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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-11-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

November 20, 2004


  • [01] Premier says gov't works to create growth and investment environment
  • [02] Gov't: Failure of candidate state to recognize EU member-state 'politically absurd'
  • [03] Gov't on recent Bush letter concerning FYROM name
  • [04] PM addresses social partners, local administration officials during dinner in Ioannina
  • [05] DM to participate in EU General Affairs and Foreign Relations Council on November 22
  • [06] Turkish fighter jets infringe Athens flight information region, sources say
  • [07] Greek Navy takes delivery of frigate purchased from Dutch Navy
  • [08] Greece insists on position regarding ship-source pollution during EU Justice & Home Affairs council
  • [09] PASOK party spokesman says transparency on minority rights issues is foregone conclusion in country
  • [10] Gov't announces energy saving plans for 2005-06
  • [11] Greek current account deficit dropped 40.8 pct in Jan-Sept
  • [12] Evert says direct, indirect taxation sharply increased during Simitis governments
  • [13] First international convention conference held in Athens
  • [14] Chinese eye Greece as tourism venue, state official says
  • [15] New bourse head seeks credibility, revitalization
  • [16] Stocks drop in edgy trade
  • [17] Silver Olympian, artists and volunteers to be honored at special event in northern Greece
  • [18] Former Australian PM Frazer calls on New Zealand lawmakers to assist in efforts for Parthenon Marbles' return
  • [19] New book of illustrations seeks to record all remaining Parthenon Marbles
  • [20] Speakers at conference note rise in human-trafficking to Greece
  • [21] Parliament president reaffirms support for Eleftherios Venizelos research institute
  • [22] Seaman dies as Greek freighter sinks off Egina after ramming into reef
  • [23] President Papadopoulos: Cyprus Republic's recognition by Turkey is inevitable
  • [24] Cyprus believes cooperation with Turkey in common interest
  • [25] Turkish intention to lift minefields positive, Cyprus government says

  • [01] Premier says gov't works to create growth and investment environment

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    The Greek government is radically dealing with the causes of its fiscal problems, invests to the country's big comparative advantages, promotes reforms without any extreme moves and creates a new investment and development environment, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Friday.

    Addressing a symposium organized by the City University of London and the International Research Centre for Shipping, Commerce and Finance in Athens, Karamanlis presented the government's efforts to create the necessary political and economic environment to promote economic growth and business competitiveness.

    The Greek premier underlined that the government was definitely abandoning past policies, it was acknowledging fiscal problems and implemented an effective plan for the restructuring of the country's fiscal situation through a mild adjustment policy.

    "We create all preconditions for Greece to be a country of safety and confidence for all its citizens and both Greek and foreign investors," Karamanlis said.

    He noted that the government would make a first step towards strengthening the economy's productivity and competitiveness with the tabling of a new tax and drafting of a new development draft bill.

    The Greek prime minister stressed that a new development law's main goals, to be presented next week, was to promote technology, innovation, encouraging business activity, production of new high value added products, supporting regional convergence, improving competitiveness and boosting employment.

    Karamanlis said that the new law would also envisage state subsidies for interest payment, labor costs and tax cuts. The government was also drafting a new regulatory framework for licensing and operation of businesses along with measures to combat bureaucracy.

    The Greek government also planned an ambitious privatization program, aimed to raise around 1.6 billion euros in 2005, along with a series of strategic alliances, flotations, closer cooperation between the public and private sectors and full privatizations.

    Karamanlis said a deregulation in the country's energy market was a priority and said that the government was upgrading the role and powers of a Competition Commission, a Capital Markets' Commission and including the Athens Stock Exchange in a European markets' network.

    "Our main goal is for entrepreneurship to flourish, to strengthen the economy's outgoing trend and to attract foreign direct investments," Karamanlis noted.

    The Greek premier said one of the main comparative advantages of the country was its human capital and said that the government opted to invest in education, new technologies and to the new generation.

    "We seek to formulate a national and not just a government policy," he added.

    Another advantage is the country's equal participation in the EU and EMU, while he announced a government effort to review all business programs aimed to absorb money from a Third Community Support Framework program.

