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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-03-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

March 11, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Karamanlis promises clash with vested interests; gov't reaction
  • [02] FM supports step-by-step approach in Greek-Turkish relations
  • [03] Ecumenical Patriarch calls attention to Church's struggle for peace, tolerance
  • [04] Greek and Turkish Cypriots visit municipalities
  • [05] DM criticizes ND of destabilizing political system
  • [06] Communist party leader opposes social security dialogue
  • [07] Synaspismos central committee rejects PASOK overtures
  • [08] Chinese businessmen interested in northeastern Greece
  • [09] OTE denies report on 'agreement' with Italian firm
  • [10] Investigation in Australian postal service for lost letters of Greek expatriates
  • [11] Cyprus hosts Mediterranean Journalists Conference

  • [01] Karamanlis promises clash with vested interests; gov't reaction

    Athens, 11/03/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday sternly criticized the government during a speech at a party rally in Kilkis prefecture, northern Greece.

    ''This government was born tired and is crawling tired, unable to make decisions. Its image is reflected clearly in the public sector, which is paralyzed, under the weight of minor and major interests, the lack of action by its members and the inability of the premier to implement a cohesive policy,'' Karamanlis charged.

    The ND leader focused his address over what he called ''an effort by the premier to disorient public opinion from the impasses it has created.''

    The ND leader also referred his intention to clash with “vested interests”, as he noted, saying:

    “We know that when these ‘vested interests’ begin to collapse we will face an attack by groups that are used to infesting the public sector,” he said.

    On Sunday, Karamanlis spoke at an event focusing on the problems and issues related to ethnic Greeks from the Black Sea region (Pontians) that repatriated to Greece over the past decade or so from the former Soviet Union.

    “Your return to the land of your ancestors can and must translate into something better for you, for all Greeks, for our country. Your repatriation may not heal the wounds of the past, but it surely ensures a greater dynamic for the Greece of the future; however, this dynamic depends on the prospects being shaped today for the both the personal and collective progress of all Greeks,” he told an audience of Pontian groups gathered in Thessaloniki.

    Karamanlis also stressed that the New Democracy government of 1990-93 first inaugurated efforts to return the thousands of ethnic Greeks populating the one-time Soviet Union’s Black Sea republics, and that his party is categorically against efforts to “entrap free citizens into political parties’ aspirations”.

    Gov’t reaction: In statements a day later vis-a-vis Karamanlis’ charges from Kilkis, government spokesman Christos Protopapas referred to what he called the ND leader’s return to a “brash and high-handed” style. He also claimed Karamanlis is employing a strategy of “invective, discord and tension in order to try and flatten out everything”.

    On his part, ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos merely countered that it is the PASOK government that retains a “regime-like arrogance, one that has lost all contact with the citizenry and is now searching for a safety net in (encouraging) division.”

    [02] FM supports step-by-step approach in Greek-Turkish relations

    Athens, 11/03/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, in an interview with the state-run ET-1 television station's program ''50 minutes'' on Saturday night, expressed support for a step-by-step approach in Greek-Turkish relations.

    On the question of whether the domestic political climate can affect the Greek-Turkish rapprochement, Papandreou said ''I would say that this does not directly affect whatever Greek-Turkish rapprochements and I would say that here we neither have one step speeding up nor a step which is causing delay. We want to go ahead in a stable way, as we have said, step-by-step with carefully examined steps in a way safeguarding our interests and enabling us to assess and probe possible paths leading us to the final target which is a solution to the continental shelf issue.''

    Referring to whether the real causes of problems with Turkey are insurmountable, Papandreou said as an example that many say that Turkey wants half of the Aegean and added that if indeed Turkey wants half of the Aegean dialogue will not proceed.

    ''We shall not lose half of the Aegean from the dialogue. We shall lose nothing from the dialogue. This is my conviction and the conviction of the government because this is the logic of the framework in which we are moving. We only have to gain,'' he said.

    Papandreou also said dialogue will not go ahead and whatever negotiation on the continental shelf will not proceed if, for example, the issue of some islands or some territory lies behind it.

    ''For this reason we simply say that there is no sovereign rights issue to discuss. If, however, there are some other issues which can be handled logically, such as whether Turkey feels it is suffocating and should have a corridor. I have told this to Turkey in public concerning its navy in the Aegean which does not harm our sovereign rights. If we can settle it we can discuss it,'' he said.

    Papandreou said there are forces which indeed want Turkey to move towards Europe, but there are also those which will search to find an excuse to stop it because their own interests are directly harmed.

