|Saturday, 19 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-03-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>March 26, 2002
 Bush says U.S. appreciates Greece's active support in war against terrorism
WASHINGTON, 26/03/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)US President George W. Bush said on Monday that the United States appreciates Greece's active support in the war against terrorism and was ready to encourage the ongoing Greek-Turkish rapprochement, while it supported the direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, hoping that these talks will lead to a final solution of the Cyprus problem.
Speaking during an event held at the White House on the occasion of Greece's National Independence Day, Bush said '' Greece was one of only a handful of countries that fought alongside the United States in every major 20th century war. And Americans will always remember Greek heroism and Greek sacrifice for the sake of freedom. As the 21st century dawns, Greece and America are -- once again stand united; this time in the fight against terrorism. Greece is a part of the coalition of nations helping bring justice to those who would harm us, harm the people of Greece, harm anybody who love freedom. The United States deeply appreciates the role Greece is playing in the war against terror. We thank Greece for access to the military base in Souda Bay, Crete, and for providing a naval frigate for patrolling the Arabian Sea. And just as Greece has stood side by side with the United States, the United States stands ready to encourage the continued warming of Greek and Turkish relations. We welcome the resumption of diplomatic talks on Cyprus, and hope that they will lead to a final settlement that strengthens regional peace and stability America and Greece are strong allies, and we're strategic partners.''
Also present at the ceremony, among others, were Greek Orthodox Archbishop Dimitrios of America, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director George Tenet, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis, Greece's and Cyprus's ambassadors and representatives of the Greek-American community.
 White House event on occasion of Greece's National Independence Day
WASHINGTON, 26/03/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America Demetrios, during an event at the White House on Monday on the occasion of Greece's National Independence Day, referred to the need for the immediate solution of multiple problems concerning Greece but which also concern American interests, such as the situation in the Balkans, Cyprus, the Middle East and the combatting of international terrorism.
Speaking in the presence of U.S. President George W. Bush and about 200 leading members of the Greek-American community, including Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director George Tenet, Archbishop Demetrios thanked Bush for ''his generosity of heart and thought'' with which he deals with the Greek-American community.
The archbishop noted that the Greek-American community was observing with satisfaction the continued interest shown by President Bush and his aides on issues of concern to Greece and appreciate the substantial progress, which has been achieved.
Archbishop Demetrios stressed that the ceremony at the White House took place at a difficult period for America, which just six months ago fell victim of terrorist attacks, which caused the death of thousands of people and enormous material damage. ''Under these conditions, freedom, the right to independence, human rights, the holiness of human existence and the need for peace, which guided the struggle for Greek Independence in 1821 and which constitute the heart and the essence of our American democracy, develop an even greater dramatic dimension.''
A brief meeting between Archbishop Demetrios and Bush preceded the ceremony.
Also taking part in the ceremony, among others, were Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis and the ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus.
 Greece observes 1821 War of Liberation anniversary
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)Nationwide celebrations marking the 181st anniversary of Greece's War of Independence culminated on Monday with the annual military parade through downtown Athens before tens of thousands of people and the country's top leadership.
As in previous years, President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and the rest of Greece's political and armed forces leadership viewed the parade from grandstand in front of the country's Parliament.
Stephanopoulos declined to make statements after the parade.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis cited, among others, Athens' goal of leading - amid an area plagued by crises over the past decade -- regional efforts for peace, cooperation and development, all aimed at achieving the prosperity of both the Greek people and other neighboring peoples.
Meanwhile, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis observed the March 25 Independence Day parade in Patra, western Greece, where he noted that the War of 1821 confirmed that lofty goals and victories at all levels need ''faith and ideals''.
In his comments honoring Greek Independence Day -- March 25 -- Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis called on all forces in the country to make every possible effort towards safeguarding unity and national consensus.
