|Saturday, 17 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-11-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 9, 2004
 Premier Karamanlis promises dialogue with opposition on FYROM issue
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking during an off-the-agenda debate on education in Parliament on Monday evening, emphasized the need for a national dialogue in formulating positions regarding foreign policy. Referring to the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) issue and the US unilateral decision last week to recognize its constitutional name "Republic of Macedonia", Karamanlis promised dialogue and keeping political forces up to date "every step of the way." The prime minister also noted that level-headedness and seriousness must prevail in order to achieve "the best possible result."
Karamanlis also announced that Parliament will have the chance to deal with the FYROM issue in-depth on Wednesday, when Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis will brief members of the foreign and defense committee. On Thursday, the foreign minister will meet separately with opposition political party leaders to brief them, but also to receive their input.
"The US decision to recognize Skopje's constitutional name was wrong and unacceptable," main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) President George Papandreou said during the same session.
He also accused the New Democracy government of oscillating between "tension and resignation", something the PASOK president said he had predicted. "In the Balkans, everyone would ask us before taking any initiative; Greece had a certain stature as an element of security highlighted by the PASOK governments," he continued.
According to Papandreou, today "there is an abandonment of major issues such as Helsinki and a lack of clear strategy, something which is also evident by the diplomats who are anxiously awaiting our country's position ahead of December."
Within this context, Papandreou requested an off-the-agenda debate regarding the formulation of a national strategy on the FYROM issue, and the convening of a political leader council under the presidency of Kostis Stephanopoulos, President of the Republic.
Aleka Papariga, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) presented her party's views on the issue, emphasizing that the US decision "does not concern the name, but their broader plans in the Balkans." She called on the government to present its evaluation of the US's objectives in the Balkans and to what extent their latest move falls within the broader context of the US's confrontation with the EU.
Finally, she stressed that it was an opportunity for the government to clarify its position regarding the treaties of Helsinki and Madrid, which according to Papariga, were 'black chapters' during PASOK's governance.
Nikos Constantopoulos, President of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party, termed the US initiative "negative and dangerous." The SYN president blamed the government and the main opposition PASOK party for this negative development, which he said, cannot be dealt with by means of political and party tensions, or with nationalist rhetoric.
Constantopoulos said that the US views the Balkans and east Europe as a field of competition with the EU. He predicted that this confrontation will influence every country's strategy.
He urged for a realistic and at the same time beneficial solution for Greece, emphasizing that "FYROM's stabilization is of enormous significance to the entire region. Greece is not threatened by FYROM but by a destabilization of the region, a change of borders and hysterical nationalism in the region."
Gov't defends its handling of foreign policy issues vis-à-vis Cyprus, FYROM: Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Monday stressed that the government had already accelerated the process of finding a solution to the dispute over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) through the United Nations - in a way that previous PASOK governments had failed to do - while noting statements by U.N. special representative Matthew Nimetz that Washington's recognition of FYROM as "Republic of Macedonia" last week "in no way affected the process currently in progress".
The spokesman also responded to criticism from main opposition PASOK that the government had 'lied' and attempted to mislead the public by presenting inaccurate information on the issue, with Roussopoulos pointing out that he had acknowledged and corrected the inaccuracies during his press briefing last Thursday and stressing that PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, who had also presented inaccurate information in his own statements, had not done the same.
He said that 67 countries had so far recognized FYROM as the 'Republic of Macedonia', 53 of them while PASOK was in government, while another 15 countries had not yet recognized FYROM with its constitutional name but used it in their bilateral dealings with Skopje.
The spokesman also underlined that the government was not seeking a confrontation between ruling New Democracy and PASOK but the best possible solution, while stressing that the issue was currently going through a very delicate stage in negotiations.
He refused to answer questions on what the government considered "a mutually acceptable" solution to the name issue but noted that a new meeting of the political party leaders might well be called if the negotiations under U.N. envoy Matthew Nimetz settled on an approach that was different from that agreed at the last meeting of the party leaders.
The spokesman then referred to the two meetings that had already taken place between Nimetz and Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valynakis, as well as the meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and his FYROM counterpart Ilinka Mitreva and a working visit by Molyviatis to Skopje.
Greece objects to the use of the name 'Macedonia' by its northern neighbor, saying it is historically misleading and that it conceals desires on the northern Greek province of the same name, which shares a border with FYROM.
