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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-10-03

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

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

October 3, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus first in line for accession to EU, Verheugen says
  • [02] FM speaks to Parliament on Cyprus, Iraq & Greek-Turkish affairs
  • [03] PM visits latest street added to Athens 'archaeological unification'
  • [04] FM, environment minister on viable development issue
  • [05] Greece hopes Saddam will be 'cooperative' with UN
  • [06] Ecevit statement on Cyprus 'major but not enough', Athens says
  • [07] Karamanlis continues tour, rallies in eastern Macedonia, Thrace
  • [08] Vartholomeos satisfied with his visit to Athens
  • [09] Interior minister briefs PM on election issues
  • [10] Yiannitsis and Traavik meeting on EU enlargement issues
  • [11] Justice ministry bill cracks down on human trafficking, exploitation
  • [12] ELTA files for seizure of 'N17' suspects' assets
  • [13] N17 suspect Savvas Xiros follow-up operation a success doctors say
  • [14] Gov't on measures to protect detainees from publicity
  • [15] Athens daily newspaper offices damaged by group of 30 masked assailants
  • [16] Gov't sees lower growth in 2003 if global economy shows downturn
  • [17] Street market vendors, grocers continue strike; gov't reacts
  • [18] Greek firm to distribute Iranian petrochemicals in Balkans
  • [19] Montenegro opts for Hellenic Petroleum in privatization tender
  • [20] Social insurance funds make headway in use of reserves
  • [21] WTO's Pantichpakdi says attacking Iraq will impact world trade
  • [22] OTE completes second phase of organizational restructuring
  • [23] Antenna may delisted from NASDAQ, London exchanges
  • [24] Blue chip losses push ASE lower on Wednesday
  • [25] Cretan sculpture to be placed at Europarliament entrance
  • [26] Denktash in New York hospital
  • [27] Annan does not intend to present paper or plan in
  • [28] President Clerides arrives in New York for meeting with Annan

  • [01] Cyprus first in line for accession to EU, Verheugen says

    BRUSSELS 03/10/2002 (ANA – V. Demiris)

    European Commissioner on Enlargement Gunter Verheugen has stressed there can be no enlargement without Cyprus, adding that if there is one country that meets the criteria and must join the EU, that country is Cyprus.

    According to Community sources, Verheugen made this statement during a political discussion on enlargement between the 20 Commissioners, one week before the final adoption of the progress reports for each candidate country.

    Verheugen did not make any special reference to Cyprus in his opening remarks, but reacted strongly when a colleague of his expressed reservations about Cyprus' accession, making a connection between the political problem and accession.

    The German Commissioner immediately took the floor, stressing that if there is one country that should join the EU in the first wave of enlargement, that country is Cyprus.

    He backed his position by saying that Cyprus meets all the criteria for accession and that turning down the Cypriot candidature would send the whole process of enlargement spinning off its course.

    Referring to Turkey, Verheugen said giving her a date for the commencement of accession negotiations would be in violation of all EU fundamental principles, because the progress report on Turkey will underline the continued violation of human rights, the huge democratic deficit and the total failure so far of reforms approved by the Turkish National Assembly a few months ago.

    None of the Commissioners disagreed with Verheugen's arguments. Some even supported that Turkey should never join the EU, because then the EU would not be able to turn down applications from countries such as Ukraine or Morocco. Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    It was revealed during the discussion that the European Commission, in its report on Wednesday, will give the ''green light'' for the accession of 10 member-states and exclude, as expected, Bulgaria and Romania from the first wave of enlargement.

    In another development, Prime Minister Costas Simitis addressed a message of congratulations to Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on the occasion of Cyprus Independence Day.

    Simitis reassured that Greece will not cease to go along with the struggle of Cyprus for an overall, just, permanent and viable solution to the problem of Cyprus based on UN resolutions.

    ''The accession of Cyprus to the EU is Greece's top national priority. Your excellent performances in accession negotiations vindicate our expectations that Cyprus will be able, very soon, to join the European Union for the benefit of all inhabitants on the island,'' Simitis said in his message.

