|Tuesday, 15 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-13
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 13, 2002
 President Stephanopoulos briefed on contents of Annan plan
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos was briefed on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus issue by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday, who presented him with a copy of the set of proposals made by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
After the meeting, Simitis reiterated that the proposals were a starting point for negotiations and stressed that the text was now being examined closely by the Greek and Greek-Cypriot sides.
Many of the points contained within the set of proposals would be discussed with the other side and the United Nations, he noted, while stressing that all the negotiations would be carried out by the Cypriot leadership.
The Greek government and Greek people would support Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and help in the negotiations he would carry out, the prime minister added.
Simitis said the government had briefed the political parties earlier on Tuesday and given them copies of the UN chief's proposals. He also announced that he would arrange meetings with the political party leaders next week to hear their views on the issue.
In order for negotiations to be held and for Greece to support these, specific views and positions were needed, he added.
Simitis pointed out that the Cyprus problem had remained unsolved for decades, during which successive Greek governments had pressed for a UN proposal, such as the one submitted now.
For this reason, he said, it was very important for the Greek and Greek-Cypriot side to try to use this opportunity to achieve a solution to the problem through negotiations.
Responding to questions, the prime minister also reiterated once again that Cyprus' accession to the European Union was in no way linked to solving the political problem on the island.
 FM presents copies of UN Cyprus plan to opposition party leaders
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday handed a copy of the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for the resolution of the Cyprus problem to the opposition parties that are represented in the Parliament, as well as to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, who will distribute to all deputies ahead of Thursday's relevant discussion in the foreign and defense affairs committee.
Papandreou visited the office of main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and presented him with the plan.
''New Democracy will study the document and take a position based on the interests of Hellenism,'' ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said in a press release issued after the Karamanlis-Papandreou meeting.
According to sources, the meeting between Papandreou and Karamanlis lasted only nine minutes and the ND leader asked the foreign minister whether there were any timetables set by the UN.
Karamanlis did not wish for further clarifications, concerning the text, by the legal councilors of the foreign ministry, as was suggested by Papandreou, but stressed that ND would study the text and then respond.
The meeting took place in a climate created by the government's decision to delay the submittal of the plan's copies to opposition parties, due to an agreement with the government of Cyprus.
''The delay of the government to submit the text to the parties of the opposition was a mistake, on which I will make no further comments,'' ND spokesman Roussopoulos said.
''We reiterate that this is the moment of grand decisions. Now is the time of the highest national understanding. For this reason we reiterate the proposal for the convening of the council of political leaders under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic,'' he concluded.
On his part, Papandreou said that the government wished for the widest possible consensus, expressing the wish and hope that it will materialize, while it did not rule out the possibility for the convening of the council of political leaders under the chairman-ship of the President of the Republic.
He said, however, that the convening of the council may take place after the completion of Prime Minister Costas Simitis' contacts with the political leaders next week, and the visit of Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on Saturday, and of course if the discussions have progressed and the decisions for negotiations have been taken.
Papandreou recognized that there are issues that are negative in the plan, concerning the viability and functionality of the resolution, adding, however, that these issues should not be discussed in public, alluding that these issues will be part of the negotiations.
According to sources, Papandreou said to Karamanlis that the negotiations on the Annan plan will take place either in a ''proximity talks'' fashion or through UN envoy Alvaro de Soto.
He added that Cyprus appears to be positive concerning the possibility of negotiations, while Ankara maintains low tones and for this reason Athens should not appear negative toward the plan, the sources said.
Later, Papandreou handed the plan to Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga, who said, in statements after the meeting that there is a tight timetable for the conclusion of negotiations.
She added that the plan presented a ''blackmailing dilemma, either agreement or chaos'', while she expressed the opinion, that there may be pre-agreed facts. She also said that the Annan plan was not within UN resolutions.
The foreign minister also presented the plan to Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos, who said that ''we should set aside the party interests and act not with our eyes set on the next elections, but based on the national interest''.
Papandreou also on Tuesday visited Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and presented him with a copy of the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for the resolution of the Cyprus problem.
