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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-01-16

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

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

January 16, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek, Turkish FMs discuss bird flu issue
  • [02] Greece fully prepared to deal with bird flu, government says
  • [03] EU pledges 80 million to global fight against bird flu
  • [04] Gov't campaign hopes to cushion impact of bird flu on farmers
  • [05] Karamanlis-Papandreou meeting on Monday to focus on constitutional revisions
  • [06] Pavlopoulos outlines gov't direction in proposed constitutional revision
  • [07] Mitsotakis on constitutional revision, presidential election
  • [08] Parliament briefed on EU summit, Macedonia issue talks
  • [09] US embassy maintains good working relationship with Greek government, ambassador Ries says
  • [10] U.S. Ambassador in Athens comments on Iran crisis
  • [11] Justice Minister outlines Greek positions at informal EU ministerial council
  • [12] Greek aid to Albania detailed during event in Ioannina
  • [13] Development minister discusses infrastructure issue in Evros region
  • [14] PASOK sec't addresses party supporters in Trikala
  • [15] UNMIK appreciation for Greek grant
  • [16] Resigned deputy minister addresses supporters
  • [17] Former deputy public order minister attends police employee banquet
  • [18] Popular Orthodox Rally party leader tours Thessaloniki market
  • [19] Psychological support telephone line for soldiers strengthened, DM says
  • [20] Memorial service held for two policemen killed on December 30
  • [21] Early morning violence reported outside Polytechnic
  • [22] Olympiakos, AEK advance towards title in 1st division football action
  • [23] Cyprus President: Initiative outside UN framework impossible
  • [24] Cyprus President: UNDP TF is an old idea
  • [25] Government Spokesman submits resignation

  • [01] Greek, Turkish FMs discuss bird flu issue

    ATHENS, 16/1/2006 (ANA)

    The Greek and Turkish foreign ministers spoke by phone Saturday afternoon regarding the bird flu issue, with Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis reportedly conveying Athens' solidarity to the neighboring country's leadership in the wake of the first deaths in eastern Turkey attributed to the virus.

    According to a foreign ministry press release, Molyviatis told his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul that Greece was ready to offer assistance if this is deemed as necessary and requested by Ankara.

    On his part, Gul thanked the Greek FM for his concern and noted that foreign assistance is not required at present. Both men agreed to talk again if this should become necessary.

    [02] Greece fully prepared to deal with bird flu, government says

    ATHENS, 14/01/2006 (ANA)

    Greece is fully prepared and has taken all measures for protection against bird flu, the government said on Friday in an announcement put out by the health ministry and in statements made by Agriculture Minister Evangelos Basiakos after a meeting with ministry officials.

    In a press conference at the foreign ministry, meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis also presented plans for a campaign to promote Greek poultry products abroad, in a bid to offset anticipated damage to the industry from a possible bird flu scare, as well as additional measures for government support of the industry.

    The meeting at the agriculture ministry, attended by the ministry's leadership, interior ministry general secretary Athanasios Vezyrgiannis and representatives of the Greek prefectures union ENAE, found that the country had adequate staff and resources to deal with the situation.

    Basiakos said that the additional needs posed by the threat of a bird flu epidemic were fully covered with the recruitment of 373 additional veterinarians and other technicians, as well as 100 additional veterinarians hired by state veterinary laboratories.

    He noted that matters concerning resources and supplies were chiefly dealt with on a prefecture level, while the supply of equipment and vehicles was the responsibility of the various ministries involved.

    The minister also underlined that declaring the disease was mandatory, and that even suspicions of an incidence of bird flu should be reported to veterinary services.

    Anti-bird-flu measures have also been stepped up in the Evros prefecture, which shares a border with Turkey, with veterinary services on high alert and strict controls at customs.

    Evros Prefect Nikolaos Zabounidis has ordered that all domestic fowl should be kept in fully enclosed facilities to prevent any contact with wild birds. He has also banned and imposed stiff penalties on the transport and distribution of live poultry of any type for domestic breeding or the sale of live poultry in markets.

    The health ministry, meanwhile, stressed that the public should not fear any shortage of anti-viral medication used to treat cases of bird flu.

    "There are 200,000 boxes of the anti-viral drug Simetrel ready to be delivered, which correspond to 400,000 doses of therapy.

    "With regard to the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, an order has been placed for 450,000 doses. Of these, 250 kilos are in raw material (powder form) and 200,000 doses in pill form that will be delivered in two installments, the first in May 2006 and the second in September this year," the announcement said.

