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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-06

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

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

November 6, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Simitis says Greece will not accept any Cyprus political settlement for sake of island republic’s EU entry
  • [02] Athens denies knowing details of UN peace plan for Cyprus
  • [03] FM Papandreou optimistic toward new Turkish government
  • [04] Simitis to participate in ESP conference in Warsaw, next week
  • [05] Gov't: All security precautions for Turkish fans readied
  • [06] Commission's O'Sullivan in Athens this week
  • [07] Main opposition leader slams gov't over state of the economy
  • [08] Government notes Moody upgrade
  • [09] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos congratulates Turkey's Erdogan and Baikal
  • [10] Deputy FM Loverdos to meet Armenian ambassador on Wednesday
  • [11] EU satisfaction at Greece's adoption of Eurostat regulations
  • [12] Christodoulakis says stability pact is flexible enough
  • [13] EU asks Greece to return farm cash
  • [14] Bourse closes at previous day's levels
  • [15] IOC inspection team arrives in Athens this week
  • [16] ATHOC president and minister discuss Olympic Games projects
  • [17] Bulgarian sports sector supports Athens 2004 Games
  • [18] Exhibition to be held on 'Post-Byzantine Period'
  • [19] Court to rule on the rights in the N17 trial of slain police officer's relatives
  • [20] Fulbright Foundation invites applications for scholarships
  • [21] Thessaloniki to host largest-ever sociology conference in Greece
  • [22] Patrol boat finds 81 illegal immigrants on islet
  • [23] President Clerides sends letter to Kofi Annan
  • [24] FM Kasoulides says government has political will for settlement
  • [25] EU Commissioner Verheugen says agreement must be consistent with acquis communautaire
  • [26] The 'pace is quickening' for Cyprus settlement, says US envoy
  • [27] US will work closely with new Turkish government for Cyprus solution

  • [01] PM Simitis says Greece will not accept any Cyprus political settlement for sake of island republic’s EU entry

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday clarified that Greece would not accept a Cyprus solution that did not guarantee all the pre-conditions for its resolution, such as adherence to the UN Security Council resolutions and the correct function of the State.

    Simitis, who left later in the afternoon for Paris, where he will meet with French president Jacques Chirac on Wednesday, made the statement after briefing President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos on recent developments in the EU, the decision on the European rapid reaction force, and developments regarding Cyprus' EU accession course.

    Simitis said that ''the view that the Greek government will agree to any solution to the Cyprus problem just so that Cyprus will accede the EU is wrong''. He reiterated that the two issues may be related and influence each other, but based on the EU Helsinki summit decision, each issue was dealt with separately ''and we insist on that''.

    He said Cyprus' EU accession course was proceeding smoothly, adding that the primary goal of the Greek government was Cyprus' accession. ''It was decided at Helsinki that a solution to the political problem does not comprise a condition for accession'', he reiterated.

    Simitis also said, in reply to press questions, that it appeared that the UN was preparing to submit a plan for a solution to Cyprus' political problem, adding that the plan would be appraised by the Cyprus government and ''we will discuss it with the government of Cyprus''.

    Speaking to reporters before the meeting, Simitis confirmed that he had had a telephone conversation with the winner of the Turkish general elections, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who reiterated his desire to visit several countries, beginning with Greece. Simitis also said that foreign ministry officials would visit Ankara soon to prepare for the visit.

    To a comment by Stephanopoulos that Erdogan would be coming here not in the capacity of prime minister, Simitis said that this was a problem, but added that Erdogan was a decisive factor in Turkey.

    Simitis and Stephanopoulos agreed that Erdogan's thoughts on Greek-Turkish relations appeared to be "positive", and Simitis added that his thoughts vis-a-vis the Belgian model for the Cyprus problem were far removed from those of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, "but we'll see how things develop".

    [02] Athens denies knowing details of UN peace plan for Cyprus

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek government was unaware of the contents of a peace plan for Cyprus that United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was soon expected to present, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said emphatically on Tuesday.

    The current obstacles, namely the ill health of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the political uncertainty in Ankara, were temporary and would not forestall the process, he added.

