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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-12-09

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Simitis says EU support for UN efforts to resolve Cyprus problem 'important'
  • [02] Greece supports a federal Europe, Simitis says
  • [03] French President Chirac and Greek PM hold 30-minute talks at EU summit
  • [04] EU leaders make decisions on defense, social agenda and sports
  • [05] Greek Euro-MP slams new treaty under discussion, calls for new IGC
  • [06] Major Balkan cities' mayors focus on cooperation during Thessaloniki meeting
  • [07] 53 PASOK MPs table bill proposing a guaranteed minimum income benefit, unrelated to state insurance contributions
  • [08] Cyprus defense officials invited to Crete
  • [09] Interior ministry tables bill on entry and residence of foreign nationals in Greece
  • [10] Stocks nose down in profit-taking
  • [11] Gov't grants 32 ferry operating licenses
  • [12] Gov't offers tax break for three-year stake in mutual fund
  • [13] Axon Holding again cites interest in HAI privatization
  • [14] Inflation creeps up again in November
  • [15] Interior minister discusses allocation of Union funding to Greece's regions
  • [16] World's largest cruise ship may be built in Greece, serve as hotel for 2004 Olympics
  • [17] First three of 45 T-6A training aircraft delivered at Kalamata airbase
  • [18] Kaklamanis presents a tome of government records from birth of Greek nation
  • [19] Memorial held for slain British diplomat
  • [20] Olympic Games National Committee holds its seventh session
  • [21] Yiannis Sgouros elected secretary general of World Weightlifting Federation
  • [22] President Clerides comments on European Conference in Nice

  • [01] Simitis says EU support for UN efforts to resolve Cyprus problem 'important'

    NICE, 09/12/2000 (ANA A. Podimata)

    The European Union summit expressed its support for the United Nations efforts to achieve the resolution of the Cyprus problem in accordance with the Security Council resolutions, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Friday, during a press conference at the end of the first day of the EU summit.

    The Nice summit approved its final conclusions including a reference to Cyprus, which noted that "the European Council welcomed and expressed its strong support of the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, consistent with UN Security Council resolutions, and for the successful conclusion of the process, which he initiated in December 1999".

    The summit also "calls on all concerned to contribute to the outcome" of the peace talks.

    Simitis said that the reference to Cyprus has been included in the chapter on External Relations and noted that "this reference, at this moment, is particularly important, because there had been a discussion on whether the Cyprus problem had been forgotten due to Turkeys partnership agreement".

    Simitis said that "the Union states in the most official way in its conclusions of the summit that the Cyprus problem is one that concerns it and that everybody should contribute towards solving it".

    Referring to Turkeys partnership agreement, Simitis said that in its conclusions, the European Council "expresses satisfaction over the achieved agreement and simultaneously calls on Turkey to present to the European Commission its plan" regarding harmonization with Europe.

    The summits conclusions entitled Western Balkans said that democracy, regional reconciliation and cooperation based on respect for international obligations and each country's rapprochement with the EU, constitute a whole, Simitis underlined.

    He added that all five western Balkan countries interested in entering the Union would be treated on an individual basis, saying that regional cooperation was directly connected with their accession prospects.

    He noted that the regional EU program CARDS destined for those countries would allocate 4.65 billion euro for the 2000-2006 period, while the Union also offered the possibility of those countries inclusion to the European Conference.

    Simitis concluded his reference to the Unions foreign affairs noting that in the summits conclusions the EU leaders included a mention of the strengthening of the Unions external borders to combat illegal immigration.

    [02] Greece supports a federal Europe, Simitis says

    NICE, 09/12/2000 (ANA - A. Podimata)

    Greece supports the prospect of a Federal Europe based on the decision making principle of "dual majority", Simitis said on Friday, during a press conference at the end of the first day of the EU summit.

    "Greece", he said "supports the principle of a (European) Commissioner per country," underlining that the correct federal rule would take into account both states and populations, by a correct system of balance.

