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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-03-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

March 5, 2002


  • [01] Greece, Japan, sign political, economic and cultural cooperation accord
  • [02] FM, Russian foreign ministry envoy, discuss FYROM, Balkans, bilateral relations
  • [03] Greek development minister meets with U.S. Secretary of Energy
  • [04] Greek FM director outlines Balkan Stability Pact aims
  • [05] Athens voices concern over FYROM situation
  • [06] Chytiris comments on direct talks over Cyprus issue
  • [07] Broad meeting to discuss policy at foreign ministry
  • [08] Greek defense minister speaks in Berlin on 'Euro-army'
  • [09] Greece respects human rights, U.S. State Department report says
  • [10] New Navy chief to take over on Tuesday, govít says
  • [11] Discussion on election law after local elections, Chytiris says
  • [12] Coalition party leader rejects cooperation with PASOK
  • [13] Athens' mayor to depart for Moscow on Tuesday
  • [14] Minister says Kyoto Protocol's ratification clear message
  • [15] "Project Sweet Water" two-day kick off meeting in Athens
  • [16] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos visiting the U.S.
  • [17] Austria to pay WWII reparations to Greek forced labor victims next week
  • [18] Kaklamanis to attend meeting in Tirana of SE European parliament presidents
  • [19] Interior ministry revamps action plan for Greek gypsy community
  • [20] Press and electronic media staff to hold meeting on Wednesday
  • [21] Dimitris Paxinos wins Athens Bar Association elections
  • [22] Large turn-out expected at farmers' Athens rally on Tuesday
  • [23] Greek industrial production index up 1.0 percent in 2001
  • [24] Economic sentiment falls 0.3 percent in Greece in Feb
  • [25] Govít invites unions for dialogue on social security reform
  • [26] Cyprus' EU course "impressive", says Greek economy deputy minister
  • [27] Hellenic Telecoms unveils Balkan expansion plan
  • [28] Intracom signs contract with Ericsson on radar production
  • [29] Greek stocks sharply up in ASE
  • [30] ATHOC president briefs President on Athens 2004 Olympiad
  • [31] ATHOC to move headquarters
  • [32] Council of State gives green light to Olympic Games' equestrian, rowing centers
  • [33] Cyprus problem discussed at Common-wealth Summit

  • [01] Greece, Japan, sign political, economic and cultural cooperation accord

    TOKYO, 05/03/2002 (ANA - V. Mourtis)

    Greece and Japan on Monday signed a joint action plan for the promotion of bilateral political, economic and cultural cooperation, during a meeting between visiting Greek prime minister Costas Simitis and his Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi in Tokyo.

    The two prime ministers held an hour-long discussion which Simitis later described as "very friendly" that focused on issues of bilateral interest, and matters concerning cooperation between Japan and the European Union -- the rotating presidency of which Greece will assume in the first half of 2003.

    Simitis told reporters after the meeting that Japan was interested in close cooperation with Greece for the advancement of EU-Japan relations.

    The Greek premier said he had informed Koizumi that Greece, during its EU presidency and in cooperation with Japan, would seek to activate all agreements signed between the EU and Japan "that have not been activated to the proper degree", adding that this would be in the interests of both Japan and the European Community.

    On Greek-Japanese bilateral relations, he continued, the discussion centered on economic cooperation between the two countries, particularly on increasing the volume of trade and tourism.

    Another important element of the talks was the role that Greece could play in the economic developments in the Balkan region, in which it is already active, and in the economic interest posed by Japan not only for Greece but for the entire Balkan region in general, Simitis said.

    Japan, he added, would require some partners in the region capable of aiding its effort for better economic cooperation in the area.

    Koizumi intimated in his talks with Simitis that Japan considers Greece a leading power in the Balkans and that "we are learning from you", diplomatic sources told ANA, adding that the Japanese premier pledged that his government and country would contribute to strengthening Greece's role in the region.

    Greece is also interested in boosting its economic ties with Japan in order to improve the trade balance, which leans in Japan's favor, and also given the fact that there was ample margin for further growth of those relations, the same sources said.

    The trade balance with Japan is 1:11 in Japan's favor, with the volume of Greek exports to Japan estimated at 72 million dollars against a volume of 823 million dollars in Japanese exports to Greece, according to figures presented by Greek deputy foreign minister Andreas Loverdos during a banquet attended by Greek and Japanese business executives.

    With respect to economic cooperation, Simitis said that Greece was interested in more Japanese investments in Greece, which he noted could serve as Japan's bridge to the Balkans and the Middle East.

    Elaborating on the same subject, Loverdos said that the course of Greek-Japanese economic cooperation should be paid close attention to under the reasoning that such a cooperation must be mutually beneficial.

    Loverdos further brought up the issue of Japanese shipbuilders placing orders for ship equipment with Greece, as well as reinforcement of the "Hermes program", in effect since 1997, which aims at boosting Greek exports to Japan.

