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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-28

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

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

August 28, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM urges vigilance over 2004 Olympics budget
  • [02] Loverdos visits Sofia in framework of 2nd round of Balkans reconstruction plan
  • [03] Yugoslav Deputy PM meets with Greek prime minister and FM
  • [04] DM, US ambassador discuss Euro-defense issues
  • [05] Development minister meets Cypriot party leaders
  • [06] Foreign ministry spokesman comments on Cypriot newspaper article
  • [07] Education minister briefs PM on plans for coming school year
  • [08] PM Simitis meets Archbishop of America Dimitrios
  • [09] Witness says Giotopoulos and Koufodinas spent last Easter together
  • [10] Sports bill tabled in Parliament
  • [11] Gov't making 'every effort' to deal with Albanian border queues, spokesman says
  • [12] Draft bill to check state non-compliance with court rulings
  • [13] National Bank seeks to expand activities abroad
  • [14] Gov’t to accelerate implementation of information society programs
  • [15] Pella farmers continue protests in Giannitsa
  • [16] Greek consumers say prices higher after euro introduction
  • [17] Greek exporters to meet prime minister Sept 2
  • [18] Consumer protection center thanks development minister
  • [19] Greek stocks end flat on Tuesday
  • [20] Fire breaks out on Mt. Parnes, one civilian slightly injured
  • [21] Four arrested on antiquities \ smuggling charges
  • [22] UN-led talks for Cyprus resume
  • [23] US Special Coordinator on Cyprus to travel to the region
  • [24] British MPs hold meetings on Cyprus
  • [25] New Cyprus Permanent Representative to the CoE presents credentials
  • [26] Chinese president pledges support for Cyprus

  • [01] PM urges vigilance over 2004 Olympics budget

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed on Tuesday that the hefty budget for the upcoming Athens Olympics must be “dutifully maintained”, in comments to his top Cabinet ministers and the Athens 2004 organizing committee (ATHOC) leadership.

    "New funding needs for envisioned or new projects must be covered by internal shifting of approved resources ..." Simitis said during an inter-ministerial meeting focusing on preparations for the Games. The meeting was attended by a handful of related ministry heads as well as ATHOC executives, led by Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.

    In praising ATHOC and other affiliated state agencies for the recent Olympic sailing “test event” in a coastal Athens suburb – an event that reaped kudos from the press and participating athletes – Simitis announced that he will tour several Olympic construction venues and related infrastructure projects next month.

    Preparations, Olympic-sized concerns: In terms of one distinct “thorn” facing ATHOC and the government, deputy Press Minister Telemachos Hytiris stressed that the issue of tax incentives for local residents wishing to lease their homes -- as part of a government-approved program -- during the Games has not been resolved.

    Hytiris added that a pending bill by the culture ministry on a variety of 2004-related issues will not include such a tax incentive, envisioned as a scaled down VAT rate from the present 18 percent levied on most goods and services in the country.

    According to reports, ATHOC wants a VAT rate of 5 percent, at most, on such lease earnings, whereas the national economy ministry is proposing a hefty 20 percent. Initially, a tax-free idea had been considered.

    In other matters, Transport Minister Christos Verelis said the urban tram and suburban rail projects are proceeding at a satisfactory pace, while leaving open the possibility that electricity-driven engines – instead of diesel engines – will be used for the suburban line.

    Meanwhile, the government said it would build a 4.4-million-euro multi-purpose complex on the so-called “international zone” surrounding the Olympic Village in northwest Athens after a relative international tender for the project was declared void. The construction contract will be assigned to the Workers’ Housing Organization (OEK) and then possibly be transferred to the state-founded Olympic Real Estate SA company, the last step before its leasing to a private sector firm as a shopping mall.

    [02] Loverdos visits Sofia in framework of 2nd round of Balkans reconstruction plan

    SOFIA 28/08/2002 (ANA- S. Avramopoulou)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Tuesday arrived in Sofia, his last stop of the second round of Greece's Balkan Reconstruction Plan (ESOAB), which started on August 19 in Bucharest.

