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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

November 4, 2002


  • [01] Greece will not give Turkey pretext to cause problems for Cyprus' EU entry
  • [02] Papantoniou addresses seminar in Rhodeson Mediterranean dimension of ESDP
  • [03] Cypriot interior minister on Cyprus' EU accession course, elections in Turkey
  • [04] Beglitis comments on newspaper report on name of rocky islet
  • [05] President Stephanopoulos back in Athens following S. Africa visit
  • [06] Synaspismos' Constantopoulos again rules out cooperation with PASOK
  • [07] ND deputies sharply criticize gov’t tourism policy
  • [08] Bank accounts of alleged 'N17' terrorist Giotopoulos' companion unfrozen
  • [09] 23 illegals arrested on rocky islet off Lesvos
  • [10] 2 drivers arrested at Patra port for migrant smuggling
  • [11] Denktash to remain in New York for another ten days

  • [01] Greece will not give Turkey pretext to cause problems for Cyprus' EU entry

    Athens, 04/11/2002 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Saturday termed as unacceptable ''the continuing Turkish provocation in the Aegean.''

    Speaking from Rhodes where earlier in the day he opened a seminar entitled ''Mediterranean Dimension of the European Security and Defense Policy'', Papantoniou reiterated that ''Greece reacts with calm and firmness'' to the infringements of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and to the violations of the country's national air space by Turkish warplanes, because ''we do not want to give any pretext to the neighbor to cause problems in Cyprus' EU accession course.''

    He said ''we are firm and remain firm, but we are also ready for every eventuality,'' adding that ''for this reason the Greek Armed Forces are on an exceptionally high level of alert.''

    Papantoniou also clarified that the issue of Cyprus' EU accession was completely separate to that of the European Army issue.

    [02] Papantoniou addresses seminar in Rhodeson Mediterranean dimension of ESDP

    Athens, 04/11/2002 (ANA)

    The sessions of a seminar on the Mediterranean dimension of the European Presidency of the European Union, officially began on Saturday on the Dodecanese island of Rhodes.

    Taking part are representatives from the 15 EU member-states, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Turkey and Tunisia.

    The seminar, entitled ''Mediterranean Dimension of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) was opened by Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

    The purpose of the seminar is to process support for joint training programs, military cooperation initiatives and the institutionalization of such seminars to ensure their continuation and further development of the Mediterranean Dimension of the Common European Foreign and Defense Policy.

    Designed to promote dialogue between the EU and the Mediterranean countries, the Mediterranean Dimension was launched in May 2002 as a Spanish EU Presidency initiative and is being continued by Greece which undertook the EU Presidency of the ESDP on July 1.

    Referring to Greece's presidency of the ESDP, Papantoniou said in his opening speech that ''we started with a broad spectrum of objectives and priorities and in a relatively short period of time we managed to achieve remarkable progress in the shaping of a common European action framework.''

    He noted that ''this presidency is being held under conditions particularly decisive for the future of the European Union,'' stressing that ''this increases both our responsibilities for the effective confrontation of the problems, and those of the European Union itself which must assume its proportional share for the consolidation of international peace and security.''

    He added that ''our basic priority is to secure the operational capability of the European Union, in accordance with the General Military Objective of Helsinki, for humanitarian and peace missions, known as Petersburg missions.''

    Greeting the participants of the seminar on Friday, Papantoniou said ''it gives me great pleasure to welcome you in Rhodes on the occasion of the Seminar organized by the Hellenic Presidency on the Mediterranean Dimension of the European Security and Defense Policy.

    ''This initiative is part of a number of important issues that the Hellenic Presidency has wished to promote, in order to enhance the operability and efficiency of the European Security and Defense Policy. To this end, my colleagues and I have reached agreement on several decisive issues for the future of the security and defense aspects of the European Union, at the Informal Meeting of the Ministers of Defense of the European Union. The acceleration of the European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP) process, in order to have specific results by March 1st, 2003, coupled with the creation of a forum of experts to provide procurement solutions, constitute a major development and a great challenge.

    The defense minister noted, however, that ''none of the above is achievable unless we demonstrate the appropriate political will. This is a prerequisite for any future development in the frame-work of the European Union, as far as its internal proceedings as well as its relations with third countries are concerned.''