    The Greek positions were embraced by the Japanese side, and the joint action plan signed by the two premiers provides for the establishment of a committee to monitor, at regular intervals, the course of implementation of the decisions concerning economic cooperation. The committee will also deal with political matters, as it will comprise high-ranking foreign ministry officials from the two countries.

    Simitis further said that he and Koizumi discussed the tourism sector, which he noted required reinforcement. In that direction, the two premiers discussed the re-opening of a direct flight between Athens and Tokyo, which would most likely be under-taken by Greek national carrier Olympic Airways.

    The two premiers also discussed issues of cultural cooperation, on the occasion of Greece's organization of the Olympic Games in 2004, given Japan's immense experience in the organization of Olympic Games and major athletic events in general, and the fact that Japan has announced it will take part in the Athens Olympics with a large delegation.

    Japan further displayed interest in the Olympic Truce and Cultural Olympiad being advanced by Greece, while Simitis asked the Japanese officials to inform Greece of any interest they might have concerning organizational matters of the 2004 Games.

    The two sides also agreed to make efforts to promote the Japanese language in Greece and the Greek language in Japan, chiefly through the establishment of a Modern Greek Studies school in Japan and the establishment of at least one Asian Studies chair in Greece.

    The two premiers' discussion also covered foreign policy affairs, with Japan asking for and receiving Greece's backing for Tokyo's candidacy for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and Greece asking for and receiving Japan's backing for Athens' candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in the period 2005-2006.

    Also discussed were the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations, and the joint action plan noted that Greece and Japan expressed satisfaction over the conduction of direct talks between the Cyprus president and the Turkish Cypriot leader, which they said should aim at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

    Replying to press questions, Simitis said he had broached the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations at his meeting with Koizumi, stressing that large steps had been taken by the Greek side and that Greece was expecting Turkey to follow suit.

    As for the discussion on the Balkans, he said the developments in Yugoslavia had also been covered and it was agreed that differences should be resolved peacefully and through political dialogue, and that all forms of violence "with national, nationalistic or secessionist motives" was condemned.

    On FYROM, the joint action plan noted that "the two sides positively commented on the recent developments and expressed their desire to jointly cooperate and deliberate with the aim of full normalization of the situation in that country".

    Earlier, premier Simitis and his wife Daphne were the guests of Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko for a royal audience, during which Simitis conveyed an invitation from Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos for the Emperor to visit Greece.

    Simitis also invited Japanese premier Koizumi to pay an official visit to Greece.

    Simitis calls for stepped up Greek-Japanese trade: Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Japanese counter-part Junichiro Koizumi referred to prospects for greater bilateral relations, especially in the trade sector, during a reception hosted in the former's honor here on Monday evening.

    The Greek PM arrived in Japan over the weekend for a six-day official visit.

    Among others, the Greek premier said Greek-Japanese ties are constantly expanding, although he said excellent political relations are not matched in the trade sector.

    Simitis noted that bilateral trade between the two countries remains low despite bright prospects for growth, while also stressing that the balance of trade leans in Japan's favor by a wide margin.

    Koizumi, meanwhile, praised what he called excellent Greek-Japanese relations and expressed Tokyo's desire to cooperate with Athens in order to strengthen overall EU-Japan ties. He also referred to the progress Greece has recorded over the past few years.

    "I feel obligated to praise your country's progress, which during your tenure has also promoted a series of economic and social reforms," the Japanese premier said in greeting his visiting Greek counterpart.

    Additionally, the Japanese prime minister cited what he called Athens' efforts at improving Greek-Turkish relations, while stressing that the "occupation of one-third of the Republic of Cyprus' territory constitutes a violation of the principles of International Law and the United Nations' charter."

    Finally, he expressed his faith in a fair and viable solution to the Cyprus problem based on UN Security Council resolutions and a certainty that the island republic will be included in the upcoming wave of EU expansion.

    [02] FM, Russian foreign ministry envoy, discuss FYROM, Balkans, bilateral relations

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign minister George Papandreou met Monday with visiting Russian foreign ministry special envoy for SE Europe Vladimir Chizhov for talks focusing on the fragile situation in FYROM, Balkan cooperation, European security, and Greek-Russian bilateral cooperation in all sectors.

    After the meeting, the two men expressed particular concern over the incidents created by terrorist groups in FYROM.

    Chizhov -- who is Director of the Russian foreign ministry's European Cooperation Department and also a former Soviet Union ambassador to Athens -- added that international terrorism recognized no boundaries or legal bounds.

    Papandreou, expressing his own concern, condemned the terrorist actions, which he attributed to "foreign centers", and said he had asked to be briefed by the appropriate diplomatic services on information that foreign centers were purportedly abetting the action of terrorist groups. Such an eventuality, he warned, entailed the prospect of new crisis points emerging.

    Athens, Papandreou stressed, was in favor of normalization and implementation of what has been agreed in Ohrid.

    The two officials further discussed developments in the EU, is-sues of European security, and the need for strengthening NATO-Russia relations, which Greece strongly supports.

