|Wednesday, 14 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-06-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 14 June 2008 Issue No: 2919
 PM Karamanlis: Migration policy is anthropocentricIllegal immigration is one of the most serious problems being faced today by the EU, and for Greece, which due to its geographical position is a gateway for such migrants, the problem is even more pressing, prime minister Costas Karamanlis said on Friday, during a visit to the new model reception and accommodation center for illegal immigrants on the island of Samos.
Up to now, he said, Greece has been shouldering an immense weight on its own, on its own strength and with its own means, adding that "our history and our culture mandate that we provide hospitable shelter to desperate people who until their return or the examination of their petition for asylum, require care, support and dignified living conditions".
Karamanlis said that the new model centers established on Samos and in the border prefecture of Evros, the special centers for minors in Amygdaleza, the center in Lakonia prefecture which is to open soon, as well the new centers being planned, fully meet the requirements of the UN High Commission for Refugees, and highlight the new, modern, anthropocentric, or human-oriented, immigration policy being followed by Greece in the past four years.
"I want to point out once again, however, that this big and complex problem can be faced only through common effort among the EU member countries and a single policy," the premier said.
Greece, given its knowledge and experience, has submitted specific and realistic proposals, including that for the establishment of a European coast guard force for the joint guarding of the EUs external sea borders, Karamanlis said, adding that the count ry was undertaking initiatives that secured additional EU resources, following an organized and grounded effort which, unfortunately, had never been done in the past.
Karamanlis expressed satisfaction with the fact that, with each passing day, more countries were adopting Greece's viewpoint and approach, adding that "today I am even more optimistic because one of those countries is France, which in a few days will assu me the EU presidency".
 Interior minister on illegal immigrationInterior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, replying to questions by the press on statements made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the island of Samos on Friday, said in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, that not only is the European Union aware of the problem of illegal immigration, but it will also be present in a great effort in which Greece will be playing a leading role.
Referring to the stance that the EU will be observing on the issue in the future, he also referred to recent statements by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, reminding that France will soon be assuming the EU presidency.
"We must protect the people who come to our country, but we must also shield our borders against immigrant smugglers. Illegal immigration must stop," Pavlopoulos said on the sidelines of the event regarding awards for innovative business ideas.
 SE Europe Heads of State Summit ends in AthensThe 6th Regional Summit Forum of Heads of State of South Eastern Europe on Intercultural encounters, focusing this year on maritime, river and lake routes of South-East Europe, ended on Friday with the ratification of the Proclamation of Athens and an exp ression of satisfaction over the outcome of the summit by participating heads of state.
President Karolos Papoulias spoke in a statement of a successful meeting and added that "culture constitutes the ideal expression of our joint activities aimed at creating closer relations and exchanges."
He further stressed that culture functions as a strong binding link and as suitable ground for cultivating relations of reciprocity and solidarity among peoples in the region and as a factor of stability, cohesion, peace and progress.
President Papoulias said that the Athens Summit "constitutes a gain" for the peoples in the region and underlined the need for the continuation and intensification of dialogue, stressing the "deeper demand for strengthening cooperation and mutual understa nding and cultivating relations of reciprocity and solidarity."
The President also pointed out that there was such an extensive participation at the level of heads of state for the first time, that shows the expressed will for cultivating relations of mutual understanding, deeper communication and cooperation between the countries in the region.
The rest of the leaders and representatives of heads of state stressed in brief statements the political will for strengthening the effort with the purpose of having the peoples in the region coming closer.
The common denominator in their statements was "we must utilize our common points in order to build a better future, responding to the commitments that we have towards the generations to come."
Lastly, it was decided that the next Summit will be held in Montenegro, focusing on the issue of managing the multiformity of cultural heritage and promoting it for tourist purposes.
 Papoulias opens SE Europe Summit ForumPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias officially opened the 6th Regional Summit Forum of Heads of State of South Eastern Europe on Intercultural encounters, this year focusing on maritime, river and lake routes of South-East Europe, in Athens on Fri day.
The culture ministry-organized summit, aimed at strengthening cooperation, communication, mutual understanding and dialogue while focusing on the role of the water element in forming and spreading culture in the region, is held under the auspices of UNESC O and the Council of Europe chaired by President Karolos Papoulias.
The forum is held in continuation of the meetings held in Ochrid (2003), Tirana (2004), Varna (2005), Opatija (2006) and Bucharest-Sibiu (2007). All were aimed at boosting regional cooperation on cultural level, while protecting regional cultural heritage and projecting it as a decisive factor in the dynamic development of SE Europe.
Opening the conference proceedings, President Papoulias referred to the peoples' aspirations concerning development, stability, peace, progress and prosperity, pointing out that Greece's initiative adopted in the meeting in Varna aims at highlighting the perpetual intercultural communication achieved via maritime, river and lake routes.
President Papoulias encouraged participants to a fruitful cooperation through the systematic mapping of historical water routes that will allow the surfacing of a heritage that concerns the people's daily lives and is not limited strictly to cultural and historic monuments.
Addressing the meeting, Culture Minister Michalis Liapis, the coordinator of the forum proceedings, stressed that water routes allow for communication, exchange of goods and ideas, greater knowledge, friendship ties and reconciliation.
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic underlined that sustainable development that respects the environment is necessary, stressing that the region has become the target of greedy profiteers.
President of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov pointed out that the region's peoples will have to realize that they have a lot in common and announced that Bulgarian ambassador to Paris Irina Bokova will be backed by his country for the UNESCO Director-General pos ition.
Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic stressed that cultural wealth is the creative work of past generations that needs to be protected, adding that his country has ratified the European treaty for the protection of cultural heritage.
Serbia supports all efforts aimed at greater cooperation and understanding among peoples, stressed Serb President Boris Tadic and, referring to the damage caused to religious monuments in his country, stated that roughly 150 churches and monasteries have been damaged during the past nine years while many monuments are still in danger.