In response to other questions, meanwhile, Roussopoulos ruled out the prospects of a similar unilateral action by Washington with respect to the Cyprus issue - namely, recognition for the illegal Turkish-Cypriot regime in the north of the island - stressing that the international community recognized only the Cyprus Republic.
He also denied that the government was having second thoughts about a scheduled visit by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to Cyprus.
According to the Cypriot government, Karamanlis is due to arrive on Friday afternoon at Larnaca Airport accompanied by Molyviatis, Valynakis and ministry officials, where he will be received by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
Talks between the Cyprus government and the Greek delegation will take place on Friday evening, followed by an official dinner in honor of Karamanlis on Friday night. During the visit, the Greek premier is also scheduled to address the Cyprus House of Representatives, have meetings with the Cypriot political parties and members of the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus before departing for Athens on Saturday afternoon.
PM Karamanlis discusses handling of FYROM issue with FM Molyviatis: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday discussed the Greek government's handling of the FYROM issue with foreign minister Petros Molyviatis.
After the meeting, Molyviatis said he and the premier had discusses foreign policy matters and the FYROM issue, following the US' decision last week to recognize FYROM with its disputed constitutional name of 'Republic of Macedonia'.
PASOK spokesman accuses gov't of 'insisting on lies' regarding FYROM's name: Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis commented again on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) issue - whereby the US unilaterally recognized the country's constitutional name "Republic of Macedonia" - on occasion of comments made by Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Monday.
Athanassakis accused Roussopoulos of insisting on the "false" statements made last week and urged Roussopoulos "to apologize to PASOK's President immediately for insulting him with lies." He also said that Russia, China and the US recognized the name during New Democracy's tenure in the early '90s.
Finally, Athanassakis stressed that while the main opposition party criticized the government it also called for "consensus and communication" from the very first moment, "so that today we can formulate the positions that serve national interests," something which "an insistence on lies" does not accomplish, according to Athanassakis.
 Cypriot FM: Cyprus standing by Greece as regards FYROM issue
NICOSIA 9/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus is standing by the Greek people, government and politicians, Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou has said asked how he was handling the issue of the recognition of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia by the US as ''Republic of Macedonia''.
''The EU has in a binding way said that the situation remains as it has been so far, that is no recognition of any state with the name 'Republic of Macedonia'," the minister said.
He added that Cyprus would continue to support Greek positions regarding this issue.
 Boucher on referendum in FYROM
WASHINGTON 9/11/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis)The satisfaction of the United States on the in essence acceptance of the Ochrid Agreement which the rejection of Sunday's referendum in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) marks, was expressed on Monday by U.S. State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher who called on the people and parties of FYROM to respect the result and to secure with their behavior FYROM's course towards the European Union and NATO.
Boucher expressed his respect of Greek-American Senator Paul Sarbanes who strongly reacted to the decision by the government of President George W. Bush to recognize FYROM with its constitutional name "Republic of Macedonia", noting that the State Department understands Sarbanes' sensitivity on the specific issue, but continues to believe that it acted correctly.
 PM Karamanlis addresses Parliament on education, supports new long term educational system
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing Parliament in an off-the-agenda debate on education on Monday, expressed support for national understanding and "wide rallying" with parties and the educational community for a new long-term educational system.
Karamanlis focused primarily on the need for shaping a legal framework enabling the establishment of universities which shall not be state-run, the admission system for universities, the founding of an international university in Thessaloniki and the evaluation of education.
"Shall we shape the legal framework for the founding and functioning, in the framework of the constitution and under the supervision of the state, universities which shall not be run by the state and which will be non-profit making, or shall we allow situations to prevail which create the risk of another field of anarchy, as was the case with the radio and television one?" he said and called on the parties to ponder whether "we shall shape a clear legal framework, which will determine today what will be coming tomorrow, instead of seeking tomorrow how to arrange pending issues which we will have left today."
The prime minister said that "education, at every level and from whatever agency it is provided, can only be subject to the system of certification, control and evaluation which applies for public education."
Karamanlis further said that a bill has already been prepared for the establishment of a public international university in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, which will primarily accept students from Balkan, Mediterranean and EU countries.