    Within the context of his visit and the signature on Wednesday of a bilateral agreement for Greek assistance of 54.79 MLN Euro to Bulgaria, Loverdos met with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy to discuss bilateral relations, European integration and expansion issues, NATO expansion issues, as well as the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    The Bulgarian official thanked the Greek deputy minister for the significant support that his country received during the Spanish EU presidency pointing to Sofia's desire for the completion or at least near completion of negotiations for accession during Greece's EU presidency. He also thanked the Greek government for Greece's selfish, as he called it, assistance to his country, which will contribute in Bulgaria's infrastructure development.

    State of war abolition between Albanian & Greece not on agenda, Loverdos says: Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Tuesday said to the ANA that ''the issue of the state of war between Greece and Albania was not on the agenda of discussions and thus it was not discussed during talks with Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano''. Loverdos, who is at this time in Sofia, Bulgaria for an official visit, responded in this way to Albanian press reports, that quoted the office of Nano, noting that the Albanian premier requested of the Greek government the abolition of the state of war between the two countries.

    [03] Yugoslav Deputy PM meets with Greek prime minister and FM

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    Visiting Deputy Prime Minister Federal Government of FR Yugoslavia Miroljub Labus on Tuesday had separate meetings with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    The political and economic stability of Yugoslavia, the recent developments in Kosovo and the broader Balkan Peninsula, as well as the implementation of Athens' plan for Balkan reconstruction, with special emphasis on the reconstruction of the Belgrade-Thessaloniki road-axis represented the main discussion items at both meetings.

    In post-meeting statements, Papandreou referred to the agreement recently signed with Serbia within the framework of the Greek plan for Balkan reconstruction, placing special emphasis on the reconstruction of the Belgrade-Thessaloniki road-axis 10, which is of great importance for boosting tourism and growth in the region.

    The minister reiterated that during its EU presidency, Greece was going to promote Yugoslavia's European course and more specifically, the signature of a joining and stability agreement.

    The Yugoslav official said that the Belgrade-Thessaloniki axis reconstruction should commence as soon as possible; with regard to the European future of his country, he expressed his desire for the completion of joining and stability negotiations during Greece's EU presidency.

    Yugoslav Deputy PM says Greece's Balkan reconstruction plan advancing well: Visiting Deputy Prime Minister Federal Government of FR Yugoslavia Miroljub Labus on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over his meeting earlier on the day with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    The Yugoslav official said that the talks revealed that Greece's Balkan reconstruction plan was advancing well. He also said that during Simitis' visit to Belgrade last May it was agreed that a Balkan culture ministers meeting would be very useful. Such a meeting, to include discussions on the protection and preservation of Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo, is going to take place in Belgrade very soon, Labus said.

    [04] DM, US ambassador discuss Euro-defense issues

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    The complex issue of Europe’s defense strategy as well as the pending “Euro-Army” matter dominated a meeting on Tuesday between Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and US ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller, with the former later briefing reporters on a variety of Greek defense concerns.

    Papantoniou reiterated that Athens would push for the creation and operation of the much-expected “European Rapid Deployment Force” within the year.

    He added that efforts to smooth-over differences between the EU and NATO over the scope and operational capability of such a force also constitute a priority, while noting that the Greek government is interested in finding an “ad hoc” compromise to allow for the build-up and deployment of a European peacekeeping force in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    Additionally, he said both Athens and Washington agreed to step up contacts and cooperation over security issues for the 12 months – which began earlier in the summer -- of Greece’s presidency of the EU Common Foreign and Defense Policy portfolio.

    Comments on Iraq situation: Regarding Iraq, Papantoniou expressed a view that Europe should wait for the manifestation of some type of US initiative before taking a position on the matter.

    Specifically in terms of Greece’s stance, he said the country makes its decisions based on national interests.

