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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-02-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't responds to IATA criticism, call for delay in airport's opening
  • [02] FYROM PM says name for his country should be as close as possible to the real one
  • [03] Cyprus President Clerides says there will be no agreement failing to safeguard the future of Cypriot Hellenism
  • [04] Public order minister proposes a new PASOK party with a different emblem and composition
  • [05] FM Papandreou to visit Jordan on Monday for talks with Jordanian counterpart
  • [06] ND leader criticizes quality of nat'l health care system
  • [07] Rectors voice stern opposition to bill upgrading technical institutes
  • [08] NATO
  • [09] Stephanopoulos attends celebrations commemorating Preveza's patron saint
  • [10] Efforts to retrieve wreckage of January 14 helicopter accident discontinued
  • [11] Euro-Mediterranean Forum supports Cyprus solution based on UN resolutions
  • [12] NGOs call on UN chief to work for just solution to Cyprus problem
  • [13] Event on Tuesday in Nicosia to honor Kranidiotis

  • [01] Gov't responds to IATA criticism, call for delay in airport's opening

    Athens, 12/02/2001 (ANA)

    The government angrily reacted on Saturday to a report released a day earlier by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which emphasized delays with road access, maintenance and other vital sectors at the new Athens airport.

    They (IATA) want to serve the profit margins and objectives of the airline companies, Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, the point man in the governments efforts to get the new airport open, said on Saturday. He also referred to danger-mongering and IATAs desire for a postponement in the airports operation so that airline companies can earn more profits, as the government has promised that the airport will open next month.

    Laliotis is set to hold a press conference on Monday over the issue of IATA's stinging criticism.

    IATA Director General Pierre Jeanniot last week cited what he called slow progress on the construction of roadways leading to the new airport, east of Athens, as well as concerns over catering and delays in providing information to airlines for their aircraft operations as reasons for postponing the move to the new 700-billion-drachma Eleftherios Venizelos airport from the outdated Hellenikon facility. (1 equals 340.750 drachmas)

    "Even if the physical construction on these facilities was somehow to be completed by March 1, sufficient time must still be invested in testing, commissioning and training", he said.

    In a reply, Laliotis said two air cargo companies have already contracted with the new airports German-led administration to serve the new facility, offering a 300,000-ton yearly capacity, while another two firms including Olympic Catering have signed on to serve airlines catering needs. Additionally, he said updated air navigation charts and other relevant information for the new airport was made available on Jan. 25.

    In response to criticism that cost of services and tariffs at the new airport make it expensive, Laliotis said investments by the Greek state, construction companies and banks must be ameliorated.

    The new airport cannot simply feed the profits and profiteering of the airline companies, he said.

    Jeanniot pointed to Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok Airport to demonstrate his call for a postponement, saying inquiries showed that problems in Hong Kong would have been avoided if the opening had been delayed.

    "A new airport to replace Hellenikon is eagerly anticipated by both airlines and their passengers, and the actions of the Greek Government to achieve this are applauded. But let's get it right this time. We believe that until such time as all airport facilities, and the necessary road access, can be independently verified as operating properly, and with sufficient capacity, airline operations at Athens should remain at Hellenikon, he said.

    [02] FYROM PM says name for his country should be as close as possible to the real one

    SKOPJE, 12/02/2001 (ANA - M. Vichou)

    Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski on Sunday left open the possibility of a complex name being accepted for his country.

    Speaking at an event in Tetovo, Georgievski said "we should not forget that the previous government changed the name of our country to FYROM. We should not kid ourselves because some foreign ministers or sports officials name us 'Macedonia'. Everywhere, at all international organizations the name FYROM has prevailed. We are pursuing a name which will be as close as possible to the real name of our country."

    Greece has been at odds with FYROM for years over the issue of this Balkan state's name, insisting that the word "Macedonia" should not be included in the name of the former Yugoslav republic since it implies expansionist designs against its own northern province bearing the same name.