According to Kaklamanis the plan will be discussed in the Parliament's foreign and defense affairs' committee on Thursday, while the plan will be distributed to all parliament deputies on Wednesday.
 Gov't to confer with parties on the UN plan for Cyprus next week
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)The government was still in the phase of planning the briefing of Greek political party leaders on the United Nations' proposed peace plan for Cyprus, government spokesman Christos Protopapas told reporters on Tuesday, while he did not rule out the possibility of a party leaders' summit chaired by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
He said this would be decided in meetings between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the party leaders next Monday and Tuesday to ascertain their initial response to the set of proposals submitted to the two sides by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The political party leaders would also have an opportunity to talk with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, who had arranged to meet with the Greek opposition parties as well as the government when he visited Athens on Saturday, the spokesman noted.
At this stage, Protopapas stressed, the government was mainly interested in making arrangements that would help the country adopt a united stance, while it was also anxious to allow the Cypriot side to have the first say, since the Cyprus government would bear the final responsibility for the choices that were made.
''We will work with and support President Clerides,'' he emphasized.
Responding to complaints from the opposition parties that they had not received the Annan plan on Monday, along with the government, Protopapas said the complaints were 'unfair' and pointed out that the proposed plan had to first be presented to the political parties on Cyprus.
''For reasons of propriety and etiquette, we have to present the plan to political party leaders after Cyprus' National Council has convened,'' he stressed.
Regarding Athens' initial stance to the Annan proposals, Protopapas reiterated that the Annan document was a ''starting point for negotiations'' and that finding a solution on Cyprus after 28 years favored Greek interests.
''The voices calling for us to stay away from negotiations are leading us down dangerous paths, those of de facto division,'' he added.
Asked about the one-week deadline set by Annan for the two sides to respond to his proposals, Protopapas said that it was feasible for the two sides to decide on a framework of an agreement before the EU summit in Copenhagen but that this would not be a condition for Cyprus' EU accession.
He particularly stressed that Cyprus' EU accession and a solution to the Cyprus issue should not be seen as linked in any way and also that EU enlargement could not go ahead without Cyprus.
Earlier on Tuesday, foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis had noted that the one-week time frame given by Annan was not a deadline but the time needed to study and process the 135-page UN document so that negotiations between the two sides could begin.
He also reiterated that the UN plan was seen by Athens as the basis and starting point of further negotiations.
According to Beglitis, the only target date within the plan was March 30, 2003, so that if a solution was achieved the electorate could be given a final say in a national referendum.
He announced that Foreign Minister George Papandreou would begin a round of meetings with European Union ministers and officials to assess whether the plan was workable and compatible with European laws and regulations, beginning with his German counterpart Joschka Fischer, EU common foreign policy and defense policy chief Javier Solana and EU Commissioner for enlargement Guenter Verheugen.
He said the meetings sought to ensure that the EU would act in a supportive and advisory way so that the plan was in the interests of both communities but also the EU itself, in order to avoid problems.
Beglitis particularly stressed that negotiations on Annan's plan would continue as long as was necessary and that the two dates mentioned within it - the start of the EU summit in Copenhagen on December 12 and the signature of treaties for the new EU member-states on April 16 2003 in Athens - were not binding.
 Gov't meeting at prime ministers' office on Cyprus issue
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Cyprus issue developments and the set of proposals submitted by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan were once again the focus of a government meeting on Tuesday between Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas and Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
Commenting afterward, Papandreou said the meeting had focused on the next steps that had to be taken after the Annan plan was presented, with the most important being to brief the political parties and state institutions.
The president of the republic had already been briefed earlier in the day by the prime minister, he noted, while he would brief the political leaders himself later on Tuesday.
The government also intended to keep the public as highly informed as possible on all aspects of the issue and to jointly decide on a position with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.
According to Papandreou, the aim was to achieve as broad a consensus as possible. To this end, he announced that he would also brief the Greek Parliament and former foreign ministers.
Asked if there would be a party leaders' summit chaired by the president, Papandreou said this was initially viewed positively as a means of achieving the greatest possible agreement.
Following the briefing by himself and the prime minister's meeting with Clerides, the prime minister would then meet with each of the party leaders individually and a decision on whether there would be a meeting together would be taken at that time, he added.