    Giving an example, he said on the Cyprus issue there are those who say it should indeed be solved and this is a new phenomenon. He added that there are journalists, politicians, former diplomats and even former Turkish army officers who speak of the need for a solution to the Cyprus issue and warn that ''it could be our Titanic or rather the iceberg Turkey will strike regarding our course to Europe.''

    Papandreou concluded by saying that ''Cyprus will join (the EU) even if there is no solution to the Cyprus issue and, therefore, Cyprus cannot be the hostage of Turkish intransigence in resolving the Cyprus issue.''

    [03] Ecumenical Patriarch calls attention to Church's struggle for peace, tolerance

    NEW YORK, 11/03/2002 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    The contribution of the Church in the struggle for the defense of international peace and tolerance was the focus of a speech delivered by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Friday evening here.

    ''Violence and terrorism in whichever form, have never resolved, and will never resolve the problems of individuals or peoples,'' Bartholomew stressed to an audience of diplomats and Greek expatriate community leaders, during the inauguration ceremony of a photographic exhibition showcasing the first ten years of the Patriarch's tutelage (1991-2001), taking place now at the Onassion Cultural Institute in New York.

    Bartholomew stressed that the meaning of service does not only apply to the local church level, but has a wider application toward caring for ''stability, order and unity of all other Orthodox churches, as well as in the promotion of inter-religious dialogue and the establishment of inter-Orthodox cooperation, taking in mind the ''radical restructuring in Europe.''

    The Ecumenical Patriarch underlined that now more than ever the inter-religious dialogue is important, as it has always been in times of great crisis, saying that the ''Sept. 11 attack did not only hit the city of New York, but hit the hope of humanity''.

    Bartholomew also spoke of the Patriarchate's efforts to save the environment.

    Patriarch officiates at 'Ground Zero' memorial service: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Sunday officiated at a memorial service here at the “Ground Zero” site in down-town Manhattan, the spot where the WTC Towers once stood.

    The Patriarch also toured the ruins of the nearby Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Aghios (St.) Nikolaos, which was severely damaged in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers.

    During the service, Bartholomew prayed for the thousands of victims of the dastardly Sept. 11 “air terror” attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, while calling for such abominable acts to never be repeated.

    “We understand, through these terrible events, how much we need mutual understanding and mutual respect for the variety of religious beliefs and national descent of each of us, so we can work, live and co-exist peacefully on this planet called Earth. On this planet, which was created by God, there is room for all,” he stressed.

    Former U.S. President Bush receives human rights award: Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos awarded former President George Bush and his wife Barbara the Athinagoras ''Human Rights'' Award on Saturday night, with which the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul's ''Apostle Andrew'' Order honored them.

    Bartholomew gave Bush a Patriarchal Cross and underlined ''the valuable help he gave to the Phanar'' and praised the Bush family ''which tends to the strengthening and expansion of the Patriarchate's work and mission.''

    Bush, receiving the award, expressed his appreciation for the honor and spoke with admiration of the Patriarch, the Archbishop of America Demetrios and former Archbishop Iakovos in particular with whom he has a longstanding friendship.

    Bush reminded that during his presidency the Greek Prime Minister at the time Constantine Mitsotakis and Turkish President Turgut Ozal had almost reached an agreement on the issue of Cyprus, with his own mediation, adding that ''ultimately this did not become possible'' and expressed the hope that the problem will be resolved soon.

    Bush also expressed his appreciation for the contribution of the Greek American community in the progress of the U.S. in all sectors and spoke with admiration for Greece and the valuable Greek cultural heritage.

    World conference in Cyprus on religions and cultures NICOSIA, 11/03/2002 (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos)

    The world conference '' Encounter of religions and cultures'', organized by the Kykkos Monastery with the cooperation of the Athens Panteios University, continued here on Sunday for the third consecutive day.

    Speakers opposed the view that the various religions and cultures lead inevitably to conflicts, while attributing conflicts to cultural factors was also frequently criticized.

    Panteios University international relations professor Christodoulos Yiallouridis said the conflict of interests and not cultures explains confrontations.

    Famous Russian film director Nikita Mihalkov caused a sensation when he called on delegates to wonder who are the people who decide to sacrifice their lives for a cause. Explaining that in no way does he justify the terrorist strike on September 11 and agreeing with the need for those responsible to be punished, he pointed out that the response to terrorism cannot be bombs alone.

    On his part, Athens University professor Christos Yiannaras said people are prepared to die to give a meaning to their lives and reminded of the tragedies of the Kurds, Bosnia, Kosovo, Pales-tine and Afghanistan.

