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

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

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

November 11, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Athens reiterates positions on Cyprus settlement
  • [02] FM says Greece will play a leading role at Copenhagen summit
  • [03] PM Simitis interview to 'Frankfurter Allgemeine'
  • [04] Gov't spokesman reserved over new Turkish gov't policy
  • [05] Ministers comment on developments in Cyprus issue, UN plan
  • [06] WINPEACE wants date for Turkey-EU accession talks, speedy Cyprus solution
  • [07] Labor ministry organizes European employment forum
  • [08] Development minister presides over 1st Business Forum
  • [09] Greek minister Anomeritis discusses future of Cyprus' shipping register
  • [10] PASOK assesses municipal election results in Thessaloniki
  • [11] Party leader calls for party leaders' meeting
  • [12] British press praises Greece's Olympic Games efforts
  • [13] Council of Europe education ministers sign Olympic Truce
  • [14] Annan informs leaders on meeting with envoys
  • [15] UN solution plan to be handed probably Monday, says Minister
  • [16] President: Kyrenia ship symbol of will to reunite Cyprus

  • [01] Athens reiterates positions on Cyprus settlement

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek positions according to which the UN Secretary-General's plan but also the final solution to the Cyprus problem must comply with the UN decisions and resolutions as well as with the European acquis communautaire, given that Cyprus will soon become a European Union member, was reiterated again by Foreign Minister George Papandreou following a three-hour meeting he had with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Sunday night.

    Papandreou stressed that ''Cyprus' EU accession is a sine qua non for us,'' at the same time noting that ''we should work towards the settlement of the Cyprus problem.''

    Furthermore, Papandreou said that ''if we can find a solution until (the EU summit in) Copenhagen, well enough, if not, then the negotiations must continue and for us to work for a solution immediately afterwards.''

    The foreign minister said that he had telephone contacts on Sunday both with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and other Cypriot politicians and noted that from Monday he will start contacts with the Greek political parties.

    He reminded that many Greek and Cypriot governments had for many years persistently sought the UN's intervention for a settlement of the Cyprus issue, and at the same time praised the great interest the international community is showing in this phase. ''Our aim is for us to get out of this very significant phase, having promoted our interests in the best manner.''

    Asked on the various scenarios circulating on the contents of the Annan document, Papandreou said ''we know various proposals which have been discussed at times and certain which were examined in the recent direct talks (between Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash),'' adding that ''we have no specific knowledge of the plan which will be submitted tomorrow.''

    The foreign minister said President Clerides will need some days to study the plan, at the same time noting that the assessment will be made as soon as possible.

    To another question by reporters whether there was a possibility that the plan may deviate from the UN resolutions and decisions, Papandreou said that Annan himself had reassured him that such a thing could not happen.

    He also said that apart from the UN framework, there also existed the European framework and the need for the plan to comply with the European acquis communautaire, safeguarding the equal and operational presence of Cyprus within the European Union.

    [02] FM says Greece will play a leading role at Copenhagen summit

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, speaking at a dinner given in his honor by the Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Saturday night, said Greece will play a leading role both at the European Union's Copenhagen summit and during its EU presidency, in the first half of 2003, to facilitate the shaping of the most positive climate of cooperation possible with Turkey to enable it to begin accession negotiations when it will be in a position to fulfill its commitments towards the EU absolutely.

    Referring to statements by the winner of Turkey's recent elections, Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on his country's European prospects and his visit to Greece, Papandreou said it is important that Erdogan appears to be devoted to European democratic principles.

    He added that if Erdogan is a model for his fellow countrymen he will also become a model for other Islamic states and this is good.

    On the question of the upcoming tabling of a plan by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to resolve the longstanding Cyprus problem, Papandreou said ''the effort will focus on reaching a positive result for both sides. Both sides should benefit because, otherwise, there can be no solution. Both the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots should feel proud of the solution to be found.''