    Among Greece's priorities was close cooperation between the EU and Russia in all sectors, Papandreou said.

    They also discussed bilateral cooperation in the sectors of infrastructure, telecoms, the economy, and tourism.

    [03] Greek development minister meets with U.S. Secretary of Energy

    WASHINGTON, 05/03/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Monday met with U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham while talks focused on attracting U.S. interest and support for the role Greece can play in the transport of energy from the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus to western markets.

    Tsohatzopoulos called Greece a "strategic space" and a "bridge" concerning the planning of the transport of energy from Asia to Europe, adding that he discussed with Abraham the common interest of both sides for the cooperation between Greece and Turkey, aiming at transporting natural gas from Azerbaijan.

    They also discussed the prospects of the oil pipeline from Burgas, Bulgaria to Alexandroupoli, Greece.

    Tsohatzopoulos stressed that given the interest of the Bush administration for the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline could operate in a supplementary way and not in competition, thus U.S. support for the plan could be secured.

    The two ministers also discussed the possibilities for the development of renewable energy sources, while they also discussed cooperation opportunities in tourism and Tsohatzopoulos invited Abraham to visit the Greek islands.

    Tsohatzopoulos also gave an interview to the Bloomberg news agency and spoke to an event organized by the Western Policy Center.

    Tsohatzopoulos gives interview to Bloomberg TV network: Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos gave a televised interview on Monday to the economic TV network Bloom-berg which focused on the Greek government's energy policy and to the cooperation with the United States in the energy sector.

    Tsohatzopoulos gave the interview following a meeting he had with U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham.

    In his interview, Tsohatzopoulos referred to the contents of the talks he had with his U.S. counterpart on the transport of new sources of energy to the European market from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea, the promotion of Greece as an energy center in the Balkans, the prospects being opened from the Greek-Turkish cooperation in natural gas and the importance of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    The Greek minister also spoke on the development of renewable sources of energy in the Aegean, the deregulation of the energy market and the prospects existing for investments in the sectors of electricity and natural gas.

    [04] Greek FM director outlines Balkan Stability Pact aims

    BELGRADE, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    The most important target in the Balkans is to put an end to reasons behind the conflicts in the troubled region, to support cooperation between those countries and to normalize their relations with the European Union, said Alex Rondos, coordinator of the first working desk of the Balkan Stability Pact.

    Rondos, the Greek Foreign Ministry's General Director of the International Cooperation for Development, noted the aforesaid in an interview published here by the "Politika" newspaper.

    In the interview entitled "The new strategy of the 'Stability Pact for S.E. Europe': an end to the past", Rondos explains that the participation of the region's countries in the process of European integration presupposes radical changes in the economic, political and institutional sectors, as well as in many others".

    For Yugoslavia, Rondos said, this process would be "an exit from a long painful period".

    He said the participation of Yugoslavia in the Stability Pact is very important for all regional processes because it is a strong "player", who can contribute to the establishment of new and better relations between the countries of the region.

    Rondos stressed that instead of spending money in many small projects, this effort will focus on six main targets: the implementation of bilateral agreements on free trade; the implementation of the Yugoslavian-Croatian-Bosnian agreement for the return of refugees to their homes; cross-border cooperation on minority and human rights issues; investment in strategic infrastructure, especially in the energy and transport sectors; combat-ting organized crime; and the gathering of light armaments in the southern Balkans.

    [05] Athens voices concern over FYROM situation

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Athens on Monday expressed its concern over the situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the small land-locked country to its immediate north, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying reconstruction and normalization in the recently strife-ridden country is overdue.

    In response to press questions about the "name dispute" still posing the last remaining "thorn" in otherwise excellent Greek-FYROM relations, spokesman Panos Beglitis merely reiterated Athens' position that negotiations must continue until a mutually acceptable solution is achieved.

    Furthermore, he said no new development towards accepting a "double name" solution has been noted, as the goal of a mutually acceptable name for the one-time Yugoslav republic remains.

    "All the rest simply express wishful thinking," he said.

    In an unrelated development, the spokesman said a high-ranking Greek foreign ministry delegation - led by ambassador Alexandros Mallias and the head of the international humanitarian aid cooperation department, Alexandros Rondos -- will travel to Sarajevo on Tuesday for talks with the Bosnian federation government.

    Finally, a conference of high-ranking foreign ministry officials and diplomats - including Greece's ambassadors to various EU countries - was held on Monday to examine the latest regional developments, the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations.

    [06] Chytiris comments on direct talks over Cyprus issue

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek government looked forward to a correct conclusion of direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Cle-rides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on the Cyprus issue, Deputy Press Minister Telemachos Chytiris said on Mon-day.

    Asked about the transfer of Turkish ordnance to the occupied territories on Cyprus, Chytiris said only that there was communication and coordination between Athens and Nicosia.

    [07] Broad meeting to discuss policy at foreign ministry

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    The Cyprus issue, relations between Greece and Turkey and other regional issues concerning Greece were discussed at a meeting on Monday at the foreign ministry attended by ministry officials and members of the diplomatic corps, including Greek ambassadors to European Union countries.

