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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

August 24, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM comments on terrorism probe, contacts with US envoy
  • [02] FM discusses counter terrorism efforts with US envoy
  • [03] Greek deputy foreign minister arrives in Nicosia
  • [04] Greek minister says nothing could stop Cyprus' EU accession course
  • [05] Greek FM: A European orientation for Turkey benefits Greece, Cyprus
  • [06] Ecumenical patriarch expresses satisfaction of Turkey's European orientation
  • [07] ND blames gov't over inflation
  • [08] Karamanlis receives Cypriot, UK ambassadors
  • [09] Car insurance regulations harmonized with EU directives
  • [10] Site in Sindos viewed as most suitable to host EXPO 2008
  • [11] Minister Drys, PASOK Secretary Laliotis discuss agricultural policy
  • [12] Stocks down in second day of profit-taking
  • [13] Unprecedented number of travelers cross Albania into Greece
  • [14] Police breaks up document-forging ring
  • [15] Flight delays drop at Athens airport in second quarter
  • [16] Overseas Cypriot leaders to meet August 26-29
  • [17] London supports a bicommunal, bizonal federation in Cyprus

  • [01] FM comments on terrorism probe, contacts with US envoy

    Athens, 24/08/2002 (ANA)

    An overview of Athens' foreign policy dominated Friday’s lengthy meeting between Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis -- with Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus problem along with the island republic’s EU accession course, and EU-Turkey relations on the agenda.

    Other talks centered on issues related to the future of Europe, as Greece is scheduled to assume the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2003.

    After the four-and-a-half-hour meeting, the foreign minister said the Greek government will continue its policy of dialogue and rapprochement with neighboring Turkey, before also stressing what he called Athens’ “solid stance” in favor of Turkey’s European course.

    However, in echoing standing Greek foreign policy, he also emphasized that such support for closer EU-Turkey ties lies entirely within the framework of decisions and conditions as set out by the EU’s various summits, especially the Helsinki summit.

    Asked by reporters about his earlier meeting with US ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller, which reportedly covered the timely subject of high-profile anti-terrorist efforts in Greece over the past two months, Papandreou first listed a series of topics discussed with the American envoy, including Cyprus, developments in Turkey as well as the Greek FM’s upcoming visit to New York City for the UN General Assembly and scheduled talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    Specifically on the issue of anti-terrorism efforts, and in light of recent criticism by Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis of Miller’s statements, Papandreou merely noted that close Greek-US cooperation exists on the matter, citing the US envoy’s cooperation with the public order ministry and contacts between relevant US agencies and Greek law enforcement.

    “I did stress to Mr. Miller that public statements of all concerned should contribute to the necessary climate for the promotion of this initiative. Therefore, I had the opportunity to discuss this subject,” Papandreou said, adding:

    “The truth is that there is US cooperation with Greece, just as there is with other countries, for instance with Great Britain, on the issue of terrorism, especially in eradicating “November 17”. This is a joint effort. But just as Mr. Miller has stressed on occasion, the sole responsibility lies with the Greek government. Of course, help from United States or Great Britain, within the framework of the agreements we have made, exists and leads to a joint effort.”

    Finally, he denied there has been pressure by Washington to record more “N17” arrests, noting that “I cannot understand talk of pressure when there has been so much progress made on the matter.”

    [02] FM discusses counter terrorism efforts with US envoy

    Athens, 24/08/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou met US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller on Friday to discuss foreign policy issues and developments regarding the fight against terrorism.

    No statements were made after the meeting.

    Commenting afterwards, government spokesman Christos Protopapas told reporters that the minister had urged the US ambassador to phrase his public statements on dismantling terrorism more carefully so as not to create mistaken impressions, avoiding the use of the plural.

    "The effort to dismantle 'November 17' and other terrorist organizations is a Greek affair," Protopapas stressed.

    During the meeting, the US ambassador had recognized that the counter-terrorist effort was a matter for the Greek authorities, just as Greece recognized the contribution made by the US, Protopapas added.

    "In any event, we believe in good cooperation," he said.

    Miller had been criticized by Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis during a meeting of PASOK's Executive Bureau on Thursday over the tone of his statements regarding the ongoing investigation to uncover terrorism in Greece.

    Kaklamanis satisfied with gov't response to Miller's statements: Sources close to the President of the Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis on Friday said that the president was satisfied with the government’s immediate response to the recent terrorism-related statements of the US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller.

    Earlier on Friday, government spokesman Christos Protopapas told reporters that Foreign Minister George Papandreou in a meeting with the US ambassador had urged him to phrase his public statements on dismantling terrorism more carefully so as not to create mistaken impressions.