    Regarding a reference to the 'Belgian model' by Turkish political leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose party won Turkey's parliamentary elections last weekend but who is barred from holding office in his country, Protopapas said this had "positive elements".

    [03] FM Papandreou optimistic toward new Turkish government

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Tuesday Greece did not fear the Islamist roots of the new Turkish government and believed Ankara's chances of getting a date for talks about joining the EU had improved.

    In an interview to Reuters, Papandreou paid tribute to ''positive'' statements by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of Turkey's newly-elected Justice and Development Party (AKP), since his party stormed to power in Sunday's election.

    He urged the world to take Erdogan's statements on Turkey's wish to join the European Union, settlement of the Cyprus issue and continued rapprochement with traditional rival Greece at face value unless shown otherwise.

    ''I think we have to work with Turkey without preconceptions. We have to work with Erdogan without preconceptions and see where we go,'' Papandreou said.

    ''This could come out as a positive story.''

    The AKP leader has announced his first overseas visit will be to neighboring Greece.

    Papandreou said Erdogan's Islamic heritage was an opportunity to show the world that there were universal values.

    ''I think here we have a classic example of how we should not create stereotypes, particularly religious stereotypes,''

    Papandreou said.

    He noted that in Europe there were Christian democratic parties and said there was no reason Turkey's new government could not be an Islamic democratic party.

    ''I think one should see Erdogan coming to power as a possible opportunity for this kind of model rather than as a fear,'' Papandreou said.

    Asked about Turkey's chances of getting a date for talks to start on joining the EU at a Copenhagen summit of European leaders in mid-December, Papandreou replied: ''If you had asked me a month ago I would have said the prospects were quite low. I think now, though the odds are still not even, the mood has changed.''

    On other issues, Papandreou said Greece, which takes over the rotating EU presidency at the beginning of next year, hoped it could help soothe the rhetoric that at times has disrupted EU-U.S. relations.

    ''I think we need to sit down and see if there are really issues that divide us or are they simply issues on which we have different approaches,'' Papandreou said.

    He suggested closer contacts between institutions like the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress rather than leaving Europe-U.S. ties to deliberations by ministers and officials.

    [04] Simitis to participate in ESP conference in Warsaw, next week

    BRUSSELS 06/11/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)

    The European Socialist Party on Tuesday announced that five socialist prime ministers of Europe will hold an open discussion with officials of the socialist parties of Europe in Warsaw next week, during the first Council of the European Socialist Party, which will take place in Warsaw.

    Prime Ministers Costas Simitis of Greece, Tony Blair of Britain, Gerhard Schroeder of Germany, Goran Persson of Sweden and Paavo Lipponen of Finland will participate in a discussion on Nov. 15 and will answer questions submitted by the more than 300 representatives that will participate in the conference.

    According to the announcement, Simitis and ESP President Robin Cook will preside over a discussion on European social democratic policy.

    The ESP council is expected to adopt the ''Warsaw Declaration'', where the positions of ESP will be presented, concerning the enlargement of the Union and globalization, as well as the future of social-democrat policies.

    [05] Gov't: All security precautions for Turkish fans readied

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    The government reiterated on Tuesday that all necessary measures would be taken to ensure the safety of Turkish fans arriving in the Greek capital next week for the Panathinaikos-Fenerbahce match up.

    The two teams tied 1-1 last week in Istanbul for the first leg of second round UEFA football action.

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas stressed that Panathinaikos’ management is, in fact, making a “particularly significant effort towards this direction...”

    On his part, Panathinaikos president Angelos Filippidis emphasized that management stands by its decision not to supply the team's organized fan clubs with tickets. He cited a danger of the team being severely penalized by UEFA if hooligan violence breaks out.

    Filippidis, who attended the first game in Turkey along with several Greek government officials, said the popular Athens team's double European goal is to both advance in the next round of UEFA game and to hold the game with Fenerbahce without incident.

    [06] Commission's O'Sullivan in Athens this week

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    European Commission Secretary-General David O’Sullivan will arrive in Athens on Thursday for talks with members of the Greek government and other officials, in light of Athens’ upcoming assumption of the EU rotating presidency in the first half of 2003.

