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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-12-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM Papandreou and FYROM counterpart express concern over tension in southern Serbia
  • [02] Reppas reiterates condemnation for terrorism, following 'November 17' proclamation on Saunder's murder
  • [03] ND deputy says Greek public and politicians share a common desire to stamp out terrorism
  • [04] Greek defense minister calls Turkey a threat and argues for purchase of "defensive armaments"
  • [05] 42 countries and EU sign agreement against mafia-style gangs and money laundering
  • [06] Foreign ministry seminar on implementing international humanitarian law, sponsored by Red Cross
  • [07] ND party cadres call for opening the party to society
  • [08] Europarliament extends duration of six healthcare and prevention programs
  • [09] CSF absorption, procedures discussed at gov't meeting
  • [10] Union of Greek Banks issues guide to euro
  • [11] Greece's OTE permitted to participate in mobile telephony auction in Bulgaria
  • [12] New round of rate declines in wake of central bank cut
  • [13] Greek firms to set up telecoms, infotech center for SE Europe
  • [14] Gov't opts for park at current airport; mayors press demand
  • [15] Forthnet, Telecom Italia forge fiber optic deal
  • [16] Cosmote's customer base tops two million links
  • [17] Equities plunge, dragged down by banks
  • [18] Abkhazian abductors free Greek UN observer
  • [19] Stephanopoulos addresses Kalavryta Nazi atrocity anniversary
  • [20] Greek ambassador unveils commemorative plaque for Seferis in London
  • [21] Spokesman comments on Denktash's latest statements
  • [22] Britain 'strongly supportive' of UN process, minister says
  • [23] Greek Cypriot abducted by occupation forces

  • [01] FM Papandreou and FYROM counterpart express concern over tension in southern Serbia

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Sergan Kerim held their first meeting in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Wednesday and expressed concern over tension prevailing in southern Serbia, as well as their certainty over the good course of relations between Athens and Skopje.

    Papandreou and Kerim had a 30-minute meeting as the heads of the two countries' diplomatic delegations.

    Earlier, they had inaugurated new installations of the neighboring country's customs in Gevgeli, in the presence of FYROM Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski.

    Papandreou said, during a joint press conference, that during their meeting they had a telephone conversation with Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta and exchanged views with him on developments in the region.

    Papandreou spoke of an "alarming situation in southern Serbia", while his position was shared by Kerim who said the issue is of "vital importance" for his country.

    Papandreou said problems in the region couldnt be resolved with force and changes in borders, adding that "some of our thoughts will be conveyed to the session of NATO ministers tomorrow (Thursday)."

    According to Papandreou's statements, bilateral issues discussed included economic cooperation through the Stability Pact, the creation of an economic relations office by FYROM in Thessaloniki and the opening of a Greek consular office at Monastiri.

    On his part, Kerim said relations with Athens are proceeding "with small but steady steps in the new era". "It is these small steps which will lead us ahead," he added.

    "Our relations have a quality which can be gauged on the basis of European models," he said.

    On the question of FYROM's name, Papandreou said negotiations are continuing in the framework of the UN and expressed hope that the positive bilateral relations will also have favorable repercussions on this issue.

    [02] Reppas reiterates condemnation for terrorism, following 'November 17' proclamation on Saunder's murder

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    The only link between the government and terrorists is its desire to fight for the terrorists' final exposure, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Wednesday, following a proclamation by urban guerrilla group "November 17" in the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia".

    The proclamation referred to the June murder of a British military attache, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, which is being investigated by Greek police and Britain's Scotland Yard.

    Saying that the government was firm in its position that the terrorists should be brought to justice, Reppas said that a committee working on a new legal framework for dealing with terrorism, as well as the ordinary penal code, should have completed its work within the first few months of 2001.

    "We hope that this new legal framework will assist in uncovering terrorism," the spokesman said.

    At another point during his statements, Reppas said that the government did not engage in dialogue with terrorists, while noting that the anti-terrorism service did its job in the best way possible and it was not appropriate for it to participate in public debate on this issue.

    He refused to either confirm or deny claims within the "November 17" proclamation that a second gun had been used by the terrorists to carry out the hit against Saunders.

    Asked about the statements of former public order minister Yiannis Skoularikis, who claimed that members of the Greek secret service were involved in terrorism cases during the 1980s, the spokesman said that Skoularikis should bring any evidence he had to the attention of the authorities.