    The meeting had been scheduled a long time in advance and forms part of a foreign ministry policy for the exchange of views between the various services to better coordinate Greek diplomacy.

    [08] Greek defense minister speaks in Berlin on 'Euro-army'

    BERLIN, 05/03/2002 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    Greece's Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou delivered a speech here on Monday night on "NATO expansion and new challenges for the Alliance" at the German foreign policy society DGfAP - one of the most important German 'think tanks'.

    Addressing an audience of diplomats, military officials and experts on foreign and security policy issues, Papantoniou made it clear that Greece would not accept Ankara's positions regarding the "Euro-army" and presented by Britain as a proposal following consultations with the Turkish government.

    He announced that this matter will constitute a central issue in the official talks which he will have with his German counterpart Rudolf Scharping on Tuesday.

    The Greek defense minister arrived in Germany on Monday for an official visit, during which he will have lengthy talks on European Union defense and security policy, including outstanding issues related to an EU military force, and bilateral cooperation in defense procurements with his German counterpart.

    Papantoniou said the British proposal to "transfer existing Greek-Turkish problems within the framework of NATO, within the European Policy on Security and Defense (ESDP) was not a wise act." The Greek minister stressed that substantial changes were needed in the text of the British proposal.

    "The Euro-army should not be allowed to be trapped by problems arising within NATO," he said, adding that the basic orientation should be "the consolidation of the autonomy of the Euro-army in decision-taking when it acts without the material and technical aid of NATO's installations, as prescribed by the letter and the spirit of the decisions of the Nice summit."

    Papantoniou termed as "a very good idea" the undertaking by the Euro-army of security missions conducted by NATO in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), under-lining that this is feasible only when a solution to the problem of the "Euro-army" is found.

    Papantoniou attended a dinner given in his honor by his Ger-man counterpart, with the participation of NATO General-Secretary George Robertson.

    The official talks will be held at the German defense ministry on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, Papantoniou will meet the president of Parliament's Defense Affairs Committee, Helmut Wieczorek, and the president of Parliament's Joint German-Greek Group, Sigrid Skarpelis-Sperk.

    Papantoniou's visit comes shortly after the Greek government opted on Friday to put in an order for 170 LEOPARD 2-A5 tanks made by Germany's Krauss-Maffei, roughly estimated to cost upward of one billion euros.

    Sources said the minister has definitely arranged a working breakfast on Tuesday morning with the president of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) Manfred Bischoff.

    After the meeting between the two defense ministers on Tues-day, there will be a meeting of delegations of the two sides, followed by a working dinner.

    On Tuesday evening, Papantoniou will brief Greek correspondents in Berlin on the results of his visit before returning to Athens.

    The Greek minister's visit also comes at an awkward time for Scharping on the domestic front following revelations in two 'confidential' reports that recently hit the headlines that claim serious problems in the German armed forces and the German defense industry.

    [09] Greece respects human rights, U.S. State Department report says

    WASHINGTON, 05/03/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The U.S. State Department's annual report on human rights was publicized on Monday, while the chapter referring to Greece says "in general the Greek government respects the human rights of Greek citizens", adding that "there were serious problems in certain sectors."

    The report also mentions isolated cases of police violence and invokes relevant reports by human rights organizations concerning force used by Greek authorities against Albanian immigrants and minority members.

    It further reports that bad conditions continued in some prisons due to inmate overcrowding and the existence of antiquated installations.

    On the issue of religious freedoms, it said that in general they are respected, despite the fact that members of religious minorities have reported discriminations against them.

    In this context, it was noted that in certain isolated cases non-Orthodox Christian organizations are faced with legal and bureaucratic problems. Moreover, 287 mosques operate freely in Thrace, while quite a few also exist on the islands of Rhodes and Kos.

    The report further says the decision not to register religion in identity cards created strong confrontation and an in-depth discussion on the role of the church in society, which is continuing to date.

    It was added that the government only recognizes the Moslem minority officially, as anticipated by the Lausanne Treaty, and that a considerable number of Greek citizens determine them-selves as Turks, Pomaks, Vlachs, Gypsies, Arvanites and "Macedonians" or "Slav Macedonians" without the state recognizing them as minorities. However, most of them appear not to be facing serious problems and to be integrated in Greek society.

    The report says thousands of people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iran enter the country illegally every year. However, a very small percentage of them apply for asylum since, as it is claimed, in general the government does not give priority to the right of granting asylum to refugees.

    [10] New Navy chief to take over on Tuesday, govít says

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    The new chief of the Navy General Staff will take over the reins from his predecessor George Theodoroulakis at a ceremony on Tuesday, in the presence of Deputy Defense Minister Loukas Apostolidis.

    Deputy Press Minister Telemachos Chytiris made the announcement on Monday and explained that Apostolidis would be filling in for Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, who would be absent in Germany on that day.

