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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

November 9, 2002


  • [01] ''Smooth course'' for Cyprus and Greek EU presidency, Simitis predicts
  • [02] FM and French counterpart discuss EU enlargement, Cyprus
  • [03] Greek and British FMs discuss Cyprus issue and developments
  • [04] Greece lodges demarches over Turkey's harassment of civilian planes
  • [05] Merchant marine minister arrives in Cyprus for three-day visit
  • [06] ND leader Karamanlis visits flooded Kifissos River area
  • [07] Michel Rocard meets Education Minister Efthymiou in Athens
  • [08] EU parliamentary conference to be held in Athens
  • [09] Patriarch to officially visit London next week
  • [10] Magistrates' investigation into 'N17' case completed, sources say
  • [11] OTE-Rom Telecom deal will benefit both parties
  • [12] Greece shows good progress in R&D, EU says
  • [13] Greek inflation rises to 3.7 percent in October
  • [14] Greek stocks end week 3.41 percent higher
  • [15] ATHOC, IOC promise Olympics that 'leave a legacy'
  • [16] Culture minister opens conference on 'Cultural policies for the cities'
  • [17] Greek ambassador to Canada answers editorial on Parthenon marbles
  • [18] One-day Athens seminar to focus on terrorism, mass media
  • [19] Hellenic Environmental Law Society organizes conference
  • [20] Youth issues on the agenda of CoE conference in Thessaloniki
  • [21] Judges from southeastern Europe to meet in Thessaloniki
  • [22] Solution plan on Cyprus to be handed over on Monday, reliable sources say
  • [23] Commission in touch with UN Chief on Cyprus solution plan
  • [24] FM Kasoulides calls on Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leadership to respect UN resolutions

  • [01] ''Smooth course'' for Cyprus and Greek EU presidency, Simitis predicts

    BERLIN 09/11/2002 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    'A smooth course'' for Cyprus' accession to the European Union during the Copenhagen Summit and the correct preparing of the Greek EU presidency, which begins in January, was predicted by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday, during statements to the press here, following his meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

    With his visit here, Simitis concluded a tour of Berlin, Paris and London.

    Speaking of the expected submittal of a plan for the solution of the Cyprus issue by United Nations' Secretary General Kofi Annan, Simitis insisted that the issue of Cyprus' accession to the European Union and the resolution of the Cyprus problem were two different issues.

    He underlined that the solution should be viable, should secure the functionality of the state and should be compatible with the Union's acquis communautaire.

    According to sources, Annan's plan is expected on Monday.

    ''We are not going to accept just any solution,'' Simitis said.

    In statements to the press following their meeting, Simitis and Schroeder announced that the foreign ministers of the two countries Joschka Fischer and George Papandreou, will meet soon and will cooperate in evaluating the plan that will be submitted by Annan, so as to confront ''possible problems''.

    Schroeder, responding to questions on what possible problems may occur with Cyprus' accession as a result of Annan's plan, said that he could not evaluate the plan without having seen it before.

    He said that this will be dealt with between the Greek and German foreign ministers, having stated that Germany wishes to see the Union's enlargement completed and that it does all it can so that the final decision on the issue is taken in Copenhagen.

    The Greek premier reiterated that based on the Helsinki decision was clear, stating that the accession of Cyprus was not depended on the resolution of the Cyprus problem.

    Simitis, speaking later to the Greek press, said that the aforementioned position was held by his interlocutors, including Chancellor Schroeder.

    During their exit from their meeting, Schroeder said that Germany will support Greece during its presidency with all its power, adding that he agreed with the time table for the accession of the candidate member-states.

    Simitis also talked of the EU prospect for Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 and said that Turkey needs ''a positive message'', concerning the initiation of accession negotiations.

    He added that this ''positive message'' should be given in Copenhagen, noting that the Greek position will crystallize, after his meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan's Justice and Development party won last Sunday's general elections in Turkey.

