|Tuesday, 10 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 15, 2002
 Simitis says Cyprus EU accession not linked to political solution
WARSAW, 15/11/2002 (ANA - V. Mourtis)Prime Minister Costas Simitis, speaking at a press conference here after a European Socialist Party session, reiterated on Thursday that Greece and its European Union partners have confirmed that in no way is Cyprus' accession to the EU linked to a solution of its political problem.
Referring to the critical stand observed by Greek opposition parties, as well as deputies of his ruling PASOK party, Simitis said it is hasty for opinions to be stressed on the parties' position.
''We harm the issue if he draw hasty conclusions,'' he said, adding that the Cypriots will play a leading role on the issue since it concerns them and requested ''before we state our position let's see how they (Cypriots) themselves will state their position.''
Simitis further said there was ample time for different prospects to be examined and to see what benefits Cyprus and Greece.
The prime minister categorically denied having any contact whatsoever with the winner of Turkey's recent elections Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, apart from that on November 4 which was a telephone one and during which he simply congratulated Erdogan for his victory.
Simitis was referring to statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel who had claimed that the two politicians had earlier contact.
He further clarified that with Erdogan he did not discuss ''either the proposals by Annan or the Cyprus issue.''
Commenting on whether Erdogan has the authority to talk with Greece on issues concerning Turkey, Simitis reminded that Erdogan heads the party which won the elections in Turkey, he has an absolute majority and this means and constitutes a token of his authority to negotiate on behalf of his country.
On Friday, Simitis will be having a meeting here in the afternoon with the leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican Popular Party Deniz Baykal (at 4.30 p.m. Greek time) and make statements to Greek reporters afterwards.
Simitis attended the European Socialist Party's session on ''The global responsibilities of unified Europe'' which focused on ways of enabling globalization to function for the benefit of all, regulating markets and institutions and paving the way for economic, social and environmental progress, justice, security, stability and peace.
The prime minister mentioned later that the issue of EU enlargement was discussed in this context, which concerns the countries of central Europe and the EU itself.
He further said the desire for enlargement is a common one, just like the assessment that decisions will be taken at the Copenhagen summit on enlargement without particular difficulties is also a common one, since the political will has been expressed.
Simitis also referred to difficulties the enlargement will have for the countries of central Europe, given that the general economic situation, as it appears in the EU, does not allow considerable funds to be used for cooperation and growth.
On the question of common agricultural policy, he said there has been a sum agreed on for the enlargement countries which is relatively small.
The issue of illegal immigration was another one Simitis referred to, which is an important one for the countries of central Europe which believe that the EU is in a position to contribute to a limitation of the phenomenon.
Simitis said the same countries are optimistic that during the Greek presidency many issues of interest to them will be promoted, since they are aware that Greece is a country which supported their accession to the EU.
 Greek premier meets with Polish counterpart in Warsaw
Warsaw, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday met with Poland's Prime Minister Leszek Miller, at the sidelines of the Party of European Socialism (PES) conference, which is taking place in Warsaw.
Following the meeting the Greek premier was asked by Polish reporters of possibility for the resolution of the Cyprus issue, before the Copenhagen summit.
He responded "we stated that the proposals of the United Nations (the Annan plan) constitute the basis for negotiations. The Greek Cypriot side will negotiate and if the other side agrees, then it will be possible to overcome the difficulties, something that will lead, possibly, to the signing, before Dec. 12. But at this time nothing is for sure".
Asked to describe the best possible scenario, Simitis said "as I said before, we have ahead of us the negotiations for the final solution, because there are many points, which are possible to be settled in an logical manner. And we hope that the other side, the Turkish side will agree".
 Greek minister sees considerable change in Turkish politics
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who participated in his capacity as European Socialist Party (ESP) Vice President in Thursday's directorate meeting, also attended by Turkish Republican Popular Party leader Deniz Baykal as observer, said he sees a considerable change in the political situation in Turkey.
Tsohatzopoulos had a brief exchange of views both with Baykal and Kemal Dervish, who is also in Warsaw.
Tsohatzopoulos made a rough comparison between the current political situation in Turkey and the changeover to democracy from military rule experienced by Greece in 1974.
He believes the situation in Turkey has been stabilized, while he got the impression from his interlocutors that the two parties have good cooperation to enable problems existing in the neighboring country to be handled.
Referring to the latest phase entered by the Cyprus issue, Tsohatzopoulos said it should be made clear in all directions that the European Union's new enlargement will include Cyprus as well and this also has a positive prospect for Turkey and this prospect will be registered in the resolution to be issued.
 Foreign minister briefs Parliament Committee on Annan plan
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday denied that the set of proposals for solving the Cyprus issue put forward by the United Nations effectively created a new state on the island, saying that the Cyprus Republic would evolve under the plan and that this required a new name, a new flag and a new national anthem.
''These things were all foreseen in the agreement between (Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash and (then Cyprus Archbishop and head of state) Makarios,'' Papandreou noted while briefing Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the document presented by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday.
There were clear references showing the continuity of the Cypriot state within the plan, Papandreou said, while the island would have a single sovereignty and a single nationality given by the central government.