    [02] FM speaks to Parliament on Cyprus, Iraq & Greek-Turkish affairs

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    “There are no guarantees for a satisfactory proposal on the part of the UN Secretary General Koffi Anan with regard to the Cyprus issue if the Clerides-Denktash discussions fail to lead anywhere before the elections in Turkey. It is a question whether Anan's proposals will finally lead to a ''de facto'' partition of the island'', Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday told the Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Commission.

    The foreign minister stressed that it was feared that the plan to be proposed by the UN Secretary General might be outside the framework of UN resolutions for a federated democracy and a single state, adding that the Greek side has repeatedly discussed with the Cypriot side all the scenarios and the moves that should be made preventively, as well as afterwards, depending on the case.

    At any rate he expressed partial optimism because, as he said, Cyprus was going to join the European Union and respect should be displayed toward the acquis communautaires that do now allow for the existence of a state with glitches, since something like that would impact the function of the European Union itself.

    He added that Greece is asking for compliance with UN resolutions and that the solution to be found should be in line with UN resolutions issued up to date, it should not be a solution in the style of Bosnia which would complicate the problem, on the contrary it should be a solution that would allow the government's function and a speedy and effective decision making.

    As a matter of fact, he added, up to now there has not been an effective convergence in the Clerides-Denktash talks despite the good will that Cyprus' President Glafcos Clerides has exhibited, which the latter has attributed to the negative stance and recantations of the Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    With regard to the Greek-Turkish talks, he said ''they are not negotiations, they are exploratory talks; only through a joint decision could a negotiation process be started, based on principles and targets'', adding that there have been some positive elements from up to now exploratory talks, making a commitment to brief the Parliament accordingly at some closed session.

    Replying to questions concerning Iraq he said that “the decisions for Iraq should be taken by the UN. There should not be unilateral decisions. International legality is the unbreakable rule,” adding that a series of problems and effects would be created in the event that the attack will take place.

    He stressed that the resolution of the Middle Eastern problem is a grand issue for Europeans and the Arab countries, which view the logic of double standards, when they compare the case of Israel and Iraq.

    He also spoke of the possible effects on Turkey in the event that Iraq becomes a federal state with a grand of autonomy to the Kurds in the northern part of the country, adding that possible effects also include a wave of refugees to Turkey and Greece and the reactions of the Islamic world.

    Papandreou stressed that the Greek EU presidency will be a difficult one as it will represent the Union toward the Arab world in this juncture.

    He also underlined that the United States have not requested of Greece to provide possible aid or facilitation in the event of a war in Iraq and expressed the hope that there will be a common stance of the Union on Iraq, otherwise he said every country will follow a policy in line with its best interest.

    During the session, Papandreou also responded to questions regarding the Athens FIR, stating that the Union has been discussing the possibility of a unification of the European Union member-states’ FIR.

    He stood for the assignment of a date for the initiation of negotiations between Turkey and the EU for that country’s accession, stressing that “a date will contribute to the resolution of the Cyprus problem”, adding that Turkey has made a move forward by amending its constitution, but that is not enough as the country needs to prove in practice those changes.

    He also stressed that comments by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit – that “if Cyprus enters the European Union the world would not come to an end” – were on the right track, adding, however, that the substance will be found in actions.

    He concluded that he was optimistic concerning the island republic’s accession to the Union as the decision of the Union mandates that either 10 states will be admitted or none will.

    [03] PM visits latest street added to Athens 'archaeological unification'

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday visited Apostolou Pavlou Street, the latest Athens road turned to walkway as part of a project for the unification of the city's archaeological sites.

    Once this 'archaeological park' is complete, all the major archaeological sites in Athens will be linked by walkways that allow visitors to tour them on foot, without having to traverse sections of the busy, modern city.

    Simitis was accompanied on his tour of the new addition to the project by Environment Minister Vasso Papandreou and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, and was shown around the Archaeological Sites Unification Company by its president Yiannis Kalantidis.

    Walking down toward Thisseion from Dionysiou Areopagitou Street beneath the Acropolis, the first walkway in the project, the prime minister expressed satisfaction at the successful completion of the project and stressed that Athens was not just a city of apartment blocks and narrow roads.

