|Tuesday, 13 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-11-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 8, 2004
 President Stephanopoulos stresses importance of unity as reactions to US recognition of FYROM as 'Macedonia' continue
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos on Sunday stressed the importance of unity in "these difficult days" the country was facing, as reactions to the US decision last week to recognize FYROM under its disputed constitutional name of 'Macedonia' continued in Greece and Greek communities abroad.
Speaking at the unveiling of a bust of the late Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos in the municipality of Nea Smyrni, Stephanopoulos said the event provided the opportunity "for us to think, in these difficult days -- difficult due to the circum-stances we are all aware of -- how important unity is for our people".
Stephanopoulos, who was earlier presented with the gold medal of the city following a unanimous decision of the Nea Smyrni municipal council, expressed the wish that "our country will overcome the big problems it still faces, and prosper even more", but also that it will "continue its course of prestige it has commenced in the Balkan region and prove that Hellas knows how to act like a democratic state, a state that fights for the prosperity of the people but at the same time also for regional prosperity and cooperation among all the Balkan countries".
Meanwhile, some 2,000 people turned out in Thessaloniki for a demonstration called by the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party to protest the US decision on FYROM, chanting slogans such as "we don't sell our name, we don't submit to Bush" and "Macedonia is Greek". The rally was addressed by LAOS leader and Europarliamentarian George Karatzaferis, who called on the government and the political leadership to "stand up against" Bush's provocations. He clarified, however, that the blame for the development lay on Washington, and that the Greeks were "not running against the people of the neighboring country". Approximately 100 protestors affiliated with right-wing organizations held a similar protest in downtown Thessaloniki on Saturday night, and marched to the US Consulate, where they burned US and FYROM flags.
Also, in Kastoria, the town's municipal council voted that a Square named after WWII US general James Alward Van Fleet of the US Army Group, which was part of the US Mission for Aid to Greece (Van Fleet Square) be renamed as "Plateia Makedonomachon" (Macedonian fighters' Square).
At the same time, Athens mayor Dora Bakoyanni said the US' recognition of FYROM with the name 'Republic of Macedonia' was a "wrong decision at the wrong time", and called that "Greece does not involve itself again in a blind-alley discussion characterized by populism and demagogy".
"The mistakes in the handling of the FYROM name issue were consecutive, and therefore, engaging in frank self-criticism, all the political forces must enter a new page that can and should be more successful than the previous ones," she said.
"Foreign policy needs realism, seriousness, responsibility and national unanimity," Bakoyanni said, and expressed hope that there would be substantive cooperation among all the political forces so that the national interests would prevail.
Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, who officiated at a liturgy in Veria on Sunday, also called for unity among the Greek people in order to "avert the falsification of the name Macedonia".
In Hania, former parliament president (PASOK) Apostolos Kaklamanis said the recognition of FYROM as 'Macedonia' was a "cynical, arrogant and insulting action against our country first of all -- as an ally of the US -- and against our partners in the EU, and the United Nations".
He said that the US action "in effect undermined the efforts being made, under UN auspices, to find a mutually acceptable solution to this problem (FYROM name)", and it also was an insult to the Greeks of the US "the majority of whom voted for Mr. Bush, and this decision was the thank you to them immediately after the polls closed".
Kaklamanis called for cooperation among all the political forces in the country to agree on effective steps, such as vetoing the commencement of FYROM accession talks with the EU or NATO.
Also, world-renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis also called for unity as Hellenism was entering a difficult, critical and dangerous period that left no room for petty-political clashes.
"The surprise US gesture to Skopje, with its anti-Greek spear-head, should comprise a 'warning bell' that calls us to unity, vigilance and contemplation as Hellenism is entering a very difficult, critical and dangerous period that leaves no margins for clashes of a petty political nature," Theodorakis said in a statement.
"We must look clearly at the present and future correlation of powers, where it appears that our country, and Cyprus with it, are the target of the superpower (US)," he said, and proposed the forging of a national policy of common acceptance to confront the difficulties, at the same time stressing the importance of Greece's allies in Europe, the Arab world, Russia and the Balkans in that direction.
Specifically regarding the problem of FYROM and Albania, he proposed that it be made clear that the interests of the neighboring countries lay in the direction of good relations with Greece.
Theodorakis further clarified that Greece's objection to the name 'Republic of Macedonia' was naturally "not with the words but what some quarters visibly signal behind those words, namely the irredentist claims against our country's (territorial) integrity".
