|Friday, 6 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 7, 2002
 Simitis, Chirac discuss EU enlargement with special reference to Cyprus
PARIS 07/11/2002 (ANA - O. Tsipira)Europe and Iraq are the two basic subjects Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis discussed with French President Jacques Chirac on here on Wednesday, according to statements by a spokeswoman of the French presidency.
Speaking of the EU enlargement process, the two men also made special reference to Cyprus.
According to the spokeswoman, Catherine Colonna, the French president underlined that that ''we should do all we can'' within the next few weeks before the Copenhagen Summit, to conclude a political solution.
Simitis, on his part, reiterated that according to the Helsinki decisions a political solution does not constitute a precondition for Cyprus accession to the European Union.
Especially, concerning Turkey, the Greek premier said that he was disposed positively in giving the new Turkish government a positive message from Copenhagen.
Concerning the enlargement of the European Union, Chirac expressed his satisfaction for the positive developments that took place in Brussels and underlined that the ''funding of the enlargement should be accomplished in a just fashion for all in the spirit of European solidarity''.
According to the spokeswoman, Chirac said to Simitis that he is expecting of the Greek presidency to promote the negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania, so that these countries may achieve the entry target in 2007.
PM Simitis reconfirms Greek positions on EU enlargement, Cyprus in Paris talks: Visiting Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis termed as friendly and cordial the meetings he had here on Wednesday with French President Jacques Chirac and his French counterpart Jean-Pierre Raffarin.
Simitis invited Raffarin to visit Greece at the end of Greece's EU presidency in the first half of 2003.
Speaking to reporters, the Greek prime minister said that the aim of his visit to Paris, but also to other European capitals, is to reconfirm the Greek positions on EU enlargement and Cyprus in view of the EU summit in Copenhagen in December and to see whether there was any problem.
Simitis said the outcome of his meetings were ''particularly positive,'' adding that the progress of accession is proceeding without objections. ''We are heading towards Copenhagen in accordance with what we had planned,'' he concluded,
Special reference at the talks was made to the Helsinki decisions, according to which a political settlement of the Cyprus issue does not constitute a precondition for the island republic's accession to the European Union.
The Greek prime minister said that he found Chirac in full agreement that the relevant agreements for the accession of the new EU members should be signed on April 16.
Asked by reporters on the ''recent contradictory statements by the winner of Turkey's elections, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for a settlement of the Cyprus issue, Simitis said that ''it is wrong for us to attempt to understand the positions of the new leadership through statements.''
Already two foreign ministry officials have gone to Ankara where a date for Erdogan's visit to Athens is expected to be announced, Simitis said, adding that ''then we will be able to talk accurately on the Turkish positions.''
On Turkey's EU accession prospects, Simitis said that a positive message should be sent from Copenhagen and this because for some time now a promise has been given to Turkey. Consequently, he said, there must be continuity.
''It is not proper for the European Union to close the door,'' he said, adding that the ''15'' should decide whether they will set a date for the start of negotiations according to Turkey's progress or whether the effort should continue.
The Greek prime minister said that the common agricultural policy was also discussed at the meetings with the French leadership and that both sides agreed that the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), whatever this may be, will be implemented after 2006.
''We will firmly support'' small producers and the countryside, Simitis said, adding that ''the CAP should be a leverage for the development of the countryside.''
The issue of illegal immigration was also on the agenda of the talks, he said, stressing that a great effort must be made for implementing the already existing measures.
''Our aim is for us not to open the doors of the European Union to anyone who is immigrating without a political problem and to restrict the number of immigrants to Europe.''
Greece, he added, is also asking, due to its geographic position, European participation for the protection of its borders.
Simitis said that it costs Greece five million euros annually to send back illegal immigrants.
On the Conference for the Future of Europe, Simitis said it would be good for the relevant procedure to be concluded before Greece's assumption of the EU presidency so that the relevant agenda can be prepared.
Finally, Simitis announced that President of the conference for the future of Europe Valery Giscard d' Estaing will visit Athens from February 20-21 to cooperate with the Greek EU presidency.