    [03] Cyprus President Clerides says there will be no agreement failing to safeguard the future of Cypriot Hellenism

    Athens, 12/02/2001 (ANA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, in an interview with the national television network NET on Sunday, emphasized that "no President of the Republic of Cyprus will be found who will sign an agreement failing to safeguard the future of Cypriot Hellenism in the land of its ancestors."

    Clerides, who is in Athens since last Friday on a private visit, expressed disappointment because some are attempting to give an exit to Turkey "from the deadlock Turkey and (Turkish Cypriot leader) Mr. Denktash found themselves with the recent decision they took in Ankara not to participate in the next round of proximity talks."

    "It doesn't matter how you will bring Turkey and Mr. Denktash to the negotiating table. The question is with what intention will it (the Turkish side) come to negotiate. And it will obtain the intention if it is made clear to Turkey by the United Nations, the Security Council, the secretary general and Europe, as well as the new US government, that these negotiations should be held in the framework of UN resolutions."

    Clerides agrees that it would be good for relations between Greece and Turkey to improve because a better atmosphere would be created in this way in which a solution to the Cyprus issue could be negotiated.

    "I think there will be no Greek government which will desire to continue improving its relations with Turkey if the Turkish side continues not to negotiate and insist that the so-called 'Turkish Cypriot state of Northern Cyprus' should be recognized," he said, adding that "in relation to Cyprus, we had great assistance with the foreign policy implemented by Greece on the issue of our accession course to the EU."

    On the question of oil deposits found in the sea region southeast of Cyprus, Clerides said the zone of Cyprus' economic influence on the deposits, located somewhere between Egypt and Cyprus, has not been determined and neither have they been evaluated. "These deposits have nothing to do with the British military bases in Cyprus whose rights are limited by the establishment treaty. The bases are only for military purposes. Their sovereignty is restricted in the sense that there are not in Cyprus to conduct business operations," he said.

    However, Clerides clarified that the British have made no official claim concerning the oil.

    [04] Public order minister proposes a new PASOK party with a different emblem and composition

    Athens, 12/02/2001 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis, in an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Vima tis Kyriakis", proposed a "new political formation" in the place of the present ruling PASOK party, having a new emblem, but not a new name, adding that it should have an enlarged composition and should embrace forces from the political center to the left.

    Chrysohoidis says he is satisfied with the government's work so far and considers talk of the election of a secretary by the party congress inappropriate.

    He proposes PASOK's radical evolution, however, possibly with a different emblem in the place of the "green sun."

    "I envisage a big table, and the table should be big, because society's major issues should be placed on it and because many should sit round the table," he said.

    Commenting on whether centrists and leftists, such as former main opposition New Democracy deputy George Souflias or Coalition of the Left and Progress (SYN) deputy Maria Damanaki, will participate in the new formation, Chrysohoidis said "the center can participate, the Coalition can participate, as well as independent leftists and many others. All who wish to struggle with the society of citizens, creating necessary consensuses to enable us to meet major reforms later. Well, all who are jointly housed under the term 'democratic side' and, therefore, fit into its wide framework."

    Chrysohoidis said, "the next congress should be the congress of evolution. The voice of all of the country's vibrant and uneasy social forces should be heard there."

    Reacting to Chrysohoidis' interview, PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said, "every member has both the right and obligation to put forward proposals concerning changes which are necessary for our movement. And all changes are up for discussion in light of our congress where dialogue will allow all the flowers to blossom."

    PASOK members vote in internal party election: Members of ruling PASOK on Sunday commenced voting for members of the party's prefectural and regional committees around the country.

    Prime Minister and PASOK president Costas Simitis voted at the party's 1st Piraeus prefectural district, commenting to reporters afterwards that "everyone's goal is for a democratically run party ... and a party linked with its grass roots (support)".

    Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, voting in his election district of Thessaloniki, told reporters that the newly elected committees would lead the ruling party towards its 2002 congress that will strengthen its influence. He also expressed satisfaction with the level of turnout.

    "Today, PASOK, made a wager that it will surpass whatever difficulties and party mechanisms and function with a wide-ranging front vis-a-vis society," Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said from Thessaloniki.