"This is something that unfortunately was not made sufficiently known, with the well-known results. It is, therefore, today, time to resoundingly shout in every direction, and chiefly to Skopje itself, so that there will be no delusion regarding our future stance -- which in every instance will be what it always has been whenever our national integrity faced dangers," he said.
Finally, regarding Greek-Turkish relations, Theodorakis noted that Turkey's domestic problems had not been definitively resolved, and stressed that "peaceful coexistence" of the two peoples was the only way, warning that any other path would be truly devastating.
In New York, Greece's deputy foreign minister for Greeks Abroad affairs Panayotis Skandalakis on Saturday briefed Archbishop Demetrios of America on the Athens government's actions over the FYROM issue.
He told reporters after the meeting that he had also briefed the Archbishop on his own talks and contacts with leaders of the Greek American community.
Archbishop Demetrios, who has sent a letter to US president Bush calling on him to recall the US decision to recognize FYROM with the name 'Republic of Macedonia', called the decision a "clear, particularly negative and unpleasant development that will be followed by justified reactions and mobilizations by the Greek side".
He said that Greece was a country that "always contributes but is frequently wronged", and welcomed the statement by the UN spokesman that the United Nations recognized only the name 'FYROM', as well as a similar statement by the European Union.
In Skopje, FYROM president Branko Crvenkovski said Saturday night that his country had been waiting a long time for this moment, but also sent a message to the Greek government and people.
Addressing celebrations in Skopje over the US decision, Crvenkovski said that Greece "is a friendly country...We ex-tend a hand of friendship and assure that we desire the continuation of our cooperation and good-neighbor relations".
 PASOK leader calls for consensus between political parties to tackle impasse created by FYROM name issue
BUCHAREST 8/11/2004 (ANA)"The unilateral recognition by the United States of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) de facto creates an important new situation," main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movemenet (PASOK) leader George Papandreou said on Saturday after the summit of the leaders of the socialist and social-democratic parties of the Balkan countries which took place in Bucharest.
He added:» I therefore view that it is absolutely necessary for the-re to be consensus between all the parties, all the country's political forces, for us to make a new evaluation, an evaluation of our new moves so that we will be able to rid ourselves from the current impasse."
Papandreou in his statement further noted that "the basic message is that us in the Balkans have suffered from the intervention of greater powers, and as far as we cooperate between ourselves, as far as we solve our problems through an effort of mutual understanding and with mutually acceptable solutions, we can avert unilateral interventions, like the recent action by the United States for the recognition of FYROM with its constitutional name ('Republic of Macedonia')."
"We will be the ones who will live in this neighborhood, we are the neighbors. It will be the peoples of the region, our children, who will live, and must live peacefully, and in cooperation, for the good of all the peoples of the region. This unity and the effort for cooperation, not only will avert such a type of incidents, but will contribute so that the voice of the peoples of the Balkans be heard, to be able to play a greater role in Europe but also inter-nationally," the PASOK leader concluded.
 Deputy FM Valinakis in interviews expounds on developments in national issues
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)"The government's strategic choice is to support Turkey's European path on the basis of the European Commission's report which determines the ways with which this can be achieved," Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis said in interviews with the Sunday editions of "Vima" and "Eleftheros Typos" newspapers.
"The aim of this (New Democracy) government is to change our neighborhood into a zone of peace and security," he added. He reiterated that "both Greece and Cyprus have clear-cut positions which converge in support of Turkey's European course, to the degree that it fulfills the European Union's criteria and improves its foreign policy behavior."
On the issue of the exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey, Valinakis said that "these will continue for as long as is needed." He noted that "the government wants solutions, correct solutions, but the distance between our positions is still great."
On the issue of the recognition by the United States of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its constitutional name of "Republic of Macedonia", he commented that the American action "was not only unfortunate but beyond the logic imposed by developments" and called on FYROM "to comprehend in depth that the European prospect means dialogue and consensus and not unilateral faits accomplis." He added that FYROM's "aim cannot be to become a State of the United States, but a Member of the European Union."
On the Cyprus issue, the deputy foreign minister reiterated that "the solution cannot be anything else other than a solution compatible with the European acquis communautaire and the principles and values of the European Union." At the same time, Valinakis called for changes to be made to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan for a political settlement of the Cyprus problem.
On Euro-Atlantic relations, he said that the two sides have common positions and common interests but also crucial differences.
 ND secretary voices objections to demonstrations over Macedonia issue, U.S. recognition
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy's Central Committee Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis on Saturday said he disagreed with holding demonstrations and protests in Greece against Washington's decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FY-ROM) with its constitutional name 'Republic of Macedonia'.