    The Greek government would promote an integrated, transparent and stable legal framework on co-funded and self-funded projects, Karamanlis said while he underlined that the government was opening new roads to the private sector.

    Greece's geopolitical position allowed the country to operate as an "investment hub" for European companies seeking to invest in Southeastern Europe, and as an entry gate of the Middle East and Asia to Europe.

    Karamanlis said the government would seek to further promote the port of Piraeus as an international shipping and financing centre, while he urged for international rules on shipping that would be decided by an international maritime organization. "Greece is participating in all major international organizations and the EU, promoting initiatives on realistic measures to prevent shipping accidents, safety from terrorist attacks, protecting the seamen profession and to further open sea trade," the Greek premier said.

    He added that the government was seeking to enrich the country's tourist product and underlined the advantage of the material and non-material heritage of the Athens Olympic Games.

    PM confers with economy, development ministers on new developmental law: Prime minister Costas Karamanlis conferred Friday with economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis and development minister Dimitris Sioufas on finalization of the country's new development law, which is to be unveiled next week.

    Alogoskoufis told reporters after the meeting that the new legislation would "give breath" to the Greek provinces and to all the branches of the Greek economy, in the framework of the government's policy on growth, employment and social cohesion.

    Sioufas, in turn, said the new development law was "robust and aggressive" so that it would be able to bring development everywhere and for everyone.

    Main opposition says gov't backtracking on pledges: The main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) said on Friday that the government had reneged on pledges it made before national elections in March.

    "The government has handcuffed the economy. This is the result of its parody of a fiscal audit, the aim of which was to ditch election promises and attack PASOK," party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said in a statement.

    He was commenting on statements on the economy earlier in the day by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] Gov't: Failure of candidate state to recognize EU member-state 'politically absurd'

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    The government on Friday again stressed that failure to recognize a European Union member-state by a potential member is politically and institutionally absurd.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros added that such a development "cannot stand" in Europe.

    The statement refers directly to Turkey's continuing refusal to recognize EU member Cyprus, even in the face of Ankara's long-coveted desire to begin accession negotiations leading to membership in the recently expanded bloc. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was the most recent high-ranking Turkish official to categorically rule out any recognition by Ankara.

    Turkey continues to occupy one-third of Cyprus' territory with military forces since it invaded the island republic in 1974.

    Additionally, Antonaros declined to unveil Athens' negotiation strategy ahead of next month's EU Summit, a crucial milestone for Turkey's European prospects.

    Finally, the spokesman confirmed that the Turkish government requested information over a recent incident in a northeast town (Ehinos) in the border province of Thrace. According to reports, members of a television crew from Athens were roughed up and threatened by a crowd of local Muslim men who mistakenly believed improper scenes were being shot in a mosque.

    Antonaros, nevertheless, said the incident was isolated and not politically motivated.

    The three-prefecture Thrace province in northeastern Greece hosts a Muslim minority, whereas the region includes the only land border between Greece and predominately Muslim Turkey.

    [03] Gov't on recent Bush letter concerning FYROM name

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    The government on Friday noted that a recent letter by US President George W. Bush to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis reinforces Athens' negotiating position vis-a-vis the thorny and outstanding "name issue" with the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said this view emanates from the fact that Washington -- via the Bush letter -- cites its support for a solution derived from negotiation. The US president also said Washington would recognize any name derived from a bilateral resolution to the difference.

    Moreover, in response to press questions, Antonaros emphasized that PM Karamanlis was not briefed on the possibility of a change in US policy concerning FYROM's name during his meeting with President Bush at the White House last May -- something claimed by a handful of opposition newspapers this week.

    Meanwhile, in a related development, Antonaros merely noted that actions are judged only when taken, a reference to a recent remark by the president of Albania hinting at the possible recognition of FYROM as "Republic of Macedonia" - a name vehemently opposed by Greece.

    Finally, the government spokesman reiterated that Greece believes the "name issue" should be resolved through an UN-mediated process leading to a mutually acceptable name.

    Ambassador Mallias holds talks with FYROM Liaison Office chief: The head of the political department of southeastern European countries A. Mallias held scheduled talks at the foreign ministry on Friday with the chief of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) Liaison Office in Athens Ambassador Handjiski.