    The ministry said it was also considering placing an order for an additional 300,000 boxes of Tamiflu.

    The EU health ministers' council has decided to create a central stockpile of anti-viral medication used against bird flu to cover needs that might arise in every EU member-state, the announcement added.

    It also noted that anti-flu vaccines administered in 2005 came to 1.8 million doses, instead of the 900,000 normally administered each year, and that the government planned to prepare 3-3.5 million anti-flu doses in 2006. An order for the preparation of 1.8 million doses of vaccine has been placed with the Pasteur Institute by the National Drugs Organization (EOF), in addition to independent orders made each year for the purchase of vaccines.

    [03] EU pledges 80 million to global fight against bird flu

    BRUSSELS, 14/01/2006 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission on Friday pledged to contribute 80 million to international efforts against bird flu, as well as technical assistance and 4 million to Turkey, in the first phase, to help it deal with the emerging crisis within its borders.

    European Commissioner Markos Kyprianou, in charge of health issues, stressed during a press conference that attention was currently focused on whether the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus had mutated into a form that could be easily transmitted between humans.

    The evidence at present showed that bird flu was still an animal epidemic and showed no signs of becoming a human epidemic, he said. Tests on the hemoglobin of infected humans showed that the virus at present affected mainly birds and could be transmitted from birds to humans but not from person to person.

    Turkey has stepped up culling of birds to stop the spread of the deadly virus, which last week killed three children in eastern Turkey and is known to have infected 15 more people. At least 78 people have died as a result of the H5N1 virus in East Asia so far.

    [04] Gov't campaign hopes to cushion impact of bird flu on farmers

    ATHENS, 14/01/2006 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry is preparing a campaign to promote Greek poultry products abroad in a bid to cushion the impact of an anticipated bird flu scare on poultry farmers, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianidis announced on Friday.

    In a joint press conference with Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou to present an initiative for a program entitled "Network for the Protection of the Consumer of the Western Balkans", Stylianidis said the campaign would stress the high quality of Greek poultry.

    In addition, the finance ministry will set aside 7 million for the purchase of Greek poultry products that will be donated as food aid through the activities of the foreign ministry's developmental aid service HELLENICAID.

    Concerning the Western Balkans Consumer Network being set up by the development ministry, they said this would be funded by 1 million from the foreign ministry and that its aim would be to establish the exchange of information between five countries of the western Balkans (Greece, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) concerning food safety crises, product quality problems and dangerous manufactured goods that were on sale in the Balkans.

    Officials said that this will create a second line of defense beyond the borders to protect Greek consumers from dangerous products arriving from neighboring markets, along the lines of the RASFF and RAPEX networks operating in the EU. In addition, the program will also provide training for market inspection bodies, businesses and consumer organizations on issues of product safety and consumer protection.

    Papathanasiou said that Romania and Bulgaria were not included in the program, which will begin operating in 2007, because they will have joined the EU and be incorporated in EU consumer protection networks by that date. He did not rule out the future extension of the network to Turkey, however, and said that plans were being made for bilateral agreements establishing penalties for failure to provide proper information to other states in the network.

    [05] Karamanlis-Papandreou meeting on Monday to focus on constitutional revisions

    ATHENS, 16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will receive main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday at the premier's office for talks expected to touch on constitutional revision, given that the government has publicly announced its intention to promote the closely watched issue.

    Meanwhile, the prime minister will chair a session of ruling New Democracy party's Parliamentary group on Tuesday, where he is also expected to brief MPs on constitutional revisions.

    Finally, Karamanlis departs for China on Wednesday for an official visit to the Far East nation.

    [06] Pavlopoulos outlines gov't direction in proposed constitutional revision

    ATHENS, 16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Political parties' financing, better monitoring of election spending and means of wealth statements by deputies are the main axes of an upcoming government proposal for constitutional revision, Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos was quoted by an Athens daily as saying on Sunday.

    The minister noted that financing of political parties must come from the state's coffers, thereby restricting outside funding.

    Pavlopoulos, a constitutional expert by training, also said that current legislation preventing MPs from professional activities while in office should be revised, without however, offering "complete professional freedom".

    Along those lines, he said deputies' immunity from prosecution should be lifted in cases where an alleged infraction is not linked with the exercise of political power.

    Regarding the reasons the government is tabling the constitutional reform issue at present, Pavlopoulos said several significant proposals made by the New Democracy party when it served as the main opposition while PASOK was in power were ignored by the latter.