While he understood the "anger and outrage" that the U.S. decision triggered in Greek citizens, foreign policy could not be exercised on the basis of emotions but had to be programmed and planned, he told a regional ND conference in Thessaloniki.
"We support the government's initiatives in the effort to find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of [FYROM's] name. ND will not encourage protests and rallies," he added.
 Cyprus president criticizes U.S. decision on FYROM name as unfortunate and badly timedNICOSIA (ANA - G. Leonidas)
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on Saturday strongly criticized Washington's decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its constitutional name 'Republic of Macedonia', saying it was an unfortunate move that had come at the most inappropriate time.
Returning from the EU summit in Brussels, Papadopoulos also stressed that FYROM's recognition was in no way linked to future developments in the Cyprus issue.
 Archbishop Demetrios asks U.S. president to revoke recognition of 'Republic of Macedonia'
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)In a letter to United States President George Bush sent on Friday, the head of the Greek-Orthodox Church in the U.S., Archbishop of America Demetrios, asked that he revoke the decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its constitutional name 'Republic of Macedonia'.
Expressing "deep sorrow" over the recognition, he called on Bush to revise the decision based on "historic and current facts" and to promote a solution through the process already underway at the United Nations to find a name that is mutually acceptable to both Greece and FYROM.
 State department warns U.S. citizens in Greece of possible reactions over 'Macedonia' recognition
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)In a warning posted on the website of the United States Embassy in Athens, the U.S. State Department advises U.S. citizens living in Greece to be on their guard against the possibility of "heightened tension" and "reactions against American interests in Greece" that may be triggered by Washington's decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FY-ROM) by its constitutional name 'Republic of Macedonia'.
The message posted on Friday notes that there is no specific information at the time of writing of plans for large-scale demonstrations but notes that the possibility of protests, especially outside the Embassy in Athens or the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki, cannot be dismissed given the importance of the issue to many in Greece.
It calls on U.S. citizens to avoid such gatherings, advising them to "heighten their individual and family sense of and attention to personal security", while noting that even demonstrations planned as peaceful can "turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence."
Three Turkish military aircraft violate Greek national airspace over the Aegean.
A Turkish naval-cooperation CN-235 aircraft on Sunday infringed the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) by flying over the Aegean south of the island of Lesvos without submitting a flight plan, according to press information. The incident occurred at 11:10 a.m.
Two Greek air force F-16 jetfighters immediately took off for reconnaissance and intercepted the Turkish plane.
At the same time, two Turkish F-16s also entered Greek national airspace in the same region, and left the area after engaging in a mock battle with the Greek jetfighters.
 Political correlation has not changed, according to VPRC opinion poll
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)The political correlation does not appear to have changes substantially in the 8 months since the March general elections which brought the New Democracy party to government, according to an opinion poll conducted by VPRC in early November, before the FYROM name issue emerged -- with the US' surprise recognition last week of FYROM with its disputed constitutional name of 'Macedonia' -- and appearing in Sunday's edition of Kathimerini daily newspaper.
According to the poll, voter satisfaction with the government stood at 36 percent, double that of satisfaction with main opposition party (and preceding government) PASOK, which stood at 18 percent. However, 77 percent of the respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the way in which PASOK was exercising policy, against 57 percent of respondents who expressed dissatisfaction with the government's policy.
Also, 57 percent of respondents felt that there is little or no difference between the policy applied by PASOK while in government and the policy applied by ND, whereas 37 percent felt there is a big or very big difference.
The overwhelming majority of respondents (91 percent) consider corruption an extremely important problem for the country, while 84 percent believe that 'special interests' exist and 76 percent believe that corruption exists. Also characteristic is the fact that the establishment of a parliamentary fact-finding committee on past armament procurement programs (contracts signed by the PASOK governments) enjoyed wide acceptance, including among respondents who voted for PASOK in the March elections. Specifically 71 percent of all respondents were in favor of the establishment of the fact-finding committee, compared with 14 percent against, while among PASOK voters 54 percent were in favor compared with 29 percent against.
Prime minister Costas Karamanlis remained the "most qualified for prime minister", with 53 percent, against 25 percent of respondents who felt PASOK leader George Papandreou was better qualified.
To the question of who would win if general elections were to be held tomorrow, 69 percent of the respondents felt that ND would win, against 8 percent who believed that PASOK would win.
With respect to persona financial condition over the past 12 months, 41 percent of the respondents replied that their financial situation has remained stationary, 30 percent responded that it has deteriorated somewhat, 20 percent responded that it has deteriorated greatly, while only 2 percent responded that it has improved greatly and 8 percent responded that it has improved somewhat.