    PM discusses German war reparations with German chancellor: Prime Minister Costas Simitis, speaking to Greek reporters, said there is no problem in bilateral relations between Greece and Germany but referred to the issue of reparations for victims of the Nazi occupation era, in his talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Friday.

    ''The German side continues to deny that such an issue exists. However, we shall raise the issue again because we have to look upon it at some time,'' Simitis said.

    The reparations issue had also been raised by the Greek side at a meeting between the Greek prime minister and the German chancellor in June 2001.

    The European army and the final name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) were two more issues raised in the form of questions at the joint press conference between the Greek prime minister and the German chancellor.

    On the question of whether the European Union's intention to replace NATO's military force in FYROM, whose mandate expires on December 15, with European army units can be implemented, Schroeder appeared optimistic that Javier Solana ''will succeed'' in achieving the relevant agreement pending with NATO.

    Referring to the issue of FYROM's name, Simitis avoided going into details, saying that ''this issue has been pending for many years and for this reason it can still wait.''

    [02] FM and French counterpart discuss EU enlargement, Cyprus

    PARIS 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou met his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin in Paris on Friday for talks on European enlargement in view of the Copenhagen summit, particularly in relation to Cyprus' imminent EU accession and efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.

    In statements after the meeting, Papandreou pointed out that EU enlargement presented a great opportunity to arrive at a solution to the Cyprus issue and that the focus was now on ways to coordinate action before the Copenhagen summit in order to maximize the chances of this happening.

    He said his talks with Villepin had also covered the changes on the political scene in Turkey and the issue of setting a date for the start of accession negotiations with that country, while noting that all of these were linked to the efforts to find a solution for the Cyprus issue.

    Regarding France's position on the Cyprus problem, the Greek minister said this lay broadly within the framework set by the United Nations and the EU.

    ''France agrees completely with the decisions made at Helsinki and wants, as we do, to make use the historic conjunction that is being created at this time for the Cyprus issue. I believe the next few weeks will be crucial and that Europe can play a very important role, provided it decides to raise its profile and help in a solution to the Cyprus problem,'' Papandreou said.

    He also stressed that when Cyprus became a member of the EU it would have to have a single international entity, a single nationality and be functional within the EU, for the future of both Cyprus and the EU.

    The talks between the two ministers also covered bilateral issues and major international developments, such as Turkey and Iraq.

    Papandreou briefed Villepin on Greek assessments of the situation in Turkey and of the talks set between Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the charismatic leader of Turkey's Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is barred from becoming prime minister because of a technicality, even though his party won a landslide victory in Turkish elections.

    Regarding Iraq, Papandreou congratulated Villepin on finding a formula for a solution now being discussed by the UN Security Council, where a resolution did not give an automatic go-ahead to the use of military force against Iraq but nevertheless gave a strong message to Saddam Hussein to comply with UN requests.

    According to the Greek minister, this formula opened the way for a diplomatic solution to the problem with Iraq.

    ''If there is a positive response from Saddam Hussein, then we can safely say that diplomacy has won,'' Papandreou noted.

    The meeting also discussed promoting research in the defense and armed forces sector under the Greek EU presidency. According to Papandreou, this was an area of great interest to France and also an area where Europe lagged behind.

    ''This will greatly expand the prospects for future developments in Europe,'' Papandreou concluded.

    [03] Greek and British FMs discuss Cyprus issue and developments

    LONDON 09/11/2002 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw discussed the issue of Cyprus and upcoming developments, as well as issues concerning the European Union's Greek presidency, in talks at the Foreign Office on Friday.

    ''I think that we are all aware that a historic opportunity is coming, a historic opportunity which one can rarely have for such major issues and we should all contribute to this issue to achieve a favorable end. And a favorable end means a solution to the Cyprus issue in accordance with UN resolutions. A solution to the Cyprus issue which will be compatible with European acquis communautaire. The day after tomorrow Cyprus will be a member of the European Union and, of course, these European acquis communautaire should apply,'' Papandreou said, summing up the outcome of his talks.

