|Saturday, 30 May 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 19, 2002
 PM and Turkey's Erdogan discuss Cyprus issue, bilateral relations
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)There was not enough time before the EU summit in Copenhagen to decide about the plan proposed by the United Nations for the Cyprus problem, the head of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday after talks with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Athens.
Erdogan said the December 12 date proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was not feasible because the Turkish Parliament's vote of confidence in Turkey's new government - formed after his party won recent general elections - would not be held until December 4.
The AKP party leader said he saw the prospects for a solution on Cyprus as ''a glass half full'' but noted that this was not a good time for pushing the processes along rapidly, due to the illness of Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the fact that the handover of power in Turkey was still in transition.
He said that negotiations for the Cyprus issue under the AKP government would be conducted under the aegis of Abdullah Gul, appointed the AKP government's prime minister. Despite being the AKP's leader, Erdogan is barred from heading his party's government because of a prior conviction for reading ''seditious'' poetry in public.
Responding, Simitis noted that ''a solution to the Cyprus problem before Copenhagen would improve the climate for resolving all the problems and our EU partners will be very pleased,'' while he urged the Turkish side to take this into consideration.
The prime minister also reiterated that Greece would insist that Cyprus be part of the first wave of EU candidate-countries to join the Community in Copenhagen and pointed out that 2004 had been ordained as the final date for a resolution on bilateral problems between Greece and Turkey by the Helsinki Summit.
Erdogan said his party would work steadfastly to bring about the democratic reforms necessary for Turkey to join the EU and stressed the desire for good bilateral relations with Greece and ''the days when the problems will be solved''.
He concurred with the Greek side that Annan's plan for Cyprus was the ''starting point for negotiations'', while saying that there were no serious outstanding problems with respect to a planned European military force.
Simitis, on his part, said his talks with Erdogan on Monday had touched on both successful efforts at cooperation and areas where Greek and Turkish views did not coincide, such as the Cyprus issue.
He stressed that the set of proposals put forward by Annan were a starting point for negotiations that had to be carried out constructively in order to overcome its effects on bilateral relations between the two countries.
With respect to the Aegean continental shelf, Simitis told Erdogan that adhering to the rules of International Law would help resolve this issue.
On Turkey's EU accession, meanwhile, the Greek premier noted that Greece was in favor of setting a date for the start of accession negotiations in principle.
''But Turkey must first make clear when it intends to implement the Copenhagen criteria and also make clear its stance on other issues - such as the Cyprus problem - and on issues decided on in Helsinki,'' he added.
Erdogan stressed that ''Greece should not be treated as an adversary'' and also that his government would like to know the date for the start of EU accession negotiations for Turkey after the Copenhagen summit so that Turkey ''could better play its part as a point of contact between Europe and the countries of central Asia''.
He said his party had ''open cooperation'' with Turkish parties that had not been elected to Parliament and that his party's government would seek to make up the democratic deficits.
He also declared support for a joint Greek-Turkish bid to host the 2008 European soccer championship.
Slightly later than originally scheduled, Erdogan and Simitis arrived at the Aigli restaurant next-door to Zappeion Hall accompanied by their delegations for a working lunch.
Main opposition leader receives Turkey's AKP party leader: Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday received the leader of Turkey's victorious Justice and Development Party (AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for talks on relations between Greece and Turkey and the set of proposals put forward by the United Nations for solving the Cyprus problem.
Commenting on the meeting, Karamanlis said they had exchanged views on recent developments regarding Cyprus and noted that bilateral relations would only improve if international laws and treaties were respected.
He expressed reservations about the Annan plan and whether the model of government proposed was workable, and doubts as to whether it was compatible with EU laws and practices.
Karamanlis said that his party supported Turkey's European prospects but stressed that this depended mainly on Ankara and whether it succeeded in adapting to EU rules and regulations, as well as its stance on the Cyprus issue.
''Historic meeting'' between Simitis & Erdogan, Papandreou says: Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday termed as "historic" the meeting between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkey's Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Athens earlier the same day.
''All of us have the feeling that the cooperation that began with difficulty three-years ago, has taken a turn for the better,'' Papandreou said.
He also said that he would convey his impression to the other 14 foreign ministers of the European Union on Monday evening in Brussels, adding that he would also convey the difficulty faced by the Turkish side in getting the EU accession negotiations to begin before Dec. 4, day that the new government would seek vote of confidence from the Turkish parliament.