Finally, 84 percent of the respondents consider that the skyrocketing fuel prices had influenced their finances.
The opinion poll was conducted by telephone interviews nation-wide on November 1-2, with respondents aged 18 and over, on behalf of SKAI private radio station, using a structured questionnaire.
 Ruling ND secretary comments on presidential election
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy (ND) party secretary Evangelos Meimarakis on Sunday said that it was in the power of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party to avert general elections relating to the election, by parliament, of a president of the republic next March.
''The issue of general elections coming up because of the election of a president of the republic depends on PASOK,'' Meimarakis said in an interview with the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos. ND does not wish to see the issue of presidential election leading to general elections, adding that an over and above the parties presidential candidate would only be the one who would originate from any other party than the ND. Meimarakis did not exclude the possibility of an ''overstepping proposal''.
 Greece to offer 11,000 tons of wheat for the children of Egypt, Jordan and Ethiopia
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)The Greek foreign ministry, through Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, has approved the sum of 1,500,000 euros, for the purchase of 11,000 tons of wheat from the Agricultural Union of Rodopi, northern Greece, to be sent through the Church of Greece and the Patriarchate of Alexandria as food aid for the children of Egypt, Jordan and Ethiopia, it was announced from Kavala, northern Greece, on Saturday.
 PASOK president Papandreou's address to summit of Balkan socialist party leaders in Bucharest
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)"In the Balkans we have a very negative experience: the large number of interventions by the great powers not only through the centuries, but also in recent years, in one way or another, and for any reason that these interventions are made, it shows that we could not solve our problems by ourselves," main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou ascertained on Saturday, speaking at the summit of the leaders of the socialist and social-democratic parties of the Balkan countries which was held in Bucharest.
"We must work together to find a solution to our problems, we must find mutually acceptable solutions to these matters, whether it concerns Kosovo, Serbia-Montenegro, our relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the Cyprus issue or any other matter," Papandreou added.
Assessing that the new government of the United States "will want to put an end to the issue of the Balkans as soon as possible," he reiterated that "this must not be done through unilateral moves."
"We must pass a message to the international community that it too must care about its actions and how it will face this region, caring about working on a multi-sided level," he noted. "The European Union must also participate all the more in the region, to assume its responsibilities," the PASOK president added.
Furthermore, he called for continuous work in order for the Balkans to remain a region of top priority for the European Union from an economic and political point of view.
Concluding, he said that the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the European Union will further contribute to stability in the region.
 Women's association honors Parliament President and Education Minister
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)The Euro-American Association of Women of Greece honored Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki and Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou at a special event in Athens on Sunday night.
At the end of the event, Yiannakou, referring to the name issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), said:» Greece and Hellenism in its centuries-long history have been upset by decisions of friends and allies but this however does not distance them neither changes strategy, but on the contrary strengthens the unity of the nation and of Hellenism. This is what is positive."
On her part, Psarouda-Benaki described the decision by the United States to recognize FYROM with its constitutional name of "Republic of Macedonia" as "wrong and unhistorical" and expressed the hope that this decision is "an isolated move."
 Small businesses in the regions to receive economic support
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)A joint ministerial decision signed by Internal Affairs, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and National Economy and Finance Minister
George Alagoskoufis aims at strengthening the investments of small private businesses, as well as businesses of local government organizations, through the procurement and installation of informatics equipment.
This decision, which is incorporated within the framework of the business programs for the "Society of Information," provides for economic subsidies to small enterprises throughout the country's regions and to their access to the Society of Information.
The subsidy of the small enterprises in the countryside amounts to 14,500,820 euros. The amount of supporting each small enterprise cannot be in excess of 10,000 euros.
 Tourism minister inaugurates 26th Athens International Maritime Salon
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)The Tourism Ministry, in cooperation with the Merchant Marine Ministry is preparing a new legislative framework for the development of alternative forms of tourism, amongst them sea tourism.
This was noted by Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos when he inaugurated on Saturday the 26th Athens International Maritime Salon at the Hellenikon complex.
The minister said the government intends to strengthen tourism activity, through the granting of a secure legislative framework and the offering of incentives for the encouragement of alternative forms of tourism.
"Our country must not be utilized for tourism for only three months a year," Avramopoulos stressed.
On exhibit are pleasure boats and equipment.