    Terrorist groups claims that Brigadier Saunders' murder was 'no mistake': Six months after it gunned down a British military attache on a busy Athens highway, the shadowy terrorist group "November 17" returned to the headlines on Wednesday with a proclamation which says that the hit against Brigadier Stephen Saunders was no mistake but possibly the most important it has made in its 25-year history.

    The five-page proclamation, written on a computer and stamped with the familiar red star on the front page, was sent to the Athens newspaper "Eleftherotypia" and claims that the police have withheld vital information about the shooting.

    The organization also claimed that, far from being a mistaken target, Saunders was the most important official in the British Embassy and was a more important target than CIA station chief Richard Welch, the hit that began the group's "career" in 1975. "November 17" insists, meanwhile, that Brigadier Saunders had been a key factor in the planning of NATO bombing raids in Yugoslavia, saying that he had been sent to Greece shortly before the bombings to oversee and coordinate British military forces participating in the operation. The groups also links Saunders to British military operations in the Falklands, Ireland and Iraq.

    In the same proclamation, the group says that it used two guns against Saunders, one its trademark 45-calibre pistol and a G3 semi-automatic weapon that actually delivered the killing shot.

    According to the proclamation, the group had obtained the G3 in August 1988 during the occupation of a Vyrona police station and had used it in the belief that Saunders might be driving an armored car.

    The writer says that the car window shattered after the first shot with the G3, which subsequently jammed. The group members carrying out the hit then fired four shots with the 45. but claim that the only shot fired by the G3 was actually fatal for the brigadier.

    Finally, the group claims that at the time that it carried out the murder, there was a CIA agent stuck in traffic at the next traffic lights, while a Greek businessman and his armed escort was about 100 meters in the rear."

    British Foreign secretary condemns terrorists' attempt to justify murder of British officer: British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook on Wednesday condemned the attempt by terrorists to justify the slaying of British military attache, Brigadier Stephen Saunders in Athens last June, following a proclamation by urban guerrilla group "November 17" in the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia".

    "I strongly condemn N17's attempt to justify their murder of Stephen Saunders. There can be no justification. As I have already made clear, Stephen Saunders played no role in the NATO action against Kosovo," Cook said.

    "We are working closely with the Greek police in their effort to bring these callous murderers to justice. We will not rest until this happens. We and the Greek Government will remain firm in our fight against terrorism," he concluded.

    [03] ND deputy says Greek public and politicians share a common desire to stamp out terrorism

    WASHINGTON, 14/12/2000 (ANA - A. Ellis)

    Visiting New Democracy deputy Dora Bakoyianni, speaking to an audience at the National Press Club on Wednesday, urged US officials to take into account heightened sensitivity to terrorism issues among the Greek public since the killing last June of Brigadier Stephen Saunders, a British military attache, in Athens.

    Bakoyianni, whose own husband was also murdered by the shadowy "November 17" terrorist group that killed Saunders, also urged the US mass media to show due responsibility and objectivity when covering individual terrorist attacks in Greece.

    Addressing an audience that included US officials from the White House, State Department and Congress that dealt with Greece and the surrounding region, ND's section-head for foreign affairs and defense said that the image of Greece sometimes presented was far from the truth while she stressed that the will to stamp out terrorism was now shared by all political parties in the country.

    "There are those who say that Greece should be officially designated as a terrorist country, I imagine something between Qaddafi's Libya and Saddam's Iraq, that Americans should not travel to Greece and that Athens should not be allowed to host the Olympics in 2004," she said, while underlining that these sort of statements had a negative effect on Greek efforts to combat terrorism and organize safe Olympic Games.

    She added that subjective and often misleading coverage of events often resulted in the problem being portrayed as "Greek terrorism" as opposed to "terrorism in Greece".

    Outlining the November 17's 25-year history, she noted that the group's original targets were collaborators of the 1967-1974 military junta and US officials in Greece, pointing out that the attacks were a reprisal to perceived US tolerance, if not actual cooperation with, the dictatorial regime and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    She also referred to anti-terrorism legislation introduced by the 1990-93 ND government, which included a witness protection program and trials without jury, as well as outlawing the publication of terrorist proclamations by the Greek press.

    "We underestimated one important factor," she said, "Greece continues to be a country in which anything that smacks of a police state provokes intense reactions."

    Now, she added, political will to deal with the problem was shared equally by PASOK and New Democracy and the time was ripe for a final attack on terrorism. She also noted upgraded cooperation between Greece, the US and Britain, including a cooperation memorandum between the US Justice Department and the Greek government.