    O’ Sullivan’s official visit will mark the first time that a Commission secretary-general arrives here.

    The high-ranking Irish Commission official is also expected to meet with EU member-states' and candidate-states’ ambassadors to Athens.

    [07] Main opposition leader slams gov't over state of the economy

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday launched a virulent tirade against the government over the state of the Greek economy and said the time had come for a new government under New Democracy, though he fell short of asking for early elections.

    Karamanlis was speaking after a meeting of ND sector coordinators to discuss the economy and the new budget for 2003 presented by the government.

    He accused Prime Minister Costas Simitis of lying to the Greek people for years and deliberately misleading the European Union about Greek economic indices.

    Referring to the changes requested by Eurostat to the way the index for public debt and other key indices in the budget were calculated, the main opposition leader noted that the government had claimed the existence of a budget surplus that proved to be fictional and that ND's estimates about the true state of the economy had been confirmed.

    After Eurostat's intervention, he noted, public debt now stood closer to 105 per cent of GDP than 99.6 per cent and ND's estimates placed the actual figure even higher.

    Karamanlis also claimed that the Greek economy was actually a long way from achieving the target of convergence with the rest of the EU and would require some 80 years to reach that target.

    He said Greece had the worst economic performance of any EU member-state and accused the government of dead-end policies that were condemned by the electorate in the local elections.

    [08] Government notes Moody upgrade

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    In comments concerning the Greek economy, meanwhile, government spokesman Christos Protopapas pointed to positive reports from the international ratings agency Moody's, which increased the country's creditworthiness and awarded Greek bonds an A1 rating for both domestic and foreign borrowing, while noting that Greek GDP was increasing steadily and that deficits were shrinking.

    Protopapas also referred to the positive comments made by European Commissioner Pedro Solbes regarding cooperation between Greek statistics services and Eurostat over the indices question, who said it had been "extremely useful" since it had clarified the situation, while Greece had made a commitment to adapt to the new method for calculating indices.

    [09] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos congratulates Turkey's Erdogan and Baikal

    ISTANBUL 06/11/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarchate Vartholomeos on Tuesday congratulated Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Tayyip Erdogan and Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baikal for their performances in last Sunday's elections in Turkey.

    The Patriarch had said in July that he hoped that ''the new political formations that are taking shape at this moment and which have declared as the main orientation of their activities Turkey's accession to Europe, will look into the problems of the minorities, consequently also that of our (Greek) minority and that of our Patriarchate without prejudice and with more understanding.''

    The Patriarch added that ''we are law-abiding citizens and we will never create any problem to the state. It is the state that creates problems to us.''

    Vartholomeos had discussed the problems which the Greek minority and the Ecumenical Patriarchate confronted in Istanbul with European Commission President Romano Prodi during a recent visit to Brussels.

    [10] Deputy FM Loverdos to meet Armenian ambassador on Wednesday

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos will meet on Wednesday morning with Armenian Ambassador to Athens Vahram Kazhovan to discuss bilateral economic relations in light of the Joint Ministerial Committee, which will take place in Armenia on November 27-28, a foreign ministry press release said on Tuesday.

    [11] EU satisfaction at Greece's adoption of Eurostat regulations

    BRUSSELS 06/11/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Pedro Solbes late Monday expressed satisfaction over Greece's adoption of the European statistical service EUROSTAT's stricter regulations for the determination of basic economic indicators.

    Replying to questions by reporters after the conclusion of a meeting of the Council of euro-zone countries, Solbes described as particularly useful the collaboration between the Greek authorities and Eurostat, which he said had resulted in full verification of the data on the basic fiscal indicators for Greece.

    Solbes further expressed satisfaction over the commitments Greece has undertaken on this matter, adding that the Greek initiative was a very good example for the other member states.

    Referring to the same issue, Greek economy and finance minister Nikos Christodoulakis, who chairs the Council of euro-zone countries, said that Greece had undertaken an initiative, in cooperation with Eurostat, to adjust certain indicators of the Greek economy so that the developments relating to the public sector deficit and public sector debt would be more compatible, without altering the emphasis placed by the Stability and Development Pact.

    It was important that there be comparable and commonly assessable data for all the countries, he explained.

