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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-10-30

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

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

October 30, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Christodoulakis unveils economy policy for 2003
  • [02] EU decision on Euroforce satisfies Greek positions, gov't says
  • [03] PM to brief party leaders on Cyprus, Euroforce developments
  • [04] UN plan for Cyprus proposes two federated states, Flash radio reports
  • [05] Greece warned for flouting EU environmental guidelines
  • [06] President Stephanopoulos begins five-day official visit to South Africa
  • [07] ND leader sends condolences to Putin over death of Moscow hostages
  • [08] EU commissioner Diamantopoulou holds talks with Bulgarian PM
  • [09] November 17 suspects refuse to testify before magistrate
  • [10] Post Offices claiming compensation from alleged N17 members
  • [11] Justice minister meets group of Eurodeputies
  • [12] Gov't comments on EU decisions for CAP, farming subsidies
  • [13] No decision on VAT on real estate assets, Christodoulakis
  • [14] Tsohatzopoulos visits Metrology Institute
  • [15] EU to take Greece to court over optician's shops regulations
  • [16] Blue chips lead ASE higher on Tuesday
  • [17] Culture minister hails PM's intervention over Parthenon Marbles
  • [18] Accident report blames 2001 medi-copter crash on weather, pilot error
  • [19] Four illegal immigrants intercepted in seas off Lesvos
  • [20] Makeshift bomb explodes outside ND local organization office in Ano Nea Smyrni
  • [21] President Clerides says no ultimatum plan will be submitted
  • [22] European Parliament rapporteur Poos says window of opportunity for a Cyprus settlement still open
  • [23] House President says any plan on Cyprus to be judged by its contents

  • [01] Christodoulakis unveils economy policy for 2003

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    Reducing unemployment and inflation will be the two main priorities of the government's economic policy in 2003, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Tuesday.

    Addressing a conference on "Economy Policy and Development", Mr. Christodoulakis noted that the unemployment rate, despite falling to single-digit, remained relatively high while inflation was still above the average community rate.

    The Greek minister predicted that the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would rise by 3.8 percent this year and slightly below an initial target of 4.1 percent in 2003 because of negative international economic conditions.

    Christodoulakis estimated that inflation would gradually fall in 2003 from current levels.

    "We are living in a period of intense political and economic uncertainty globally, with low growth rates in Europe," Christodoulakis said. He predicted that economic recovery was not expected before the second half of 2003 and stressed that these conditions were affecting the Greek economy too.

    The Greek minister stressed that it would be wise if Greeks avoided adopting extreme views, such as first that Greece would not be hurt by an international economic slowdown and raise their demands, and second that Greece has been swept away by an international economic turmoil.

    The government's 2003 budget, expected to be submitted to parliament in November, would focus on maintaining economic stability conditions, fiscal restructuring and funding of a social security and tax reform, he noted.

    Christodoulakis made it clear that fiscal policy, as reflected in the government's budget, would strictly adhere to a Stability and Development Pact. "A debate over relaxing the pact does not concern use," he said, adding that the stability pact should be protected as it was a precondition for ensuring fiscal stability in the European Union.

    Commenting on a review of budget figures by Eurostat, Christodoulakis said it could lead to a minor review of budget figures but noted that it would change the government's economic policy.

    The Greek minister said that the government aimed to include all projects in an Third Community Support Framework by the end of 2003.

    The government's privatization program would focus on promoting strategic alliances and strategic investments instead of selling stakes in state-owned enterprises. Christodoulakis said that any flotations would be decided only on the basis of satisfactory market prices and stressed that the Greek state would not reduce its stake in privatized large utilities to offer their management to private or strategic investors.

    Commenting on the stock market, Christodoulakis said that "although a drop in the Athens Stock Exchange is smaller compared with other international markets, developments were unfavorable both for public finances and the economy. We understand and share investors' frustration with the market...we believe that the current situation will change faster if we all learn our lessons from a lack of rational and confidence and establish new facts."

    Christodoulakis said that the government was promoting a series of policies aimed to boost transparency, adopting international accounting standards and establishing a new regulatory framework for corporate bonds and stressed that the Greek EU presidency aimed to promote reforms in capital markets.

    [02] EU decision on Euroforce satisfies Greek positions, gov't says

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    The final decision on the Euroforce issue made by EU leaders in Brussels over the weekend absolutely satisfied Greek positions and protected Greek interests, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Tuesday.