    Turkey: In other remarks, Papantoniou, who previously was the national economy minister, said violations of Greek national airspace in the Aegean by Turkish warplanes have also not ceased, instead over the past few months “they (violations) have taken on a dimensions that do not contribute to the consolidation of peace and stability in this sensitive region”.

    Asked about same-day press claims citing a confidential Turkish foreign ministry report that allegedly proposes Ankara annex the Turkish-occupied parts of Cyprus if no political solution is found on the island republic based on Turkey’s demands, the Greek minister said:

    “... the Republic of Cyprus will accede to the European Union at the end of the year, regardless of a solution or not to the Cyprus problem. That’s a fact, it says so in the Helsinki (summit decisions), common sense says so, political reason says so, and it is in the EU’s best interest”.

    Finally, he said such threats would only impede Turkey’s course towards Europe.

    [05] Development minister meets Cypriot party leaders

    NICOSIA 28/08/2002 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos held successive meetings with Cypriot party leaders in Nicosia to discuss Cyprus' EU accession.

    After the meetings on Monday evening, he stressed that security and Cyprus joining the EU would be the two main factors for increasing the island republic's international status and credibility.

    The minister held meetings with AKEL Parliamentary spokes-man Andreas Christou, DHSY leader Nikos Anastasiadis, DHKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos and KISOS party president Yiannakis Omirou.

    Cyprus and Greece initial and sign agreements: Cyprus and Greece initialed here on Tuesday agreements on industry and energy and signed an agreement on high technology and a memorandum of cooperation between the tourism organizations of both countries.

    The agreements were initialed by Cyprus Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister, Nicos Rolandis and Greek Minister of Development, Akis Tsohatzopoulos while the memorandum of cooperation between the Cyprus Tourism Organization and the Greek Tourism Organization was signed by their chairmen, Chrysis Prentzas and Ioannis Patelis respectively.

    Tsohatzopoulos described the agreements as positive noting that the contribution of both ministries in the joint development course of Cyprus and Greece is important in achieving the security, European prospective and economic and social development of the Cyprus Republic.

    On his part, Rolandis described the initialization ''historic'' for both countries' relations in the field of development, adding that the agreement on high technology will give Cyprus industry a new outlook.

    Tsohatzopoulos said that in the field of energy Greece and Cyprus claim a joint area within the EU and Eurasia, as well as in the area of Eastern Mediterranean, Northern Africa and Middle East where new energy markets are opening such as natural gas, electricity and oil.

    Referring to the memorandum agreement on tourism, Rolandis said tourism should be further developed and called on Greeks to visit Cyprus and Cypriots to continue visiting Greece.

    Speaking at a press conference at the end of his three-day visit, Tsohatzopoulos said both Cyprus and Greece are ready to proceed together in the fields of tourism, industry and energy.

    Asked whether both countries are ready to face a possible crisis, which might be caused by Turkey in view of Cyprus accession to the EU, Tsohatzopoulos expressed the belief that the island's accession course will be completed without problems.

    ''I believe at the European Council in early December, Cyprus will become a member of the EU based on the European Commission’s positive recommendation'', Tsohatzopoulos added.

    Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third, is completing accession negotiations with the EU this year. It is expected that the EU December summit in Copenhagen will invite Cyprus to accede with other candidate countries. Turkey said it would react strongly to Cyprus' membership, if there is no political settlement.

    [06] Foreign ministry spokesman comments on Cypriot newspaper article

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis, commenting on an article published on Tuesday in the Cypriot newspaper ''Politis'', said that Foreign Minister George Papandreou never gave any preference to presidential candidates or made mention of presidential candidates who may endanger the smooth entry of Cyprus to the European Union.

    ''Our position remains steadfast and unaltered, there is no involvement in the election campaign. On the contrary, we maintain a high level of relations with all the political forces of Cyprus and are jointly working for the achievement of our objectives.

    ''In this difficult period which the Cyprus issue is going through and in view of the completion of the accession negotiations for Cyprus' entry to the European Union, we should all show the necessary calm and contribute to the success of the joint effort,'' Beglitis underlined.