    As for the discussion on the Stability Pact, which was also attended by Commission president Romano Prodi, Christodoulakis said that a broad consensus was ascertained in the Eurogroup on the reliability, usefulness and flexibility of the Stability Pact, which ensured fiscal stability for a country and the comparison of the public finance policy of the euro-zone member states.

    Christodoulakis said that, during the discussion, Prodi proved to be one of the staunchest supporters of the Stability Pact, stressing that the Pact, beyond the element of stability, also included the element of development.

    Regarding the growth rates of the European economy, Christodoulakis acknowledged that they would fluctuate at lower levels than had been forecast in early 2002, but added that improvement should be expected in 2003.

    Solbes explained that the growth rates of the European economy would be below one percent for 2002, due chiefly to the limited increase in private consumption and fewer investments than had been initially forecast.

    Solbes also stressed the need to further advance the structural changes in the euro-zone member states' economies, in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy.

    Solbes, responsible for economic and monetary issues, and Christodoulakis discussed issues concerning the functioning of the Council of eurogroup countries.

    [12] Christodoulakis says stability pact is flexible enough

    BRUSSELS 06/11/2002 (ANA /G.Zitouniati)

    Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Tuesday that the European Union's stability pact contained enough flexibility for use as a framework by the 15-nation bloc's members.

    Speaking as president of the eurogroup, Christodoulakis also told the European parliament that structural changes were needed in EU economies in order to attain high rates of growth, along with work to achieve macroeconomic stability.

    Taking part in the debate was a eurodeputy of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, Yiannis Marinos, who accused the Greek government of ''creative accounting,'' with ruling PASOK deputy George Katiforis countering that the national economy was undergoing revitalization.

    In separate statements to reporters, Christodoulakis rejected statements in Athens earlier in the day by ND leader Costas Karamanlis that the Greek economy was in poor shape.

    He accused the party of again seeking to undermine genuine economic achievements, at the expense of the nation's interests.

    [13] EU asks Greece to return farm cash

    BRUSSELS 06/11/2002 (ANA/B.Demiris)

    The European Union's executive Commission on Tuesday asked Greece to return 36.7 million euros in farming monies for subsidies that failed to meet EU specifications.

    The amount is to be returned to the 15-nation bloc's FEOGA fund, along with cash from eight other EU members who were also accused of irregularities in funding, the Commission said in a statement.

    Of Greece's total, 34.3 million euros is for unsatisfactory controls on grants for livestock and 2.4 million euros for inadequate controls in the fruit and vegetable sector, the statement said.

    [14] Bourse closes at previous day's levels

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks finished trading on Tuesday at mostly the same levels where they closed on Monday, with the Athens Stock Exchange posting a more-or-less satisfactory performance in comparison with other European bourses.

    The general index ended at 1,834.24 points, with turnover totalling 106.4 million euros. It had closed at 1,834.19 the previous day.

    The Insurance, Retail and Telecommunications sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (2.92 percent, 1.96 percent and 1.90 percent, respectively), while the IT Solutions (-2.62 percent), Media (-2.25 percent) and Textiles (-1.79 percent) sectors suffered the heaviest losses.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks rose by a meager 0.16 percent; while the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index (-0.40 percent) and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index (-0.50 percent) ended lower.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 193 to 119 with another 50 issues unchanged.

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

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 62.6 mln euros Tuesday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.16 percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): Slightly above fair value

  • Underlying Index: -0.39 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Alpha Bank (411)

    Day's Market Turnover: 62.6 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Sellers outstrip buyers on Tuesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.87 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 27 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 2.3 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 5-yr, (260 mln euros)

    [15] IOC inspection team arrives in Athens this week

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    The latest International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspection focusing on the 2004 Athens Olympics commences this week, with Denis Oswald again heading the organization’s delegation in contacts with Athens 2004 organizers (ATHOC) as well as a tour of several sites.

    Besides the ongoing construction projects, the IOC team’s scrutiny is expected to turn to the tram and suburban rail projects currently underway – both paramount for bypassing Athens’ congested roadways.

    Hospitality and organizational issues will also probably be covered, whereas veteran Athens 2004 watchers are keen to see whether any new announcements will be made in terms of security.

