|Sunday, 15 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-02-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greece backs India for UN Security Council seat
NEW DELHI, 06/02/2001 (ANA G. Papachristos)Greece supports Indias bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and believes that it should enjoy privileged relationship with the European Union, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said here on Monday.
During a dinner hosted by Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for Simitis and the Greek delegation, the two leaders noted the close relations between Greece and India, as well as the possibilities for future cooperation in the trade, economic, investment, agricultural and cultural sectors.
Simitis, heading a government delegation, officially began his six-day tour of India on Monday, as he was greeted by his counterpart Atal Behari Vajpayee. He was also due to meet President K.R. Narayanan.
Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi and Minister of State on External Affairs Venkata Krishnam Raju Uppalapati signed a memorandum of cooperation in the agricultural sector.
Papazoi is participating in the Greek delegation that also includes Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas and National Economy Deputy Minister Yiannis Zaphiropoulos, as well as Greek businessmen who want to develop contacts in India with the prospect of investing in the country.
During the dinner the two prime ministers also addressed issues including bilateral relations, the Cyprus and Kashmir problems and expressed feeling of sorrow for the recent destructive earthquake that hit India.
Simitis: Further improvement of Greek-Turkish relations depends on Cyprus issue: During the dinner, Greek premier Simitis noted Greeces efforts to promote democracy and stability in the Balkans, both as an EU member and bilaterally with countries of the region, which included Turkey.
He said, however, Greek-Turkish relations can not go very far, if the present conditions on the island (of Cyprus) remain unchanged.
"Our aim is a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem, with the establishment of a bizonal, bi-communal federation, as prescribed by the relevant decisions of the United Nations Security Council," Simitis said, having mentioned that "Greece supports a just and peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem".
On a different note, Simitis said that "Greece has the privilege to maintain a long friendship (with India)... and this is reflected on the close cooperation within international organizations and our mutual understanding on regional problems, which our countries face."
While he also called on Greek businessmen participating in the Greek delegation to examine the possibilities for further cooperation in industrial, trade and maritime ventures in India, in response to a mention of the subject by his Indian counterpart. On his part, Vajpayee expressed the "gratitude of my government for the voluntary and generous aid, which the government of Greece sent for the confrontation of the deadly earthquake" that hit India killing tens of thousands of people.
He called on Greek businessmen to take advantage of the opportunities presented in his country for investments, which were created "by a wide program of economic liberalism and industrial development".
Vajpayee also called for the cooperation of the two countries in combatting organized crime, terrorism and money laundering.
Earlier in the day, Simitis was awarded an honorary doctorate of law by the Nehru University's Law School.
During an address, the Greek PM referred to the charter of fundamental human rights as set out by the European Union, saying it comprises a decisive step in the bloc's development and opens the way for political union.
Simitis emphasized that the fundamental rights of man must always be respected and protected, regardless of an individual's citizenship, while noting that such rights are afforded to third country nationals in the EU.
In touching on bilateral relations, Simitis said that "your country emerged in our era as an international power, as the most populous parliamentary democracy and as the cross-roads of Asia ... We share common values and ancient historical ties."
In other statements, Simitis expressed sympathy for the victims of the massive earthquake in the western state of Gujarat on Jan. 26.
Greek deputy defense minister visits "Aero-India 2001": Greek Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis arrived in India, at the invitation of Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes to view the exhibits of "Aero-India 2001" defense exhibition.
Apostolakis will hold a series of meetings with his counterparts from several countries, also visiting the exhibition.
His visit is independent from the five-day official visit of Prime Minister Costas Simitis to the subcontinent.
 Greek, Turkish reps resume talks over military CBMs
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Representatives of Greece and Turkey on Monday resumed discussions over Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) in the Aegean, as the two countries' permanent representatives to NATO are set to meet in Brussels.
Discussions - held under the alliance's auspices - are expected to focus on military-related CBMs, particularly the prior announcement and holding of aeronautical exercises in the Aegean's international waters and airspace.
Whereas an initial agreement has been achieved to preclude the possibility of simultaneous exercises being scheduled, Athens and Ankara reportedly have differing views on agreements covering warplanes' unarmed flights; abolishing the requirement that warplanes submit previous flight plans, as well as direct communication between the NATO sub-headquarters of Larissa, in central Greece, and Eskisehir, in west-central Turkey.