    "Our age demands that we do not think only about technology and the economy but also about the environment and cultural heritage," he said.

    He said the 'archaeological park' would be completed in December with a link between Thisseion and Kerameikos via Ermou Street and Adrianou Street.

    [04] FM, environment minister on viable development issue

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    A one-day seminar on viable development was held in Athens on Wednesday, almost a month since a world-wide summit on the crucial issue took place in Johannesburg, with both Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Town Planning and Environment Minister Vasso Papandreou touching on Greece’s upcoming EU presidency in the first half of 2003.

    Vasso Papandreou noted that the challenge for the Greek presidency lies in implementing decisions taken at Johannesburg, which she characterized as “not positive, but also not a failure.”

    On his part, the foreign minister stressed the need for political volition so that Johannesburg is not viewed in the future as a “yet another summit of lost opportunities”.

    He also cited a recent survey of some 25,000 Internet users from 175, according to which 91 percent expressed disappointment with the environment’s quality, although 63 percent viewed the Johannesburg summit in a positive light.

    [05] Greece hopes Saddam will be 'cooperative' with UN

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Greece on Wednesday expressed hope that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein would prove to be ''cooperative'' with the UN inspection and meet all the conditions placed by the United Nations.

    Replying to press questions during a press briefing, government spokesman Christos Protopapas noted that if that was not the case, then the UN would examine what other steps it could prospectively take.

    He explained, however, that, in the Greek government's view, any further action presupposed a relevant decision on the part of the UN Security Council.

    [06] Ecevit statement on Cyprus 'major but not enough', Athens says

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Athens was waiting for actions by Ankara that would confirm the softer tone apparently taken by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit regarding Cyprus' EU accession, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Wednesday.

    Ecevit's statement that "the world will not come to an end if Cyprus joins the EU” was important but not enough, Protopapas added.

    The Turkish premier was being quoted in an interview appearing in the Tuesday edition of the Turkish daily "Hurriyet".

    "Turkey's behavior must accord with the spirit of Ecevit's statement, which we have no reason not to applaud. It must become clear in Turkey that Cyprus' EU accession is progressing in accordance with EU criteria, that Turkey itself must boost its European course and that Greece is prepared to contribute toward this," the spokesman said.

    Protopapas also denied that Greece had been asked to postpone the annual Greek-Cypriot joint exercise in the Aegean, Nikiforos-Toxotis, saying that preparations for the exercise were proceeding as planned.

    [07] Karamanlis continues tour, rallies in eastern Macedonia, Thrace

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis wound up his two-day tour of eastern Macedonia and Thrace with speeches on Wednesday in the cities of Kavala and Xanthi, where he vigorously campaigned for the party’s various local government candidates in light of elections this month.

    Besides Xanthi and Kavala, Karamanlis also stopped in Drama and the Chryssoupoli district, stopping by campaign headquarters on the way.

    In practically all his comments, Karamanlis stressed that the eastern Macedonia and Thrace ranks as among the European Union’s poorest regions, while lamenting the fact that tourism in the border region has plummeted of late, as he said.

    He also cited a shrinking population, a lack of proper state services, serious problems in the farm and stockbreeding sectors as well as poor health care as plaguing the region.

    Moreover, Karamanlis criticized the pace of work on the Egnatia motorway spanning the breadth of northern Greece as well as work at Kavala’s port.

    In a separate development, Karamanlis reiterated that ND remains true to its standing commitments regarding the principles of equality and respect of the rights of the Muslim minority in Thrace.

    Additionally, he said repatriated ethnic Greeks (Pontians) from the former Soviet Union are “continuously bombarded with promises” every time an election rolls around, “only to be abandoned until the next one (election).”

    [08] Vartholomeos satisfied with his visit to Athens

    ISTANBUL 03/10/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos back to Istanbul on Wednesday from a four-day visit to Athens expressed satisfaction over the outcome of his contacts in the Greek capital.

    On his way out from St. George Cathedral in the Phanar, Vartholomeos spoke to a group of Turkish visitors about the warm feelings with which the Greek people and authorities embrace the Patriarchate and about his meetings with the Greek leadership, the Turkish ambassador to Athens and a group of Turkish businessmen on a visit to the Greek prime minister.