    "In the USA for example every state, whether small or large has two senators," the same holds true for the Federal Republic of Germany, Simitis said, adding that the same rule should be implemented in the Union as well.

    On the subject of the possibility of closer cooperation between member-states, he said that Greece would be in agreement "provided that there would be no rules, which would bar other countries fro from the chance to participate".

    The premier also said that Greece supported the retention of the unanimous decision-making on foreign and defense policies, when the vital interests of a member-state are at stake.

    He closed his remarks noting that "there is a need for discussion, as well as mobilization to create the vision of a federation".

    At the end of the first day, French President Jacques Chirac announced that the joint meeting of leaders would resume after bilateral meetings of all leaders with the French presidency of the Union conclude.

    He also said that he would meet with all other leaders personally, to access convergence and divergence of opinions on the issue of the Intergovernmental Conference at hand.

    [03] French President Chirac and Greek PM hold 30-minute talks at EU summit

    NICE, 09/12/2000 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    French President Jacques Chirac held 30-minute talks with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday night in the framework of bilateral consultations between the European Union's French Presidency and EU leaders. Greek diplomatic sources said the meeting was held in a "good atmosphere."

    On the question of strengthened cooperation, Chirac said the achievement of some kind of an agreement between the EU member-states is already beginning to appear. He gave no details, confirming the view prevailing that "all issues are interrelated and, consequently, either there will be a collective agreement or none at all."

    Greece accepts strengthened cooperation in common foreign and security policy on condition that the possibility will be maintained for a member-state to exercise a veto when invoking reasons of vital national interest.

    Regarding the issue of the European Commission's size, member-states are entering negotiations with two main trends.

    The "major" powers support a European Commission with a limited number of members (probably 20 members) as well as the enactment of a system of alternating commissioners, while the "smaller" countries, such as Greece, support a Commission with one commissioner from each member-state.

    [04] EU leaders make decisions on defense, social agenda and sports

    NICE, 09/12/2000 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    European Union leaders on Friday concluded a number of decisions on issues concerning defense, the social agenda and sports issues.

    On defense issues, they decided the creation of the main bodies on which the so-called "European Defense Force" will be based. These bodies will be the Political and Security Committee, the Military Committee and the Military Staff.

    Well-informed diplomatic sources said here that, following intervention by Britain, the text on defense changed at many points compared to the EU French presidency's plan.

    The intervention was due to Britain's refusal to accept the creation of a "European army" which will operate autonomously from the NATO alliance.

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in an interview with the BBC that there is no question of creating a European military force, which will operate independently from NATO.

    The statement is considered as being a reply to a statement by French President Jacques Chirac on Thursday, who had said that on security issues Europe would operate "in a coordinated manner and autonomously" from NATO.

    The 15 EU member-states intend to create a joint task force by the year 2003 which will be capable of undertaking military operations in 60 days' time, such as that in Kosovo, and stay wherever it is necessary for over a year.

    According to existing contributions made by member-states, this military force will exceed 100,000 men and will have 400 aircraft and 100 ships at its disposal.

    On the question of the social agenda, the EU leaders reached a number of decisions, which, however, are not of a binding nature.

    The directives they are giving to member-states are facilitating the participation of the biggest possible number of people in the labor market, securing appropriate working conditions for employees, facing the phenomena of poverty and discrimination, modernizing social insurance systems, promoting equality among men and women and safeguarding the rights of working people in candidate countries for EU accession.

    Another issue discussed at the summit was the "particularity of sports" in the EU. EU leaders acknowledged in their finalized communiqué that sports have particularities and cannot be handled as an ordinary commercial activity.

    However, they failed to agree on a change in existing EU legislation, which would have led to the overturning of the existing system of transfers, primarily in the sector of soccer.

    It appears that the taking of decisions of a legal nature will be postponed until the next Intergovernmental Conference, expected to take place in 2004.

    [05] Greek Euro-MP slams new treaty under discussion, calls for new IGC

    NICE, 09/12/2000 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    A European Parliament representative at the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), Greek Euro-deputy for PASOK Dimitris Tsatsos, said on Friday that the institutional reforms being discussed by the 15 EU member-states at the Nice summit were "gutless and lifeless" and would "deepen the democratic deficit within the union."