Also in Athens, Erdogan met with outgoing Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and discussed, among other issues, the Cyprus problem.
Avramopoulos, who had met Erdogan during the latter's tenure as mayor of Istanbul, announced he would visit Turkey on Dec. 22 at the invitation of Erdogan.
Turkey calls Greece close neighbor, strategic partner: Turkey said on Monday that Greece was its closest neighbor and strategic partner.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose Justice and Development party won recent national elections, said in Athens that the two countries' relationship was the reason Turkey was seeking support from Athens at the Copenhagen summit.
Erdogan was speaking at a meeting of Greek and Turkish businessmen.
''We wish to see the two countries follow the path forged by Kemal Ataturk and Eleftherios Venizelos, putting any differences to one side,'' he was quoted as saying in a statement.
The new Turkish government's priorities were to accelerate procedures for the country's entry into the European Union, and growth of the economy in order to comply with the EU norm, Erdogan said.
He added that he backed attempts by the two countries' businesses to closer ties through the operation of councils in each country.
 Nothing can avert Cyprus' EU accession at Copenhagen, gov't reiterates
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)There could be no EU enlargement without Cyprus, government spokesman Christos Protopapas stressed on Monday, noting that the decisions for the island republic's accession to the Community had already been made and nothing could change them.
Cyprus' EU accession was separate from efforts to resolve the political problem on the island and Turkey's accession prospects and Athens would insist on keeping them so, Protopapas added, while there were no grounds for challenging Cyprus' accession.
The spokesman pointed to Greece's positive attitude to the set of proposals put forward by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, saying that Athens had received these as the starting point for constructive negotiations from the outset.
The spokesman also pointed out that the outcome did not depend entirely on Athens, however, pointing to Monday's statements by Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, head of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) that won recent Turkish elections, and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
Protopapas announced that Prime Minister Costas Simitis would begin a series of meetings to discuss the Annan plan with the leaders of the three opposition parties in Parliament. He said the meetings might also cover the handling of the entire issue up to the EU summit in Copenhagen, at which the next wave of EU enlargement would be formally decided on.
He said no final decision had yet been made about calling a party leaders' summit chaired by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on this issue, saying this would only be useful if it could make a positive contribution to this major foreign policy issue and send out a strong positive message.
The first meeting will be with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis at 19:00 on Monday and will continue on Tuesday night with Communist Party of Greece General Secretary Aleka Papariga at 20:00 and Coalition of the Left and Progress party leader Nikos Constantopoulos at 20:45.
In response to other questions, Protopapas seconded statements by Foreign Minister George Papandreou in an interview with the newspaper ''Ta Nea'' regarding the Aegean continental shelf issue.
A solution to the Cyprus problem would dramatically improve relations between Greece and Turkey, while the continental shelf issue could only be resolved through the solution supported by the Greek side, he said.
 Premier briefs main opposition leader on Cyprus problem's developments
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday received main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis and discussed issues regarding the Cyprus problem.
According to sources, Simitis denied Karamanlis' request for the convening of the council of political leaders under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic.
Speaking after the meeting, that lasted for almost an hour, Karamanlis said ''it is a mistake that the council of political leaders is not being convened during such a critical phase, for such a major issue, as is the Cyprus problem''.
The ND leader said he stressed to Simitis that in this critical situation there is the necessity for sobriety, responsible attitudes and thoughtfulness and expressed once again his reservations concerning the workability of the plan, as well as its big divergences from the European Union's acquis communautaire.
Karamanlis stressed that at any event and under any circumstances there should be no connection of the resolution of the political problem of the island republic and its accession to the EU.
Calling indirectly for the use of Greece's veto in the EU, as he said ''there is no way we should accept the packaging (of the two subjects) or blackmailing dilemmas''.
He reiterated, however, that his party would support the decision of the Cypriot leadership and people, following Monday's decision by Cyprus' National Council.
The Cyprus' National Council, comprising parliamentary parties, recommended on Monday by majority vote that President Glafcos Clerides negotiates on the UN proposal with a view at finding a political settlement in Cyprus.
During their meeting, Karamanlis explained in detail his party's views on the plan and the points of disagreement with the plan, which lay mainly with the constitutional issue, the government's structure and freedom of movement of people and capital, as well as others.
Simitis is scheduled to meet with and brief Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Tuesday.
On his part, Karamanlis is expected to meet with former prime minister and ND Honorary President Constantine Mitsotakis on Tuesday, while later in the day he will chair a meeting of his party's political analysis team.