    [05] FM Papandreou to visit Jordan on Monday for talks with Jordanian counterpart

    Athens, 12/02/2001 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will visit Jordan on Monday and the Lebanon on the next day, signaling the interest of Greek foreign policy in the countries of the Mediterranean.

    On arrival in Amman, Jordan, Papandreou will hold talks with his Jordanian counterpart Abdul Ilah al-Khatib and will be received by King Abdallah II.

    Bilateral trade relations between the two countries are showing a gradual improvement in past years (Greek exports are in the region of 26 million dollars), while political relations are very good.

    On Tuesday, Papandreou will be making an official visit to the Lebanon for talks with Prime Minister Rafiq El Hariri, his counterpart Mahmud Hammud and the President of the Republic General Emile Lahud.

    [06] ND leader criticizes quality of nat'l health care system

    Athens, 12/02/2001 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis began a tour of the northeast border region of Thrace on Saturday, with his first stop at the Komotini public hospital, where he charged that the country's national health care system (ESY) "was an ill patient".

    "Greek citizens are paying for the most expensive health system in Europe, but unfortunately, they're enjoying, in most cases, a Third World-level of health services," he said.

    Karamanlis charged that poor infrastructure, a shortage of doctors, nursing staff and equipment as well as the below par operation of local health centers are the cause of concern to citizens, especially in border regions.

    [07] Rectors voice stern opposition to bill upgrading technical institutes

    Athens, 12/02/2001 (ANA)

    The rectors and representatives of most of the country's universities on Saturday called for the withdrawal of planned legislation to institutionally upgrade the country's numerous technical educational institutes (TEI).

    The government, and specifically the education minister, unveiled the bill this past week, which in essence, will close the institutional gap between the TEI schools and regular universities.

    Meeting in the western city of Patra, rectors from 16 Greek universities also said they would request an audience with the prime minister and the leaders of political parties.

    Among others, rectors demanded that TEI schools' academic merit and curriculums first be evaluated on their before any upgrading, while they also charged that with the bill public and private institutions in the tertiary level will automatically be bumped into the higher education category.

    The also warned that mobilizations will be stepped up if they requests are not met.

    The most notable absence from the meeting was the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, while the neophyte University of the Ionian and the University of the Peloponnese, based in the town of Tripoli, were also not represented.

    [08] NATO

    'Dogfish 2001' submarine exercise to take place in Ionian Sea on February 15-28

    Athens, 12/02/2001 (ANA)

    NATO's annual submarine exercise codenamed "Dogfish 2001" will take place in the Ionian Sea and southeast of Sicily on February 15-28, with the purpose of presenting the alliance's ability to conduct coordinated counter-submarine operations.

    The exercise will involve a multinational force composed of surface vessels, submarines, naval cooperation aircraft and helicopters.

    Countries participating are France, Germany, Greece, Britain, the United States, Spain, Italy, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal and Turkey.

    Greece will participate with a submarine, a naval cooperation aircraft and a destroyer.

    [09] Stephanopoulos attends celebrations commemorating Preveza's patron saint

    Athens, 12/02/2001 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos was in Preveza, western Greece, on Saturday to attend celebrations commemorating the city's patron saint Haralambos.

    "He who remembers his history remembers his roots, national vicissitudes and is spiritually strengthened, taking strength to face modern-day adversities as well and to overcome them," Stephanopoulos said during an official dinner.

    Stephanopoulos, who was given the golden key to the city by Preveza Mayor Costas Papageorgiou, said "each one of us, whatever his position, should serve the common and only target we should have. Namely, the good of the country. And whoever strives for the good of the country follows tradition, remains a Greek and remains a Christian."

    He also visited the holy rock of Zalongo, where in 1803 63 women from Souli preferred to jump to their death rather than to fall into the hands of the Turks.

    [10] Efforts to retrieve wreckage of January 14 helicopter accident discontinued

    Athens, 12/02/2001 (ANA)

    Efforts by the bathyscaphe "Thetis" to retrieve the wreckage of a helicopter which crashed seven miles south of Cape Sounion on January 14, in which five people died, were discontinued due to unfavorable weather conditions on Sunday and will be resumed on Monday. The helicopter had crashed in bad weather while ferrying a patient to Athens from the island of Patmos.