He expressed optimism that a compromise will be reached in Kosovo, stressing that a historical agreement, a solution with democratic means ratified by the UN, is possible. He also underlined that the future lies with the EU and regional cooperation is hel pful toward this direction.
Albanian President Bamir Topi underlined that his country has enacted legislation aimed at protecting cultural heritage, adding that its goal is good neighborly relations and EU membership.
Bosnia-Herzegovina Tripartite Presidency Chairman Hari Silajdzic stressed that the multicultural character of societies should be protected and accession into NATO and the EU is helpful.
UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura stated that water routes need protection underlining that cooperation is necessary toward this direction.
Turkey's Minister of State Mehmet Aydin suggested the creation of a website with virtual cultural routes in SE Europe and Romania's deputy culture and religious affairs minister referred to the need for the protection of the Danube River and its estuary.
Council of Europe coordinator for intercultural dialogue Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni stressed that the forum helps establish mutual understanding among peoples and added that the participating heads of state are determined to support cultural heritage and multiculturalism.
The forum proceedings will be completed later in the afternoon with the signing of the Declaration of Athens and statements made by participating heads of state and delegations.
 Athens Declaration of Intercultural Encounters on Maritime, River and Lake Routes of South East EuropeFollowing is the joint declaration of the Intercultural Encounters on Maritime, River and Lake Routes of South East Europe adopted on Friday by the Summit of the Heads of States of South East Europe, which was held in Athens.
I. We, the Heads of State and high level representatives of South-East Europe, meeting in Athens (June 12-13, 2008) within the framework of the Summit on the theme "Intercultural Encounters on Maritime, River and Lake Routes of South East Europe", organis ed under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Karolos Papoulias, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura and the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Terry Davis:
Reaffirming the ideals and principles laid down in the Charter of the United Nations, the Constitution of UNESCO, the Statutes of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights;
Reasserting our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the 60th Anniversary of which we celebrate this year and which offers an opportunity for the international community to make efforts to eliminate the obstacles to their implementation , such as discrimination and intolerance;
Underlining that the Athens Summit takes place in the Year 2008, proclaimed "International Year of Languages by the United Nations" to highlight the importance of linguistic diversity and multilinguism and thus to foster respect for the protection and pro motion of all languages, particularly endangered languages in accordance with national legislation and their international obligations;
Highlighting that the agenda of the Athens Summit addresses the issue of intercultural dialogue in South East Europe, an issue which is at the heart of the 2008 "European Year of Intercultural Dialogue", proclaimed by the European Union and welcoming the "White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue" launched by the Council of Europe;
Emphasizing that this Declaration builds on the Message from Ohrid on the Dialogue among Civilizations (2003), the Tirana Summit Declaration on the Development of Inter-religious and Inter-ethnic Dialogue (2004), the Varna Declaration on Cultural Corridor s in South East Europe, Common Past and Heritage - A Key to Future Partnership (2005), the Opatija Declaration on "Communication of Heritage" (2006) and the Bucharest and Sibiu Declaration on "Cultural Diversity - a Bridge between Cultural Heritage and t he Culture of the Future" (2007);
Expressing our satisfaction that implementation of these Declarations has progressed, particularly through the Annual Ministerial Conferences on Cultural Heritage in South-East Europe on the topic "Cultural Heritage - a Bridge towards a Shared Future";
Reiterating our determination and commitment contained in the above-mentioned Declarations to acknowledge and inscribe culture with its rich diversity on the political agenda in order to create a climate of mutual trust and understanding as guarantee of p eace, stability thus broadening horizon for dialogue, both within the region and with the world.
II. Underscore that:
a. The region of South-East Europe has been a crossroads of paramount importance to its peoples and cultures, a bridge between East and West the cradle of the foundations of European civilization.
b. No civilization and no culture is monolithic as both are the results of millennia of contacts and exchanges. They are constantly taking different forms and expressions depending on the memory and aspirations of each society revealing its boundless cult ural diversity.
c. This rich diversity is expressed through the "cultural routes, itineraries and corridors" which are considered as routes of dialogue and contribute to a better understanding of the underlying dynamics of cultural interaction. Thus they inspire both his toric and future-oriented thinking on the mechanisms enabling such intercultural dialogue, whether via land, sea, lakes or rivers.
d. Since the dawn of civilization, humanity's dependency on water has directly interacted with the development of societies, often decisively influencing their conditions of existence, water being a vital resource with economic, ecological, social and cul tural functions.
e. South East European cultures have developed multifaceted contacts and interactions which have constantly regenerated their rich cultural diversity, ultimately creating a very intimate relationship when travelling through seas, rivers and lakes. These f undamental routes of dialogue have influenced people's ways of living, values and knowledge systems, throughout history, and have moulded human relations and reshaped spaces for new intercultural encounters.
III.1 Highlight the complementary roles and objectives of the international organizations and institutions participating in the Summit, and in particular:
a. UNESCO's Constitution according to which "ignorance of each other's ways and lives has been a common cause, throughout the history of mankind, of that suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have all too often broken into war", as well as the Organization's mission as defined in its Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013 to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, t he sciences, culture, communication and information by means of its five established functions: (i) laboratory of ideas; (ii) standard-setter; (iii) clearing house; (iv) capacity-builder in Member States in the Organization's fields of competence; (v) cat alyst for international cooperation.
