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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-10-31

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

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

October 31, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM briefs political leaders on 'Euro Army', Cyprus' EU prospects
  • [02] No deadline on Euroforce talks between NATO-EU, NATO's Robertson says
  • [03] Deputy DM discusses NATO enlargement in Prague
  • [04] US welcomes postponement of military exercises by Greece, Turkey and Cyprus
  • [05] President Stephanopoulos meets South African president
  • [06] Foreign ministry denies existence of draft peace plan for Cyprus
  • [07] Commissioner Viviane Reding due in Athens on Thursday
  • [08] Greek EU commissioner meets with Bulgarian president
  • [09] PM to meet Greek EU Commissioner, gov't spokesman says
  • [10] Greek ministers invited to London con'f aimed at tackling Balkan crime
  • [11] Statistics on male/female candidates in recent local gov't elections
  • [12] N17 suspects respond to additional charges against them
  • [13] 1995-1998 pay increases for Greek workers among the highest, Eurostat says
  • [14] ND Eurodeputy issues statement on labor market
  • [15] Minister says post office bank not to be sold to private interests
  • [16] Greeks living on borrowed money, report says
  • [17] Deadline extended for submission of tender offers for Olympic property rentals
  • [18] Conference in Karditsa on 'EU Enlargement: New challenge for the countryside'
  • [19] Blue chips lead ASE higher on Wednesday
  • [20] Cyprus FM Kasoulides holds meetings in Paris
  • [21] UN envoy meets Cyprus President before leaving for Ankara
  • [22] Weston says there is a very good possibility for a just and durable settlement
  • [23] Zakhaios denounces Turkish unacceptable demands for Cyprus

  • [01] PM briefs political leaders on 'Euro Army', Cyprus' EU prospects

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis briefed the country’s top political party leaders on Wednesday on the results from last week’s informal EU summit in Brussels, particularly in regards to the closely watched “Euro Army” issue and Cyprus’ bright prospects for achieving European Union accession.

    The premier also called for national unity and the avoidance of petty political confrontations regarding the Cyprus issue, following his separate meetings with political leaders.

    In response to reporters’ questions, Simitis indirectly dismissed speculation that a Cyprus peace plan is on the table, although he recognized that an UN-brokered deal is being developed. He added that promotion of a UN solution has been a standing request by Nicosia and Athens.

    In summing up the “Brussels” compromise, he reiterated that EU and NATO members would conceivably commit to avoiding violence or the threat to use violence against each other, or even to back changes in external borders.

    “Greece, as the presiding country of the (Union’s) defense sector fulfilled its duty; it submitted proposals and solutions; it expressed the hope that the other involved parties would correspond. Responsibility now lies with them so that long-standing vagueness is now ended,” he said.

    Karamanlis: Following a meeting between Simitis and main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, both men said they “agreed to disagree” over the compromise text for the Union’s fledgling “Euro Army”.

    According to reports, a pre-arranged agenda for Simitis’ briefing of the ND leader revolved around the Cyprus issue and the “Euro Army”, with Karamanlis later stating that the government should not have turned the latter issue should into an “object of trade-offs” related to other pending issues.

    Karamanlis also referred to an “ominous development” for Greece’s national interests, saying the country “paid for the mistakes and negligence of the government, as continuously pointed out by ND.”

    In response, the government spokesman denied that any “trade-off” had occurred between the “Euro Army” compromise and other issues.

    “Mr. Karamanlis is wrong, and is not making the correct judgments. As far as the similarities between the ‘Ankara’ and ‘Brussels’ texts, as he claims, Mr. Karamanlis should carefully re-read the two texts,” spokesman Christos Protopapas said.

    Regarding the increasingly high-profile Cyprus problem, in light of the island republic’s expected EU accession next year, Karamanlis reportedly told Simitis that “if your government wants a national front for the Cyprus issue then you must keep us briefed,” something to which Simitis reportedly agreed.

    In other statements, the ND leader reiterated that Cyprus’ EU prospects were very bright, while his party expects decisions to be finalized in Copenhagen in December.

    Among others, he also said all of Cyprus should accede to the EU before expressing concerns over reports citing a possible Cyprus solution, stressing that any compromise must adhere to UN and UN Security Council resolutions as well as Europe’s acquis communautaire.