Papandreou also stressed that the time frames mentioned within the proposal were not ultimatums and were only binding if agreement was reached. If there was no agreement by December 12, he added, the Greek government would try to preserve the momentum for finding a solution beyond the Copenhagen EU summit but would not allow this to interfere with Cyprus' accession to the EU.
''Clearly there can be no EU enlargement without Cyprus,'' he said.
Earlier on, the foreign minister had emphasized that the country was now faced with a ''historic moment and a historic responsibility,'' that surpassed the narrow limits of government, party and country.
He called for cooperation and coordinated actions by all the political forces in Greece, noting that past divisions had only brought about mistakes and disasters.
Warning against both excessive enthusiasm and excessive pessimism, he called for transparency, honest discussion and an exchange of views, while stressing the high level of coordination between the Greek and Cypriot governments.
At the same time, he added, Athens would not impose its views on Nicosia, as Turkey did with Denktash.
Papandreou also ruled out any form of union of independent states or non-federal solution for the island, saying that the only positive solution that would put an end to the occupation, the division and the refugee issues would be a federation, which would contribute to stability and an improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, a reduction in armaments and liberate Cyprus from intervention.
Anything else would be a non-solution, which would perpetuate the problem, 'Turkify' the north of Cyprus and create further tensions, he added.
The foreign minister said that the Greek government would seek ''constructive negotiations'' on the Annan plan, where all sides would strive for a solution. If this was achieved so much the better, otherwise the negotiations would simply continue.
The Annan plan would form the basis for negotiations that aimed to be completed in early December, whereupon it would form the base agreement for continuing negotiations and fine-honing the agreement until February 28, before the referendum on March 30. During the session, reservations regarding the Annan plan were expressed by former ministers Theodoros Pangalos, Gerassimos Arsenis, and Ioannis Kapsis.
According to their arguments, Annan's plan was not truly negotiable but presented on a ''take it to leave it'' basis, while it became absolutely binding if Greece and Turkey co-signed it in December.
Even if the plan were rejected in the subsequent national referendum, they added, it would have essentially nullified all previous UN resolutions for Cyprus and opened the way for making the island's division permanent and legalizing Denktash's illegal regime.
Kapsis especially criticized the tight deadlines, calling them a Damoclean sword' and urged the government not to sign the agreement before the EU Summit in Copenhagen.
Several committee members raised questions about the plan, which they said essentially formalized the island's division, diffused sovereignty, created a dysfunctional system of government and opened the way to legalizing Turkish settlers.
They called on the government to keep pressing for Cyprus EU accession regardless of the outcome of the efforts for a solution.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MP Orestis Kolozoff once again expressed his party's opposition to the plan, though noting that the decision about whether to enter into negotiations belonged to the Cypriot side.
Speaking for the Coalition of the Left and Progress, MP Maria Damanaki said her party would judge the plan on whether it created a functional state and whether it was compatible with EU laws and practices.
 UN chief believes US Pres. Bush will help towards Cyprus solution
WASHINGTON. 15/11/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)US president George Bush was determined to use his influence to convince the sides concerned to accept the draft plan recently submitted to them by UN secretary general Kofi Annan, the UN chief told ANA on Wednesday.
Replying to a question by the ANA correspondent following his meeting with Bush at the White House on Wednesday, Annan expressed the view that resolution of the Cyprus issue would enable Greece and Turkey "to improve their relations once and for all", and at the same time pave the way for Turkey's membership in the European Union.
"I am convinced that the President will do all he can to help us achieve agreement in Cyprus," Annan said after his one-hour meeting with Bush, which he said had focused on Iraq, the Middle East, the Cyprus issue, and the clashes in Africa.
"I anticipate that the President will help -- and not only he, but many other leaders from all over the world, who have offered to assist. I am certain that the President will do all he can to help us achieve agreement in Cyprus. I think that we truly have an opportunity, but as I have said, it will require courage, vision and determination, because we truly have an opportunity to solve this long-standing problem and build a better future for their children, and also to improve relations between Greece and Turkey, once and for all. And I also hope that the resolution of this matter will help towards Turkey's accession of the European Union," Annan said.
Replying to another question, Annan said that Bush, like other leaders, were "encouraged" by the fact that the plan had been submitted, and that everyone hoped that the leaders (of the two communities in Cyprus) would "seize the opportunity" to resolve the Cyprus issue once and for all.
"I have asked of the leaders to respond within a week, and I hope to hear from them by November 18, and then we will decide how we will proceed," Annan added.
 State Department envoy says solution to Cyprus issue urgent
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)United States State Department special coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston held talks with Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday evening and said afterwards a solution to the Cyprus issue before the European Union's Copenhagen summit is urgent, confirming at the same time that the U.S. does not believe that ultimatums exist.
Papandreou said the moment is an important one for the course of the Cyprus issue and thanked Weston for his interest and contribution, adding that ''we are not yet before a solution. We have a proposal from Mr. Kofi Annan'' and expressed the hope negotiations will get underway on the base of this proposal.
Papandreou reiterated that Greece desires a solution to the Cyprus issue as soon as possible with the hope that a unified Cyprus will join the EU and pointed out that, otherwise, decisions taken at the EU's Helsinki summit will apply.