 Magnesia prefect reports drop in tourism during 2004
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)Magnesia Prefect Yiannis Printzos on Saturday reported a sharp decline in tourist arrivals and occupancy rates in Magnesia prefecture during 2004, despite the fact that Magnesia had been one of the Olympic cities, during a press conference held at the 20th Philoxenia tourism exhibition in Thessaloniki.
According to Printzos, tourist arrivals had dropped 12 per cent in comparison to the previous year and overnight stays by 20 per cent. He expressed hope that the downward trend will be reversed in 2005 as a result of new tourism infrastructure that is currently ready or under construction and a campaign to promote the area's tourist product.
 General News 22nd Athens Classic Marathon race overshadowed by death of Greek runner
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)The 22nd Athens Classic Marathon race on Sunday was overshadowed by the death of one of the participants.
A 42-year-old Greek runner died of heart failure at the 9th kilometer of the route, at Nea Makri.
Taking part in the marathon were a considerable number of foreigners and Greeks of all ages.
The winner in the men's race was Kenya's Frederick Cherono who crossed the finishing line with a time of 2 hours 15:28. He was followed by fellow-countrymen Barnabas Ruto and Christopher Kosgei. In the women's race Ethiopia's Sinak Alemu came first in a time of 2 hours 41:11. Fellow-countrywoman Areba Hiruet took second place while Russia's Svetlana Ponomarenko finished third.
 Journalist Lefteris Gyras dies of heart attack
Athens 8/11/2004 (ANA)Journalist Lefteris Gyras, until recently editor-in-chief of the Greek newspaper "Apofasi", died unexpectedly of a heart attack on Friday night.
Born in Athens in 1954, Gyras began his career working for the newspaper "Kathimerini" in 1974 and the state television network ERT. Since that time, he has worked on the Athens dailies "Proini", "Eleftherotypia" and as chief editor for "Vradyni", as well as for state radio and television.
He is survived by his wife Liza and their two children.
The Athens journalists' union ESHEA, Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party and the main opposition PASOK party have all issued announcements expressing their condolences to the family for their bereavement.
The funeral will take place at 3 p.m. on Monday at the Voula cemetery.
 Cyprus to evaluate at the right moment decision on Turkey, says President
NICOSIA 8/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said the government will evaluate at the right moment everything that has been said about setting a date for Turkey to start accession negotiations with the European Union.
He told participants during the sixth Pancyprian Meeting of the Ecologists-Environmentalists Movement that during the course of negotiations, Turkey will be obliged to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, thus withdrawing its occupation troops from the island.
President Papadopoulos was invited to comment on statements made during Sunday's meeting that if Turkey is granted a date to start accession negotiations with the EU, this would constitute recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey and Turkey would withdraw its occupation forces from the island.
He replied, ''this is a view supported by a number of heads of states and governments'', noting he has discussed the issue with them.
''It is one of the issues which we must evaluate, with due seriousness when the time comes for us to take a decision'', the Cypriot president stressed.
Asked if the government will work towards securing the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops before 17 December when the European Council will convene to decide on the Turkish application, President
Papadopoulos said ''we will work for this as fervently as we can''.
''And I believe that this is Turkey's obligation towards the EU and Cyprus'', he added.
Invited to comment on Turkey's efforts to secure more advantages following the 'yes' vote of the Turkish Cypriots in April's referendum on a UN peace plan for a Cyprus settlement, President Papadopoulos said that the final Annan Plan satisfied most of Turkey's demands.
''Therefore, I cannot perceive why Turkey should get more advantages for something which it accepted because it served its fundamental demands'', the Cypriot President added.
He explained the reasons why the Greek Cypriot side rejected the Annan Plan and called on everyone to show the necessary respect for the decision, adding that by rejecting the Annan Plan, Greek Cypriots did not reject a Cyprus solution or the island's reunification.
President Papadopoulos further said the policy and procedures, which Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership follow, are responsible for the ''economic isolation'' of the Turkish Cypriot side and not the government of the Republic of Cyprus.
Furthermore, President Papadopoulos stressed that ''Turkey's policy does not provide for the economic strengthening of the Turkish Cypriots or elevating their standard of living; instead it serves political expediencies''.
The president underlined that Turkey aspires to upgrade the status of the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied north, turning it into ''a separate legal entity, which will have all the characteristics of a separate state, except diplomatic recognition which, in any case, it is impossible to gain''.
''If Turkey was really interested in the Turkish Cypriots' financial position it would have pursued the genuine reunification of Cyprus and the economic integration of both communities leading to the implementation of the Green Line Regulation, as agreed by the Cyprus Government and the European Union'', President Papadopoulos added.