    The EU had continued talks with NATO over the Euroforce issue until the eve of the summit the previous Thursday, based on the decisions of the Seville EU summit, he told reporters. Outstanding questions that remained were then settled in successive meetings between EU common foreign policy and defense chief Javier Solana and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, as well as Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Asked about Turkey's reactions to the text, the spokesman said he had no knowledge, noting only that Solana was already in talks with NATO, of which Turkey was a member.

    [03] PM to brief party leaders on Cyprus, Euroforce developments

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will meet Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Wednesday, followed by successive meetings with opposition party leaders to brief them on developments regarding the Euroforce and Cyprus' EU accession at the EU summit in Brussels, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced on Tuesday.

    The premier will begin by meeting main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis at noon, followed by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left and Progress party leader Nikos Constantopoulos.

    On Thursday, the prime minister will chair a meeting of the cabinet on the 2003 draft budget and then a meeting of ruling PASOK's Executive Bureau in the afternoon.

    On Friday, he is to attend an economic forum with visiting Bulgarian premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg and will have a private meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart on the sidelines of the forum at 10:45.

    [04] UN plan for Cyprus proposes two federated states, Flash radio reports

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected to submit a plan for the resolution of the Cyprus problem that proposes the creation of two federated states with separate governments, but a unified representation, the Flash radio station reported on Tuesday.

    Calling on exclusive information, the radio station said that the UN plan for the territorial issue anticipates that the Turkish Cypriots keep under their control 24 to 26 percent, at present the Turkish occupation forces hold about 40 per cent of at the northern part of the island republic, following the illegal invasion and occupation in 1974.

    The plan proposes that territory in the areas of Morphou and Famagusta be returned to Greek Cypriot control, while it proposes the change of the guarantor powers -at present Greece, Turkey and Britain - to include the United States.

    If the plan is accepted by both sides, it must be approved by April 2003, with referendums by both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    Speaking to the radio station, Cyprus' general prosecutor Alekos Markidis said that the two federated states will have a large portion of power, but added that the nationality will be single and will be controlled by the central government, while single international representation is an EU precondition.

    [05] Greece warned for flouting EU environmental guidelines

    BRUSSELS 30/10/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    The European Commission on Tuesday sent Greece a letter for flouting community rules concerning environmental impact surveys for large industrial projects, which represents the last warning before the EU takes legal action against a member-state.

    Specifically, the letter concerned the petroleum storage facility built by the Mamidakis oil firm on the island of Lesvos, which has been operating since 1997 without the necessary license.

    The site on which the facility is built has been chosen to join the ''Natura 2000'' Network and is home to many endemic and protected species under community rules for the environment.

    Despite the fact that the two environmental impact surveys carried out on the site in 1996 and in 2000 have both been declared null and void by the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, the Greek government has allowed the facility to continue operating and is therefore judged to have transgressed EU environmental legislation.

    [06] President Stephanopoulos begins five-day official visit to South Africa

    CAPE TOWN 30/10/2002 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived here on Tuesday night for a five-day official to South Africa at the invitation of President Thabo Mbeki.

    The president is accompanied by deputy foreign ministers Yiannis Magriotis and Andreas Loverdos, as well as by a large delegation of Greek businessmen.

    Stephanopoulos and Mbeki will hold talks early Wednesday afternoon on bilateral and international issues. The Greek president will later address a joint meeting of the national Parliament and South Africa's National Regional Council.

    The Greek president will also receive the country's education and sports ministers and in the evening attend an official dinner given in his honor by his South African counterpart.

    [07] ND leader sends condolences to Putin over death of Moscow hostages

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday sent a letter of condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the death of the hostages in Moscow.

    In his letter, the ND leader said that Russia and the rest of the world must remain united against the forces of extremism and violence, stressing that ''terrorism is a practice which we must never allow to flourish.''

    [08] EU commissioner Diamantopoulou holds talks with Bulgarian PM

    SOFIA 30/10/2002 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    European Union commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou held talks here on Tuesday with Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotski, Deputy Prime Minister and Labor and Social Policy Minister Lydia Souleva, economic officials and social agencies.

    Speaking to the Athens News Agency (ANA) after her meeting with the Bulgarian prime minister, Diamantopoulou said ''we discussed with the Bulgarian prime minister the issues of employment and handling the serious problem of unemployment in Bulgaria which has reached 19 percent. We analyzed in particular policies which will allow the transfer of labor potential from the agricultural sector, which is big and is about 26 percent, to the labor market.''