He placed particular emphasis on safeguarding the quality of education, saying that what is urgent is the enactment of a national assessment agency for third stage education.
Karamanlis went on to say that the government has "full responsibility for everything and we are not seeking to transfer our responsibilities anywhere else", adding that "the biggest absolute increases in state expenditures in the new budget are provided for employment and education."
Opposition party leaders address off-the-agenda parliamentary debate on education:
Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, addressing the Greek Parliament on Monday night during an off-the-agenda debate on the Greek educational system, said that universities should be completely autonomous and the state should only regulate the way of their financing.
On the dilemma between private and state education, Papandreou described it as "a joke", observing that "the issue is not where the students are studying, but whether the public interest is served, and this is served if we check the quality of the studies." On the other hand, however, he clarified that this position does not mean a downgrading of state education which concerns the majority of Greek youth.
Among the proposals he put forward included for the state to only determine the general principles and objectives in primary and secondary schools, for schools to be assessed in order for them to be improved where problems exist, for the all-day school "to be an object of development by the local community and the open school, a school of the same neighborhood which will again give life to the neighborhood," for the examinations system to change and for students to be able to choose the university they want to go to.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga termed the debate as a starting point of the dialogue on the right to education, which she said was the obligation of the state. She stood in favor of a 12-years compulsory education and radically rejected a model which renders education an S.A.
She criticized Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for the frameworks which he set with regard the social dialogue on education, describing them as reactionary, given that they move in accordance with the Bologna and Lisbon decisions.
Papariga also described the model which Papandreou proposed for universities as "the most extreme, reactionary and neo-liberal model we know."
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos proposed the start of an immediate dialogue between the relevant bodies and the political forces for the shaping of a modern institutional framework for all levels of education. The main axis of the reform should be a unified 12-years compulsory education and pre-school education, and an upgrading of education for all, without discrimination and exclusions.
Education minister: Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou appealed to all the political parties which participated in the debate so that "through dialogue for us to invest in education for a 20-year period."
Yiannakou noted that the viewpoints of the party leaders show that there are common evaluations on the situation in education which could constitute a basis of a national dialogue, which could take place either through Parliament's educational affairs committee or though the National Education Council which already exists as an institution even though until now it has never been put into operation.
 PM Karamanlis confers with ministers on tax bill, development law, public works bill
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Prime minister Costas Karamanlis conferred on Monday with national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis, development minister Dimitris Sioufas, and environment, town planning and public works minister George Souflias in view of the unveiling of the government's new tax bill and development law, as well as a public works ministry omnibus bill on public works studies that is due to be discussed by the Inner Cabinet on Tuesday.
According to information, the tax bill will be unveiled by Alogoskoufis on Wednesday, while ministry sources said it had not yet been decided whether the indirect taxation regime on cigarettes would be changed.
The environment, town planning and public works ministry's bill on public works studies will be codified, amending legislation so that henceforth all public works, and particularly those incorporated into the Fourth Community Support Framework (CSF) will be accompanied by comprehensive studies, aimed at avoiding overshooting of their budgets, sources said. The bill further separates the cost of the study from the cost of the project, while it also introduces financial criteria for the approval of a study.
 Foreign minister seeks meetings with political party leaders next Thursday
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Greek foreign minister Petros Molyviatis has asked to have successive meetings with the leaders of the political parties in Parliament next Thursday.
He will begin by meeting main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou at 12:30 at the party's offices on Harilaou Trikoupi street, followed by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga at 11:00 at the KKE offices in Perissos.
The last meeting will be at 13:30 with the head of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology Nikos Constantopoulos at the Coalition party's headquarters on Koumoundourou Square.
 Cypriot House President to hold official visit to Greece
NICOSIA 9/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias flies to Athens on Tuesday for an official visit, at the invitation of Greek Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki.
During the visit, in return of a visit to Cyprus by Psarouda-Benaki last June, Christofias will be received by President Kostis Stephanopoulos and will meet with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Psarouda-Benaki, and main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George
Papandreou, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos.
Christofias and Benaki will also sign a cooperation protocol.
The House President will be accompanied on his trip by House Director General Costakis Christoforou, Director of the House President's Office Vassos Georgiou, and Deputy Director of the International Relations Service Socratis Socratous.