    During the meeting, Protopapas added, the US ambassador had recognized that the counter-terrorist effort was a matter for the Greek authorities, just as Greece recognized the contribution made by the US.

    Miller had been criticized by Kaklamanis during a meeting of PASOK’s executive bureau on Thursday over the tone of his statements regarding the ongoing investigation to uncover terrorism in Greece.

    The same sources said that Kaklamanis expressed the hope that Miller “would limit himself within his role, with respect toward the country that offers him hospitality”.

    [03] Greek deputy foreign minister arrives in Nicosia

    NICOSIA 24/08/2002 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Deputy Foreign Minister for expatriate affairs Yiannis Magriotis arrived in Nicosia on Friday for a three-day visit to Cyprus.

    During his visit, Magriotis is to meet Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, members of the Nicosia government and political party leaders to discuss a campaign to promote Cypriot culture in European countries before Cyprus joins the Community.

    On Sunday, Magriotis will meet expatriate Greeks living on Cyprus, while on Monday he will represent the Greek government at the POMAK-PSEKA conference organized by expatriate Greek-Cypriot organizations.

    The main topic at the conference will be the Cyprus problem and ways to draw attention to the problem in the countries expatriates live, as well as the problems faced by the expatriate community abroad and when they return to Cyprus.

    Meanwhile, Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is also due to arrive in Nicosia on Monday to sign a protocol for Greek-Cypriot cooperation in advanced technology, industry and energy and a memorandum of cooperation in tourism.

    [04] Greek minister says nothing could stop Cyprus' EU accession course

    NICOSIA 24/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Nothing could stop Cyprus' accession course towards the European Union, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Magriotis stressed here on Friday.

    Magriotis said Greece and Cyprus have worked together hard all these years so that Cyprus' accession course could reach the point it is today and that they are still working for a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Kasoulides said they had the opportunity to exchange views on a series of matters, such as the Cyprus question and Cyprus accession course.

    He said ''we are entering a crucial period and coordination and exchange of views between the governments of Greece and Cyprus concerning all scenarios is now more than ever indispensable.''

    The Cypriot minister said they also discussed issues concerning the Greeks and Cypriots abroad ''and about their contribution to the struggle for our national issues.''

    Magriotis, who is on the island to participate at a conference of overseas Cypriot leaders to take place August 26-29, expressed the conviction that ''nothing could stop Cyprus accession course towards that EU'', noting ''this is determined explicitly by the European instruments decisions.''

    ''This optimism does not mean that we rest assured. We will continue with the same determination to work together for this great target and at the same time of course, for a solution to the Cyprus problem, based on the UN resolutions,'' he added.

    Answering a question Magriotis noted that the Greek side wants a political settlement of the Cyprus problem, within the framework and principles outlined by the international organizations and determined by international treaties.

    He noted that Greece and Cyprus are working for such a solution and are always alert to face any eventuality.

    Magriotis also met here today Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou, Minister of Labor and Social Insurances Andreas Moushouttas, President of center-right Democratic Party Tassos Papadopoulos and President of Social Democrats Yiannakis Omirou.

    He will be received on Saturday by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.

    Meanwhile, Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is also due to arrive in Nicosia on Monday to sign a protocol for Greek-Cypriot cooperation in advanced technology, industry and energy and a memorandum of cooperation in tourism.

    Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998 and is among the first group of countries expected to join the EU during its next enlargement, has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    [05] Greek FM: A European orientation for Turkey benefits Greece, Cyprus

    NICOSIA 24/08/2002 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Greece and Cyprus could only gain by reinforcing Turkey's European orientation, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said in an interview with the Cypriot television channel RIK on Friday.

    Papandreou said that Ankara might be able to get a firm date for the start of its accession negotiations at the upcoming EU summit in Copenhagen this December but this would not remove its obligation to support the talks for a final solution to the Cyprus problem.

    He stressed that Greece had opened the way for Turkey to join the EU and would continue to support its EU course, provided Turkey met the conditions set by the Community.

    The Greek minister also noted that Cyprus was moving steadily toward accession, adding that this good pace was due to the efforts of the Cyprus Republic, the joint efforts of Greece and Cyprus and Greek efforts within the EU.

    Papandreou underlined that good relations between the two communities on the island republic and good relations between Greece and Turkey would benefit both sides and urged Turkish-Cypriots to seize the opportunity to enjoy the positive benefits of EU entry and to help in achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    With regard to the Cyprus problem, Papandreou said that the United Nations and the UN Security Council had made solving the Cyprus issue a top priority, aiming for a resolution before Cyprus joined the EU.

    "For this reason, the invitation by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash to meet in Paris on September 6 for a renewed effort in talks for a solution to the Cyprus problem is very important," he added.