    At a joint press conference with a German colleague representing the European Popular Party, Tsatsos predicted poor results from the treaty now under discussion and said: "I would prefer no agreement on the new treaty to a bad agreement."

    He added that the technocratic approach used for the revision of the EU treaties was outdated and not viable in the future, and he urged the politicians to pave the way for a new IGC that would combine effectiveness and democratic legality.

    Asked about a joint Italian-German proposal to carry out a new IGC in 2004, Tsatsos said he would be in favor of such an initiative, provided that the European Parliament and the national parliaments of EU member-states were actively involved.

    [06] Major Balkan cities' mayors focus on cooperation during Thessaloniki meeting

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    Mayors from several of the Balkans' largest cities gathered in Thessaloniki on Friday for their first-ever official meeting, dubbed a gathering for "friendship and cooperation" by the major municipalities in the region.

    In welcoming his counterparts, Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos called for cooperation in order to upgrade the often strife-ridden SE European peninsula into an area of "stability, prosperity and humanity".

    Attending delegates include mayors from Albania (Tirana, Korce and Gjirokaster), Bosnia (Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Tuzla), Bulgaria (Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna), Yugoslavia (Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis), Slovenia (Krani), the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Skopje, Tetovo and Koumanovo), as well as from Turkey (Istanbul, Ankara and Bursa).

    Thessaloniki's Papageorgopoulos, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and Piraeus' Christos Agrapidis, among others, represent Greece.

    "Two basic conditions are necessary for us to plan for the future and implement solutions ... the first is to organize amongst ourselves in order to fulfill the primary needs of our constituents," Papageorgopoulos said adding:

    "The second is to develop cooperation and a spirit of solidarity that won't just remain in words only but will lead to actions, with the exchange of experience and know-how."

    The unique meeting's sessions conclude on Saturday evening at downtown Thessaloniki hotel, whereas a tour of local archaeological and historical sites is planned for the delegates.

    [07] 53 PASOK MPs table bill proposing a guaranteed minimum income benefit, unrelated to state insurance contributions

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    A group of 53 ruling PASOK's MPs headed by state deputy Theodoros Tsoukatos have tabled a bill to provide citizens with a guaranteed minimum income unrelated to their contributions to the state insurance system.

    The proposed bill was tabled in Parliament on Thursday, provoking reactions from Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who cautioned against excessive hurry during a Thursday press conference in France, saying that the issue was under review and decisions would be made in due time.

    Simitis, who is currently attending the EU Summit in Nice, France, has apparently instructed Health and Welfare Minister Alekos Papadopoulos to issue an announcement saying that the government cannot adopt the proposal "but will make decisions when the matter has been fully examined."

    The bill introduced by the PASOK state deputy, until recently also an advisor to the Prime Minister, basically targets low-income old-age pensioners and introduces a new cash benefit that is not linked to contributions to state insurance. This aims to ensure that beneficiaries and their families have sufficient funds to cover their fundamental needs and facilitate their "progressive social and professional integration".

    The benefit would vary in amount and duration and would form a part of a network of activities by the Health and Welfare and the Labor and Social Insurance ministries.

    On Friday, the deputies' action was criticized by the secretary of PASOK's Parliamentary Sector for Labor and Social Issues, Manolis Skoulakis, who said they should have first presented their proposed bill to the body, in the same way that PASOK ministers were required to do, before they tabled the bill in Parliament.

    Spokesman - Gov't unaware of proposed bill: Government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris refused to comment on the initiative on Friday, saying that the government had been unaware of Tsoukatos' intentions.

    He underlined that the government and prime minister had shown sensitivity to social issues in the past, and that this was well known, as was the fact that the government took a serious, careful and responsible attitude to financial issues.

    "When such matters are presented to Parliament for discussion" he added, "this means that they are mature and worked out in detail. Apart from this, the prime minister himself mentioned in his statements yesterday that the question of old-age pensioners on low incomes has occupied PASOK and that there is a process that is now in progress."