    Commenting on Friday's statement by government spokesman Christos Protopapas, meanwhile, who told reporters just hours before the Navy chief's resignation that "there was no Theodoroulakis issue," Chytiris said that this had been the case at the time the statement was made.

    Regarding the changes and promotions in the Armed Forces, which are said to have prompted the departing Navy chief's resignation, Chytiris stressed that the political leadership of the country always had the final word in such decisions.

    He also criticized the "hypocritical statements" by members of main opposition New Democracy, explaining that there was usually extensive discussion before the official decisions of the Council of General Staff Chiefs (SAGE) were announced, which in most cases helped smooth over any differences of opinion.

    "In this specific case, however, it seemed that the differences of opinion were not ironed out and for this reason the Navy chief resigned," Chytiris added.

    The main opposition on Saturday alleged that Theodoroulakis had resigned in protest at the defense minister's insistence on imposing party political criteria in deciding promotions within the Navy.

    Theodoroulakis submitted his resignation to Papantoniou on Friday, who accepted it and proposed Vice-Admiral A. Antoniadis, currently Commander of the Fleet, as his replacement to the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA).

    ND tables question over navy chief's resignation: A main opposition New Democracy deputy on Monday tabled a Parliament question towards Prime Minister Costas Simitis regarding Friday's high-profile resignation of the navy chief of staff, George Theodoroulakis, who apparently opted for retirement following a dispute with Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou over senior officers' promotions.

    The question was tabled by Achaia-area deputy Spilios Spiliotopoulos, who sternly criticized the government over the weekend for the development.

    Renewed criticism over Navy chief's resignation from Bakoyianni: New Democracy MP Dora Bakoyianni once again criticized Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou over to the resignation of Navy General Staff chief Vice-Admiral George Theodoroulakis on Monday, saying that this was the wrong time to experiment with the armed forces.

    The main opposition's coordinator for defense and foreign policy issues reiterated earlier accusations that Papantoniou had allowed party-political considerations to dominate his choices for promotion within the military, while noting that this was an extraordinarily sensitive time for major foreign issues, particularly with respect to Turkey.

    "It is a time that demands very great care on the part of Greece and Greek foreign policy, because Turkey's aims do not appear to have conformed with European thinking.

    "As such, it is the wrong time for the defense minister to experiment with the armed forces and to try to impose his own party-political preferences within the army," she said.

    Bakoyianni, widely tipped as the main opposition's first choice for the mayoral race in Athens, also revealed that ND's candidate for the mayor's seat would be announced within March.

    [11] Discussion on election law after local elections, Chytiris says

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Election laws should not be "frozen in time" but follow the changing conditions in society, Deputy Press Minister Telemachos Chytiris said on Monday in response to questions.

    He referred reporters to statements made on the subject by the minister responsible for these matters, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis, and said that discussion on election laws would take place after the local government elections "in the framework of modernizing the country."

    [12] Coalition party leader rejects cooperation with PASOK

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Monday once again rejected the possibility of governmental cooperation with PASOK, while refusing any discussion on the electoral law unless it concerns proportional representation.

    Speaking to Skai radio station, Constantopoulos said electoral systems forging and brushing aside proportional representation can never lead to a democratically effective and reliable restructuring of the political scene.

    Constantopoulos said his party insists on the enactment of the proportional representation system, adding that bipartisanship cannot have bipolarism as a substitute and the adoption of electoral systems, such as the German type, and models to be invented is a hostile act for the left and multiparty politics.

    [13] Athens' mayor to depart for Moscow on Tuesday

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos on Tuesday will depart for Moscow heading a delegation of the Athens City Council for a visit to the Russian capital at the invitation of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

    During his stay in the Russian capital Avramopoulos will sign an cooperation program with Luzhkov, furthering a cooperation protocol the two mayors signed in Athens, two months ago, during Luzhkov's visit in the Greek capital.

    Avramopoulos will meet with the political and ecclesiastical leadership of the country and will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the Academy of Technological Studies of Moscow

    [14] Minister says Kyoto Protocol's ratification clear message

    BRUSSELS, 05/03/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    The ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the EU is "a clear and resounding message to the international community," Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou said, speaking here on Monday during a meeting of the European Union's environment ministers.

    The EU's Council of Environment Ministers decided to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which U.S. President George W. Bush is refusing to sign, believing it to be harmful to the U.S. economy.

    The Council also adopted a joint statement by member-states regulating the allocation of greenhouse gas emission burdens among the "15" and reflecting their individual commitments.

    Papandreou underlined that the establishment of a civil responsibility system for harm to the environment contributes in particular to environmental protection and that the responsibility status should be extended, apart from purely environmental repercussions, to persons and commodities as well.

    She further supported the need for greater emphasis to be placed on damage to biodiversity, emanating from the intentional release of genetically modified organisms.

    Papandreou also said she disagrees with many of the exceptions, such as that concerning responsibility for activities for which a relevant license exists, in accordance with existing EU directives, and those responsible should pay on the principle that "he who pollutes pays" and the burden should not be conveyed to member-states.