    Papariga, Constantopoulos: Following her meeting with Simitis, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga accused the government of “giving in” in terms of the “Euro Army” issue. She also said the government moved away from its previous positions, as the text discussed in Brussels is the “Ankara text” with certain improvements “that do not alter its substance”.

    “The veto that Turkey had in case of a crisis in the Aegean becomes a European Union veto, and that is much worse,” she said.

    On his part, Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos favored what he called the assumption of initiatives to avoid “problems and machinations of the last minute”.

    In comments were directed at both the Cyprus issue and the “Euro Army” matter.

    Constantopoulos said the model adopted in Brussels subjugates Europe’s defense policy to Washington and NATO’s strategic priorities, while he called the agreed to text a “regression”.

    The European Union approved a plan on Friday to break a two-year deadlock between Greece and Turkey that prevented the Union’s “Rapid Reaction Force” from assuming operational readiness.

    The tentative compromise aims to open the way for the EU to make its peacekeeping debut in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) before the end of the year.

    The EU's 60,000-strong force is due to become fully operational next year.

    NATO member Turkey, leery of the force’s possible future deployment in the Aegean or on Cyprus, where its military illegally occupies one-third of the island republic, has demanded a say in how the “Euro Army” is deployed and where.

    Greece, in turn, rejected the so-called “Ankara text” produced by British and US diplomacy earlier in the year, as it demands reciprocal assurances that the alliance would never take action against a Union member-state.

    [02] No deadline on Euroforce talks between NATO-EU, NATO's Robertson says

    BRUSSELS 31/10/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)

    NATO General Secretary Lord Robertson on Wednesday appeared optimistic that the alliance and the European Union will conclude an agreement on the Euroforce issue, stressing, however, that there are no deadlines for the conclusion of talks.

    Responding to a relevant question, following the joint meeting of NATO with the European Union's committee on security issues, Robertson said that NATO was examining the ''common position'' to which the European Union arrived at, concerning the issue of cooperation between the two organizations, there are, however, no final conclusions.

    [03] Deputy DM discusses NATO enlargement in Prague

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    Deputy Defense Minister Lazaros Lotidis, currently on a two-day official visit to the Czech Republic, discussed issues concerning NATO and European Union enlargement in talks he had in Prague on Wednesday and on which an identity of views was ascertained.

    Lotidis met with Czech Defense Minister Jaroslav Turnik, Deputy Defense Minister Stefan Fuelle, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Vodra and the heads of the defense and foreign affairs parliamentary committees.

    The Czech side requested the Greek government's assistance, of an advisory nature, in organizing security at the upcoming NATO summit in Prague on November 21-22.

    At a bilateral level, it was agreed to extend military cooperation in the training, exchange of military information and experts, radio biochemical war confrontation and air defense sectors.

    The preparation of a document for the signing of a mutual understanding memorandum in the armaments and research and technology sectors was also decided.

    Lotidis expressed satisfaction over the outcome of his contacts on NATO and EU enlargement and the promotion of bilateral cooperation and invited his Czech counterpart to visit Greece.

    He is expected back in Athens on Thursday.

    [04] US welcomes postponement of military exercises by Greece, Turkey and Cyprus

    WASHINGTON 31/10/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The United States has expressed satisfaction over the postponement of military exercises by the Greek and Turkish armed forces as well as by the National Guard in Cyprus.

    U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Wednesday that the decision ''will contribute to stability in the region.''

    ''We welcome the postponement of the military exercises by Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. It is a good decision by all the sides who agreed to implement it,'' Boucher stated.

    [05] President Stephanopoulos meets South African president

    CAPE TOWN 31/10/2002 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)

    Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Wednesday began the second day of an official visit to South Africa - the first ever by a Greek head of state - by meeting South African President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki for talks on developing bilateral trade and economic relations between Greece and South Africa.

    Stephanopoulos arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday night for a five-day official visit, accompanied by deputy foreign ministers Yiannis Magriotis and Andreas Loverdos, as well as a large business delegation.

    In a joint press conference afterward, Mbeki said the two sides had agreed on how the issues they discussed should proceed and on the need for closer bilateral ties.

    Further progress on trade and economic issues is expected when the South African leader makes an official visit to Greece in 2003, at Stephanopoulos' invitation.

    Greece, as a net importer of South African products, is particularly keen to further develop trade ties and redress the balance. The 60 or so Greek business people accompanying the president are either economically active within South Africa or else have plans to become so, while they will take part in an economic forum with their South African counterparts that will be addressed by Stephanopoulos.

