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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-10-11
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Palestinian President Arafat condemns terrorism11/10/2001 21:55:13
"We are against terrorism, especially of the kind that aims at the lives of innocent citizens. We are against terrorism that breads fanaticism and feeds the forces of darkness," Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said on Thursday, in his address to Greece's ruling PASOK party 6th congress opening session.
Arafat entered the hall of the congress flanked by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, warmly welcomed by the more than 6,000 delegates.
"We are opposed (to terrorism) because we are victims of the worst form of terrorism, which is occupation," he stressed, adding "all that the Palestinian people suffer today do not happen anywhere else in the world. For this reason we declare that we are resolved to continue the struggle against the Israeli occupation".
"We have called a cease-fire so as to continue negotiations for an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, but we were not met with a response by the authorities of occupation," he said.
"Our hand is given out to peace. You are all witnesses of this stance of ours. We deeply respect the Greek government and the Greek people for its stance, as was expressed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis repeatedly and especially when during the recent (EU) summit he took a stand for the resolution of the problem based on United Nations resolutions for the implementation of the brave peace agreements that I signed with my partner in peace Yitzhak Rabin, who was killed by the extremist forces of Israel," Arafat said.
 PM gives opening speech at PASOK's 6th congress11/10/2001 21:53:13
Prime Minister Costas Simitis asked for a strong and clear mandate from ruling PASOK's 6th congress on Thursday, which would allow him to turn his visions for a strong Greece into reality.
In his opening address to the four-day congress that began at midday on Thursday, Simitis lashed main opposition New Democracy and did not spare the 'internal opposition' within his own party, nor Archbishop Christodoulos, head of the Orthodox Church of Greece.
The adversary, Simitis told delegates, was not within ruling PASOK but in main opposition ND, which he described as the party of the few, of large capital and of a market that did not want rules.
It was the Right, Simitis stressed, that was a threat for Greece's European prospects, economic growth, social cohesion, welfare state and the future and security of the Greek people.
It wasn't only the party's declared enemies that opposed the policies of the government and PASOK, Simitis added in a reference to dissidents within the ruling party. These were also undermined by a corrosive picture that was being methodically built up and presented as a so-called revelation of the truth.
If these phenomena were allowed to predominate, he said, this would hamper the implementation of these policies.
The congress, Simitis stressed, should give a clear answer to all these crucial issues and provide answers that would lead to a new victory.
The 6th PASOK congress began with the observance of a minute's silence for the victims of terrorism, after which Simitis once again condemned the terrorist attack on the United States.
Terrorism was a crime, he said, with no excuse, no alibi, no moral basis and no political ideology, while an effective reply to it that brooked no argument was the defence of democratic values and a free society.
Simitis then sketched out the broader goals of his government, saying that these would be focused on economic growth, a new social state and a stronger international position for Greece.
While he defended the government's economic policies, he also admitted that certain mistakes had been made.
The congress, originally scheduled for March 2002, was brought forward six months to renew and update Simitis' mandate, shaken by the government's attempt to introduce controversial pension reforms and PASOK's slide in opinion polls.
Apart from discussions on party policy, the congress will also vote for a party president. While Simitis' candidacy is not likely to be contested, hardline leftists who oppose PASOK's reformist wing have talked about staging a 'blank ballot' protest vote against him.
 Representatives of foreign parties salute 6th PASOK party congress11/10/2001 18:41:28
Representatives of the European Socialist Party, Cyprus' AKEL and KISOS as well as Albania's Socialist Party addressed the opening day of the ruling PASOK party congress on Thursday.
"Cyprus belongs to the next enlargement round of the European Union - this is clear and should be so in the future," European Socialist Party (ESP) Parliamentary representative Mechtild Rothe said in her salute.
"We want the resolution of the political problem and the end of the occupation of northern Cyprus, the peaceful co-existence of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cyprus. This is not, however, a precondition for accession and Mr. Verheugen two days ago said just that clearly," she added.
"The window of opportunity for the Turkish Cypriot side will be open until the middle of next year. Until now the Turkish-Cypriot side did not take advantage of this opportunity. At the end of next year the time of truth will come. The enlargement will take place with Cyprus," Rothe said.
Cyprus' AKEL party secretary general and Cyprus' House of Representatives President Dimitris Christofias, in his address, said that "rightly so the international community has allied in a front against terrorism and the war satisfies rightly so the feeling of indignation of the average American citizen and all those who have interests by the consumption of war materiel".
"The war, however, is not a solution. If it expands to other countries it will cause destruction and innocent victims," he noted.
He added that the social inequality and oppression along with the injustice committee for a long time against the Palestinians and the people of Cyprus "give birth to desperation, which is taken advantage of by unscrupulous terrorists. These are the elements that the international community must confront, as well as it should confront state terrorism, a victim of which is the people of Cyprus."
"We should work toward promoting the Cyprus problem as a source of tension, even in the context of the struggle against terrorism in the region of Southeastern Mediterranean," he said.
Cyprus' KISOS party leader Yiannakis Omirou said that "Cyprus remains a victim of terrorism for the past 27 years - the raw violence keeps our homeland divided.
He also noted the terrorist attack in the United States showcases the current global crisis.
Among the foreign leaders that addressed the opening session of the congress, was Albania's Prime Minister Ilir Meta who expressed his satisfaction for the improvement of relations between the two countries, adding that "the Greek minority in Albania will continue to be an important part of new models, we want to achieve with the further democratization and Europeanization of Albania".
 Weather Forecast: Sunny on Friday11/10/2001 17:47:04
Sunny in most parts of Greece on Friday, with local light cloud in the eastern parts of the country. Light northerly winds in western Greece, northerly moderate winds in the east turning to gale force in the Aegean. In the north, temperatures will range from 13C to 27C, in the west from 17C to 30C and in the rest of the country from 18C to 29C. Sunny in Athens, some cloud in the north and east of Attica prefecture, with temperatures between 18C and 29C. Sunny in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 15C to 27C.
 Israeli minister Sneh to attend ruling PASOK congress11/10/2001 15:35:15
Israeli Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh will arrive in Athens on Friday to represent his countrys Labor Party at ruling PASOKs 6th congress, which began in the Greek capital on Thursday.
Sneh served as defence minister in the previous Israeli government of Ehud Barak, while he currently is a member of the Israeli cabinets security council.
On the sidelines of the congress, the Israeli minister and top Labor Party cadre is expected to meet with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Greek counterpart Christos Verelis.
Snehs presence at the ruling partys congress will mark the first time a serving Israeli minister has officially attended a similar PASOK event, according to a press release issued by the Israeli embassy in Athens.
 Greek trade deficit falls 8.2 pct in first half11/10/2001 14:45:52
Greece's trade deficit fell to 8.284 billion US dollars in the first six months of 2001 from 9.029 billion the same period last year, a decline of 744.9 million dollars or 8.2 percent, official figures showed on Thursday.
Imports totalled 12.996 billion US dollars in the January-June period, from 14.702 billion last year, a drop of 11.6 percent, while exports totalled 4.711 billion dollars from 5.672 billion, a decline of 16.9 percent.
 PASOK's 6th congress begins in Athens11/10/2001 14:43:09
The 6th PASOK congress, scheduled to last four days, began at midday on Thursday with the observance of a minute's silence for the victims of terrorism. This was followed by an opening speech by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, in which he condemned the terrorist attack on the United States.
Simitis sketched out the broader goals of his government, saying that these would be focused on economic growth, a new social state and a stronger international position for Greece.
He concluded by asking for a clear and strong mandate and clear-cut answers to the party's dilemmas, so that it could continue its work unhindered.
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