 FM briefs Archbishop on Annan draft as Cypriot students protest plan
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)Foreign minister George Papandreou on Monday briefed Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece on the draft plan for a Cyprus solution presented last week by UN chief Kofi Annan, and exchanged views with him on the plan.
Papandreou told reporters after the more than hour-long meeting that their discussion had been ''very useful'', adding that ''I believe that the support of the Church in these difficult, historic, moments is very important''.
The meeting took place at Papandreou's initiative, and comes ahead of an extraordinary meeting of the Holy Synod called by Christodoulos for Wednesday. Metropolitan Ambrosios of Kalavryta is currently in Cyprus, representing the Orthodox Church of Greece, for a briefing by the Cypriot Church leaders.
While the meeting was taking place, a small group of Cypriot university students studying in Athens gathered outside the Archdiocese, venue of the meeting, holding Greek flags and shouting slogans against the Annan plan.
A representative of the protestors, Theology School student Yannis Antoniadis, said that the Cypriot students radically disagreed with the Annan plan as well as with the Cypriot government's views.
Archbishop receives Cyprus' ambassador: Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Monday received Cyprus' Ambassador to Athens Leonidas Pantelides and was briefed on the latest developments of the Cyprus issue, as well as on the view of Cyprus on those developments.
According to sources, the reason for the visit was that Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides did not manage to see the Archbishop during his visit in Athens on Saturday and ordered Pantelides to visit the Greek prelate.
The same sources said that the two men agreed that the upcoming negotiations for the Cyprus issue should be ''very tough''.
 May 1, 2004 set as accession date for EU candidate countries
BRUSSELS 19/11/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)May 1, 2004, has been set as the accession date for European Union candidate countries belonging to the first wave of accession, to provide ample time for national Parliaments to ratify decisions, according to a decision taken by EU foreign ministers who convened here on Monday.
Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis attended the General Affairs Council's morning session and dinner and, in a statement to the Athens News Agency, said the ''15'' also decided that its 10 candidate countries will participate fully in the Intergovernmental Conference on the EU's institutional revision and they will have a commissioner each in the European Commission.
Yiannitsis further said the European Parliament will end its sessions a month before the Euroelections (in June 2004) in which candidate countries will participate for the first time, while the European Commission's term of office will end prematurely in October 2004 and will be renewed after the enlargement.
The ''15'' foreign ministers met on Monday with their counterparts from the 10 candidate countries, which are concluding their accession negotiations with the EU in December, and discussed the last pending issues until the EU's Copenhagen summit and, primarily, agricultural and fiscal issues.
Yiannitsis said the EU intends to show some flexibility on the ''realistic economic demands'' of candidate countries, but is categorical that it cannot exceed the ceiling set by the Berlin summit (in March 1999) or other decisions taken by the European Council and that subsidies will be limited to the predictions of the recent Brussels summit.
He added that an increase is anticipated in pre-accession aid to Turkey.
Yiannitsis also said the ''15'' have a strong political will to have negotiations with the 10 first countries completed in the timetables set in December, while 2007 remains the target for Romania and Bulgaria and it is clear that no new preconditions will be set until the end of negotiations.
 EU Commission says Cyprus' entry not linked with Turkey's
BRUSSELS 19/11/2002 (ANA - V. Demiri)''The accession of a country to the European Union cannot depend on the accession of another country,'' a European Commission spokesman said here on Monday.
He was commenting on statements made by the winner of the Turkish general elections, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus for ''the simultaneous accession of Cyprus and Turkey to the European Union.''
Spokesman Jonathan Faull said that the entry of a candidate country to the EU depends on its achievements in fulfilling the accession criteria, which, he said, constitute a precondition for the start of accession negotiations.
 AKP deputy leader accuses Turkish bureaucrats of trying to restrict Erdogan
ISTANBUL 19/11/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy leader Bulent Arync on Monday accused Turkish Foreign Ministry bureaucrats of attempting to restrict the policies of AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Speaking to the newspaper Radikal, Arync referred to Erdogan's recent statements on the Belgian model for a settlement of the Cyprus issue and charged that the bureaucrats attempted to restrict him.
''We will solve the Cyprus issue,'' said Arync, stressing that ''the government will take the decisions and the bureaucrats will implement them.''
The bureaucrats who will resist the decisions will suffer the consequences, Arync stressed.
Another incident also occurred during Erdogan's visit to the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus where he appeared to have said that Cyprus should accede to the European Union simultaneously with Turkey.