    According to a foreign ministry announcement, the Greek side pointed out that the government of FYROM should show the necessary political will to speed up procedures for the finding of a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue.

    It was also added that the accession of FYROM to NATO and the European Union under the name of "Republic of Macedonia" is not possible and that the full normalization of relations between the two countries requires a solution to the name issue as a precondition.

    Handjiski conveyed a message from his government and President Crvenkovski that they desire the best possible relations with Greece, underlining the strategic character of relations between the two countries, whose development course should not be interrupted.

    Lastly, he said that on its part his country desires a continuation of talks in the framework of the UN.

    FM spokesman: "On occasion of yesterday's [Thursday's] comments that President of Albania, Mr. Moisiu, allegedly made, according to which Albania will follow the US in recognizing FYROM by its constitutional name, the Foreign Ministry's Secretary General, Ambassador Georgios Gennimatas has already communicated with the Ambassador of Albania Bashkim Zeneli, to whom he expressed the negative aspects of such an intention," Foreign Ministry Spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Friday in response to a related question. "At the same time, following instructions from the Foreign Ministry, our Ambassador in Tirana, Mr. P. Karkabassis will make a similar demarche," he added.

    According to an ANA dispatch from Tirana, Albanian Foreign Minister Kastriot Islami also referred to this issue during a press conference on Friday, saying "Albania will support and happily accept whatever decision and solution may result from the dialogue between the two countries within the context of UN negotiations."

    The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party on its part is demanding a briefing of what US President George Bush and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis discussed during their meeting in May regarding FYROM, according to PASOK Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis. He criticized the government "for displaying unacceptable surprise and giving the impression of being unable to react," regarding the US decision to recognize Greece's neighbor as the 'Republic of Macedonia.'

    Athens Archbishop sends letters to heads of EU governments and Churches over FYROM issue: Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Friday announced that he will send letters to heads of European Union governments and Christian Churches regarding the name used by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and the reasons why Greece objects to the name 'Republic of Macedonia'.

    In the letter, Christodoulos argues that Skopje's adoption of the name 'Macedonia' is more than an innocent and uncomplicated case of 'misappropriation' given the complex and indistinct boundaries between politics, culture and expansionism in the Balkan region.

    "The cultural aspects of the Macedonian issue are, in any case, a permanent cause for stirring up passions, since concealed behind them one suspects territorial demands when conditions permit," the Archbishop adds.

    Christodoulos also explains Greek fears by noting that Greece's northern neighbor had occupied parts of Greek Macedonia in both the World Wars of the 20th century, while the constant intervention by major powers in the area had left behind a strong residue of doubt and distrust.

    "As Greeks, we believe that recognition of the state of FYROM that shares a border with Greece by the name 'Macedonia' does not serve any Balkan nation, since it further heightens tension and distrust in the region, but also appears to vindicate those who build their history with purloined materials..." the archbishop asserts.

    [04] PM addresses social partners, local administration officials during dinner in Ioannina

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, currently on a two-day tour of the northern region of Epirus, addressed social partner and local administration representatives, as well as local Parliamentary deputies, during a dinner organized by the prefect of Ioannina on Friday night.

    "Bureaucracy and corruption have become a scourge for society, while secret debts have led to a serious fiscal issue, whose concealment entailed a new compulsory intervention by Eurostat and uncontrollable consequences at the expense of the economy," he said.

    Karamanlis further said the government "told the truth and has undertaken a responsible and realistic effort for necessary adjustment" which "is recognized by our European partners."

    The prime minister also said that "society is mature for the truth and demands a governance of responsibility and this is what we are implementing."

    Referring to this part of the country, Karamanlis said that projects are being promoted in Epirus, through the program "Antagonistikotita" (competitiveness), which exceed 250 million euros.

    "The central axis of government policy is the Integrated Development Interventions for each of the country's regions, which necessitate the participation of society as a precondition. Because the implementation of a national strategy for regional development is a commitment for the government," he said.

    Karamanlis arrived in the city of Ioannina early in the afternoon and visited restoration work taking place at a monument before participating in an enlarged meeting, focusing on the region of Epirus, attended by representatives of the political and social sectors, as well as by local administration officials.