 Main opposition expresses reservations over UN plan for Cyprus
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)The set of proposals put forward by the United Nations chief for solving the Cyprus problem was by default a starting point for negotiations but not necessarily a good one, a high-level source within main opposition New Democracy said on Tuesday.
The party said it was concerned about a series of issues contained within the document presented on Monday by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Top ND official George Souflias said the party would present its positions officially once it had been given an opportunity to examine the Annan proposals in depth, which Foreign Minister George Papandreou was due to deliver on Tuesday afternoon.
ND leader Costas Karamanlis has been in meetings with aides and officials on this issue since Tuesday morning, while the party may convene its political council over the coming week.
Karamanlis hopes to have the party's official position ready by Thursday or by Saturday at the latest, to coincide with the visit by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides to Athens.
 Annan plan for Cyprus 'balanced', EU Commissioner says
BRUSSELS 13/11/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)The set of proposals for a solution to the Cyprus problem put forward by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan were described as "balanced" on Tuesday by European Commissioner for enlargement Guenter Verheugen.
At the same time, however, Verheugen noted that the European Commission would have to examine the text in depth before it announced its views.
Speaking at the Centre for European Policy in Brussels, Verheugen also described Annan's plan as a "courageous and important step" and said that it could bring about the peaceful coexistence of the two communities on Cyprus if they agreed to it.
Verheugen noted that the Commission would prefer that Cyprus join the EU reunited - though this was not a condition for accession which would proceed regardless - and he urged Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to "seize the opportunity" to reach an agreement before the end of the year.
With respect to glitches regarding European laws and regulations, he said the EU would discuss the imposition of transitional regulations and periods with the United Nations if this was judged necessary, similar to those imposed in previous enlargements, which imposed restrictions on the free movement of persons, capital and the right to buy real estate.
 Europarliament president calls Annan Cyprus plan "a unique opportunity"
BRUSSELS 13/11/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)European Parliament President Pat Cox on Tuesday called a ''radical section in the history of the Cyprus issue'', the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for the resolution of the island republic's political problem.
In a written statement, here, Cox said that the proposals tabled by Annan constitute a ''unique opportunity for our times'' to resolve the Cyprus issue and the ''best opportunity, after decades of impasse, for the accession of a reunified Cyprus to the European Union''.
''The leaders of the two communities should take advantage of this unique opportunity, so as to realize a solution of the problem before the Copenhagen Summit,'' he said.
 State Department urges two sides to work urgently with Annan
WASHINGTON 13/11/2002 (ANA/T.Ellis)The United States called on the two sides in Cyprus to seize the "historic opportunity" that exists before the European Union (EU) decides for enlargement in Copenhagen in December, and work urgently with the UN Secretary-General to achieve a Cyprus settlement.
In a statement released after the UN presented Cyprus President
Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash with a proposal for a Cyprus settlement Monday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher expressed Washington's full support to the ongoing UN efforts to find a just and durable settlement to the problem.
"The United States strongly welcomes the initiative of the Secretary-General Kofi Annan to present a proposal for a comprehensive settlement to the two Cypriot leaders as a basis for an agreement," he said.
"We fully support this step and the ongoing efforts by the Secretary-General, his Special Advisor Alvaro De Soto and the Good Offices Mission to find a just and durable solution to the long-standing division of the island", the State Department spokesman noted.
"We encourage the two sides to study the settlement proposal carefully, to provide their considered responses and to work urgently with the Secretary-General to achieve a settlement by seizing the historic opportunity that exists before the European Union makes its decisions on enlargement in Copenhagen in December,'' Boucher added.
 Alternate FM interviewed by Turkish television channel
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, in a telephone interview with the Turkish NTV television channel on Tuesday, said UN Secretary General Kofi Annanís blueprint for Cyprus is a proposal the Greek government wishes to examine carefully to have an in-depth assessment, adding that it believes it represents a basis for negotiations and discussions.
''I believe the greatest priority requiring a great decision is that my government has accepted the idea that whatever progress in Cyprus is linked to a compromise. A compromise which can be acceptable to all sides and we believe it will provide a very beneficial prospect for all parties involved,'' he said.