 Gov't spokesman Roussopoulos on Greek-Turkish issues
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)"The prime minister met recently with his Turkish counterpart and in the very brief meeting they had, he raised the matter of the violations" by Turkey of Greece's national air space and territorial waters, Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Monday in reply to reporters' questions on the possibility of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis communicating with the neighboring country's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan due to the Turkish actions in the Aegean.
 Turkish warplanes violate Greek national air space
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Turkish warplanes violated Greek national air space again on Monday, on the day of the Greek air force's patron saint.
According to press reports, five formations of Turkish warplanes flew over the Aegean without submitting flight plans and in seven cases they violated national air space in the region of the northern and central Aegean.
In all cases the 12 Turkish aircraft were recognized and intercepted by Greek air force jets, while in one case the interception process developed into a mock dogfight.
Two of the aircraft were armed.
Commenting on the violation of Greek national air space by the Turkish air force on a daily basis, Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos said "it is a situation for which the government, through the foreign ministry, is taking all necessary measures and very close monitoring is taking place through the defense ministry and, of course, the air force is intercepting all traces which are violating national air space or infringing air traffic regulations."
Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos said Greece was handling Turkish provocations in the Aegean with calm, confidence and sobriety, adding that "we are continuing dialogue with Turkey, but we will not negotiate our territorial integrity and our national sovereignty."
 November agreement on Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline 'historically important', gov't says
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)A memorandum of cooperation for the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline that was signed between Greece, Bulgaria and Russia on November 5 in Zappion was described as "historically important" by government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Monday, since it will make Greece a significant factor in the world energy map.
The spokesman noted that the signing of the agreement concluded a process that had begun 10 years earlier, which had essentially stalled for the past three years, to be reactivated in June 2004 when Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas arranged the meeting at Zappion where the memorandum was initialed.
Roussopoulos said the oil pipeline will place Greece on the route for the transportation of oil from Russia and central Asia to Europe and the United States, while cooperation with Russia and Bulgaria will multiply overall economic and trade cooperation and promote the "common goal of regional development and geo-strategic cooperation".
The spokesman said the project will entail the construction of projects with an estimated cost of 354 million euros in 2001 prices, of which 125 million euros will be for projects on the Alexandroupolis coast. It is expected to generate a steady annual income of 30-35 million euros and to generate new jobs, both for its construction and its subsequent operation.
Cooperation memorandum on Alexandroupolis-Burgas pipeline to be signed in December: The memorandum of cooperation regarding the Alexandroupolis-Burgas oil pipeline project, which was initialed by the representatives of Greece, Bulgaria and Russia last week in Athens, will be signed in Sofia in December, according to statements made by Bulgaria's Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Valentin Tserovsky in Monday's financial daily "Pari."
Tserovsky said that the construction companies to become involved in the project, as well as the companies which will operate the pipeline, will be selected through an international tender.
 PASOK spokesman accuses gov't of 'appropriating' Alexandroupolis-Burgas pipeline project
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Nikos Athanassakis, spokesman for the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party, accused the government on Monday of taking credit for progress made regarding the Alexandroupolis-Burgas oil pipeline project. Athanassakis also termed Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos' earlier statement that contact between the three countries involved in the project - Bulgaria, Russia and Greece - had stalled as being a "lie".
Athanassakis said that the previous PASOK governments had methodically worked on the project and emphasized that "of course the government thinks that no one remembers anything in this country. The agreement which was initialed a few days ago, and which was an important event, is essentially the agreement of February 2002, which had been initialed in Moscow."
The PASOK spokesman added that: "It's another lie, another move in an effort to appropriate a project, which reached a certain point, and which the New Democracy government appropriately handled, and has now reached a point of completion." Athanassakis accused the government of following a "propaganda rationale" whereby anything unpleasant PASOK is blamed for, while if it's a positive "New Democracy is responsible."
 Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline to be inaugurated in early 2005
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)The Turkish BOTAS company will be ready in early 2005 for the inauguration of the Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline, according to a letter addressed by the company's general director Mehmet Bilgic to DEPA President R. Moisis.
The board of the BOTAS Company decided on September 29 to include more construction joint ventures in tendering for the part of the pipeline in Turkish territory.
New tendering was proclaimed in Turkey on October 12 for the construction of the project. According to the general director's letter, the contractor will be selected by the end of January 2005 and the inauguration of the project can take place immediately afterwards.
