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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-12-18

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] Gov't expected to unveil stability, development program Monday
  • [02] Greek FM begins tour of Indian subcontinent
  • [03] Tsohatzopoulos says Turkey's EU progress linked to ties with Greece
  • [04] Tsohatzopoulos seeks world condemnation of terrorism in S. Serbia
  • [05] Athens councilors to join mayor's new party
  • [06] Communist Party of Greece re-elects leader, ends congress
  • [07] OTE wins tender for Bulgarian mobile phone license
  • [08] Cyprus Airways may seek stake in Greek national carrier
  • [09] Greek-Turkish women's group calls for bilateral arms reduction
  • [10] Kostakis Collection of Russian avant-garde art goes on display
  • [11] Latest Turkish provocation recorded on Cyprus with new trenches
  • [12] Cyprus EU accession course reinforces UN efforts, EU official says
  • [13] European Union Business Information Center

  • [01] Gov't expected to unveil stability, development program Monday

    Athens, 18/12/2000 (ANA)

    The national economy ministrys first-ever stability and development plan to be submitted to the European Union reportedly forecasts growth rates for Greece of around 5.0 percent.

    The program is expected to be unveiled on Monday morning with forecasts for inflation, the public debt, unemployment, government surpluses etc. included.

    The program is the first Greece will submit, necessitated by its entry into the EU's 11-member euro zone.

    The stability and development program is mandated by decisions taken at the June 1997 Amsterdam summit. According to its decisions, the Unions Stability and Development Pact contains provisions for fiscal restraint and supervision, as well as economic policy coordination.

    Among others, euro-zone members must submit projections on the ratio of public debt to GDP, spending on state investments, GDP increase in real terms and levels of employment and inflation.

    [02] Greek FM begins tour of Indian subcontinent

    CALCUTTA, 18/12/2000 (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos)

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou began a wide-ranging tour of the Indian subcontinent in this West Bengali metropolis on Sunday, as his trip will take him, besides India, to Nepal and Bangladesh as well.

    In Calcutta, the Greek foreign minister observed a church service at the Eastern Orthodox Cathedral of the Savior, before visiting the Orthodox mission of West Bengal's orphanage along with the tomb of Catholic missionary Mother Teresa.

    The presence of ethnic Greeks in the famed city has been recorded since the 16th century, while the first Orthodox Church was built in 1713 and sold in 1920, with the current cathedral in use since then. A mission has been operated by the Orthodox parish - which falls under the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Hong Kong and Far East Metropolis -- since 1980.

    Papandreou subsequently departed for Nepal's capital of Katmandu.

    [03] Tsohatzopoulos says Turkey's EU progress linked to ties with Greece

    Athens, 18/12/2000 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that Turkey's progress towards membership of the European Union was linked to the neighboring country's ties with Greece.

    In addition, the Cyprus issue was part of Turkey's partnership agreement with the 15-nation EU, Tsohatzopoulos told a news conference on Saturday in Iraklio, Crete.

    The minister was speaking after a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart, Socrates Hasikos.

    Hasikos noted that his cooperation with Tsohatzopoulos was fruitful.

    [04] Tsohatzopoulos seeks world condemnation of terrorism in S. Serbia

    Athens, 18/12/2000 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Sunday called for international condemnation of Albanian terrorists operating in Presevo, southern Serbia, which is emerging as the latest Balkan trouble spot.

    "Albanian terrorists aim to restore violence and conflict, dividing the area," Tsohatzopoulos said.

    Condemnation from abroad was needed to help nip the phenomenon in the bud, he added.

    The minister was addressing a conference in the northern port city of Thessaloniki on the Greek view of closer ties between the European Union and southeastern Europe, organized by the ISTAME-Andreas Papandreou Institute with a local ruling PASOK party committee.

    [05] Athens councilors to join mayor's new party

    Athens, 18/12/2000 (ANA)

    A group of Athens municipal councilors is expected to join a new political party that the city's mayor, Dimitris Avramopoulos, has said he will found, local government sources said.

    Avramopoulos on Saturday called a meeting of councilors whose political beliefs he endorses, and all officials present renewed their backing for the mayor, also indicating they were likely to join his new party, the sources said.