    [07] Education minister briefs PM on plans for coming school year

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    The government appeared determined not to back down in the dispute with university teachers on Tuesday, following a meeting between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Education Minister Petros Efthymiou.

    As he departed from the prime minister's office, Efthymiou said that it was unacceptable for academics to keep universities closed over a single demand when all their other demands had been met.

    ''In 1998, teaching staff at universities received a 40 per cent pay rise and the government has promised that there will be more pay raises after 2004. They cannot keep higher education institutes closed only for this reason,'' he stressed.

    He also denied that there had been an argument between the prime minister and university academics.

    During the 90-minute meeting, Efthymiou briefed Simitis on the plans for the new school year beginning in September, which will also be discussed during the cabinet meeting on Thursday.

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas, meanwhile, denied rumors of a rift between the prime minister and the academic community, saying that the government's goal was to upgrade education and find convincing solutions that satisfied both students and teaching staff.

    He also noted that the government had satisfied the majority of the academics demands and agreed to discuss new pay increases, though not before the start of 2003.

    Protopapas said the government wanted to delay the new pay rises in order to preserve the resilience of the Greek economy and to protect the achievements that Greek citizens had built up with such difficulty.

    [08] PM Simitis meets Archbishop of America Dimitrios

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis held talks in Athens on Tuesday with Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America Dimitrios on relations between the Greek American community and the Archbishopric and on the course of the reconstruction of St. Nicholas church in New York which was destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    Archbishop Dimitrios thanked the prime minister for the Greek government's help and support in the reconstruction of the new church and also discussed the issue of the restitution of the Theological School of Boston.

    The prime minister also briefed the archbishop on Greece's priorities during its presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003.

    [09] Witness says Giotopoulos and Koufodinas spent last Easter together

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    A resident of Leipsoi, the sparsely populated Dodecannese island where alleged ''November 17'' terrorist group leader Alexandros Giotopoulos was arrested last month, on Tuesday told a special prosecutor that he had seen ''N17'' suspect at large Dimitris Koufodinas visiting the island home of Giotopoulos last Easter.

    Yiannis Makris told public prosecutor Leonidas Zervobeakos that Giotopoulos last year had guested a man in his house, whom the witness recognized as 44-year-old Dimitris Koufodinas, believed by police to be the second-in-command of the urban terrorist group and a liaison between its operatives and the leader.

    From his maximum-security cell in the Athens Korydallos prison, the Paris-born Giotopoulos has denied any involvement with ''N17''.

    [10] Sports bill tabled in Parliament

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced that a sports bill was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday which incorporates provisions for the preparation of the Olympic Games.

    The bill under discussion concerns six major issues, that of violence, entrepreneurship, sports justice, doping control, refereeing and amateur sports.

    The minister said the bill was "complete and strict" and expressed the optimism that it would be broadly accepted by Parliament.

    [11] Gov't making 'every effort' to deal with Albanian border queues, spokesman says

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    Greece was making every possible effort to deal quickly and efficiently with the unprecedented numbers of Albanian citizens seeking to cross the Greek-Albanian border into Greece since mid-August, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Tuesday. Border post staff had been faced with tens of thousands of citizens since August 15, he added, while Greece was obliged to carefully check the documents of incoming foreign nationals under the Schengen Treaty.

    [12] Draft bill to check state non-compliance with court rulings

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    Foreseeing compulsory execution of a monetary claim against the state to include seizure of the latter's private property, a bill tabled by the justice ministry on Tuesday contains terms to order the state to abide with court decisions ''without any excuses or delay''.

    The bill establishes a three-member council comprising judges from the three supreme courts, empowered with taking measures for Administration compliance with court rulings, including the imposition of special penalties in the event of unjustified delay, neglect or refusal on the part of the state to comply.