    [06] Ecumenical patriarch expresses satisfaction of Turkey's European orientation

    ISTANBUL 24/08/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Friday expressed his satisfaction over the political developments, which secure the European prospects and European orientation of Turkey.

    ''We wish that all these beautiful issues decided in Ankara and by the Grand Turkish National Assembly for Turkey to implement to the full, to realize, to fulfill all the criteria which are prescribed for a candidate country of the European Union,'' Vartholomeos said during a service at his birthplace the island of Imvros, Northeastern Aegean.

    ''Our hope, our wish and our prayer is for all people - not only of the region, not only of the Balkans, but of all Europe - to live like a big united family with common values, aims and orientation, in unity and prosperity and creative cooperation,'' he concluded.

    [07] ND blames gov't over inflation

    Athens, 24/08/2002 (ANA)

    The main opposition on Friday clearly laid the blame on the recalcitrant inflation rate in the country squarely on the government’s doorstep, with one top New Democracy cadre referring, among others, to an “attempt at deception”.

    ND deputy Dimitris Sioufas also said the government was irresponsible in attempting to blame the private sector for a surge in prices over the recent period.

    “The fact that inflation in our country is about double the average European Union rate is a result of the government’s policy, structural weaknesses and delays that reduce our economy’s competitiveness, along with a lack of prudence during the euro’s introduction and a continuing policy of revenue raids.” Sioufas charged.

    [08] Karamanlis receives Cypriot, UK ambassadors

    Athens, 24/08/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) president Costas Karamanlis on Friday received Cypriot ambassador to Athens Leonidas Pantelides before meeting separately with British ambassador David Madden.

    Cyprus' EU accession course expectedly dominated talks in both meetings.

    [09] Car insurance regulations harmonized with EU directives

    Athens, 24/08/2002 (ANA)

    EU drivers that are involved in accidents in EU member-states in which they are not permanently resident will henceforth be able to claim compensation in their country of residence, according to a presidential decree signed on Friday by Deputy Development Minister Christos Theodorou.

    The decree harmonizes Greek legislation with community directives regarding vehicle insurance and helps injured parties seek compensation through processes with which they are familiar.

    In order for the new measures to work, insurance companies will henceforth have to appoint a representative to handle claims and the payment of compensation in each member-state.

    In addition, EU countries will have to set up information centers recording all vehicles registered in the EU and their insurance coverage so that injured parties have all the necessary information at their disposal.

    The Greek information center will be at the General Secretariat for Trade and its cost will be mostly covered by the 'Information Society' operational program.

    In addition, a special body called the International Insurance Bureau will deal with cases where an insurance company has no representative in Greece or the appointed representative has delayed excessively in settling the claim or the company insuring the car responsible for the accident cannot be found.

    [10] Site in Sindos viewed as most suitable to host EXPO 2008

    Athens, 24/08/2002 (ANA)

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis stated on Friday that the Institute of Geological and Mining Research (IGME) is of the view that a site in Sindos, which belongs to the Thessaloniki Technical Institute (TEI Thessaloniki), is the most suitable location to host EXPO 2008.

    The minister made the statement following a meeting he had with IGME officials with whom he discussed issues concerning the environment and the plot for EXPO.

    [11] Minister Drys, PASOK Secretary Laliotis discuss agricultural policy

    Athens, 24/08/2002 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister George Drys and PASOK Secretary Costas Laliotis met on Friday and discussed the campaign under way by the government to brief farmers on its agricultural policy in view of their planned mobilizations.

    They also discussed the measures being taken by the government and the European Union for the protection of farmers' incomes.

    Decision was reached for meetings to be held over the next ten days between PASOK deputies from regions where there are problems with certain agricultural produce and party cooperative members.

    Discussion at the meetings will focus on decisions reached concerning the settlement of payments to cotton producers and farmers who suffered losses due to the bad weather, and on the problems, which exist in the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    [12] Stocks down in second day of profit-taking

    Athens, 24/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse finished lower on Friday, with players raking in short-term profits for a second day from five previous sessions, which had brought a 3.44 percent rise in prices, traders said.

    The general share index shed 0.68 percent to end at 2,176.19 points, up 0.73 percent on the week. Turnover was 104.6 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.94 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.09 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities 0.20 percent up.

    Of 360 stocks traded, declines led advances at 234 to 160 with 66 issues remaining unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Klonatex, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, Viohalko, and Naoussa Textile Mills.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 40.3 mln euros Friday

    Bond Market Close: Turnover at 2.2 bln euros Friday

    [13] Unprecedented number of travelers cross Albania into Greece

    GJIROKASTER 24/08/2002 (ANA- P. Barka)

    Visiting both the Albanian and Greek customs offices in Kakavia, the Greek border village with Albania, Albanian Deputy Foreign Minister Luan Hajdaraga on Friday said that the long lines at the local customs office was owed to an unprecedented number of travelers crossing the border from Albania into Greece.