 Simitis, Schroeder to discuss Greek-Turkish rapprochement, Cyprus issue
BERLIN 07/11/2002 (ANA - P. Stangos)Prime Minister Costas Simitis will have a working lunch with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder here at noon on Friday.
German diplomats are observing with particular interest developments taking shape in Greek-Turkish rapprochement following Sunday's elections in Turkey and preparations for the visit to Athens by the winner of the elections, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and mainly the repercussions of this visit to the Greek capital with regard to both Turkey's EU accession prospects and the Cyprus issue.
The Greek prime minister will arrive in Berlin from Paris on Monday morning and will depart from the German capital in the afternoon.
It is not yet known whether Simitis will return to Paris or whether he will make another stop somewhere else before returning to Athens on Sunday.
The main issues on the agenda of the Berlin talks are the Cyprus problem and the island republic's accession to the European Union, the EU summit in Copenhagen in mid-December and the priorities of Greece's EU presidency in the first half of 2003.
Simitis and Schroeder will also discuss the combatting of international terrorism and developments in Iraq.
 Gov't: Athens ready to respond to UN plan for Cyprus whenever this comes
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)Athens, in conjunction with Nicosia, was ready to take a position on any proposed Cyprus peace plan whenever the United Nations decided it was ready to present one, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Wednesday.
''When the UN judges that it is ready to make the draft solution for the Cyprus issue public, we will be ready to study it and express our reactions to it in close cooperation with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides,'' Protopapas said.
The spokesman asked reporters not to link Cyprus accession to the European Union with the process of solving the Cyprus issue.
According to the spokesman, an agreement in principle on the Cyprus issue before the Copenhagen Summit was feasible but he stressed that the two processes could not act as preconditions for each other.
"The accession process will go ahead according to the Brussels decision," he added.
Any proposal put forward within the framework of the UN would be a development triggered by Athens, Protopapas said, pointing out that the Turkish-Cypriot side had at not time requested the UN's intervention for a solution.
With respect to the Turkish occupation troops on Cyprus, the spokesman noted that a single sovereignty and single identity for Cyprus was incompatible with foreign troops.
In any case, Protopapas concluded, we want a viable, functional and fair solution with single representation and sovereignty that will deal with issues of single nationality.
 ND leader: UN resolutions, acquis communautaire conditions for Cyprus solution
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis held a round of separate meetings on Wednesday with ambassadors of UN Security Council permanent member-countries, part of ND's efforts to brief all sides on its positions concerning the timely Cyprus issue, in light of pending EU accession.
Karamanlis' first meeting was with Chinese ambassador Tang Zhenqi, whose country chairs the Security Council this month, followed by meetings with British ambassador Sir David Madden and the charge d’Affaires of the French embassy, as French ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert is accompanying Greek PM Costas Simitis on his official visit to Paris. His last meeting was with Russian ambassador Mikhail Botcharnikov.
In his meetings, Karamanlis stressed the need for Cyprus' EU accession to be approved at the EU summit in Copenhagen next month, independent of a solution to the island republic's political problem.
He also cited the fact that ND would not accept any last-minute conditions or coercion, party sources said.
Sources said the foreign envoys told Karamanlis that a draft solution for Cyprus had not, as yet, been finalized, and that the UN chief was not ready to table such a text, since there was no official interlocutor on Turkish side at present following last Sunday's general elections in the neighboring country.
British ambassador Madden reaffirmed that the EU had ''agreed that a political settlement is not a condition for accession, but I think that most would agree that if we can have simultaneous accession and a political resolution of the problem, this would be a great advantage''.
After his contacts, Karamanlis told reporters that “we want to hope that a solution to the Cyprus problem will finally materialize.”
However, he cautioned that the long-awaited solution to the island republic’s 28-year division is most definitely not a precondition to Cyprus’ European Union accession.
Moreover, the ND leader again reiterated that a solution should be consistent with UN Security Council resolutions and the Union’s acquis communautaire, whereas he added that the permanent Security Council members comprise the “natural guarantors” for all sides to conform to the Council’s resolutions.