    Vartholomeos had a busy schedule of engagements in Athens before his departure on Wednesday, including meetings with the country's state and political leadership, a ceremony at the Athens Agricultural University on Monday where he made honorary professor and a meeting with UNESCO Good Will Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyianni during which they discussed initiatives to help street children and children in Africa.

    ''As a Turkish nation, we love you a lot'', said the leader of the Turkish travelers who belong to the Skoutari branch of the Association of Promotion of Modern Life boasting 60 branches throughout Turkey with a large membership of intellectuals and scientists.

    Coalition leader meets Ecumenical Patriarch: Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Wednesday met visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, who is in Athens on a private visit.

    In statements after the meeting, Constantopoulos heaped praise on the Patriarch, saying that he enjoyed the love and respect of the entire world and was the personification and symbol of a positive approach to many of the more serious ills plaguing humanity.

    Ecumenical patriarch meets UNESCO goodwill ambassador: UNESCO goodwill ambassador Marianna Vardinoyianni visited Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Wednesday who requested from her to ensure that about 40,000 dollars are sent for starving children in Africa.

    The money comes from the amount Vartholomeos received a year ago as a reward for his ecological initiatives.

    He also gave her 10,000 dollars as a symbolic gesture for the Society of Friends of Children with Cancer ''Elpida.''

    Vardinoyianni briefed him on an initiative undertaken to restore the Saint Sofia cathedral in Istanbul.

    At noon, Vartholomeos inaugurated the new building of the ''New Generation Zyridi'' school and later departed for Istanbul.

    [09] Interior minister briefs PM on election issues

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday after a briefing for Prime Minister Costas Simitis on election issues, said his ministry would make every effort to detect double entries in election registers by the day the elections will be held.

    Skandalidis said that in municipalities in the Attica prefecture and in the 10 biggest municipalities in the country there will be two secretaries in the Supervisory Committee at polling stations. The one will erase the name of the person who voted and the other will check the address of the person who voted.

    In this way the biggest part of double entries will be resolved on the day of the elections. The number of double entries on special lists amounts to 66,000 (compared to 380,000 detected during the first revision).

    [10] Yiannitsis and Traavik meeting on EU enlargement issues

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis on Wednesday met with Deputy Foreign Minister of Norway Kim Traavik focusing on EU enlargement issues, as well as on the situation in the Balkans and the future of the European Economic Area.

    During the meeting, the Greek minister elaborated on the priorities of the upcoming Greek EU presidency and Greece's views on the basics of the EU enlargement including fiscal and legislative consequences, Cyprus' EU accession course as well as Turkey's, Bulgaria's and Romania's European prospects.

    The two sides exchanged views on the situation in the Balkans placing first priority on stability in the region and its European perspective and also examined specific ways to promote bilateral cooperation in the light of the Greek EU presidency.

    [11] Justice ministry bill cracks down on human trafficking, exploitation

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    A justice ministry bill targeting phenomena such as human trafficking, sexual exploitation and child pornography was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday and met with widespread approval among the political parties, who ratified it unanimously on the first reading.

    Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos said the bill sought to update and modernize the existing legal framework on the trade in humans, sexual exploitation and similar crimes to cover contemporary forms of these problems - such as the human organ trade or cyber-porn - and to address equality issues related to women and minors.

    Introducing the bill, Petsalnikos stressed that it was now ranged against the third-largest criminal 'industry' after the illegal drug and arms trades, with worldwide profits exceeding seven billion euros in the year 2000 alone.

    He also quoted figures from UNICEF and other international watchdogs showing that up to one million children were forced into prostitution around the world every year and that 700,000 women had become prostitutes against their will in 2000, many of them East or Central Europeans brought by crime syndicates to Western Europe.

    The most basic changes introduced by the bill are a new article entitled 'trade in humans' that has been added to older articles on slavery to covers contemporary forms of exploiting human life, such as the removal of organs, forced labor and recruiting minors for armed conflict.