    [04] Greek defense minister calls Turkey a threat and argues for purchase of "defensive armaments"

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    The policies of the Greek government aim at countermanding Turkey's tendencies to revise the status quo, as Greece remains under the threat of the neighboring country, Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told the Parliament Committee on Foreign and Defense Affairs on Wednesday.

    "It is clear that the threat from Turkey remains ... there is no certainty" for the security of the country, he said.

    At the same time Greece cannot ignore developments in the region or its commitments to international security organizations, thus it should retain its plans for "defensive armaments," Tsohatzopoulos said.

    Members of the committee expressed their opposition to the purchase of tanks worth 700 billion drachmas and the multiplicity of weapons systems procured for the Hellenic Armed Forces.

    Tsohatzopoulos defended the purchase and the multiplicity of weapons systems, saying that the tanks were included in a previous purchase contract, while the multiplicity of weapons systems was a political decision of the government.

    He also said that he would not sign any agreements for the procurement of weapons systems, including the Eurofighter, if they did not include offset benefits to the tune of 30 to 40 per cent of the contract's value.

    [05] 42 countries and EU sign agreement against mafia-style gangs and money laundering

    ROME, 14/12/2000 (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakos)

    The setting up of a mafia-style gang and money laundering are offences, which will be prosecuted worldwide after 42 countries and the European Union signed an agreement in Palermo, Italy.

    The agreement was one of the first steps taken in the capital of Sicily during the UN's world conference on combatting organized crime. It anticipates the lifting of a series of legal obstacles covering the activities of members of various mafia gangs.

    Consequently, wanted criminals will be unable to take refuge in these countries.

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said "this agreement constitutes a means of combatting crimes as a world problem" and underlined its importance.

    Two other protocols were also signed against migrant smuggling and the natural, sexual and economic exploitation of women and minors. In addition, cooperation and the exchange of information will be intensified between countries, as well as the control of ships, while repatriation procedures will be speeded up.

    Meanwhile, speaking at a press conference in Palermo, Italian pacifist Dino Frizulo said that since the early '90s heroin trafficking has been taking place from Turkey and the occupied part of Cyprus.

    "Turkey, thanks to the authoritarian regime, favored this increase and left drug dealers who control 80 percent of trafficking in Europe unpunished," he said.

    The conference as attended by delegations from Europe, America Africa and Asia.

    Greek Justice Minister Mihalis Stathopoulos, representing Greece at the conference, addressed the meeting on Wednesday and signed the text of the international agreement, saying that it is the first time that one passes from words to deeds.

    [06] Foreign ministry seminar on implementing international humanitarian law, sponsored by Red Cross

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    A seminar on the challenges of implementing the Geneva Convention and International Humanitarian Law began on Wednesday at the foreign ministry in Athens. The seminar is taking place under the auspices of the foreign ministry, the defense ministry and the justice ministry, with the support of the Red Cross.

    The proceedings, which were chiefly concerned with the implementation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions regarding the protection of non-combatants, prisoners and wounded during war-fare, were opened by Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis and Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis.

    The speakers noted that the general public was generally under-informed on International Humanitarian Law and stressed the need for its wider dissemination and implementation, as well as the need to cultivate a general humanitarian culture based on sensitivity and knowledge of society.

    [07] ND party cadres call for opening the party to society

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday said that the aim of the party was to become more effective and open to society, during his address to the ND Executive Committee, in light of the March party congress.

    He said that the congress would be democratic and transparent, adding that it would be conducted in accordance to the party constitution.

    The March 16 to 18 party congress, however, elicited several reaction by party cadres, among them Dora Bakoyianni, who addressed the party in a five page letter, calling for its "re-establishment", collective leadership, ideological clarity and a call for the return of expelled or otherwise inactive party cadres.

    Bakoyianni, who was in the United States, also said that the party should aim to promote changes in an "interactive organization without exclusions, expulsions or personal strategies of cadres".

    Former party spokesman and deputy Prokopis Pavlopoulos responded to Bakoyianni, saying that ND incorporated elements from other political orientations that would have disappeared if they were not included.

    He added that in the past the party did not employ democratic procedures and the rank and file of the party was "hostage of personal choices and ambitions", noting that unfortunate incidents of the past created party strife in the present.

    "The congress and ND are open to all those who want to collaborate for its rebirth and especially to those who happened to be outside the party. We are expecting them and they can offer a lot. The decision to respond to this call is theirs," he said.

    Later in the day during a television interview to a Cyprus private channel, Karamanlis responded to talk over a possible establishment of a new party in Greece, saying that in a country where democracy is well established there is no room for drastic change.