    Papandreou also referred in his address to the European vocation of Balkan countries, saying "it is quite natural just like Poland and the Czech Republic have great importance for Germany, and the Baltic for northern countries, and so for us, apart from Cyprus, the Balkans should be important, just like Turkey, naturally."

    Earlier, Papandreou met with the board of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece and briefed its members on developments in Greek-Turkish relations and the wider region of southeastern Europe.

    FM says 'great historic opportunity' for Cyprus solution: Foreign Minister George Papandreou spoke on Saturday of a ''great historic opportunity'' to have the problem of Cyprus solved, while commenting in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on the tabling of a plan by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan ''probably on Monday.''

    ''According to our information, the plan will be tabled for negotiation,'' Papandreou said at a press conference, adding that ''if it is a plan which will be absolutely acceptable to both sides and there is no need for it to be discussed so much the better.''

    Papandreou further said ''it is very logical, however, for some negotiating to be necessary, either limited or extensive. Nobody can know this. We shall see what the response of the two sides will be.''

    He noted that "in parallel, we have stressed that whatever solution should respect UN resolutions and the basic values and functions which are compatible with whichever country is in the European Union. In this context, I am certain there will be some effort to find a solution and we hope that the other side will also see that at last it is a great historic opportunity for us to resolve this problem and create a more permanent cooperation between Greece and Turkey on a problem dividing us for many decades."

    However, Papandreou pointed out that "apart from the plan itself, if the two communities fail to shape a spirit of rapprochement and reconciliation, whatever the proposals and laws may be, they will be far from providing an impetus for peace."

    FM Papandreou says there must not be another 'lost opportunity' for Cyprus: ''The conjuncture for a settlement of the Cyprus issue is very favorable and we should exploit it because there should not be a new lost opportunity as had occurred many times in the past,'' Foreign Minister George Papandreou said in an interview to Sunday's edition of ''To Vima'' newspaper.

    Asked whether it would be preferable for the Greek Cypriot side for the efforts to settle the political problem of Cyprus to be transferred after the island republic's accession to the European Union, Papandreou claimed that ''this view is logical'' but that he however did not share it.

    ''Historic conjunctures such as todays are not easy to exist anew. Due to (the EU summit) Copenhagen, developments in Turkey and of course its desire to strengthen its European prospects, which is also supported by America.''

    ''However America also knows, and I say this because many people do not understand the insistence of the U.S.A. for the Cyprus issue to be solved, that the dynamics of Turkey's European course could be halted due to the Cyprus issue. As well as that the procedure of Greek-Turkish rapprochement and cooperation, which has produced significant benefits for stability in the region, will proceed up to a point, but the bilateral relations cannot be completely smoothed if the Cyprus issue is not solved.''

    [03] PM Simitis interview to 'Frankfurter Allgemeine'

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis in an interview which appeared in Sunday's edition of Germany's ''Frankfurter Allgemeine'' news-paper said ''we know Turkey much less than the other candidates for (EU) accession.''

    Asked whether the European Union was over cautious by hesitating to set a date for the start of accession talks with Turkey, the Greek prime minister replied: ''I don't think so. We know Turkey less than the other candidates for accession. Turkey is not a state like the others. This has to do both with its religion and its history. On the other hand, Turkey is cooperating with Europe in many sectors. Something which means yes to its candidacy. However, Turkey should continue to work in this direction.''

    To the observation in the article, entitled ''Europe will soon become multicultural'', that president of the Convention for the Future of Europe, Giscard d'Estaing, had claimed that Turkey is not a European country and that consequently it should be made clear to the Turks that they will never become EU members, Simitis replied: ''I am not of the same opinion. There are many regions in Europe where people live differently from the others, without this meaning that they should have been excluded (from Europe). We have different perceptions on the form of family and labor. Turkey is already since the 19th Century closely connected with us. We should not reject it.''