Arrangements to build the corresponding part in Greek territory has gone ahead at a normal pace and the contractor has already been selected.
Implementation of the project can begin within the time specifications which have been determined and both sides believe that the time limits for the utilization of the project to begin will not change.
 Development Minister says "Go Digital" program extended to 2006
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Monday said that the program "Go Digital", part of the Operational Program "Competitiveness", which so far has provided basic internet training to the employees of 16,500 SMEs, will be extended until 2006 so that other small and medium-sized businesses can take advantage of it.
Sioufas' comments came during a special event held by the Greek Research & Technology Network (GRNET), a company operating under the auspices of the ministry, to award those companies who took full advantage of the benefits offered by the "Go Digital" program.
Within the month of November, applications for the "Go Digital II" program will be accepted, in the hope of increasing the number of SMEs enrolling in the program to a total of 25,000.
"Government policy is well known and crystal clear: We believe that within the environment created by an intensely competitive worldwide economic reality, small and medium-sized enterprises constitute the backbone of the national economy and are the most significant factor in the development of innovation and the creation of new jobs. Within this context, we are obligated and determined to exhaust all available means (technological, financial and organizational) to actively encourage and support SMEs in modernizing their operations, so that they can drastically improve their competitiveness," Sioufas said.
 Tourism minister visits London, outlines Greek tourism policy
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Tourist Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos presented Greek tourism's development strategy over the next decade during the World Travel Market international tourist exhibition in London on Monday, at which Greece was the guest of honor.
Speaking at the exhibition's inauguration, Avramopoulos referred to new measures and policies being applied in the tourism sector in Greece and to the positive results which are already beginning to appear.
He reiterated that the utilization of benefits resulting from the successful holding of the Olympic Games is a top priority and stressed that the country's tourism product is being modernized and upgraded.
Avramopoulos repeated these positions in interviews with the CNN, CNBC, Travel Channel and Pedigree Media television channels, while also visiting the Greek pavillions organized under the auspices of the tourist development ministry and the Greek Tourist Organization (EOT).
On Tuesday, Avramopoulos will be addressing an event organized by the directorate of the Association of British Tourist Agents (ABTA) and will meet the heads of the biggest travel organizations in Britain which send large numbers of tourists to Greece.
 Deputy FM Stylianidis hosts luncheon for ambassadors to Athens of BSEC member-countries
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)On the occasion of Greece's assumption of the presidency of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) on November 1 for the following six-month period, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis hosted a luncheon at the foreign ministry on Monday for the 10 accredited ambassadors to Athens of BSEC's member-countries.
A foreign ministry announcement said that Stylianidis presented to the ambassadors the program and priorities of the Greek BSEC presidency and the role which Greece aims at playing as a bridge between the European Union and the Black Sea countries.
 FinMin, Athens Mayor discuss use of Olympic facilities
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni on Monday asked for government ministries, based in Athens, to pay municipal cleaning duties and proposed that the municipality took over the management of Olympic facilities in Goudi.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, Mrs. Bakoyianni said the meeting discussed ways to finance municipality program ahead of drafting next year's budget. The Athens Mayor said that several ministries, based in Athens, were not paying municipal cleaning duties.
Mr. Alogoskoufis said that the ministry has a very good cooperation with the mayor and that the meeting also discussed the use of Olympic facilities.
Finance minister comments on Olympic facilities' post-Games use: Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said that the post-Games use of most Olympic facilities will require modifications and new investments, during a speech he gave on Monday, introducing the book "I Poli ton Agonon" (The City of the Games), by journalist Tassos Telloglou.
Alogoskoufis said that the private sector must shoulder the cost of the necessary modifications and investments, which will also make use of the facilities, since the Greek taxpayers have already been burdened by more than 8 billion euros for the facilities' construction. According to the finance minister, the Olympic venues can contribute to the development of a new entertainment/leisure services sector, which will include sports, culture and tourism.
He referred to some Olympic facilities, saying that the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA) in Maroussi can only be used as a sports facility and can be used to host international sports events, while the installations at Helliniko and Faliro could be used for conference tourism and other leisure activities. Regarding the buildings that housed the Main Press and International Broadcasting Centers in Maroussi, Alogoskoufis said that they could be used by either the public or private sector.