He further reiterated Greece's position that a positive message should be given to Turkey from Copenhagen, underlining that the U.S. supports this position.
Papandreou said the course towards Copenhagen is a course ''with considerable decisions for all to enable us to reach a favorable conclusion at the summit.''
The foreign minister added that he and Weston also discussed certain aspects of the UN secretary general's blueprint for Cyprus and termed the exchange of views with him ''very good.''
Weston said he agreed with what Papandreou said and added that a careful and intensive study should be made of the blueprint, saying the U.S. considers it ''the result of very good work which has taken into consideration the conclusions of talks of the past three years.''
He further said the U.S. desires a just, correct and viable solution to the Cyprus issue and pointed out again that the blueprint should be studied very carefully and there should be improvements made at certain points if necessary.
The U.S. official called on both sides to take advantage of the opportunity and begin intensive negotiations immediately, reiterating that ''we do not believe in ultimatums.''
 EU Commissioner sees 50 per cent chance of quick Cyprus solution
BRUSSELS, 15/11/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)European Commissioner for enlargement Guenter Verheugen on Thursday said he saw a 50-per-cent chance of an immediate solution to the Cyprus issue based on the proposals put forward by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, as things stood at this time.
According to a press release sent out by PASOK MEPs, Verheugen made the statement in response to a question by PASOK MEP Manolis Mastorakis during a meeting of the Party of European Socialists (PES) parliamentary group in Warsaw.
The Commissioner stressed that Cyprus' accession to the EU would be decided next month in Copenhagen, regardless of the outcome of efforts to resolve the political problem on the island.
Verheugen also clarified that the short deadline given by Annan for accepting the plan was decided on after consultations with the EU and referred only to the composition of the state that would join the Community - whether it would be the whole island or whether the occupied territories would be excluded.
In separate statements on another occasion, however, the Commissioner had noted that several points in the Anna plan were not compatible with aspects of Community laws, treaties and accepted practice.
Among these are parts of the Annan plan that limit the rights of individuals to buy property and the free movement of people and capital, which run counter to established practice elsewhere in the EU and the principles on which the Community was founded.
Among these is a regulation that prevents natural entities from acquiring real estate in the Turkish-Cypriot ''component state'' unless they have been resident there for at least three years - a right that is again tightly regulated by Turkish-Cypriot authorities unlike in other EU states.
The plan also introduces a 'quota' for the establishment of Greek-Cypriots but not other EU citizens in the Turkish-Cypriot area with an upper limit of 33 per cent in order to preserve the population majority of the two communities.
In addition, it restricts the rights of Greek nationals and Turkish nationals to settle on the island, with an upper limit of 10 per cent of the population of each component state, while it gives equal quotas to Greeks and Turks with respect to the right to enter and stay on the island.
The conditions for implementing this particular measure will be decided a year after the agreement between Turkey, Cyprus and the EU goes into effect.
The particular measure finds objections on the Greek side, which say it puts Greeks on a par with Turkish nationals, even though the latter are not members of the EU. It also means that Cyprus would have to be excluded from the Schengen Treaty, otherwise non-EU citizens would have free access to the entire Union through Cyprus.
This would mean that Greeks visiting Cyprus would need a visa, which the Greek side considers unacceptable for both political and symbolic reasons.
There are precedents of member-states being exempted from certain aspects of Community law and practices - as in the case of Britain and Denmark - which are regulated by special protocols. There are also precedents for transitional harmonization with EU practice.
ND positions on Annan peace plan
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) on Thursday unveiled its positions regarding the recently tabled United Nations peace plan for the divided island of Cyprus, with the partys rapporteur on the issue stressing that an intense negotiating effort to correct the plans weaknesses should now commence in order to guarantee its violability and effectiveness.
Amb. Petros Molyviatis added that the high-profile Annan plans provisions do not comprise a just solution for the 28-year Cyprus problem because the island republics majority (the Greek Cypriot community) is considered on an equal footing with the isles minority (the Turkish Cypriot community), in terms of institutional political standing. He also stressed that the foreseen system of government and state structures refer, politically speaking, to a new state.
Another point for which Molyviatis urged concern is wording maintaining that the new state should request the EUs acquiescence for any possible deviations from the Unions acquis communautaire.
He offered a view that the opposite, in fact, should be requested, otherwise Greek Cypriots will lose their right to settle and acquire property in any future Turkish Cypriot portion. Moreover, the ND rapporteur said such an arrangement would give Turkey a right to militarily intervene in Cyprus, as the guarantors powers stemming from the 1959 Zurich agreement would be expanded.
Finally, he expressed doubts over the new states ability to join the joint European defence structure, before noting that the recently unveiled plan would essentially block the return of refugees to their hom s while at the same time fail to prescribe the removal of several thousands of Turkish mainland settlers ferried onto the island by Turkish occupation forces over the past three decades.
 Vassiliou meets with ND leader to discuss latest Cyprus developments
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Cyprus' former president and the chief negotiator for Cyprus' EU accession, George Vassiliou, met Thursday in Athens with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis to discuss latest developments in the Cyprus issue and EU accession course.