    The meeting was ostensibly called to discuss the Athens municipal budget for 2001, which Avramopoulos forecast would show a surplus.

    Among councilors expected to defect to the mayor's party is Evangelia Velentza, a member of the main opposition New Democracy party's central committee, the same sources said.

    Avramopoulos was a member of New Democracy until the mid-1990s when he became an independent.

    Senior party officials chosen, sources say: Sources close to Avramopoulos said later that the mayor had chosen Kostas Triantafyllou to head the political bureau of his new party, whose headquarters are likely to open next week.

    The same sources said that others expected to hold senior positions in the party were as follows: Vassilis Talamangas (journalist); Yannis Golias (National Technical University professor); Thanos Vlastos (National Technical University professor); Yannis Delakis (a former deputy president of the State Auditing Council); Vassilis Rizas (a former finance ministry director); and Yorgos Ladikos (a former foreign ministry director general).

    Small party lashes out: Dimitris Tsovolas, leader of the small Democratic Social Movement party, blasted both the mayor's move and the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, which has welcomed statements by Avramopoulos on its role in the state.

    Tsovolas told his party's newly elected central committee that creation of the party served unnamed "foreign interests." In addition, Avramopoulos had failed to resign as mayor, dealing a major blow to democratic institutions and local government itself.

    He accused Church leaders of pretending to oppose "globalization and barbarity" and "the new order in Greece and the Balkans", but secretly backing them by welcoming Avramopoulos' political move.

    [06] Communist Party of Greece re-elects leader, ends congress

    Athens, 18/12/2000 (ANA)

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Sunday ended a congress with the election a new central committee, which, in turn, unanimously voted for Aleka Papariga to remain as party leader.

    In addition, Kostas Maragoudakis was elected as chairman of the party's central financial controls committee.

    On Saturday, delegates to the KKE congress had unanimously voted in favor of policies proposed by Papariga, and endorsed party finances.

    [07] OTE wins tender for Bulgarian mobile phone license

    SOFIA, 18/12/2000 (ANA / B. Borisov)

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, on Sunday won a Bulgarian state tender for sale of the neighboring country's second GSM- technology mobile phone license.

    Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov welcomed the outcome of the competitive bid tender in an interview to the BTV television channel.

    Under the terms of the tender, OTE will set up and run the GSM network.

    Earlier this year, its attempted purchase of Bulgaria's BTC state telecom in a consortium with KPN of the Netherlands broke down after major disagreements between the bidders and the government.

    The Bulgarian government intends to make another attempt to privatize BTC.

    [08] Cyprus Airways may seek stake in Greek national carrier

    NICOSIA, 18/12/2000 (ANA/G. Leonidas)

    Cyprus Airways may bid in a privatization tender for Greek national carrier Olympic Airways following an approach made by Credit Suisse First Boston, which is handling the sale for the government.

    Asked to comment on the Cypriot airline's possible intention to bid for the 51%-65% stake being offered in OA in line with the international tender published earlier this month, its president, Haris Loizides, did not rule out the move.

    "As Cyprus Airways, we attach very great importance to the Greek market. It is one of the markets in which we have aimed to expand and certainly events at Olympic are of interest. We are following them very closely," Loizides told reporters.

    On Friday, Cyprus' Sigma TV channel said that the island republic's national carrier would next week formally submit an expression of interest in the purchase of OA stock.

    In addition, companies from abroad were interested in joining a consortium with Cyprus Airways to bid for Olympic, Sigma reported.

    The Cypriot airline was keen to head a bidding consortium for purchase of the controlling stake in OA, with a possible view to a merger of the two national carriers, Sigma added.

    [09] Greek-Turkish women's group calls for bilateral arms reduction

    Athens, 18/12/2000 (ANA)

    The Greek-Turkish women's group "Women's Initiative for Peace - Winpeace" met in the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos over the weekend, deciding to work for a reduction of armaments by the two neighboring countries.

    The initiative was announced by the heads of the organization, former Greek first lady Margaret Papandreou and Zeinep Oral following the conclusion of sessions on the island, which lies across the Asia Minor coast.

    [10] Kostakis Collection of Russian avant-garde art goes on display

    Athens, 18/12/2000 (ANA)

    A portion of the prolific Kostakis Collection of Russian avant-garde art went on display this weekend at the Thessaloniki State Museum of Modern Art, which was created mainly to house the works purchased for 14 billion drachmas.