    On Saturday, the bathyscaphe picked up the blue overalls of the helicopter's Italian pilot A. Vacchari, as well as a human skeleton believed to be his.

    Also retrieved was part of the fuselage, which will be examined by experts in an effort to determine the causes of the tragic accident.

    [11] Euro-Mediterranean Forum supports Cyprus solution based on UN resolutions

    NICOSIA, 12/02/2001 (CNA/ANA)

    The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum has expressed its "conviction of the need to find a solution to the problem of Cyprus which complies with the UN resolutions."

    In its final declaration adopted during its second session that concluded Friday, the Forum also expresses appreciation for the Secretary General's efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    It is the first time the Forum makes special mention to the Cyprus question in its final declaration, which was adopted unanimously by parliamentarians, including the Turkish delegation.

    In December 1999 the UN embarked on a new effort to reach a settlement in Cyprus, divided since Turkish troops occupied 37 percent of its territory in 1974.

    The process has now stalled as the Turkish side is demanding a change in the proximity talks format followed until today as well as re-cognition of the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied areas of the island.

    The final declaration adopted at the Brussels Forum also calls for the resumption of the negotiations to reach an agreement in the Middle East and a more active role by the European Union to this end.

    It also calls for the lifting of the economic embargo on Iraq for humanitarian reasons.

    The eight-page final declaration addresses issues such as the need for a new vision for the future of the region, the role of civil society, bilateral economic relations and regional cooperation programs.

    The parliamentarians from countries participating in the Barcelona process, the national parliaments of EU member states and the European Parliament express their regret that the Euro-Mediterranean partnership launched in 1995 has not satisfactorily fulfilled all expectations and underline the need to impart fresh impetus.

    The next meeting will be held in Italy in the first half of 2002.

    [12] NGOs call on UN chief to work for just solution to Cyprus problem

    NICOSIA, 12/02/2001 (CNA/ANA)

    The sixth Non Governmental Organization two-day Conference on Solidarity and Cooperation in the Mediterranean Region, that took place in the southern coastal town of Larnaca, has adopted a resolution on the Cyprus problem calling upon the UN to make all necessary efforts for a just solution on the island.

    The resolution adopted by the 45 delegates representing 21 NGOs from some 10 Mediterranean and European countries points out that "as regards the Cyprus problem no real progress has been made towards ending the occupation and restoring the unity of the island", noting "with concern that despite so many UN resolutions, the Cyprus problem remains unsolved, the island remains divided, constituting thus another hot-bed in the area".

    Stressing that "the Cyprus problem is not a military one but a political one and a solution must be achieved by peaceful means in the framework of the UN and on the basis of its principles and resolutions", the NGOs express their solidarity to the people in Cyprus and their "just struggle for a solution mutually acceptable by both communities".

    They note that a solution "should ensure the reunification of the island and its people, in an independent, federal, non-aligned and demilitarized country, without foreign troops and bases, a solution which would ensure the implementation of human rights, in one sovereign state, with one identity and one international representation".

    The NGOs resolution also expresses "solidarity with the people of Cyprus and supports fully their efforts, for Cyprus to become a bridge of peace and cooperation among the peoples of the Mediterranean region, in the benefit of the cause of stability and world peace".

    The Conference, which ended on Sunday, also addressed issues relating to globalization, Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the demilitarization of the Mediterranean.

    [13] Event on Tuesday in Nicosia to honor Kranidiotis

    NICOSIA, 12/02/2001 (ANA)

    An event in honor of the late Yannos Kranidiotis will take place on Tuesday in Nicosia, the one-time Greek deputy FM's hometown.

    The event is being organized by the Political Modernization and Society Group, with Greek Deputy Development Minister Alekos Kalafatis expected to be one of the speakers, among others.

    Kranidiotis was killed in September 1999 when an executive jet taking him, several reporters and his entourage to Bucharest suddenly nose-dived in mid-air before finally landing.

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