    Finally, one pending issue awaits a final decision, namely, the venue for the soccer final.

    [16] ATHOC president and minister discuss Olympic Games projects

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou and 2004 Athens Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki discussed problems regarding Olympic Games projects linked to the public works ministry during a working luncheon on Tuesday.

    The meeting came in light of Wednesday's arrival of an International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation for a regular check of preparations for the Games.

    Speaking later, Papandreou said all issues concerning projects are proceeding satisfactorily, while Daskalaki agreed with the minister and said she will speak after the check has been completed at a press conference to be held on Friday with IOC Coordinating Committee President Denis Oswald.

    According to Organizing Committee sources, the two ladies discussed Olympic Games preparations in their entirety, together with political developments in the country.

    In a related development, main opposition New Democracy party Olympic Games sector chief Fani Palli-Petralia accused Oswald of duplicity, regarding statements he made on Monday, saying that ''in any case he should have seen and listened first to the progress on the Olympic Games' preparation and then make statements.''

    Speaking to a foreign news agency, Oswald had claimed that he is primarily skeptical over projects at the Athens Olympic stadium and the complex at Hellenikon.

    Petralia added that ''Oswald uses critical language when he is abroad and a diplomatic language when he is in Greece'' and assessed that ''the same scene will be repeated once again.''

    [17] Bulgarian sports sector supports Athens 2004 Games

    SOFIA 06/11/2002 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    Bulgaria's athletic world will do all it can for the success of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games which, as the Bulgarians feel, are the Balkan Olympic Games.

    Leading Bulgarian athletes made the above statements on Tuesday during a press conference organized here in light of the Olympic Games' preparations.

    [18] Exhibition to be held on 'Post-Byzantine Period'

    NEW YORK 06/11/2002 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    Onassis Foundation President Stelios Papadimitriou, speaking at a press conference given to U.S. media at the Onassis Cultural Centre here on Tuesday, referred to the valuable contribution of the culture ministry and the Byzantine Museum.

    Papadimitriou was speaking on the occasion of the exhibition titled ''Post-Byzantine Period-The Greek Renaissance'', due to be inaugurated on Wednesday and last until February 8, 2003.

    The Onassis Cultural Center’s contribution to the exhibition's hosting and financing was stressed during the press conference, as well as the significance of this cultural venue.

    [19] Court to rule on the rights in the N17 trial of slain police officer's relatives

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    The relatives of late police officer Pantelis Petrou, who was killed in the line of duty by terrorists in 1980, petitioned to be present in the trial of the alleged ''November 17'' terrorist group members, now incarcerated.

    The murder of the police officer can not be prosecuted as it the 20-year statute of limitations has passed, so now only charges for participation in a criminal organization can be prosecuted.

    The appellate court prosecutor has proposed against their petition, which will be reviewed by the council of appellate court judges.

    Spot inspections of suspected N17 terrorists' cells: The spot inspections of cells occupied by suspected members of the terrorist group ''November 17'' in the high-security wing of Korydallos prison formed part of the penal system's regular inspection regime that was common to all prisoners in all jails around the country, sources within the justice ministry and the public prosecutors' office said on Tuesday.

    These inspections were carried out at regular intervals and without any previous warning, they added.

    The cells of suspected terrorists Alexandros Giotopoulos, Dimitris Koufodinas, Nikos Papanastasiou, Vassilis Tzortzatos, Theologos Psaradellis and Angeliki Sotiropoulou were inspected on Monday night and hand-written notes penned by the prisoners were confiscated and handed in to Korydallos prison supervisor Aristidis Fragiadakis.

    Fragiadakis later returned the notes to their owners after checking their contents.

    Lawyers representing Giotopoulos and Koufodinas, who are both accused of playing key roles in the terrorist organization, protested about the surprise inspections and said their clients' right to ''private thoughts'' had been violated.

    They said the confiscated notes had been kept by the accused to give to their defense lawyers.

    Ioanna Kourtovik, defense counsel for Koufodinas, said her client would be refusing meals as a protest. Yiannis Rahiotis, who is representing Giotopoulos, said his client could not receive a fair trial if the preliminary proceedings were unfair.