Vassiliou told reporters after the meeting that he and Karamanlis were ''on the same wavelength'' with respect to ensuring a viable and just solution for the Cyprus issue, and on EU accession.
Asked to comment on the draft plan for a Cyprus settlement submitted earlier on the week by UN secretary general Kofi Annan, Vassiliou said that he could not predetermine the decisions of the Cyprus National Council, which would be finalized on Monday, but stressed that the plan constituted a basis for negotiation.
He noted, however, that due to the experience of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's negative stance in the past, no one could predict how things would develop and whether Denktash would accept the Annan plan as a basis for negotiation.
In the event that Denktash did accept the plan as a basis for negotiation but did not cooperate, there would be no problem for Cyprus' EU accession, Vassiliou said, adding that a problem would arise only if the Greek side gave the impression that it did not desire a solution. ''But as I have said on many occasions, we want a solution yesterday,'' Vassiliou added.
''If now we can conclude the negotiations with a solution, the issue takes on a different form,'' he continued.
With respect to the timetable set out by Anna, Vassiliou conceded that it was asphyxiating, saying that he could use even heavier words, but appraised that this constituted pressure towards the Turkish side, since the European Commission had already made it clear that Cyprus would join the European Union, and consequently the outstanding issue was whether the European body of laws, known as the acquis communautaire, would apply to the entire island.
As for Turkey, he said that the matter was one of prestige, adding that if the Turkish side did not cooperate with the UN and did not accept the territorial readjustments proposed and the single state entity, ''then we will remain as we are''.
Vassiliou said that there was a matter of negotiations on positive and negative aspects of the plan, but declined to point them out, and noted that Cyprus president Glafcos Clerides' target was to negotiate and advance the interests of the Republic of Cyprus as much as possible.
The former president recalled that, up until a few months ago, Ankara had been throwing out threats, but when the Cypriot and Greek side faced the issue calmly, it had realised that it would not accomplish anything with such tactics.
He further noted that the new ''strong man'' in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose Justice and Development Party won the recent Turkish general elections, "is facing the issue differently".
"He (Erdogan) sees it in a different light, but the question is whether he will treat it differently in practice as well," Vassiliou said.
 KKE organizes rally to protest UN plan for Cyprus problem's resolution
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the its youth organization held a rally on Thursday evening in Athens to protest against what they called the unacceptable developments underway concerning the Cyprus problem, based on the UN plan for the resolution of the long standing political problem.
The protesters also called for the implementation of the UN decisions concerning Cyprus and called the plan a torpedo launched against the rights of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot people.
KKE held a similar rally in Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city.
 FM in Wash. this month; closer EU-US ties, Cyprus on the agendaAthens, 15/11/20002 (ANA)
The Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday that FM George Papandreou will visit the United States at the end of the month as part of Athens preparations in light of its assumption of the EU rotating presidency in the first half of 2003.
Papandreou is scheduled to meet with his counterpart, US Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as with White House National security Adviser Condoleeza Rice for talks regarding international relations and the Cyprus problem, a foreign ministry spokesman said in Athens. His trip is scheduled for Nov. 26-27.
In answer to a question during his regular press briefing regarding the ongoing developments surrounding the Cyprus issue, spokesman Panos Beglitis said there are no deadlines in relation to the recently unveiled Annan peace plan, but rather, only time margin stages in the course of developments.
Sometimes timetables are set and later cancelled out by the dynamic of developments, Beglitis said, while stressing that UN Chief Kofi Annans memo does not mention timetables.
Cyprus political problem can be solved if there are no dilemmas of time regarding its solution. We are not interpreting the UN Secretary-Generals memo, we are retaining his volition to exploit this juncture for a solution, the foreign ministry spokesman said, adding that no ultimatums are in force and that if the time frame for talks is not adequate then theyll continue after the Copenhagen EU summit.
 Papandreou sends letter to Union's counterparts, rallying support for Cyprus
BERLIN, 15/11/2002 (ANA - P. Stangos)Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday sent a letter to his European Union counterparts requesting their ''personal support'' on the ''course to Copenhagen'' in the formulation of a solution for the Cyprus issue compatible with the Union's acquis communautaire.
According to sources, Papandreou will present to the EU foreign ministers, in Brussels on Monday, the Greek approach to the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for the resolution of the Cyprus issue.
Sources also said that the letter has already been received by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who already had a telephone conversation with Papandreou.
Papandreou also sent the same letter to European Commission President Romano Prodi, to European High Commissioner for foreign and defense policy Javier Solana and to the President of the Europarliament Pat Cox.
The Greek minister's letter noted that ''Cyprus can be a great success of Europe. Europe always played an important role. Now our role is to become a decisive element in securing this success.''
''For this reason I ask for the continuation of your support as long as we are on the way to Copenhagen ... time is short, but we wish to do all that is possible to welcome a unified island to the EU,'' he wrote.
''If we don't manage it, however, until that time, we should formulate the necessary conditions to maintain and strengthen our dynamic for the resolution, immediately after the decision of accession in Copenhagen,'' Papandreou stressed.
The Greek minister also stressed that it would be to the benefit of every one to ''guarantee'' a solution that would be compatible with the European acquis communautaire.