National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, meanwhile, offered his assurances that Greece's armed forces remain strong, reliable and effective, ready at a moment's notice to defend the country's national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos stressed that the Greece of 2002 should constitute a force of peace and justice in the world, and a force of freedom and democracy for its citizens.
Other dignitaries on the grandstand this year included Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos; ND deputy George Alogoskoufis - who represented Costas Karamanlis - Democratic Social Movement founder Dimitris Tsovolas, former premiers, ministers etc.
March 25, 1821 is officially regarded as the beginning of the Greek nation's War of Liberation against dour Ottoman rule.
Cyprus president sends messages to Greek president and PM: Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides addressed messages of congratulations to his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the occasion of Greece's March 25 national holiday, stressing that Hellenism in Cyprus honors the March 25 anniversary with feelings of national pride.
In his message to President Stephanopoulos, President Clerides said ''Hellenism in Cyprus honors today's anniversary with feelings of national pride, drawing strength for the continuation of its struggle.''
President Clerides added that ''I wish to express the profound gratitude of Hellenism in Cyprus for the steadfast support of Greece for the achievement of a just and viable solution to our national problem, as well as for Cyprus's accession to the European Union.''
In his message to Simitis, President Clerides said "Hellenism in Cyprus honors today's anniversary with special emotion and feelings of national pride."
President Clerides went on to say "I wish to express the profound gratitude of Hellenism in Cyprus for valuable and multiform aid from Greece for the achievement of a just and viable solution to our national problem, as well as for Cyprus's accession to the European Union."
Cyprus Parliament president on March 25 national anniversary: Cyprus Parliament President Demetris Christofias addressed messages of congratulations to Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on the occasion of the March 25 national anniversary.
Christofias wished the Greek people progress, prosperity, peace and security and expressed his gratitude to Greece's political leadership and people for the steadfast and undivided support they are giving the people of Cyprus in their struggle for the reunification of their homeland and for vindication.
Message from Turkey's Sezer: Finally, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer also sent congratulations to his Greek counterpart in light of Greece's Independence Day anniversary, according to the semi-official news agency Anadolu.
"I believe the friendship and cooperation developing between our two countries will be further enhanced in the future, and I wish for you and the Greek nation happiness and prosperity," Sezer's message reads.
National anniversary messages by president and parties: President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, in messages on the March 25 national anniversary commemorating the 1821 revolution against Ottoman rule, underlined both the bravery of fighters and the dangers currently facing the country.
''The fighters of '21, with their patriotism, self-sacrifice and bravery, freed the Homeland and paved the way for the creation of the first Greek state and the position it currently holds in Europe and the world,'' President Stephanopoulos said in his message.
President Stephanopoulos also said problems, challenges and dangers exist for the country, adding that international conjunctures necessitate vigilance, determination and, above all, unity among Greeks.
Archbishop Christodoulos said ''we are living in an era in which the social system, which is managed by the rulers of this world, wants to undermine our spiritualism and, in general, our culture'', but emphasized that they shall not succeed.
Simitis said the country should derive lessons from the glorious moments of the past and adjust them to the modern-day conjuncture.
He further said that Greece's course in Europe is difficult and laborious but extremely exciting and interesting, adding that Greece's future is identified with the future of Europe more than ever.
Karamanlis said it is up to all the Greeks to join forces to achieve a strong Greece, which will provide more freedoms and guarantees for personal prosperity for all citizens.
''Greece in the 21st century, participating actively in the future of Europe, should inspire its citizens with pride, security and optimism,'' he added.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in its message that popular unity and the struggle against modern-day exploiters and oppressors have much to derive from the militant uplift of the past and pointed out that peoples, as well as the people of Greece, are faced with imperialism's new and better organized aggressiveness.
Event at Athens University marking National Independence Day: President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday afternoon attended celebrations at Athens University marking Greece's National Independence Day.
Also present at the event were Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, academics, representatives of the diplomatic corps, military leadership and many officials.