    [05] DM to participate in EU General Affairs and Foreign Relations Council on November 22

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos will participate in the European Union's General Affairs and Foreign Relations Council, which will be held at the Justus Lipsius Building in Brussels on November 22, heading a delegation of defense ministry officials.

    A meeting of EU defense ministers will also take place in the framework of the Council's meeting and will focus on joint defense policy issues.

    Apart from the political proclamation, the EU's Military Capability Commitment Conference will examine commitments for EU-Battlegroups, the approach to world development and an assessment of the European Capability Action Plan.

    Spiliotopoulos issues statement on occasion of Sunday's Armed Forces Day: National Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos on Friday cited the exemplary role of the armed forces in ensuring and reinforcing the country's defense from any and all external threats, during an order of the day issued by his office.

    His statements come two days before the annual celebration of Armed Forces Day on Nov. 21.

    [06] Turkish fighter jets infringe Athens flight information region, sources say

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Six formations of Turkish fighter jets on Friday committed eight actions that infringed the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) above the north and central Aegean, according to press sources.

    The 14 fighter jets involved were in each case reconnoitered and intercepted by Greek Airforce planes, while on two occasions this evolved into an engagement between the Greek and Turkish fighter jets.

    Two of the Turkish planes were armed, while another two were Phantoms equipped to take aerial photographs.

    [07] Greek Navy takes delivery of frigate purchased from Dutch Navy

    THE HAGUE 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    The Greek Navy on Friday officially accepted delivery of the frigate "HNMLS Bloys van Trelong" purchased from the Dutch Navy during a special ceremony held at the Den Helder Naval Base in the Netherlands.

    It is the last of 10 S-series frigates acquired by the Greek Navy.

    The ceremony was attended by Greek Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos, who delivered a short address to the Greek crew of the frigate, and his Dutch counterpart Cees van der Knaap.

    The frigate will be renamed "Frigate Nikiforos Fokas" after one of the most important Byzantine emperors and is due to arrive in Greek waters in February 2005, after the crew have completed their special training.

    [08] Greece insists on position regarding ship-source pollution during EU Justice & Home Affairs council

    BRUSSELS 20/11/2004 (ANA/A.Simatos)

    Greece, Cyprus and Malta reiterated their objections to certain parts of an EU Directive on Criminal Sanctions for Ship-Source Pollution, during the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting held here on Friday.

    Specifically, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis, who represented Greece at the EU council, said immediately after the meeting that Greece insists on its positions and does not want measures criminalizing seafarers to be adopted. "During this council, the positions of Greece, Cyprus and Malta were better understood. We are asking for time in order to discuss all these issues and in the end I think that a solution acceptable to all sides can be found," Kefaloyiannis said.

    The Greek minister emphasized that Greece's objections do not pertain to the 'spirit' of the legislative framework proposed by the European Commission, but to the way it will be applied and especially regarding the proposed sanctions against seafarers in case of an accident that results in ocean/sea pollution.

    Kefaloyiannis stressed that Greece's aim is to protect the interests of Greek seafaring professionals and of Greek commercial shipping, as well as protecting the environment. Greece, Kefaloyiannis reminded his audience, has the strictest environmental laws in force in Europe. Greece does not want the decision regarding the directive to result in ships abandoning the Greek flag for flags of convenience nor the reduction of the number of Greek professionals employed in shipping, which would inevitably follow.

    Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner, who presided over the meeting, said that "we will try to reach an operational compromise" adding that the issue will be re-examined at the next council meeting on December 2-3.

    [09] PASOK party spokesman says transparency on minority rights issues is foregone conclusion in country

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, referring to events that took place in the northern town of Ehinos in midweek in which women actors venturing into the courtyard of a mosque drew an angry reaction from Moslems, said any special request for information is unnecessary.

    The incident had occurred when women actors participating in the filming of a television series had entered the courtyard of the mosque when it had started to rain.

    "Transparency on issues concerning the rights of the minority and of human rights in our country in general is absolute and a foregone conclusion," Athanassakis said.

    [10] Gov't announces energy saving plans for 2005-06

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Greece's electricity power system will test its limits in 2005 and 2006, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Monday.