    On the political front, the two heads of state stressed that ties between Greece and South Africa were excellent and reported a convergence of views on international issues.

    One topic emphasized was further developing ties between Africa and the European Union, in view of the Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2003 and South Africa's assumption of the African Union's presidency in the same year.

    The second EU-Africa Union summit will take place during the Greek EU presidency and it is hoped that it will help further strengthen ties and mutual understanding between the two unions.

    Stephanopoulos commented on the Palestinian problem and Iraq, in particular, where he spoke against resorting to arms and military solutions. He urged the EU to adopt a more active role in resolving the Palestinian crisis and called for a solution in Iraq through the UN.

    Following his meeting with Mbeki, the Greek president addressed a joint sitting of South Africa's National Assembly and National Council of Provinces, during which he stressed the dangers of international terrorism and the negative aspects of globalization.

    The Greek president had one-on-one meetings with the speakers of South Africa's two parliamentary bodies, while his address identified the marginalization of great chunks of the world's population as a fundamental flaw of the globalized system and proof that it had failed to provide answers on major issues.

    He stressed the need for solutions that would help poor countries sell their products and climb out of the debt spiral, while pointing out that poverty was a major underlying cause of terrorism, crime and contagious disease.

    S. African President hosts dinner for Stephanopoulos: ''Greece was always standing by the people of South Africa in their struggle for freedom, equality and dignity'," Visiting Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos said on Wednesday here.

    Speaking at an dinner hosted in his honor by South African President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, Stephanopoulos said that during his official visit in South Africa the base for the promotion of a political, economic and in general broader cooperation between the two countries were established, calling the Greek ''presence'' in that country a strong link in the bilateral ties.

    Referring to the problem of terrorism the Greek president said that this world affair could not be viewed as a dispute between civilizations or religions or peoples, emphasizing that ''tackling poverty and pauperization, ensuring sustainable growth and the resolution of regional issue such as the Palestinian issue, would certainly contribute to combating terrorism''.

    Stephanopoulos referred to efforts for a ''step by step'' Greek-Turkish rapprochement and said that Greek sought a viable and permanent solution to the Cyprus problem ''based on UN principles and resolutions'', adding that such solution would ''constitute an element of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region''.

    He called the talks between Cyprus' President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash a ''positive development'', adding that the Turkish-Cypriot side ''has not yet satisfied the expectations of the international community, insisting on an intransigent stance''.

    The Greek president emphasized the need for closer EU-South African ties and made special reference to the idea of the Olympic Truce promoted by Greece, looking forward to South African cooperation on the issue.

    On a related note, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos, who is accompanying the Greek president on his visit here, on Wednesday met with South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and asked the support of her country in Greece's candidacy for the position of the Non Permanent Member in the UN Security Council for the period 2005-2006 and in the candidacy of Thessaloniki for hosting EXPO 2008.

    [06] Foreign ministry denies existence of draft peace plan for Cyprus

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek foreign ministry joined in which government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Wednesday to deny the existence of a draft UN peace plan for Cyprus, stressing that no such plan had been submitted to the Greek government.

    According to foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had assured the Greek side that no draft plan for Cyprus had existed or been submitted, nor was there any firm date by which such a plan might be ready. He dismissed information about the rumored plan, first appearing in Turkey's "Hurriyet" newspaper a few weeks ago, as mere 'scenarios'.

    The spokesman said the Greek side had not been informed about whether and if a comprehensive draft solution would be admitted that would address all aspects of the Cyprus problem.

    He also noted that a solution to the Cyprus problem continued to be the government's target in view of the EU summit in Copenhagen, with Greece seeking a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation on the island but prepared to consider an honest compromise that safeguarded Greek-Cypriot interests.

    [07] Commissioner Viviane Reding due in Athens on Thursday

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    European Commissioner Viviane Reding, responsible for EU education and cultural issues, will visit Athens on Thursday and Friday for talks with the Greek government in preparation for the Greek EU presidency.

    On Thursday, the Commissioner will meet the head of the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, Greek Education Minister Petros Efthymiou, Deputy Education Minister Eleni Kourkoula and education ministry officials.

    The following day, Commissioner Reding will have talks with Deputy Press and Media Minister Telemahos Hytiris, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Foreign Minister George Papandreou, while on Friday afternoon she is scheduled to have dinner with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis.