Athens University Rector Prof. George Babiniotis in his address said that Greece's foreign and domestic relations should not be differentiated from the messages of national anniversaries. In reference to Cyprus, he said that the Turkish-occupation of the northern part of the island should not stop being of concern to Greece.
He expressed his conviction that only through proper and organized education can youth be able to defend the country and to comprehend the messages of national anniversaries.
Education minister takes salute at student parade: Education Minister Petros Efthymiou took the salute at the traditional student parade held at Syntagma Square in Athens on Sunday to commemorate the 181st anniversary of the 1821 revolution against Ottoman rule.
Students from 22 junior and senior high schools participated in the parade, as well as boy scouts, girl guides and pupils dressed in traditional costumes.
Efthymiou underlined the fact that the students defied the cold and rain and paraded, as well as the symbolism created by the presence of students from the town of Kalavryta and Cyprus.
ND leader visits Kalamata on liberation anniversary: Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, visiting the town of Kalamata in southern Greece to at-tend events commemorating the city's liberation, said on Saturday ''today's anniversary is a day of national memory, self-know-ledge and pride.''
Karamanlis said that the fighters of 1821 (the date of the revolution against Ottoman rule) sacrificed themselves for freedom and dignity and struggled against the mentality and logic of submission, misery and compromises.
He added that Hellenism is now being called on to make its own revolution, adding that the Greeks, being united, can claim and achieve all their targets.
 FM to meet Brazilian Congress delegation; top Afghan minister
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou will receive a delegation of visiting Brazilian Congressmen at his office on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Greek FM is scheduled to meet with transitional Afghan central authority vice-chairwoman Sima Samar, who also holds the women's affairs and human rights portfolio in the Kabul government. Samar is on an official visit to Greece.
A brief press conference will follow.
 Giannitsis to meet British minister
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis will receive Baroness Elizabeth Symons, the British minister for British Trade Promotion and Policy, on Tuesday in Athens.
 DM meets NATO secretary general and EU high commissioner
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, speaking at a press conference on the European army issue on Saturday, said Greece will not recognize the results of bilateral negotiations unless they have been brought to the attention of Athens for approval.
Papantoniou, who had met earlier with NATO secretary general Lord George Robertson and European Union High Com-missioner Javier Solana, added that ''whatever is the outcome in the form of a cooperation text between unified Europe and NATO must result from strictly institutional processes, as is the case for whatever other issue concerning unified Europe.''
On the question of when the decision on the European army issue will be taken, Papantoniou said a commitment exists regarding the time schedule, adding that ''negotiations will last for as long as it is necessary to enable a text to be agreed on which should be consistent with the principles with which we have agreed. Of course, we hope we shall produce results soon.''
Outlining the framework in which negotiations will he held, he said they concern the issue of relations between the EU and NATO and that ''it is not a bilateral issue. It is an institutional issue and it should be resolved in an institutional framework.''
Papantoniou further said that ''bilateral consultations, such as those that have already taken place, are arbitrary and cannot produce results. This is a basic point which I underlined in my address at the Council.''
He also stressed the need for the rule of the EU's autonomy to be included in whatever text is agreed on and conditions of cooperation to be set out between unified Europe and NATO on defense issues.
''It is vital for Greece and it is vital for Europe. This is a European position and not a Greek position,'' Papantoniou added.
 Informal EU Defense Ministers Council examines Amber Force
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)The European Union's informal Defense Ministers Council convened in Zaragoza, Spain, over the weekend to discuss the Spanish EU presidency's proposal on the Council changing from an informal to a formal one and the replacement of the multinational Amber Force stationed in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Greece supported the Spanish proposal and in turn called for the issue being raised at the conference on the revision of the EU's treaty, while Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said later that the proposal was accepted.
''We want this issue settled at the conference set up to shape the new treaty in the European Union, to enable the European Defense Policy to become an EU policy and the subject of a regular Council of Ministers,'' he said.