 Denktash takes hard line towards Annan plan, returns to Cyprus on Saturday
NICOSIA, 15/11/2002 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who has delivered ''an address to the nation'' in which he takes a hard line towards UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, has suddenly decided to return to the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus on Saturday.
The illegal Turkish Cypriot radio station ''Bayrak'' on Thursday evening broadcast that Denkatsh is departing on Friday from New York, where he was hospitalized, and will arrive in the Turkish-occupied north of the island on Saturday.
In his ''address'', which coincides with Friday's celebrations marking the unilateral declaration of the independence (UDI) of the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state, Denktash said the so-called ''state'' in the Turkish-occupied areas was founded ''to exist always.''
Referring to the Annan plan, he said the territorial problem was difficult and that he had asked for it to be discussed last of all. He openly denounced the fact that a plan and maps were submitted for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue and said that the reactions of the Turkish Cypriot ''people'' were ''justified''. He added that he would discuss the plan with his ''people'' and with the pseudo ''parliament''.
The Turkish Cypriot leader further said there were many points in the plan which should be taken into consideration, projecting yet again the steadfast Turkish position regarding equality and state entity.
In other statements regarding Annan's proposals, Denktash said that the maps included in the plan could be converted to ''a wall between the two communities in Cyprus'', which, he said ''may not be able to be overcome.''
Meanwhile, Turkish officials, including General Hilmi Ozkok, Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces and Tayyibe Gullek, Turkey's State Minister, Responsible for Cyprus Affairs, have arrived to attend the events on Friday.
On arrival Ozkok spoke of the existence of ''two states'' and ''one new partnership state.'' He further said that the Turkish armed forces were ready ''to confront any threat against the Turkish Cypriots'' and said that Cyprus' accession to the European Union ''will threaten security in the eastern Mediterranean.''
On his part, Gullek said that he would discuss the UN chief's plan with Denktash.
Also awaited on Saturday in the Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus is the winner of Turkey's recent general elections, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
 Turkish FM categorically against new Cyprus proposals
ISTANBUL, 15/11/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel on Thursday appeared categorically negative towards the idea of a discussion on proposals submitted by the UN secretary general for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Gurel said the plan was made to serve the "plans of others and not for a solution to the Cyprus issue," adding that the aim of the proposals is to "satisfy the European Union and to enable Cyprus to join painlessly".
He added that the plan "eradicates a bizonal nature completely", it will create new refugees and it is not subject to discussion and termed it a ''great loss for the Turkish Cypriots.''
''Acceptance of the plan would mean that the Turkish Cypriots' resistance for 40 years would be in vain,'' Gurel said, adding that ''the points on the territorial issue and the refugees are unacceptable and are not even subject to discussion. There can be no negotiations on them.''
The Turkish minister also criticized Turkey's new leader Justice and Development Party chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying he is following an ''irresponsible'' foreign policy.
''If Erdogan does not rid himself of the complex of being accepted in the West, then big problems will be created in Turkey,'' the foreign minister said.
Gurel accused the UN once again of leaking the proposals to the Greek side and that ''corrections were made in accordance with the aims of the Greek Cypriot side.''
He further criticized Erdogan for his contacts with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
''Twice before the elections in Turkey Mr. Simitis had contacts with Erdogan and Erdogan told him there is no problem in Greek-Turkish relations,'' Gurel said at a press conference on Thursday.
''Indeed, according to (Greek daily) 'TO VIMA' and after the elections and the problem created by Erdogan's statements on the Belgian model, Erdogan called Mr. Simitis again and told him not to worry,'' Gurel added.
Gurel then stressed that ''there will be a serious problem if this is not denied'', letting it be understood that the judicial apparatus could be activated again against Turkey's new leader.
Turkey's Republican Popular Party leader Deniz Baykal said the time of submitting the UN secretary general's blueprint for the Cyprus issue is unsuitable, according to an Athens News Agency (ANA) dispatch from Warsaw.
Baykal, who is in the Polish capital to attend the European Socialist Party's conference, said the "time is unsuitable because there is a vacuum of power in Turkey", while also referring to the state of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's health.
He further referred to the time set by the UN secretary general until the EU's Copenhagen summit for an agreement on a solution to the Cyprus issue, saying the time is inadequate.
Baykal will meet Simitis on Friday but, as he said, he will not raise the Cyprus issue himself but will discuss it if it is raised by the Greek prime minister.
However, he said he has some difficulty in discussing the issue since he does not know the plan submitted by the UN secretary general.
 Turkish professor cites reasons why AKP desires Turkey's EU accession
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)A Turkish professor has said that there are two main reasons why the new Turkish government ''strongly desires'' Turkey's accession to the European Union.
In an interview to the Athens News Agency on Thursday, Hakan Yilmaz, professor at the Political Sciences Department of Bosporus University, in Istanbul, said the first reason is that ''the European veil'' constitutes a necessary prerequisite for the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) basic objective, which is to harmoniously incorporate into Turkish society the ''up to now isolated strata'' which comprises the rank and file of the party.