    The two lawyers made the statements outside the courts, where they attended a hearing of a petition by the Greek Post Offices (ELTA) for a freeze on the assets of three female companions of alleged N17 members - Angeliki Sotiropoulou, Alicia Romero Cortez and Marie-Therese Peynaud. ELTA is asking for a freeze on assets up to 385 million drachmas, against the outcome of its compensation claim against the accused for a robbery attributed to N17.

    [20] Fulbright Foundation invites applications for scholarships

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    The Fulbright Foundation on Tuesday proclaimed a competition for three-month research scholarships in the U.S. for the academic year 2003-2004 and announced that it would be accepting applications between now and January 17, 2003.

    The scholarships are open to Greek academics and researchers that have had a postgraduate degree for at least five years.

    The proclamation announcing the terms of the competition and the applications can be obtained at the Fulbright Foundation's offices at Vassilis Sofias 6, Athens (Tel 210-7241-811) or in Thessaloniki at Eleftheriou Venizelou 4.

    [21] Thessaloniki to host largest-ever sociology conference in Greece

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    The biggest sociology conference ever to take place in Greece is being organized by the Greek Sociologists' Association in Thessaloniki, the International Sociological Association, Thessaloniki University and the National Centre of Social Studies.

    The conference will be entitled ''Sociology: a lesson on freedom'' and will be held at Thessaloniki University lecture theatres on November 8-10. It is taking place under the aegis of the Macedonia-Thrace ministry, the Thessaloniki municipality and the UNESCO centre for the Balkans.

    [22] Patrol boat finds 81 illegal immigrants on islet

    Athens, 06/11/2002 (ANA)

    A Harbor Corps patrol boat found 81 illegal immigrants of various nationalities- 69 men, seven women and five children - on the islet ''Adelfos'', south of the island of Alonnisos, on Tuesday.

    According to the Merchant Marine ministry, the illegal immigrants had reached the islet on the 13-metre engine-powered boat ''Gonga'', sailing under an unknown flag, later found half-sunk on a rocky beach.

    The illegal immigrants were taken to Alonnisos for inter-rogation to reveal the place they had set out from before landing on the Greek islet.

    [23] President Clerides sends letter to Kofi Annan

    UNITED NATIONS 06/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides sent a letter recently to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, well-informed diplomatic sources have said.

    The move comes as part of preventive diplomacy and was preceded by oral representations to UN officials by Cyprus' Permanent Representative, Sotos Zakhaios and other Greek Cypriot officials.

    The same diplomatic sources said the President of the Republic clearly and strongly points out that the Greek Cypriot side will not accept a bad solution for the sake of Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

    The president also stresses that a solution should provide for the creation of a functional state, which will operate in accordance with the acquis communautaire and in line with UN resolutions on Cyprus.

    [24] FM Kasoulides says government has political will for settlement

    BRUSSELS 06/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said the government is ready for an honorable compromise and is very serious about securing a political settlement in Cyprus.

    He also pointed out that if there is a corresponding political will on the part of the Turkish side, then the Cyprus problem can be solved before the Copenhagen European Council in December.

    Addressing the European Union-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee, which ended here on Tuesday, he said the Greek Cypriot side has a real desire and a serious intention to use the time between now and the December EU summit to reunite the island.

    The UN Secretary-General, he added, is due to decide whether the time has come to submit an overall plan for a solution to the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides.

    ''If Turkey's desire to move closer to Europe and our wish to reunite the island meet, and surely at some stage they will, one wonders whether such a convergence can take place before the EU summit,'' the minister said.

    In taking his decision the Secretary-General will consider the health of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who is recovering in a New York hospital from open heart surgery, the minister said.

    Kasoulides said Kofi Annan will also take into consideration the prospects of having a solution plan accepted or not.

    The foreign minister said prospects for a solution in Cyprus will depend on the timing at which a plan is submitted and the available time which the two sides will have to discuss such a plan.

    Kasoulides said negotiations on any proposal should start with the important issues such as territory, property and refugees. A solution, he added, should comply with UN resolutions, which provide for a state of Cyprus with a single sovereignty, an international personality and single citizenship.