    He added that the government's program was being implemented without deviations and that the initiative by Tsoukatos and other PASOK MPs therefore had no effect, either positive or negative.

    He denied that the move caused problems for the government coming soon after the question raised in Parliament by 61 government deputies on Olympic Airways.

    [08] Cyprus defense officials invited to Crete

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    Cyprus defense minister Socrates Hasicos arrives Thursday in Iraklion, Crete on an official visit at the invitation of Greek deputy defense minister Dimitris Apostolakis.

    Hasicos, accompanied by Cyprus House of Representatives defense committee chairman Takis Hatzidimitrou and the defense committee members, will attend the swearing-in ceremony of the Infantry Reserve Officer Cadets, many of whom are Cyprus nationals.

    During the visit, which runs to Sunday, December 17, the Cypriot officials will also visit local military units, archaeological sites, monasteries, museums, research institutes, and the smaller island of Gavdos.

    Hasicos will also hold talks with local government officials.

    The Cypriot defense minister, Apostolakis and Hatzidimitriou are further scheduled to attend a display of torpedoes launched from a submarine.

    [09] Interior ministry tables bill on entry and residence of foreign nationals in Greece

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    An interior ministry bill on the entry and residence of foreign nationals in Greece was tabled in Parliament on Friday.

    The new bill regulates issues regarding entry visas, residence permits and the acquisition of Greek nationality.

    [10] Stocks nose down in profit-taking

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    Equities on the Athens Stock Exchange finished slightly down on Friday as profit-takers raked in their gains, mainly in banks, traders said.

    The general index finished 0.15 percent lower at 3,736.40 points, with turnover at 81.29 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks closed 0.23 percent down, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index for medium capitalization shares rose by 0.07 percent.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: -1.20% Leasing: -0.69% Insurance: -2.32% Investment: -0.98% Construction: +1.02% Industrials: +1.18% Miscellaneous: -0.28 Holding: -0.03

    The parallel market for smaller capitalization stocks ended 1.35 percent down.

    Of 359 shares traded, 187 declined and 151 advanced with 21 remaining unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Alpha Bank, Viohalko, Commercial Bank of Greece and Elval.

    Leading closing share prices (in drachmas): National Bank: 14,740 Alpha Bank: 13,765 Eurobank: 9,900 Panafon: 3,200 Lambrakis Press: 6,145 Hellenic Petroleum: 3,910 Commercial Bank: 18,950 Intracom: 9,795 Hellenic Telecoms: 6,040 Titan Cement (c): 14,780

    Equity futures end mixed, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished mixed on Friday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 0.23 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0.07 percent higher.

    Turnover was 19.5 billion drachmas.

    A total of 3,724 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 16.3 billion drachmas.

    On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 1,694 contracts changed hands on turnover of 3.1 billion drachmas.

    Bond prices drop in brisk trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Friday finished lower in moderate to heavy trade.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.615 percent from 5.610 percent in the previous session.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 66 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 198 billion drachmas.

    Sell orders accounted for around 148 billion drachmas of trade.

    Money supply grows in October: Growth in the country's money supply as measured by the M4N indicator accelerated to 13.5 percent year on year in October from 12.0 percent in September against an indicative target of up to 9.0 percent for 2000, the central bank said on Friday.

    Posting a rise were repos along with private deposits in drachmas and foreign currency, the Bank of Greece said in a statement.

    Attention should be paid to the overall figure and not to changes in the separate categories of the M4N indicator as the shifts in cash were largely from one to another, the statement added.

    [11] Gov't grants 32 ferry operating licenses

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis on Friday signed 32 new passenger shipping operating licenses that he said were based on the criteria of public interest, healthy competition and unimpeded access to islands.

    Two operating licenses were given to Attica Enterprises, four to its subsidiary Strintzis Lines, three to ANEK, two to Minoan Lines, one to Minoan Flying Dolphins, three to NEL and 17 to other companies.