    Inaugurating the event, which has catalogues in English and Greek, was Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    Art aficionado Georgios Kostakis, a Muscovite of Greek descent, built up his collection between 1930 and 1960 by exchanging works of western artists for paintings dating from 1910-1930 by then unknown Russian avant-garde artists.

    The Greek state formally acquired the collection in April following an agreement between the Thessaloniki museum and representatives of the late collector's granddaughter, Aliki Kostaki.

    The Kostakis collection of 1,275 works includes paintings by Malevic, founder of the 'supremacist' school; Tatlin the founder of 'constructivism'; Papova; Rozanova; and Matiushin.

    The collection comprises mainly paintings, although sketches, engraved manuscripts and documents are also included.

    [11] Latest Turkish provocation recorded on Cyprus with new trenches

    NICOSIA, 18/12/2000 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Another provocation by Turkish occupation forces on Cyprus was recorded on Saturday with the digging and manning of trenches within the buffer zone in the Pyla region, in the southeastern part of the island.

    Turkish forces dug the trenches between two occupation outposts in what observers said was a reaction to stepped up security measures by British authorities on the Pylas-Pergamos road. A Greek Cypriot contractor working at one of the two British sovereign base areas on the divided island republic was abducted on the road this past week. Turkish occupation forces at press time were still holding the man.

    Nicosia has responded by protesting the action to the United Nations.

    Only Turkey recognizes the so-called "Turkish republic of northern Cyprus", a breakaway pseudo-state illegally declared (1983) in areas of the island occupied by Turkish forces since an invasion in 1974.

    [12] Cyprus EU accession course reinforces UN efforts, EU official says

    NICOSIA, 18/12/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    A senior European Union official believes that Cyprus' EU accession course will increasingly reinforce UN efforts to settle the political question and next year will be critical in this regard.

    "We expect to see a strong positive effect of the EU accession negotiations on the UN process," Michael Leigh, Director at the Directorate for enlargement of the EU Commission, who has just completed a visit to the island and is set to return for more discussions in the future, has told Cypriot journalists.

    He also said Turkey's recently clinched partnership agreement puts the country in the same structured course as other candidates, noting that the EU will produce a regular report on Ankara's efforts to align itself with EU norms and move closer to Europe.

    Leigh welcomed warmly the EU Council endorsement of the Commission strategy paper at the recent summit in Nice, saying this means the "EU road map is approved and as such it is an encouraging sign."

    He expressed the conviction that the forthcoming Swedish EU rotating presidency, which he described as "very ambitious", wants to pursue accession negotiations in earnest and added "I am very confident that we will make a lot of progress with these negotiations."

    "Next year I anticipate that the most hard core issues will be addressed," he added.

    He stressed in no uncertain terms the importance for Cyprus "of maintaining the momentum of legislative adaptation and proper enforcement of EU law", noting in particular the need to put into effect law relating to telecommunications, control of state aids and other areas. "The prospects of making progress in other chapters are extremely good," he told Cypriot journalists, at the conclusion of his trip here, explaining that the 17 chapters already closed provisionally for Cyprus means these are closed on the basis of commitment by the candidate country to enforce EU legislation.

    On the EU-Turkey partnership agreement, the Oxford and MIT educated professor said it was "extremely important and demonstrates that Turkey is a candidate as all other candidates."

    "We have a structure of accession for Turkey which is the same as the other candidate countries, whereby a regular report will be issued on progress with regard to this structure," Leigh said.

    The EU opened accession talks with Cyprus in 1998.

    [13] European Union Business Information Center

    NICOSIA, 18/12/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    The Office of the European Information Centers network in Cyprus will be upgraded to a full European Information Center with the same status as other Centers operating in European Union member states, according to a Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) press release.

    "This development will allow KEVE to upgrade the services it offers to local businesses through the European Information Center and will definitely contribute towards informing Cyprus businesses on issues relation to the Republic's harmonization with the acquis communautaire and developments in the EU in the business field," the Organization says.

    The Center will operate from the KEVE office in the capital Nicosia and will have electronic access to all other centers.

    The decision to upgrade the office was taken within the framework of the new EU program for businesses.


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