    Papandreou said Britain plays an important role in the Cyprus issue with its institutional position and historic involvement in the issue and termed the exchange of views with his British counterpart ''very useful'' in light of the possible tabling of a plan by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to solve the Cyprus issue.

    ''We also discussed recent developments in Turkey. How they affect its course to the EU. How this course affects possibilities for a solution to the Cyprus issue and how the climate in Turkey can help in its solution,'' he added.

    Papandreou further said the target is to have a solution before the EU's Copenhagen summit, adding that it was clarified at the Helsinki summit that a solution to the Cyprus issue is not a precondition for the accession of Cyprus.

    He also said Greece supports all efforts being made by the Greek Cypriot side and by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides himself.

    On the question of dissatisfaction expressed by President Clerides over the plan by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the belief that it should be submitted after February, after presidential elections are held in Cyprus, Papandreou said ''this is not a position of President Clerides made yesterday. We are aware of it since direct talks with (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash began under UN auspices.''

    He also referred to the issue of Iraq, saying ''we congratulate the UN for its unanimous decision on the issue of Iraq, which paves the way for a diplomatic solution to the problem and we hope Iraq will also respond positively.''

    [04] Greece lodges demarches over Turkey's harassment of civilian planes

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Greece had lodged a demarche with the ICAO and Turkey over the harassment of a civilian aircraft in Greek airspace by Turkish fighter jets, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced on Friday.

    Protopapas noted that relations with Turkey were now going through a ''very delicate phase'' in view of the peace plan for Cyprus due to be submitted by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan within the next few weeks and the EU summit in Copenhagen.

    He said it was likely that circles in Turkey would make efforts to shift dialogue to secondary issues.

    ''The Greek government will remain firmly focused on the primary issues, meaning Cyprus' EU accession and a solution to the Cyprus problem, and reserves the right to pick its own time and place to wage its battles,'' he said.

    Turkish war-planes on Thursday harassed two civilian aircraft in the air corridor connecting Greece with Cyprus, at the border of the Larnaca and Athens Fight Information Region (FIR).

    Specifically, two Turkish F 16 war-jets, harassed an Olympic Airways flight from Larnaca to Athens and a Cyprus Airways flight from Athens to Larnaca was harassed by Turkish fighter jets, possibly the same pair, in roughly the same region 10 minutes later.

    Asked to comment on a statement by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, who said on Thursday that it might be wiser for Annan to present his Cyprus plan in February 2003 when general elections in Cyprus were over, Protopapas said that this simply noted that it would be preferable not to involve a major foreign policy issue in the pre-election campaign.

    Regarding a visit by the leader of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the occupied territories in northern Cyprus in mid-November, the spokesman said that Turkey's leadership habitually visited the occupied territories around this time of year and the Cyprus Republic very rightly objected.

    Erdogan's party won the general elections in Turkey last weekend but he is barred from becoming prime minister for at least six months due to a prior conviction for reading ''seditious'' poetry in public.

    Turkish warplanes violate Greek airspace: Ten formations of Turkish warplanes infringed air traffic regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) on Friday, while in certain cases they developed into national airspace violations in the region of the northern and central Aegean, press reports said.

    In all cases Greek aircraft recognized and intercepted the Turkish warplanes immediately and in three cases the interception process developed into an engagement.

    Speaking in the evening at an event held at the War Museum on the presentation of the Greek Air Force's CD, Deputy Defense Minister Loukas Apostolidis said nobody can threaten or provoke Greece because it is a powerful country.

    [05] Merchant marine minister arrives in Cyprus for three-day visit

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis on Friday arrived in Cyprus for a three-day visit, in light of Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

    Cyprus' Transport and Public Works Minister Averof Neofytou welcomed the Greek minister in the island republic.

    Anomeritis stressed that his visit aims to develop further the merchant marine relations of the two countries.

    [06] ND leader Karamanlis visits flooded Kifissos River area

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday visited the residential area surrounding the Kifissos River, and strongly criticized the government of failing to take effective measures to contain the river's waters from overflowing in rainstorms.

