|Sunday, 15 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 5, 2002
 Simitis congratulates Turkey's Erdogan, invites him to visit Athens
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday congratulated Turkey's Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his sweeping election victory in Sunday's general elections in the neighbouring country.
During a telephone conversation, Simitis also invited the Turkish leader to Greece, an invitation Erdogan accepted. The two men agreed to initiate diplomatic preparation for the visit.
The results of the Turkish elections, and Erdogan's victory were at the focus of a meeting between Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis and chaired by Simitis.
Following the meeting, Papandreou said that the meeting was only to evaluate the latest developments, first and foremost in Turkey itself.
''The Turkish people chose the party and the leader that it wanted to govern the country,'' he said, adding that as the European Commission said the elections in the neighbouring country were conducted in a democratic fashion.
Greece is ready to cooperate with the new Turkish government, ''to continue the policy of rapprochement, as well as the effort to create a jump, a new step in our relations, especially in the efforts for the resolution of the Cyprus problem,'' Papandreou said.
These were the points stressed by Simitis during his telephone conversation with Erdogan, who responded that he ''would like to see an even more productive cooperation between the two countries''.
Papandreou also said that Erdogan expressed his interest to tour the capital cities of the European Union, adding that the Greek premier ''not only encouraged him to do so, but invited him to come to Athens''.
Responding to a question, whether Simitis and Erdogan discussed the Cyprus problem, Papandreou said that the two men did not enter a discussion on the substance of these issues, as it is ''rather early''.
''Erdogan will have the opportunity to come to Athens and these issues will be discussed. However, he (Erdogan) has made statements recently concerning the Cyprus issue, in a way that at least stresses the necessity for a resolution of the Cyprus problem,'' Papandreou noted.
During the meeting the premier and the ministers also discussed the Cyprus problem, and Cyprus' EU accession course, in light of the possible tabling of a solution plan by United Nations' Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Papandreou stressed that the European Union, Turkey, the Turkish Cypriots, the Americans and Greeks are interested in arriving at a solution at long last, adding that the framework of the solution must be in line with the UN decisions and the fact that Cyprus will soon be a member-state of the European Union, and it is of basic importance that it functions normally, like any other EU member.
''If it (the proposed solution) is in this framework, Greece will warmly support this outcome,'' he concluded.
Greece supports new Turkish gov't, awaits response to goodwill gestures: Greece supports the new Turkish government, looks forward to cooperation with it, and awaits its response to Greece's good will gestures, national defense Minister Yannos Papantoniou said Monday.
Papantoniou made the statement when asked to comment on the outcome of the weekend's general elections in Turkey. He was attending an event organized by the War Museum commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Balka Wars epos.
Papantoniou reiterated that Greece supported Turkey's European prospect, with the conviction that that would prove to the benefit of both the Turkish people and Greek-Turkish relations.
He said that the EU values, democracy, and respect of international law comprised the framework within which Greek-Turkish bilateral relations could and should be developed, including the major issue of resolving the Cyprus problem.
Papantoniou further said that the Balkan Wars epos marked the rebirth of the nation and the building of the modern Greece in which we live today.
The event was attended by eminent professors and academics.
Turkey's Erdogan to visit Greece officially in seven to ten days: Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Monday that he will visit Greece officially in seven to ten days.
Erdogan, speaking to foreign correspondents here, said that two high-ranking diplomats will prepare the visit, and for this reason they will visit Athens.
He said that the main subject of the talks between him and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will be the Greek government's aid to Turkey in securing a set date for the initiation of negotiations for Turkey's accession to the European Union at the Copenhagen Summit.
Responding to whether the Cyprus issue will be discussed during his visit in Athens, Erdogan said that the Cyprus issue is not included in the agenda of issues to be discussed between the European Union and Turkey, since it is not an issue the Union tabled for discussion with Turkey.
An earlier Anadolu News Agency dispatch noted that, Erdogan held a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Meanwhile a press release issued by the Justice and Development Party, noted that in the 15-minute telephone conversation Simitis congratulated Erdogan for his election victory and invited him to visit Greece.
Erdogan accepted the invitation and stressed that cooperation with Greece will a positive for the Greek-Turkish relations, the EU-Turkish relations and for the world at large, the press release stated.
ND leader congratulates winner of Turkish elections: Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis addressed a letter of congratulations on Monday to the leader of Turkey's Justice and Development Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his party's landslide victory in Sunday's elections.
Karamanlis said in his letter Turkey's electorate decided for change, a change which can lead the Turkish people to even greater prosperity.