    She will hold a press conference on Friday at noon, at the European Commission's offices in Athens.

    [08] Greek EU commissioner meets with Bulgarian president

    SOFIA 31/10/2002 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    Visiting European Union (EU) Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou on Wednesday had separate meetings with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, various political and economic officials, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations.

    In an exclusive statement to the Athens News Agency (ANA), Diamantopoulou said ''with the president we discussed the purpose of my visit here, which is the agreement for employment which we signed yesterday with Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Labor and Social Affairs Lydia Shouleva. I would like to point out that within the next few years Bulgaria will have to see significant reforms in the labor market sector and naturally the social insurance system, as well as social policies. Bulgaria is a market economy, however, this is not adequately reflected on issues of employment, poverty and social problems. Education and professional training reforms will be required, as well as many and significant changes in taxation and labor market issues. The EU is already in close cooperation with the Bulgarian government for the adoption of the entire framework, which is large and composite, but also for the development of services and infrastructure to assist the Bulgarian government with the realization of these exceptionally difficult programs''.

    In relation to Greek-Bulgarian relations and Greece's role in the Balkan region from Brussels' point of view, the commissioner said ''on the part of Brussels and as an EU commissioner I would say that Greece is one of those states that we call ''expediting'', in other words one of the states that have greatly supported Bulgaria's accession to the EU... Greece plays an increasingly important role in the Balkans. The reason is not exhausted in the fact that Greece is the strongest economy and the politically most stable state as far as the function of institutions and democracy is concerned. Greece on one hand plays a very active role in all EU enlargement processes and on the other, it has greatly assisted the Balkan states. The role of Athens within the framework of the Stability Pact in southeastern Europe has not gone unnoticed, either. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Greece comes forward as a country playing a leading role in the broader efforts for peace and growth in the Balkans.''.

    [09] PM to meet Greek EU Commissioner, gov't spokesman says

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to meet Greek European Commissioner for employment Anna Diamantopoulou on Wednesday evening at 18:15, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced on Wednesday.

    Afterward, Simitis is scheduled to meet Greek MEP George Katiforis at 19:00, while at 19:30 he will have a meeting with PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis.

    The spokesman also announced a visit by the prime minister to the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee the following Monday, when there will be a simulation of systems for the Games.

    Protopapas also noted that next Monday's scheduled meeting of PASOK's Executive Bureau might be postponed because several of its members would be absent.

    [10] Greek ministers invited to London con'f aimed at tackling Balkan crime

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis have been invited to a major conference to be held in London at the end of the month focusing on the subject of tackling organized crime in the Balkans, a press release from the British embassy in Athens stated on Wednesday.

    The EU-led conference, to be hosted by British Foreign Jack Straw and Home Secretary David Blunkett, will focus attention on the need to tackle criminal activity in the Balkans, and its effects on the rest of Europe, in a more coordinated way, the press release added.

    Delegates will include justice, interior, foreign ministers from the Balkans, representatives from neighboring states, EU and other international partners, as well as senior officials from multilateral organizations, including the European Commission.

    [11] Statistics on male/female candidates in recent local gov't elections

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    Women accounted for 4.3 percent of the overall candidates for mayor and community president in the recent local government elections in Greece, according to statistical data released Wednesday by the General Secretariat for Equality of the Sexes.

    More specifically, out of a total 3,128 candidates for mayor and community president, 134 candidates were women (127 for mayor and 7 for community president), against 2,994 men.

    Of the total 1032 mayors and community presidents elected, 21 women candidates, or 2.03 percent, were elected (16 mayors and 5 community presidents), against 1011 men. It is also noted that of the 21 women elected mayor or community president, 10 were elected in the first round of the vote on October 13 and 11 in the run-offs on October 20.

    In the October 2002 local government elections, the percentage of women elected to mayor or community president posts jumped by 40 percent in comparison with the 1998 local government elections, when 15 women (14 mayors and 1 community president) were elected, against 1018 men, accounting for 1.45 percent of the total 1033 mayors and community presidents.

    As for the post of Prefect, out of a total 233 candidates for Prefect and Supra-Prefect, 10 candidates were women, of which only 1 (the Athens-Piraeus supra-prefect) was elected.