The second reason, the professor said, is that AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants Europe because he knows that only from there can the funds come from which are necessary for the fulfillment of his election promises: the combatting of unemployment, the creation of new jobs, economic development and an improvement in the standard of living of a large section of the Turkish people.
Yilmaz had spoken on Tuesday evening at the Athens Pantion University on the theme ''Turkish perceptions of Europe'', at an event organized by the university's Political Sciences and History Department.
 FM addresses Greek Center for European Studies conference in Athens
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday expressed the wish that the Cyprus issue be resolved by the Dec. 12 Copenhagen Summit, during a speech at a conference organized by the Greek Center for European Studies, in Athens.
He added that if this will not be possible then Cyprus will enter the Union as is, stressing that of course there should be a dynamic, so as there may be a resolution for the Cyprus issue during the next period.
''Our priority effort until Dec. 12, is to do all we can to resolve this great problem, that tortures our region for many years,'' Papandreou added.
Speaking of the Greek EU presidency plans due in the first half of 2003, Papandreou said that there will be discussions with Greece's Balkan neighbors in Thessaloniki, immediately after the Summit there.
''There we have to provide an important European message, that their own future is within the European Union, as also that during the Greek presidency, there should be a continuation of the European-Turkish relation,'' Papandreou said.
The foreign minister also spoke of the European Union's future institutions, viable development and economic viability.
 FM Papandreou receives FYROM gov't VP Sekerinska
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Athens on Thursday reiterated its support for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) European prospects, following a meeting here between Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and the Skopje governments vice-president Radmilla Sekerinska.
In later statements to reporters, both officials expressed their desire for closer Greek-FYROM relations, with Papandreou noting his certainty that the new government in Skopje will work towards better relations.
On her part, Sekerinska reiterated that bilateral relations are at an excellent level, with only the name issue pending. She also expressed a hope that Greeces upcoming EU presidency will consider the Balkans as a priority.
Finally, Papandreou said he hoped a spirit of cooperation will lead to a breakthrough in name issue negotiations.
 FM Papandreou to meet Andorran counterpart on Friday
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou will have a working lunch with his counterpart from the Principality of Andorra, Juli Minoves, at the foreign ministry at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Statements to the press will be made after the luncheon.
 ND leader says democracy dealt blow by discrimination
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said on Thursday democracy is currently being dealt a blow by discriminations and distinctions.
Karamanlis, who was speaking at an event organized by the party's youth organization ONNED at Freedom Park on the occasion of the anniversary of the November 17, 1973, student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic against the military junta ruling Greece at the time, also referred to current developments regarding the Cyprus issue, linking it with the spirit of the Polytechnic.
''We are again living hours of national responsibility. Determination, wisdom, unity and a struggle are necessary. The voice of the Polytechnic is united with the voice of Cyprus as well today for the just causes of Hellenism and better democracy,'' he said.
''The present Greek reality is very distant from the vision of the Greeks. We can do better and go higher and we demand tangible solutions. We want the new generation to have equal opportunities in education. We should get away from the society of the two thirds. We should bridge the gap between social inequalities and put an end to phenomena of decline and parasitism,'' Karamanlis added.
 Bakoyianni speaks on 2004 Olympic Games, Annan's plan for Cyprus
NEW YORK, 15/11/2002 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)''From January 1 we have 18 months to prepare for the Olympic Games, 18 months is an extremely short period of time during which many things must be done,'' main opposition New Democracy (ND) Deputy Dora Bakoyianni said here on Thursday.
Bakoyianni, who takes over as Mayor of Athens on January 1, 2003, said ''the infrastructure works must finish'' and that ''we must have a brilliant and clean Athens.''
Speaking at a press conference, Bakoyianni also referred to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, stating that ''the timeframe contained in the UN plan is tight, a fact which makes difficult the negotiating procedure, which however is necessary,'' because ''many of the points of the Annan plan do not lead to a functional solution.''
Bakoyianni is the main speaker at the conference of the finance company Capital Link which was due to continue until late in the evening on Thursday in Manhattan. She will depart for Athens on Monday afternoon.
Bakoyianni was received on Wednesday by Archbishop Dimitrios of America and also met with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
 Parliament speaker receives Alexandria Patriarch, Finnish Parl't official
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis on Thursday received Patriarch Petros of Alexandria and All Africa for talks that focused mainly on the burning issue of the present time, the United Nations peace plan for Cyprus.
According to a Parliament press release, Kaklamanis called for the "principles and decisions of the UN Security Council and of international law to find implementation" through any final solution that emerged from negotiations between the two sides.
Patriarch Petros thanked Kaklamanis and the Greek Parliament for undertaking the rebuilding of the Patriarchal residence and the Church of St Nicholas in Cairo.
Earlier, Kaklamanis had received Finnish Parliament General Secretary Seppo Tijlinen, with whom he discussed closer cooperation between the two Parliaments in vocational training and infrastructure safety issues.
 Karamanlis receives Russian Duma envoy Siskarev
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Thursday received the vice-president of the Russian Parliaments (Duma) foreign affairs committee, Sergei Siskarev, who is also the chairman of the Greek-Russian friendship committee.
During the meeting, Siskarev presented the ND leader with an invitation by the Duma to officially visit Russia.