    ''We have an obligation'', he said, ''as future member of the EU and to carefully examine any plan in order to ensure that Cyprus will speak with one voice and be able to function as an EU member state and take decisions''.

    The foreign minister said any solution should be functional and viable and as such it will be warmly welcomed by the people of Cyprus who are ready to pay the price for peace.

    [25] EU Commissioner Verheugen says agreement must be consistent with acquis communautaire

    BRUSSELS 06/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The European Commission is in constant touch with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan with whom it is discussing the political and technical aspects of a possible proposal on a Cyprus settlement, said European Union (EU) Enlargement Commissioner, Gunter Verheugen.

    Addressing the EU-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee, which concluded its deliberations here Tuesday, Verheugen stressed that if an agreement is reached, it must be consistent with EU rules and regulations, fundamental principles and the acquis communautaire.

    However, he pointed out that the EU would not prevent accession if the two sides in Cyprus agreed on a settlement.

    Referring to the Copenhagen European Council, Verheugen said the EU would not change its deadline for Cyprus’ accession to the EU if there were no solution to the political problem.

    The decision for Cyprus' accession will be taken, Verheugen said, and naturally efforts to solve the Cyprus problem within the framework of the UN will continue, if there is no settlement.

    Regarding the result of the elections in Turkey, the EU Enlargement Commissioner expressed hope the new Prime Minister will be flexible in efforts to find a solution, something which the caretaker Premier, Bulent Ecevit did not do because of his personal history, according to Verheugen.

    Commenting on Verheugen's remarks, co-chairman of the joint committee, Tassos Papadopoulos said Verheugen clarified that the decision for Cyprus’ accession to the EU will be taken at the Copenhagen European Council and that it will not be postponed because of a possible proposal the UN Secretary-General may put forward. Papadopoulos welcomed Verheugen’s statement that the EU expects the contents of any proposal to be in line with the fundamental principles of the acquis communautaire.

    [26] The 'pace is quickening' for Cyprus settlement, says US envoy

    UNITED NATIONS 06/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The US activity in the process to reach a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem is happening at a ''quickening pace,'' State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Weston, has said.

    Speaking after meeting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday, Weston said that ''there is urgency to this matter which is recognized and I think it is reflected in the activity of the United States both on the island and in New York.''

    The US envoy was accompanied to his meeting with the UN chief by US Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador John Negroponte.

    Weston noted that last week he was on the island, having ''some very good meetings'' and now he was in New York to continue the work in support of this effort with the United Nations.

    ''We have just come from a meeting with the Secretary General. I had meetings during and the remainder of the day with Alvaro De Soto and others involved in this issue and obviously the pace is quickening, ''he added.

    Meanwhile, well informed sources told CNA that the UN Secretary General does not intend to submit a Cyprus solution plan at least for the next two weeks.

    The sources added that the SG wants to be sure about the intentions of the new Turkish government and that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash - currently recovering from open heart surgery in New York - or another leader of the Turkish Cypriot community would be able to negotiate a draft plan.

    ''The US and Britain insist for a plan to be submitted by the end of this week,'' but the message sent to them is that assurances have to be given before the submission of the plan that Ankara would agree on the proposed core issues.

    Asked how Turkish elections would affect the process, Weston said that it was very hard to speculate on the direct effect, given that the government has not yet been formed.

    He expressed the view that ''it is always easier in a post electoral period to work on difficult issues,'' and for that reason alone, ''the Cyprus issue not been an issue in the election campaign it should be easier.''

    [27] US will work closely with new Turkish government for Cyprus solution

    WASHINGTON 06/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Washington will work closely with the new Turkish government for the country's political and economic reforms as well as on reaching a Cyprus settlement, US State Department's spokesman Richard Boucher has said.

    Congratulating the Justice and Development Party on its electoral success, Boucher noted that the parties represented in the new Turkish parliament reflect the aspirations for the Turkish people for continued progress on the path towards European Union membership and for the implementation of political and economic reforms.

    ''We will work with the government on these issues, as well as on reaching a settlement in Cyprus,'' the State Department spokes


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