    Karamanlis said that the Kifissos river had overflowed ''for the fourth time in two months'' during Thursday's torrential rains -- causing the flooding of nearby basements and ground floor apartments -- and ''swept away with it the government's credibility and its empty words that the problem has been solved''.

    Karamanlis, who postponed a scheduled trip to Lesvos Island in order to visit the flood-stricken area, further accused the government of wasting time and money without any result to show for it, adding that ''no one has the courage to shoulder his responsibilities...and resign''.

    He said the government was unable to conceal its ''extreme inadequacy'' by citing ''extreme weather conditions'', and blamed it for ''the insecurity felt by the citizens at the first strong rainfall and the Third World-like pictures that shame the country internationally''.

    Main opposition tables question in Parliament over Kifissos floods: Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday tabled a question in Parliament regarding yet another bout of flooding at the Kifissos River during the previous day's rain, which once again showed up the inadequacy of government anti-flooding measures.

    Speaking during 'Prime Minister's Question Time', ND's leader asked the premier to name those responsible for the poor planning and execution of anti-flooding works in greater Athens and what measures, if any, had been taken against them.

    He also asked what measures the government proposed to take to avoid a repetition of the problems over the coming winter.

    According to Karamanlis, the Kifissos River floods had now become a routine phenomenon that posed a constant hazard for the lives and property of people in the surrounding areas.

    The heavy but not exceptional rains had not only shown up the city's faulty anti-flooding planning but also the government's ineptitude and its inability to operate in any conditions that departed even slightly from normal, the main opposition leader said.

    He stressed that the repeated floods had not only embarrassed the government over the way it had planned and supervised the Kifissos River works and for allowing contractors to reduce the size of the water course, but were also a great embarrassment for the city that would host the Athens Olympics in 2004.

    Earlier in the day, Karamanlis had visited flood-stricken residential districts neighboring the river and had strongly criticized the government for failing to take effective action, pointing out that this was the fourth time in two months that the river had flooded and caused damage to surrounding homes and businesses.

    The area also received a visit from Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis, whose ministry is mainly in charge of coordinating efforts against emergencies caused by natural phenomena, who said that it was obvious who was to blame for the problems.

    After going around the flood-stricken district, Skandalidis said that everything humanly possible would be done to avoid further damage to people and property.

    According to government spokesman Christos Protopapas, meanwhile, the anti-flooding measures taken by the government had been "generally recognized as serious and effective work'', while he referred reporters to a phone call placed by Piraeus Mayor Christos Agrapidis to Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou to express his satisfaction.

    The most recent floods were due to poor workmanship at a specific point and the contractor responsible - as well as the environment ministry engineers in charge of the project - would be held fully accountable, he added.

    Protopapas pointed out that work was continuing on the Kifissos River anti-flooding works, where 400 people were occupied daily, while noting that more than 550 kilometers of gullies and watercourses had been filled in throughout Athens, making the flow of rainwater problematic in many areas. A comprehensive plan for the entire Athens area required a large amount of funds and for this reason its implementation was proceeding gradually, he added.

    Responding to Karamanlis, meanwhile, the spokesman said the main opposition leader's stance compromised the country.

    Public works ministry's inspectors to face disciplinary action, Papandreou says: Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou on Friday filed charges at the administrative body of the state against the ministry's engineers that oversee the public projects on Kifissos river.

    She also filed charges against the construction firms that have undertaken the project to cover the river and build a highway above it.

    During her visit to the site and in statements to the press, Papandreou said that the aforementioned engineers were responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the project, while the construction firm did not take the appropriate measures as had been agreed.

    Papandreou also announced that the government would list those that have suffered damages, adding that their number is not that great in the region close to Kifissos river and most of those that suffered damages were in other areas.

    [07] Michel Rocard meets Education Minister Efthymiou in Athens

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Europarliament Committee President for Culture, Youth, Education and Sports Michel Rocard stopped over in Athens for a few hours on Friday to hold talks with Education Minister Petros Efthymiou.

    The two men discussed the targets of the Greek EU presidency for education, which is the effort to promote common values and prospects in the educational system.