b. The Council of Europe's role in the development of standards, principles and policies concerning intercultural dialogue, culture and cultural heritage, particularly through the "Opatija Declaration on intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention" (20 03), the "Faro Declaration on the Council of Europe's Strategy for Developing Intercultural Dialogue" (2005) as well as the promotion of transnational co-operation for local development and sustainable communities through initiatives such as the "Cultural Routes", the Regional Programme on Cultural and Natural Heritage in South East Europe (2003-2010) and the Reconstruction Implementation Commission;
c. The expressed willingness of the European Union member States to collaborate with all the neighbouring countries of the region and the fact that the cultural diversity is a vehicle for cultural identity and sustainable development;
III.2 Recall, in this context, the relevant conventions and declarations adopted in the framework of UNESCO and the Council of Europe, namely:
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Council of Europe, Rome, 1950); the European Cultural Convention (Council of Europe, Paris, 1954); the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Con flict (1954) and its two Protocols (1954 and 1999); the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (UNESCO, 1970); the Convention concerning the Protection of the World C ultural and Natural Heritage (UNESCO, 1972); the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (Council of Europe, Granada, 1985); the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Council of Europe, Vallett a, 1992); the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (1995); the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe, Florence, 2000); the Declaration on Cultural Diversity (Council of Europe, 7 December 2000); the UNESCO Univer sal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001); the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (UNESCO, 2001); the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO 2003); the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (UNESCO, 2005).
III.3 Emphasize the importance of other international organizations, regional initiatives and institutions, as well as bilateral agreements which aim at building mutual trust and understanding as well as promoting cooperation among the peoples of South-Ea st Europe, such as:
a. Black Sea Economic Cooperation;
b. Adriatic Ionian Initiative
c. Central European Initiative
d. Regional Cooperation Council (and its predecessor Stability Pact for SE Europe)
e. South East European Cooperation Process
f. Council of Ministers of Culture - South East Europe
g. Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures
h. L'Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, as well as the UN "Alliance of Civilizations" Initiative which aims at promoting intercultural dialogue and cooperation and supports the values that are conducive to harmonious coexistence.
IV.1 Hereby solemnly declare our common determination and commitment to:
a. Reemphasize the role that Cultural Routes, Itineraries and Corridors can play as platforms for regional cooperation according to the Varna Strategy (2005) and further developed in the Opatija Strategy and Action Plan for cultural corridors in South-E ast Europe (2006) for preserving, sustaining, using and promoting cultural corridors in South-East Europe;
b. Explore, within this context, every opportunity to further develop and consolidate intercultural dialogue, particularly through maritime, river and lake routes of South East Europe, calling upon joint efforts for the search for more sustainable approac hes, highlighting the potential of water routes in bringing people and civilizations together;
c. Strengthen cultural cooperation in the region that encompasses an especially rich heritage as a fertile ground for nurturing ideas and contemporary creativity in the areas of scientific and artistic exchanges, co-productions of documentaries and movies as well as renewed approaches to the museums of the region as spaces for intercultural encounters;
d. Mainstream the principles of intercultural dialogue in well-defined national policies for development and social cohesion, especially in the areas of culture, education, sciences and communication, paying particular attention to the effective coordina tion of various regional policies and programs as a key factor in meeting the needs and aspirations of the development of South East Europe;
e. Enhance the safeguarding and conservation of the cultural and natural sites as well as of the cultural landscapes of the region as an integral part of sustainable development, particularly through sound cultural eco-tourism. Above all, awareness about heritage must be raised and knowledge fostered among citizens namely through revisited formal and non formal education and voluntary participation;
f. Foster coordination and reinforce training and capacity building for preventing the illegal trafficking in cultural goods and for the return of illegally exported and imported cultural goods to the countries of origin in the framework of the Intergove rnmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation;
g. Mobilize resources from national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions for the cultural routes project, particularly on maritime, river and lake routes of South-East Europe;
IV.2 We are, in particular, resolved to:
a. Further developing joint cultural policies through the kaleidoscope of intercultural dialogue, using effectively the potential of existing programs in the framework of UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the European Union, ICCROM, the European Institute of Cultural Routes of Luxembourg, ICOM, ICOMOS, and other relevant international and regional organizations and institutions such as the South East Cooperation Process (SEECP), as was upgraded within the newly-established institutional framework of the Re gional Cooperation Council;
b. In this context, elaborating an operational plan by establishing a Pool of Joint Pilot Projects on Cultural Water Routes with concrete strategies and actions to highlight intercultural communication and dialogue as pioneering and dynamic means for bett er understanding the past, acknowledging the present and building up the future, contributing to stability and peace in the region;
IV.3 To this end, we consider the setting of a Pool of Joint Pilot Projects on Cultural Water Routes as a framework for an integrated approach to:
a. Mapping the tangible and intangible heritage of the region and promoting joint research in the field of cultural and natural heritage related to water;
b. Safeguarding cultural landscapes, archaeological sites, historic cities, monuments, as well as cultural and natural sites, namely through cooperation concerning cross-border World Heritage Sites, as well as the Regional Program for Cultural and Natural Heritage in South East Europe;
c. Preserving maritime archaeological sites and promoting underwater archaeological programs;
d. Protecting maritime, river and lake biospheres, particularly in relation to UNESCO's Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme;
e. Developing joint interdisciplinary research, training and capacity-building opportunities as well as transfer of technical expertise in the areas of conservation and safeguarding of natural as well as cultural heritage in its tangible and intangible form;
f. Awakening the younger generations to the challenges of sustaining the viability of Cultural Water Routes, particularly through artistic, literary and mythological narratives facilitated by the use of ICT and youth exchange programs;
g. Promoting artistic and cultural activities through dedicated venues such as festivals, fairs and a forum on "Water Heritage Days" with an emphasis on paintings and mythologies as well as on the linguistic diversity of the region, as expressed in its so ngs, poems, proverbs, metaphors and key-words which can hand over fundamental water-related knowledge, particularly through sites and museums focusing on the linkages between culture and environment;
h. Implementing the Opatija Strategy and Action Plan for cultural corridors in South East Europe, namely by:
i. Defining criteria and mechanisms through the Pool of Pilot Projects of Cultural Water Routes;
ii. Highlighting the cultural Water Routes through specific designation by UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the European Institute of Cultural Routes of Luxembourg;
iii. Coordinating related regional policies for cultural tourism and developing a strategy to provide sound cultural and eco-tourism facilities;
iv. Undertaking joint actions to safeguard endangered cultural and natural sites through integrated approaches of conservation.
v. Creating a permanently functioning website called "Virtual Cultural Corridors in South East Europe" in collaboration with the International Organizations and the regional network of experts with an emphasis on cultural water routes.