    Attica Enterprises has to apply the licenses over the next 18 months, scheduling new ships capable of reaching speeds of up to 28 knots and having a transportation capacity of 1,600 passengers and 850 cars.

    In another development, a new ship belonging to Minoan Lines, the "Knossos Palace", will start plying the Piraeus-Irakleio route as of Saturday. The ultramodern ship has a speed of up to 31 knots and will cover the route in six hours.

    [12] Gov't offers tax break for three-year stake in mutual fund

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    The government on Friday submitted an amendment to parliament that allows tax relief for investors who remain in a mutual fund for three years.

    Under the amendment devised by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, 25 percent of an investor's purchase in a domestic equity or composite mutual fund will be deducted from total income in the third year after entry into the fund.

    The ceiling on the tax-deductible amount is 1,250,l00 drachmas, and the measure applies only once.

    Under the same amendment, the tax on domestic stock exchange transactions will fall to 0.3 percent from 0.6 percent on January 1, 2001.

    In addition, portfolio investment companies will acquire the right to spread depreciation of their losses from the Athens bourse's decline this year over the next five fiscal years. The phased depreciation begins in fiscal 2000.

    [13] Axon Holding again cites interest in HAI privatization

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    The head of Athens-based Axon Holding on Friday reiterated his group's interest in participating in any future tender for the part-privatization and management of Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI), the country's major aviation defense contractor.

    The tender for the sale of a stake in state-run HAI, often identified by its Greek acronym of EAB, was annulled last month by the government, with the national economy and finance minister saying "financial and other conditions were not met". The government also stated that a new call for tenders would be issued at a later date.

    Axon's Thomas Liakounakos, a high-profile local entrepreneur, also claimed from Thessaloniki that conditions included in the first tender "essentially precluded the possibility of an entirely Greek consortium" from being awarded the bid for 49 percent of HAI and the company's management.

    At the same time, he declined to speculate if Axon Holding - with stakes in the health sector, publishing and military deals -- would again join forces with Intracom, the Balkans' largest IT and telecoms corporation, and several French contractors, including aviation giant Dassault.

    "We were forced to cooperate with foreign concerns in order to participate in that (first) tender," he said, adding:

    "It's the state's right to achieve the highest possible price from those offered ... however, the correct thing would be for the state to have informed us of the lowest price it wanted in order to sell the company. If we had know it then we would have acted accordingly," Liakounakos clarified.

    HAI is set to participate in a wide-ranging contract to manufacture fourth-generation "Typhoons" for the Hellenic Air Force. The Greek government has in the past been quoted as putting the number of "Typhoons" it will purchase from the four-nation "Eurofighter" consortium at between 60 to 90 aircraft, depending on the percentage that HAI will have in the project.

    [14] Inflation creeps up again in November

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    Consumer price inflation in November accelerated to 4.2 percent year on year from 4.0 percent in October, the National Statistics Service(NSS) said on Friday.

    November's year-on-year figure is the highest in the last two years, propelled upward by high world oil prices and a strong US dollar.

    The rise, which drove up heating oil at the start of winter and transport costs, was anticipated, NSS said in a statement.

    Also showing an increase were retail prices of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and tuition fees at private schools, NSS added.

    The rate of inflation was not a cause for concern as oil prices had already begun to decline worldwide and the euro was picking up steam against the dollar, government officials said.

    [15] Interior minister discusses allocation of Union funding to Greece's regions

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Vasso Papandreou on Friday said that prefecture administrations would manage 25 per cent of the funds allocated to regional development by the European Union third community support framework fund.

    Speaking at the annual Union of Prefecture Administrations of Greece (ENAE) conference in Xanthi, northern Greece, she said that of the 17 trillion drachmas allocated by the Union to Greece, the country's central government was prepared to allocate 80 per cent of the total to regional development.

    In that light Papandreou called for the creation of a permanent committee of prefecture level representatives, who would then meet once a month and discuss the resolution of problems in local administration at the level of the prefectures.