    [15] "Project Sweet Water" two-day kick off meeting in Athens

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek National Center for the Environment and Sustainable Development kicked off its efforts to develop a European movement for sustainable management of water resources on Monday.

    A two-day meeting on the "Project Sweet Water" focused on ways to educate the public and raise awareness for consciousness and adequate behavior towards a sustainable management of water resources, via television.

    The mini spots on television aim at raising awareness for environmental issues in ways suitable for youngsters, but also for individuals of all age groups and for all European countries.

    [16] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos visiting the U.S.

    ISTANBUL, 05/03/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos left Istanbul for the United States on Monday, where he will be meeting U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell, while he will also be participating in celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of the archdiocese of America.

    Vartholomeos was seen off at Istanbul airport by the Patriarchal Commissioner and Metropolitan of Imvros and Tenedos Fotios, members of the Holy Synod and Greece's general consul in Istanbul Panos Kalogeropoulos.

    His upcoming meeting with President Bush is of particular importance since it will not be limited to the payment of tribute to Orthodoxy's leadership, diplomats and analysts said.

    Inter-religious dialogue and its contribution to the easing of tensions created by the September 11 terrorist attack will be a main issue to be discussed.

    [17] Austria to pay WWII reparations to Greek forced labor victims next week

    VIENNA, 05/03/2002 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    The first ever Austrian state war reparations to Greek victims of forced labor during the Nazi occupation of Greece in the early 1940s will be paid next week during a special ceremony in the Austrian Embassy in Athens.

    The first payment will be made to five Greek citizens, who have been recognized as victims of industrial labor and who will each receive 2,500 euros.

    The Austrian Rapprochement Fund has received only 200 applications for reparations from Greece, of which 108 have been approved for payment, while the deadline for application ends on November 27, 2002.

    The fund gives what is called voluntary reparations of the Austrian state to former victims of forced labor or as they are called slave laborers.

    [18] Kaklamanis to attend meeting in Tirana of SE European parliament presidents

    TIRANA, 05/03/2002 (ANA - I. Patso)

    Greece's Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis arrived here on Monday afternoon within the framework of Tues-day's meeting of the parliament presidents of the countries of southeastern Europe.

    Kaklamanis met with Albanian President Rexhep Meidani, Prime Minister Pandeli Majko and his Albanian counterpart Namik Dokle.

    Kaklamanis discussed with the Albanian leaders bilateral issues and issues concerning the region.

    A major part of the discussions centered on Greek-Albanian relations and the role which the Greek community must play as a bridge of friendship and cooperation.

    The sessions of the 3rd meeting of parliament presidents of countries of southeastern Europe are to start on Tuesday .

    On Wednesday, Kaklamanis is due to visit Gjirokaster where most of Albania's Greek minority lives.

    [19] Interior ministry revamps action plan for Greek gypsy community

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    The ministry of interior drafted an action plan for the social inclusion of Greek gypsies, which will be discussed in an intra-ministerial meeting on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis.

    This program was initially drafted by former interior minister and current Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Vasso Papandreou, but was reworked by the current administration of the ministry.

    The program aims at establishing a comprehensive policy toward Greek Gypsies, which will include action by several ministries, such as the ministry of interior, health and welfare and education, as well as action by local governments.

    The eight year program that initially was set in motion in 2000 has as its basis the procurement of housing for homeless gypsies, a project that will absorb 70 per cent of the funding of the 127 billion drachma program.

    About 71 billion of those moneys will be covered by third community support framework fund sources.

    [20] Press and electronic media staff to hold meeting on Wednesday

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Press and electronic media staff will hold a meeting in Voukourestiou street in Athens at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, as part of the journalists 24-hour warning strike taking place on the same day. The strike will last from 6 a.m. on Wednesday to 6 a.m. on Thursday.

    The strikers' claims include an end to mass dismissals and protection of labor relations and the signing of satisfactory collective labor agreements securing dignified salaries and a commitment on the protection of labor relations.

    Moreover, the application of existing collective labor agreements is called for, as well as of laws determining the rights and obligations of both employers and staff.

    [21] Dimitris Paxinos wins Athens Bar Association elections

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Dimitris Paxinos is the new President of the Athens Bar Association after final results announced in the run-off election on Monday night gave him 50.38 percent of the vote (5,052 votes) against 49.62 percent (4,975 votes) for incumbent President Antonis Roupakiotis.

    A total of 10,393 Athens lawyers voted in the election out of 16,906 registered voters, meaning that abstention amounted to 38.53 percent.

    Paxinos, who is affiliated to the main opposition New Democracy party, said in a statement later that victory belongs to the lawyers and nobody else, adding that "neither the blues (conservatives), greens (socialists) or reds (communists) are rejoicing, only the lawyers are rejoicing."

    [22] Large turn-out expected at farmers' Athens rally on Tuesday

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    A large turn-out was expected at a nationwide farmers' rally in Athens on Tuesday, according to farmers' unions.