We welcome the proposal of the President of Montenegro, Mr Filip Vujanovic, to host the next regional Summit (2009), on the theme "Management of heritage diversity - dialogue for the future", as well as the intention of the Republic of Turkey to host the 2010 Summit in Istanbul.
 Bakoyannis meets Cyprus House SpeakerNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova/CNA)
Cypriot House President Marios Karoyan and visiting Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyannis stressed here Friday the importance of parliamentary diplomacy in today's international relations and in supporting governmental efforts.
Speaking after their meeting, Karoyan said he had a very important and constructive discussion in a friendly atmosphere with the Greek FM on the current phase of the Cyprus problem, as well as on European and bilateral issues.
"We had an overview of the process of the Working Groups and Technical Committees and I have to say that there was a common understanding as regards the objectives and the handling", said Karoyan adding that they also shared concerns over issues of the Cy prus problem.
There was a common understanding on how important is the parliamentary diplomacy today, in international relations, and how important is the role of the parliamentary diplomacy in supporting the government's efforts, he added.
Technical Committees and Working Groups were set up a couple of months ago following an agreement between the two community leaders, in an effort to rekindle interest in the stalled Cyprus peace talks and help resume direct negotiations.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Earlier, Bakoyannis met with former presidents of the Cyprus Republic George Vassiliou, Glafcos Clerides and Tassos Papadopoulos
"The road ahead of us is not a bed of roses. All together, we must wage struggle for the result we are longing for," Bakoyannis told reporters after her meetings.
 DM Meimarakis participates in NATO DMs conferenceThe spring conference of NATO's defence ministers ended in Brussels on Friday, with the participation of Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis.
A series of issues were examined on the second and last day of the conference, that concerned the Alliance's development, such as the Rapid Reaction Force and NATO's Administration Structure. The NATO-Russia Council also convened, as well as the NATO-Ukra ine Commission.
Referring, during his address, to the Rapid Reaction Force, Meimarakis said that the Force is an important instrument in improving national military capacities and constitutes the suitable guide in NATO's transformation process, stressing that "since the creation of the Force's venture, Greece has had a continuous and substantive contribution to it."
Meimarakis also expressed support for the strengthening of political and military cooperation between NATO and Russia.
"Russia is a strategic partner for security in the Euro-Atlantic region and further. Facing the same challenges, we must deepen cooperation between us as partners of equal value, to enable us to handle them with success," the defense minister said.
Also addressing the NATO-Ukraine Commission's conference, Meimarakis said that "Ukraine is a factor having a considerable special weight for Euro-Atlantic security."
 PASOK, KKE, Synaspismos comment on Ireland's 'No' to the Lisbon TreatyThe main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) on Friday commented on Ireland's "No" to the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum which was held.
"Major decisions do not pass hidden," PASOK leader George Papandreou said.
Papandreou criticized the political leaderships of the member-states of the European Union "which instead of attempting to convince the peoples of Europe, they preferred to avoid the relevant effort." He added that the leaderships have a duty "to convince and not to hide."
The PASOK leader defended the further European unification, stressing, however, "that this will not proceed if the peoples are not convinced. Because briefing, dialogue and knowledge give the impetus to 'Yes'."
He further said that "without European public dialogue and briefing, yet again, Europe falls victim of a political practice which is afraid of the people."
On its part, the KKE hailed the "strong No" by the Irish people.
The KKE said "it hails the working class, the small and medium-size farmers and the other poor popular strata which ignored the propaganda, the blackmailing dilemmas of the Ireland's major parties, the agencies and the governments of the EU."
The KKE assessed that the "No" of the Irish people "is an act of insubordination and has great importance for all the peoples of Europe. It shows that the popular indignation against the EU is surging and is developing into disobedience."
Synaspismos leader Alexis Tsipras in a statement said that "the rejection of the reform treaty by the Irish people shows that the future of the European Union will either be democratic and social or will not exist."
He added that "no political procedure can proceed in Europe without democratic legalization."
 PASOK leader on tour of quake-stricken prefecturesMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, leading a group of party officials, on Friday began a tour of the earthquake-stricken areas of Achaia and Ileia prefectures, which sustained severe damage in the recent 6.5 Richter earthquake that also cause d the deaths of two people.
"We are here, and we are here together with a team of officials from PASOK, to manifest our support to the region, which has been hard hit by last summers wildfires and by the earthquakes," Papandreou said in the town of Kato Achaia, while congratulating local authorities and the volunteers for their "superhuman" efforts.
Papandreou accused the government of "unacceptable delay" in declaring the two prefectures as "earthquake-stricken regions", which he said would have facilitated immediate and effective assistance to the local inhabitants.
He said PASOK also considered it unacceptable that the government believed that "with a 'tip' such as the 3,000 euros (in immediate emergency assistance) last year in the fires and the 5,000 euros this year (for the earthquake-stricken families) that it w ill solve the problems".
Papandreou said that a plan for immediate confrontation of the problems and a plan for the long-term development of the region were necessary, and noted the draft law proposal that was recently submitted to parliament by his party for the recovery of the Peloponese, adding that with a few supplements, the draft law could also meet the needs from the devastation caused by the current earthquakes.
The PASOK leader began his tour in Patras, capital of Achaia prefecture, where he visited the Aghios Andreas (St. Andreas) hospital which is currently being evacuated due to cracks in the building suffered during the earthquake, and was briefed on the hos pital's problems. From there he went to the towns of Vrachneika and Kato Achaia, before continuing his tour.