    In his address to the conference, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis claimed that "the government does not have a development plan for the local administration."

    "The law for the management of the third community support framework fund does not take into account the democratic planning. It abolishes in essence the municipal, prefecture and regional councils and does not trust the representatives of local administrations in the management of community funds," Karamanlis said.

    [16] World's largest cruise ship may be built in Greece, serve as hotel for 2004 Olympics

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    American-based Freedom Ship International is discussing the possible construction in Greece of the world's largest cruise ship, which could also provide hotel space for the Athens Olympics in 2004, it was announced Friday.

    Freedom Ship International president Norman Nixon and the director of collaborating firm ERA, Claus Lang, announced the prospective plans to Kavala-Drama-Xanthi supra-prefect Constantine Tatsis on Thursday, after visiting the Democritos University's Polytechnic School in Xanthi to discuss an energy conservation method devised by engineer I. Moutzouridis.

    The American company's board of directors will decide on the shipyard to build the super-cruise ship, to be named "Freedom Ship", the cost of which is expected to exceed 11.5 billion dollars.

    The cruise ship, which will prospectively be used as a floating hotel for the duration of the 2004 Games in Athens, will carry out pleasure cruises throughout the world.

    Thousands of jobs will be created both during the construction stage and once it launches cruises.

    [17] First three of 45 T-6A training aircraft delivered at Kalamata airbase

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Friday attended the delivery ceremony at Kalamata airbase of the first three of 45 T-6A training aircraft ordered for the Greek Air Force.

    Delivery of all the aircraft will be completed over the next two years, while the total cost of the program will amount to 72 billion drachmas. Pilots will start training with the new aircraft as of September, 2001.

    In an address, Tsohatzopoulos hailed the increased interest shown by young people in the occupation of air force pilot in past years and announced that next year the profession will become accessible to young Greek women as well.

    Referring to the development of the Kalamata airbase to a unified air force training center, Tsohatzopoulos said infrastructure works totaling 13 billion drachmas will be completed over the next three years.

    [18] Kaklamanis presents a tome of government records from birth of Greek nation

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    At an event on Friday, Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis presented the 18th volume of records from the birth of the modern Greek nation, which is held in Parliament's library.

    The edition features 173 unbound documents from the period 1824-1826, mostly from the 2nd and 3rd Parliamentary session of liberated Greece.

    According to Kaklamanis, the documents are unshakeable proof of the struggles of the Greek nation to "acquire national independence and political freedom and establish democratic institutions."

    The documents are divided into four parts: the first contains applications by military leaders and armed forces for promotions; the second documents sent to the interior and military ministries from the provinces and individuals on local and private matters; the third contains applications by individuals to central government, especially on various fund-raising efforts for national loans and the Committee for the Sale of National Lands; finally, the fourth contains documents sent to 3rd national assembly in Piada.

    [19] Memorial held for slain British diplomat

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    A memorial for a British diplomat killed in Athens by a terrorist organization, was held Friday in Athens on the spot where he was gunned down six months ago.

    The diplomat, British defense attaché Brig. Stephen Saunders, was shot and fatally injured on the morning of June 8 by two gunmen on a motorcycle as he was driving alone from his home in the Nea Erythrea suburb to the British embassy in downtown Athens. The notorious "November 17" terrorist organization claimed the attack in a proclamation sent to an Athens daily.

    The memorial service, officiated by Rev. Malcolm Bradshaw, the senior Anglican chaplain in Athens, took place at 7:45 a.m., the time of the shooting, on Kifissias Avenue near the suburb of Filothei, attended by a representative of the Orthodox Diocese of Athens, public order ministry secretary general Dimitris Efstathiadis, representatives of the Greek foreign ministry, British ambassador David Madden, friends and associates of Saunders, diplomats and other officials.

    "We want to see the arrest of the cowardly killers by the authorities," Madden said, adding that Britain was satisfied with the collaboration between the Greek authorities and a team from Britains Scotland Yard investigating the killing.

    The envoy also publicly thanked the citizens who had provided eyewitness accounts and other information to the investigation.