Diplomatic advisers who were accompanying him confirmed and ''enhanced'' these statements while it was apparent that Erdogan had muddled the date for the start of Turkey's EU accession talks with that of the date of Cyprus' EU accession.
 Sources report airspace violations above Aegean by Turkish planes
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)Turkish air force planes infringed on air traffic regulations within the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) on 20 different occasions and in some 15 cases they violated Greek airspace, press sources said on Monday.
The same sources said that 10 formations of Turkish warplanes committed infringements and violations in skies above the central Aegean and east of Rhodes.
In all cases, the Turkish aircraft were intercepted by Greek fighter jets.
 Meeting of Balkan (2+2 Initiative) armed forces chiefs
BUCHAREST 19/11/2002 (ANA)The armed forces chiefs of Greece and Turkey on Monday expressed their governments' support for Romania's and Bulgaria's NATO candidacies in a joint statement after the end of a 2nd meeting of armed forces chiefs from Greece, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria in the framework of the "2+2 Initiative".
The four military leaders against stressed the positive influence of the armed forces' of the four countries in the region and said they desired to continue four-way cooperation after the NATO Summit in Prague, setting a meeting in Greece in the first quarter of 2003.
 Europarliament's Tuesday session to include observers from 13 candidates
STRASBOURG 19/11/2002 (ANA - P. Papadopoulos)The European Parliament on Tuesday will undergo a preparatory session in light of the European Union's enlargement, by including scores of national parliament deputies from the 13 candidate member-states.
Thus along with the 628 Eurodeputies of the 15 member-states, national parliament deputies will seat in this unique session, which will also be the last before the Copenhagen Summit, where the latest progress of the 13 candidate member-states will be announced.
 Interior minister discusses local gov't issues with Cypriot counterpart
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis on Monday met his Cypriot counterpart Andreas Panagiotou for talks on local government issues in Cyprus and Greece and issues concerning Black Sea Greeks living on the island republic.
According to Panagiotou, there were now 10,000 ethnic Greeks from the Black Sea were working on Cyprus, about 50 per cent were Georgian, Ukrainian or Russian nationals.
The Cypriot government was now going through their applications for Cypriot nationality to determine whether their claims to be of ethnic Greek origin were genuine, Panagiotou said.
 Deputy FM to visit Brussels for Cyprus cultural events
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis will leave for Brussels on Tuesday to attend events on the promotion of Cyprus culture in European capitals in light of Cyprus' accession to the European Union.
The events are being organized by Greek and Greek Cypriot expatriates with support by the Greek foreign ministry and the culture ministry of Cyprus.
''With this initiative we want to show at the present time conjuncture, when the accession of Cyprus to the EU and a solution to its political problem are being discussed, that Cypriot culture is European culture and that the accession of Cyprus to the EU brings into Europe a piece of its own. A piece of itself,'' Magriotis said on the occasion of the events.
Among events taking place in Brussels is a concert at the Cirque Royal. It is the first of three concerts to be organized in the framework of the Cyprus culture promotion program in European capitals in light of Cyprus' accession to the EU.
 SBBE urges for national strategy plan on regional development
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)The Union of Northern Greece's Industries (SBBE) on Monday urged for the need of a national strategy plan on regional development to reduce imbalances between the country's regions.
Speaking to reporters during a news conference, SBBE's chairman Dimitris Symeonidis, stressed the need of coordinating efforts to draft a viable and long-term regional development policy.
Mr Symeonidis noted that National Statistics Service's figures currently showed an over-concentration of powers in the centre and increasing imbalances, particularly in Northern Greece, with per capital GDP for the year 1999 - excluding Attica, Crete and Northern Aegean - smaller compared with the national average rate. The regions of Epirus, Eastern Macedonia, Thrace and Peloponnese were particularly weak, he said.
Greek average per capita income was standing at 67 percent of the EU average, while Attica's average rate was 98.2 percent and of the average region was 51.8 percent of the EU's average rate, Symeonidis said.
SBBE's chairman said a major step in achieving regional convergence was to reform a development legislation, to focus on quantity and quality characteristics of each region.
Mr Symeonidis also urged for a speedier implementation of Third Community Support Framework projects and stressed that official figures showed that only 442.8 million euros have been distributed for infrastructure projects out of a total of 6.4 billion euros earmarked in a Third Community Support Framework, or 6.9 percent.