 Papandreou on spat with SimitisAsked about the recent developments concerning former PASOK president and premier Costas Simitis, whom Papandreou effectively kicked out of the PASOK Parliamentary bloc on Thursday after a public disagreement over the party's policy relative to the Lisbon Treaty and whether this should be ratified by a national referendum, Papandreou stressed that his top priority was to rid the country of its present government.
"The only aim, my only concern and the only concern of the entire party is to rid the country of a sordid establishment of specific economic and political factors that have as their protector Karamanlis and the New Democracy government, who have made Gree ks the most pessimistic people in Europe, a people suffering from high prices, lack of transparency, callousness and lawlessness," he underlined.
Papandreou made the statements while visiting the village of Valmi, one of the two villages that were hardest hit by the recent earthquake and the last stop on his tour of Achaia and Ileia.
 PASOK spokesman on current issuesMain opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou referred to all the current issues in the country, and to that of high prices in particular, during his press briefing on Friday.
Focusing on high prices, he stressed that on this issue PASOK does not intend to leave the government in peace.
"It is the major issue that is preoccupying every Greek family, what every Greek household is facing on a daily basis," he said, adding that "PASOK is implementing specific information action for citizens and it is bringing proposals in Parliament and in society. In every case, it will stand by the citizen on this major issue."
Papaconstantinou reiterated that price decreases can take place even now and called on the government to reduce state rates in public corporations and organizations. He also said that initiatives by consumer organizations aimed at boycotting certain produ cts were positive.
The spokesman further said that the fact that the government rejected PASOK's draft law proposal on the overcharging and relief of loan recipients was a "shame for the government majority."
Referring to announcements made on Thursday by the Statistical Service on unemployment, Papaconstantinou underlined the increase over the last month from 8 percent to 9 percent and noted that "the government has no policy on combatting unemployment."
The spokesman also focused on data concerning young people, saying that in Greece "more than one out of four people under 25 years of age are unemployed."
 SYN party delegation visits fire-stricken TripolisA delegation from the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party on Friday toured areas around the city of Tripolis in the Peloponnese that suffered extensive damage in last summer's devastating fires.
They met with local government officials in the area and were briefed on the steps taken so far to restore the damage caused by the fires. Local officials also conveyed their opposition to government plans to allow the Public Power Corporation to create a site for disposing industrial wastes at Megalopolis and asked SYN to support their case in Parliament.
In statements, SYN Central Committee Secretary Nikos Hountis accused the government of having abandoned fire-stricken Arcadia to its fate and said that it had not learned its lesson from last year's disaster, since the area's fire-fighting mechanisms cont inued to suffer from great shortages and were no better than the previous year.
 EU Parliament president hails Athens' ratification of Lisbon TreatyEuropean Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering on Friday hailed the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the Greek Parliament.
"The yes vote of the Greek Parliament is one more important step in the course of completing the ratifications of the Lisbon Treaty, following the approval of the Finnish and Estonian Parliaments this week," he said.
The European Parliament president pointed out that more than half the 27 member-states of the European Union had now ratified the Lisbon Treaty, while the European Parliament hoped that all the member-states will have completed the process by the end of t he year.
He stressed that it was the highest priority for the EU to ratify the Lisbon Treaty so that it could go into effect from January 1, 2009.
 Greek ambassador to Serbia speaks to TanjugGreece supports Serbia's development and would like to see it take up its position within the European family as soon as possible, said the Greek Ambassador in Belgrade Christos Panagopoulos in an interview with the Tanjug news agency on Friday.
He stressed that Greece was in favour of Serbia becoming part of the European community because that would be good for both Serbia and for stability in the region. At the same time, he stressed that Athens would in no way become involved in the political processes leading to the formation of a government in Serbia, which was a decision to be made by the Serb people.
Referring to economic issues, Panagopoulos underlined the support given by the Greek government directly and in the form of investments by Greek businesses. He particularly stressed the contribution of the Greek Plan for the Reconstruction of the Balkans, pointing out that Serbia stood to receive funds of up to 230 million euros, of which 80 percent were earmarked for infrastructure projects like construction of the E-75 highway, that was important for both countries and the surrounding region.
According to the ambassador, overall Greek investments in Serbia were in excess of 2.5 billion euros and extended to strategic sectors of the Serb economy, indicating that Greek businesses had come to Serbia in order to stay.
Regarding the issue of visas for Serbs visiting Greece, Panagopoulos said that Athens was in favor of scrapping visa requirements for Serbia and had undertaken a leading role in the European Union for liberalising the visa regime in the meantime.
 Greece-Cyprus Parliamentary committees for defence conferThe president of the standing committee for national defence and external affairs of the Greek Parliament, Miltiades Varvitsiotis, and committee member Olga Kefaloyianni on Friday met the president and deputy president of the defence committee of the Cypr iot House of Representatives, Yiannakis Omirou and Sotiris Sampson, respectively.
They discussed matters of mutual interest and afterwards said they would seek to establish closer ties between the two committees and coordinate efforts to sensitize international public opinion on the Cyprus problem.
 MPs approve Provopoulos appointment at central bankThe Greek Parliament on Friday approved the appointment of George Provopoulos as the new governor of the Bank of Greece, in accordance with a recommendation by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis.
The appointment of Provopoulos, formerly the CEO of Emporiki Bank, was approved at Parliament's committee for public utilities by the ruling majority, while main opposition PASOK and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) cast blank votes and the left-wing par ties voted against.
 Deputy employment minister on health, security in workplacesDeputy Employment Minister Sofia Kalantzakou, replying to a question by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), said in Parliament on Friday that promoting the health and security sector in workplaces is one of the big wagers for the ministry because it clea rly upgrades quality in employment.
"The figures show that in past years our country has achieved evident progress on these issues, but in order for the improvement in working conditions to improve, employers and working people must participate actively in this effort," she said.