    “Approximately 6,000 to 12,000 are currently crossing the border on a daily basis, while on a regular day travelers crossing the border do not exceed 500 to 1,000 people” Hajdaraga said.

    The Albanian official said that the governments of both countries worked together in handling the current situation, adding that “since this phenomenon will possibly repeat itself in the future, new passages between the two countries seem necessary”.

    He congratulated the staff at both sides of the Kakavia customs office for their cooperation and understanding in handling the situation with the waves of Albanian citizens returning to Greece from their summer vacations in their country, exceeding 130,000 thousand people, according to statements made on Wednesday by the Albanian Consul of Ioannina.

    [14] Police breaks up document-forging ring

    Athens, 24/08/2002 (ANA)

    Law enforcement authorities on Wednesday broke up a four-member gang that was running a document-forging operation in Athens, police said on Friday.

    Exploiting a market of illegal immigrants who need the counterfeits to get residency permits, municipal worker Loukas Spanos, 59, Elli Mavrou, 48, a Ukrainian citizen Larissa Novitska, 47 and a lawyer Giorgos Kefalas, 51, were selling a variety of fraudulent documents for a price, police said.

    Novitska was the first to be arrested on Wednesday when, in her attempt to acquire a marriage license, she tried to deceive an Athens municipality clerk with a counterfeit temporary residency permit, the authorities said.

    She claimed that two more counterfeit residency permits found on her person had been purchased from someone called “Dimitris” for 700 Euro, police said.

    During a search at Kefala’s central Athens office, which had been turned into a document center, police found Spanos and Mavrou working there; the two were arrested and a large number of counterfeit documents as well as blank official documents were seized.

    Kefalas and “Dimitris” are still at large.

    [15] Flight delays drop at Athens airport in second quarter

    Athens, 24/08/2002 (ANA)

    Flight delays at the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport near Athens fell in the second quarter of 2002, the Union of European Airlines said in a report released on Friday.

    The report, which was based on data from the union's 28 members, showed that 79.6 percent of flights left the airport on time in the second quarter against 77.9 percent in the first quarter.

    Of the remaining 20.4 percent of flights, the average delay was 39.8 minutes, lower than in the previous quarter.

    Of the delays, either the airport itself or air traffic control were responsible for 4.3 percent of the total, ranking the airport among the top eight of 27 surveyed, the report added.

    [16] Overseas Cypriot leaders to meet August 26-29

    NICOSIA 24/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Overseas Cypriot leaders will hold a conference here August 26-29 to discuss among others developments in the Cyprus issue and Cyprus' bid to join the EU. The First International Conference of Cyprus Youth Overseas will also take place.

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides will open Monday the deliberations of the conference of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) and the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA).

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will brief the delegates on the latest developments in the Cyprus question.

    In the afternoon members of the two organizations will visit the Presidential Palace to lay a wreath at the statue of the first President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios. They will then be received by President Clerides.

    On Tuesday, the conference will address ''The Cyprus problem and the EU''. House President Demetris Christofias, Presidents of the Parliamentary Committees of Foreign and European Affairs, Nicos Anastassiades and Tassos Papadopoulos, Cyprus Chief Negotiator with the EU George Vassiliou and POMAK President Haris Sofoklides will attend this meeting.

    Deliberations will be concluded Thursday with the determination of PSEKA and POMAK goals and the adoption of resolutions.

    [17] London supports a bicommunal, bizonal federation in Cyprus

    LONDON 24/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Britain supports a settlement in Cyprus, which would establish a bicommunal, bizonal federation in Cyprus, British Minister for Europe Peter Hain has said.

    Hain stressed in a letter he recently sent to British MP Chris Smith that ''for a settlement to be viable, the new Cyprus would need to be able to speak with one voice internationally, to meet its full range of international obligations (including implementation of the EU acquis), and to have a single international legal personality''.

    He also noted that ''it is for the two sides in Cyprus to agree the terms of a settlement and for Greek and Turkish Cypriots to endorse the outcome'' and underlined that ''the preferred outcome of the British Government is for the two leaders in Cyprus to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement which allows for a reunited island to accede to the EU.''

    ''The UK has always said that it supports a settlement which would establish a bicommunal, bizonal federation in Cyprus and it still does'', Hain said. He also noted that ''it is more important that we reach such a settlement, than that we determine what to call it in advance.''

    Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.


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