''Stability and prosperity should be the main targets of a wider regional cooperation based on respect for international law, human rights and good neighborliness and from this aspect the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations is of primary significance,'' he said.
Karamanlis also referred to the Cyprus issue, saying Cyprus' upcoming accession to the EU provides a favorable prospect for a just and viable solution, although very delayed, to the problem of the past 28 years, based on UN resolutions and the acquis communautaire.
He further said this will consolidate stability and peace in the wider region during a period of tension, adding that it is the historical obligation of all to pass from a period of tension to an era of hope.
 Foreign minister and visiting US official discuss Turkey, Iraq, Cyprus
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou met US Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman in Athens on Monday for talks on Iraq, the situation in Turkey after elections over the weekend and the Cyprus issue, including Cyprus' EU accession.
Grossman is in Athens to attend an event at the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce at the Hotel Caravel, which Papandreou will also take part in.
In statements after the meeting, Papandreou congratulated Turkish party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his Justice and Development (AKP) party's victory, which will allow it to govern Turkey single-handedly even though Erdogan has been banned from holding public office.
The Greek minister said that Athens looked forward to continuing its cooperation with Turkey for Greek-Turkish rapprochement under the new government. He said the Greek side was determined to assist Turkey's European prospects and would continue its efforts for a firm date for the start of accession negotiations between the EU and Ankara.
On his part, Grossman did not express congratulations but said that Turkey was a democratic country, whose people had a right to choose their government. He said the United States was ready to cooperate with the new Turkish government to promote issues of bilateral and mutual interest.
Regarding his talks with Grossman, Papandreou said they had talked at length on the framework in which a proposed solution for the Cyprus issue should be submitted, reiterating the need that proposals be consistent with the resolutions of the UN Security Council and take Cyprus' imminent EU accession into account - including the need that Cyprus be represented as a single entity in order to accord with the EU's acquis communautaire.
Papandreou noted that time was very short until December 12, when EU leaders would be meeting in Copenhagen, but stressed that Greece would make every effort for a solution after Cyprus joined the EU if a solution had not been achieved by that date.
Greece takes over the rotating EU presidency at the start of 2003.
The US official placed great emphasis on Turkey's rapprochement with Europe, saying that this would benefit Greece, the EU, the US and Turkey itself.
He described Athens' policies on this issue as ''useful'' and said that setting a date for accession negotiations with Turkey at the Copenhagen Summit would act as an incentive to Turkey to come closer to the West and the EU.
The US undersecretary reiterated Washington's support for Cyprus' EU accession and said that this would encourage a solution to the Cyprus problem.
''We support the efforts of the UN Secretary General and the historic decisions made at Helsinki,'' he added.
Regarding Iraq, Grossman said he had outlined Washington's positions on this issue on behalf of US Secretary of State Colin Powell. He said that Washington wanted action in Iraq to be based on UN Security Council resolutions.
''The best way to avoid military conflict with Iraq is to adopt the strictest possible resolution for its disarmament,'' he said.
Earlier in the day, foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis had expressed the Greek government's congratulations to Erdogan and the next runner-up Deniz Baikal, leaders of the two Turkish parties that gained enough votes to secure seats in Parliament. He said that Papandreou would be sending letters of congratulations later in the day.
 Defense minister meets with U.S. assistant Secretary of State
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Monday met with visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman and discussed the results of the elections in Turkey, Cyprus' accession to the European Union, developments concerning Iraq and the current conditions in the Balkans.
Papantoniou called the election results in Turkey a victory of democracy, adding that they confirmed the democratic course of the country, which if encouraged by its partners it could end up entering the Union.
He reiterated Greece's support for Turkey's European prospects, which he said would be to the benefit of the Turkish people and the benefit of Greek-Turkish relations.
On his part, Grossman said that Turkey is a democratic country, adding that it is Turkey's sole responsibility to choose its leaders.
He also noted that until Dec. 12 there are opportunities in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus for the resolution of the Cyprus problem, adding that the U.S. supports Cyprus' accession to the Union, as they believe it to be a motive for peoples to resolve their problems.
The two men also discussed the efforts of the United States to pass through the UN a clear and firm resolution for Iraq's disarmament.
 ND leader discusses EU enlargement with U.S. official
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis held talks on Monday with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Mark Grossman and expressed hope the outcome of Turkey's elections can lead to a rapprochement in the wider region by the Turkish government in a European spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation.
Karamanlis said that, regardless of developments in Turkey and Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, the EU Copenhagen summit should ultimately decide the accession of all of Cyprus and of the other nine countries to the EU, without any delay or additional last-minute terms.
ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said ND supports Turkey's European prospect on condition Ankara will fully adopt the European acquis communautaire.
According to reports, Grossman said the U.S. agrees with EU enlargement going ahead at the Copenhagen summit, but desires that the path of diplomacy remains open for a solution to the Cyprus issue.
The reports further said he added that the U.S. hopes the plan of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will be acceptable to the two sides and will move down the middle path.
Grossman also let it clearly be understood that the U.S. desires a date being set at the Copenhagen summit for the beginning of negotiations between the EU and Turkey for its accession to the EU.
On the question or Iraq, Grossman said a strong resolution is expected from the UN obliging Saddam Hussein to respond to controls for ''whatever and wherever'' concerning his arsenals to avert immediate intervention.
 Grossman: Greece in the int'l limelight due to Olympics, EU presidency
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Marc Grossman on Monday evening echoed his earlier high-profile statements outlining Washington’s support for both Cyprus’ imminent EU accession as well as Turkey’s European prospects, while he also appeared confident of Athens’ ability to host a safe Olympic Games.
Grossman spoke at a downtown Athens hotel during a banquet hosted by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, and following a day filled with numerous contacts with Greek foreign and political leadership -- talks mostly centering on the timely Cyprus issue and the situation in Turkey following Sunday’s closely watched general elections.
The US assistant secretary’s address was preceded by a speech from Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou – who underlined Greece’s unique status as both a NATO and “euro-zone” EU member in the wider region -- and US ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller. Grossman noted that the EU rotating presidency in the first half of 2003 and the 2004 Olympics Games will promote Greece onto the “international spotlight”, while adding that the east Mediterranean nation should emerge from the summer Games with its law enforcement agencies ready to face any security challenges.
The high-ranking and veteran US diplomat, a former ambassador to Ankara, on several occasions referred to the ongoing Iraqi crisis and the international campaign against terrorism, saying both Greece and America are in a fight for “their way of life”.
Moreover, he also referred to the ongoing and unprecedented investigation in Greece to eradicate the elusive “November 17” urban terror cell, paraphrasing Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis’ comments in early September of “democracy crushing terrorism”. On his part, Papandreou reiterated that Athens’ wants EU expansion to spread to the Balkans, before noting that Euro-Atlantic dialogue deals with new prospects and new problems, in reference to what he called an “internationalization of terrorism”.
 Greece will state its view when UN tables draft Cyprus solution plan
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)When a Cyprus solution plan, which the UN appeared to be working on, was tabled, then the Greek government will express its view, foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said Monday in reply to press questions.
Beglitis noted that numerous texts had been tabled recently which, however, did not comprise the specific plan which, information had it, would be submitted soon.
The spokesman reiterated Greece's position that a draft solution to the Cyprus issue must be founded on the UN Security Council resolutions, compatible with the EU's acquis communautaire and the terminology of the European Court of Human Rights, and foresee a viable and functional system for Cyprus.
 Cyprus will not accept any political settlement for the sake of its EU accession
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Cyprus government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said in Athens on Monday that ''we will not sacrifice the content of the solution of the Cyprus issue for Cyprus' (EU) entry,'' adding that Nicosia insists on one state and one sovereignty, opposes settlements contrary to the content of the Security Council resolutions, which as he said, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has no right to submit, and seeks a workable solution with the prospects of the island republic's EU accession being a given fact.
Speaking at a press conference organized by the Foreign Press Association, Papapetrou said the Greek Cypriot community has convinced the international community that it was approaching with a disposition of compromise and flexibility the solution of the Cyprus problem and that it is the Turkish side which is intransigent.
This, he said, is the result of a common processed policy by Athens and Nicosia within the framework of complete concord and of absolute and real unity of the two capitals. The result of this unity, he said, is that even if there was still no progress in the solution of the Cyprus problem the accession course was safeguarded.
The Cypriot government spokesman added that ''with the (EU) summit in Copenhagen (in December), we are heading, without obstacles and complications, towards the completion of the accession course, and we will continue until then the efforts for a settlement.''
The spokesman confirmed information that the United Nations was preparing to submit a peace plan but that a decision has not yet been finalized.
The Greek and Cypriot governments have agreed on an action program for the avoidance of possible unpleasant developments, said Papapetrou who, in reference to his recent speech in London, underlined that he did nothing else other than describe a classic model federation which Cyprus has been seeking for years.