    The crime of child pornography is also covered for the first time under the bill, including its dissemination on the Internet, and the definition of facilitation or pimping has been extended to cover the publication of small ads, images, phone numbers and electronic messages.

    Trading in humans, pimping, child pornography and acts of prostitution involving minors have also been included in the list of offences prosecutable under the organized crime act.

    Another article now provides equal protection to both men and women forced into extramarital or 'unnatural' intercourse as a result of incapacity or mental illness, while crimes such as statutory rape, acts of indecency against minors, indecent assault and the like are now automatically prosecutable offences rather than requiring that the victim press charges.

    The bill seeks to provide greater protection for minors caught up in prostitution rings, with harsher and specific penalties that also extend to acts that occur abroad, while harsher penalties are foreseen for pimping that involves the use of violence, threats or other forms of coercion.

    If passed, the bill will also make accepting the labor or sexual services of people one knows to be acting under duress a criminal offence for the first time and administrative sanctions, such as removing the licenses of establishments where the above crimes have occurred, have also been introduced.

    Finally, the bill includes articles for the protection and support of the victims of such crimes, such as the provision of shelter, medical treatment and psychological support, delayed extradition for foreign nationals and others.

    [12] ELTA files for seizure of 'N17' suspects' assets

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Piraeus courts on Wednesday heard a motion by the Greek Post Offices (ELTA) for the seizure of assets belonging to all 17 suspects in the 'November 17' case.

    The state-controlled post office service sought the confiscation of assets up to the sum of 850 million drachmas, as compensation for two robberies at ELTA branches carried out by the terrorist group, one in Aegaleo in 1991 and another in Vyronas in 1997.

    Counsel for the alleged N17 members said ELTA's request should be denied because not all the accused had confessed to the robberies.

    The final decision will be announced in the next few days.

    [13] N17 suspect Savvas Xiros follow-up operation a success doctors say

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    November 17 suspect Savvas Xiros was transferred to Evangelismos Hospital from Korydallos prison under high security on Wednesday and underwent follow-up surgery on his hand lasting three-and-a-half hours.

    Xiros was subjected to medical tests to ascertain the state of his hand and his health indicators in general before undergoing surgery, which, as doctors said afterwards, was an absolute success.

    The transfer had been arranged in advance but Xiros was only informed of it this morning for security reasons.

    Roads that the police convoy would be passing through were cleared of traffic during the transfer, which took place in just 11 minutes. The prisoner will remain at Evangelismos for at least four days before being returned to his cell in Korydallos.

    Xiros's companion Alicia Romero visited the Evangelismos Hospital in the afternoon and was briefed on the state of his health after the operation.

    Xiros suffered severe injuries to his hand and eye in a botched bombing attempt on June 29, giving police their first breakthrough against the terrorist group ''November 17'' and leading to the arrest of the 17 suspects now in custody.

    After his operation, Xiros was taken to room 1031 on the 10th floor of the hospital, where he had been taken initially after his injury in the bomb blast, and will be guarded under draconian security measures during the days he will be undergoing treatment at the hospital.

    [14] Gov't on measures to protect detainees from publicity

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Measures banning photos and video footage of people detained or brought in for questioning aimed to support the laws and did not limit press freedoms, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Wednesday.

    Protopapas pointed out that a person was presumed innocent until proven guilty under Greek law and this applied to all suspects, not just those accused of terrorism. People arrested could not be condemned in advance and the presumption of innocence had to be protected, he added.

    He stressed that this was neither a form of censorship nor a form of repression.

    The spokesman was referring to a ban on broadcasting images of detainees ordered by the head of the Athens primary court public prosecutor's department Sotiris Bagias.

    The measure was also backed on Tuesday by Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, who announced that the justice ministry was preparing a bill to protect the public, especially the under aged, from this sort of publicity.

    [15] Athens daily newspaper offices damaged by group of 30 masked assailants

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    A group of about 30 masked assailants on Wednesday evening attacked and destroyed the entrance of the building housing the “Apogevmatini” daily newspaper in Athens, while they also damaged vehicles owned by journalists employed in the paper.

    After destroying the entrance, they tossed three firebombs in the offices causing further damage and took of dispersing in the side streets of central Athens’ Patision Avenue.