In Athens, a foreign ministry spokesman said high-ranking diplomats from Greece and Turkey would meet next month to discuss CBMs dealing with institutional issues, such as cooperation in the environmental sector.
In response to recent statements by Turkey's permanent representative to NATO, who cited "dangers" of a "military confrontation" if Ankara is excluded from decision-making mechanisms in any future European Union defense structure, spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said the Union has taken its decisions at the Feira and Nice summits, "which Turkey is obliged to respect."
 Upcoming visit by Bulgarian foreign minister on Thursday
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Bulgarian foreign minister Nadezhda Mihailova is to visit Greece on Thursday, the foreign ministry announced.
Foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis told the press on Monday that the agenda for talks between Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Bulgarian counterpart would include bilateral relations, the situation in the Balkans and developments related to European Union enlargement.
Bulgaria's foreign minister is also scheduled to meet with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, as well as Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, whose recently announced new party has shone in the latest opinion polls.
 Swedish FM says Republic of Cyprus can join EU without solution to Cyprus issue
ISTANBUL, 06/02/2001 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)A solution to the Cyprus issue is not a precondition for the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union, Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lint said.
The Republic of Cyprus can join the EU without the Cyprus issue having been resolved, Lint said in an interview with the newspaper Cumhurriyet, adding that what would be ideal of course would be for Cyprus to join the EU after all problems have been resolved.
Lint also clarified the meaning of past statements of hers according to which the EU wants no involvement in the Cyprus issue.
"Soup should not be prepared by many cooks," she said and reminded that the UN has undertaken to resolve the Cyprus issue.
 Gov't will comment when party materializes, spokesman says
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)In response to questions on the new party being founded by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, government spokes-man Telemachos Hytiris said on Monday that the government and PASOK would take a stand when the new party came into being and that it was now still at the stage of intentions.
He refused to comment on views expressed by party and government cadres that the new party might also threaten PASOK.
 Justice minister defends "out-of-court settlement system"
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos on Monday defended the out-of-court settlement system for land disputes he introduced in Greece, against a newspaper article, which he said blew the issue out of proportion.
"The article exaggerated (the issue) with the obvious motive to create sensationalism and using incorrect data of a danger that existed before the introduction of the new out-of-court settlement system, for the resolution of differences," Stathopoulos said.
He added that problems that might arise with the use of the new system, should be dealt with by the relevant authorities and not by abolishing the out-of-court settlement system, which is hopped that will decongest the court system of Greece, to a certain degree.
 ND leader discusses developments in region with Bosnian Serb PM Mladen Ivanic
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis held talks with Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Mladen Ivanic at the party's head office on Monday night, focusing on developments in the region and problems facing Pale. No statements were made afterwards.
 Former PM Mitsotakis and US ambassador discuss bilateral relations and foreign policy issues
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Former Prime Minister and main opposition New Democracy party Honorary President Constantine Mitsotakis and US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns on Monday discussed bilateral relations between Athens and Washington, as well as foreign policy issues.
They also discussed the upcoming visit to Athens by George Bush, father of US President George W. Bush, since Mitsotakis will probably be hosting him at his home in Hania, Crete.
The meeting, held at Mitsotakis' office, had not been announced and no statements were made.
 Greek communist party members intercept NATO military convoy and demand inspection of tanks for radioactivity
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Supporters and members of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) intercepted a NATO military convoy in the region of Sindos in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Monday night, claiming that KFOR forces passing through Greek territory are not being checked for the possibility of carrying dust contaminated with radioactive elements.
Demonstrators told police that the condition for letting the convoy through was that special scientists should be summoned to collect samples of dust from the surface of tanks and have them examined for possible radioactive contamination.
The incident occurred on a motorway leading to an army camp where NATO forces are given shelter during their movements to and from Kosovo.
The convoy was composed of two jeeps and 10 trailers carrying tanks and was accompanied by a police patrol car.
 Commerce sector blames bourse for slump in trade
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)The National Confederation of Greek Commerce on Monday blamed the Athens Stock Market's lasting slump for a sharp decline in business.
Its president, Christos Folias, told a news conference that cash that investors had lost on the ailing bourse meant that the public was spending less, a factor that was apparent over Christmas 2000 against the same period of last year.