''We will judge the position of the (UN) Secretary-General in the light of our own positions and the general conjunctures, while we heard with interest certain positions of the winner of yesterday's Turkish elections, Mr. Erdogan,'' Papapetrou said, underlining that ''we will not accept any solution for the sake of accession and that there are security limits which (Cyprus President Glafcos) Clerides will not surpass.''
Papapetrou told the ANA that Annan would proceed in submitting a plan without the previous consent of interested parties. Commenting on recent warnings by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis for the need of compromise, the spokesman underlined that the Greek Cypriots have at times made enormous concessions in the Cyprus issue, none however timely.
 Verheugen calls on new Turkish gov't to send 'message' of reforms to EU
BRUSSELS 05/11/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)European Commissioner Guenter Verheugen on Monday called on the new Turkish government to send a ''message'' to the European Union, by releasing political prisoners and by ending the torturing of prisoners as a move indicative of its intention to continue reforms.
Speaking to the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on the course of the enlargement process, following the Brussels summit, the commissioner encouraged the new Turkish political leadership to continue reforms.
He said that a first step in that direction would be the release of political prisoners that were not accused of committing violent acts, such as in the case of Leila Zana.
Verheugen said that the next phase of Euro-Turkish relations will be formulated in Copenhagen and it will depend on the program of the new Turkish government.
The commissioner also made mention of Cyprus, stressing that the opportunity at hand for the resolution of the Cyprus problem should be taken advantage of for the benefit of the two communities, but mostly for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots.
''If there is a community, that stands to benefit the most by its accession or lose the most in the advent of the opposite outcome, that is the Turkish Cypriot community,'' he said, stressing that it is up to the will of the leadership of the two sides to resolve the political problem.
Verheugen did not rule out the possibility that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan may present a resolution plan soon, adding that the Commission would hail this development.
''Time is pressing and it should be utilized,'' he said, wishing speedy recovery for Turkish Cypriot community leader Rauf Denktash, whom he termed essential for the process.
 Simitis to visit Paris, Berlin this week
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis will be departing for Paris on Tuesday afternoon, where he is to meet French President Jacques Chirac on Wednesday afternoon, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced on Monday.
Following his visit to Paris, Simitis would next stop in Berlin on Friday, where he was scheduled to meet German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder at 12:30 before returning to Athens on Sunday.
On Monday morning, the prime minister had a meeting with Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis, while at 14:00 he met Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis.
In the afternoon, Simitis will attend a ceremony in Parliament to unveil a new frieze by the sculptor Kapralos in Parliament's peristyle, and at 18:30 he will chair a meeting of PASOK'S Executive Bureau.
Prior to his departure for Paris, the prime minister will meet President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos in the morning.
The following Monday at 12:30, meanwhile, the prime minister will meet with European industry captains and with Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis at 14:00.
 EU general staff chiefs to meet in Brussels November 8
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)European Union national defense general staff chiefs will meet in Brussels on November 8 for the first conference during the Greek presidency on military issues.
The Military Committee will confirm work carried out by the EU's military bodies during the second half of 2002 and will examine issues concerning the increase of the EU's military potential and operational capacity, as well as its rapid reaction ability.
The chiefs will be briefed and exchange views on issues related to the European Security and Defense Policy. National Defense General Staff Chief George Antonakopoulos will outline the targets of the Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2003 regarding military issues.
 Foreign ministry says islet referred to by 'Ethnos' is Atsaki
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)The Aegean islet referred to in the Sunday edition of ''To Ethnos'' is in fact the islet Atsaki opposite the Greek island of Kalymnos, foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis announced on Monday.
He said this conclusion had been reached by government services looking into the paper's report.
''Issues pertaining to the sea borders between Greece and Turkey have been resolved on the basis of existing international treaties,'' the spokesman said.
According to Beglitis, the island was a reference point in the Italian-Turkish agreement to draw up borders, as Turkish territory used to determine the median line. More specifically, it was point 29 in the text of a 1932 Italian-Turkish agreement, according to which the middle line was defined as ''the middle distance between Cape Karapsili on Kalymnos and Atsaki islet in Anatolia''.
Apart from this islet, Beglitis said that there was also a reef named Cuka to the southeast of the Atsaki in the same area, which is also considered Turkish territory on the basis of the above Italian-Turkish agreement, drawn up in 1932 to implement the Lausanne Treaty.
According to sources, the islet had always belonged to Turkey and had never been under Italian sovereignty, while the 1932 agreement between Italy and Turkey had been ratified by the Greek government in 1948.