The deputy minister made an account of the ministry's actions aimed at reducing labor accidents (information campaigns, the holding of conferences and increasing inspections and in the presence of working people's representatives as well) and defended the legislative framework applied in the country, reiterating that the way of upgrading the Labor Inspection Corps is being examined and mentioning that her ministry is in contact with the Health ministry to have an increase in the number of doctors speciali zing in labor medicine, that is currently very small.
 SBBE general assembly meeting cancelledThe annual General Assembly of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE), scheduled to take place in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, June 17, has been cancelled, it was announced on Friday.
The decision is directly linked with the abduction of the federation's President George Mylonas, President and CEO of ALUMIL, aluminum constructions industry, last Monday. Mylonas was abducted by unidentified gunmen near his home in the Thessaloniki subur b of Panorama.
A massive police search for the missing industrialist is currently underway.
 Aspis Bank appoints new CEOAn Aspis Bank extraordinary general shareholders' meeting on Friday approved the appointment of Christos Sorotos as chief executive of the bank, replacing Constantinos Karatzas, who remains chairman of the board.
Sorotos is a graduate of Athens University and has worked as managing director in Citibank for Greece and Cyprus, EFG Eurobank, National Bank and Bank of America. A bank statement announced the changes, including raising the number of members of the board , completed a growth and restructuring cycle which had opened with the arrival of C. Karatzas in the bank in 2001.
 Budget revenues up 5.3 pct in Jan-MayBudget revenues grew by 5.3 percent in the first five months of the year, a report by the Economy and Finance ministry said on Friday.
The ministry report attributed the slower growth rate of budget proceeds, compared with a budget target of 12.1 pct for the year, to conjuctural factors, although it stressed that the growth rate in the January-May period was higher compared with the corr esponding period last year (3.1 pct).
Tax agencies' revenues rose by 2.6 percent in May, customs revenues fell by 3.9 pct, while VAT proceeds jumped by 11 percent in the same month, compared with last year.
 ASE revokes suspension of trading in Alumyl, Atti-Kat and Parnassos sharesThe Athens Stock Exchange's board on Friday, after consultations with the Capital Markets Commission, announced that it was revoking a suspension of trading in Alumyl Mylonas' shares. It also announced it was revoking a suspension of trading in Atti-Kat A TE and Parnassos Enterprises and the inclusion of both shares in the market category of stocks under supervision. Trading on all shares will be begin on Tuesday. The Athens Stock Exchange will remain closed on Monday due to public holiday.
 Greek stocks plunges 2.61% on Fri.Greek stocks plunged to new lows for the sixth consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange, pushing the composite index down to 3,739.27 points, for a loss 2.61 percent on Friday. Turnover jumped to 440.359 million euros.
The FTSE 20 index lost 2.14 percent, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.61 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index fell 0.38 pct. Most sectors moved lower with the Food/Beverage sector plunging 19.03 pct, followed by the Utilities (-3.43 pct). On the other hand, Financial Services and Technology scored gains (1.76 pct and 1.31 pct, respectively).
Mohlos (8.70 pct), Kreka (7.02 pct), Forthnet (5.88 pct0 and AS Company (5.75 pct) were top gainers, while Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (20.82 pct), Alma Atermon (7.14 pct), Eurobrokers (6.25 pct) and Karelias (5.90 pct) were top losers. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 138 to 82 with another 57 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.18%
Personal & Household: -1.15%
Raw Materials: +0.97%
Travel & Leisure: +0.71%
Food & Beverages: -1.03%
Financial Services: +1.76%
The stocks with the highest turnover were HBC Coca Cola, National Bank, OTE and Public Power Corp (PPC).
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 20.00
Public Power Corp (PPC): 22.90
HBC Coca Cola: 21.30
Hellenic Petroleum: 10.56
National Bank of Greece: 31.50
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 16.30
Piraeus Bank: 18.50
Titan Cement Company: 28.00
 ADEX closing reportGreek futures contract prices saw their discount shrink dramatically in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover jumping to 213.217 million euros.
The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.15 percent and the June contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.95 pct.
Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 18,560 contracts worth 184.612 million euros, with 33,493 open positions in the market, while on tbe Mid Cap index volume was 61 contracts worth 1.394 million euros, with 254 open positions.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 19,251 contracts worth 24.363 million euros, with investment interest focusing on OTE's contracts (2,944), followed by Eurobank (1,382), Marfin Investment Group (1,857), National Bank (1,347), Alpha Bank (1, 027), Intracom (1,829), Mytilineos (1,509) and ATEbank (1,031).
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.272 billion euros on Friday, of which 605 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 667 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 270 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bond rose to 0.66 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 5.30 pct and the German Bund 4.64 pct.
In money market, medium-term interest rates moved higher. The 12-month Euribor rate was 5.43 percent, the six-month rate 5.12 pct, the three-month rate 4.96 pct and the one-month rate 4.47 pct.
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.545
Pound sterling 0.794
Danish kroner 7.516
Swedish kroner 9.439
Japanese yen 167.38
Swiss franc 1.624
Norwegian kroner 8.114
Canadian dollar 1.587
Australian dollar 1.652
 Reconstructed 'Argo' to sail on SaturdayA reconstruction of the legendary first long ship Argo, which according to ancient Greek myth carried Jason and his Argonauts to recover the Golden Fleece from Colchis, will set sail from the beaches of Volos on Saturday to the strains of the local sympho ny orchestra, assisted by some 50 people at the oars.
The ship will be seen off in the calm waters of Pagasitic Gulf with due pomp and circumstance, following the traditional blessing by Dimitriada Metropolitan Ignatios, speeches by Volos Mayor Alekos Voulgaris and Deputy Interior Minister Athanassios Nakos and an address by the head of the 'Argo' research programme, Vice-admiral Apostolos Kourtis of the coast guard.
The modern-day Argo is a reconstruction of an ancient Greek penteconter with a ram (a ship with one tier of 50 oars, 25 on either side) and a simple sail that was built of half-cured wood cut from forest timber.