    [03] Cypriot interior minister on Cyprus' EU accession course, elections in Turkey

    Athens, 04/11/2002 (ANA)

    Visiting Cypriot Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou on Saturday referred to Cyprus' EU accession course and to Sunday's elections in Turkey, expressing the hope that ''a government will be elected which at long last will discuss seriously with us for the solution of the (Cyprus) problem.''

    Speaking from Hania, Crete, Panayiotou said he was anticipating that at the EU summit in Copenhagen on December 14 ''the great decision will be taken for the accession of Cyprus, along with the other nine (candidate) countries, to the European Union.''

    Asked by reporters what the Cypriot government hoped from the elections in Turkey, the interior minister said ''we hope that a government will be elected which at long last will discuss seriously with us for the solution of the problem, because as you know, up to now the stance of Turkey is unfortunately completely negative, it even refuses recommendations, proposals by the United Nations.''

    The Cypriot interior minister added that ''we hope that through tomorrow's elections, a government will be elected which will lead Turkey towards Europe and simultaneously at the negotiating table for the Cyprus issue to be solved, in accordance with the United Nations decisions, the Security Council resolutions but also on the basis of the European acquis communautaire and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights."

    [04] Beglitis comments on newspaper report on name of rocky islet

    Athens, 04/11/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis, referring to an article in the Sunday edition of ''Ethnos'' newspaper entitled ''A Greek rocky islet has suddenly become Turkish'', said on Sunday evening that no such issue was ever raised at the foreign ministry.

    According to the newspaper, ''the rocky islet Tsouka, which was handed over by the Italians to Greece at the end of WWII, has come to appear with a Turkish name in the Greek maps.''

    Beglitis said the contents of the newspaper's article is being looked into ''with the necessary responsibility which is required, in cooperation with the services of the jointly responsible ministries, in order for there to be a complete and clear answer.''

    As an initial reaction, the spokesman said, ''I would like to note that in order for the issue referred in the report be placed in the proper historical basis and for any misinterpretations to be avoided, never at least in the last years or from anyone has such an issue ever been brought up at the foreign ministry and its competent services.''

    According to the newspaper, the rocky island Tsouka, (near the Dodecanese island of Kalymnos) ''initially appeared in the maps with its Greek name and within the Greek sea borders. Despite the accession of the rocky islet to the administrative division of the Dodecanese, in the Map of the Greek sea borders which was planned on the basis of the Treaty of Lausanne, the Italian-Turkish agreements of 1932, the Paris Peace Treaty and Greek law 518/1948, in other words the entire institutional framework governing the status quo in the Aegean, it henceforth appears with the Turkish name 'Topan' within the Turkish territorial waters.''

    [05] President Stephanopoulos back in Athens following S. Africa visit

    Athens, 04/11/2002 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos returned to Athens on Saturday morning via Johannesburg, the last leg of his five-day official visit to South Africa.

    Stephanopoulos held talks with his South African counterpart Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki in Cape Town on bilateral (mainly economic) issues and on international affairs.

    While in Cape Town, he also addressed an economic forum of Greek and South African businesspersons, which aimed at further improving trade exchanges between the two countries, and met with members of the Greek community.

    Speaking at a gathering of Greeks in Johannesburg on Friday night, he reiterated the pride which Greece has for the Greek community abroad, noted the progress which has been made in Greece where he said democracy is stable, and stressed that he was departing with a good impression of South Africa.

    [06] Synaspismos' Constantopoulos again rules out cooperation with PASOK

    Athens, 04/11/2002 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Sunday said his party’s recent showing in the local government elections has “bothered many, especially PASOK”.

    Constantopoulos made the comments at the end of Synaspismos’ central committee meeting in Athens, which focused on the last elections and the party’s line in the coming period.

    “This concern is depicted with chorus-like deliberations regarding possible cooperation (between PASOK and Synaspismos) ... as well as panicky speculation,” he charged, while pointing to what he claimed were PASOK-generated “leaks” cited in various papers on Sunday pointing to such “cooperation”.

    Constantopoulos also stressed, in no uncertain terms, that his party is not interested in any possibility of pre-election cooperation with ruling PASOK, underlining that “if PASOK is afraid of the next elections because it knows very well that the Greek people are dissatisfied with government’s policy then that’s PASOK’s problem.”

    In a differing light, Development Minister and top PASOK cadre Akis Tsohatzopoulos was quoted in the Sunday edition of the “Kathimerini” newspaper as saying that the era of “one-party governments has come to a close”. He also said that a more proportional election system is on the horizon, one that “correctly will be implemented” in the period following the next elections.