    Diamantopoulou and the Bulgarian prime minister examined necessary reforms in the social sector, tax policy and the completion of Bulgarian legislation's harmonization process with the European acquis communautaire.

    ''Of course, we discussed the general issue of the future of Europe and of the institutions which are changing today, as well as important issues having to do with the structural funds,'' she said, adding that Bulgaria should prepare itself well to be in a position to absorb considerable amounts from the European structural funds.

    [09] November 17 suspects refuse to testify before magistrate

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    Three suspected members of the terrorist group "November 17" on Tuesday refused to make any plea before Special Examining Magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos, the appeals court justice assigned to the case.

    The three were Kostas Karatsolis, Iraklis Kostaris and Pavlos Serifis, who had been given until Tuesday to decide their plea after hearing additional charges brought against them.

    All three asked that their testimony during the preliminary interrogation be removed from the case file, activating the relevant articles of law.

    Zervobeakos will go to Korydallos Prison on Wednesday to hear the statements of suspected 'N17' terrorists Vassilis Tzortzatos, Thomas Serifis and Alexandros Giotopoulos.

    [10] Post Offices claiming compensation from alleged N17 members

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    An Athens court will try a claim by the Greek Post Offices (ELTA) for the confiscation of assets belonging to the 17 alleged 17 November terrorist organization members, currently being held in custody, up to the amount of 850 million drachmas as compensation for two robberies carried out against them by the defendants.

    A court in Piraeus ruled that it had no jurisdiction to examine the case and referred it to the Athens court which will decide whether or not to accept the claim.

    The two robberies at ELTA offices occurred in Aegaleo in 1991 and Vyronas in 1997 and, according to ELTA's appeal, some of the defendants have already confessed their participation in them.

    [11] Justice minister meets group of Eurodeputies

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos held talks on Tuesday with seven Eurodeputies, members of the European Parliament's Legal Affairs and Internal Market Committee, in light of Greece's assumption of the European Union's presidency in the first half of 2003.

    The Committee is composed of Giuseppe Gargani (Italy), Ioannis Koukiadis (Greece), Janelly Fourtou (France), Evelyne Gebhardt (Germany), Manuel Medina Ortega (Spain), Ward Beysen (Netherlands) and Toine Manders (Netherlands).

    Petsalnikos underlined the priorities set by the Greek government and added that his ministry, to the degree it has jurisdiction, the government and the public order ministry have already taken the necessary measures for the safe and unimpeded holding of the Olympic Games in the country.

    [12] Gov't comments on EU decisions for CAP, farming subsidies

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    The decisions made at the EU summit in Brussels over the weekend fully protected the interests of Greek farmers until 2006, while EU leaders had also guaranteed that subsidies would continue until 2013, government spokesman Christos Protopapas noted on Tuesday.

    The spokesman stressed that this was the first time the continued payment of subsidies beyond 2003 had been firmly decided, even though the form these would take had been left open. He said the 15 EU leaders had agreed that there would be subsidies for farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), that the development of farming production would be assisted and its competitiveness reinforced.

    [13] No decision on VAT on real estate assets, Christodoulakis

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek government has not taken any decisions over imposing value added tax on new real estate assets, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Tuesday.

    Ministry agencies have recommended the imposition of tax on real estate assets and a new inflation-adjusted rise of real estate prices in 2003, a recommendation so far rejected by Mr. Christodoulakis, ministry sources said.

    Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, Greek Industries' Union chairman, however, stressed that the imposition of VAT on real estate assets was necessary to combat an extended informal market in the sector which undermined healthy competition.

    [14] Tsohatzopoulos visits Metrology Institute

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Tuesday visited the Hellenic Institute of Metrology, one of the most significant agencies in the quality certification sector in Greece, based in Sindos, Thessaloniki.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was briefed over the institute's operations and announced the inclusion of certain activities of the institute to competition projects sponsored by the development ministry.

    "We are living in an era where economic competitiveness depends exclusively on our ability to ensure quality standards," Tsohatzopoulos said.

    [15] EU to take Greece to court over optician's shops regulations

    BRUSSELS 30/10/2002 ( ANA - V. Demiris)

    The European Commission has decided to bring proceedings against Greece before the European Court of Justice because of over-restrictive laws on opening, owning and operating opticians' shops.