Yiannitsis also said everything depends on some big ''ifs.'' If what is required is a better future for Cyprus and if someone is determined to make concessions to achieve this target.
''Of course, what comes first is the establishment of a workable and effective state which will be able to function inside the European Union. These are the basic principles of our rapprochement,'' he added.
Yiannitsis stressed that Greece and Turkey currently have the opportunity to benefit from the transition to strategies of closer cooperation.
 DM attends launching of navy's new missile boat
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou attended the launching on Tuesday of the first of five new Super Vita-type missile boats at the Elefsina shipyards, the missile boat ''Lieutenant N. Roussen.''
The cost of the program for building the first three missile boats amounts to 440 million euros.
Papantoniou said the Government Council of Foreign and Defense Affairs (KYSEA) will convene soon to decide on the purchase of corvettes to further strengthen the fleet.
He further said the government is securing conditions of healthy competition regarding the awarding of armed forces orders.
He also reiterated that the government intends to increase the percentage of the Greek defense industry's participation in orders for weaponry systems from 12 percent at present to 20 percent.
The defense minister referred to measures being taken to modernize the armed forces to enable them to become even more reliable, capable and effective.
 Deputy public order minister to attend Adriatic & Ionian Seas' initiative
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Deputy Public Order Minister Evangelos Malesios will depart for Lecce, Italy on Wednesday to participate in the meeting of the public order and interior ministers of the member-states of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas' initiative.
The meeting will be attended by ministers from Greece, Italy, Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Yugoslavia, while ministers from Cyprus, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Turkey and Bulgaria will seat in as observers.
 Alternate FM Yiannitsis meets OSCE officials
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)The recent developments in the Cyprus issue and particularly the UN Secretary General's submission of a plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem was the focus of talks which Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis had with a delegation of the parliamentary assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OECD) on Tuesday.
British parliamentarian Bruce George, who headed the delegation, expressed the hope that the plan's proposals will be studied with sincerity and positively by all sides for the achievement of an agreement.
They also discussed issues related to security and stability in the broader region of the Mediterranean and the Balkans.
 Deputy FM meets with Cuban, Bosnian ambassadors
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Tuesday met with Cuban Ambassador to Athens J. Quesada Conception and discussed issues related to the preparation of the joint interministerial committee, which will take place in Athens in the next three months.
They also discussed bilateral relations and the promotion of development aid from Greece to Cuba to the tune of 1.5 billion euros.
The Greek Minister also met with Bosnia's Ambassador to Athens L. Zukovic and discussed issues related to the Greek Balkan Reconstruction plan.
The two men focused on the reconstruction of the Sarajevo Common Institutions building. Greece undertook the reconstruction of this building as Bosnia submitted a comprehensive plan for it.
Zukovic thanked the minister for Greece's aid and said that his country would submit further plans for funding.
 2003 budget to be submitted Tuesday, Nov 19
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Next year's budget, to be submitted to parliament next Tuesday, November 19, will seek the continuation of the country's development course, agricultural growth, supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises and regional convergence, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis to discuss budget issues, Mr Christodoulakis said that incomes policy for 2003 would be based on inflation projections and stressed that the government's aim was to support workers' income.
The Greek minister noted that next year's budget would also aim to contain public spending and seek balancing of spending the revenues.
Mr Christodoulakis also announced that the economy and finance ministry was drafting a special bill, to be submitted to parliament after the 2003 budget, setting spending evaluation rules.
 Finance minister and DM discuss defense ministry's budget
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Tuesday discussed the defense ministry's budget for the year 2003, as well as issues related to defense and shipbuilding industries and the merger between the Hellenic Vehicles Industry and the Pyrkal ammunition company.
Papantoniou said there is nothing immediate concerning privatizations in the defense industry sector, but added that the general direction is reorganization, privatization and international cooperation in these companies.
Christodoulakis said issues concerning the financing of defense and the reorganization of several defense industry sectors were discussed.
He added that defense industries can be orientated better to enable local participation in the country's armaments programs to increase.