 20th Philoxenia exhibit attracts greater number of visitors
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)The 20th Philoxenia Tourism Exhibit, held from November 4-7 in Thessaloniki, attracted a greater number of visitors in comparison with last year's event, according to its organizer Helexpo.
Specifically, 16,125 people visited the exhibit this year compared with 15,020 people in 2003, with foreign commercial visitors showing a marked increase of 140% (891 vs. 373). Foreign visitors came from 13 countries: Egypt, Belgium, Bulgaria, India, Israel, Italy, Cyprus, Great Britain, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro, Turkey, Tunisia and FYROM.
 Chinese commercial delegation to visit Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)A commercial delegation from China, organized by the state China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, will be visiting the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry on November 18.
During the visit, Chinese businessmen will have the opportunity to meet with their Greek counterparts. Chinese businessmen are interested in importing or serving as representatives in China of products, such as tourist souvenirs, cosmetics, health care products, construction materials, environment-friendly materials and paints and sporting goods. They are also interested in expanding real estate development related to tourism (buying, building or renting hotels), hotel and restaurant management, organizing international exhibits, etc.
 Spanish commercial delegation to visit Greece Nov. 22-24
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)A commercial delegation of Madrid's Chamber of Commerce and Industry is scheduled to visit Greece from November 22-24.
Companies visiting as part of the delegation are active in the following sectors: TV, digital photography, speakers, MP3 players, underwear, swimwear, fabrics and eyeglasses, among others.
 Stocks drop in profit-taking
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Stocks finished lower with players raking in their gains in profit-taking following eight straight rises, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 2,602.02 points, showing a decline of 1.28 percent. Turnover was 155.0 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.69 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.36 percent up; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.22 percent higher.
Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 145 to 136 with 79 remaining unchanged.
 Greek air force celebrates its patron saints day
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)The Greek air force celebrated the memory of its patron saints Michael and Gabriel on Monday.
The official celebration took place at the Dekelia air base in the presence of Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos and the armed forces' leadership.
Air Force General Staff chief Georgios Avlonitis referred in his address to the role and work of the air force in defending the independence and territorial integrity of the country.
Spiliotopoulos praised the high level of responsibility of Greek pilots with which they handle challenges on a daily basis. He said the air force is the shield and guarantee of citizens' defense and security interests.
Referring to the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the defense minister recommended calm, responsibility and national understanding, reminding that "whenever the Greeks were united they succeeded."
 President Stephanopoulos attends Lesvos liberation anniversary
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)President Kostis Stephanopoulos, attending events commemorating the 92nd anniversary of the liberation of the island of Lesvos from Ottoman rule, on Monday proposed the rewriting of history books.
"We must cleanse our history, possibly from certain exaggerations which we do not need today," he said.
Referring indirectly to the recent recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by the United States, President Stephanopoulos said "those who desire their upgrading must realize the obligations they have in order to be upgraded."
Shortly after President Stephanopoulos completed his address in the hotel where the island's authorities hosted a dinner in his honor, a power failure plunged the entire island into darkness for about 50 minutes.
 Concerts in London, Moscow, Odessa for Nikos Skalkottas' birth centennial
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)A series of concerts to be held in London, Odessa and Moscow have been organized over the next month by the Hellenic Foundation of Culture to celebrate the 100th anniversary since the birth of Greek composer Nikos Skalkottas, a little-understood composer of contemporary music that was once dubbed the "Mozart of our times" and whose work largely became known after his death.
The first concert will be held in London on November 11 at the South Bank Centre, Royal Festival Hall, where the "Orama Ensemble" will perform Skalkottas' '16 songs' and works by other Greek composers.
On November 15-16 there will be two concerts with performances of Skalkottas' work in Odessa, played by the Odessa National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hobart Earle at the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra's Concert Hall.
The centennial tribute will come to a close on December 4 at the Moscow Conservatoire, with a concert featuring works by Skalkottas, Igor Stravinsky and Dimitri Shostakovich performed by the Russian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, including five of Skalkottas' "Greek Dances", conducted by Moscow-based Greek conductor Theodoros Kourentzis.
 Greek military doctors visit Gjirokastr Military Hospital
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)In an effort to support the Gjirokastr Military Hospital in its medical and scientific work, a team of specialized Greek military doctors visited the hospital in Albania where they also conducted special examinations of patients, it was announced in Athens on Monday.