    The Chinese delegation recalled that ''generosity comes from tolerance'', while the Pope of Alexandria and All Africa Petros pointed out in his message the need ''for us to approach each other, to speak to each other more frequently, to cooperate together and to listen to and accept each other.''

    The deputy president of the Union of German Writers Monika Erhardt-Lackoni was strongly critical of the activities of her country's forces in the Balkans and Afghanistan.

    Dr. Sexxed Atuollah Mohajerani, president of Iran's International Dialogue Center between Cultures rejected those who interpret religion as violence and insurrection.

    He stressed the need for dialogue, reconciliation and peace and the obligation of religious leaderships to work in this direction.

    In his message to the congress, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said on Friday Cyprus has given proof that with mutual respect it is possible for Christians, Muslims, Maronites, Armenians and Latins to co-exist constructively and progress. He assured that the government will always cooperate in such efforts ''that augur well for the future of the world.''

    A message by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou read at the conference said a responsible politician or religious leader, regardless of his personal views, ''should not only recognize but also respect the sensitivity of peoples on the freedom of their religious feeling, particularly in a modern society of citizens.''

    The Primate of the Church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos said that injustice has never been the foundation of peace and added that in 1974, during the Turkish invasion, by the force of arms the legal inhabitants of Cyprus were uprooted from their homes, which Turkish settlers now occupy.

    In a televised message to the delegates, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said that people should be aware that war leads nowhere.

    He said that dialogue among people is the only means civilized people should apply to achieve peace.

    More than 100 personalities from all over the world involved in religion, in the arts as well as politics participate in this four-day congress. The congress brings together Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, Cardinals, Rabbis, Imams, Hindus, Buddhists, ministers, Parliamentarians, deans of Universities and academics from the USA, East and West Europe, India, China and Japan.

    [04] Greek and Turkish Cypriots visit municipalities

    BRUSSELS, 11/03/2002 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    A group of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot citizens visited Belgium at the end of last week to ascertain how municipalities and communities around Brussels function which are under joint Flemish and French-speaking administration.

    The group of about 20 Greek and Turkish Cypriots, mostly businessmen, visited the regional municipality of Brussels Wolu-we-Saint-Lampert which is ruled by a joint majority of Dutch and French-speaking people and without big problems and friction appearing between the two communities.

    The Cypriots also visited the Parliament of the third region of the federal Belgian state, that of Brussels, for a briefing on the way it functions and on problems arising from the coexistence in it of both French and Dutch-speaking deputies.

    [05] DM criticizes ND of destabilizing political system

    Athens, 11/03/2002 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, in an interview with the Sunday newspaper 'Eleftherotypia', said powerful economic interests, international factors having plans on Greek-Turkish relations and the main opposition New Democracy party are functioning in a destabilizing manner for the Greek political system.

    Papantoniou added that Greece is not like Turkey where the government learns from the newspapers who the leaders of the armed forces are.

    He further said that the elections can be won "if the misery of the times is overcome".

    [06] Communist party leader opposes social security dialogue

    Athens, 11/03/2002 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga, speaking at a press conference in Volos on Sunday, expressed opposition to the upcoming dialogue on the social security issue.

    "The measures being promoted by the government cannot be corrected and for this reason we are opposed to dialogue. If we had to do with a 'package' which would have some positive and some negative measures then the dialogue would have a meaning, always with struggles however, for one to remove the negative ones," she said.

    Papariga said the package of measures is rejected in its entirety and is not even a basis for discussion, while warning that those participating in the dialogue have a "criminal responsibility".

    On the question of Greek-Turkish relations and the preliminary dialogue starting on Tuesday, she expressed disapproval of Turkish claims being referred to the International Court at The Hague, adding that the latter "is a political body in the hands of the leading imperialist powers".

    [07] Synaspismos central committee rejects PASOK overtures

    Athens, 11/03/2002 (ANA)

    The majority of members on the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party’s central committee over the weekend rejected several recent high-profile overtures by ruling PASOK for a “center-left” cooperation in future elections and in forming a government.

    Closing a two-day central committee conference late Saturday evening, Synaspismos president Nikos Constantopoulos said the party records a serious presence on all fronts, while it has steadily gained in citizens’ regard and respect.

    Explaining Synaspismos’ rejection of PASOK’s offers, Constantopoulos said the ruling party has failed to “overtake” the small party, while the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) “has not been able to destroy it”.

    Moreover, he said Synaspismos will not be trapped in the “public relations scheme of a left-left (cooperation)”, and that his party’s stance is “based on principles and consequence”.

    He again reiterated that Synaspismos’ emphasis focuses on the government’s applied policies and in changing the current election law towards a more simple representational system.