Finally, he stressed that no plan can be accepted if it does not fulfill these “self-evident conditions”.
 Erdogan clarifies statements on 'Belgian model' for Cyprus
ISTANBUL 07/11/2002 (ANA – A. Kourkoulas)The Turkish politician whose party won Sunday’s general elections in the neighboring country, instantaneously catapulting him onto the international stage, offered clarifications days later concerning the now closely watched Cyprus issue as well as speculation about the so-called “Belgian model”.
“We do not want to imitate the Belgian model for the Cyprus issue, but we are inspired by it,” AKP party leader and former Istanbul mayor Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during an interview on the Turkish television station “NTV”.
“We are talking about two equal and sovereign states,” he said in response to press questions, before adding: “there are two peoples, and there must be some type of compromise … Let the two peoples confer amongst themselves. If that happens, then I believe there will not be any problem between Turkey and Greece.”
Finally, he said in respect to the long-standing Cyprus issue that “mutual concessions are needed.”
Asked what the limit of Turkey’s concessions would be, Erdogan simply noted that, “the limits of concessions will become known at the negotiating table, based on the conditions at hand. There is no issue of retreating from Turkey’s policy and positions on the Cyprus issue”.
Erdogan, who is prevented from holding the prime minister’s office in Turkey at least until the first half of 2003, has been invited to Athens by the Greek government.
PM’s envoy meets with Erdogan: In a later ANA dispatch from Istanbul, it was confirmed that Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis’ special envoy had met with the AKP leader earlier in the day in Ankara.
“We met to better prepare for the visit Mr. Erdogan will soon make to Athens,” envoy Theodoros Sotiropoulos said after the meeting, adding that he believes the visit will further promote the ongoing positive climate that exists in bilateral relations.
 Turkey's AKP stands behind Erdogan on Cyprus issue comments
ISTANBUL 07/11/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)The vice-president of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP), which emerged victorious in Turkish elections over the weekend, on Wednesday denied that references to the 'Belgian model' as a possible solution on Cyprus by AKP party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan were a 'gaffe'.
Erdogan came in for strong criticism from ministers in the outgoing secular government on Wednesday, who said his statements on applying the Belgian model and his references to 'two communities' on Cyprus showed ''deep ignorance'', while the Turkish daily ''Cumhurriyet'' ran the statements on its front page under the headline ''Erdogan's first gaffe''.
Though party leader, Erdogan is barred from becoming prime minister or holding government office after serving four months in jail in the 1990s for reading a poem deemed to incite religious hatred in public.
AKP vice-president Abdullah Gul, who has been tipped as a likely choice for prime minister, said that applying the Belgian model on Cyprus was part of the party's program in the run-up to the elections.
''It is a general approach, we are talking about a single state where there will be two separate sovereignties. It is a formula that is included in the proposals of (Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash. The details of this proposal can be assessed but the Cyprus issue must be resolved,'' Gul said.
In statements to Turkish television, meanwhile, Erdogan referred to his decision to carry out a tour of EU member-states in order to promote Turkey's EU candidacy, beginning with Athens in about a week.
The AKP leader said Greece would be his first stop because it was the first country to express support for Turkey's bid to join the EU, while Athens would be taking over the EU presidency at the start of 2003, as well as being Turkey's neighbor.
He once again expressed a desire for a swift solution to the Cyprus problem, saying it would open the way for resolving all Greek-Turkish differences and especially issues pertaining to the Aegean.
Erdogan was again criticized by outgoing Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel for the planned visits, who asked in what capacity Erdogan could represent Turkey.
 Erdogan to visit Greece on Nov. 18
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)AKP party leader and former Istanbul mayor Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit Greece on Monday Nov. 18, according to an announcement he made to the ambassadors of the European Union member-states in Ankara, on Wednesday.
According to diplomatic sources, Erdogan earlier in the day met with Ambassador Theodoros Sotiropoulos, director of Prime Minister Costas Simitis' office, and with foreign ministry councilor, to prepare for his visit to Greece.