It is built along the line of prehistoric ships of the Greek mainland in the 14th century B.C. and belongs to the same family as Homer's long ships and the later ram-bearing warships of antiquity.
The present-day penteconter Argo is expected to travel between 10 and 15 nautical miles a day until it reaches its final destination in Venice, stopping at 37 ports on the way. It will be accompanied by the ship Hellenic Seaways, where the rowers of the p enteconter will eat, wash, dress and receive medical treatment.
The ship's journey is expected to be completed in the port of Venice on August 12 and until July 7 it will be sailing in Greek waters, accompanied by coast guard vessels. During the trip it will raised six flags, equal to the number of countries whose wat ers it will traverse. These include Greece, Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy.
It is also scheduled to stop at several ports and harbours along the way, where it will remain for one day and be part of various cultural events.
Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas has officially opened an international conference on the journey of the Argonauts organised by the Greek Parliament and the municipality of Volos.
 European students attend programme on environment and cultureYoung students from 18 European countries aged 14-18 are attending an environmental awareness training programme in Thessaloniki within the framework of the Vienna Municipality initiative "Euroteens Meeting" held every two years in a different European ci ty.
The 1st Panorama High School and the 1st Giannitsa High School are the hosts of a total of 65 students and their escorts for the period between June 9 and 14. Participants will attend artistic events and visit archaeological sites in Vergina.
They also attended an event hosted by the Aristotle University's UNESCO Chair on the European Meeting of Students for a peace culture.
 Woman arrested for child-traffickingAn Albanian woman was led before a public prosecutor on Friday following her arrest at Athens' international airport the previous day as a suspected child-trafficker. She is accused to trying to illegally transport two children from Albania to Italy via G reece.
The woman, who was accompanying two underage Albanian children, displayed passports containing the photographs of other children while trying to board an Aegean flight to Milan.
She was immediately barred from leaving the country and the organised crime squad was alerted, which initiated an investigation into the case. They discovered that the woman had undertaken to take the children to Italy for the sum 3,000 euros each, pickin g them up from their parents and travelling to Athens from Tirana by bus. On their arrival, the two children were supposed to start work in Italy.
While being taken into custody, the woman also attempted to bribe one of the police officers, offering him 600 euros to let her go.
Police are now investigating the possible involvement of others in the illegal trafficking of minors.
 Cruise ship runs aground in Syros harbourThe small Maltese-flagged cruise ship "easyCruise Life" ran aground on sandy shallows in Syros harbor at 11:35 on Friday. The ship was in the midst of a seven-day cruise of the Greek islands and Turkey, with 353 passengers and a 105-member crew on board.
The ship, owned by the easyCruise company set up by Greek-Cypriot entrepreneur Stelios Hadjiioannou, was towed free of the sandy bottom with the help of a tug that led it safely into Syros harbour.
It will now be inspected by a technical team from the harbor corps to ensure that no damage was caused. According to the merchant marine ministry, however, no one was injured and no pollution was reported as a result of the accident.
The easyCruise Life had set sail from Piraeus last Saturday, with stops at Kalymnos, Bodrum in Turkey, Kos, Paros, Mykonos, Syros and was due to return to Piraeus on Saturday morning.
 Arrests for illegal possession of antiquities, guns and drugs in LakoniaFour arrests were made in the villages of Sykia and Metamorfosi in the Prefecture of Lakonia, in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, after police conducted raids in four local houses within the framework of an investigation following a robbery reported in t he region roughly 2 weeks ago.
The search revealed numerous antiquities, among them, prehistoric objects, coins dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods and Byzantine Era pottery.
Police also found tens of shotguns, including four stolen hunting rifles, hundreds of bullets, knives, a hand grenade, metal detectors, municipal authority seals and 178.5 grams of cannabis.
 Spate of overnight arson attacks in Athens and ThessalonikiA series of arson attacks targeting banks, car dealerships and private stores were reported overnight in Athens and Thessaloniki.
Incendiary devices exploded within the space of twenty minutes in several parts of Athens. A private car parked near a Hyundai car dealership was damaged in Neo Psichiko, while limited damage was reported at an Interspor sportswear store in Halandri and a Goody's fast food store in Keratsini.
More extensive damage was recorded in a Bank of Piraeus branch in Kifisia. One and half hour later, a car parked in front of a Hyundai dealership in Patisia was torched and destroyed.
In Thessaloniki, four incendiary devices, made of propane canisters, exploded between 4:40am and 5:10am in different parts of the city causing limited damage.
The first explosion was recorded in a Vodafone mobile phone company store in Toumba, followed by an explosion at a Goody's fast food store located in downtown Thessaloniki. A Goody's store in the district of Eptalofos and a Bank of Piraeus downtown branch were also the targets of early morning arson attacks.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks in either city.
 Kalamata twinned with the Chinese city of XianThe interior ministry on Friday approved a decision to twin the southern Greek city of Kalamata with the historic Chinese city of Xian, the former capital of ancient China.
 Partly cloudy on SaturdayPartly cloudy weather with westerly, northwesterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 5-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 13C and 33C. Mostly fair in Athens, with westerly 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 17C to 31C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 17C to 29C.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceFormer prime minister Costas Simitis' informal expulsion from main opposition PASOK's parliamentary group by party leader George Papandreou, and the energy problem that Greece is facing dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Papandreou expelled Costas Simitis, accusing him of undermining and destabilising PASOK", referring to a letter sent by Papandreou to Simitis, a two-time prime minister and his predecessor at the PASOK helm and currently a PASOK MP, inf orming the latter that he should no longer consider himself a member of the party's parliamentary group, but adding that he would not initial formal procedures for expelling Simitis from the PASOK parliamentary group (i.e. formal notification to the parli ament president) out of respect for the former party leader's contribution to PASOK and his political career.