 Gov't spokesman urges ASE investors to remain calm
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Investors in the Athens Stock Exchange must be calm, moderate and informed, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said on Monday.
Commenting on the findings of a survey published at the daily newspaper TA NEA on Monday, showing a lack of confidence in the Greek bourse, Hytiris told reporters that the survey was reflecting a decline in the general index and added that results would be different if the market was moving higher.
 ASE chairman urges battle against market rumors
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)ASE' chairman Panagiotis Alexakis on Monday urged securities firms to help in an effort to combat "unfounded and fake rumors circulating in the market", saying that such talk have undermined the Greek bourse's normal function lately.
"All market participants, securities firms and dealers, have the obligation not only to stop such unfounded rumors from spreading but to dismiss them automatically," Alexakis said after a meeting with representatives from securities firms.
"Today, more than ever, all market and social agencies must contribute to the market's normal function for the benefit of investors," he said.
A survey by V-PRC, published at the daily newspaper "TA NEA" on Monday revealed that 72.3 percent of asked citizens said there were political responsibilities for the market's plunge and another 77.9 percent said they did not have confidence in the Greek bourse. Only 13.7 percent said they had confidence in the market.
 Greek listed companies expect big rise in 2001 results
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Greek listed companies expect a big rise in their results, investments and employment for the year 2001, a survey by the Union of Listed Companies unveiled on Monday.
The survey, conducted during January on 36 leaders and high-ranking officers of listed companies - excluding the financial sector - showed that a majority of listed companies expect their turnover, profits, investments and employment to increase in the current year, but securities' transactions revenues to be flat or even fall.
Surveyed companies account for more than 10 percent of listed companies on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Listed companies will cut back their financial spending in 2001 due to a decline in lending rates, a development to have a positive impact on their profitability.
A 58.3 percent of companies' executives said they expected a satisfactory increase in turnover this year, while a 30.5 percent said they expected a big rise.
A 88.9 percent of asked executives said they expected a big or a satisfactory increase in gross profit, while forecasts over holding revenues varying significantly, with a 44.4 percent expecting a big rise or a satisfactory increase, a 44.2 percent expecting flat figures and a 11 percent expecting a decline.
A 20.5 percent of listed companies' executives said they expected a satisfactory increase in securities' transaction revenues, a 50 percent forecast flat figures and a 29.5 percent said they expected a sharp fall.
The survey said that 52.7 percent of executives forecast satisfactory pre-tax results in 2001, a 16.6 percent forecast a big increase and a 22.2 percent said they expected flat figures.
A 33.3 percent of executives said dividends were expected to rise at a satisfactory rate for the year 2000, a 22.2 percent said they would rise significantly and a 33.3 percent said they expected no substantial change.
A 27.7 percent said they expected a big increase in investments, a 50 percent expected a satisfactory rise and a 5.0 percent said they expected a small decline in investments this year.
Employment is expected to increase moderately (66.6 percent) or significantly (22.2 percent) in 2001.
 CSF funds for health, welfare discussed by ministers
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Funding from the all-important 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) for the health and welfare sectors was the main topic of a meeting on Monday between National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Health Minister Alekos Papadopoulos.
 Passenger shipping owners seek meeting with Papoutsis
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Greece's passenger shipping owners are seeking a meeting with Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis to discuss the abolition of cabotage and an increase in shipping fares.
The Passenger Shipping Owners' Union sent a memorandum to the country's Maritime Chamber on January 24, unveiling its members positions to proposals by Merchant Marine Minister on the abolition of cabotage by two years earlier than planned and lowering the age-limit of vessels from 35 to 30 years.
Papoutsis has declined to discuss the issue of lowering the age-limit of vessels, saying that the matter was closed following a decision by the government cabinet.
Passenger shipping owners also seek a 10 percent increase in shipping fares this year, double the rate approved by national economy ministry. Papoutsis has pledged to support a higher increase.
 Athens-based Promota presented at institutional investors' forum
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)A Greek firm, Promota Hellas SA, has been selected as among the 40 best European firms active in the "new economy" sector. The same company is the only one based in Greece invited by institutional investors to the recent "Investors-Entrepreneurs - Late Stage & IPO Forum" in Munich, according to a press release on Monday.