Erdogan made his announcement during a dinner he hosted for the Union's ambassadors.
Athens preparing for Erdogan visit, gov't spokesman says: Close aides of Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou were currently in Ankara working on the date and agenda of a visit to Greece by the head of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Wednesday.
Erdogan's Islamist-leaning party emerged victorious from the Turkish elections last weekend, though Erdogan himself is barred from holding government office after serving a four-month jail sentence in the 1990s for reading verses deemed to "incite religious hatred" in public.
 ND leader meets with ambassadors of UN Security Council permanent members
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis was holding a round of meetings Wednesday with the ambassadors to Greece of the UN Security Council permanent members, to brief them on the party's positions concerning the Cyprus issue and Cyprus' EU accession bid.
Karamanlis' first meeting was with Chinese Ambassador Tang Zhenqi, whose country chairs the Security Council this month, followed by meetings with British Ambassador Sir David Madden, and the charge 'affairs of the French embassy, as the ambassador was in Paris for Prime Minister Costas Simitis' visit there. He was further due to meet with the Russian ambassador later in the day.
In his meetings with the ambassadors, Karamanlis was stressing the need for Cyprus' EU accession to be approved at the EU summit in Copenhagen next month, independent of a solution to the island republic's political problem.
He was also stressing the fact that his party would not accept any last-minute conditions or coercion, ND sources said.
Karamanlis was further making it clear that ND desired a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the EU's acquis communautaire, noting that ''it is not possible for everything we have believed in the past 30 years, which are expressed in official documents, be reversed overnight under the threat of non-accession''.
Sources said that the foreign diplomats told Karamanlis that a draft solution for Cyprus had not as yet been finalized, and that the UN chief was not ready to table such a text since there was as yet no official interlocutor from Turkey.
British ambassador Madden reaffirmed that the EU had ''agreed that a political settlement is not a condition for accession, but I think that most would agree that if we can have simultaneous accession and a political resolution of the problem, this would be a great advantage''.
Karamanlis was due to make statements in the afternoon, after completing his round of talks with the ambassadors.
 Karamanlis sends congratulations to Bush for mid-term election success
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis, in his capacity as a vice-president of the International Democratic Union (IDU), conveyed his congratulations on Wednesday to US President George W. Bush -- a day after Bush’s Republican Party (GOP) achieved a majority in both chambers of Congress, the US Senate and the House of Representatives.
Republicans regained control of the Senate and expanded their majority in the House in the 2002 mid-term elections that defied history by picking up seats for the party controlling the White House.
In his telegram, Karamanlis expressed his hope for a further strengthening of Greek-US ties.
 Greek Communist party seeks meeting with foreign minister
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Wednesday asked for a meeting between Foreign Minister George Papandreou and a KKE delegation, so that the party could convey its positions and concerns regarding developments in the Cyprus issue.
 Deputy FM, Armenian envoy discuss bilateral economic relations
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos received Armenian ambassador to Greece Vahram Kazhovan on Wednesday for talks focusing on bilateral economic issues, especially credit facilitation by Athens towards Yerevan, as well as issues dealing with agriculture, energy and the Greek state telecom utility’s investment in Armentel.
The meeting came in light of a joint inter-ministerial committee meeting scheduled to take place in Armenia at the end of the month.
 Synaspismos leader calls for common action with KKE in European Social Forum
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Wednesday proposed to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) the common action of the two parties in the framework of the European Social Forum.
During a press conference, Constantopoulos held on Wednesday, in light of the founding of the European Social Forum in Florence, he said ''we want to be together with the rest of Europe's left, with all social movements, with all the ecology forces.''
 Court acquits 13 British and Dutch plane-spotters charged with espionage
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)The Kalamata Appellate Court on Wednesday acquitted 13 British and Dutch plane-spotters on charges of espionage.
The court accepted that eight of the accused believed that they could record facts on military aircraft and ruled them innocent on grounds that they were misled.
As for the other five, the court accepted that they had no involvement in the matter.
Public prosecutor Nikos Pantelis had previously asked of the court to find eight of them guilty of espionage and the other five innocent due to doubts.