On his part, Karamanlis briefed the Russian MP over the latest developments regarding the Cyprus issue, while also thanking Moscow for its long-standing support in the matter. He also asked the Russian official to convey to Russian President Vladimir Putin Greeces desire for a continuation of this support in the current crucial period.
 Greek, Polish culture ministers to meet on FridayAthens, 15/11/2002
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos will receive his Polish counterpart Waldemar Dabrowski on Friday at the ministry. Dabrowski is at the head of a Polish delegation currently visiting Greece.
 Minister says N17 suspects' conditions same as all inmates
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, commenting in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Thursday on complaints by suspects being held in custody for alleged participation in the November 17 terrorist organization, said conditions of detention were the conditions prescribed by the penitentiary code for all inmates, down to the last letter of the code.
''There is neither more favorable nor more unfavorable treatment for anyone,'' he added.
Referring to the terrorist suspects' upcoming trial, he said that after the forwarding of the file of proceedings to an appeals court prosecutor, his proposal will follow and immediately after the issuing of an injunction.
''Our assessment is that after the completion of this intermediate process the trial will be able to start,'' he said.
Petsalnikos further said all this will be decided by the relevant judicial and prosecuting authorities and reiterated the position that the trial can get underway in the first months of 2003.
Petsalnikos attended the meeting in Thessaloniki between judicial functionaries from countries of southeastern Europe, saying in a brief address that it is useful for judicial functionaries from southeastern Europe to meet since developments in legislation and law are proceeding rapidly.
He added that the next meeting of justice ministers from Balkan countries who had met in Kastoria, northern Greece, would take place in Romania in 2003 and Bulgaria in 2004.
 Verelis demands explanations from Sofipost on ELTA bid
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Greek Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis on Thursday reacted swiftly to a decision by French company Sofipost to lower its bid for the purchase of a 10 percent equity stake in Hellenic Post (ELTA) from 26 million euros to 17.5 million euros.
Mr. Verelis has sent a letter-ultimatum to the French company, a subsidiary of French post company LaPoste, demanding detailed explanations over their decision to back down from its earlier pledge.
Sofipost has won an international tender for the sale of a minority stake in Hellenic Post in May.
Sofipost has recently changed its management and the new board decided to lower its bid for the Greek company. The French company has also expressed interest in participating in a 50-50 joint venture with ELTA on courier services.
 Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling says net profit more than doubles in Jan-Sept
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling on Thursday reported a significant increase in its nine-month results, with net profits more than double compared with the same period last year to 82 million euros, from 39 million euros in 2001.
Pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) totalled 495 million euros in the January-September period, up 16 percent from the previous year, while the volume of sales totalled 972 million unit boxes, 17 percent up from 2001.
Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling said its turnover rose 14 percent in the first nine months of 2002 to 3.1 billion euros.
Mr. Irial Finan, the company's chief executive, said results so far were meeting the company's annual targets and noted that third quarter's results were more than satisfactory.
The volume of sales in developed markets totalled 405 million unit boxes in the January-September period, up 3.0 percent from 2001, while third quarter sales totalled 141 million units, down 1.0 percent from the same period in 2001. ''The decline reflected bad weather conditions in Europe, while sales volume in the third quarter was below expectations, with the exception of Ireland,'' Mr Finan said.
The volume of sales in developing markets in the first nine months of 2002 totalled 200 million unit boxes, up 4.0 percent from the previous year. Sales volume in the third quarter was 76 million units, up 6.0 percent over the same period. Mr Finan said the improvement reflected higher sales in Poland and Baltic states.
The volume of sales in emerging markets in the January-September period totalled 366 million unit boxes, up 11 percent from 2001. Sales volume was 142 million units in the third quarter, up 8.0 percent over the same period, reflecting a 17 percent jump in sales in Russia.
Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling said that net investments in fixed assets totalled 195 million euros in the first nine months of 2002. The company expects to invest around 300 million euros this year.
The company completed the purchase of Valser Mineralquellen AG, a Swiss mineral water bottler, on September 30, and expects to complete the acquisition of Dorna Apenim SA, a Romanian mineral water bottler, before the end of the year.
The two acquisitions are made in cooperation with the Coca-Cola Company.
 Capital Markets' Commission approves listings
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Greece's Capital Markets' Commission on Thursday announced a series of fines imposed on several companies and individuals on breach of market regulations, approved the listings of two new companies and the delisting of three other companies from the market.
The Commission, in its regular weekly meeting, imposed a 265,000 euros fine on Philippos Vrionis for failing to inform market authorities of his move to raise its equity stake in Emporikos Desmos from 9.6 percent to 66.4 percent. It also imposed fines worth 35,000 euros on four securities firms for breaching the code of ethics.
The Commission two share capital increase plans by Standard Investment, a closed-end investment fund, and Alpha Grisin Infotech and the listing of their shares in the parallel market for smaller capitalization stocks.
ASE's regulatory body also approved the delisting of Magrizos Bros SA, ECON Industries SA and International Clothing Industry SA from the market. Their shares have been suspended from trading for a long time and all three companies were under bankruptcy procedures.