    [08] Europarliament extends duration of six healthcare and prevention programs

    STRASBOURG, 14/12/2000 (ANA - O. Tsipira)

    The European Parliament voted to extend the life of six public health programs to 2002, funding them with 77.1 million euro, following a proposal of Greek Eurodeputy Antonis Trakatellis.

    Trakatellis proposed the extension for public health awareness programs, training programs, cancer research, AIDS prevention, drug dependence prevention, monitoring of diseases related with environmental pollution and monitoring of the health condition of Europeans.

    The proposal was approved by the European Commission, while Council of Healthcare Ministers of the European Union is expected to also approve it, extending the life of these programs, four of which were set to expire at the end of 2000 and the remaining two at the end of 2001.

    [09] CSF absorption, procedures discussed at gov't meeting

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    Accelerated procedures to absorb funds from the Third Community Support Framework (CSF) was the focus of a high-level government meeting on Wednesday and chaired by the Greek Premier Costas Simitis.

    The ministers for national economy, development, town planning and public works, transports, labor, interior and health participated in the more than three-hour meeting.

    [10] Union of Greek Banks issues guide to euro

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    The Union of Greek Banks on Wednesday released a new publication entitled "The euro and us - 101 questions and answers for businesses and consumers".

    Beyond dealing with the specifics of the Greek market, the guide also outlines procedures adopted in euro-zone countries.

    Greece joins the euro zone on January 1, 2001.

    [11] Greece's OTE permitted to participate in mobile telephony auction in Bulgaria

    SOFIA, 14/12/2000 (ANA - M. Borisov)

    The public auction organizing committee responsible for is-suing a license for the development of the second mobile telephony network GEM has decided to permit the participation of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), as well as of the companies Vodaphone Bulgaria, TIM International and Fintour Holding. On the other hand, it did not accept the participation of the Turkish joint venture Roumeli Telsim Holding.

    The decision refutes recent reports appearing in a section of the Bulgarian press, which attempted to question, whether the Greek organization could meet the preliminary conditions set by the Bulgarian government.

    The international auction for the second GEM network in Bulgaria will take place on December 15. The lowest initial price for the license has been set at 40 million dollars and every "step" higher made by bidders should be at least five million dollars.

    [12] New round of rate declines in wake of central bank cut

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    Four banks on Wednesday announced interest rate cuts in the wake of a decline of 75 basis points in the central bank's short-term intervention rates this week.

    Commercial Bank of Greece, a large state-owned bank, is to lower its lending rates by up to 25 basis points and deposit rates by 75 basis points or more.

    The bank's savings deposit rate will fall to 3.75 percent from 5.25 percent and its base loans rate to 7.25 percent.

    Announcing similar reductions were Bank of Piraeus, ABN Amro and Bank of Attica.

    [13] Greek firms to set up telecoms, infotech center for SE Europe

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    Nine Greek firms and the Association of Northern Greek Industrialists said on Wednesday that they had set up an SA company that will create a research institute for telecommunications and information technology for southeastern Europe.

    The sector firms taking part in creation of the Thessaloniki-based center are Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Hellas-com, Intracom, Panafon, Intrasoft, Infoquest, Altec, Forthnet and Siemens.

    The institute is to have a start-up capital of 450 million drachmas with each company holding 10.55 percent of share capital each and the industrialists' association 5.0 percent.

    Shareholders want the center to act as the nucleus of a network of state and private sector bodies in the region that will survey and analyze sector developments in southeastern Europe as a single area.

    Each successive president of the Association of Northern Greek Industrialists will also be president of the research institute.

    [14] Gov't opts for park at current airport; mayors press demand

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    The government is apparently moving forward with a decision to turn the current Athens airport into a desperately needed park after the facility moves next year.

    A high-level ministerial meeting on Wednesday, chaired by PM Costas Simitis himself, also examined the possibility of hosting certain 2004 Olympics facilities on land vacated by the airport. Additionally, the national defense ministry was given an extension to transfer an air force unit and buildings from a base adjacent to the airport.

    No information was given on the size of the projected park or if a portion of the vacated land will be used for "low density" residential housing, something that government ministers have indicated in the past.

    At present, a large tract of land along southeast Athens' coastline includes two airport terminals (west and east) on opposite sides, with the runway in the middle. The same expanse hosts an airbase, a customs building, various warehouses, depots and other outdoor auxiliary facilities, whereas the airport's south-eastern quadrant borders on the concrete-laden greater Athens area's only golf course.