Asked whether the new budget will contain austerity measures, particularly in the expenditures sector, Christodoulakis said that since 1994 when Greece started to enter a fiscal stability and convergence course in a reliable and systematic way the word austerity has been abandoned.
 Budget revenues up 8.2 percent in Jan-Oct
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Greek budget revenues rose 8.2 percent in the first 10 months of 2002 compared with the same period last year, the finance ministry said on Tuesday.
VAT revenues jumped 11.7 percent in the January-October period, income tax revenues rose 4.9 percent, while other revenues rose 13.3 percent over the same period. Securities' transaction tax revenues, however, dropped 46.1 percent in the January-October period.
 Greek companies have advantage in Balkan expansion
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Greek companies have the opportunity to develop business activities in the Balkans and in the EU candidate-countries, helped by the economic environment prevailing in the country, D.J. Bruinsma, Holland's secretary-general for International Economic Relations said on Tuesday.
Addressing a meeting, organized by the Northern Greece's Industry Union (SBBE) and the Greek-Holland Trade and Industry Union, Mr Bruinsma referred to problems facing the global economy and their impact on his country's economy.
Mr Bruinsma stressed that economic growth in the Netherlands fell to 0.5 percent this year, from 1.3 percent in 2001 and 3.3 percent in 2000, and that the government budget would show a deficit this year and in 2003 after recording surpluses in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
A process of stabilization and democratization in the Balkan states ensured improved trade relations with the rest of the world, Mr Bruinsma said and added that Greece was a gate towards the Balkans.
Mr Bruinsma noted that companies from Holland would benefit from an expected expansion of the European Union as his country was one of the three biggest trade partners of all candidate countries, a relation that could improve further after the expansion.
 Greek GDP rises 3.4 percent in 3rd quarter, yr/yr
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Greece's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by 3.4 percent in the third quarter of 2002 compared with the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Tuesday.
NSS said that based on this performance the Greek economy could achieve a target for a 3.8 percent growth rate this year.
The 3.4 percent growth rate in the July-September period reflected, a 2.2 percent increase in spending on final consumption which resulted to a 1.4 percent rise in total demand, an 8.6 percent increase in investments, and 1.7 percent rise in exports and a 2.8 percent increase in imports, compared with the same quarter in 2001.
 EU: Greek labor market rigid in public sector, flexible in private sector
BRUSSELS 13/11/2002 (ANA/G.Zitouniati)The Greek labor market is characterized by rigidity in the public sector and flexibility in the private sector, according to data contained in a European Union report released on Tuesday.
EU Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, who handles social affairs, authored the report on the labor market in the 15-nation bloc.
The report showed that the Greek economy grew by 4.1 percent in 2001 while employment fell by 0.3 percent; and its main structural problems remained.
A low rate of employment at 55.4 percent lagged the EU average, and the figure was lower for women at 40.9 percent and for young people at 26.0 percent, the report said.
Unemployment had dropped from a peak of 11.9 percent in 1999 to 10.5 percent in 2001, with downward pressure seen to below 10.0 percent, which was nevertheless still higher than the EU average.
Main targets of Greek policy in the sector were a rise in the percentage of employment, improvement in the quality of labor, and combatting joblessness and distortions in the labor market.
Recent action in Greece had focused on the adoption of new measures that aimed to tone up the labor market, revise legislation on redundancy procedures, and provide more incentives for part-time work.
The report noted that Greece had introduced active equal opportunity policies, and that more action was required to speed up reform of state employment services.
Some of the steps taken to boost business activity were on the right track, including tax incentives, simplification of administration, and support for new businesses and firms set up by women, the report added.
 De Palacio to visit Athens November 14-15
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)EU Commissioner for Transport and Energy, Mrs. Loyola de Palacio, will visit Athens November 14-15, to participate in the 1st Ministerial Summit of Southeastern Europe Regional Electricity Market, a conference supported by the European Commission, and to sign along with other ministers a memorandum of understanding on energy issues.
The conference is a Greek initiative aimed to promote an electricity market in the region, under common rules and operation framework, to be gradually included in a community energy market. The conference will include Albania, Yugoslavia, FYROM, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Italy and Hungary will participate as observers, while Turkey and Moldavia have asked to become members in the initiative. Russia will also participate.