Papantoniou further said in essence it is an inter-governmental conference, but Greece wants this Council to acquire a much more substantive basis for the promotion of the European dimension of defense policy.
Replying to questions from the press, Papantoniou said that, apart from Greece, some other countries also agreed with the Spanish proposal, while ''other countries have some greater reservations.''
On the question of the replacement of Amber Force, Papantoniou said Greece was positive, but also called for ''caution and not haste.''
Elaborating on the reasons dictating Greece's position, Papantoniou said ''the Americans should not pull out of the Balkans because they are a stabilizing force and should stay there so that there can be an involvement by the U.S. in the Balkans.''
Papantoniou also mentioned the fact that FYROM is heading for an election as a second reason.
 Cem cites recent 'misunderstandings' in EU-Turkey ties
ISTANBUL, 26/03/2002 (ANA - A. Aretaios)Fragile EU-Turkey relations as well as the recent developments in the long-standing Cyprus issue are expected to dominate talks in Brussels this week between EU Commission for enlargement Guenter Verheugen and Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, who left for Belgium on Monday.
"Certain misunderstandings appeared recently between the EU and Turkey, and we must clear them up ... we must clarify developments in Turkey's European course," Cem told reporters before departing from Istanbul.
He added that such "clarifications" must come through "determination and discreetness", "without harsh language that causes concern."
Regarding the Cyprus problem, the Turkish FM claimed that Ankara has presented "productive, positive and good-willed ideas", noting that "if the EU wants to contribute to finding a mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem, it should seriously evaluate negotiations".
The EU Commissioner's frank comments in Athens last week vis-a-vis Turkey's EU accession prospects and Ankara's role in the Cyprus issue caused high-pitched reactions among certain quarters of Turkey's press.
Cem is expected to participate at an event focusing on EU-Turkey relations, organized in Brussels by the Euro-Turkey Institute.
 Latvian president in Athens this week
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga arrives in Greece on Tuesday evening to begin a four-day official visit to the country.
Talks with Greek leadership are scheduled for Wednesday.
She will also address the Athens Academy the same day on the issue of "Dimensions of European Civilization - Past, Present and Future".
 Interior minister supports election law change
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Costas Skandalidis, speaking in the city of Rethymno on the island of Crete on Saturday, expressed support for the change of the existing election law and the ratification of a new one by the present Parliament.
Skandalidis inaugurated the city's Citizens Service Center and reiterated that the functioning of such centers is a blow to bureaucracy.
He further said the government's work is successful, adding that Greece's European Union presidency (due in the first half of 2003) is very crucial since it will have to handle important national and European issues.
Skandalidis will visit the prefecture of Lasithi on Sunday, while on Monday he will be representing the government at events organized in the city of Irakleio on the occasion of the March 25 national anniversary.
 Deputy minister visits Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos
ISTANBUL, 26/03/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Deputy Transport and Communications Minister Spyros Vougias visited Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Phanar on Saturday.
Vougias was accompanied by Press Ministry secretary general Dimitra Spiliopoulou, the Macedonian News Agency's (MNA) President Paraskevas Paraskevopoulos and members of the "Themeliodomi" group.
Vartholomeos expressed satisfaction over the MNA's initiative to have services held at Saint George Cathedral in the Phanar transmitted through the Internet. The first transmission will take place on Sunday, while the initiative was financed by the "Themeliodomi" group.
 Plane-load of aid headed for Herat
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)A Greek Air Force transport plane will take off for Afghanistan on Tuesday to delivery 19 tons of humanitarian aid, mostly pharmaceuticals, food and clothes - all worth rough US$ 200,000.
The aid is headed for refugees at a camp in the Herat region of northwestern Afghanistan, one recently "adopted" by the Greek NGO "Hellenic Aid" in cooperation with Iran's Red Crescent agency.
 PASOK delegation to visit Cyprus in April
NICOSIA, 26/03/2002 (ANA - G. Leonidas)A three-member delegation of Greece's ruling PASOK party will visit Cyprus on April 8-10, at the invitation of Cyprus's Socialdemocrat Movement (KISOS) party as part of regular contacts between the two parties.