    Presenting a total of 104 energy investments, included in the "Competitiveness" business program funded by the Third Community Support Framework, Sioufas said that delays in investing in the production, transfer and distribution of electricity power in the previous years resulted to a current difficult situation, while he stressed that 2005 should be declared an energy saving year as well as a year of competition.

    The Greek minister said that the government has already began a series of initiatives aimed to ensure electricity power in the country and announced a campaign to inform consumers (households and businesses) over a more rational use and saving of energy.

    Protecting the environment and achieving Kyoto protocol's goals on limiting gas emissions, improving competitiveness through lower energy costs and protecting national economy from energy costs were also priorities for the Development ministry.

    Development Deputy Minister George Salagoudis is expected to present soon the recommendations of a special commission formed to discuss electricity energy policy in the country. According to sources, the recommendations would envisage energy saving at Public Power Corporation's units during peak demand hours, a more efficient maintenance of energy units and a more rational use of hydro-electric power stations.

    Sioufas announced the inclusion of 104 energy investment programs to a Competitiveness Business Program, funded by the Third Community Support Framework. The programs are budgeted at 191.7 million euros, of which national and community funding total 66.3 million euros. Sioufas noted that 84 percent of investments would be made in regional Greece.

    [11] Greek current account deficit dropped 40.8 pct in Jan-Sept

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Greece's external trade balance situation improved in the first nine months of 2004, compared with the same period last year, reflecting increased inflows of shipping foreign exchange and an increase in absorbing community funds, the Bank of Greece said on Friday.

    The central bank, in its monthly report, said that the country's current account deficit shrank by 40.8 percent in the January-September period reflecting a widening of surplus in the services and transfer balances, despite a significant increase in the trade deficit over the same period.

    The current account deficit eased to 2.969 billion euros in the January-September period, reflecting a 42.2 percent jump in shipping foreign exchange inflows, higher current inflows from the Olympic Games and a 25 percent increase in community fund inflows. The country's trade deficit, excluding fuel, rose 12 percent compared with the same period in 2003.

    The financial services balance showed an inflow of foreign direct investments totalling 1.013 billion euros in the first nine months of the year. Capital inflows for investments on Greek state bonds totalled 16.697 billion euros, sharply exceeding capital outflows totalling 6.964 billion euros over the same period, the central bank said.

    In the "Other Investments" category, outflows totalling 8.502 billion euros, while inflows were just 1.251 billion euros.

    [12] Evert says direct, indirect taxation sharply increased during Simitis governments

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Former New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert on Friday sharply criticized main opposition PASOK following statements by several of the party's MPs regarding a draft tax bill and accusations that tax breaks envisioned it the latter were insignificant.

    Evert said direct and indirect taxes jumped from 21.5 percent of GDP in 1994 to 24 percent of GDP in 2003 during the eight years a PASOK government was in power under Costas Simitis.

    [13] First international convention conference held in Athens

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    At least 60 countries are competing in the international convention industry, according to conclusions reached at the first international convention conference held in downtown Athens on Friday and organized by Iliotopos Conferences.

    The Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) said that in the post-Olympic period conference tourism is a top priority.

    Kostas Konstantinidis, Managing Director of Iliotopos Conferences said that it was necessary for a recurrent international conference to be held in Greece. He noted however, that it is difficult for a major, international conference to be held in Greece, since the industry is already saturated worldwide.

    Former EOT President Ioannis Patellis said that while Greece's chances were slim, the country could nonetheless become a convention destination, following the successful staging of the Olympic Games. In order for conference tourism to develop in Greece, specially-accredited agencies, conference centers and hotels must provide high-quality services, according to Patellis.

    Tourism minister visits Thessaly for talks with local authorities, tourist bodies: Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos held talks with representatives of prefectural and municipal local governments in Thessaly on Friday, as well as local tourist bodies, during a tour of Larissa and Trikala prefectures.

    The minister visited Meteora, one of the top tourism destinations in Greece, and then attended a meeting at the Larissa Prefecture where he was briefed on the problems faced by the local tourism sector.

    In statements, Avramopoulos stressed that the government's top priority was to protect and promote the Greek countryside through specific actions and policies, placing special emphasis on tourism in rural areas as a lever to promote growth and qualitative improvements.