A question was tabled in Parliament by main opposition New Democracy regarding the islet, however, with ND sector head for foreign affairs Aristotelis Pavlidis asking the foreign ministry to fully clarify the situation regarding the islet's status.
Other ND officials, meanwhile, accused Foreign Minister George Papandreou of dealing with foreign policy issues ''too lightly.'' ND's Prokopis Pavlopoulos, for example, urged Papandreou to change his policy toward ''ruthless and acquisitive Turkey'' and remarked that ''foreign policy is not the same as public relations''.
 Legal framework vis-a-vis European Penal Court being studied
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Greece was reviewing the legal framework in order to formulate its stance with respect to the common EU position vis-a-vis the function of the International Penal Court, Greece's foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said Monday in reply to press questions.
More specifically, Beglitis said that there was a strong conventional framework of Greek-US relations concerning this matter, comprised of two bilateral accords: The agreement on mutual judicial assistance, and the agreement regulating the presence of NATO personnel in Greece.
Given that the legal review had not yet been completed, Greece’s political decision on its specific stance had yet to be formulated, Beglitis noted.
Sources said that the conventional framework of the bilateral accords was appraised as being adequate, and consequently there would be no need for the signing of a new bilateral agreement between the US and Greece concerning the jurisdiction of the International Penal Court.
 Commission secretary-general David O'Sullivan due Thursday
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)European Commission secretary-general David O'Sullivan will be in Athens on Thursday in preparation for the Greek presidency of the EU in the first-half of 2003.
O'Sullivan is slated to hold talks with finance minister Nikos Christodoulakis, foreign minister George Papandreou, alternate foreign minister Tasos Yiannitsis, and foreign ministry secretary general Elias Plaskovitis.
The talks will cover preparations for the Greek EU presidency, and cooperation between the Greek government and the Commission.
 PM says results of municipal and prefectural elections good
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis, addressing a meeting of his PASOK party's Executive Bureau on Monday, said results of the recent municipal and prefectural elections in the country were good, but added that ''we would have liked a better outcome.''
According to reliable sources, Simitis said the results create a new political standard for PASOK which is linked to the preservation on its part of leading developments and its ability to have a fourth election victory in May 2004 (when elections are next due).
He said the main opposition New Democracy party failed and was defeated in its effort to force PASOK to hold early elections and the tactic of unrestrained partisanship, a frontal attack and the effort to gain a good result at all cost.
The prime minister further said the appearance of the far-right was not coincidental and the cause for this was the adoption by ND of the most incompatible views, opportunism and backtracking as was manifested with the selection of Yiannis Tzannetakos. Determining the reason for the appearance of the far-right, Simitis pointed to the lack of clear positions on the part of ND and the effort to persuade the far-right and called on ND to assume its responsibilities and not only to confront George Karatzaferis but his speech, practices and slogans as well.
On the question of the message sent to PASOK by the elections, Simitis said the citizens rang bells ''on our policies, our image and for persons.''
He added that the messages sent by the elections have many meanings and their recipients are PASOK as a government, PASOK as a party and the candidates and tickets supported by PASOK in every prefecture and every municipality.
Simitis clarified PASOK's position on cooperation with other parties and said this position should be shaped on the basis of coordinated procedures with maturity and, primarily, it should have a strategy.
Simitis also said the movement for cooperation should not be directed at the Coalition of the Left and Progress alone but also to all the parties of the left and centre-left and to the various social movements, adding that in every case the effort should be done in a reliable way.
 Seven deputies submit amendment in Parliament in support of cremation
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Seven deputies submitted an amendment in Parliament on Monday in support of cremation.
In their report, the deputies from three different parties noted that because many religious dogmas and Churches allow the cremation of the dead, ''this cannot be done in Greece due to the lack of a legislative framework.''
The deputies who submitted the amendment were An. Mantelis, Th. Pangalos and P. Sgouridis from the ruling PASOK, M. Evert and Th. Bakoyianni from the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party and M. Damanaki and F. Kouvelis from the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos).
The amendment was added to a bill which will be brought for discussion at the Parliament plenum next week.
The possibility of cremation, regardless of religious dogma, was also called for in an amendment submitted by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputies Antonis Skyllakos and Angelos Tzekis, expanding the prerequisites of the corresponding amendment which the other seven deputies submitted.
Differentiating their position from the other deputies who asked for the possibility for the cremation of dead people who while alive their religious convictions permitted this, the KKE deputies proposed that the nationality of the deceased should not be a necessary prerequisite for the choice of cremation.
 Minister outlines Greek presidency's transport priorities
BRUSSELS 05/11/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis, addressing a relevant European Parliament committee on Monday, outlined the Greek European Union presidency's targets and priorities in the transport sector.