 Greek inflation rises to 3.9 pct in October, Eurostat
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)Greek annual inflation rose to 3.9 percent in October from 3.8 percent in September, Eurostat said on Monday.
In its monthly report the EU's statistics agency said that Ireland (4.4 percent), Portugal (4.1 percent) and Spain (4.0 percent) recorded the highest inflation rates in the EU-15 in October, while Belgium and Germany (1.3 percent respectively) and the UK (1.4 percent) recorded the lowest rates.
Inflation in the eurozone rose to 2.3 percent in October from 2.1 percent in September, unchanged from last year's October rate. Inflation also rose in the EU-15 to 2.1 percent from 1.9 percent, over the same period.
The inflation rate fell in Ireland (4.4 percent from 4.5 percent), the Netherlands (3.6 percent from 3.7 percent) and was unchanged in Italy (2.8 percent) in October and September, 2002, respectively.
 Promota Hellas expands activities in the US
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)Promota Hellas SA on Monday announced the creation of a subsidiary in the US under the name Promota International Inc, in a move aimed to expand its activities in the vast American market with an estimated annual turnover of 5.5 billion US dollars.
The Greek company said the US subsidiary would seek to promote advertising clothing from its subsidiary in Bulgaria, Promota Bulgaria EAD, and to sign a partnership agreement with a US retail company.
Promota Hellas also said it was examining expanding its activities in China and that it would seek to expand its Bargain Stores - Home Gallery chain stores using the model of the US company Value City.
 European Commission on shipping security in Greece, ministry responds
BRUSSELS 19/11/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)The European Commission has requested clarifications from Greece on security checks conducted on ships approaching Greek ports, according to an announcement issues here by a spokesman on Monday.
The spokesman said the reason for the claim was a report according to which the tanker ''Prestige'', which is threatening the coast of northwestern Spain with extensive pollution, had anchored in the port of Kalamata, southern Greece, for refueling last June.
He added that a similar claim has already been sent to authorities in Britain.
According to EU legislation, 25 percent of ships approaching EU member-state ports should be checked, while as of July 2003 tougher check rules are anticipated for older ships.
The spokesman further said that no check had been made on the tanker ''Prestige'' since 1999.
In response, the Greek merchant marine ministry issued a press release stating that the ship was not on the Greek registry, but it sails under the flag of the Bahamas, it is owned by the Mare Shipping INC, a Liberian company, and it is also managed by Liberian Universe Maritime, which has offices in Athens.
The press release also stressed that the ship did indeed reach the port of Kalamata on June 7, but in transit and according to the ''UNCLOS'' pact, ships in transit that do not execute transactions in country do not undergo inspections, except in the event of a report being submitted.
Finally, the ministry noted that at least 25 per cent of the ships that enter Greek ports are inspected, based on the relevant EU directive and the Paris Memorandum of Understanding.
 Greek becomes head of European economic chamber
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)A Thessaloniki businesswoman, Erofili Pantelidou, has been elected president of the European Economic Chamber of Trade and Industry.
It is the first time a Greek is named to the post.
 Aegean has highest concentration of hotel beds in
EU BRUSSELS 19/11/2002 (ANA/A.Simatos)The southern Aegean has the highest concentration of beds in tourist accommodation in the European Union in relation to its population, the EU's statistics service, Eurostat, said on Monday.
It also is one of the 15-nation bloc's regions with the greatest number of overnight stays, said the report on tourism and the environment.
The southern Aegean has 56.4 tourist beds per 100 residents, Eurostat said.
 ASE-NYSE partnership deal "very significant", Alexakis
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)A partnership agreement signed between the Athens Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange last week was very significant for the Greek stock market, ASE chairman Panayiotis Alexakis said on Monday.
Mr Alexakis said that the agreement was even more significant due to the fact that NYSE has signed only a few agreements with other foreign stock markets.
ASE chairman said he expected the agreement to facilitate the inflow of capital from the US to the Greek bourse. "There are 2.5 million Greek-American investors who could possibly be interested in investing in the Greek bourse," he stressed.
The agreement between ASE and NYSE would be based on three axes: development, cooperation on integrity and efficiency and exchanging information.
The Greek and the American bourses agreed to set up working groups to promote information on common road shows and listed companies.
 Greek stocks end 0.70 percent lower on Monday
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks ended the first trading session of the week lower hit by a wave of selling in the second half of Monday's session in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index fell 0.70 percent to end at 1,817.67 points, with turnover a low 90.44 million euros.