    "...and secondly, because certain (constitutional) provisions that were approved simply did not stand the test of time".

    Pavlopoulos' statements were published in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Eleftheros Typos".

    [07] Mitsotakis on constitutional revision, presidential election

    ATHENS, 16/1/2006 (ANA)

    New Democracy's octogenarian honorary president and former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis on Sunday expressed his support for constitutional revision, especially over the prospect of electing the president of the republic through the ballot box in a general election.

    "I like Mr. (Karolos) Papoulias (the president), and I was in favor of his election, but it was a painless, non-confrontational solution. In other words, if elected by the people, Karolos Papoulias would never have been elected; the man would not have been a candidate, it would have been inconceivable for him to be a candidate," Mitsotakis said during an appearance on a television news program.

    [08] Parliament briefed on EU summit, Macedonia issue talks

    ATHENS, 14/01/2006 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis on Friday categorically denied that Greece had engaged in "secret diplomacy" over the dispute over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Valinakis was replying to questions posed by main opposition PASOK MP Christos Papoutsis during a briefing of Parliament's European Affairs Committee on the results of December's EU summit.

    In his question, Papoutsis had referred to press reports from FYROM that linked the so-called Macedonia issue with an invitation to FYROM Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva to attend a conference of Balkan countries in Athens.

    "There is no secret diplomacy between Skopje and Greece concerning the name of the neighboring country. What Skopje's newspapers write is their own affair. Ms Mitreva could not be excluded and not be invited to the Inter-Balkan Conference in which all Balkan countries will participate," Valinakis underlined.

    The deputy minister did not rule out the possibility of bilateral talks between Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and his Balkan counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting, however.

    PASOK MEP Stavros Lambrinidis, on his part, said the government lacked a "Balkan" policy and urged particular caution in negotiations with FYROM to "avoid what happened with Turkey's EU accession, where we lost whatever we had won".

    Briefing the committee on the results of the EU summit, Valinakis described the outcome as an "important success" for Greece, which had managed to secure a satisfactory funding package of 20.1 billion.

    "Greece fought and won the crucial wager of the CAP, both in order to secure a satisfactory sum for the structural funds and for their proper utilization," he said.

    [09] US embassy maintains good working relationship with Greek government, ambassador Ries says

    ATHENS, 14/01/2006 (ANA)

    The United States Embassy in Athens has an excellent cooperation with the Greek government and the Public Order Ministry, US Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries told reporters on Friday.

    The embassy had information related to the possible existence of terrorist cells in Greece, which it relayed to the Greek government. Greek authorities investigated the information without US involvement, he explained.

    Referring to terrorism in general, Ries likened it to a franchise model, stressing the need for constant diligence.

    Asked about press reports alleging that US officials used the military base in Souda, Crete to interrogate terrorism suspects, Ries denied any such instances.

    He noted that the Souda military base is a Greek base where US forces operate with the permission of the Greek government and in accordance with relevant agreements.

    Regarding a possible visit to Greece by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Ries said that Rice is interested in coming to Greece and that a visit would be scheduled as soon as possible.

    The US Ambassador also spoke about his meeting with Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Thursday, saying that it took place following the minister's initiative. During the meeting, Ries briefed Molyviatis on his meetings in Washington over the holiday season.

    Ries described it as a standard diplomatic activity and not as a case of wanting to pressure the Greek government in any way.

    Asked about his role as US Ambassador to Greece, Ries said that he has no desire to become involved in domestic politics and stressed that he had good relations with all political sides. He described himself as an observer rather than a participant in the domestic political scene.

    Finally, on the issue of the US waiving visa requirements for Greeks traveling to the US, Ries said that this issue was not currently being considered, but noted that Greek authorities' decision to adopt 'secure' passports was a step in the right direction.

    [10] U.S. Ambassador in Athens comments on Iran crisis

    ATHENS, 14/01/2006 (ANA)

    "The end of diplomacy has not yet been reached," U.S. Ambassador in Athens Charles Ries said on Friday during a press conference concerning the emerging crisis linked to Iran's nuclear program.

    The U.S. envoy expressed satisfaction with statements on Thursday by the three biggest powers in the EU - France, Germany and Britain - and by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who said that talks with Iran had reached an impasse and that it should be brought before the UN Security. He also welcomed an announcement on the issue issued by the Greek foreign ministry.

    "The United States wishes to approach this issue with a spirit of cooperation," Ries said.

