|Friday, 23 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-11-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 15, 2004
 PM Karamanlis sets priority on a united Cyprus
NICOSIA 15/11/2004 (ANA / A.Panagopoulos, CNA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Saturday that the unification of Cyprus remained a top priority.
''Our vision is to see a united and free Republic of Cyprus, which will not be a harbor of tension and friction but a factor for peace and stability and a bridge of cooperation for the entire region,'' Karamanlis told the Cypriot House of Representatives during a two-day visit. "My position remains that national issues require national understanding, unity and accord.''
Efforts for a Cyprus settlement within the UN framework would continue, and Cyprus' accession to the EU should act as a catalyst for a functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, the premier said. ''This is the will of all Greek Cypriots and the majority of Turkish Cypriots and the Cyprus political leadership.''
The Greek and Greek Cypriot political leadership remained committed to seeking a Cyprus settlement within the framework of the Annan Plan, based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation, Karamanlis noted.
"Cyprus' accession to the EU is a historic milestone, because it has created new conditions of security, development, welfare, and new conditions to achieve a functional and viable solution,'' Karamanlis noted. «Accession should become the starting point to effectively unite Cyprus so that all its residents, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, may move towards a better tomorrow.''
The premier said Greece favored Turkey's European aspirations, because a European Turkey could act to everyone's advantage; however Turkey's move towards the EU depended on the country itself, its efforts to harmonize with EU constitutional and political law, its internal situation and external policy, as well as its attitude towards the Republic of Cyprus.
House of Representatives Speaker Dimitris Christofias told parliament that regular contact between the two countries' governments and parliaments underlined the importance of ties; and that the Greek premier's presence in Cyprus a few months after assuming office bore testimony to the undivided solidarity expressed towards the Cypriot people's continuing struggle.
"Cyprus is reciprocating this support and solidarity with the same generosity at a time of need for Greece, too, in this difficult era, an era, in which the so-called new world order has overturned established balances and has been causing turbulence on the international scene, in particular in areas that have always been a source of concern for security and stability, and which lie very close to our two countries, '' the House president said.
He also underlined that after a referendum held on 24 April, efforts were not abandoned to arrive at a solution of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation.
''The majority of Greek Cypriots did not reject the solution. They rejected this particular proposal, for the reasons we have repeatedly explained since last April. The way ahead is still open, both because our will is there and the elements are there, which encourage our side to work hard, making the most out of Cyprus' accession to the European Union and Turkey's European prospects,'' Christofias said.
He added that he hoped member countries of the European Union would assist in the endeavor by conveying the right message to Ankara - the wish to see Turkey become a European country, respecting common values and principles, and recognizing its partners-to-be without discrimination.''
Earlier in the day, Karamanlis visited the graves of Cypriots who fought against British colonial rule in the 1950s.
The Greek Premier also met the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons and Undeclared Prisoners of war and attended a reception hosted in his honor by Greece's ambassador to Cyprus, Christos Panagopoulos, before leaving the island shortly after.
Guests at the reception included Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and the House speaker.
 PM Karamanlis seeks national consensus at anti-dictatorship commemoration
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday sought national consensus over foreign policy and the education sector.
An accumulation of economic, social and national issues after Greece's 1967-1974 military dictatorship had to be tackled, Karamanlis told a commemoration held by the ruling New Democracy (ND) party's youth movement for the Polytechnic uprising against the junta on November 17, 1973.
Required were transparently in public life, administration, state business, and the media, he said.
"This is the demand that will determine our strategic option with rules to be applied by all, rules of fair competition that will not allow vested interests to try and manipulate public opinion and society, so that they cannot intervene in politics, and cannot affect political decisions on any level and in any sphere of public life," the prime minister underlined.
Invited to address the same commemoration was the leader of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology, Nikos Constantopoulos, who rejected criticism of his attendance of the ND event.
"Found in the junta's prisons, driven into exile, and tried in military courts were left wingers, centrists and right wingers. The Polytechnic uprising cut across divisions," Constantopoulos said.
The representative for the main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement, Stephanos Tzoumakas, told the commemoration that he had been imprisoned with Evangelos Averof, a former ND premier; that students who were later to become ministers had taken part in occupation of the Athens University law school; and that Karamanlis himself was at the Polytechnic uprising.
Speaking for the Communist Party of Greece, Stratis Korakis said that democracy had been restored but in its bourgeois form, and changes that the country needed had not been introduced.
 Greece, Turkey would benefit from cooperation, gov't says
ISTANBUL 15/11/2004 (ANA/A Kourkoulas)Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos said on Saturday that friendship and cooperation between Greece and Turkey would benefit all, especially the younger generation.
Speaking after a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, Mihaloliakos told reporters that he was repeating Greece's proposal for peace and friendship for all countries, especially neighboring Turkey.
 Greece: SE Europe countries must seek stability to approach EU, NATOVENICE (ANA/P.Dimitropoulos)
Greece said on Saturday that a number of southeast European countries must seek stability and cooperation if they want to forge closer ties with the European Union and NATO.
Vassilis Manginas, head of the Greek representation at NATO, told a meeting of the Alliance in Venice that ill-judged, unilateral moves that encouraged intransigence could have an impact on drives by the EU and NATO to achieve stability, peace and progress in the region.
 Opposition leader blasts gov't over US recognition of FYROM
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)The leader of the main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), George Papandreou, on Sunday sharply criticized the government over its foreign policy, which he said had led to US recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as "Republic of Macedonia".
"This was the result of a loss of prestige, and to the fact that the government was caught unprepared or unable to anticipate moves on an international level," Papandreou told a national party meeting in the northern town of Alexandroupoli.
"Recognition (of FYROM) was a slap in the face for Greece that resulted from a lack of government strategy," he said.