PASOK's delegation will hold talks with members of the KISOS party's Political Bureau and meet with officials of the House of Representatives.
 Communist leader concerned over foreign troops in Balkans
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)The third meeting of the Balkan Anti-NATO Center got underway in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Saturday with the participation of 25 organizations, parties and movements from Albania, Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece.
Addressing the event, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga said the Greeks cannot feel at all calm for as long as there are foreign troops in the Balkans because an obstacle will be in place for their choosing the development path of their desire.
Referring to economic programs announced in support of Balkan countries, Papariga said they are programs providing crumbs for peoples, while a great deal has been taken away from them.
"In reality they are programs facilitating big European and American companies to act at the expense of the peoples in the area," Papariga added.
Communist party leader addresses rally in Veroia: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga addressed a rally in the town of Veroia in northern Greece on Sunday, concluding her two-day visit to northern Greece, and referred to problems faced by the country's educational system.
On the occasion of the March 25 national anniversary, she underlined the need for young people to learn Greek history accurately and stressed the importance of linking education with their future work.
Papariga also referred to changes being promoted in Europe and, commenting on October's prefectural and municipal elections, said that through them KKE will show its contrast at political level with both the PASOK and New Democracy parties.
 Transport Minister holds talks with Commissioner Palacio on fate of
OA BRUSSELS, 26/03/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)Ailing Olympic Airways, Greece's national carrier, dominated a meeting here on Monday evening between Greek Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis and EU Commission vice-president and Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio.
The meeting came following a recently commenced investigation by the European Commission into the Greek state's financial support of debt-ridden OA during the past decade.
In statements after their meeting, Verelis said that ''Olympic Airways is being stabilized, the savings in its new operation program have borne fruit and in the market a new valid impression is being created that it will continue to fly.''
Verelis denied that that there was any irregularity in the financing of the company, or a loan with state approval - as the Commission report refers - and attributed to commercial interests the negative press publications about its fate.
He stressed that ''the impression that Olympic Airways is threatened by the European Commission with closure must be dismissed.''
Verelis said that ''it concerns wrong impressions created by press reports, resulting in an unfavorable climate for the company, which has suffered violent attacks from commercial interests.''
The Greek minister expressed the need for the investigation to be speeded up so as to dispel the unfavorable climate. He said that a meeting of ministry experts with the Commission will take place in April to examine the issue.
 Greece-Turkey natural gas pipeline agreement to be signed in Ankara
ISTANBUL, 26/03/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, in an interview he gave on Monday to the correspondent in Athens of Turkey's newspaper Hurriyet, Nur Batur, said that the agreement which the Turkish company BOTAS (Turkish Pipeline Company) and the Greek Natural Gas Company DEPA will sign for the construction of a natural gas pipeline linking Ankara and Alexandroupoli, marks the new geopolitical and geostrategic balance in the region.
Tsohatzopoulos, who begins a visit to Turkey on Tuesday, said that ''we are living in the 21st century a new geopolitical and geostrategic balance not only in the sector of security but also in the energy sector.''
''BOTAS and DEPA have been working for the past three years for the promotion of this plan,'' Tsohatzopoulos said of the pipeline, which will transfer natural gas from Iran and the Caspian Sea to the European markets via Greece.
He referred to the economic and technical importance of the project which is estimated to cost 300 million dollars but also stressed the political dimension of the decision.
Tsohatzopoulos noted that the transfer of natural gas from the Caspian Sea and Iran to Europe creates the prerequisites for a real energy market which will make natural gas the basic source of energy for Europe.
''There is no problem on the part of the United States,'' the Greek minister said, adding that ''Russia and the European Union are cooperating with the United States and the energy link with Eurasia strengthens this cooperation.''
