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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-11-23

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece says Athens, Nicosia hold key to Turkey's EU entry
  • [02] Gov't denies wrongdoing in defence procurements
  • [03] Netherlands wants to see Cyprus rift solved before EU summit
  • [04] Weather Forecast: Sunshine on Sunday

  • [01] Greece says Athens, Nicosia hold key to Turkey's EU entry

    23/11/2002 19:20:36

    NEW YORK (ANA/M.Georgiadou) - Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis said on Saturday that Athens and Nicosia held Turkey's passport for European Union entry in the neighbouring country's bid for membership.

    ''Turkey's diplomatic passport for entry into the EU is held by Athens and Nicosia,'' Magriotis told ethnic Greek groups in New York.

    He quoted Turkey as saying that Greece was not a rival but a key partner.

    ''Turkey has come to realise that only EU entry will end the impasse in which it finds itself,'' said Magriotis, also citing the country's economic woes.

    Magriotis, whose portfolio includes ethnic Greeks abroad, was in New York to attend Cultural Olympics Week and a regional conference of the Council of Overseas Greeks.

    [02] Gov't denies wrongdoing in defence procurements

    23/11/2002 18:40:42

    The government on Saturday denied wrongdoing in obtaining defence procurements following allegations by the main opposition party that it was knowingly overpaying for Apache helicopters.

    Spokesman Christos Protopappas said that a concrete rebuttal of the charges by New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis would be released on Monday, following a scheduled government meeting on defence.

    ''Mr Karamanlis is renowned for his struggle to undermine and ruin the country and its achievements on the altar of petty party political interests,'' Protopappas said in a statement.

    ''However, it is unprecedented and inadmissible to act like this in matters concerning the armed forces and the country's defence; and shameful to use baseless data and inaccuracy to create an artificial shadow over issues of major national significance. This so-called information is completely inaccurate,'' he noted.

    Finally, the spokesman said that National Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou had launched a drive to contain defence spending so that savings could be put towards the government's social policy.

    Earlier, Karamanlis had told his party's central committee that the state was negotiating a price of more than one billion US dollars for Apache helicopters, accompanied by a mark-up after signature, while Kuwait had paid 868 million US dollars for the same number of craft, which were also better equipped.

    He had also alleged the existence of ''rigging'' in defence procurements, including the supply of security systems for the Athens 2004 Olympics.

    [03] Netherlands wants to see Cyprus rift solved before EU summit

    23/11/2002 17:37:18

    THE HAGUE (ANA/B.Demiris) - The Netherlands said on Saturday that interested parties in the Cyprus problem should work to find a solution through talks, preferably before the European Union's Copenhagen summit in December.

    ''The view of the Netherlands government on the Cyprus question is that interested parties should assume responsibility and hold talks among themselves so that they can find a solution,'' the country's interim prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, told a news conference.

    He was speaking afer a meeting with visiting Greek premier Costas Simitis, who conducting a diplomatic marathon among European leaders over the Cyprus issue.

    Balkenende, who holds his post until national elections on January 22, said that a recent initiative by the United Nations had allowed the chance of a solution to the divided island's political problem.

    ''I have already stated that finding a solution before the Copenhagen summit could make a decision on Cyprus' entry into the European Union much easier,'' he noted.

    ''That is why we hope the two sides will assume responsibility and rise to the occasion,'' the prime minister added.

    Simitis told the same news conference that Greece hoped for a solution to the Cyprus problem as soon as possible.

    ''This is because we desire cooperation in the region, and because the problem of Cyprus' partition must finally come to an end,'' he added.

    Simitis said that EU member states still had critical decisions to take on enlargement of the 15-nation bloc, which should be made at the Copenhagen summit, and then ratified on April 16 in Athens during Greece's rotating presidency of the EU.

    [04] Weather Forecast: Sunshine on Sunday

    23/11/2002 15:42:47

    Sunny weather is forecast in all parts of the country. Winds variable, light. In the north, temperatures will range from 04C to 18C; in west from 08C to 21C; and in the rest of the country from 07C to 20C. Temperatures in Athens between 12C and 18C; and in Thessaloniki from 07C to 16C.


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