The Wholesale, Publication and IT Solution sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (1.52 percent, 1.31 percent and 0.99 percent, respectively), while the Food-Beverage, Retail and Telecommunications sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (1.98 percent, 1.56 percent and 1.40 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.39 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.36 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.53 percent higher.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 164 to 139 with another 58 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Football Pools Organization, National Bank of Greece, Sex Form, and Cosmote.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 69.9 mln euros Monday
Equity Index Futures:
Day's Market Turnover: 69.9 mln euros
Bond Market Close: Buyers outpace sellers on Monday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
 Greek Eurodeputy organizes Alexandrian Library presentation
BRUSSELS 19/11/2002 (ANA - M. Spynthourakis)Greek Eurodeputy Rodi Kratsa on Monday organized a presentation of the new Library of Alexandria, along with Egyptian Ambassador to Brussels Soliman Auad, at the European Parliament building.
The presentation was under the auspices of Europarliament President Pat Cox. Kratsa, Soliman, the director of the Library Leila Abdel Hadi, and library board of directors member Mariana Vardinoyianni addressed the presentation.
 European Merit Medal given to Greek honorary ambassador
LUXEMBOURG 19/11/2002 (ANA)Former Luxembourg Prime Minister and former European Commission President Jacques Santers gave Greek Honorary Ambassador Vassilis Vitsaxis, an associate member of the Moscow Academy and the Art and Literature Academy of India the ''Gold Medal of European Merit'' on Monday ''in recognition of his struggles and contribution for the union of the peoples of Europe in peace, freedom and fraternity.''
Erhard Busek of Austria, a special coordinator on behalf of the EU for the Stability Pact for southeastern Europe, was also given the Gold Medal.
Over the past 30 years, the Gold Medal has been given to such celebrities as Constantine Tsatsos, Michel Rocard, Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Simone Veille.
 Arrests at "Nov. 17" anniversary march
Athens, 19/11/2002 (ANA)Nine young people in their teens and twenties were arrested during violent incidents at a march to mark the 29th anniversary of the November 17 student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic, while a 27-year-old member of the far-right organization "Golden Dawn" has been arrested and charged for an attack against four women and a student, in which one of the victims was stabbed.
The nine people arrested during Sunday's march have also been charged with throwing stones, fire-bombs and other items against officers policing the march and various acts of vandalism.
Police are still looking for others who took part in the incidents and have been positively identified, while the search is also on for Haralambos Kousoumvris, 30, and Dimitris Papageorgiou, 22, as well as other people that took part in the attack on the five students.
De Soto receives Clerides' timely reply, spokesman says deadlines have
vanished NICOSIA 19/11/2002 (CNA)UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto said on Monday the timeframe in Kofi Annan's plan for a settlement is an integral part of the Secretary General's proposal and pointed out that there needs to be a firm commitment by the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides to try to reach a settlement before December 12, when the European Union summit takes place.
Speaking after receiving a letter from President Glafcos Clerides addressed to Kofi Annan in which the president expresses his readiness to begin negotiations without delay, de Soto said he hoped the UN will soon receive from the Turkish Cypriot side an expression of their willingness to start negotiations.
The Greek Cypriot reply was given to the UN within the requested time framework of seven days from the day the UN proposal was presented.
De Soto hoped there would be a firm commitment by the Turkish Cypriot side to negotiate in good faith and reach a settlement in advance of the Copenhagen European Council of December 12.
Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the Greek Cypriot side "gave its reply expressing readiness to begin negotiations on the basis of the Secretary-General's proposal to find a solution to the Cyprus problem."
Surrounded by reporters as he exited the Presidential Palace, de Soto said "we are well aware that time is pressing and the clock is ticking and the SG knew this very well when he submitted these proposals to the two sides."
He said he hoped "we will soon receive from the Turkish Cypriot side an expression of their willingness to start negotiations and we very much hope that they will come to such negotiations with a firm commitment to negotiate in good faith and reach a settlement on the questions that need to be settled in advance of Copenhagen."
Asked how realistic this was, De Soto said the UN believe it can be done. "We think it can be done. The SG would not have proposed it if he was not convinced on this. If there is a sense of urgency, if there is a firm commitment, and political will, they can do it."
''Negotiations are like clapping your hands, it means two. So, what we are hoping for is to receive very soon, an indication of the equal willingness of the Turkish Cypriot side," he said.
De Soto said he had no answer to the problems arising from the ill state of health of the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who is still in hospital recovering from open heart surgery, and from the absence of a government in Turkey.