 Civil servants repeat strike pledge
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)The civil servants' union repeated on Wednesday its intention to stage a strike on December 5 following a lack of progress in talks on 2003 pay with the government.
The pledge was restated after a meeting earlier in the day with Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, who reportedly said that a 2.5 percent rise would act as a base for incomes policy.
 EU transport commissioner to visit Athens November 14-15
BRUSSELS 07/11/2002 (ANA - G. Daratos)European Union Transport and Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio will visit Athens on November 14-15 and the future of Olympic Airways, Greece's national carrier, will be at the forefront of her consultations and talks.
De Palacio will visit the Greek capital to attend the meeting of Balkan countries' energy ministers, organized by the government for the creation of a big unified Balkan electric power market.
She will also be having private talks with the Balkan countries' transport and energy ministers.
 Former auditing official reportedly involved in OLAF probe
BRUSSELS 07/11/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)Former European Auditing Council commissioner Popi Nikolaou is reportedly involved in a probe by the European Union's fraud-combating organization (OLAF) against a ''high-ranking employee of an institutional body of the European Union.''
This was revealed by the Belgian news agency ''Belga'', which invokes statements by Flemish ecologist Eurodeputy Bart Stas.
The reason for Stas' statements was the publication of OLAF's annual report which noted that a probe has got underway against ''a high-ranking employee of an institutional body of the European Union'', but without referring to a specific name.
According to Stas, Nikolaou, who had served as an Auditing Council commissioner from 1996 to 2001, is accused of abusing authority, using public goods for her own benefit, such as using her staff as a commissioner for private purposes, illegally receiving a housing benefit and issuing forged receipts.
The case is already being examined by justice in Luxembourg, while OLAF has already appealed for compensation.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise, led by banks
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)The Athens bourse finished higher on Wednesday, showing a straight rise during trade with slight losses in profit-taking near the close, traders said.
The general share index gained 0.78 percent to end at 1,848.56 points, up 0.78 percent. Turnover was lower at 87.1 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.06 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.19 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities 0.29 percent down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 174 to 122 with 58 issues remaining unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Football Pools Organization, Alpha Bank, Informatics, and National Bank of Greece.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 73.9 mln euros Wednesday
Equity Index Futures:
Day's Market Turnover: 73.9 mln euros
Bond Market Close: Sellers match buyers on Wednesday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
 Latest IOC inspection for 2004 Games begins
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)The head of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) commission for the 2004 Athens Olympic reiterated on Wednesday that “time remains the most crucial element” in preparations for the upcoming Games, as IOC chief inspector Denis Oswald arrived at the head of yet another IOC delegation on Wednesday.
The latest IOC three-day inspection visit commenced with a briefing by Athens 2004 organizers (ATHOC), as discussions and briefings focused on projects at the Helleniko Olympic Complex, the main Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA), the Athens Olympic Centre at Goudi, as well as work on the all-important tram network, in light of recent delays plaguing the project.
According to initial reports, nevertheless, Oswald reportedly said he was mostly satisfied with the course of preparations.
Archbishop Christodoulos and IOC official discuss Olympic Games
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos received the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordinating Committee President Denis Oswald on Wednesday afternoon.
Oswald, accompanied by 2004 Athens Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki, referred to both the significance and difficulty of organizing the 2004 Olympic Games in the country which gave birth to the idea of Olympism.
He also underlined the need to rally all bodies in the country to facilitate the success of the undertaking, which will form a unique opportunity to promote Greek culture.
Oswald praised the contribution of the Church of Greece to the national effort with which, as he said, the attention of the whole world will focus on Athens.
Archbishop Christodoulos referred to the cooperation memorandum signed by the Church of Greece and ATHOC and underlined the systematic work of the Church in the sectors of volunteerism and hospitality.
He further stressed that the Church will convey a message of peace and conciliation for the entire world, during the period of the Olympic Games, as well as of condemnation of fundamentalism and terrorism.
In addition, Archbishop Christodoulos presented Oswald with a proposal for the Church to participate in the Olympic Games' opening ceremony with the presence of choir composed of 2004 young people.