Verelis said the Greek presidency's main priority in the first half of 2003 will be promoting inter-European transport networks and the integration of candidate countries' transport networks.
He explained that in this way an effort will be made to send a political message to candidate countries for the need to speedily harmonies their networks with the inter-European transport networks.
 Greece welcomes upgrade from Moody'sBRUSSELS 05/11/2002 (ANA/M.Spinthourakis) Athens, (ANA)
Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Monday welcomed an upgrade for Greece awarded by Moody's, the international ratings agency.
''This is the first time in three years that Moody's has undertaken a major upgrading of the country's creditworthiness, awarding it an A1 rating, both for domestic and foreign borrowing,'' Christodoulakis told reporters in the Belgian capital.
''Greece is one of the few countries to receive an upgrade this year, a sign that the Greek economy has greatly increased its creditworthiness on the global scene,'' he added.
Due to the upgrade, the cost of borrowing for the state would drop. The country was currently paying about 0.3 percent more that the average for other European Union countries, Christodoulakis said.
He is in Brussels to attend meetings of European Union and eurozone finance ministers.
 ND leader Karamanlis meets with ship-owners
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Constantine Karamanlis on Monday met with the presidium of the Union of Greek Ship-owners (UGS) at the party headquarters.
Karamanlis is holding a series of meetings with the various sides involved in Greek shipping before finalizing the party's policy platform on reinforcing Greek-flag shipping.
The ND leader assured ship-owners that, for New Democracy, shipping was an activity of national importance and that his party would continue backing the sector.
He said that Greek shipping was directly linked with the national economy, adding that ND would back measures to enhance the Greek-flag vessels' competitiveness and attract new ships to the Greek Register of Shipping, as well as to attract and train new officers in the shipping vocation.
 EU starts proceedings against Greece over late payments law
BRUSSELS 05/11/2002 (ANA)The European Union's executive Commission is to start proceedings against Greece for its failure to incorporate an EU directive on late payments in business into national law, the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party said on Monday.
The Commission statement on action to be taken was given in reply to a question by ND eurodeputy Christos Folias, who said that one in four cases of bankruptcy in Greece was due to late payments with a resulting loss of 450,000 jobs annually.
Deadline for implementation of the EU directive was August this year, he added.
 New crossings on Greek-Albanian frontier discussed this week
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Representatives from the Greek and Albanian custom services are due to meet on the island of Corfu on Wednesday for talks on a variety of bilateral issues, including steps to improve border transit, mutual assistance and other practical matters.
An evaluation of the current level of cooperation is also expected to take place, with Greek customs represented by general director V. Manolopoulos, whereas the Albanian side will be headed by general director Sokoi Kraja.
Given the fact that the two current border posts on the Greek-Albanian frontier, Kakavia and Krystallopigi, are now considered inadequate as far as handling booming commercial and passenger traffic between the two Balkan neighbors, the two sides are also expected to focus on progress at opening three new border posts, namely, at Sayiades, Mertziani and Drymades – part of a Greek-Albanian agreement dating to 1997.
 Bourse rebounds on Monday, up by 3.29%
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks rebounded on Monday, on the heels of upbeat sessions in most European bourses and a positive outcome to the Romtelecom issue, with the general index ending 3.29 percent higher at 1,834.19 points with turnover at 123.4 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks increased by 3.95 percent while the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 3.82 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 3.18 percent higher.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 337 to 14 with another 15 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Football Pools Organization, Sex Form, Informatics, and Klonatex.
Derivatives trade drops in October: The number of contracts traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange fell to 895,732 in October from 942,604 in the previous month, market authorities said on Monday.
The average daily number of trades dropped by 9.3 percent to total 20,358 contracts from 22,445 a month earlier, the authorities said in a statement.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 79.1 mln euros Monday
Equity Index Futures:
Day's Market Turnover: 79.1 mln euros
Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Monday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
 PM inaugurates IT systems lab for Athens 2004 Olympics
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday inaugurated the new Laboratory for the Testing and Completion of Information Technology Systems for the 2004 Olympic Games, which will be housed at the headquarters of the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC).
The laboratory was set up in 45 days and exceeds IOC requirements, while it will be able to simulate 37 events and eight functions.
Its main aim is to ensure that the time needed for the transmission of all information is less than one second and to make sure that the system will be able to perform reliably under any circumstances.