    Farmers from all over Greece were expected to gather at noon Tuesday at the ancient Panathenian Stadium in central Athens, and from there march to Parliament and the government headquarters at Maximos Mansion.

    Yiannis Pittas, president of the Confederation of Democratic Farmers' Associations of Greece (SYDASE) told ANA that the size of the turn-out as anticipated to be the biggest ever in Greece.

    "The farmers will once again demand the implementation of a different farm policy that would be capable of bringing Greek agriculture out of its present-day impasse and crisis. They will condemn, with their participation in the rally, the inertia and impasses to which the current policy has led," Pittas said.

    [23] Greek industrial production index up 1.0 percent in 2001

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's industrial composite index, including mining, manufacturing, electricity-natural gas-water production figures, increased by 1.0 percent last year, compared with 2000, National Statistics Services said on Monday.

    The mining production index fell 1.7 percent over the year, while the manufacturing index rose by 1.7 percent, and the electricity-natural gas-water index fell by 0.3 percent in 2001.

    The composite index dropped by 4.0 percent in December 2001, compared with the same month in 2000, hit by very bad weather conditions in the country over the month.

    The mining production index plunged by 24 percent in December, the manufacturing index eased by 5.3 percent and the electricity-natural gas-water production index rose by 2.5 percent over the month.

    [24] Economic sentiment falls 0.3 percent in Greece in Feb

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's economic sentiment index fell 0.3 percent in February from the previous month, the European Com-mission said on Monday.

    The economic sentiment index is a composite index measuring the level of business, consumer, construction and retail sectors' confidence in the economy.

    The index rose in eight states of the EU-15 (Sweden, Austria, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Denmark), it fell in five (Germany, Greece, France, Belgium and UK) and remained unchanged in Finland. There were no figures for Luxembourg in February.

    Italy recorded the biggest monthly increase (+0.6 percent), with Germany and Greece recording the biggest monthly declines (-0.3 percent).

    The economic sentiment index rose 0.1 percent in the eurozone.

    In Greece, economic confidence increased in the manufacturing, consumers and the retail sectors but fell in the construction sector in February.

    [25] Govít invites unions for dialogue on social security reform

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    "Reforming the country's social security system is a priority for our government, and this issue that has, and is, pre-occupying the Greek society is demanding to take the necessary initiatives," Labor and Social Security Minister Dimitris Reppas said in a letter to trade unions on Monday.

    The letter was sent to officially invite trade unions to a dialogue with the government on reforming the country's social security system, beginning on Tuesday.

    Reppas is to meet with GSEE, the country's largest union umbrella, and ADEDY, civil servants' union.

    "We believe we have a duty to seek the wide possible consensus to resolve a significant problem facing workers and future generations," Reppas said in his letter to trade unions.

    The government's efforts are focusing in shifting political debate to problem level and to policies to resolving problems, while acknowledging that the government will be able to secure funds to sustain social security funds' viability in the long-term. Reppas also announced on Monday a program to subsidise job creation in the country. The government will subsidise businesses up to 14.7 euros a day for a period of 12 months for every new hiring, covering a total of 15,000 unemployed people in the country.

    GSEE responded positively to Labor minister's invitation.

    "Our union has never been afraid of dialogue. We have been waiting for this moment for a very long time. Actually, this initiative is long overdue, given the need for quick solutions and the time we have. We have to cover this delay," Christos Polyzogopoulos, GSEE chairman said, replying to an invitation by Dimitris Reppas.

    Polyzogopoulos noted that the state cannot manage social security funds' reserves. "The state has a sinful past in managing social security funds. Reserves must be exclusively managed by funds and social security organizations, with boards run by representatives of workers and employers," he said.

    He also rejected proposals over private insurance companies managing pension funds' reserve money.

    [26] Cyprus' EU course "impressive", says Greek economy deputy minister

    NICOSIA, 05/03/2002 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    "Cyprus continues its course toward the European Union in an impressive way, as regards the performance of its economy, having secured the fulfillment of the Maastricht criteria," Greek Deputy Economy Minister George Floridis said here on Monday.

    Following a meeting with Floridis, Cyprus Minister of Economy Takis Klerides said that Greece's support for Cyprus' accession to the Union is invaluable, saying that "without this help, we would not be able to find ourselves at the entrance way of the European Union".

    "Greece and Cyprus are expected to have high rates of development during 2002, compared with other countries," the Greek minister said, adding that Greece's performance is expected to be the best of its Eurozone partners.

    [27] Hellenic Telecoms unveils Balkan expansion plan

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) on Mon-day announced plans for the creation of a Balkans Network Axis for international telecommunications traffic, based in Thessaloniki.

    OTE Group said that through its subsidiary OTE Globe it would seek to develop and integrate the group's market in the Balkans using its fiber optics networking infrastructure, and integrating international telephone activity in the region with the Mediterranean region, Western Europe, the US and the rest of the world.

    The Greek telecoms company said under the plan, it would seek cooperations with other Balkans telecom companies, using Thessaloniki as its main hub.