    Rocard said the Europarliament's priorities coincide with those of the Greek presidency.

    [08] EU parliamentary conference to be held in Athens

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek Parliament will organize a conference of Parliamentary Defense Committee presidents of European Union member-states and the European Parliament on November 11-12 in the framework of the country's presidency in the EU's European security and defense sector.

    The conference will be held in the Old Parliament building, while Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis will address its opening at 10.30 a.m. on November 11.

    Issues to be examined are ''Targets and Priorities of the Greek Presidency in the European Security and Defense Policy: European possibilities'' and ''The Mediterranean Dimension of the European Security and Defense Policy.''

    [09] Patriarch to officially visit London next week

    ISTANBUL 09/11/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will arrive in Great Britain next week after an official invitation from Queen Elizabeth II, and on the occasion of the British monarch’s golden jubilee.

    Vartholomeos is expected to attend a dinner given by Elizabeth for many of the world’s top religious leaders at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening. Earlier, the group religious leaders are expected to meet with Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, for discussions on environmental protection issues, as the latter served as World Wildlife Fund (WWF) president for many years.

    In fact, on Wednesday, the Patriarch will attend an event in London entitled “Our Place in Creation”.

    [10] Magistrates' investigation into 'N17' case completed, sources say

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    The special examining magistrates assigned to the ''November 17'' terrorism case - Leonidas Zervobeakos, Haris Birbos and Panos Petropoulos - had completed their inquiries and were preparing to send the case file to Appeals Public Prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos, who would then submit his recommendations to the Appeals Justices' Council, sources said on Friday.

    The same sources estimated that the Appeals Justices' Council will have issued its decision around Christmas and that a date for the trial would be set in the first months of 2003.

    [11] OTE-Rom Telecom deal will benefit both parties

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization’s chairman and managing director Lefteris Antonakopoulos on Friday expressed his satisfaction over developments in the Rom Telecom case.

    Speaking to ANA, Mr Antonakopoulos said the deal was a positive development "that satisfied both parties, OTE and Rom Telecom."

    "OTE benefits from implementing its strategy for expanding its activities within and beyond Greek borders and particularly in a large market such as the Romanian, with a population of 22

    million. OTE's penetration into this market is very significant for the group as it happens in period of rapid developments in the telecommunications sector and ahead of Romania's accession in the European Union, expected by 2007," Mr Antonakopoulos said.

    He stressed that the Romanian side would also benefit largely from the deal with the creation of a powerful telecommunications company that would contribute effectively in the development of the country's industry, and attracting foreign investments.

    "The Romanian market has reacted positively to the deal," Mr Antonakopoulos said.

    OTE's chief, however, acknowledged that hard work was needed for Rom Telecom to enter a dynamic growth course and praised the group that handled the negotiations.

    "I am a person that doesn't like obstruction. We implemented rapidly a decision taken by OTE's board with positive results," Mr Antonakopoulos told ANA.

    The Romanian cabinet on Thursday gave the green light to a share capital increase plan by Rom Telecom, worth 243 million US dollars, accepting OTE's proposals. Following completion of the plan, OTE will have a 54 percent equity stake in the Romanian company.

    Mr Antonakopoulos said a final signing of the deal envisaging a share capital increase plan in Rom Telecom was expected next week.

    [12] Greece shows good progress in R&D, EU says

    BRUSSELS 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Greece has evolved a good pace of growth in research and development, which is likely to allow the country to reach a healthy level of investment in the near future, the European Union's executive Commission said on Friday.

    In a report on R&D throughout the 15-nation EU, the Commission said that Greece ranked second in public sector spending (48.7 percent) in the sector, and second-to-last in private sector spending (24.2 percent).

    In addition, Greece has highest proportion of foreign R&D investments (24.7 percent), the report said.

    [13] Greek inflation rises to 3.7 percent in October

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Greek annual inflation rose to 3.7 percent in October from 3.5 percent in September, with the consumer price index rising 0.5 percent over the month, denying expectations over a fall in the inflation rate, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.