    Taking Iran to the U.N. Security Council was also part of diplomatic efforts, he added.

    Concerning Greece's stance as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, the ambassador said that Athens had to make its own decision about its position but noted that Iran's policies are not compatible with efforts for peace and stability in the wider region of the EU and southeast Europe.

    Ries said that the people of Iran "are absolutely respected by the international community" while he dwelt at length on a statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against Israel and the support given to Islamic militant organizations like Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos in an announcement on Thursday evening expressed Greek diplomacy's regret over developments regarding Iran's nuclear program.

    Koumoutsakos expressed regret because "the diplomatic procedure is being halted, an effort which Greece, like other countries throughout the world, supported."

    The foreign ministry spokesman added: "At the same time, we condemn every nuclear program which does not respect the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The European Union had already, since last September, supported the probable referral of the matter of Iran's nuclear program to the UN Security Council in the event that this country continued its nuclear activities. Two days ago, the EU condemned Iran's decision to continue towards this direction and, as is known, the European initiative was halted."

    Koumoutsakos noted that following Iran's persistence and the latest developments, "it is apparent that the referral of the issue to the UN Security Council is henceforth probable if not unavoidable."

    [11] Justice Minister outlines Greek positions at informal EU ministerial council

    VIENNA, 16/1/2006 (ANA-MPA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras and Public Order Ministry Secretary General Leonidas Evangelidis outlined Greek positions on issues concerning the further development of European penal law and the fundamental rights of citizens, as well as operational cooperation between member-states on asylum and immigration issues, during the European Union's informal Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers Council, whose three-day sessions ended here on Saturday.

    The Council was the first of 12 ministerial councils that will be held in Austria during its EU presidency in the first half of the current year and, according to assessments by the Greek delegation, it proved to be very useful, while various sensitivities and mutual interest were taken into consideration.

    Speaking during the discussion on the further development of European law and the fundamental rights of citizens, Papaligouras stressed the need for minimum common general principles to be established, as well as for the harmonization of national legislation with them.

    The minister said that mutual trust between member-states will be strengthened in this way and judicial cooperation will be facilitated.

    [12] Greek aid to Albania detailed during event in Ioannina

    16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Greek-Albanian relations and Athens' support towards the neighboring country dominated an event on Sunday in the northwest city of Ioannina, where five school buses were handed over to a same number of regions in Albania that host sizeable ethnic Greek communities.

    Speaking during a brief handover ceremony, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianidis noted that Greece's total aid to Albania reaches the 184-million-euro mark, while up to 40 schools are being constructed or repaired at the present time via Greek funding.

    Among others, a major school complex is being planned for the Himara region, similar to a facility opened recently in the town of Korce.

    "The Greek government is systematically working to promote a series of projects in Albania. Our goal is to support the European orientation and the inclusion of all the western Balkan countries into the European family," Stylianidis concluded.

    Greek officials added that a tender will be awarded within the year for construction of a cross-border highway connecting the Sayiades region of Thesprotia prefecture, in extreme northwest mainland Greece, with the southwestern Albanian towns of Konispol and Sarande.

    [13] Development minister discusses infrastructure issue in Evros region

    16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas participated in a conference held at the Evros prefecture, in northern Greece, on Friday night and stressed that "by order of the prime minister, the Evros region has top priority regarding support for further development", while underlining the importance the region will have in coming decades with such energy networks as the oil and natural gas pipelines.

    Sioufas announced the decision taken by the development ministry on the funding of the biotechnical park at Ormenio, in the Evros region, with a budget amounting to six million euros.

    "It is a considerable development infrastructure project for the region which aims, together with other plans we have on industrial business regions, at constituting a base for substantive development at a point where the three countries, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, meet," the minister said.

    Inaugurating a conference on "Protection for Free Competition" in the city of Alexandroupoli on Saturday, Sioufas said that the ministry did not choose the capital of the Evros prefecture by chance for this important event to take place.

    "The conference taking place today has the purpose of all issues being discussed on the role of the Competition Committee to enable healthy competition to function in our country and to facilitate the development of business even more with rules," he said.

    [14] PASOK sec't addresses party supporters in Trikala

    ATHENS, 16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK secretary Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou continued a weekend tour of the provinces with an address to party supporters in the central town of Trikala, where she said the government's policy is creating problems for farmers and small business owners.

    Speaking in a region whose economy dominated by the farm sector, the PASOK secretary focused on criticism of the government's agriculture policy.