    He said the ministry aimed to highlight and exploit alternative forms of tourism, such as religious tourism, agro-tourism, health spas and conferences, and would be reorganizing Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) bureaus outside urban centers and establishing GNTO information centers in all prefectural capitals and tourist destinations.

    [14] Chinese eye Greece as tourism venue, state official says

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    More and more Chinese are interested in Greece as a tourist destination, especially since Athens hosted the 2004 Olympics, James Song, general director of state-owned West Eastern Economic & Technical Co LtDn., said on Friday.

    Song met officials of the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    [15] New bourse head seeks credibility, revitalization

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    The new president of the Athens Stock Exchange, Spyros Kapralos, said on Friday that his main aims for the market were credibility, revitalization and a restoration of confidence.

    Kapralos was speaking in Thessaloniki, where he also became president and managing director of the northern port city's stock exchange centre, a member of the Athens bourse's holding company.

    "We want investors to feel confidence in the Greek market again," he told a news conference. "That is why measures must be taken that will convince the investing public that we are decisive and serious-minded about this," he added.

    The bourse president also said that he wanted to boost income and lower spending in Athens-quoted Hellenic Stock Exchanges, which owns all branches of the domestic capital market.

    [16] Stocks drop in edgy trade

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Stocks finished lower in a volatile market, affected by expiry of November contracts on the derivatives exchange, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 2,623.13 points, showing a decline of 0.34 percent. Turnover was 167.1 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.42 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.69 percent down; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.28 percent lower.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 181 to 109 with 68 remaining unchanged.

    [17] Silver Olympian, artists and volunteers to be honored at special event in northern Greece

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    A cultural association of the Evros prefecture will be holding a special event Saturday evening in Alexandroupolis to honor Hrysopigi Devetzi, silver Olympic medallist in the women's triple jump, as well as artists and volunteers who are from Evros and who participated in the 2004 Athens Games.

    Specifically, in addition to Devetzi, the guests of honor are Lia Papadamaki, creative director of the Paralympics opening and closing ceremonies; artist Yiannis Mantafounis (the man who portrayed winged "Eros" in the Olympics opening ceremony); choreographer H. Mantafounis, and approximately 15 volunteers from the entire prefecture.

    The event will be held at the Alexandroupolis Municipal Theatre.

    [18] Former Australian PM Frazer calls on New Zealand lawmakers to assist in efforts for Parthenon Marbles' return

    MELBOURNE 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Frazer called on New Zealand's Parliament to assist in efforts to repatriate the Parthenon Marbles back to Athens.

    Frazer made the statements in Wellington during an official visit to New Zealand.

    Among others, the veteran statesman reiterated that Britain stole the Marbles in 1804 from the Parthenon atop the Acropolis, calling also on the British Museum to return the invaluable friezes.

    [19] New book of illustrations seeks to record all remaining Parthenon Marbles

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    The Greek publishing company Ephesos Publications on Friday announced that it will soon be launching a collective title that seeks to provide a complete picture of all remaining sections of the famous Parthenon frieze through illustrations of all its segments currently scattered between the Acropolis, the British Museum and the Louvre.

    It also contains reprints of the sketches made by J. Carrey in 1674 when the monument was still intact, before the massive destruction caused by the shelling of the Parthenon ordered by Venetian General Francesco Morosini in 1687 and the removal of roughly 60 per cent of the ancient frieze by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century.

    The book is bi-lingual, with text in English and Greek and will be formally launched at a press conference next Thursday, at the Acropolis Studies Centre.

    [20] Speakers at conference note rise in human-trafficking to Greece

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Speakers at a seminar in Thessaloniki on Friday noted that human-trafficking was an ever-increasing problem in Greece and did not just concern women but also underage children forced to beg on the streets and foreign nationals exploited for cheap labor.

    The seminar was organized by the Central Macedonia 2nd Regional Health Authority in collaboration with the Centre for the Restitution of Victims of Torture, as well as other forms of abuse.

    Among the speakers was Public Order Ministry General Secretary Leonidas Evangelidis, who announced that two shelters will be set up in Athens and Thessaloniki within the year for teenage victims of human trafficking circuits.

    Thessaloniki has also recently acquired a hostel for the support of human trafficking victims, targeted mainly at women that fall victims to sexual exploitation, that provides medical and psychological support and legal advice during police investigations.