    Under Greek law, only natural persons who are qualified opticians may operate such shops, while each optician can only operate one shop.

    The Commission feels this is too restrictive because it creates a distinction between legal and natural persons that is incompatible with EU legislation and denies companies lawfully established in other member-states the right to set up in business in Greece in order to run one or more opticians' shops.

    It calls on Greece to modify its legislations and adopt measures more appropriate to the object pursued, such as making it obligatory that each shop be under the supervision and responsibility of a qualified optician.

    [16] Blue chips lead ASE higher on Tuesday

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended higher on Tuesday as investors returned as active buyers in the market after a three-day holiday in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended 0.70 percent higher at 1,773.69 points, reflecting gains in Hellenic Telecommunications Organizationís share price. Turnover was a low 55.8 million euros.

    The Holding, Construction and Publication sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (2.10 percent, 1.82 percent and 1.59 percent, respectively), while the Insurance (-2.25 percent), Textiles (-2.14 percent) and Investment (-0.80 percent) sectors suffered the heaviest losses.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.62 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.25 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.50 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 123 to 117 with another 71 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Informatics, Coca Cola, National Bank of Greece and Sex Form.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 48.7 mln euros Tuesday

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At premium

  • Underlying Index: +0.62 percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At premium

  • Underlying Index: +0.25 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Communications Organization (95)

    Day's Market Turnover: 48.7 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Tuesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.83 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 28 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 2.4 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-yr, (300 mln euros)

    [17] Culture minister hails PM's intervention over Parthenon Marbles

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday expressed satisfaction that Prime Minister Costas Simitis had taken the opportunity to raise the issue of returning the Parthenon Marbles to Greece during talks with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and hand him a memorandum prepared by the Greek culture ministry on the issue.

    Venizelos said that Simitis' initiative would give added impetus to the issue and described it as an excellent preamble of a major presentation to be held in London on November 12, organized by the British Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles.

    In his announcement, Venizelos said the presentation would chiefly focus on the new Acropolis Museum being built in Athens to house the Marbles on their return and the Greek position on the issue, within the framework of the Cultural Olympiad and preparations for the Olympics.

    He also pointed to the results of a recent Mori poll, which found that the overwhelming majority of Britons were in favor of the Marbles' return.

    [18] Accident report blames 2001 medi-copter crash on weather, pilot error

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    In its report on the crash of an ambulance helicopter off the Cape Sounion on January 14, 2001, the Committee for the Investigation of Accidents and Flight Safety mainly blamed bad weather conditions but did not rule out the possibility of human error.

    All five people on board the SX-HDT helicopter being used by the Greek ambulance service EKAB lost their lives in the crash, including its two-man crew, a doctor, a nurse and a patient being transported to an Athens hospital for treatment from the island of Patmos.

    As possible causes of the accident, the report listed the decision to continue the flight at night in bad weather, a mistaken assessment of how bad the prevailing conditions really were and possibly disorientation that resulted in an inability to control the chopper.

    The report noted that the helicopter did not have a 'black box' to record voice conversations in the cockpit. It also pointed out that the pilot had all the necessary qualifications and adequate flight experience in and around Italy, where his employer Helitalia was based, but possibly not enough experience in Greece and the Greek islands.

    The Committee further pointed out that Helitalia had not established a fully-organized flight monitoring service in Greece nor any company limits for maximum wind and turbulence, while it had no VHF or UHF radio stations and no on-line connection with the Greek weather service EMY.

    EKAB had noted these omissions by Helitalia and complained about them in writing soon after flights began.

    In its report, the accident committee recommended that Helitalia carry out assessments of all its pilots during night-time flights and advise them to always take bad weather conditions into account. It particularly emphasized the need to exploit weather radar and to modify flight manuals to assist operators.

    In its recommendations to EKAB, it called for the use of combinations of means for air-lifts, including helicopters and airplanes, and urged the Greek Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that there was adequate two-way communication with low-flying aircraft at all times through EEK services.

    The committee's report was sent to the transport and communications ministry and to the public prosecutor investigating the case, as well as to the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Greek civil aviation authority and its counterpart in Italy, where the helicopter in question was constructed and used.

    [19] Four illegal immigrants intercepted in seas off Lesvos

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    Four Afghan illegal immigrants in a rowboat were intercepted in the sea off Kalamari on the island of Lesvos by the coast guard on Tuesday.