    [15] UNMIK appreciation for Greek grant

    PRISTINA, 16/1/2006 (ANA)

    The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) thanked the Greek government and people last week for a grant of 35,000 euros provided towards two funding programs in the province, the foreign ministry announced on Sunday.

    A relevant letter by UNMIK's Office of Returns and Communities was addressed to the head of Greece's liaison office in Pristina.

    [16] Resigned deputy minister addresses supporters

    16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Hania-area deputy Christos Markoyiannakis, who resigned as public order deputy minister last week after a caustic quip he previously made against a top Supreme Court prosecutor was broadcast, appeared at a gathering of friends and supporters on Sunday in his election district.

    The ND deputy also dismissed recent press allegations pointing to internal party opponents as behind the extent that the issue took.

    The resigned deputy minister has charged that his statement was made during a private conservation, which was secretly taped, and which was also taken out of context.

    [17] Former deputy public order minister attends police employee banquet

    16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Former deputy public order minister Christos Markoyiannakis attended a banquet of the Police Employee Union of the Hania prefecture, on the island of Crete, on Friday night, during which the Union's New Year cake was cut.

    Also present at the event were ruling New Democracy party Parliamentary Deputy Stelios Nikiforakis and Development Secretary General Manousos Voloudakis.

    Summoned to cut the New Year's cake, Markoyiannakis referred to the role and mission of the police and of politicians, stressing that they must be at the service of the people.

    Voloudakis said on his part that "Christos Markoyiannakis has offered a great deal to the country. I believe that he still has to offer and he will offer a great deal yet."

    [18] Popular Orthodox Rally party leader tours Thessaloniki market

    16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Eurodeputy and out-of-Parliament Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis toured the market in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Saturday, accompanied by party officials.

    Earlier in the day, he met with Thessaloniki's Aristotelio University professor Vassilis Papazahos who briefed him on the latest seismic activity in the country.

    Asked whether he will not be participating in municipal council meetings in the event he is elected a municipal councilor in Thessaloniki, Karatzaferis said "is it possible for the mayor to be absent?", letting it be understood that if he is a candidate he will be elected mayor.

    [19] Psychological support telephone line for soldiers strengthened, DM says

    ATHENS, 16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, speaking in Patra, western Greece, on Saturday on the issue of psychological support for soldiers and cases of suicide, said that "we have strengthened the psychological support (telephone) line, which is open on a 24-hour basis, and it has had over 2,500 calls over the past two years."

    The minister added that "a group of psychologists is constantly touring units and talking both with our permanent members and with recruits. And the commanders of units are very sensitized on all these issues. Commanders are in contact with parents."

    Spiliotopoulos further said that "however, it is encouraging and optimistic that such cases have been minimized and, of course, what would be ideal would be for them to be eradicated and we are targeting this."

    [20] Memorial service held for two policemen killed on December 30

    16/1/2006 (ANA)

    A memorial service was held in a mountainous region near the town of Kalambaka, central Greece, on Saturday morning for the two policemen killed on December 30 by a prison inmate who had escaped from a police van.

    The service was held at the spot where the policemen had lost their lives and was officiated by the Metropolitan of Meteora Seraphim, who expressed his sorrow and grief for the policemen.

    Panhellenic Federation of Police Employee President Dimitris Kyriazidis stressed that the family of the police will never forget them and will stand by their families.

    [21] Early morning violence reported outside Polytechnic

    ATHENS, 16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Vandalism and small-scale rioting followed yet another concert inside the Athens Polytechnic in the downtown district of Exarchia early Sunday, with self-styled anarchist youths again blamed by authorities for the brief disturbances.

    Riot police were dispatched to the scene.

    Self-styled anarchists often use university grounds as staging points and refuge due to the constitutional asylum granted such institutions from law enforcement supervision.

    Sports

    [22] Olympiakos, AEK advance towards title in 1st division football action

    ATHENS, 16/1/2006 (ANA)

    Olympiakos Piraeus confirmed its league-leading championship pace on Sunday by downing Panathinaikos Athens 3-2 in the Greek first division's so-called "eternal derby" between the two bitter cross-town rivals.

    Olympiakos' victory, aided by two goals from Brazilian superstar Rivaldo, gives it a 12-point lead over Panathinaikos and more-or-less ends the latter club's championship hopes for the current season.

    AEK Athens, Greece's other major club, meanwhile, stayed close to Olympiakos with another last-minute win, overcoming a mediocre Atromitos Athens side 2-1 Saturday night at Athens' Olympic Stadium.