Specifically, during the visit, they examined 137 outpatients.
It must be noted that the patients, mainly Albanian soldiers, are completely satisfied with the medical care and treatment. The number of Albanian officers and members of their families which visit the hospital for medical tests is also relatively high.
The Greek military doctors ascertained that the hospital complex and equipment are in good condition.
 Hellenic Red Cross program for hosting children from former Yugoslavia
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)The Hellenic Red Cross will hold its 11th annual program of hosting children from the countries of former Yugoslavia over the Christmas-New Year holiday, it was announced on Monday.
The program continues for the 11th consecutive year, in cooperation with the Serbian Red Cross.
This year's hosting program will cover the period December 20, 2004 to January 4, 2005.
For more information or to declare participation, call the Hellenic Red Cross' International Relations division on 210-3621681 or 210-3615606
 Traffic police crack down on motorists, taxis illegally entering bus lanes
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)Traffic police in Athens on Monday handed out dozens of tickets to motorists and taxi drivers that illegally entered bus lanes in the city centre, despite protests from taxi drivers that object to the measure, saying it prevents them picking up passengers.
The officers had strict orders to crack down on offenders, while the fine for entering a bus lane is 83 euros. They will be assisted in the task of detecting those violating the traffic code by the special security cameras set up during the Athens Olympic Games and OASA tow trucks, which will remove the vehicles of drivers that are illegally parked.
 Int'l symposium in Copenhagen dedicated to Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis
COPENHAGEN 9/11/2004 (ANA)An international symposium dedicated to Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis was held at the Carlsberg Academy here on Saturday entitled "Tribute to Kazantzakis".
The symposium was organized by the Danish Institute in Athens, under the auspices of the Embassy of Greece in Copenhagen and with the support of Greece's foreign and culture ministries and of the clubs "Friends of Kazantzakis" and of the Greek-Danish cultural club "Melina".
The symposium included speeches by Greek and foreign academics, authors and journalists relating to the work of the Greek author, the projection of scenes from films based on his work, the reciting of excerpts from his novels and poems, as well as a concert with compositions of Manos Hatzidakis, Yiannis Constantinidis and Manolis Kalomiris which were performed by soprano Myrto Georgiadou and pianist Mari Ikeda.
 U.S. Embassy to be closed on Nov. 11 for Veterans Day
Athens 9/11/2004 (ANA)The United States Embassy in Athens, including the Consular Section, the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki and all U.S. government offices in Greece will be closed on Thursday, November 11, in observance of Veterans Day, a U.S. national holiday.
 Cypriot FM: No prospect for resumption of Cyprus negotiations
NICOSIA 9/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou said on Monday there is no prospect to resume Cyprus negotiations, taking into consideration the statements made both by Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot side.
Replying to questions, Iacovou said that ''Turkey is ruling out any dialogue with anyone to pursue a Cyprus settlement and it has stated this in an explicit and straightforward way.''
As regards the Turkish Cypriot side, he said that former ''prime minister'' Mehmet Ali Talat ''sometimes says that he is willing to meet to see with us what changes are needed or which we outline and sometimes says that the Annan plan is not negotiable.''
He added that what he is hearing is what Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul are saying.
''They do not even have an interest in resuming a discussion on Cyprus now and this is the reason why they are not even discussing any negotiation at this moment,'' the Cypriot minister added.
As regards Turkey's EU course, Iacovou reiterated the government's position that ''a European Turkey must emerge, fulfilling its obligations towards the EU and Cyprus.''
Asked if the Cypriot government is trying to link the Cyprus problem with Turkey's EU course, Iacovou said ''the Cyprus problem as a whole cannot be linked but there are some aspects that constitute violations of the Copenhagen criteria.''
Asked if, in the event Cyprus decides to veto Turkey receiving a date to commence EU accession negotiations in December, this will take place in consultation with Greece, the minister expressed doubt that any voting will take place as regards this issue, adding that the Presidency is the one to say whether there is unanimity or not.
''We will not get engaged in a negotiation with ourselves. The final decision will be taken after we take all facts into consideration on the night of December 17,'' he noted, adding that Cyprus' cooperation with Athens is an almost daily procedure.