    The four immigrants said they had set off from the coast of Turkey. The coast guard also intercepted a lone Turkish national with no travel documents on board the Turkish fishing vessel "Kartal" in waters off Pserimos, who claimed that he had lost his sense of direction.

    [20] Makeshift bomb explodes outside ND local organization office in Ano Nea Smyrni

    Athens, 30/10/2002 (ANA)

    A makeshift bomb exploded outside the local organization offices of the main opposition New Democracy party (ND) early Tuesday in the Athens suburb of Ano Nea Smyrni, causing damage but no injuries.

    Unknown persons planted a home-made bomb comprising small propane canisters at the entrance of the ND local organization office, which exploded at 2:30 a.m., breaking the front windows.

    Police were investigating the incident.

    [21] President Clerides says no ultimatum plan will be submitted

    LARNACA 30/10/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said he does not believe a possible plan for a Cyprus settlement will be in the form of an ultimatum.

    In statements during his return from Copenhagen on Tuesday where he attended a meeting of the 13 candidate countries with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whose country is currently holding the EU rotating presidency, Clerides said the meeting did not deal with Cyprus while on his brief encounter with Turkey's President Ahmed

    Sezer, the president said he believes the Turks are concentrating to get a date to start accession negotiations.

    The president said the Copenhagen meeting ''went very well'' and that there was no problem for Cyprus, adding that everyone considers it certain that in December Cyprus will accede to the EU.

    Invited to comment on reports that a possible plan for a Cyprus settlement will be submitted before the Copenhagen European Council, Clerides said Monday's Copenhagen meeting ''dealt only with enlargement issues and not the Cyprus problem''.

    Asked if a possible plan on Cyprus will be in the form of an ultimatum, Clerides said, ''I was not given this impression. And I believe that the UN Secretary General is not the kind of person who would say "this is it, either you take it or leave it''.

    Invited to say if we will have time to study a plan, the president recalled a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement that Cyprus might accede the EU, but that does not mean we should hurry to find a settlement.

    Asked about his meeting with Turkish President Ahmed Sezer, Clerides replied, ''my impression is that Turkey's attention is concentrating on what it will do to achieve a date to start accession negotiations''.

    The Danish presidency, he said, ''clearly told Turkey they will give her a road map which will have many conditions, and if it fulfils them, then they will decide when they will give a date to start negotiations''.

    Clerides explained that the specific terms were not mentioned and even though Sezer insisted Turkey be given a specific date for accession talks ''he found no response''.

    Invited to comment on a statement made here on Tuesday by Rapporteur on Cyprus at the European Parliament, Jacques Poos that chances have never been better in the last 28 years to solve the Cyprus problem, Clerides replied ''everyone hopes a solution will possibly be found so that there will be a solution before we accede but the Secretary General has not decided whether and when he will submit a plan''.

    Asked if he expects any developments now or after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash returns to Cyprus from New York where he is recuperating following open-heart surgery, Clerides said ''we don't know this because this will depend on when Mr. Denktash's doctors decide he is in a position to resume his duties''.

    He said ''until then, nothing will be done'' and added Denktash has been discharged from hospital and ''from what it seems, next week, he might travel to Cyprus''.

    Invited to clarify what he meant by ''nothing will be done'', Clerides said no direct talks would take place. The ad hoc committees, decided to be set up, in the framework of the talks for Cyprus, will start working, Clerides said, adding the Turkish side had promised to give the names of its representatives to the committees ''very soon''.

    Since ''Mr. Denktash is out of hospital, then it won't be difficult for him to say who will take part in the committees'', the president said.

    The view of the international community, he added, ''is that the Cyprus problem cannot stop because the health of one of the two (interlocutors) does allow them to continue and that ways should be found to continue. Which are these ways, I don't know'', Clerides said.

    Regarding Greek Prime Minister's Costas Simitis meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in London on Monday, Clerides said ''of course, the Cyprus problem was the most important issue, and Mr. Simitis telephoned me in Copenhagen.''

    The president clarified that Simitis briefed him on the points, which concern the negotiations for Cyprus. ''He informed me on issues which we had discussed in Athens, that he had told me he was going to discuss with the British Premier'', Clerides said.