    NSS said that the harmonized consumer price index was unchanged at 3.8 percent in October.

    October's monthly CPI rate reflected a 1.9 percent rise in clothing and footwear prices, and 1.0 percent increase in food and non-alcohol drink prices, a 0.3 percent rise in health and transport prices and a 0.2 percent increase in housing prices.

    The annual October figures reflected a 4.1 percent rise in food and non-alcohol drink prices, a 6.0 percent rise in alcohol and tobacco, a 4.9 percent increase in health prices, a 7.3 percent rise in hotel, coffee and restaurant prices and a 3.6 percent rise in housing prices.

    The communication price index was the only one to record a decline in October compared with the same month last year (-4.4 percent).

    [14] Greek stocks end week 3.41 percent higher

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended the last trading session of the week with small gains, with a wave of selective buying in the last hour of trading reversing an early decline of prices in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index rose 0.39 percent to end at 1,836.32 points, with turnover a low 78.2 million euros.

    The general index ended the week with a net gain of 3.41 percent.

    The Insurance, Publication and Holding sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (4.30 percent, 1.22 percent and 0.99 percent, respectively), while the Wholesale, Textile and Investment sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (0.80 percent, 0.77 percent and 0.67 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.40 percent higher, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 0.01 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.02 percent higher.

    Broadly, decliners matched advancers (156 each), with another 38 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Panafon, Egnatia Bank, Lantec, and National Bank of Greece.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 72.1 mln euros Friday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.40 percent

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.02 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Intracom (296)

    Day's Market Turnover: 72.1 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Friday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.78 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 27 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 2.9 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-yr (415 mln euros)

    [15] ATHOC, IOC promise Olympics that 'leave a legacy'

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    The latest inspection visit by an International Olympic Committee (IOC) commission supervising the 2004 Athens Olympic Games concluded here on Friday, with the head of the organizing committee (ATHOC) vowing to host Olympic Games that both meet the IOC’s quality specifications and “leave a legacy” for Greece.

    The statement, by ATHOC president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, came at the customary news conference held after practically every IOC inspection, and as commission head Denis Oswald sat by her side before dozens of reporters and camera crews.

    While mostly expressing the Lausanne-based organization’s satisfaction with the on-going course of 2004 preparations, Oswald nevertheless directly touched on a handful of outstanding ‘thorns’ affecting preparations, citing delayed construction of a new venue for the popular basketball competition and the highly anticipated project to renovate the main Olympic Stadium (OAKA), where the track and field competitions will take place, sandwiched between the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

    In answer to a question, Oswald stressed there is no “back-up” plan for new basketball stadium, currently envisioned for the Hellenikon coastal district of SE Athens – the object of a legal battle between rival construction consortiums expected to be decided by a local court in the next few days. The top IOC executive said any move of the venue to a new site would simply increase delays.

    Regarding the ambitious OAKA design project, put forth by noted Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the Swiss-born Oswald expressed what he called the IOC’s position of approving it “if it’s possible” to complete on time. However, he warned that if the renovation, including the partial covering of the stadium with a state-of-the-art roof, isn’t guaranteed, then the project shouldn’t be started in the first place.

    Another “thorn” plaguing ATHOC amid accelerated organizational preparations and new venues sprouting up around the greater Athens area, is construction of a new tram network, a crucial transport project expected to link downtown Athens and a metro hub with a series of venues along the Greek capital’s coast, from Faliro to the Hellenikon site.

    Oswald emphasized that he hopes the Greek government “finds the right solutions” in its efforts to persuade local administrations to agree to the tram network, while Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said she would meet and work with all the mayors whose municipalities are affected by the tram network – many of whom have voiced concerns about the two lines’ passage through their mostly upscale communities.

    As far as the pending issue of where the football final will take place, Oswald – who took over from Jacques Rogge as chairman of the commission when the former was elected as IOC president – said that a FIFA delegation will arrive in December to examine the problem, “there must be a solution”.