    [13] National Bank seeks to expand activities abroad

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    National Bank of Greece aims to strengthen its presence abroad in the framework of a bank strategy to become a powerful regional financial group in the Balkans and the wider Southeastern Europe with a respectable presence in the world's largest financial centers.

    National Bank is present in 18 countries around the world and owns seven banks and eight financial services firms. The Greek bank operates a network of more than 300 branches abroad and employs more than 5,000 people.

    National Bank's executives expect that the bank's foreign activities will contribute around 20 percent to the group's profitability this year, up from an initial target of 15 percent for the year. This rate is projected to reach 25 percent in 2003 and 30 percent in 2004. The rate of profits from international activities to the group's profitability was just 2.5 percent in 1998.

    The US (Atlantic Bank of New York), UK, Bulgaria (UBB), Cyprus, Canada and Egypt are the most profitable countries for the bank.

    National Bank is expected to focus its activities in the Balkans, namely in Romania and Albania, and to further strengthen its presence in the US market.

    [14] Gov’t to accelerate implementation of information society programs

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek government aims to have absorbed at least 15 percent of EU funds earmarked to support an information society program, worth 1.0 trillion drachmas, by the end of 2003, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, in a joint news conference with Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Costas Skandalidis, Mr. Christodoulakis said that the government was accelerating the rate of implementing information projects funded by a Third Community Support Framework program.

    The Greek minister said that already 55 percent of the program has been activated and that projects approved accounted for 20 percent of total budget, while contracts signed accounted for 8.0 percent.

    "The infrastructure work is starting to bear fruit," Christodoulakis said.

    Mr. Skandalidis said that his ministry has already approved 31 business programs, budgeted at 75 million euros, while a program named "SYZEFXIS", worth 75.5 million euros, aimed to electronically interconnect and distribute information between public agencies, was currently promoted by the ministry.

    Skandalidis said that a tender for the program was expected to be completed by September 30.

    [15] Pella farmers continue protests in Giannitsa

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    Cotton farmers in the northern Greek prefecture of Pella continued their picket and take over of the Agricultural Directorate in Giannitsa on Tuesday, saying that they were determined to stay put until their demands had been met.

    They also threatened to continue their protest after the major rally planned by Thessaloniki farmers at the inauguration of the 67th Thessaloniki International Fair by the prime minister on September 6.

    They are demanding that the government pay the amount originally announced in cotton subsidies (50 drachmas per kilo), that the entire crop be eligible and the return and redistribution of 1,700 hectares for cotton cultivation, as well as other demands. A meeting has been set at 13:00 on Wednesday between Pella Prefect Michalis Karamanlis and Deputy Agriculture Minister Vaggelis Argyris to discuss the farmer’s demands and problems. Karamanlis met with farmers' representatives on Monday to hear their demands.

    [16] Greek consumers say prices higher after euro introduction

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek consumer believes he spends more in buying basic consumer goods and services although in reality he spends the same after the introduction of the euro currency, a survey by SELPE, the Union of Retail Sales Enterprises, said on Tuesday.

    The report showed that 89 percent of Greek consumers believed that euro prices in basic goods and services have increased this year, while 14 percent of consumers still used calculators in their transactions.

    Eighteen percent of Greek consumers prefer the use of plastic money in their transactions (82 percent women, 18 percent men), while 79 percent of consumers said they trusted retail chains and department stores for their purchases.

    The survey was conducted in the period June 24-July 5 and covered almost all the geographical regions of Greece. A total of 1,881 men and women responded in the survey.

    Consumer complaints over price increases total 10,000: Consumer complaints over unjustified price increases in the domestic market are nearing 10,000 so far this year, INKA, Greece's largest consumer group, said on Tuesday.

    INKA said that consumer complaints over price increases topped the list of complaints in the first quarter of 2002 and noted that a boycott announced for September 3rd would signal the beginning of a public reaction against a policy of price increases in the country.

    [17] Greek exporters to meet prime minister Sept 2

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    Greek exporters will present their proposals on how to boost exports and export activity in the country in a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on September 2.