    Asked if the outlook is positive or gloomy, Clerides replied that in ''politics, there is no positive or gloomy. There are intensive negotiations before you reach a settlement'', he added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    [22] European Parliament rapporteur Poos says window of opportunity for a Cyprus settlement still open

    NICOSIA 30/10/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    European Parliament Rapporteur on Cyprus accession to the European Union Jacques Poos said on Tuesday the window of opportunity for a Cyprus settlement is open until December, when the EU Copenhagen Summit will be held.

    Noting his visit here is taking place at a crucial and decisive time for Cyprus and the EU, Poos said he did not consider an impediment a plan for a Cyprus settlement before the island's accession.

    Poos, who met on Tuesday with House President Demetris Christofias, President of Social Democrats' Movement Yiannakis Omirou and Democratic Rally leader, Nicos Anastassiades, said the European Parliament fully agrees with the Commission's 2002 report on Cyprus' accession in the EU.

    Speaking after meeting House President Christofias, Poos said all reports on Cyprus' accession are positive but there is still a problem which must be resolved and that is the political procedure which must conclude somehow.

    If a united Cyprus enters the EU, it will be to the benefit of all the people of the island and Cyprus will act as an independent and sovereign state within the EU, he said.

    Poos added he intends to give the same message to the Turkish Cypriots during the contacts he is expected to have at Cyprus Turkish occupied territories.

    Regarding a plan for a Cyprus settlement, Poos said he believes it has been delayed and added that the UN Secretary General should play an active role and submit a plan which will respect the decisions of the UN and the human rights of all the people of Cyprus.

    Christofias thanked Poos for his efforts to help Cyprus reach a peaceful future through the EU and through a just, viable and fair solution to the Cyprus problem.

    In statements after meeting Social Democrats leader, Yiannakis Omirou, Poos said he is very satisfied with the conclusions of the Brussels European Council, ''which once again expressed hope that a united Cyprus will join the European Union and that the time has come to strike a deal.''

    ''The window of opportunity is open until December and I hope it will be used and that we will see the reunification of the island on a plan to be submitted by Secretary General of United Nations and consisted with United Nations resolutions'', Poos added.

    Commenting on his visit to Cyprus he said he was drafting the paper that he will submit to the European Parliament and for this purpose he came here to hold contacts with political parties in Cyprus.

    The KISOS leader noted that during the meeting there was an exchange of views on the ''final phase'' of the accession negotiations of Cyprus with the EU and the Cyprus problem. He said that the European Rapporteur confirmed the view that in December Cyprus ''will be among the ten countries that will enlarge and enrich the European family.''

    He also expressed the common wish, at this ''historical moment'' for a united Cyprus to join the EU, ''having our Turkish Cypriot compatriots with us in this exciting trip to Europe.''

    He clarified, however, that this would depend on the Turkish side's readiness to positively respond to a solution plan, which would probably be put to the negotiating table by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, based on the UN resolutions on the Cyprus problem.

    Democratic Rally leader speaking after meeting Poos said that ''we remain firm on a solution which will reunite our country before accession.''

    He also said we should not worry over the possibility of a solution being submitted right before the Copenhagen European Council, adding that he believes the plan will not be in the form of an ultimatum.

    [23] House President says any plan on Cyprus to be judged by its contents

    NICOSIA 30/10/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Any plans for a Cyprus settlement will be judged by its contents, said Acting President of the Republic, House President, Demetris Christofias and expressed the hope the US will work hard so that the UN Secretary General and all those involved will not submit a proposal in the form of an ultimatum to the Greek Cypriot side, which has shown good will all these years.

    Speaking after meeting US Special Coordinator on Cyprus, Thomas Weston, Christofias said the American official assured him there is no such intention and that they will work so that the positions laid out in a possible solution plan will not infringe on the ''red line'' which our side has set.

    Christofias explained that the red line is ''the issue of sovereignty, territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and issues concerning territory, return of refugees and securing the human rights of the people of Cyprus''.

    The Acting President said intentions ''are clear and what is required from our part is to be composed and work in all directions with clear positions that any plans will be determined on their contents''. He further said we should be open to criticize any plan and ''defend fundamental principles and make clear we do not accept ultimatums''.

    The Acting President said he stressed to Weston that if the UN Secretary General, the US and Britain which are so intensely involved in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, wanted to submit a proposal for a Cyprus settlement, ''they should have done this earlier to allow for more time to study the plan and negotiate for a settlement''.

    However, the question is whether Turkey will accept a plan to be submitted, he added and remarked, ''when it is submitted, we should look at the whole procedure collectively''.


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