    Deputy Transport and Communications Minister Spyros Vougias said that "OTE is a big European company and Thessaloniki its center for the group's expansion in the Balkans and the South-eastern Europe."

    [28] Intracom signs contract with Ericsson on radar production

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Intracom on Monday announced an agreement with Ericsson Microwave Systems for the co-production of Arthur WLS, a anti-artillery radar.

    Arthur is a mobile detector system of artillery positions, manned by a three member crew and all the latest telecommunication equipment.

    The contract, worth 17.85 million euros, envisages the construction, assembly and final checking of all systems by Intracom.

    The three-year contract expands a cooperation between Intracom and Ericsson. The two companies are already cooperating in supply programs with the Greek Air Force.

    [29] Greek stocks sharply up in ASE Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended the first trading session of the week with sharp gains, following a spectacular improvement in inter-national markets' climate.

    The general index jumped 2.26 percent to end at a 2,419.51 points, with turnover a low 111 million euros.

    The Banks, Metals and Construction sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (3.02 percent, 2.80 percent and 2.79 percent, respectively), with the Retail and Insurance sectors suffering losses (0.51 percent and 0.05 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 2.45 percent higher, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 2.33 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 2.28 percent up.

    ETEBAbank (+7.06 percent), National Bank (+3.65 percent), Eurobank (+3.09 percent), Piraeus Bank (+2.94 percent) and Commercial Bank (+2.90 percent), were the biggest percentage gainers in the banking sector.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 317 to 26 with another 17 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded shares were Folli Follie, National Bank of Greece, Intracom, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank.

    Bond Market Close: Prices higher in moderate trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished higher in moderate trade focusing on 10-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.39 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 32 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 1.54 billion euros.

    Buy orders accounted for the bulk of turnover.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures rise, tracking bourse: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange gained ground on Monday, tracking an upturn in the main market, traders said.

    Turnover was 78.7 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips rose 2.45 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks increased by 2.33 percent.

    [30] ATHOC president briefs President on Athens 2004 Olympiad

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos had a one-hour-long meeting with Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC)President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki at the Presidential Mansion on Monday night.

    According to sources, the ATHOC president briefed Stephanopoulos on preparations for the Athens Olympic Games, the problems which exist and the progress being made in the programs undertaken by the Organizing Committee. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki also briefed the president in detail on the progress being made in the volunteerism program.

    As the ATHOC president had said a few weeks ago, she will brief the President of the Republic and the political party leaders on regular intervals on the course of the preparations for the 2004 Olympiad.

    According to ATHOC sources, Monday night's meeting was held at the request of Stephanopoulos.

    [31] ATHOC to move headquarters

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    Athens 2004 organizers (ATHOC) presented the organizationís new offices in the north-west suburb of Nea Ionia on Monday, with a former textile mill having undergone a major renovation to serve as ATHOC's headquarters.

    ATHOC chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki cited a 25-percent reduction in leasing fees and closer proximity to the main Olympic sports complex (OAKA), along with better access to major roadways, as the main reasons for the move.

    [32] Council of State gives green light to Olympic Games' equestrian, rowing centers

    Athens, 05/03/2002 (ANA)

    The Council of State, Greece's highest administrative court, on Monday ruled that the state plan for the development of the area around the new Olympic Equestrian Center in the Mesogia region of Eastern Attica was lawful.

    It also turned down requests of ecological organizations to discuss the environmental terms of the Olympic Games rowing center in Marathonas, Eastern Attica, as it judged them to be off deadline.

    [33] Cyprus problem discussed at Common-wealth Summit

    NICOSIA, 05/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus problem was discussed at the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Conference being held in Australia.

    The issue was raised by Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who represents the island at the conference, during the discussion on international problems. He asked for the support of the Commonwealth in achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    According to an official announcement issued in Nicosia, all representatives of the member states who took the floor supported a solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN relevant resolutions.

    The discussion on the Cyprus problem was taken up by the Committee of High Officials, which will draft a reference on Cyprus to be included in final communique.

    Referring to the ongoing direct talks in Nicosia between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash, for a solution to the Cyprus problem, Kasoulides said in his speech that the outcome of the talks will show whether the principles on which the Commonwealth is based will be justified.

    It will prove, he added, whether the principles of territorial integrity, independence and unity of states will be respected or the existence of different nationalities in one state is cause for secession or partition, or cause for further tightening of relations and unity in a multicultural state.

    Kasoulides pointed out that if the principle put forward by Turkey in Cyprus, for every nationality to have a separate state, is accepted, then the UN will consist of 8,000 members instead of the present 188.

    He said the Turkish position for "two independent and sovereign states" in Cyprus cannot lead to a solution of the Cyprus problem and basically is outside the parameters of the UN resolutions which provide for one state in Cyprus with one sovereignty, one international personality and one nationality.

    Kasoulides concluded by saying that this state will consist of two politically equal communities, as they are described by the UN Secretary General in his 1990 report, within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

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