    [12] N17 suspects respond to additional charges against them

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    Three more suspected members of the terrorist group November 17, including the group's alleged leader Alexandros Giotopoulos, Thomas Serifis and Vassilis Tzortzatos, were asked to respond to additional charges brought against them on Wednesday before Special Examining Magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos, the appeals court justice assigned to the case.

    Giotopoulos asked and received an extension until next Wednesday to prepare his response.

    Sources said that Serifis confessed to participating in the ELTA robbery in Egaleo in 1988, the theft of weapons from the Sykourio army camp in 1989 and the theft of rocket launchers from the War Museum in 1990.

    Tzortzatos apparently took back his previous claims and admitted his participation in the terrorist organization from 1986 until 1992, after which he claims to have withdrawn due to political differences.

    Tzortzatos stands accused of 39 crimes and claims that he only played a secondary role within November 17. Sources say Tzortzatos has instructed his lawyer to investigate the possibility of pressing charges over torture that he was allegedly subjected to during interrogation at police headquarters

    Alleged N17 terrorist to testify before prosecutor: Alleged November 17 terrorist group member Savvas Xiros, faced with 10 new charges following supplementary prosecution launched against him, will be testifying before prosecutor Leonidas Zervombeakos on Thursday.

    Xiros is expected to give the prosecutor a memorandum in which, according to reports, he will maintain that he remains loyal to the messages of the Athens Polytechnic uprising (in November 1973). He will also add that he believes the reasons leading him to an armed struggle continue to exist.

    He appears determined to state in his memorandum that he assumes the political responsibility for all of the group's attacks, while he will claim that he is the perpetrator of its actions since 1982 and denounce the Americans as being the instigators.

    Fingerprint evidence may implicate a 4th Xiros sibling in N17: Fingerprints found in the Patissia safe house used by the terrorist group November 17 may implicate yet another brother from the Xiros family, apart from the three already in jail as suspected N17 members, a police source revealed on Wednesday.

    The fourth brother might be brought in for questioning before Special Examining Magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos, the appeals court justice handling this case, though it is not certain whether the finger prints are enough to support a case against him since they were found on movable objects, such as a book and a sheet of metal.

    Greek government reviews downwards 2003 growth targets: The Greek government is reviewing downwards its forecasts for next year's economic growth to reflect more realistically current international economic conditions, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis to discuss next year's budget, Mr Christodoulakis said that the 2003 budget forecasts - expected to be submitted to parliament in mid-November - would be reviewed downwards from an initial projection for an economic growth rate of 4.1 percent. The Greek minister stressed that the new budget would aim at increasing spending of a public investment program, supporting the social state and reducing public spending as part of a plan to restructure the public sector.

    [13] 1995-1998 pay increases for Greek workers among the highest, Eurostat says

    BRUSSELS 31/10/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    Greek employees received some of the highest pay increases in the European Union (EU) over the 1995-1998 period, Eurostat said on Wednesday.

    According to figures released by the EU's executive statistics agency, from 1995 through 1998, the pay of Greek workers increased by 36.4 percent placing high on a list topped by Irish workers who for the same period received increases to the tune of 52.8 percent and tailed by German workers with 5.8 percent.

    The EU average pay increases for 1995-1998 were 17.6 percent, Eurostat said.

    [14] ND Eurodeputy issues statement on labor market

    BRUSSELS 31/10/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    Main opposition New Democracy party Eurodeputy Kostis Hatzidakis, in an announcement on Wednesday and invoking a relevant reply by European Union commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, said ''the structure of the Manpower Organization’s (OAED) services does not allow for conclusions to be drawn in relation to the organization’s interventions in the labor market to restrict unemployment.''

    Hatzidakis referred to data provided by the TSER program according to which only six percent of the registered un-employed obtain jobs by using OAED's structures.

    According to ND's announcement, the commissioner's reply mentions that ''Greece has not yet developed a central statistical monitoring system and, consequently, on the basis of OAED's existing service structure it is difficult to have reliable data on the organization’s performance indicators on monitoring labor force inflows and outflows from and to unemployment and that EU funding has been anticipated for this purpose in the framework of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF).''

    [15] Minister says post office bank not to be sold to private interests

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis offered assurances on Wednesday that the Post Office Credit Bank will not be given to private interests.

    He said the bank ''will not be given to any private interests but will claim the role it deserves as a banking colossus'', adding that its social character will be perpetuated, not on specific legal commitments but invoking its ''traditional role.''