    Conversely, another top PASOK cadre, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, said “changes to the election law are not, for the hour, a topic of discussion”.

    [07] ND deputies sharply criticize gov’t tourism policy

    Athens, 04/11/2002 (ANA)

    Two of the main opposition New Democracy’s (ND) top deputies for tourism policy on Sunday sharply criticized the government for what they called a lack of any strategic planning and goals vis-a-vis the sector – one of the biggest sources of revenue for the east Mediterranean country.

    Speaking after a tour of the 18th annual “Philoxenia” tourism sector exhibition in Thessaloniki over the weekend, MPs George Salagoudis and Anastasios Liaskos also questioned recent figures unveiled by the Bank of Greece, which reportedly show an increase in tourism-related revenue for 2002. Both deputies said the collection and interpretation of relevant statistics was flawed.

    “Today’s protracted crisis in the tourism sector is the result of a long-term lack of any specific government policy for the sector … the government was totally unprepared to meet the special demands of the current season that developed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist strikes in the United States,” the deputies said.

    Both men also charged that the government’s stance has caused a constant decrease in the quality and competitiveness of Greece’s tourism product, as well as a lack of coordination to develop alternative forms of tourism or even to penetrate new markets.

    [08] Bank accounts of alleged 'N17' terrorist Giotopoulos' companion unfrozen

    Athens, 04/11/2002 (ANA)

    By decision of the Council of Appellate Judges, the four bank accounts of 48-year-old French national Marie-Therese Peynaud which were frozen since the summer when her companion, ''November 17'' terrorist group suspect Alexandros Giotopoulos was under police surveillance, have been unfrozen.

    The Council of Appellate Judges in a ruling deemed that the sums in her accounts were justified from her employment and did not derive from illegal activities by Giotopolos.

    Giotopoulos, the alleged leader of the N17 urban guerrilla group, is in jail along with 17 other suspects pending trial.

    [09] 23 illegals arrested on rocky islet off Lesvos

    Athens, 04/11/2002 (ANA)

    Twenty-three illegal immigrants were spotted and detained on a deserted islet off the large eastern Aegean island of Lesvos early Sunday morning.

    According to reports, the Third World migrants – 16 women, six men and one child – were ferried onto Greek territory from the opposite Asia Minor coast Saturday afternoon by a trio of unidentified Turks.

    Authorities said the illegal immigrants, who hail from Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, reported that they began their journey 13 days ago in Djibouti -- on the horn of Africa -- before being unloaded near the Aivali coastal region in western Turkey the same day for a short trip across to the uninhabited Barbalia islet.

    A coast guard investigation is pending.

    [10] 2 drivers arrested at Patra port for migrant smuggling

    Athens, 04/11/2002 (ANA)

    Two local men were arrested for attempted migrant smuggling at the port of Patra, western Greece, on Saturday afternoon after four Kurds were discovered in their truck.

    The lorry was headed to Italy aboard a Greek-flagged ferryboat when coast guard officers arrested the would-be migrants.

    The suspects were identified as Socrates Xanthopoulos, 34, and Alexandros Tzoumas, 48. Both men, along with the four illegals, are due to face a local prosecutor.

    [11] Denktash to remain in New York for another ten days

    UNITED NATIONS 04/11/2002 (CNA)

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will remain in New York for at least ten days more, as his health does not permit him to make the transatlantic trip back to Cyprus.

    Denktash, who recently underwent open-heart surgery, went to the Presbyterian Clinic of New York on Friday for a checkup. His doctors found there was still fluid in his lungs, which did not enable them to remove the two tubes inserted after the second operation the Turkish Cypriot leader underwent a few days ago to drain excess fluid.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader's senior advisor, Ergun Olgun, told CNA that the doctors believe Denktash is better than he was when he was admitted to hospital.

    Olgun said ''the doctors have found no complications at all at this point'' and that ''they have suggested that he goes back to the hospital next Friday, so that the doctors make a final decision on removing the drain'', that is ''something like ten days from today''.

    He added that Denktash is expected to resume his duties after eight weeks.

    Asked if he intended to stay in New York, Olgun said he has a meeting early this week with the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto and that ''on the basis of our discussions we will decide on the functioning of the committees and the possibility is that, depending on our discussions, I will pursue on the conclusions of that discussion''.

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