Commenting on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' visit to Cyprus at the weekend, Papandreou complained that the government had belatedly discovered the correctness of PASOK's foreign policy and its Helsinki component.
"The (ruling) New Democracy party had failed to understand the course of events that began with the Helsiniki decision. Now they are beginning to understand, but planning, courage and initiatives are needed," he said.
"This is not foreign policy. It is yet another postponement of implementation of foreign policy by Mr. Karamanlis' government," the PASOK leader added.
Gov't says main opposition lacking in policy, politicians: Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Sunday that the main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) was lacking in policy proposals and creditable politicians.
The spokesman was commenting on statements earlier in the day by Papandreou to a national PASOK meeting in Alexandroupoli in which he attacked the government on its foreign and domestic policies.
 Main opposition asks gov't to prepare for EU meeting on Turkey
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)The main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Saturday called on the government to prepare its strategy for a European Union meeting on December 17 on Turkey's bid for membership of the bloc.
The strategy was needed for issues including a binding framework for ties between the EU and Turkey that the meeting will set; recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Ankara; and a roadmap for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the divided island, PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said in a statement.
Needed was action on a diplomatic level, Athanassakis added.
 PASOK leader launches party congress preparations
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)Main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou on Sunday launched preparations for the party's national congress due early next year.
Addressing a national party meeting in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, on economic and social growth, Papandreou referred to the ''need for radical changes'' within the movement, declaring his readiness to proceed with these changes.
Referring to domestic policies, the PASOK leader said his party wanted Greece in the avant-garde so that Greeks felt safe, adding that this would be achieved by implementing a new growth plan comprising a simpler, fairer and more transparent tax system, support for businesses, policies of cutting down unemployment, lowering the public debt and upgrading the social state.
 Opinion Poll: Ruling party 5.9 points ahead of main opposition
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)The ruling New Democracy (ND) party came top in voter preference with a lead of 5.9 percentage points over the main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in an opinion poll published on Sunday.
Of voters polled, 37.7% said they would vote for ND in a national election, followed by 31.8% for PASOK, 6.7% for the Communist Party of Greece, 3.2% for the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology, and 3.2% for LAOS.
Tipped to win elections was ND according to 62.9% of respondents, followed by PASOK (12.8%).
Satisfied with Costas Karamanlis' performance as prime minister were 41.6% of people polled, with 25.1% pleased with George Papandreou's performance as main opposition leader.
Expressing satisfaction with the government's performance were 33.9% of respondents, followed by 22.4% for PASOK.
Asked who would be best for the position of president of the republic, 18.2% opted for ex-premier Costas Simitis under PASOK; 11.9% for Nikos Constantopoulos, leader of the Coalition; and 5.4% for the honorary president of ND, Constantine Mitsotakis.
The opinion poll was conducted by Alco for the Sunday Typos newspaper.
 Senior Coalition party officials seek unity congress
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)Senior members of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology on Sunday called for an organizational party congress.
The five central committee members said in a joint statement that the party also needed a written statement of its positions, which they said they believed party members would welcome.
 Farmers hold protest rally, seeking a better market
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)Farmers rallied in the agricultural town of Trikala at the weekend, seeking prices that would cover production costs for their goods.
Speakers at the rally on Saturday said the government was responsible for ensuring the purchase of produce, and should provide support for small- and medium-sized enterprises in the sector.
 Flights cancelled due to gale-force winds over Aegean
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)Olympic Airlines said on Sunday that flights to Syros, Paros and Kythira had been cancelled due to gale-force winds over the Aegean Sea and landing problems at island airports.
Other flights had not been affected, the airline said in a statement.
 Power cut in Thessaloniki
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)A power outage that has left the northern port city of Thessaloniki without electricity since early afternoon on Saturday will take several hours to fix, a regional executive of the Public Power Corporation told the Athens News Agency.
Causing the power cut was a fault at the Saint Dimitrios electricity sub-station, the executive said.
 Anniversary of unification of Samos with Greece
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)The eastern Aegean island of Samos on Sunday celebrated the 92nd anniversary of its unification with Greece.
"We must strongly recollect the contribution of those who died," Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis told islanders.
"We should seek to vindicate the struggle they waged, and, especially today, to deal with whatever emerges and whatever is troubling our people," Pavlidis said.
 Ship containing illegal immigrants anchored in gale force winds
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)A ship containing around 120 illegal immigrants was anchored off the south western Peloponnese on Sunday amid gale-force winds, the merchant marine ministry said.
Nearby were a Greek navy frigate and other vessels on standby to offer assistance if required, the ministry said in a statement.
The 45-metre ship located 100 nautical miles west of Pylos in international waters had traveled from Turkey; authorities quoted a passenger on board as saying by telephone.
 Terrorist hunger-striker to hospital in critical condition
Athens 15/11/2004 (ANA)The jailed leader of the November 17 terrorist group, Alexandros Yiotopoulos, was admitted to hospital in critical condition on Sunday due to effects of a month-long hunger strike.
Yiotopoulos was transferred from the Korydallos Prison medical centre to the Nikea General State Hospital near Piraeus, authorities said.
 Cyprus pledges to continue solidarity with Palestinian people
NICOSIA 15/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias signed the book of condolences opened for the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Saturday, paying tribute to the man who struggled to make the dream of an independent Palestinian state a reality.
President Papadopoulos told reporters that "on behalf of the people of Cyprus, the government and me personally, we express our deep sorrow over the death of the leader of the Palestinian people, Yasser Arafat, and we hope that the Palestinian people will find in the memory of Arafat the symbol to continue the struggle for justification of their noble cause."
Christofias wrote, "We bow before the splendor of the struggle of the great rebel, Yasser Arafat, the fighter in making real the grand vision of freedom of his people and founding an independent, sovereign Palestinian state."