    The seminar was attended by the wife of the United States ambassador, Bonnie Miller, who greeted the hostel as a first step but stressed that much work remained to be done and called for harsher penalties for human traffickers.

    [21] Parliament president reaffirms support for Eleftherios Venizelos research institute

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    Parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki on Friday reaffirmed Parliament's support for the Eleftherios Venizelos National Institute of Research and Studies, while chairing a meeting of the foundation's board and founder members in Hania.

    The meeting was held at the home of the early 20th-century Greek politician that marked Greek history in Halepa, in the presence of honorary New Democracy President Constantine Mitsotakis and Deputy Public Order Minister Christos Markoyiannakis, as well as local officials and MPs.

    After a tour of the house, which serves as the Institute's headquarters, Psarouda-Benaki stressed that the institute was a 'national obligation, which promotes historic memory and supports democracy".

    [22] Seaman dies as Greek freighter sinks off Egina after ramming into reef

    Athens, 20/11/2004 (ANA)

    One seaman was killed when a Greek freighter vessel sank off Egina island in the Saronic Gulf at dawn Friday. The remaining 11 members of the crew were rescued and reported well in health.

    The "AVANTIS III" had set sail from Messolongi headed for Cyprus, loaded with construction materials. According to preliminary reports, the freighter rammed into a reef, causing a rift, and sank quickly.

    Eleven of the 12 crew members were rescued by Coast Guard boats and other vessels sailing nearby, while the body of seaman Vassilis Koronios was spotted and retrieved later by a Coastguard vessel.

    Based on the statements of the surviving crew members and the motorship's captain, the coast guard believes the accident happened due to mistaken handling of the vessel, perhaps caused by a fault in the steering system.

    They believe the 'Avantis III' impacted with the well-charted islet Donousa at great speed, causing a huge rift in the hull that made it sink within minutes. The Coast Guard was alerted to the accident and that one seaman was missing at 3:55 a.m. by the captain, Sotiris Bibou, with a phone call he placed using a cell phone from the lifeboat.

    A search was immediately launched but the body was not found until three hours after the ship had sunk. According to doctors at the Aegina Health centre, the cause of death was drowning.

    The coast guard are currently holding the ship's captain and first mate Magdalene Madlou, who was on duty on the bridge at the time of the collision.

    The investigation is seeking to clarify why the captain and officer on duty did not issue an SOS from the ship's VAF and why there was no distress signal from the EBRP system, which is activated automatically when it comes into contact with water.

    [23] President Papadopoulos: Cyprus Republic's recognition by Turkey is inevitable

    LARNACA 20/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus Republic's recognition by Turkey is inevitable, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said, noting that the question is when this is going to happen.

    Speaking Friday at Larnaca airport upon his return from Italy, where he paid a two-day visit at the invitation of the Italian government, the

    president said that Turkey has an obligation towards the EU and the Cyprus Republic to recognize the latter.

    Responding to questions, he said the Cyprus government favors the economic support of Turkish Cypriots, noting that if there is an isolation of the Turkish occupied north, this is imposed to a big extend by the Turkish Cypriot leadership.

    ''Therefore the Green Line Regulation can satisfy the EU wish as well as ours for the Turkish Cypriot's economic development and for trade with the government controlled areas and with the rest of the world'', President Papadopoulos stated.

    Asked whether Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi showed understanding to the positions outlined by the Cypriot side, President Papadopoulos said: ''I think yes. Our job is to explain our positions in the best way we can, to show understanding to the positions of the other side and to reach consent, where this is possible''.

    ''It is no secret that Italy supports the determination of a date for Turkey to begin accession negotiations with the EU, and our position is that we also support this if Turkey complies and respects its obligations vis-a-vis the European Union and each member state. From there on there are contacts taking place, in an effort to present a consensus proposal, so that Turkey will comply with these obligations'', he added.

    Asked if Berlusconi is going to mediate towards Ankara to change its stance towards Cyprus, the president said that ''when such talks are

    taking place and when such action is scheduled or when we promote certain suggestions, the worst we can do is to reveal them and discuss them in public ''.