Mrs. De Palacio will meet with the President of the Republic, Mr Costis Stephanopoulos, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Transport Minister Christos Verelis to discuss issues related with the Greek EU presidency, starting January 1, 2003.
 Minister briefs committee on structural programs
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, speaking on Tuesday during a briefing of the Parliamentary European Affairs Committee, said Greece should be in favor of candidate countries' structural programs, since such a development will not harm Greece's structural programs.
Christodoulakis said he himself favors the view that candidate countries should have the same handling as Greece had when it joined the European Union since such a thing, as he said, will contribute to the EU having more cohesion.
Referring to issues to be examined by the Greek EU presidency in the economic sector, in the first half of 2003, Christodoulakis focused on the effort to coordinate individual national economic policies and the need for mutual cooperation and information on individual employment policies and taxation issues.
The finance minister also said Greece is preparing a program on the Greek presidency's priorities in the economic sector and notified the committee that the informal meeting of finance ministers will take place in the city of Hania, Crete, in April.
 CSF programs to be activated by year end, govít says
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Greece's economy and finance ministry aims to fully activate all operational programs, included in a Third Community Support Framework, by the end of 2002, Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Christos Pahtas said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters in a regular briefing over the course of the program, Mr Pahtas said that already three-fourth of the program's total budget have been activated and stressed that "we are currently in a mature phase of implementing the program."
The Greek minister said that community funds' inflows total 3.5 billion euros, more than 100 percent of last year's contribution and stressed the figure ensured funds until 2004.
Mr Pahtas said he expected inflows totalling 1.5 billion euros to be completed in the first two months of 2003.
 Greek-Turkish Chamber sees benefits of political solution for Cyprus
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)The Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce said on Tuesday that a political solution to the Cyprus issue would multiply benefits expected to accrue from the island republic's entry into the European Union.
''Resolution of the Cyprus issue through a just and viable solution would greatly help Greece and Turkey, apart from the Cypriot people,'' the chamber's president, Panayotis Koutsikos, told reporters.
A solution would allow Greece freely to exercise European policy in the region, and Turkey would demonstrate in practice the genuineness of its intentions concerning a European orientation, Koutsikos said.
He was asked to comment on proposals for Cyprus by UN secretary general Kofi Annan.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks slip in volatile trade
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)The Athens bourse finished lower in volatile trade on Tuesday, with players dumping high capitalization paper and opting for small-scale buying in low cap stocks, traders said.
The general share index shed 0.21 percent to end at 1,828.23 points. Turnover was 84 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.46 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.26 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities 0.34 percent up.
Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 152 to 136 with 72 issues remaining unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Informatics, Hellenic Technodomiki, Spider, and Vardas.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 70.6 mln euros Tuesday
Equity Index Futures:
Day's Market Turnover: 70.6 mln euros
Bond Market Close: Sellers outstrip buyers on Tuesday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
 IOC president says that Athens 2004 progress is great
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)The progress that was marked in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games is great, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said in an interview to the Greek language service of BBC on Tuesday.
He added, however, that if there are any more delays then problems would creep up in the preparations for the Olympic Games in Athens.
Speaking of the IOC coordinating committee's report on Athens, Rogge underlined that besides the positive remarks it also contains some reservations, which, according to reports are related to projects concerning the Olympic Stadium and the tram.
He expressed his certainty that Athens will organize very good Games and expressed the satisfaction that Greece has understood the meaning of urgency.
Culture minister reports 'new outlook' at British Museum LONDON 13/11/2002 (ANA - M. Arvanitopoulou)
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday held a press conference in London to talk about the results of his talks with the new management of the British Museum.
Venizelos reported a ''new outlook'' at the British Museum regarding the Parthenon Marbles and said there was a steady swing toward Greek positions by the British government and British public opinion.
New Acropolis Museum presented at Congress Centre in London LONDON
13/11/2002 (ANA - M. Arvanitopoulou)Franco-Swiss architect Bernard Schumi made a presentation of the new Acropolis Museum at the Congress Centre here on Tuesday night.
