take place in the country between Sept. 7-12, it was announced.
Greece's National Tourism Organization (GNTO) had announced earlier in the month that it would seek to host the AIEST world conference in 2003.
The Geneva-based group's conference is expected to focus on sport and tourism, a timely theme ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics.
AIEST acts as a consultant on the tourism industry to the European Union and UNESCO.
 US continues to support UN efforts for Cyprus settlement
WASHINGTON, 23/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)The United States remains committed to the United Nations effort to find a just and lasting settlement to the Cyprus problem, US President George Bush stressed in his report on the Cyprus question to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, covering the period June 1, 2002 through July 31, 2002.
Bush said that ''direct talks on the island between Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash continue under United Nations auspices, although the leaders failed to meet their stated objective of a comprehensive settlement by June 2002.''
He pointed out that as in past reporting periods, State Department's Special Cyprus Coordinator Thomas Weston and US Ambassador to Cyprus Donald Bandler provided diplomatic support to the process.
Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been engaged in UN-led direct talks since mid January this year with a view to negotiate until a comprehensive settlement is reached.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
 President Clerides responds to 'Afrika' appeal
NICOSIA, 23/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on Thursday responded to an appeal by the Turkish Cypriot daily ''Afrika'' (formerly Avrupa'', which had called on him to speak out and verify what the newspaper reported, quoting Clerides' memoirs, about how he had helped the family of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to leave the island during the bicommunal clashes in December 1963.
''I wish to reiterate once more everything relevant included in my book 'My deposition' and which I verified to the journalists of 'Avrupa' when they visited me some time ago in my office: During the bicommunal clashes in December 1963, I responded to a request by Mr. Denktash and facilitated the departure of his wife and children from Cyprus to Ankara, transferring them with my car from Nicosia's Turkish Cypriot sector to the Nicosia International Airport,'' Clerides said in a written statement.
Clerides was at that time President of the House of Representatives.
Two of ''Afrika's'' journalists, Editor in Chief Sener Levent and editor Memduh Ener were recently found by an illegal court in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, ''guilty'' of ''libel'' against Denktash, the occupation army and Turkey, in connection with an article Ener wrote on 29 July 1999. The ''court'' imposed on each of them a six-month ''jail sentence''.
 British parliamentarians due to arrive in Cyprus
NICOSIA, 23/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)A four-member parliamentary delegation from Britain was due to arrive here on Thursday to participate in next week's meeting of overseas Cypriot organizations.
During their stay on the island, the MPs will be received by President Glafcos Clerides and House President Demetris Christofias and have separate meetings with the chairman of the House Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Nicos Anastasiades and the chairman of the House Standing Committee on European Affairs Tasos Papadopoulos.
The British deputies will also talk to the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons and representatives of non-governmental organizations dealing with the issues of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern Turkish occupied part of Cyprus.
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will host a lunch for the British delegation on Monday.
The delegation is made up of three Labour MPs and one Conservative.
They leave Cyprus on Thursday, August 29.