    Efstathiadis reiterated the Greek government's and people's support for Saunders' relatives, but declined to comment on the course of the investigations.

    Saunders' widow and daughters, who have returned to England, were not at the memorial, but present was Michael Peratikos, the father of another "November 17" victim, Costas Peratikos, managing director of the London-based family shipping business that bought the once state-run Elefsis shipyards in 1992 but shut down the shipyards three years later, when accumulated debts reached 27 billion drachmas. Costas Peratikos was gunned down in May 1997 in an ambush in Piraeus.

    The senior Peratikos, who lives in London, has placed his hopes for tracking down his son's killers on the collaboration between the Greek police and Scotland Yard.

    After the memorial, wreaths were laid on the spot Saunders was killed, and posters were put up carrying two telephone numbers that citizens believing they have information that could assist the investigations could call anonymously: 1964 and 170.

    [20] Olympic Games National Committee holds its seventh session

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    The Olympic Games National Committee held its seventh session in Athens on Friday and the conclusion reached is that the country is on the right path for preparing the Athens 2004 Olympiad and should continue with the same pace.

    "The existing organizing body for the Olympic Games is workable and is based primarily on the participation of Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Sports participation has consolidated its funds. An improvement is being observed in speed rates, atmosphere and effectiveness. Of course, problems exist which have been located and can be overcome," Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said, adding that "there is the intention of all bodies for cooperation."

    Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki appealed to all to mobilize themselves.

    "We should all jointly mobilize ourselves. The success of the games depends on the collective effort of all the bodies involved. The path to 2004 is long. I am pleased that all have understood that steps of progress are being taken," she said.

    Daskalaki further said that "work being done is not mine alone but collective. We are working with appropriate rates, while it is an important fact that the climate is positive."

    [21] Yiannis Sgouros elected secretary general of World Weightlifting Federation

    Athens, 09/12/2000 (ANA)

    Greek Sports Secretary General Yiannis Sgouros was unanimously elected secretary general of the International Weightlifting Federation during elections for the IWF's new board held at an Athens seaside suburb on Friday.

    Tamas Ayam from Hungary, who was secretary general of the Federation until now, was elected President of the IWF.

    During a special event after the election was announced, awards were given to Greek weightlifters Pyrros Dimas and Kachi Kakiashvili, as well as to Turkish weightlifting champion Naim Suleymanoglu, for the three gold medals they have won in Olympic Games.

    [22] President Clerides comments on European Conference in Nice

    LARNACA, 09/12/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    President Glafcos Clerides said here Friday there are indications that Turkey may have turned a new page in its ties with the European Union but does not expect Ankara to respond to EU calls, as these are set out in the recently agreed partnership agreement, in the next few weeks.

    The president did not rule out the possibility of seeing the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Rauf Denktash leave the UN-led proximity talks, if he does not manage to secure his objectives but cautioned against any premature conclusions, adding "let us wait and see".

    Clerides said Dentkash's policy with regard to the peace effort is proof that there have been no turns for the worse in the peace effort.

    He also described the convening of the European Conference in Nice Thursday as "very useful" in that candidate countries were made aware of the problems the EU is facing in view of enlargement.

    "It is one thing to join the Union and another to see it function," he said.

    Invited to assess future developments in the Cyprus question, he said "Denktash's policy is proof that there has been no renegation, as some argue, but on the contrary there was a correct assessment that the UN-led peace talks can lead to a bicommunal, bizonal federation."

    Asked to comment on Denktash demand for a change of the basis and the procedure of the talks, the President said "if he continues along these lines, since he would not succeed in this, it is possible to see him leave the talks but let us wait and see."

    On Turkey's attitude towards Europe, the President said he could not say whether Ankara has actually turned a new page in its relations with the EU.

    Asked if he believed whether Turkey might respond in a quiet manner to European calls, relating to its obligations to Europe with regard to Cyprus, President Clerides replied "my feeling is that yes, Ankara will respond gradually but not between now and January."


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