"Obviously we do not want to put undue or unfair pressure on the two sides," de Soto remarked and repeated that "the clock is ticking and we trust that a solution to that problem will be found."
Asked why the UN is not more flexible on the December deadline, de Soto replied, "if you read the proposal more carefully, you will realize that the calendar is essential, an integral, and an inseparable part of the proposal. So if the proposal is accepted as the basis for negotiations, you really have to have a firm commitment on both sides to try to reach a settlement before that date."
He stressed that Kofi Annan "has made a proposal within a certain conjuncture." The UN diplomat said that "there are certain conditions that are prevailing now that are particularly favorable for a settlement. We are not at all sure that those conditions will prevail after Copenhagen."
Therefore, "the whole structure of the program again is based on the premise that certain things, in fact the key things, will have to be agreed in advance of Copenhagen."
De Soto referred journalists to the plan, which, he stressed, was made public against his advice.
To a remark that the plan was therefore an ultimatum, de Soto said "that is not a judgment for me to make. It is certainly not an ultimatum since it is a proposal for a negotiation."
Asked to say how easy it would be to change the Secretary-General's plan, de Soto said the "SG made this proposal in order to encourage the two sides to engage in negotiations. That means, obviously, every last word is not untouchable. It is they who have to reach an agreement. It is not a take it or leave it proposal, as it was suggested."
In his remarks government spokesman Papapetrou said, "we are ready to start negotiations even tomorrow."
He said the Greek Cypriot side gave its reply within the seven-day deadline, set by Annan when he submitted his proposal last Monday.
Commenting on the deadlines, as set out in the UN proposal, the spokesman said, "the deadline has basically vanished for reasons for which the Greek Cypriot side is not to be held responsible. Therefore the deadline cannot be binding," he said.
Papapetrou cited a statement by Turkey's leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) that it is impossible for the Turkish side to reach an agreement by December 12 and that it is impossible to deal with the issue before the new Turkish government receives a vote of confidence on December 4.
 National Council recommends talks on UN proposal
NICOSIA 19/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)The National Council, comprising parliamentary parties, recommended on Monday by majority vote that President Glafcos Clerides negotiates on a UN proposal with a view at finding a political settlement in Cyprus.
The announcement was made by government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou after a three-hour-long meeting of the Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem. The Council will convene again on November 28.
The spokesman said the Council reiterated the adherence of the Greek Cypriot side to finding a peaceful solution in Cyprus, without delay, through negotiations under UN Secretary General's auspices between the two communities.
Papapetrou said the Council established that as things stand the timetable proposed by the UN is very tight and consequently the recommended dates should not be considered as binding.
 UN insist on deadline
UNITED NATIONS 19/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)The United Nations have refused to comment officially on a Turkish Cypriot request for extra time, in order to prepare a preliminary reaction to a peace plan on a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, submitted by Secretary General Kofi Annan.
While Rauf Denktash's senior advisor, Elgun Olgun said that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would not be able to reply on Monday because he is still studying the plan as he recovers in hospital, UN spokesperson, Hua Jiang, said that ''the SG set the date, he had asked the two leaders to give him their reaction to his proposal today and he is now waiting to get these reactions through his special adviser, Alvaro de Soto.''
Jiang said ''the SG said he will analyze the situation at the end of the day and decide what to do next.''
Jiang said that no request has been received so far by the Turkish Cypriot side to meet with either de Soto, or United Nations Undersecretary General for Political Affairs, Sir Kieran Prendergast.
According to Turkish sources, Denktash is feeling better and he reacts to the antibiotics.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Turkish American cardiologist who operated on Denktash, will return to New York on Tuesday from Chicago. After examining Denktash, the doctor will decide if the Turkish Cypriot leader will get a clean bill of health.
The sources said that an antibiotic that was prescribed on Friday,
did not work on the fever and new medication was offered and is working well.
 Holy Synod rejects Annan plan
NICOSIA 19/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)The Holy Synod of Cyprus' Orthodox Church has said that the UN Secretary General's plan for a settlement in Cyprus could not be accepted because it is not in line with the international law principles, the human rights, the European Court of Human Rights rulings and the UN resolutions but on the contrary legalizes the faits accomplis of the Turkish invasion and occupation.