Promota Hellas was founded in 1986 and today holds around 70 percent of the sales market for promotional gifts in Greece, while it is among the sector leaders in Europe. Promota also owns the local www.prom.gr site and recently inaugurated an international domain site at www.promglobal.com
Promota was also included among the 500 fastest growing firms in Europe.
The firm's corporate leadership addressed the forum and presented the firm's activities to some 370 executives from European investment houses.
 Skaramanga Shipyards in cooperation deal with GMC Group
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Skaramanga Shipyards on Monday announced a cooperation deal with GMC Group of Companies on the production of materials to be used for the construction of Hellenic Navy vessels.
The deal also envisages cooperation on the production of spares made from aluminium, copper and stainless steel to boost the organizations productivity.
GMC has also signed a cooperation deal with Hellenic Steel.
The company reported orders totalling 4.0 billion drachmas in the last two months, accounting for 70 percent of last year's orders.
 Northern industry to launch cooperate with Jordan
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)The Association of Northern Greek Industrialists is to sign a cooperation protocol with the Amman Chamber of Industry in Jordan.
The association's president, Vassilis Takas, leaves for Amman on Wednesday to sign the deal, accompanied by a delegation of representatives of local industries and the Thessaloniki Stock Exchange Center.
 Government spokesman confirms that new airport will be ready for March opening
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris said on Monday that in accordance with government planning, the new international airport at Spata would be ready for its inauguration in March.
Hytiris was responding to questions.
 EU airlines to meet in Athens Feb 7-8
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Senior executives of airlines based in European Union countries will meet for a conference in Athens on February 7-8.
On the conference's agenda discussion of the safest and most economical travel by air.
Sponsoring the conference is Olympic Aviation, a subsidiary of national carrier Olympic Airways.
Also on the agenda are a presentation of Olympic Airways and its operations, and of a new international airport for Athens, which is due to open in March.
 Brokerage shortfalls total Dr 49 bln, authorities say
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Shortfalls from trading at Greek stock brokerages that are not covered by shares total 49 billion drachmas, the capital markets commission said in a statement on Monday.
Earlier press reports had estimated the amount at between 150 billion drachmas and 250 billion drachmas.
The figure released by the commission is a relatively minor amount in proportion to the total equity capital of stock brokerages, market sources said.
The net position of the country's 90 stock brokerages is 350 billion drachmas, and their capital adequacy is satisfactory, the commission added in its statement.
 Greek stocks end sharply lower on foreign selling
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Equity prices ended sharply lower on Monday hit by lack of interest and selling of blue chips by foreign institutional investors.
The general index fell 1.87 percent to end at 3,098.07 points, falling below the 3,100 support level for the first time in the last four sessions, while turnover fell to its second lowest level in the last two years at 74.73 million euros, or 25.5 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index eased 1.64 percent to 1,810.02 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 2.87 percent to 319.10 points.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 6,852.39 -1.24% Leasing: 469.09 -2.16% Insurance: 1,245.39 -2.15% Investment: 1,231.75 -1.97% Construction: 1,216.12 -1.83% Industrials: 1,840.31 -2.76% Miscellaneous: 2,067.54 -4.20% Holding: 3,138.93 -2.94%
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks fell 3.26 percent to 241.26 points.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 312 to 29 with another 17 issues unchanged.
Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank, Hellenic Telecoms, National Bank and Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling were the most heavily traded stocks.
Leading shares' closing prices (in euros): National Bank: 37.98 Alpha Bank: 33.28 Commercial Bank: 49.82 Eurobank: 20.54 Piraeus Bank: 14.54 Lambrakis Press: 9.08 Altec: 5.92 Titan Cement (c): 36.98 Hellenic Telecoms: 16.60 Panafon: 7.18 Hellenic Petroleum: 9.36 Attica Enterprises: 5.74 Intracom: 18.66 Minoan Lines: 4.72 Viohalco: 10.20 Hellenic Bottling: 18.48
Equity futures end down, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Monday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based, traders said.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 1.64 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 2.87 percent lower.
Turnover was 35.6 million euros on 4,867 contracts traded, the dealers said.
Bond prices rise in flaccid trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished higher in light trade, dealers said.
The new Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of around 5.34 percent. The yield spread over German bunds was about 57 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 405 million euros (about 138 billion drachmas) from 1,220 million euros (around 415.7 billion drachmas)in the previous session.