 2002 forest fire season the most positive in 50 years
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)The forest-fire season that just ended was the most mild and positive in the past 50 years, according to data made public by Fire Fighting Corps Chief Panagiotis Fourlas on Monday in Athens.
Fourlas announced that from January to October 2002 only 756 hectares of forest and agricultural lands were burned, compared to 3795 hectares in 2001 and compared to the record setting 2000, when 15,462 hectares were burned.
The chief, however, said that the number of fires increased to 6,233 in 2002, compared to 6,121 fires in 2001, which he explained by saying that more should be done in preventing fires, while he stressed that the danger from illegal landfills was almost equal to that of last year's, thus municipalities should do more to avert the dangers of wild fires.
On a more positive note, he noted that wild fires that began from incorrect farming practices were on the decrease, showing an increased awareness on the part of farmers.
On more point Fourlas made concerning the prevention of wild fires was the establishment of the directorate for investigations of arson in 2000, which has already produced 90 cases, of which 76 where prosecuted as unintentional and 14 as premeditated, while 16 persons were arrested while perpetrating arson or unintentionally lighting wild fires.
 Mt. Etna dust in western Greece a potential health risk, scientist says
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)The volcanic ash being borne across the sea from Mount Etna to Greek islands in the Ionian Sea and the west coast of Greece could well pose a risk to human health, an Athens scientist warned on Monday and urged the government to take immediate steps to protect the local population and have the dust tested.
Prof. A. Kalepertzis, director of the Economic Geology and Geochemistry department at Athens University, stressed that the dust should be tested to find out its composition in potentially toxic and heavy metals, such as lead, tin, chrome, phosphorus and other elements and compounds.
He also urged local governments to systematically test the water supply at regular intervals in order to determine whether the ash had penetrated to underground water sources.
Finally, he said the public should clean the interior of their homes more frequently and as thoroughly as they could so as to avoid inhaling the dust as much as was possible.
 Minister refers to use of computers in education
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Education Minister Petros Efthymiou told a press conference on Monday one computer currently corresponds to 13 junior and senior high school students, while in 1999 the ratio was one computer for every 21 junior high school and 121 senior high school students.
Efthymiou added that in the case of elementary schools the present rate is one computer for every 47 pupils, while two years ago it was one for every 1,091 pupils.
He further said the cost of the program amounts to four billion drachmas, adding that despite the fact the effort began late, compared to European Union countries, the challenge posed by the informatics society was met soon.
 Avgoustinos Xiros gets extension for testimony
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)Avgoustinos Xiros, who was summoned to appear Monday before an examining magistrate heading investigations into the 'November 17' terrorist group, asked for a received a two-day extension to prepare his testimony.
Avgoustinos, the fourth Xiros brother to be implicated with '17N', was served a summons on Friday to appear Monday before examining magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos, on charges of participating in a terrorist group and possession of arms.
According to sources, the charges against Avgoustinos Xiros are based on the identification of fingerprints found by the counter-terrorism squad in two 17N safe houses.
Avgoustinos Xiros, accompanied by his lawyer George Agiostratitis, appeared before Zervobeakos at noon Monday, at which time he asked for and received an extension until Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. to prepare his testimony.
In a statement as he was leaving the magistrate's office, Avgoustinos Xiros denied any implication with 17N.
Prosecutor denies "N17" Telios' petition for change in incarceration conditions: Athens Appellate Court Prosecutor Leonidas Zervobeakos on Monday turned down a petition of alleged ''November 17'' terrorist group member Kostas Telios to change the conditions of his incarceration due to health reasons.
The prosecutor argued that Telios' flight risk is high, while his health problems can be handled by specialists of the prison system.
 'Plane spotting' appeal begins
Athens, 05/11/2002 (ANA)The closely watched appeal of 12 Britons and two Dutch nationals, part of what the international media has dubbed the “plane spotters” case, was set to begin in the southern port town of Kalamata on Monday afternoon.
A three-judge first instance court handed down suspended one and three-year sentences last April to the 14 tourists, after finding them guilty of misdemeanor violations of obtaining national secrets. Six out of the 14 were found guilty of aiding their traveling companions.
The case has generated immense international media coverage, even including in-studio discussions on international news networks.
The entire group was released on bail pending appeal.
 Foreign minister, House President on Turkish elections
NICOSIA 05/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said the government considers positive the fact that an autonomous government has emerged from Sunday's elections in Turkey, and negative the fact that the pro-European parties in the country have failed.
On his part, House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias recalled that the Turkish National Security Council determines the policy on Cyprus, adding that Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has not made any statements on Cyprus.