 Spokesman explains proposal for Larnaca port
NICOSIA 9/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)A Cyprus government proposal for the use of the Larnaca port by Turkish Cypriot businessmen is parallel with and independent of another proposal by the government for the return of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta and the joint operation of the city's port, Government Spokesman Cyprus Chrysostomides said Monday.
He explained that the Larnaca port proposal was put forward to the European Union sometime in June and explained that it provides for the use of a separate quay, operated by Turkish Cypriots under the supervision of the European Union.
Responding to questions, he said there has been no announcement on the part of the Turkish Cypriots indicating a positive response to the proposal.
He said the proposal was put forward to facilitate the implementation of an EU regulation on all-island trade between the Greek and the Turkish Cypriot communities, the Green Line regulation.
''We believe it was necessary to have a separate quay for the Turkish Cypriots to make them feel certain that there is no attempt on the part of the government to interfere in their commercial activities,'' he added.
On the EU reaction to the proposal, the spokesman said the EU has communicated the proposal to the Turkish Cypriots and it is considering the ideas put forward.
A previous proposal relating to Famagusta provided for the joint operation of the city port by Greek and Turkish Cypriots and the return of the fenced area of the city, which has been inaccessible to its lawful residents, to the Greek Cypriots. Turkey, which occupies Cyprus' northern part since 1974, is responsible for the fenced area.
 Greek Prime Minister to pay official visit to Cyprus Friday
NICOSIA 9/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)Greek Premier Costas Karamanlis arrives in Cyprus on Friday for a two-day official visit, during which he will discuss a ''wide range of issues'', Government Spokesman Cyprus Chrysostomides said here Monday, adding that the visit is ''particularly important.''
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos will welcome his guest at the airport where both will make statements to the press before heading for Nicosia.
On arrival at the Presidential Palace, Karamanlis will lay a wreath at the statue of the late Archbishop Makarios III, the first President of the Republic, and then Papadopoulos and Karamanlis will have a private meeting before they are joined by their respective delegations.
Following these talks, Karamanlis will talk to the party leaders comprising the National Council, top advisory body to the president on the handling of the question of Cyprus, in the presence of Papadopoulos.
On Friday night, Papadopoulos will host an official dinner for his guest and his entourage, which will include Minister of Foreign Affairs Petros Molyviatis, his deputy Yiannis Valinakis and Government Spokesman Thodoris Rousopoulos, as well as other officials.
On Saturday morning, the Greek premier will visit the graves of Cypriots who fought against British colonial rule in the 1950s and later on he will meet House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias.
On the same morning he will address a special session of the House of Representatives and then will meet members of the Holy Synod, the church highest body.
At lunchtime, he will attend a reception hosted by Greek Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos and pay a brief visit to the Cyprus Archaeological Museum before leaving.
A special farewell ceremony will take place at Larnaca Airport on departure.
 Klosson: US interested in expanding Cyprus-US business ties
NICOSIA 9/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)In the year 2003 the US exported 327 million US dollars worth of goods to Cyprus, and in turn Cyprus exported 25 million US dollars worth of goods to the United States, US Ambassador in Nicosia Michael Klosson said on Monday.
Speaking at a seminar titled ''Doing business with the US'', Klosson also reassured that the US is very interested in expanding business ties between the United States and Cyprus.
''In 2003, according to US statistics, the US exported 327 million dollars worth of goods to Cyprus, making us Cyprus' eighth largest supplier of imports. In turn, Cyprus exported 25 million dollars worth of goods to the United States, making the US Cyprus' eighth largest export market,'' he said.
The US ambassador noted that Cyprus' EU accession provides both new challenges and new opportunities for the commercial relations of both countries.
He added that dozens of US companies are represented in Cyprus, and many Cypriot products, such as beverages and dairy products, have done remarkably well in the US in recent years.
''For instance, it is now possible to buy Haloumi (Cyprus' traditional cheese) in many US grocery stores,'' he said.
During the seminar, officials from the US Departments of Agriculture and Commerce gave the participants information on how to do business with the US.
The seminar was co-organized by the US Embassy in Nicosia and the Cyprus-American Business Association.
''We are glad to see these business relationships grow and flourish as they reinforce the strong economic bond between our two countries,'' Klosson said.