Buy orders accounted for the bulk of turnover.
 Stephanopoulos and Simitis send condolences for death of Greek composer Iannis Xenakis
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday sent a telegram conveying his condolences to the family of recently deceased Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, whom he described as a major figure in music and the arts and letters.
Stephanopoulos said that Xenakis had honored both his countries, Greece and France, through his work.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who wrote in his telegram that the world of the arts, letters and culture were the poorer for his loss, also sent condolences to the family.
"The death of Iannis Xenakis, this modern thinker of musical creation, innovator and ground-breaking academic, artist and cosmopolitan is a great loss for the wider, international, cultural 'family'."
Greek FM pays tribute to Xenakis: Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday expressed his condolences over the death in Paris on Sunday of Greek-born composer Iannis Xenakis.
"Iannis Xenakis was a great personality of the Greek Diaspora who with his musical work and his cultural presence contributed to the upgrading of our culture and marked an important period of the European civilization. He was always present at the invitations of overseas Greeks and to the great cultural events which our country organized," Papandreou said in a statement.
 UN calls on children to sign proclamation in the struggle against racism
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)In view of the forthcoming United Nations world conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, the UN Information Center calls on children aged between 6 and 18 to sign a proclamation promising to fight against racism in all its forms.
The collection of signatures has started in all the countries of the world with the participation of thousands of children. All the signatures will be exhibited on the premises where the conference will be held in South Africa from August 31 to September 7.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said that "racism can and must be defeated". He said that the UN General Assembly has declared the year 2001 as "The International Year for Mobilization against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance".
 Culture minister inaugurates gypsy photographic exhibition
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos inaugurated a photographic exhibition with works by students of the second photography-training laboratory for Greek gypsies on Monday night.
The Photography Laboratory for young gypsies is part of a culture ministry program for Greek gypsies. The exhibition will last until February 10.
 Former Greek Police chief Athanassios Vassilopoulos to stand trial for homicide and bodily injuries through negligence
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)An Athens appeals court on Monday indicted former Greek Police chief, retired major-general Athanassios Vassilopoulos, for homicide and bodily injuries through negligence concerning the fatal wounding of a woman held hostage in her apartment by a gunman. The incident occurred on September 23, 1998, in the Athens district of Kypseli during a failed police raid to arrest Romanian gunman Sorin Matei and free the woman, Amalia Ginaki, 25, and members of her family held hostage.
The raid had an unfavorable development since Matei drew the pin from a grenade and placed it in the woman's clothes, while the ensuing explosion wounded her fatally, several policemen seriously and Vassilopoulos slightly.
 Hellenic archives (ELIA) to reprint 1945-1951 magazines on reconstruction
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)The Hellenic Literary and Historic Archives (ELIA) on Monday presented a recently published compendium containing all issues of the 1945-1951 periodical "Antaios," a bi-monthly magazine devoted to analyzing the problems of reconstruction in Greece during a time when the country was trying to recover from the aftermath of World War II while being ravaged by civil strife.
 Exhibition by Greek artist in Berlin, inspired by Seferis' poetry
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)An exhibition entitled "Flowers of the Stone" by Athens Fine Arts School professor Yiannis Psychopedis is to take place at the Institute of Hellenic Culture Center in Berlin this month.
The exhibition will open its doors on February 14 and run until March 30. The works on show, according to the artist, were inspired by the poetry of Greek Nobel laureate George Seferis.
Selected Seferis poems are included in the exhibition's bilingual Greek-English catalogue, as well as 10 portraits of the poet.
 Team of US experts in Greece for forest fire prevention seminars
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)Greece and the United States will cooperate in the field of preventing forest fires and improving local fire-fighting techniques, with the Greek fire brigade and the public order minister hosting three experts from the US Forest Service this week.
The US experts will conduct a seminar for policy-makers at the public order, interior, agriculture and defense ministries, while a tour of fire-ravaged Mount Aigaleo, southwest of downtown Athens, is also scheduled.
The Greek-American organization AHEPA has targeted the historic hill as a site for a major reforestation effort.
"I am delighted that the US Agency for International Development has funded this initiative, which brings out two countries together to share knowledge about preventing and combating the scourge of forest fires," US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns said on Monday.