Speaking before departing for Brussels, the foreign Minister said Turkey's policy on Cyprus would become apparent after the formation of a new government, but recalled that the National Security Council sets Turkey's policy on Cyprus.
He expected that the Turkish election results would not affect the island's accession to the European Union (EU).
''The Turkish people decided, and according to the election system in Turkey, more than 50 per cent of the people's choice remains outside the parliament. Most pro-European parties have been defeated, apart from the Republican People's Party (CHP) of Deniz Baikal'', Kasoulides noted.
He explained that it was a positive development that the AKP won the elections with a full majority while on Cyprus, Kasoulides called on journalists to ''wait and see'' which will be Erdogan's policy.
The Cypriot minister said Erdogan ''had made some positive statements during the election campaign'', adding that the policy would be revealed in practice after the elections, bearing in mind that this policy is not drawn by any government but by the National Security Council where the army plays a significant role.
His statements were echoed by House President Christofias, who said ''we should wait to hear what the National Security Council will say rather than any new prime minister''.
Christofias said the outcome of the Turkish elections was the result of the ''bankruptcy'' of the Turkish society and the socio-economic policy of the previous governments, as well as the result of the Turkish people's indignation over the government.
''The only issue which we have not heard anything positive or negative is the Cyprus problem'', Christofias said, adding that on the Cyprus issue the government does not determine the policy.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island’s territory.
 Turkish election result has nothing to do with Cyprus accession, says EU
BRUSSELS 05/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)The result of the elections in Turkey has nothing to do with Cyprus nor can it affect its European Union (EU) accession course, Jean-Christophe Filori, spokesman for Enlargement Commissioner, Gunter Verheugen, said here on Monday.
Replying to a question at the daily press briefing, whether the result of the elections in Turkey could affect the candidacy of Cyprus for EU accession, Filori said the result has nothing to do with Cyprus' accession course, which has its own dynamic.
He stressed the European Commission does not intend to alter its view on this issue.
The European Commission, in a statement reacting to the elections in Turkey, said it ''takes note of the outcome of the democratic elections that took place in Turkey and is ready to co-operate with the new government''.
It further takes note that the two parties that will be represented in the Grand National Assembly ''have clearly indicated that they want to pursue a pro-European policy'', adding that the Commission expects Turkey to confirm its commitments to reforms in order to comply with the EU-accession criteria.
Finally it stresses the ''Commission will continue to monitor closely the progress made, with particular attention to action taken in practice'' as it had done with previous governments in Turkey and with all other candidate countries.
Both the spokespersons of Verheugen and European Com-mission President Romano Prodi said Turkey was and remains a candidate country for EU accession and that any EU decisions will be taken bearing in mind the Copenhagen economic and political criteria.
The European Commission decided last month that Cyprus, along with nine other candidate countries, could complete accession negotiations by the end of the year.
 Solution plan for Cyprus should be ''appropriate', says US official
NICOSIA 05/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Beth Jones believes that a solution plan for a Cyprus settlement, expected to be submitted by the UN Secretary General, should be ''appropriate''.
Speaking after a meeting here with President Glafcos Clerides, she expressed hope that there is enough time to reach an agreement in Cyprus before the European Union summit in mid December in Copenhagen.
''We have great faith in the ability of the UN Secretary General and his representative Alvaro de Soto to put together ideas that are in the best interest possible of all the people of Cyprus,'' Jones said, in reply to concerns that a solution should be based on international law.
''I am convinced that what the UN puts forward would be appropriate,'' she added, expressing the hope that ''there is enough time'' to reach a settlement before the Copenhagen summit.
''This is the right time to reach an agreement for Cyprus. It is very much in the interest of the people of Cyprus, it is very much in the interest of the EU, it is very much in the interest of the US that there would be a solution so that the vast potential of Cyprus can be realized,'' the US official said.
Asked to comment on the election result in Turkey, Jones noted that statements indicate that ''Turkey remains on the path of European integration.''
The US, she said, is looking forward to a fast formation of the Turkish government because ''this is a very important time for Turkey, for Cyprus and for the EU as we head towards the EU Summit.''
During a meeting later on with Attorney General Alecos Markides, the US official was briefed about issues of vital importance for the Greek Cypriot side concerning the Cyprus issue.
Asked to comment on Jones' statement that a solution plan should be ''appropriate,'' Markides stressed that any proposed plan for a solution should be evaluated if and when it is put forward.
He said that it must be made clear that the Greek Cypriot side will not accept proposals which contradict the principles of international law.
Asked to comment on the election outcome in Turkey, he said the election result