    The transport ministry's proposed draft law anticipates the Post Office Credit Bank's modernization through the creation of an SA bank having duration of 100 years and share capital amounting to 900 million euros, divided into 150 million nominal shares worth six euros.

    The Post Office Credit Bank will be in a position to perform full banking functions and will exploit (according to its agreement with the Post Office Service ELTA) the extensive post office network.

    [16] Greeks living on borrowed money, report says

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    The vast majority of Greeks have minimal or none at all abilities of saving, while a significant part of Greek citizens were fully unable to pay for their basic needs (housing-food), a survey by INKA, Greece's largest consumer group said on Wednesday.

    The report said that one-fifth of Greeks could not be described as "consumers", under the modern view of the term, while three-fifth of Greeks were living on borrowed money.

    Ninety-one percent of Greeks have either minimal or none at all abilities of saving, while a 21-28 percent rate cannot afford to pay for their housing and food needs, and a 65 percent of Greeks needed to borrow money to maintain their living standards, the report by INKA said.

    The consumer group said that increased cost of living in Greece has led to this situation, as the average price increase in the period October 2001-October 2002 was 10.14 percent with 71 percent of products registering price increases over the same period.

    Consumer complaints totalled 107,568 in the first 10 months of the year, INKA said.

    The consumer group again urged the government to take measures in limiting commercial banks' aggressive sales policy.

    [17] Deadline extended for submission of tender offers for Olympic property rentals

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    The deadline for the submission of offers regarding the tender for the management of Olympic real estate, concerning the program for the renting of houses during the period of the Athens Olympic Games, has been extended until November 15.

    The decision was taken on Wednesday by the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC), due to the delay in the necessary legislative and taxation provisions foreseen by the relevant proclamation for the tender.

    [18] Conference in Karditsa on 'EU Enlargement: New challenge for the countryside'

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    The European Commission's representation in Greece will hold a conference on the theme ''EU Enlargement: New challenge for the countryside'', at Lake Plastira, Karditsa, northern Greece, from November 1-2.

    The aim of the conference is to bring attention to the increase in opportunities which EU enlargement creates both for farmers and businesses related to the agricultural sector.

    Invited to take part in the conference are representatives of cooperatives and manufacturing and trading industries.

    The conference will be addressed by Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Foreign Ministry General Secretary for European Affairs Ilias Plaskovitis and the special secretary of the Agriculture Ministry, Xenophon Lourantos.

    The sessions of the conference will end on Saturday evening with a dinner hosted by the EU's representation in Greece.

    On Sunday morning a tour will be made of works in the region which have been financed by the EU.

    [19] Blue chips lead ASE higher on Wednesday

    Athens, 31/10/2002 (ANA)

    A wave of increased demand for blue chip stocks in the banking sector (Alpha Bank, National Bank and EFG Eurobank Ergasias) during the last hour of trading pushed Greek stocks higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, reversing an early decline of prices.

    The general index rose 0.49 percent to end at 1,782.40 points, with turnover a low 56.6 million euros.

    The Holding, Food-Beverage and IT sectors suffered losses (0.85 percent, 0.60 percent and 0.46 percent, respectively), while the Insurance, IT Solution and Base Metals sector scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (1.68 percent, 1.51 percent and 1.41 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.71 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.30 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.54 percent.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Informatics, Football Pools, Alpha Bank and AXON Holdings.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 46.6 mln euros Wednesday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.71 percent

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.30 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Alpha Bank (111)

    Day's Market Turnover: 46.6 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Sellers outstrip buyers on Wednesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.82 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 29 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 2.35 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-yr, (295 mln euros)

    [20] Cyprus FM Kasoulides holds meetings in Paris

    NICOSIA 31/10/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus can bring together Europe and the Middle East to establish peace and promote economic development in the region, said Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, speaking before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly chaired by Eduard Balladur.

    Kasoulides, who is in the French capital for a three-day working visit also met his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin and discussed developments in the Cyprus problem and the island's EU accession course.

    Addressing Kasoulides, Balladur referred to the accession course and the economic development of Cyprus, which ranks first among the candidate countries. He also expressed the wish that a united Cyprus can enter the EU in 2004 and recalled the relevant decisions of the 1999 Helsinki European Council and the European Commission report of October 9, 2002, where it was stressed that Cyprus fulfils the Copenhagen political and economic criteria.