The presentation took place in the presence of Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the President of the New Acropolis Museum Organization Dimitris Pantermalis and the Cultural Olympiad's managing director Manuela Pavlidou.
Introducing Schumi, the culture minister said that at present in Greece ''a huge plan to supplement and modernize cultural infrastructures is taking place. New museums, new cultural buildings, interventions at archaeological sites and monuments show many new cultural courses and many new tourist destinations.''
Referring to the late culture minister and actress Melina Mercouri, Venizelos said ''she will be watching developments with great satisfaction'', adding that the moment has arrived for a great political and cultural initiative with the return of the Parthenon Marbles.''
Venizelos also took the opportunity to comment on reports on antiquities found on the location where the new Acropolis Museum is being built.
''Some believe that these antiquities should be saved and, therefore, the museum is wrongly being built there. The truth is that in Greece, and in Athens in particular, it is practically impossible for whatever excavation or whatever technical project to take place without antiquities being found,'' he said.
Venizelos assured the audience that in such cases everything is evaluated with great scientific strictness to be protected and promoted in the best possible way.
In another development, speaking at a press conference here at noon, shortly before the Acropolis Museum's presentation, Venizelos reiterated that ''we are not seeking Aphrodite of Milos or Niki of Samothraki. We are seeking the building elements of a sculpture complex.''
Referring also to British press reports on Tuesday on the British Museum's tough refusal on the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, he said ''we did not expect the position of the British to change. Bur for the first time we exchanged arguments and sat at the negotiating table after two centuries. It appears, therefore, that our policy on the return of the Parthenon Marbles is producing considerable results.''
Venizelos further said a dynamic and clever politician like the British prime minister knows how to listen to the trend of public opinion, adding that he is satisfied with his contacts in the British capital and from the reactions of British citizens.
 Book by Turkish Cypriot journalist presented in Athens
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)A book by Turkish Cypriot journalist Sener Leved titled ''My homeland is under occupation'' and having the subtitle ''What does a Turkish general know about Nicosia nights which smell of jasmine?'' provided the cause for a general discussion on the blueprint for Cyprus at the Athens Press Association on Tuesday night.
Leved, who was absent from the event since his passport was confiscated by the regime of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, was accused of espionage and treason and was jailed in the summer of 2000.
He tells of his experience in his book which is a compilation of articles published in the newspaper ''Ayrupa'' (Europe) after his release from jail.
Leved's daughter conveyed the Turkish Cypriots' desire for peace.
 Extradition of alleged robber to Greece from Turkey delayed
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)The extradition of businessman Andreas Chtenas, 45, allegedly the mastermind behind two armed robberies in the northern town of Eleftheroupolis on October 31, to Greece from Turkey has been caught up in Turkish bureaucratic procedures.
Chtenas' extradition was initially expected next week, but relevant Turkish authorities suddenly notified their Greek counterparts that the businessman will be delivered after the extradition process anticipated by Turkish law has been completed and which might require another 40-50 days.
Apart from Chtenas, who was injured in the left leg following a shootout between himself, his accomplices and police shortly after the robberies, his wife and son were also involved, as well as four Albanian nationals who confessed and have been remanded in custody in a prison in the town of Komotini.
 Public order minister announces new legislation on police gun use and possession
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)The 50,000 police officers of Greece will undergo special psychological tests over the next five years according to a bill announced by Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis.
The new bill places this measure in order to reform the conditions of gun possession and use by police officers.
This new legislation is changing the processes of the Greek police system and reforms the existing legislation which is about 60 years old. The bill has been drafted by a committee of prosecutors, university professors and police officers.
This will be the first attempt, according to the minister, to place objective criteria in the use of weapons by police, as up to this point it was left up to the judgement of the police officer.
 Groups protesting alleged "N17" members' incarceration conditions to stage rally
Athens, 13/11/2002 (ANA)Strong police forces will mobilize on Wednesday as members of the self-styled ''Rally against State Terrorism'' along with other groups will stage a rally in protest of the incarceration conditions of alleged ''November 17'' terrorist group members.
The rally and planed march is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and will begin at the Pedion tou Areos in Central Athens and end up in front the Korydallos prison, in Eastern Attica.