    In another interview to the financial-political newspaper HB, which will appear in Monday's edition, Simitis expressed the view that the decision for Cyprus' accession to the European Union will be taken at the EU summit in Copenhagen in December even if a solution of the political problem of Cyprus has not been reached by then, something he said he believes ''rather improbable'' to happen in such a short period of time.

    Asked to what extent the submission of a plan by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan can lead in the short-term, that is until the EU summit, to a solution, Simitis replied negatively, given that an assessment and negotiations will be needed on these proposals.

    ''The Annan proposals will constitute the basis for further negotiations,'' Simitis said, adding: ''The important priorities for us are two - the proposals should be based on the UN Security Council resolutions and comply with the principles of the EU.''

    [04] Gov't spokesman reserved over new Turkish gov't policy

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas appeared reserved over the policy of the new Turkish government in an interview with the newspaper ''Axia'' on Saturday.

    ''There are positive references by (Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip) Erdogan for the need to continue Turkey's European course and for an improvement in relations with Greece. However, as I have already told you, it remains to be seen what his position on the major issue of resolving the Cyprus issue will be. Whether he will contribute in deed to Turkey's adjustment to the framework set in Helsinki. I hope the optimists will come true,'' Protopapas said.

    On the question of Erdogan's initial references to the "Belgian model" for Cyprus, Protopapas reiterated that for Greece a solution should secure a single sovereignty, representation and nationality, adding that it should be viable, workable and in accordance with acquis communautaire.

    [05] Ministers comment on developments in Cyprus issue, UN plan

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Deputy Education Minister Nikos Gesoulis in statements in Thessaloniki, northern Greece on Sunday referred to developments in the Cyprus issue in view of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's pending submission to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides of a plan for a political solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Annan's plan is due to be submitted to the two sides on Monday.

    Tsohatzopoulos said that what is important is to make clear that ''priority is Cyprus' accession to the European Union but we cannot accept any compromise simply because this accession course.''

    He added that ''there is room for continuing the dialogue for a political solution even after the accession of the Cypriot Republic.''

    On his part, Venizelos stressed that ''we must avoid rendering the Cyprus issue an object of sterile internal dispute, either here or in Cyprus.''

    Gesoulis expressed the hope that ''we will have positive results,'' stressing that ''the conditions have matured for Cyprus not constituting a point of tension, dispute and conflict between the two peoples.''

    [06] WINPEACE wants date for Turkey-EU accession talks, speedy Cyprus solution

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    The setting of a date for the start of Turkey-EU accession talks and the promotion of the settlement of the political problem of Cyprus as soon as possible, are included in the positions adopted by the women who comprise the ''Greece-Turkey Women's Peace Initiative'' (WINPEACE) during their 6th meeting which ended in Istanbul on Sunday.

    During the three-day meeting, the women of WINPEACE also unanimously opposed a possible war against Iraq, stating that ''an eventual war will cause a terrifying number of victims, hunger and poverty for the people of Iraq who for a decade are suffering from the repercussions of sanctions, while furthermore, the balance of power in the region will be seriously disturbed.''

    The coordinator of the organization for Greece is Margaret Papandreou.

    [07] Labor ministry organizes European employment forum

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    The Labor ministry organized a "European Forum on Social Economy and Employment" at which Deputy Labor Minister Eleftherios Tziolas held talks on the European Social Society's charter.

    Tziolas informed his interlocutors that the charter has been included in the agenda of the Greek European Union presidency, scheduled to take place in the first half of 2003, while the preparation of relevant positions is already underway in cooperation with the European Commission and the present Danish presidency.

    [08] Development minister presides over 1st Business Forum

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos presided over the 1st Business Forum organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Larissa, central Greece, on Saturday and presented a development program for the region of Thessaly which includes financing for linking agricultural production with tourism, trade and processing.

    Tsohatzopoulos also had the opportunity, on the sidelines of the forum, to meet with business organizations and businessmen for an exchange of views on issues concerning the sector.