APOGEVMATINI: "Boxing match hardens in PASOK - Former and current party leaders (Simitis and Papandreou, respectively) exhanged burning letters and are leading the party to the cliff's edge".
AVGHI: "Shock in PASOK - Papandreou 'expels' Simitis".
AVRIANI: "Full speed ahead to a new center party by members of the 'democratic' party (PASOK) - Simitis' 'expulsion' accelerates the dissolution symptoms in PASOK and causes rapid political developments".
CHORA: "He threw him off the train - For the second time, a Papandreou ousts Simitis from PASOK".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Papandreou throws the former prime minister off PASOK's parliamentary group 'train' ".
ELEFTHEROS: "Papandreou did not remain idle - PASOK before a split".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Definite rift with a dubious outcome- Papandreou states "You cannot be considered a member of PASOK's parliamentary group" - Simitis replies: "Do as you like, I will follow my conscience".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "At the extremes - PASOK in vortex of new crisis"
ESTIA: "Simitis' 'expulsion' is a fatal mistake - Papandreou's despicable action".
ETHNOS: "Clash in PASOK exceeds all limits - Papandreou decides 'de facto' expulsion of Simitis".
KATHIMERINI: "From the 'most favored' for the succession to a PASOK without Simitis - Papandreou 'expelled' Simitis from PASOK's parliamentary group ".
LOGOS: "Papandreou kicks out Simitis - New storm in PASOK".
NIKI: "PASOK found it's leader - George, son of Andreas Papandreou, makes an impressive move".
RIZOSPASTIS: The newspaper presents an interveiw with Communist party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on the occasion of the party's 90th anniversary.
TA NEA: "Show of force with a big risk - Papandreou decided to 'expel' Simitis".
TO VIMA: "He kicked out Simitis!! - George Papandreou 'expelled' him from PASOK's parliamentary group - Top-level clash in PASOK's reaches the extremes".
VRADYNI: "He 'expelled' the 'Simitis era - Papandreou ousted the former prime minister from the party's parliamentary group".
 UNSC approves resolution on UNFICYPNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
UN Security Council approved Friday resolution 1818, extending the mandate of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for another six months.
The Council calls at the same time on the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities to begin expeditiously fully-fledged negotiations towards a political settlement.
The resolution was approved after a three-hour delay, because the US permanent representative requested the reopening of the debate on the resolution, which had already been agreed by the 15 members of the Council.
The request, according to diplomatic sources, aimed to meet a Turkish demand to include a reference to two constituent states, as noted down in the joint statement issued after the May 23 meeting between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish C ypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
The Republic of Cyprus had already given its consent to the text of the resolution through a statement of its Permanent Representative Ambassador Andreas Mavrogiannis. The other 14 members of the Council, barring the US, supported Cyprus' position that an y further debate would violate the regulations of the Security Council.
The resolution reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions.
The Council ''expresses its full support for UNFICYP and decides to extend its mandate for a further period ending 15 December 2008."
Furthermore, it calls on both sides "to continue to engage, as a matter of urgency and while respecting UNFICYP‘s mandate, in consultations with UNFICYP on the demarcation of the buffer zone, and on the United Nations 1989 aide-memoire, with a view to rea ching early agreement on outstanding issues."
The Council calls on the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to restore in Strovilia, on the east of the country, the military status quo, which existed there prior to 30 June 2000. Turkish occupation troops have violated the military status quo in th is area and refuse to comply with repeated calls to return the situation to what it was before June 2000.
The resolution requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of this resolution by 1 December 2008 and to keep the Security Council updated on events as necessary.
The Council welcomes the agreement of 21 March and the Joint Statement of 23 May 2008 which, inter alia, "have demonstrated a renewed political willingness to support and engage fully and in good faith with the UN's efforts, reaffirmed the commitment of t he leaders to a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, and to consider further civilian and military confidence building measures."
It welcomes "the opening of the Ledra Street crossing which has helped foster greater trust and interaction between the two communities; reaffirming the importance of continued crossings of the Green Line by Cypriots, and encouraging the opening of other crossing points and the intention of the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Adviser at the appropriate time and to keep the Council informed of further developments and progress."
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 UN announce Pascoe's visit to CyprusUNITED NATIONS (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Michele Montas, spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, announced on Friday that Lynn Pascoe, UN Undersecretary for political affairs, will visit Cyprus for meetings with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat .
Speaking at the daily briefing, Montas said that Pascoe will be in Cyprus on June 17 and will hold separate meetings with Christofias and Talat.
She added that so far the programme of the visit is not yet finalised, adding that as things stand Pascoe's schedule includes only separate meetings with the two leaders.
A UN official told CNA that a dinner between Pascoe, Christofias and Talat, proposed by Pascoe, is not ruled out.
However diplomatic sources suggest that the Turkish side is said to have declined an invitation to such a dinner, expressing in this manner discontent over the fact that the UN SG's report and the Security Council resolution on the renewal of UNFICYP's ma ndate, approved earlier Friday, do not include references to the so-called ''isolation'' of the Turkish Cypriots.
Speaking to CNA, UNFICYP Spokesman in Cyprus, Jose Diaz said Pascoe arrives in Cyprus on Monday night and on Tuesday will have separate meetings with Christofias and Talat.
Regarding the possibility of a dinner between Pascoe, Christofias and Talat, Diaz said that the programme is still to be finalised, adding that ''what I can tell you definitely that he will meet separately with both of them.''
Pascoe's visit to the island aims to review the work done so far at the ongoing discussions between Cypriot experts at the seven technical committees and the six working groups, which deal with issues such as governance, the economy, territory and propert y. These committees have been set up after the 21 April meeting between Christofias and Talat.
The objective of the committees is to prepare the ground for substantive negotiations between the two community leaders, leading to a comprehensive settlement, which will reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
Christofias and Talat are expected to meet again in the second half of June and examine the results of the progress and determine whether or not to start fully-fledged negotiations.
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