 Athens capital market to get arbiter early in 2003
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)The Athens Stock Exchange is to acquire an arbiter who will try to achieve an amicable resolution of disputes between investors and stockbrokers, investment consultants and institutions before they reach the courts, the president of the capital markets commission, Stavros Thomadakis, said on Thursday.
Thomadakis added that that the new institution would act independently of the capital markets commission, and would be headed by a former senior executive of the National Bank of Greece, Tassos Giannisis.
 Gov't to halve guarantees for loans to state utilities
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Thursday that the government would halve guarantees paid by the state for loans sought by public utilities.
The move is effective from 2003, Christodoulakis told a news conference.
State spending on loan guarantees for public utilities would total a maximum of 200 million euros in 2003 from 400 million euros in 2002, he said.
In addition, guarantees in the future would only be given if loans were destined for investment, and if the companies showed a balanced budget, the minister added.
 Lufthansa to launch new Athens- Munich flight
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Lufthansa on Thursday announced the operation of a new scheduled flight from Athens to Munich, to begin March 30, 2003 and serviced by Airbus A319 aircraft with a capacity of 125 seats.
The German flag carrier's Athens branch also announced that the Greece-Germany passenger traffic rose 7.0 percent in the first 10 months of 2002 with Lufthansa carrying more than 500,000 passengers over the period. The Athens-Munich flight recorded the highest passenger seat capacity in Europe with the Athens-Frankfurt flight in second place.
Lufthansa' officials said that increase passenger traffic in the two destinations could be linked with operation troubles facing competitors Sabena and Swissair and uncertainty in Olympic Airways.
 Greek EU presidency to back airline passenger compensation
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Greece's rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003 is to back the creation of rules in the 15-nation bloc allowing compensation for passengers from airlines.
The plan would also include rules on the provision of assistance in specified situations, Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis said on Thursday.
The rules are contained in proposed regulations of the European Parliament and EU council, the minister told reporters.
 Papastratos shows higher profit in third quarter
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Papastratos SA, an Athens-quoted cigarette manufacturer, on Thursday reported consolidated operational earnings (EBITDA) of 32.8 million euros at the end of the third quarter, up 23 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Management attributed the rise mainly to an improvement of gross profit margins to 21 percent from 20 percent in January to September 2001, Papastratos said in a statement.
Consolidated sales totalled 306.3 million euros, up 7.0 percent on the third quarter of 2001, the statement said.
 Health and hygiene trade fair in Thessaloniki
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)A health and personal hygiene trade fair will be held in Thessaloniki on November 15-17, its organizer, Helexpo, said on Thursday.
The ''Hygeia & Care 2002'' trade fair at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair Centre covers medical, hospitals and dental equipment, along with personal care and hygiene products and services, Helexpo said in a statement.
 Executive Cars Show opens November 21 in Athens
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Executive Cars, a bi-annual luxury cars international show, will open its gates to the public next week, November 21, at the Helexpo International Trade Centre in Maroussi, Athens.
The organizers of the show said their aim was to establish the show as one of the most significant luxury car shows in Southeastern Europe.
Executive Cars, celebrating its 10th anniversary, said this year's show would include car models from Audi, Bentley, Chrysler, Ferrari, Honda, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lancia, Maserati, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Saab, Volvo and VW.
The previous show in 2000 was attended by 25,000 visitors. Executive Cars expects this year's show to attract more than 30,000 visitors.
 Simitis honored for Athens' efforts against software piracy, copyright protection
WASHINGTON 15/11/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)PM Costas Simitis was awarded the annual ''cyber champion'' award this week by the Business Software Alliance for Athens' efforts to fight the pirating of software as well as to better combat copyright infringments and to expand computer technology to the public sector, schools etc.
The award was accepted by Greece's Ambassador to Washington, Mr. George Savvaides, on Simitis' behalf.
 Athens bourse, NYSE sign cooperation pact
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday signed a cooperation agreement at the US bourse.
The pact covers information sharing and consultations on matters related to growth and integrity of the two markets, the NYSE said in a statement.
''Our agreement with the Athens exchange formalizes a working partnership between the NYSE and a leading southeastern European financial market,'' said NYSE chairman and chief executive officer, Dick Grasso.
''The Athens-New York alliance further advances the globalization of equities and underscores the importance of cross-border, cross-market cooperation,'' Grasso added.
The president of the Greek market, Panayiotis Alexakis, told the signing ceremony that the pact enhanced the international profile, visibility and credibility of the Greek market.
 Tourist arrivals from Japan to increase ahead of Athens 2004
Athens, 15/11/2002 (ANA)Japanese municipal authorities expressed their interest for further developing tourist relations with Greece and urged for improved air transport between the two countries.
In a meeting with Development Deputy Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos, 20 mayors from Japanese cities said that a large number of Japanese citizens were expected to visit Greece during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and stressed Japanese interest to participate in voluntary programs during the Games.
Japanese tourists were also interested in cultural and agro-tourism, the municipal officials said and noted that establishing direct air links between Japan and Greece would help in increasing tourist arrivals to Greece.
Only 80,000 Japanese tourists visit Greece, out of a total 16 million traveling abroad and 3.5 million visiting Europe.