    He appealed for a response, through specific proposals to businessmen, to opportunities for the financing of businesses, through the Business Development Program, in such sectors as trade, energy, informatics, tourism, processing and agriculture.

    Work has also begun to promote the European Cooperatives' charter, while a proposal to certify the social responsibility of companies is being examined positively as well.

    [09] Greek minister Anomeritis discusses future of Cyprus' shipping register

    NICOSIA 11/11/2002 (ANA - Th. Lambropoulos)

    Greece's Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis on Sunday completed his consultations with his Cypriot counterpart Averof Neofytou and Cyprus Parliament President Demetris Christofias.

    Discussed at the talks were issues concerning merchant shipping and the future of the Cypriot shipping register after the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, when Cyprus must strictly implement the EU's legislation.

    Anomeritis stressed that Greece and Cyprus will create a common front in the international maritime organizations, while his Cypriot counterpart noted that the Cypriot flag will cease to henceforth be a flag of opportunity, as ''the European Commission closed the file of Cyprus' shipping early, approving it.''

    [10] PASOK assesses municipal election results in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    The ruling PASOK party's enlarged prefectural guidance body in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, convened on Sunday to assess the results of October's municipal and prefectural elections in the city and prefecture of Thessaloniki.

    Speakers focused on what must be done to enable the party to give a victorious battle in Thessaloniki in general elections due in 2004, drawing conclusions from the outcome of the municipal and prefectural elections.

    The meeting was held in camera and, according to reports, participants assessed that targets should be set immediately for the party's organizational and political regrouping in Thessaloniki.

    [11] Party leader calls for party leaders' meeting

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) party leader Dimitris Tsovolas called on Saturday for a meeting of political party leaders chaired by President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    He said a national strategy should be determined to confront the ''unacceptable pressures'' he predicts will be exerted on Greece and Cyprus.

    ''The effort by the major powers of the West and (UN secretary general) Kofi Annan to use the process of Cyprus' accession to the European Union as a tool for exerting pressure on the government of Cyprus and the Greek government for the acceptance of fait accomplis in Cyprus is clear,'' Tsovolas said.

    [12] British press praises Greece's Olympic Games efforts

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

    The British press on Sunday praised Greece's efforts to complete preparations in time for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

    The authoritative London "Times" newspaper, in a report titled ''Bravo, considerable progress, continue'', sums up assessments made by a delegation of the International Olympic Committee's Coordinating Committee over progress achieved in preparations for the Olympic Games.

    ''The IOC's inspectors in Athens had a very positive picture and impression of progress. But they also added that there must be no slackness in efforts to make the Athens Olympic Games successful, just like the Sydney Olympic Games,'' the newspaper said.

    In a report on the Athens Olympic Games, the British news-paper "Guardian" refers to an investment totalling 1,900,000,000 euros made by the Greek government in the health sector on the occasion of the Olympic Games, upgrading hospitals and building new ones.

    The report further said it is the biggest investment in Greek history in this sector and added that Athens will benefit a great deal from the Olympic Games with the building of a new Metro system and new motorways and the operation of a tram service.

    [13] Council of Europe education ministers sign Olympic Truce

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    Education ministers responsible for youth issues from 15 Council of Europe member-states signed the Olympic Truce Proclamation in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Saturday in the presence of Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    In a statement later, Papandreou said the Olympic Truce is a considerable tool and vision linked to Greek and European traditions and has the capability of giving a new impetus to the sector of citizens' diplomacy and culture.

    The Olympic Truce Proclamation has been signed so far by many heads of state and personalities.

    [14] Annan informs leaders on meeting with envoys

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

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has notified President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to meet Monday with his representatives.

    No explicit reason has been given for the meetings but according to reliable sources these concern the delivery to the two leaders of a plan for the solution of the Cyprus question Annan's aides have prepared.