At a first stage, the pipeline, through which the Iranian natural gas is transferred to Ankara, will be extended to Alexandroupoli and in continuation to Europe.
The agreement, which will be signed in Ankara, is described by industry officials as a major project, which will link Turkey with Greece.
The agreement to be signed foresees the construction of 85 kilometers of pipeline on the Greek side and 200 kilometers on the Turkish side.
 Deputy minister says no new taxes to fund social security
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)Deputy Labor Minister Rovertos Spyropoulos said in an interview with the Sunday newspaper ''Eleftherotypia'' that the funding of the social security system, a main point in dialogue with the parties involved, will not result from new taxes.
Spyropoulos also accused the main opposition New Democracy party of political opportunism for supporting other things last year and others now.
He further said that the government's decision for an agreement of mutual commitments between the state and the Social Insurances Foundation (IKA), on the issue concerning the creation of steadfast conditions for the social security system's long-standing economic viability, is a very clear and responsible re-ply.
 Economy minister announces measures for development of Thrace
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)National Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis announced in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece on Monday measures for the development of investment activities in Thrace through the institutionalization of a new development law, which will be the result of a dialogue which will go into effect in 2003.
He said ''by 2003 the new development law will have been completed and the financing of enterprises will have started. Thrace will be maintained as a special region of great support.''
Christodoulakis was addressing an event organized by ruling PASOK's Prefectural committee in Evros.
 Australian police of Greek descent volunteer for Olympiad
MELBOURNE, 26/03/2002 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)Many members of the police in Victoria and New South Wales, of Greek descent, have expressed their desire to offer their services voluntarily for the security of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Most of them already have the necessary experience after working for the security of the Sydney Olympic Games.
In another development, Overseas Hellenism secretary general Dimitris Dollis held talks with Southern Australia State Prime Minister Mike Ran on Friday and later announced an agreement on a cooperation memorandum between Greece and the state of Southern Australia on the volunteerism program concerning the Olympic Games.
According to Ran, the purpose of this cooperation is for persons specialized in volunteerism and having experience from the Sydney Olympic Games to offer their services for the success of the Athens Olympic Games as well.
 Sunday of Orthodoxy celebrated nationwide
Athens, 26/03/2002 (ANA)The Sunday of Orthodoxy was celebrated throughout the country.
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos officiated at Athens Cathedral, in the presence of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Education and Religious Affairs Minister Petros Efthymiou, ministers and deputies.
Following the service, Stephanopoulos hosted a luncheon at the Presidential Mansion in honor of Archbishop Chrystodoulos, the Holy Synod and the education minister.
In his address, the president expressed the need for cooperation between the Church and the State.
 President Clerides meets Swedish Premier in Limassol
LIMASSOL, 26/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides met on Sunday in Limas-sol with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, who was in Cyprus on a private visit.
Speaking after the meeting, President Clerides said he had a ''good talk'' with Persson on Cyprus European Union accession course and that the Swedish premier congratulated Cyprus for being almost always the first candidate country in the process for harmonization with the acquis communautaire.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Cyprus' Chief Negotiator for Accession to the EU George Vassiliou and Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros.
Vassiliou said he had every reason to be optimistic that things would turn out well in Cyprus accession course, adding that he discussed the harmonization process with Persson.
He added that it was almost certain that by April Cyprus will have overcome red-tape obstacles and will be able to close the acquis chapters on taxation and regional policy.
Cyprus opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998 and has so far provisionally closed 24 out of 29 chapters of the acquis communautaire.
 Cyprus celebrates Greek Independence Day
NICOSIA, 26/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus held liturgies and celebrations, including parades, in all free areas of the Republic on Monday, to commemorate the 25th of March 1821, when the Greek armed revolution officially began to free Greece from 400 years of Turkish occupation.
In a message, the Greek Ambassador in Nicosia said that al-though time was running out for a Cyprus settlement, the Turkish Cypriot side continued to maintain an unproductive stance.