    Most flights, if not all, will be redirected to the new Athens international airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) in the first half of next year. The new airport is in the final stages of construction in the Spata region, east of Athens, by a German-led consortium.

    Mayors' demand: The crucial issue of turning the outdated airport and accompanying lands into precious green space has also become a "rallying cry" for the municipalities bordering the facility.

    In a press conference, mayors of four adjacent municipalities called for a "direct and sincere" answer to the question of the airport being turned into a metropolitan park for the greater Athens area, or, as they noted, "if curtailments (real estate development) will begin in order to find revenue."

    One of the mayors, Alimos municipality's Alexandros Aloukos, emphasized that per capita green space for a resident of the greater Athens area equals a pitiful 2.5 square meters; as opposed to 50 in Washington D.C., 30 in Sofia, 25 in Vienna, 13 in Berlin, 10 in Rome and nine square meters for residents of London.

    He added that turning the roughly 650 hectares of land now used by the airport into a park will increase that average to four square meters per resident, an increase of nearly 60 percent.

    Representatives from the four municipalities - Argyroupolis, Glyfada and Hellenikon are the other three - have in the past criticized what they called "vague points" in the law passed to transfer the airport, while proposing that its management be assigned to a new organization with the municipalities' participation.

    [15] Forthnet, Telecom Italia forge fiber optic deal

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    Forthnet, a listed internet services provider, on Wednesday announced that it was planning to set up a fiber optic network with Telecom Italia over the next three years.

    The Italian telecommunications company is a 5.0 percent shareholder in Forthnet.

    The Greek firm's managing director, Pandelis Tzortzakis, told a news conference that Forthnet was awarded a permit by the National Telecommunications and Post Offices Commission on Monday to implement the investment, budgeted at 50 million US dollars.

    [16] Cosmote's customer base tops two million links

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    Cosmote, a mobile phone operator, said on Wednesday that its customer base had topped two million connections from around one million a year ago, showing one of the fastest sector growth rates in Europe.

    The acquisition of a further one million customers was achieved despite a phased reduction in discounts on phone appliance, Cosmote said in a statement.

    The company is a subsidiary of state Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse.

    [17] Equities plunge, dragged down by banks

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    Equities on the Athens Stock Exchange finished sharply lower in light trade on Wednesday amid jitters that stock-brokers and executives from listed firms would be called to testify by a prosecutor as part of an investigation into alleged malpractice.

    The Athens general index finished 3.15 percent lower at 3,498.69 points, with turnover at 106.03 billion drachmas.

    The market fell throughout trade, with the heavily weighted banking sector dragging prices down further from mid-session.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks closed 2.86 percent down, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index for medium capitalization shares fell by 3.08 percent.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: -2.60% Leasing: -5.71% Insurance: -2.84% Investment: -2.64% Construction: -3.50% Industrials: -3.93% Miscellaneous: -3.21 Holding: -3.96

    The parallel market for smaller capitalization stocks ended 2.71 percent down.

    Of 357 shares traded, declines led advances at 309 to 40 with eight remaining unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks were National Bank of Greece, Piraeus Leasing and National Real Estate.

    Main closing share prices (in drachmas):National Bank: 14,295 Alpha Bank: 12,995 Eurobank: 7,200 Lambrakis Press: 5,600 Hellenic Petroleum: 3,580 Commercial Bank: 17,900 Intracom: 8,800 Hellenic Telecoms: 5,820 Titan Cement (c): 14,155

    Bond prices rise in heavy trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished higher in heavy trade with institutional investors abroad starting to build their portfolios for 2001 and domestic players trying to offset their losses from the poorly performing Athens bourse.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.529 percent from 5.64 percent in the previous session.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 61 basis points, the same as a day earlier.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 237 billion drachmas from 165 billion drachmas in the session before.

    Buy orders accounted for around 154 billion drachmas of trade.

    Drachma up vs. euro, down vs. dollar: The drachma on Wednesday ended higher against the euro and lower versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 340.720 drachmas from 340.740 drachmas in the previous session.

    Also at the fix, the dollar was set at 389.680 drachmas from 387.620 drachmas a trading day earlier.

    [18] Abkhazian abductors free Greek UN observer

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    Abkhazian abductors on Wednesday released two UN military observers, a Greek and a Polish officer, to Georgian authorities.

    Both were reported as being in good health.

    Hellenic Army Capt. Efstathios Kokkinidis and a Polish colonel were abducted last Sunday during a patrol in strife-torn Abkhazia's Konto gorge.