    Finally, the ATHOC chief stressed that “personal interests, political expediencies and profiteering attitudes” would have to be eliminated from affecting the Games’ preparation, a mostly indirect plea to local interests.

    She added that the country and host city will enter the final stretch for the 2004 Games in early 2003, a year she said will determine the success of the Athens Olympics

    [16] Culture minister opens conference on 'Cultural policies for the cities'

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    A conference on the theme ''Cultural policies for the cities'' got underway in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Friday and will continue in Veria on Saturday.

    The conference was opened by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    The purpose of the conference is to adopt policies for the cultural development of cities, cultural tourism and the creation in southeastern Europe and the southern Caucasus of a network of cities aimed at regional and international cooperation in the cultural sector.

    Taking part in the conference are Council of Europe officials, ministers responsible for cultural policy issues from the countries of southeastern Europe and the Caucasus as well as mayors and cultural officials who are taking part in the Council of Europe's 'Stage and Mosaik II' programs (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Moldova and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

    The conference is also being attended by representatives of the observer countries of the 'Stage' program (Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey).

    [17] Greek ambassador to Canada answers editorial on Parthenon marbles

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Canada's National Post daily on Thursday published a letter by Greek Ambassador to Canada Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos entitled ''Bring the marbles home'', alluding to the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and in response to another letter entitled ''Keep the marbles in Britain''

    In the letter to the editor, the Greek ambassador noted the recent discovery, during an auction of a letter that ''pointed out that the existing Italian translation of the 1801 Ottoman document did not permit Lord Elgin to remove the sculptures but only allowed his artists to enter the Acropolis, draw and make moulds of the sculptures for casts''.

    ''According to documents in the British Museum archives, irreversible damage was caused to the surface of a large number of sculptures in 1937-38 when the Parthenon Marbles were cleansed with metal brushes and abrasives. Meanwhile the restoration work on the Acropolis site has garnered praise,'' the ambassador wrote.

    ''I think that coinciding the return of the Parthenon Marbles with the Olympic Games of 2004, the Cultural Olympiad and the Olympic Truce would be an enormous contribution to human civilization and an action desperately needed in this time of human history,'' he concluded.

    [18] One-day Athens seminar to focus on terrorism, mass media

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    A one-day seminar on the timely issue of “Terrorism, Mass Media and International Relations” is set to take place in the Greek capital next weekend, with the participation of several noted local journalists, ambassadors accredited to Athens and academics.

    The seminar is sponsored by the communications and international relations department of the University of Indianapolis’ affiliated Athens branch.

    The event, held at a downtown Athens hotel, will be open to the public.

    For more information call (210) 32.37077 or 3239908.

    [19] Hellenic Environmental Law Society organizes conference

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    Decisions taken at the Johannesburg World Conference on Sustainable Development, despite failing to meet the expectations of those hoping for specific commitments and decisions, should not cause disappointment since they were the best considering the climate in which the conference was held, while highlighting the complexity of problems requiring a solution, speakers said at a conference organized by the Hellenic Environmental Law Society on Friday.

    Speakers also underlined the positive role played by European Union member-states in Johannesburg, as well as the great opportunity being provided by the Greek EU presidency, in the first half of 2003, for the promotion of a series of decisions concerning sustainable development.

    The EU promoted a series of pursuits at the summit and succeeded in achieving a commitment by all sides to halve in 2015 the percentage of the world's population living in conditions of extreme poverty and to have all harmful chemical substances used in industry replaced by 2020.

    [20] Youth issues on the agenda of CoE conference in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    The sixth conference of CoE members’ ministers responsible for youth issues commenced in Thessaloniki on Friday, with Greek Deputy Education Minister Eleni Kourkoula addressing officials and delegates at the start of the sessions.

    According to CoE deputy secretary Maud de Boer Buquicchio, the organization wants to promote inter-cultural dialogue and peace as well as education for human rights in the 2003-2005 period.