    The plan is said to be delivered to President Clerides by Annan's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto in Nicosia on Monday afternoon. The same day in New York Denktash's adviser Ergun Olgun will take delivery of the plan. Denktash, recovering from open heart surgery in New York, will be in hospital for medical test at the time.

    According to the same sources, the permanent representatives of the three guarantor powers of Cyprus' independence and territorial integrity (Greece, Britain and Turkey) to the UN will have separate meetings with Sir Kieran Prendergast, UN Under-secretary for Political Affairs.

    A letter by Annan is expected to be attached to the plan inviting its recipients to rise to the historic occasion and show the political will to reach agreement before the European Union summit in mid December in Copenhagen.

    [15] UN solution plan to be handed probably Monday, says Minister

    Athens, 11/11/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides believes that it is highly likely that a UN proposal on a solution to the Cyprus question will be handed to the government on Monday.

    Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, the minister said the government has not seen any drafts of the proposed plan but has taken precautionary action to avert any unwanted elements in the text.

    Kasoulides explained that the president's stated preference to have such a plan put forward once the election campaign is over has nothing to do with domestic politics but it stresses the president's innermost thought that his primary concern is to find ways to protect in the best possible manner the national interests of the people of Cyprus.

    The minister said that now President Glafcos Clerides will need more support from the island's political leadership.

    ''The president has often explained to foreign envoys and to the UN Secretary General that because his term in office is drawing to a close (February next year) he is obliged to be more intense in his positions during negotiations on any proposed plan,'' Kasoulides said.

    The president is certainly willing to discuss any plan, he said but stressed that foreign mediators on Cyprus need to understand that whereas they made an effort not to disturb the domestic front in Turkey during its election campaign, they are not applying the same policy in Cyprus.

    Presidential elections are due in February next year in Cyprus and already three political leaders are contesting the elections. Turkey had general elections in early November.

    Asked if he could confirm that the UN plan will be handed over on Monday, he replied ''no, I cannot confirm anything of the sort, but all indications are that it is very likely that we shall have the plan on Monday.''

    ''We have not seen any drafts. Now we are going to see the result of our efforts to eliminate from such a plan elements which we cannot accept,'' the minister said.

    [16] President: Kyrenia ship symbol of will to reunite Cyprus

    LIMASSOL 11/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    President Glafcos Clerides, House President Demetris Christofias and Greek minister of Merchant Shipping George Anomeritis attended on Sunday a ceremony to launch the vessel that will carry Cyprus copper to Greece for the bronze medals of the 2004 Olympic Games.

    ''The ship Kyrenia-Freedom sends a message of optimism and hope and it is a symbol of our will to continue our efforts until Cyprus is reunited,'' President Clerides said in his brief address at the launch of the vessel in Limassol port.

    Kyrenia-Freedom is a replica of the Kyrenia ship, a fourth century vessel that sank off the northern coast around 300 BC near the port of Kyrenia, which has been under Turkish occupation for the past 28years.

    The original vessel was discovered in 1965 by a Cypriot diver, Andreas Kariolou, and is believed to be the oldest ship ever discovered in the condition that it was. She now lies in Kyrenia castle and it is under the protection of the UNESCO, the UN cultural organization.

    President Clerides said Kyrenia-Freedom is a ''living ambassador'' of Cyprus and its people and has attracted the interest of archaeologists from around the world.

    Kyrenia mayor Constantinos Orologas said the reconstruction of the ancient ship of Kyrenia is a symbol of the renewal of Cyprus.

    Greek minister Anomeritis, representing the Greek government, said the joint ship registry of Greece and Cyprus, once the latter joins the European Union, will amount to 52 per cent of the European ship registry.

    This, he said, is due ''to our ancient roots and links with the sea.''

    Greek Ambassador here Christos Panagopoulos, representing the Greek President, congratulated everybody on their noble endeavor to take copper to Greece f


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