    [19] Stephanopoulos addresses Kalavryta Nazi atrocity anniversary

    Athens, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Wednesday addressed the annual memorial service for the 1,300 victims of the World War II Nazi occupation forces at the village of Kalavryta in the Peloponnese.

    "We remember, we honor with pride our dead. Our people has the ability to transform the anniversaries of sorrow - the days of martyrdom - to days of celebration, pride, national honor without forgetting the pain, which remains for ever at the hearts of people, and that is the important point," Stephanopoulos said during a dinner hosted in his honor by the municipality of Kalavryta.

    [20] Greek ambassador unveils commemorative plaque for Seferis in London

    LONDON, 14/12/2000 (ANA)

    Greece's Ambassador in London Alexandros Sandis on Wednesday unveiled a commemorative plaque in honor of Greek poet and Nobel laureate George Seferis.

    The event took place at the residence of the Greek ambassador in London, where the poet lived between 1957 and 1962, when he served as Greece's ambassador to Britain.

    The English Heritage Foundation blue plaque unveiling was the final event of a series entitled "Greece in Britain", that took place in the British capital throughout the year and coincided with the 100th anniversary of Seferis' birth.

    "A Seferis Blue Plaque at this address is a befitting completion of a circle that opened when the poet visited London for the first time as a young student some eighty years ago", Sandis said, during his address.

    The President of the Anglo-Hellenic League Lord Jellico, former British ambassadors to Greece Sir David Myers and Sir Peregrine Rhodes and the High Commissioner of Cyprus Myrna Kleopa were among those present at the event.

    [21] Spokesman comments on Denktash's latest statements

    NICOSIA, 14/12/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said on Wednesday the Turkish Cypriot side must have got the message that through threats it cannot but increase its international isolation.

    Commenting on statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, that he would be going to Geneva after all in late January, but not in the context of UN-led proximity talks on the Cyprus problem, Papapetrou said "as we approach the sixth round, I have no doubt that Denktash will try to reverse all which he has said to justify his threats and his exposure to the public opinion, that he abandoned the talks and there is no meaning in returning to them".

    Papapetrou said "Denktash will go to the talks" and that "the Turkish side must have got the message that with any threats and efforts to blackmail both the United Nations and the Cyprus government, it cannot achieve anything else, but to broaden and deepen its international isolation".

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the island.

    UN-led proximity talks, separate meetings of the UN with President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash, began in December 1999, aiming at reaching a comprehensive settlement.

    The UN has invited the two sides to a sixth round in late January in Geneva. Recently, Denktash had said he would not be attending them.

    [22] Britain 'strongly supportive' of UN process, minister says

    LONDON, 14/12/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    "The United Kingdom remains strongly supportive of the UN process and is working hard to ensure that all involved continue to cooperate fully with the UN Secretary-General's efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus", British Minister of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Keith Vaz has said.

    Speaking at the House of Commons and replying to a question put forward by Labor MP Andrew Love, Vaz said the UK wants "all groups to participate" in the peace effort and expressed full confidence in Britain's special representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay.

    [23] Greek Cypriot abducted by occupation forces

    NICOSIA, 14/12/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    The government of Cyprus considers the abduction of 40-year-old Greek Cypriot Panicos Tziakourmas by the Turkish occupation forces on Wednesday as an act of vengeance to the Republic's arrest of Turkish Cypriot Omer Tekoglou on drug trafficking charges, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said.

    Papapetrou added he believed there was no connection between the incident and the political developments on the Cyprus issue, but considered it as a part of a pattern followed by the illegal regime for 26 years.

    "This tactic, followed by the Turks, with the occasional abductions (of Greek Cypriots) is something which steadily appears these past 26 years of occupation", Papapetrou said expressing his view that "therefore (the incident) is not connected to the developments on the Cyprus issue, but is connected to the mentality of the occupation forces".

    Invited to comment on threats by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that if Cyprus' authorities did not release Tekoglou, he would make such moves, Papapetrou said that "you have the proof that the reason they carried out this illegality was revenge, because the Republic, as a state of legality and respect for international law and order, exercised its basic obligations to combat a drug dealer, to arrest him and to bring him before justice".

    The illegal regime abducted Tziakourmas in the occupied by Turkish troops area of Pergamos, where he went to pick up Turkish Cypriot workers for construction works. The occupation forces claimed he carried drugs.

    Tziakourmas will be brought before an illegal "court" in the occupied areas on Thursday.

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