 National Council to meet Nov. 18 to give final position on Annan document
NICOSIA 13/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)The National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, will meet again on Monday, November 18, to have an in-depth discussion on the proposal submitted on Monday by the UN Secretary-General for a Cyprus settlement.
Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou announced after a two-hour meeting of the body chaired by President Glafcos Clerides, that the Council members received copies of the Annan proposal as well as an analysis which Attorney-General Alecos Markides made after instructions by President Clerides.
No statements were made by the political party leaders, while President Clerides told reporters that the National Council meets behind closed doors and he would not disclose what was said.
Markides said he had been instructed to analyze key points of the Annan document. The Attorney-General said he gave Council members a realistic view of the plan.
Papapetrou told the press that the political parties will study these documents and the National Council will convene next Monday to begin a detailed discussion after the return of President Clerides from Athens.
President Clerides will have talks in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and other Greek leaders on the peace plan submitted to the parties involved in the Cyprus problem by the UN chief on Tuesday.
Asked whether the discussion within the National Council will deal with the reply, which the president will give to Kofi Annan or how the Greek Cypriot side will negotiate, Papapetrou replied it would cover "everything. The National Council will deal with the proposal in its entirety, its substance and course of action", he said.
"The reply of the Greek Cypriot side will be given to the UN Secretary-General after the National Council meeting, and when decisions will be taken", the spokesman added.
Although some sketchy positions were made and some questions were asked there was nothing to announce because everything depends on next Monday's Council meeting, Papapetrou explained.
Regarding the document submitted by Markides, Papapetrou explained, "it is an 18-page summary of the 144-page document of the Secretary-General".
Markides said "the President's instructions were for me to analyze the main points of the SC's plan without giving any positions, in a cold and logical manner, so that Council members can be informed in short on what it was about".
He said Council members got "a first overall picture" which would help with their scrutiny of the document.
Markides said he would prepare additional notes on the Annan document, which "contains some provisions which are incomprehensible and require analysis and perhaps clarifications from the UN team which has prepared the document".
The Attorney-General said the UN officials told President Clerides on Monday they are willing to provide any clarifications required and interpret what they have drafted.
Markides revealed the UN Secretary-General asked President Clerides through his Special Advisor, Alvaro de Soto, "not to make public his positions, either positive or negative, on points included in the plan, before our side reaches a final conclusion and after it studies the plan as a whole and discusses it with the Secretary-General".
The president, Markides said, accepted Annan's appeal.
 UN plan aims at signing of agreement in Copenhagen
UNITED NATIONS 13/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are set to sign a founding initial agreement in December, if both leaders agree that a UN proposal on a political settlement is a basis for further negotiation.
Clerides and Denktash have until November 18 to give Kofi Annan their assessment of the 137-page document his envoys handed to them on Monday.
Diplomatic sources at the UN seat in New York have told CNA that Annan, the US and Europeans wish to see this agreement signed on December 12, on the sidelines of the European Union summit in Copenhagen.
The same sources also said that the objective is to get an agreement signed by December 12 on a number of provisions of the UN proposal and leave the remaining points for future negotiation, which should be concluded by the end of February next year.
This would enable referendums to take place in Cyprus and have Cyprus' treaty of accession to the European Union signed in April.
UN Security Council members were briefed Monday night during informal consultations. The convening of the Council meeting was a closely guarded secret among the Secretary General, his special adviser Alvaro de Soto, the US and Britain.
Council members were given a nine-page executive summary of the proposal.
About ten representatives of the 15-member Council took the floor to air their views during the deliberations. Three of the permanent members, France, Russia and China, and some non permanent members said a statement by the Council president should note that a political settlement in Cyprus must be based on Security Council resolutions.
At the end of the day, it was agreed to issue a brief and general statement by the current Council president, China's permanent representative Wang Yingfan, which said ''at today's informal consultations, the Secretary General informed the members of the Security Council that he had put forward proposals as a basis for agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.''
''Members of the Council welcomed that decision and reaffirmed their full support for the continuation of the Secretary General's mission of good offices,'' the statement added.