    Finally, he said PASOK has in the past categorically rejected cooperation, mentioning the recent Constitutional revision.

    [08] Chinese businessmen interested in northeastern Greece

    Athens, 11/03/2002 (ANA)

    Chinese businessmen have shown interest in creating joint products and services units in northeastern Greece and have started a tour of Thrace and eastern Macedonia on Sunday.

    They will be discussing procedural issues and be briefed on incentives provided by eastern Macedonia and Thrace on the implementation of private investment programs.

    The businessmen will have a series of contacts with the regional governor of eastern Macedonia and Thrace Aris Papadopoulos, prefects, mayors, industrialists and chamber of commerce presidents.

    In turn, they will be explaining their plans on the creation of viable units in the industrial zones of Thrace and eastern Macedonia with the cooperation of representatives of northeastern Greece's industrial world.

    A big Chinese government delegation and a large group of industrial and economic officials will tour all cities in northeastern Greece next month to collect economic and other information to enable the Chinese to have a finalized view of the kind of units to be promoted for implementation and the regions in which they will be created.

    [09] OTE denies report on 'agreement' with Italian firm

    SOFIA, 11/03/2002 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    A local Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) representative, in a statement to the press on Sunday, denied recent reports in the Greek press on an ''agreement'' between the Greek organization with a competing Italian firm, in the framework of international tendering, concerning the granting of a license by the Bulgarian state for the development of a second mobile telephony network in Bulgaria at the end of 2000.

    According to the director of OTE International's Sofia office George Georgiadis allegations that OTE ''has paid the Italian TIM company to withdraw from international tendering'', as claimed in a recent report in an Athens daily and given widespread publicity in the Bulgarian press ''are very far from the truth.''

    In a statement in Sunday's ''Monitor'', Georgiadis added that ''these false rumors about OTE are being disseminated because a general assembly of the Organization’s shareholders is coming up.''

    The newspaper published an announcement by the Italian TIM company in an adjoining column that it considered it expedient to discontinue its participation in international tendering for the Bulgarian state's license when the price reached an unacceptably high level.

    In November 2000 OTE won the license to develop a second mobile telephony network in Bulgaria for 135 million dollars following a tough struggle against four other foreign companies.

    [10] Investigation in Australian postal service for lost letters of Greek expatriates

    MELBOURNE, 11/03/2002 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    Australian postal services confirmed that an investigation was initiated following complaints by Greek expatriates that many of the their letters and packages they sent to Greece were lost.

    To date it has not been discovered whether the problem was on the Australian or Greek ends of the postal services.

    Following a report on the Greek expatriate newspaper ''New World'', which was based on complaints of Greek expatriates, a representative of the Australian postal services confirmed that an investigation was underway, adding that a relevant announcement will be made within the next few days.

    [11] Cyprus hosts Mediterranean Journalists Conference

    NICOSIA, 11/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The twinning of the Union of Cyprus Journalists (UCJ) and the National Federation of Journalists of Italy will contribute to the development of cooperation and peace in the Mediterranean region, Cyprus House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias has said, expressing belief that the twinning would benefit both the journalists and the society in general and will boost relations between the two countries.

    In his speech, read by the Director of the House President's office Vassos Georgiou, at the two-day 4th Conference of Journalists of the Mediterranean Region, that began here Friday night, with the participation of delegates from 15 Mediterranean countries, Christofias noted the important role the Press plays in developing democracy.

    The House President said the existing relations between the Press Unions of Cyprus and Italy "reflect the very good traditional relations of their respective countries in many areas".

    In his address Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides refer-red to the direct talks between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus saying that until now there seems to be no results, adding that the position of the Turkish Cypriot side contradicts the relevant UN decisions.

    Kasoulides said Cyprus a bridge between three continents, is committed to cooperate with all countries in the region to turn the Mediterranean into a "sea of peace and security."

    Referring to the direct talks, that began in mid January, between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Kasoulides assured that the Greek Cypriot side will continue to be constructive with the aim to reach a solution.

    President of the UCJ Andreas Kannaouros said the Media have a very important role to play towards the direction of peace in the Mediterranean region.

    On his part Coordinator of the Conference on behalf of the Italian Federation of Journalists Antonio Velluto said the Cyprus problem is "a source of danger and instability" in the region and said a solution could be achieved through the direct talks within the framework of the relevant UN resolutions and International Law.

    Referring to the Middle East crisis, he called on the international community to step in and help bridge differences between the Palestinian people and Israel.

    The countries represented in the Conference were Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Malta, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.


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