    Kasoulides described his meeting with French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin as ''very good and friendly'', noting they discussed the Cyprus problem and the island's EU accession course.

    In statements to CNA from Paris, Kasoulides said the discussion regarding the EU enlargement was held in view of the Copenhagen European Council on December 12-13.

    He also noted they discussed the Cyprus problem and efforts to solve the issue. Bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest were also raised such as the Middle East, the situation in Iraq and the International Criminal Court.

    Kasoulides, who returns to Cyprus on Thursday, also met European Affairs Minister, Noelle Lenoir.

    [21] UN envoy meets Cyprus President before leaving for Ankara

    NICOSIA 31/10/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro De Soto was received on Wednesday morning by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.

    De Soto did not make any statements after the Presidential Palace meeting. He was due to leave on Wednesday tonight for Ankara, via Athens, where he will hold talks Thursday with Turkish government officials.

    On Friday, he will fly on to New York to brief the UN Secretary General on his meetings in Ankara and in Athens, where he met earlier this month with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    While in New York De Soto may meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who is there recovering from an open-heart surgery.

    De Soto is expected to return to the island November 7.

    UN-led talks aiming to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, which de Soto has been conducting since mid January this year, are now suspended because of Denktash's ill health.

    [22] Weston says there is a very good possibility for a just and durable settlement

    NICOSIA 31/10/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Tomas Weston said here on Wednesday it is clear ''that we are having a period where we really do have a very good possibility'' for a just and durable settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    Weston, who was received on Wednesday morning by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, reiterated the US commitment ''to do everything we can do to assure a good outcome.''

    The US diplomat, who left the island in the afternoon, described his meeting with the president ''excellent as always'' noting that ''this was particularly a good one''.

    ''I think it's clear to all of us that we are having a period where we really do have a very good possibility to get what we've been working on for a long, long time which is a just and durable settlement to the division of the island,'' Weston added.

    He noted that he leaves for Germany ''with a greater sense of the possibilities in the period ahead and commitment to do everything we can, everything the US can do to assure a good outcome.''

    [23] Zakhaios denounces Turkish unacceptable demands for Cyprus

    NEW YORK 31/10/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus Permanent Representative to the UN Sotos Zakhaios has denounced the unacceptable demands of the Turkish side for a Cyprus settlement and appealed to the Turkish leadership and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to listen ''to the yearning of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, and indeed all the people of Cyprus, to help find a solution which will enhance and safeguard conditions of peaceful cooperation amongst the two communities in a reunified island and will terminate the division of the country and its people.''

    Speaking here during an event organized by the association of New York foreign press, Zakhaios referred to press reports for a possible submission of a UN plan, noting that ''the Cyprus government is not aware, neither of the content of such a document, nor of its eventual presentation in November.''

    He expressed the belief that the UN Secretary General ''with his well-known wisdom will consider the best timing of any initiative and its prospect to achieve a settlement. The Secretary General will of course consider the new party realignment of political forces following the results of the 3 November elections in Turkey.''

    As to the Turkish inadmissible positions for a settlement Zakhaios noted that the system of government envisaged in the so called vision of the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash ''is simply not workable and has not been adopted by any single country in the world.''

    Furthermore he said that ''the Turkish side has not also shown flexibility on the territorial aspect. They have not indicated the percentage of the land to be administered by them and they instead continue to insist on vague criteria such as defensibility of the area and even maintenance of the present coastline, which is about 55%,'' Zakhaios added, underlying that fact that this proposal is emanating from a community of 18% of the island's total population.

    ''Moreover, the Turkish side is insisting on its unacceptable proposal of global exchange of property titles, which violates both the European and international law, he added and stressed ''this incompatibility was most authoritatively shown in the famous Titina Loizidou case where the European Court of Human Rights in its decision, reaffirmed the rights of the Greek Cypriot refugees to their property in the Turkish occupied area.''

    ''Despite the three interim resolutions adopted by the Committee of Ministers,'' Cyprus Permanent Representative said, ''Turkey has yet to comply with this decision.''

    He reiterated that ''the settlement must be in conformity with the UN resolutions and the acquis communautaire'' and stressed that Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides ''has shown flexibility and courage in assisting the efforts of the SG and will continue to cooperate with him in a constructive manner for the fulfillment of the mandate entrusted to him by the Security Council.''

    However, he underlined that ''there are red lights that cannot be ignor


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