Cyprus' Bishops, who convened here on Sunday, said that the proposed settlement contains ample of negatives and violates the right of free movement, settlement and property, legalizes and makes permanent the remaining of illegal settlers, deprives all refugees of their right to return to their ancestral homes and by the veto right provided for all three authorities, the executive, the law and the judicial it equals the Greek Cypriots who constitute the 82% of the island's population with the Turkish Cypriots who constitute the 18% of the population.
''All these make this solution unfair and not viable,'' they stressed in a three-page press release and noted that for Cyprus' Church it is an indispensable prerequisite that the settlement of the Cyprus problem must provide not only for one sovereignty, a single citizenship and international representation but it must secure a just, viable and workable solution. It must provide security for the whole of the people of Cyprus, namely Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins.
 Commission Vice President: Acquis not an obstacle to Annan plan
NICOSIA 19/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)The acquis communautaire does not constitute an impediment to the UN Secretary-General's peace plan for Cyprus, said here Monday Vice President of the European Commission, Loyola de Palacio.
Speaking at a press conference after talks with the ministers of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and Communications and Works, Nicos Rolandis and Averof Neophytou respectively, de Palacio said Kofi Annan's plan on a comprehensive settlement does not throw the acquis out of the window.
De Palacio, also responsible for Energy and Transport, expressed satisfaction with the harmonization of the Cypriot legislation with the acquis communautaire with regard to energy and transport and welcomed the work done in these two chapters.
Regarding energy, de Palacio said there are still ''some issues, which must be implemented in the near future,'' for example, liberalization of natural gas and electricity and improving the use of renewable energy sources.
On the issues of road and air transport, de Palacio said there are still things which must be done, while on maritime matters, she welcomed the huge effort made to improve the Cypriot ship registry.
The work done, she said, was essential to guarantee the smooth harmonization of the Cyprus ship registry with that of EU registries.
Asked if she believes that a solution to the Cyprus problem is possible by the December 12 Copenhagen European Council, de Palacio said she hoped that there will be a ''positive outcome'' to the negotiations, noting that the Commission supports the peace process.
Asked whether the Annan proposal is contrary to the acquis communautaire, de Palacio said ''it does not throw the acquis out of the window.''
''In principle, as a general view, it is not the acquis communautaire which is going to prevent putting in place a plan that is a basis for discussion between the two communities and which must be finalized,'' she said.
''In any case, I do not think that the acquis communautaire should be an impediment to this,'' adding that flexibilities can always be found.
 US Congressman sees deficiencies to UN plan on Cyprus
NEW YORK 19/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)US Congressman Robert Andrews has expressed hope that Cyprus negotiations, under the aegis of UN Secretary General, ''will yield a just solution, an independent Cyprus with one sovereignty, where the rights of all people are respected.''
Andrews referred to recent developments in Cyprus during a press conference in New York before the Annual Homeric Awards Gala of Chian Federation of America. The US Congressman is the recipient of the 2002 Award.
''In the next 36 hours'', he said, ''the government of the Greek Cypriots and the illegitimate government of the northern part of Cyprus are going to respond to the very dramatic proposal put forward by Mr. Kofi Annan last week. I am hopeful that this finally will be the basis for a just and peaceful conclusion to this issue that we've been following for so very long.''
Robert Andrews, a strong voice for Cyprus in the US Congress for the last 12 years, characterized the Turkish military key to the solution of the problem and he was optimistic about the new Turkish government.
''I am hopeful,'' he said, ''that the signals that we've seen from the new ruling party in Turkey will exceed words and become actions.
I think it was quite hopeful what we heard from the victors in the Turkish election that they view this as an important step. I think the most constructive things that we heard from Turkey, certainly the most powerful statement of the proposition that there needs to be linkage between Turkish accession to the EU and a just resolution of this question''.Replying to questions, the Congressman from New Jersey said that overall Annan's plan is ''a very constructive and hopeful first step toward the eventual resolution of the problem''. But there are also some significant deficiencies in the plan.
''I don't think there are specific enough provisions for the withdrawal of Turkish troops'', he said. He also added that the plan also ''leaves some ambiguities as to the rights of Greek Cypriots who would live in the part of Cyprus that would presumably be a state that would have a Turkish Cypriot majority''.
''I would hope'', he said, ''that the issues that I have raised and some others would be worked out in the negotiations that I expect to see.''
Asked whether the 30-day deadline given by the Secretary General to the parties, is enough to make a decision, Andrews stated that ''when the Turkish leadership finally decides it is in its best interest to resolve this problem, 30 days is enough. When the Turkish military rulers decide there will be an agreement, there will