    The Panhellenic Exporters' Union said in a statement on Tuesday that promoting Greek products in international markets was vital and stressed that Greek product did not only have to be competitive but to be recognizable to foreign markets.

    The Union said the meeting with Mr. Simitis was a sign of the government's interest in promoting this goal at a time when Greek economy needed to adjust as soon as possible to a new economic and monetary environment and to globalization.

    [18] Consumer protection center thanks development minister

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Consumer Protection Center (KEPKA) in an announcement on Tuesday congratulated and gave thanks to Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos for accepting its proposals.

    KEPKA in a press release said that statements by Tsohatzopoulos, as well as by other officials of the development ministry ''show that the proposals put forward by the center have been accepted.''

    ''The democratization of the consumer organizations and the unification of the organizations into a unified movement always constitutes a firm objective of KEPKA,'' the announcement said.

    [19] Greek stocks end flat on Tuesday

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended Tuesday's session flat with the Athens Stock Exchange moving within very a tight range for one more session. Traders said buying interest for banks and blue chips helped the general index to a higher closing. The index ended 0.22 percent higher at 2,178.65 points, with turnover a low 75.1 million euros.

    The Publication, Retail and Food-Beverage sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (1.26 percent, 0.93 percent and 0.86 percent, respectively), while the Construction, Textile and Base Metal sectors suffered losses (0.90 percent, 0.83 percent and 0.72 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.42 percent higher, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.14 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.36 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 155 to 134 with another 68 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Informatics, Coca Cola and National Bank of Greece.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 66.2 mln euros

    Day's Market Turnover: 66.2 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Turnover at 3.7 bln euros

    [20] Fire breaks out on Mt. Parnes, one civilian slightly injured

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    An extensive fire broke out early Tuesday evening at a wooded location in Tsoumba Filis on Mt. Parnes, northwest of Athens, police said.

    Authorities are looking for an unidentified man, aged 35 to 40, who was spotted carrying a fuel tank earlier near the area where the fire broke out and it is speculated that he started the blaze, police said.

    Due to strong winds blowing in the area at the time, the flames spread fast, initially threatening five farmhouses that were finally saved by firefighters and civilians participating in the effort; one civilian suffered light injuries during the firefighting efforts, police said.

    The blaze was under control at press time.

    [21] Four arrested on antiquities \ smuggling charges

    Athens, 28/08/2002 (ANA)

    A French national and three Polish nationals were arrested on antiquities smuggling charges on Tuesday, after authorities in Sitia, on the island of Crete, reportedly made a check on a yacht that they were using, the vehicle of the former and a residence that two of them were using in Palaiokastro, near Sitia in southeastern Crete.

    The police check uncovered diving equipment, urns possibly from the Minoan era, the lead part from a ship from the Byzantine era, as well as camera film with pictures of antiquities.

    The suspects were identified as Niemkiewicz Piotr, aged at 48, Skoczynski Ryszard, aged at 59, Kantor Leszek, aged at 57 and Niemkeiwicz Magdalena, aged at 55.

    [22] UN-led talks for Cyprus resume

    NICOSIA 28/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash resumed their discussions on Tuesday in the context of the UN-led peace talks, with each side outlining its respective position on the issue of sovereignty.

    According to reliable sources, during the hour-long meeting, in the presence of UN Secretary General's special adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, no ideas or suggestions either on a proposed solution plan or on ways to proceed with the talks were put forward.

    At Tuesday's meeting, the first after a three-week break, none of the two interlocutors had any of his advisers, as is the normal practice for these direct talks, which began in January this year under UN auspices.

    Denktash had said that he intended to submit a new proposal on the solution of the Cyprus problem. A new meeting is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

    The direct talks resumed as the two leaders prepare for next week's meeting in Paris with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is likely to sound them out about UN intentions to put forward an outline of a solution to facilitate a process of give and take, with a view at reaching a compromised agreement.