    ''The ascertainment that it was a warm meeting in a good atmosphere I think is enough'', he added, noting that ''we are satisfied with the spirit of the meeting and its results.''

    Asked if the EU Regulation for the Financial Aid towards Turkish Cypriots will be disconnected from the EU Regulation for Direct Trade with Turkish Cypriots, President Papadopoulos said ''this has been a basic position of ours from the very beginning''.

    Replying to a question on the issue of direct flights to the Turkish-occupied areas promoted by the US and Britain, President Papadopoulos said ''they favor it but whether they will be able to go ahead and do it without violating international conventions and the international law this is another issue''.

    [24] Cyprus believes cooperation with Turkey in common interest

    LIMASSOL 20/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cypriot government's firm belief is that ''the common interest of the Turkish and Cypriot people calls for the peaceful relation and cooperation of the two countries based on the fundamental values and principles on which the EU is founded,'' Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Friday.

    The spokesman was addressing a Seminar of the International Association of Young Lawyers, which took place in Limassol under the title ''Cyprus and the EU'' with the participation of 150 lawyers from EU countries, Turkey, the United States, Canada, and Africa.

    Chrysostomides referred to Cyprus' history, the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island and the subsequent occupation of its northern third to date, the reasons why the Greek Cypriot community rejected a UN proposal for a Cyprus settlement in the April 24 referendum, and the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU on May 1 this year.

    ''Everybody had wished that on 1st May 2004, a reunited island would be acceding to the Union. Most of the Greek Cypriots that had suffered from the division of their island for so long were aspiring to enjoy the benefits of joining the EU together with their Turkish Cypriot compatriots. They were disappointed. We all knew that accession to the Union should be for the benefit of both communities,'' he noted.

    Referring to the proposed solution plan put forward by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Chrysostomides said that ''despite the hard work by all involved, this end product was judged to be inadequate and fell short of the minimum expectations for a settlement for the Greek Cypriots.''

    ''It incorporated all basic demands by Turkey, thus giving it an overall control over the island, both political and military. I should add at this point that the Plan, as it emerged, was not the product of negotiation nor did it constitute an agreed solution between the parties,'' he pointed out.

    Referring to Ankara's EU bid, Chrysostomides said ''in principle Cyprus is in favor of Turkey's candidacy to join the EU.''

    ''A truly European Turkey will be a factor of stability in our region provided that Turkey at the same time recognizes, understands, accepts and complies with its obligations towards the European Union and all its member states including Cyprus,'' he said.

    He pointed out that ''Turkey till now persistently refuses'' to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, ''though it aspires to become a member of a Union where another 25 equally sovereign states already participate.''

    ''It is our firm belief that the common interest of the Turkish and Cypriot people calls for the peaceful relation and cooperation of the two countries based on the fundamental values and principles on which the EU is founded,'' he said.

    Chrysostomides added that ''our hope for the future is a strong, stable, secure and prosperous Europe, able to play a leading role in the world, a Union that could shape international politics along the lines it pledges to be its foundations, democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights, social justice and social equality, a Union with a humane face, a Union that through the rich diversity of cultures and ideas, encourages the creation of a common European sense of belonging to a common and secure home.''

    ''This is the vision shared by us Cypriots, Turkish and Greek Cypriots alike,'' the spokesman added.

    [25] Turkish intention to lift minefields positive, Cyprus government says

    LIMASSOL 20/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides has described the Turkish occupation regime's expressed intention to destroy its minefields in the buffer zone accross Cyprus as a "positive step".

    Commenting on a statement by so-called prime minister in the Turkish occupied areas Mehmet Ali Talat, that the illegal regime intends to

    proceed with the destruction of its minefields in the buffer zone, Chrysostomides told the press here on Friday that if the Turkish occupation forces decided to go ahead with the de-mining process, ''this would be a good development, which could contribute to reducing tension, as was the government's purpose.''

    Chrysostomides recalled that the Republic of Cyprus had suggested through the United Nations a joint effort for de-mining but proceeded unilaterally with the destruction of its minefields in the buffer zone, due to the occupation forces' negative stance.

    On Thursday, the government of the Republic of Cyprus began lifting its minefields in the buffer zone. The de-mining process is funded by the

    European Union and is supported by the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

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