 Marfin to help fund reforestation on Samos
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)The Marfin Group of financial services companies is to foot the bill for the purchase, transport and planting of 50,000 saplings that will help restore an olive grove on the island of Samos, Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis told a news conference on Monday.
Sifounakis said his ministry had so far released 100 million drachmas to local authorities for reforestation projects.
 Captain of polluting Eurobulker gets fine
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)The captain and operator of the Eurobulker X cargo ship on Monday were fined 128 million drachmas for polluting the Gulf of Evia on September 1 last year, the merchant marine ministry said in a statement.
The Cambodian-flagged ship broke in two during cement loading operations, polluting the sea.
The Ukrainian ship's captain was named as Mudrig Sergey and its operator as Arrow Finance Incorporated, the statement said.
Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis decided the fine, it added.
 IOC delegation in Athens, multi-sports venue changed
Athens, 06/02/2001 (ANA)A six-member International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation arrives in Athens on Tuesday for a wide-ranging series of contacts with Athens 2004 organizers (ATHOC) and the government.
The delegation is advance parties preceding a Feb. 15 visit by IOC vice-president Jacques Rogge.
The IOC delegation is expected to tour several 2004-related projects under construction - both sports venues and infrastructure works - while going over planning for the Athens Games.
According to government and ATHOC sources, Rogge has been briefed over the decision to cancel construction of a multi-sports venue at the Faliro Delta site - where the current decades-old Athens horse track stands - and instead hold build venues at the nearby Flisvos seaside strip and on land vacated by the old Athens airport.
Rogge, the head of the IOC commission overseeing the Athens Games, must still approve of the venue changes.
The IOC effectively took back its 'yellow card' early last month by saying that preparations for the 2004 Games in Athens are on track.
"I'm glad to note that these changes have been put in place," Rogge said at the time in reference to changes the Lausanne-based organization had demanded from the Greek government and organizers.
IOC official gives interview to 'Ethnos' on Athens 2004 Olympics: In an interview appearing in the Athens daily "Ethnos" on Monday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) official Dick Pound said that the Greek government was now taking preparations for the Athens 2004 Olympics seriously and appeared to be on the right track.
Regarding his earlier criticism, he said he had only wanted to draw attention to the fact that preparations in Athens were running behind schedule.
A potential successor to current IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, Pound acknowledged that there were problems with completing infrastructure improvements and dealing with Athens' chronic traffic problems but said that Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his PASOK government were now "taking things seriously and doing their utmost."
He intimated that Athens was now on the right track, otherwise harsh measures would have been taken.
Regarding a letter of complaint sent by Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee chairwoman Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki to Samaranch about his behavior, Pound said that he was now on good terms with ATHOC's head and that "everything else is history."
 President Clerides says Cyprus has every right to join the EU
LARNACA, 06/02/2001 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said on Monday that Cyprus has every right to join the European Union (EU) and to participate in the European rapid reaction force, even if the island could not send soldiers but only provide services, due to the government's proposal for the island's demilitarization.
Commenting on threats by Turkish Defense Minister Sebahetin Cakmakoglu contained in a letter to the head of the EU Common Foreign and Defense Policy Javier Solana, President Clerides said the EU had accepted Cyprus and considers Turkish allegations to be legally unfounded.
President Clerides said threats were not helpful for Turkey's EU accession course and expressed certainty that "Europe will use non progress on the Cyprus problem so as not to let Turkey accede to the EU".
In his letter, Cakmakoglu claims that no bases could be formed on the island without prior consent from the Turkish Cypriot side and that the Cyprus National Guard was illegal.
Speaking on his return from a private visit to Lebanon, President Clerides said the EU had replied to Cakmakoglu's allegations, by saying that these claims were not based on correct legal positions and that Cyprus could accede to the EU.
"This has been decided and that is why we are proceeding with our accession course", the president added.
Regarding Cyprus' participation in the European rapid reaction force, the president reiterated that the government was not requesting to participate with a regiment, because "our position is that Cyprus must be a demilitarized country and therefore we will not have an army".
"What we proposed is that Cyprus can offer assisting services", he said, noting that the island could serve as a base, or its telecommunications or other assisting services, such as medical ones, could be used.
Cyprus is among the first six countries that opened accession talks with the EU in 1998 and is considered to lead the other candidates in adopting European laws and regulations.