    The UN are said to have already prepared such a document, on the basis of past non papers and the most recent discussions between the two leaders.

    What remains to be seen now is for the UN to decide when the most opportune time is to submit their proposals. Denktash has already put forward one such proposal on a solution but he has often made it clear that he does not want the UN to intervene in this manner in the negotiations.

    After seven months of direct talks no substantial progress towards a comprehensive settlement has been achieved, because of Denktash's insistence on the creation of two states in Cyprus, contrary to numerous UN resolutions calling for the establishment of a bicommunal bizonal federation.

    [23] US Special Coordinator on Cyprus to travel to the region

    WASHINGTON 28/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    US Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Ambassador Tomas Weston will be traveling to the region next week for consultations on Cyprus but will not be attending the Paris meeting of September 6 between UN Secretary Kofi Annan, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    State Department Spokesman, Richard Boucher, replying to a question on Monday whether Weston would attend the Paris meeting said the US diplomat will be ''traveling to the region in the week of September 2 for consultations on Cyprus''. The September 6 meeting, he added, is ''between the UN Secretary General and the two Cypriot leaders'' and Ambassador Weston will not be attending.

    UN-led direct talks on Cyprus resumed on Tuesday as the two leaders prepare for next week's meeting in Paris with Annan, who is likely to sound them out about UN intentions to put forward an outline of a solution to facilitate a process of give and take, with a view to reach a compromised agreement.

    [24] British MPs hold meetings on Cyprus

    NICOSIA 28/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    British Members of Parliament visiting Cyprus met here Tuesday with House President Demetris Christofias and the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Nicos Anastassiades where they expressed their support to efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    MPs Bill Etherington, Rudi Vis, Nick Hawkins and Syd Rapson are in Cyprus attending the 19th conference of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK), the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and the First International Conference of Cyprus Youth Overseas.

    During their meeting with Christofias, the MPs were informed on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and the course of the UN-led direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Christofias referred to the obstacles in promoting a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem due to Denktash's insistence on the creation of two separate sovereign ''states'' on the island, contrary to UN resolutions calling for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    The House President said a Cyprus settlement should be based on the relevant UN resolutions and underlined that sovereignty cannot constitute an issue for compromise on the Greek Cypriot part, and called on the British MPs to use their influence with the British government to support a solution within this framework.

    The British MPs pledged their determination to continue efforts to promote a just solution to the Cyprus problem.

    On his part, Anastassiades told the British officials that the Greek

    Cypriot side has shown the relevant good will for a Cyprus settlement before the island's accession to the EU, something that the Turkish side has not done.

    [25] New Cyprus Permanent Representative to the CoE presents credentials

    NICOSIA 28/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus new Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe (CoE), Ambassador Nikolaos Emiliou, stressed the need for all decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to be implemented.

    Presenting his credentials to CoE deputy Secretary-General Hans-Christian Kruger, Emiliou also emphasized the important role of the CoE in the European integration, one aspect of which is the acceptance of the implementation and effective protection of human rights throughout Europe.

    ECHR ruled in December 1996 that Turkey is guilty of continuous violation of the human rights of Greek Cypriot Titina Loizidou, to peacefully enjoy her property in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus, and ordered Ankara to pay compensation and allow Loizidou access to her property.

    The Court also said Loizidou must be regarded as the legal owner of the said property and held Turkey responsible for human rights violations, in the areas of Cyprus it occupies since 1974.

    [26] Chinese president pledges support for Cyprus

    NICOSIA 28/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    President of the People's Republic of China, Jiang Zemin, called for a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem, pledging his country's steady support.

    The position was conveyed during the presentation of the credentials of Cyprus new ambassador to China, Petros Kestoras, who referred to the friendly ties between the two countries and the government's desire to further enhance them.

    Kestoras thanked China for its steadfast support to the struggle of the people of Cyprus for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, based on UN relevant resolutions.

    Cyprus and China established diplomatic relations 31 years ago.


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