''The success of the Games is a national issue for which we should all work,'' he said.
 Exhibition on post-Byzantine period to open in New York
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)An exhibition of works of the post-Byzantine period (The Greek renaissance) between the 15th and 18th centuries will be inaugurated at the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation in New York on November 6.
The exhibition, due to last until February 8 2003, is organized by the Byzantine and Christian Museum in cooperation with the foundation.
Fifty-four selected works from the most important centers of Hellenism, coming exclusively from the collection of the Byzantine and Christian Museum, outline the course and the basic elements characterizing post-Byzantine art.
The exhibition, dedicated primarily to painting, is presenting works of high artistic and cultural creation in an effort to promote Byzantine culture following the fall of the Byzantine Empire.
 Avgoustinos Xiros set free without terms by 'N17' magistrate
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)Avgoustinos Xiros, the man most recently arrested in connection with the terrorist group "November 17", was set free without terms or conditions on Wednesday after a meeting with Special Examining Magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos, who found no evidence to support the case against him.
Xiros had been arrested and charged with participation in a criminal organization and grand weapons possession after his fingerprints were found on movable objects within N17 safe houses in Athens.
He had steadfastly denied any involvement with the terrorist organization and was set free with the unanimous agreement of both the magistrate and public prosecutor in the case after responding to the charges against him on Wednesday.
He was the fourth member of his family to be arrested in relation to N17 after his brothers Savvas, Christodoulos and Vassilis.
Earlier on, the magistrate received a visit from Marie-Therese Peynaud, whose partner Alexandros Giotopoulos is accused of being N17's leader.
According to her lawyer Yiannis Rahiotis, Peynaud went in to pick up bank books for accounts that had been unfrozen a few days before by order of the Appeals Justices' Council.
The four accounts had been frozen when Giotopoulos was first arrested.
 5 Richter earthquake rocks Zakynthos island
Athens, 07/11/2002 (ANA)An earthquake registering 5.0 on the Richter scale rocked the island of Zakynthos on Wednesday, but no damage was immediately reported.
According to the Patras University's Seismology Laboratory, the quake was recorded at 11:15 a.m., with its epicenter in the sea area 15 kilometers north-northeast of Zakynthos and coming from a depth of 19 kilometers below sea level.
The trembler was felt in the western port city of Patras and throughout Achaia prefecture, as well as in parts of Ileia and Aitoloakarnania prefectures.
Achaia police authorities said no damage had been reported so far.
 Accession to the EU a natural progression, says President Clerides
NICOSIA 07/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus' European orientation is the natural progression of the country's history, culture and traditions, President Glafcos Clerides has said.
He noted that Cyprus, as an EU member, will be the most southern and eastern border of the Union and a link that joins three continents at a particularly pivotal geographic location.
The president outlined these views in his address to a seminar on ''Cyprus before the gates of the EU'', which got underway in Athens Wednesday. The address was read by the Republic's Ambassador to Greece Leonidas Pantelides.
''Our primary objectives as far as foreign policy is concerned are to find a political settlement, through peaceful means, of the Cyprus question that would be viable, just and workable and to see Cyprus join the EU as a fully fledged member,'' the president said.
He expressed hope that Cyprus' accession to the EU would act as a catalyst in the peace effort.
''A solution must be consistent with international law, UN resolutions, international conventions of human rights, the EU acquis communautaire and judgments of the European Court of Human Rights,'' the president said.
He said that such a settlement would benefit not only the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots but it would also contribute substantially to regional peace, security, stability and cooperation among the nations of the region.
 Government expects solution plan
NICOSIA 07/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)The government believes it is possible that the UN will put forward a plan for a solution in Cyprus within the next few days or weeks, spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Wednesday.
''All indications are that we should expect a plan for a solution but we do not know when that will happen. Cyprus and Greece have launched a campaign to try and influence things in our favor,'' the spokesman said.
Asked if there is any information about the contents of such a plan, he said anyone involved in the Cyprus question can make assumptions as to what the difficult points might be.