    Police is investigating the incident. No arrests were made as of press time.

    Gov't, opposition condemn attack on Apogevmatini offices: Spokesmen of both the government and the opposition on Wednesday night condemned the acts of vandalism committed earlier on the same day by unidentified assailants against the offices of Athens daily ''Apogevmatini''.

    Mass Media and Press Ministry Christos Protopapas who visited the offices of the daily after the incident, said ''no action of violence can inhibit the free expression of the citizens. The government is determined within the framework of our democratic system to defend the freedom of expression and the freedom of the Press''.

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos who also visited the assaulted offices of Apogevmatini said that his party ''outright condemned the attack'' and pointed to the ''huge responsibility of the state to protect the functions of the Press''.

    The Coalition of Left and Progress issued a press release condemning the attack against the daily, stressing that ''this is an act against the freedom of the press, it produces tensions and undermines the political climate during a crucial period''.

    [16] Gov't sees lower growth in 2003 if global economy shows downturn

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Wednesday that growth could fall below target to 3.0-3.1 percent in 2003 in the event of a global decline following a possible attack on Iraq and lasting hikes in world oil prices.

    The government had set a target of around 4.1 percent for growth of gross domestic product next year, which is contained in the draft of the budget for 2003.

    "In either case, the economy has a solid growth dynamic," Christodoulakis added.

    He was speaking to reporters on his return from meetings in Washington last week of the G-7 countries and International Monetary Fund with the World Bank.

    The minister added that growth would fall no lower than 3.0 percent in 2003, fuelled by public spending that represented 6.2 percent of GDP.

    [17] Street market vendors, grocers continue strike; gov't reacts

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Rotating street markets in the greater Athens area, mostly comprised of fresh produce and fruit stands, remained no where to be found on Wednesday as individual producers and outdoor greengrocers continued their strike this week.

    Vendors at the street markets – for decades the traditional shopping venue for Greek urban families’ fruits and vegetable purchases – are protesting a recent government decision to force some of them (selling primarily non-food items) to ring up sales on cash register machines.

    Striking street market vendors and producers also tried continued their blockade of toll stations leading to the Greek capital, part of their efforts to block shipments by wholesalers. However, riot police at the Elefsina toll station, west of Athens on the highway leading to the Peloponnese, kept protestors at bay earlier in the day. Conversely, impromptu negotiations between protestors and authorities were taking place at the other toll station at Afidne, the one leading north out of Athens towards the central Greek mainland.

    Gov’t spokesman: During a regular press briefing later in the day, the government spokesman said authorities are standing by their decision to require cash registers for certain street market vendors, as well as to prevent any disruption of commercial traffic.

    Specifically, spokesman Christos Protopapas said only 4 percent of vendors are affected by the decision, while adding:

    “They also cannot block-off the national roadways in order to cause supply problems, nor can they (protestors) attempt to inspect trucks,” he said.

    [18] Greek firm to distribute Iranian petrochemicals in Balkans

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Intralink SA is to distribute Iranian petrochemicals in the Balkans following an agreement it signed with Iran Petrochnical Commeracia Company (IPCC) of Iran.

    IPCC is the commercial representative of the National Iranian Petrochemicals Company.

    Among products to be imported into Greece include chemicals, and raw materials for the production of fertilizer and polymers, Intralink said in a statement on Wednesday.

    By the end of the year, the company will have completed construction of a Balkan petrochemicals distribution center near Thessaloniki, the statement added.

    [19] Montenegro opts for Hellenic Petroleum in privatization tender

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    The government of Montenegro on Wednesday named Athens-quoted Hellenic Petroleum as the winner of a tender to privatize 54.35 percent of Jugopetrol AD Kotor.

    Final negotiations for completion of the acquisition are to begin on October 5.

    [20] Social insurance funds make headway in use of reserves

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas said on Wednesday that the value of assets of social insurance funds had shown a steady rise to total 12 percent of gross national product (GDP) in 2000.

    Progress made by the funds in making use of their reserves, real estate, and a state subsidy brought 17.5 billion euros in 2001, the minister told a seminar.