    The sixth conference concludes on Saturday with the signing of the “Olympic Truce” initiative in the presence of Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    [21] Judges from southeastern Europe to meet in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 09/11/2002 (ANA)

    The National Academy of Judges' Training Department will organize a meeting of judges from countries of southeastern Europe in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on November 10-17.

    Issues to be discussed will focus on the European Convention of the Rights of Man, the European Court of the Rights of Man and the protection of fundamental human rights.

    Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Paschalidis and Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos will be among speakers addressing the meeting.

    Also attending will be former ministers, Eurodeputies and university professors.

    [22] Solution plan on Cyprus to be handed over on Monday, reliable sources say

    UNITED NATIONS 09/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The UN intends to deliver on Monday a plan for an overall settlement of the Cyprus problem, reliable sources said Friday. The UN, however, could not confirm the report.

    UN Secretary-General's Special Advisor, Alvaro De Soto will hand over the plan to Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides while UN Deputy Secretary-General Kieran Prendergast will simultaneously present it to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the sources said.

    The UN did not confirm the development. The UN Secretary-General's spokesman, Fred Eckhard said he did not know when De Soto would return to Cyprus.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    UN-led direct talks, aiming for an overall settlement on the Cyprus problem, have been suspended due to Denktash's health. He is recovering in New York following open-heart surgery on October 7.

    Eckhard: Annan close to a decision on plan, consults leaders: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is close to a decision whether he will submit a solution plan on Cyprus, Eckhard said.

    He also confirmed that Annan had called various leaders on Thursday and Friday to make up his mind but avoided revealing details.

    Eckhard said, during his daily press briefing, that Annan met Thursday his Special Advisor, Alvaro de Soto and that ''he may talk to him again today''.

    ''I think he is very close to a decision, but as of this morning, that final decision still had not been made'', Eckhard added.

    Eckhard replied positively to a question whether the Secretary-General had made phone calls to various leaders to make up his mind to submit the plan or not, just like he did with the Iraqi issue.

    ''I don't want to give you details. He made phone calls on Cyprus yesterday and this morning. Iraq is not the only thing on his agenda either'', Eckhard added.

    [23] Commission in touch with UN Chief on Cyprus solution plan

    BRUSSELS 09/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The European Commission is in constant touch with the UN Secretary-General and is informing him on the various aspects of the acquis communautaire, so that provisions of a solution plan are not contrary to the acquis communautaire.

    Spokesman for Enlargement Commissioner, Jean-Christophe Filori told CNA the European Commission is ''helping the UN Secretary-General and replies to all his questions so that the solution plan to be submitted will comply with the fundamental principles of the acquis communautaire''.

    Filori assured that Enlargement Commissioner, Gunter Verheugen ''has not obtained, and naturally he does not hold a UN overall solution plan''.

    [24] FM Kasoulides calls on Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leadership to respect UN resolutions

    WASHINGTON 09/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides called upon Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership to ''heed the call of the international community and respect UN Security Council resolutions and the High Level Agreements which provide for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation'' and a state with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality.

    In an article in the quarterly magazine ''The National Interest'', devoted to American foreign policy and world politics, Kasoulides said the ''vision for Cyprus requires a departure from the passions of the past for the best interests of all people on the island, as well as for regional stability''.

    Entitled ''Enforcing all UN Resolutions: The Key to a Cyprus Settlement'', Kasoulides' article refers to the recent speeches of President George W. Bush and Secretary General Kofi Annan, delivered before the United Nations General Assembly in September.

    He says Turkey, whose military continues to illegally occupy nearly forty percent of Cyprus since 1974, defies UN resolutions by demanding that the international community accept the ''realities'' of the status quo brought about by its aggression.

    He referred to the ''long series of UN resolutions passed by the General Assembly and binding Security Council decisions'' which ''have called, inter alia, for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign military forces from the Republic of Cyprus; for the return of all refugees to their homes in safety; and for respect for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Cyprus''.

    However, the steps outlined by these resolutions have yet to be implemented by Turkey which contrary to its obligations under the UN Charter, ''continues to illegally occupy nearly forty percent of Cyprus, defies these resolutions by demanding that the intern

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