''This is why President Clerides and the Greek premier decided at their recent meeting in Athens to embark on a campaign to promote our positions,'' he said.
The government spokesman said in this context President Clerides has sent a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan saying that Cyprus is not prepared to accept any type of a solution for the sake of EU accession.
Invited to comment statements by Tayyip Erdogan, whose party won Sunday's elections in Turkey, the spokesman said no early conclusions should be drawn before one has a full understanding of what Erdogan actually means when he advocates a Cyprus settlement on the basis of the Belgian system of governance.
''If indeed he means a solution based on the arrangements provided in the Belgian constitution, then this is surely a substantive shift in the Turkish positions,'' Papapetrou noted.
He explained that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has maintained at the peace negotiations that the Belgian model could be applied only with regard to Cyprus' representation to the EU.
UN-led peace talks between Clerides and Denktash are currently in suspension because Denktash is recovering from open heart surgery.
However, Annan's special adviser Alvaro de Soto has been having consultations in Athens and Ankara and is now in New York to discuss future moves with the UN chief.
Annan himself said he has still not decided what to do next on the matter.
 Eckhard: Annan is considering his options for Cyprus
UNITED NATIONS 07/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)The UN Secretary-General "is considering his options" and "he is not ready to make a decision", UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said on Wednesday.
Kofi Annan however "realizes time is short", Eckhard added while replying to questions during the daily press briefing.
Referring to Tuesday's meeting, Eckhard said Annan met with his Special Advisor, noting that Alvaro De Soto had given the Secretary-General a thorough briefing on his recent round of consultations. "It is then, he said, for me to take the next decision on the next steps, on where we can go', Eckhard quoted Annan as saying.
To a question by CNA, Eckhard said Annan "has received letters from the US, UK and the EU presidency concerning Cyprus".
According to well-informed sources, the UN Secretary-General has not taken a final decision on what his next move will be. However, based on what was discussed during Tuesday's meeting with his Special Advisor, Alvaro de Soto, and the new assurances he has received from the US that Turkish military officers will be helpful on the Cyprus problem, Annan is inclined to submit the plan for a Cyprus settlement next week, if the message from Ankara is confirmed by the UN too.
The plan will be given to the two sides in Cyprus together with a letter-invitation by the Secretary-General as a sign of good will and intensification of efforts, to sign an agreement by the Copenhagen European Council.
Diplomatic sources said the procedure would not stop due to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's health. He is recuperating in New York, following open-heart surgery on October 7.
De Soto will remain in New York for two or three more days where he will hold a new round of contacts with his associates and others.
Before departing, he will meet again the Secretary-General when Annan's decision is expected to be finalized. De Soto will also have contacts with the interested parties and mainly the Turkish side as well as similar moves by the representatives of Britain, the US and EU officials.
 Issue of illegal settlers on peace talks agenda, says spokesman
NICOSIA 07/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou has revealed that the issue of illegal Turkish settlers, now living in the Republic's occupied areas, was part of the discussions in the context of the UN peace talks.
The spokesman ruled out any possibility of setting up a common partnership with these settlers, in the event of a settlement in Cyprus.
''I want to assure you that the issue of the Turkish settlers was raised at the negotiating table and we stated categorically that the settlers must leave,'' Papapetrou said on Wednesday.
He said the Turkish Cypriot side maintained a different position.
The spokesman's comments come in the wake of a debate at the House Refugee Committee on the changes in the demographic structure of the island's Turkish occupied areas.
The Committee heard that there are now 129,000 illegal Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus and only about 75,000 indigenous Turkish Cypriots as opposed to about 120,000 prior to the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. In addition to these figures, Turkey maintains a 35,000 strong military contingent.
Replying to questions, Papapetrou said the Greek Cypriots are certainly not going to set up a partnership with the Turkish settlers.
A Council of Europe report has concluded that there has been a change in the demographic structure of the occupied areas.
The European Court of Human Rights holds Turkey responsible for what happens in occupied Cyprus by virtue of the presence of its troops, a court judgment said.