    Olympiakos leads the standings with 42 points, followed by AEK with 39.

    In other action:

    PAOK Thessaloniki-Xanthi 1-0

    Iraklis Thessaloniki-Akratitos Athens 1-0

    OFI Crete-Apollon Kalamaria 1-2

    Ionikos Piraeus-Levadiakos 2-0

    Larissa-Panionios Athens (on Monday)

    Egaleo Athens-Kallithea Athens (on Monday)

    The standings after 16 games:

    Olympiakos 42

    AEK 39

    Panathinaikos 30

    PAOK 27

    Xanthi 25

    Iraklis 25

    Ionikos 22

    Atromitos 21

    Egaleo 19 (15 games)

    Apollon Kalamaria 19

    Larissa 17 (15 games)

    Levadiakos 14

    OFI 12

    Panionios 12 (15 games)

    Akratitos 10

    Kallithea 9 (15 games)

    [23] Cyprus President: Initiative outside UN framework impossible

    NICOSIA, 16/1/2006 (CNA/ANA)

    It is impossible for negotiations for a Cyprus settlement to begin outside the UN framework, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said, reiterating that the Greek Cypriot side desires a solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible but does not want to start negotiations for the sake of negotiations.

    In statements Sunday, President Papadopoulos noted that ''we long for a solution the soonest possible'', noting however that a new initiative is not up to the Greek Cypriot side alone.

    Stressing that the UN Secretary-General had ''repeatedly thought of launching a new initiative and repeatedly postponed it for reasons of his own'', Papadopoulos said ''we believe that we should not seek negotiations for the sake of negotiations because they would very soon collapse, with all the disastrous consequences.''

    ''This is why we insist that a new effort should be very well prepared,'' the president added, noting that the UN thoroughly accepts the Greek Cypriot side's view.

    The Cypriot president also added that the Greek Cypriot side's views are clear, and were submitted to the UN Secretary General.

    Meanwhile, speaking before a party gathering on Saturday, President Papadopoulos noted that it is not possible for a new initiative to begin outside the UN framework, adding that the European Union neither accepts nor desires to replace the UN role in the Cyprus problem.

    He noted that there are countries which want to mediate for a solution of the Cyprus problem, pointing out however that a mediator should demonstrate "an honorable mediation''.

    On the issue of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader at the so called presidential palace in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus, President Papadopoulos said "we conveyed our views which are final and now it depends on Great Britain and himself (Straw) to judge whether he takes into account these sensitivities since the visit to Cyprus aims at further improving relations".

    The Cyprus government objects to Straw meeting the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat at the so-called presidential palace in the

    occupied areas. Britain insists the meeting takes place there, saying this is the office of the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.

    The president also said he intends to announce on Monday who will replace Kypros Chrysostomides to the post of Government Spokesman.

    [24] Cyprus President: UNDP TF is an old idea

    NICOSIA, 16/1/2006 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has described on Saturday as an "old idea" the Trust Fund for the development of the Turkish Cypriot community that was announced by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

    Invited to comment on a statement made Friday by the UN Secretary-General's spokesman that development activities and specific donor contributions to the Trust Fund established by the UNDP for the Turkish Cypriots will be subject to consultations with the Government of Cyprus, the president replied that the whole issue is being handled by the foreign ministry. "We will look into the other issues at a later stage", he added.

    The UN spokesman had also said that the TF is an internal UNDP administrative mechanism.

    Asked if he is concerned over the trust fund's establishment, President Papadopoulos replied in the negative, adding "it is not a new idea, it's old, since last year. Some time ago they also asked for two tenders. The issue was developing but it seems now that it is final. I am not aware of the exact details".

    Foreign Minister George Iacovou had said on Friday the Cypriot government plans to make representations on the highest level if the UNDP's decision to set up a fund for the development of the Turkish Cypriot community was taken without the government's consent.

    [25] Government Spokesman submits resignation

    NICOSIA, 16/1/2006 (CNA/ANA)

    Kypros Chrysostomides has submitted his resignation from the post of Government Spokesman to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, the president confirmed here Saturday.

    Chrysostomides, who heads the Front for the Restructuring of the Centre, was announced Saturday afternoon his decision to run

    for parliament this May under left wing party AKEL which approved earlier this week the party's cooperation with the Front.

    Asked if Chrysostomides submitted his resignation, the President replied "of course".

    To a question if he has decided who will succeed Chrysostomides, the president replied in the negative.


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