    [21] WTO's Pantichpakdi says attacking Iraq will impact world trade

    BRUSSELS 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Supachai Pantichpakdi on Tuesday expressed strong concern over the impact on world trade that a possible attack against Iraq might have.

    Replying to a question put to him by PASOK eurodeputy Myrsini Zorba at a meeting of the EU Parliament's External Trade Commission, Pantichpakdi said any type of warfare in the Gulf region would certainly ensue significant consequences for world trade.

    Responding to Zorba's observation regarding a possible relaxation of WTO economic rules due to the existing unsettled situation, the Director General ruled out that possibility, saying that the WTO would continue with the strict implementation of the rules that govern world trade.

    [22] OTE completes second phase of organizational restructuring

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) is completing its second phase of organizational reform aimed to transform the group into a modern and competitive telecommunications group, clearly oriented to market needs, OTE chairman and managing director Lefteris Antonakopoulos said on Wednesday.

    Addressing a meeting with the company's staff, Mr. Antonakopoulos said that OTE's new organizational form was the mean for the group's transformation into a "flexible, customer-oriented group, working efficiently into a new deregulated environment."

    "The main factor of success in this effort is its staff," Antonakopoulos noted.

    The second phase of a plan to reform OTE's organizational structure envisages: -a radical restructuring of all fixed-line telephony's commercial activities, aimed at improving the group's competitiveness, -creating, organizing and staffing an effective and flexible corporate center that will ensure synergies and strategic guidance at group level without burdening OTE's operating cost, -renationalizing the structure and operation of Fixed-Line Telephony Business Unit with the aim to contain costs and improving competitiveness.

    OTE's new organizational structure, at directorate level, is expected to be completed by November 2002, enabling the group to begin operating under its new form in 2003.

    [23] Antenna may delisted from NASDAQ, London exchanges

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Standard & Poor's, an international ratings agency, said on Wednesday that it expected Antenna TV SA of Greece to delist its shares from the NASDAQ and London exchanges.

    The move would not hurt the company's credit rating as the owners of the TV station, Minos Kyriakou and his family, were to buy up the quoted stock from their own finances, not loans, S & P's said in a statement.

    At the same time, Antenna needed to improve operational results and lower borrowing, the statement added.

    The Kyriakou family said in a separate statement earlier in the day that it planned to stage a public offer in order to buy the quoted stock; and that it was considering the delisting move.

    The offer is 1.2 US dollars per American Depository Receipt, and 2.4 dollars per common share, Antenna said.

    [24] Blue chip losses push ASE lower on Wednesday

    Athens, 03/10/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended Wednesday's volatile session lower, reflecting losses in blue chip stocks, particularly in the banks and telecommunication sectors.

    The general index ended 0.98 percent down at 1,815.03 points, as a wave of selling during the last hour of trading reversed a prevailing upward trend in the market.

    Turnover was a low 72.5 million euros, while Hellenic Telecommunications Organization’s shares ended 1.91 percent lower.

    The Telecoms, Banks and Holding sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (1.58 percent, 1.55 percent and 1.43 percent, respectively), while the Textile (+2.05 percent), IT Solutions (+0.30 percent) and Construction (+0.30 percent) sectors scored gains.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks dropped 1.37 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 0.70 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.40 percent lower.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 196 to 109 with another 50 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Football Pools Organization, Intracom, Klonatex, and National Bank of Greece.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 92.9 mln euros Wednesday

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At 3.0 pct discount

  • Underlying Index: -1.37 percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At 3.0 pct discount

  • Underlying Index: -0.70 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Alpha Bank (505)

    Day's Market Turnover: 92.9 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Sellers outstrip buyers on Wednesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.70 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 33 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 3.2 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-yr (335 mln euros)

    [25] Cretan sculpture to be placed at Europarliament entrance

    BRUSSELS 03/10/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    A sculpture, made by the Sotiriadis brothers and whose theme is derived from the mythical ''abduction of Europe, will be placed at the entrance to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The sculpture is a donation by the municipality of Agios Nikolaos, on the island of Crete, which wishes to honor the European Union's most representative institutional body and at the same time promote distinguished Cretan artists.

    The European Parliament, although rarely responding positively to dozens of art project offers made every year, accepted the donation by the municipality of Agios Nikolaos.

    The initiative for the project's donation, which will be five meters high and weigh 1.5 tones on completion, belongs to PASOK's Cretan Eurodeputy Manolis Mastorakis.

    [26] Denktash in New York hospital

    NEW YORK 03/10/2002 (ANA/CNA)

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash underwent catheterization on Wednesday at the Methodist Hospital in New York, carried out by famous Turkish American cardiologist Mehmet Oz.

    Denktash is in New York, along with President Glafcos Clerides, fora meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan over the next couple of days, in the context of the UN-led peace talks.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader, who was admitted to hospital in the morning, is still there but is expected to be discharged later in the day.

    Turkish sources said Denktash is already feeling better and his meetings later on with US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston and Britain's Special Representative Lord David Hannay have been postponed.

    Sources said the Greek Cypriot side was aware that Denktash was to undergo medical tests, but did not know that these examinations included catheterization.

    [27] Annan does not intend to present paper or plan in

    NY NEW YORK 03/10/2002 (ANA/CNA)

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan does not intend to give ''a plan'' or ''a paper'' to Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash during his two days of talks with them in New York, on Oct. 3 and 4.

    Annan thinks that ''at this stage'', February's presidential elections in Cyprus are not an obstacle to the peace process.

    Talking with Greek journalists, this morning, at the UN headquarters, Kofi Annan expressed hope that both leaders ''will come here to discuss honestly with me what efforts have been made to make progress in the talks.''

    ''The last time I met with them'', he added, ''it was the beginning of September. It is about a month, and I would want to review with them what has happened since then, and how we move forward as we get to the end of the year''.

    Annan explained that when he met with them in May, there were indications that progress was possible to be made by the end of the year''.

    ''The end of the year is around the corner, so I want to review with them how we get there'', the Secretary General said. Answering to a question by CNA, about the reaction of the parties to his recommendations when he met Clerides and Denktash in Paris in early September, Annan said that when he sits down with them tomorrow in the presence of his special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro De Soto, ''we will review what progress has been made. And I think you too will have a chance to talk with them directly''. Asked if he intends to give a plan or paper at the meetings, he said that he has ''no intention of doing more than I have said''.

    Invited to say if the elections in Cyprus are an obstacle for the process, he said: ‘‘not at this stage''.

    [28] President Clerides arrives in New York for meeting with Annan

    NEW YORK 03/10/2002 (ANA/CNA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides has arrived in New York, for talks with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, as part of the UN-led on going peace talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking on arrival at Waldorf Astoria hotel, the President told reporters ''there is nothing that can make us say Turkey's policy has changed on the Cyprus problem, as far as a solution is concerned''.

    ''If this happens, it will be after the Turkish elections in November. For the time being, the Turkish government's position remains the same, that we must recognize that there are two sovereign states in Cyprus'', the President noted.

    Invited to comment on information that the issue of territory will be discussed at the talks, the President said ''an effort was made to discuss it, but the Turkish side refuses to do so until certain other issues of interest to it are clarified''.

    ''The talks have not managed to clear the ground for a solution because the Turkish side insists on the creation of two independent states, the abolition of the Republic of Cyprus and the creation of some sort of link between the two sovereign states'', he said.

    The President reiterated that during this round of talks, he does not expect Kofi Annan to submit any ideas, adding that so far the United Nations have not said whether there would be a joint Annan-Clerides-Denktash meeting.

    Asked what would happen if there is a deadlock at the New York meetings, President Clerides said neither side would withdraw from the talks, which ''are mostly a debating society, not a negotiating platform''.

    ''Each side presents its disagreements and explains its positions, without convincing the other'', he added.

    On Wednesday, Annan met with his Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who is conducting UN-led direct talks on the island between President Clerides and Denktash. President Clerides will hold talks later today with Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus Lord David Hannay and US State Department Special Coordinator Thomas Weston. The US envoy will also meet with Denktash. President Clerides and Denktash are also expected to see de Soto separately, prior to meeting Annan.


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