|Friday, 13 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 23, 2002
 Greece wants a 'clear-cut solution' for Cyprus, Simitis says from Prague
PRAGUE 23/11/02 (ANA/V. Mourtis)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday continued a marathon series of meetings with NATO leaders attending the Alliance summit in an effort to promote Greek positions on the Cyprus problem and a planned European military force.
In all, the Greek premier had talks with 25 of the 27 heads of state and government at the Prague summit, some of whom he met with more than once, while he will be meeting the Dutch premier during a visit to The Hague on Saturday.
Similarly, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou met nearly all his NATO counterparts, while he will be visiting London on Monday and Washington on Tuesday in a bid to persuade Britain and the United States.
At a press conference in the Czech capital, Simitis said that Athens wanted a 'clear-cut solution' for Cyprus without provisos or conditions. He also stressed that the island republic fulfilled all the criteria for EU entry in the best possible way and should be among the first countries to join.
The Greek premier emphasized that Greece's position was steadfast and unchanging on this point and that Athens would defend it with every means at its disposal if any departures from previous positions regarding Cyprus' EU accession were attempted at the EU summit in Copenhagen.
The Greek premier let it be understood that this included making use of the Greek veto. He also stressed that Greece desired a solution to the Cyprus issue as soon as possible. Should an agreement with Turkey fail to be reached before the Copenhagen summit, Greece would continue efforts for a solution in a way that would prevent Turkey from prevaricating and keeping the issue open indefinitely, he added.
Simitis did not rule out the possibility that objections to Cyprus' accession might be raised in Copenhagen, but said that European leaders appeared to support Greek efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem and had noted Turkey's inelastic stance in talks with himself and foreign minister Papandreou.
At the same time, Simitis reported that a shift in attitudes had taken place in Prague on setting a date for the start of accession negotiations with Turkey, with EU leaders now more open toward making a decision on this issue in Copenhagen.
A high-ranking source within the Greek delegation said that the Copenhagen summit would either decide a date for the start of accession negotiations with Turkey or else set a date on which Turkey's request would be discussed, with the second seen as the more likely outcome.
Turkey's stance on the Cyprus issue, the European force and EU-Turkey negotiations were also discussed during a meeting between Simitis and US President George Bush on Thursday night, attended by US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
He said the American side showed strong interest in all three issues but without appearing to link them, while he had conveyed Athens' desire to give Turkey an encouraging message regarding its EU prospects at Copenhagen, provided that these were matched by positive messages from Turkey regarding the European rapid response force and the Cyprus issue that clearly indicated the next developments.
Karamanlis says well vote against EU expansion if Cyprus not included: Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday outlines his partys reservations to certain points in the recently tabled Annan peace plan for Cyprus, demanding tough and effective negotiations to overcome negative points.
The plan by the United Nations Secretary-General does not guarantee a truly unified Cyprus; it does not refer to a European solution, nor does it ensure a functional, viable and fair plan. In the best of circumstances, it leads to a painful compromise. We are not against dialogue but the proposed plan presents serious weaknesses, and that is why a timely priority must be for us to finally negotiate decisively and effectively, the ND president underlined in an address to the partys central committee.
He also expressed his concern over what he called a packaging of the various aspects of the Cyprus problem and other related issues, stressing that Turkeys European orientation depends on its own behavior and on a fair Cyprus solution.
We will not vote for (EU) expansion if it does not include Cyprus; we insist on the accession of all of Cyprus without conditions or prerequisites, and based on the German precedent. Asterisks, footnotes and postscripts are incomprehensible and do not fit within Copenhagen (the upcoming EU summit), he emphasized.
In closer-to-home developments, Karamanlis criticized PM Costas Simitis for not convening a council of political leaders on the issue, while asking: if national understanding and cooperation isnt ensured in this crucial instance, then when will it? They cannot ignore the example of Cyprus, where a national council exists and operates responsibly, Karamanlis stressed.
The ND leader also called on the prime minister to clearly express Greek positions, and just appear accommodating to all. It is his obligation to speak the truth, and to not employ various legions of propagandists every time in order to belittle, as backwards and anti-European, every expression of patriotic sensitivity... he said.
 Gov't spokesman on Simitis-Bush contacts
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)A government spokesman on Friday clarified that no reaction has so far arrived from Washington regarding the issues tabled by Prime Minister Costas Simitis during his recent meeting with US President George W. Bush.
According to acting government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris, the Greek side referred to issues where pressure must be exerted and on which parties such pressure should be exerted prior to the EU Summit in Copenhagen early next month.
Asked if the US president will assist on these issues, Hytiris noted that Mr. Bush said that is exactly what he was doing, and what he will continue doing.
 Gov't denies that EU had prior knowledge of Annan plan contents
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)The Greek government on Friday denied that the European Commission had been aware of basic elements and time frames contained in the United Nations plan for the Cyprus issue as early as October 16, saying that no one knew details of the Annan plan until the day on which it was submitted.
Government spokesman Tilemahos Hytiris, who was standing in for Christos Protopapas while the latter accompanied the prime minister on a trip to Prague made the statement in response to questions about a report in the newspaper "Eleftheros Typos".
 Gov't spokesman on Turkish stance vis-a-vis 'Euro-Army', Cyprus
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)The acting Greek government spokesman on Friday emphasized that Athens believes Turkey wants to defer both the issue of the EU's rapid deployment force and the timely Annan peace plan for Cyprus until after the European Union summit in Copenhagen, set for early December.
In response to a press question, spokesman Telemachos Hytiris said the Turkish government wants to make its decisions on the basis of what it believes the European Union will give in return.
 Finance minister meets President Clerides, Cypriot party leaders
NICOSIA 23/11/02 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Finance and Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, visiting Cyprus at the invitation of the Bank of Cyprus, started contacts with party leaders on Friday after meeting Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides. Christodoulakis has already met Socialdemocrat Movement (KISOS) leader Yiannakis Omirou and Democratic Rally (DHSY) leader Nikos Anastasiades.
In statements he said the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus for accession to the European Union have led to the undertaking of international initiatives for a solution to the Cyprus issue.
He added that the Republic of Cyprus has achieved enviable performances regarding its European course since it succeeded in fulfilling political criteria and creating strong growth and potential which is shaping advantages and possibilities within Europe.
Anastasiades said after meeting Christodoulakis that sobriety and patience are necessary, far from expediencies in handling dangers which might appear in light of developments on the Cyprus issue.
He added that expediencies can be handled ''in very close cooperation with the Greek government which has been standing by our side all this time'' and that ''determination, persuasiveness and correct moves are required and not clumsy acts which in no way help the case of Cyprus and the case of Hellenism in general.''
In another development, Cyprus' finance Minister Takis Clerides outlined the benefits for Cyprus' accession to the European Union at an event organized by the Bank of Cyprus in honor of Christodoulakis.
Clerides said political security which will be consolidated by Cyprus' European capacity, its unimpeded access to the EU's single market, the consolidation of macroeconomic stability, interest rate decreases, the attraction of foreign investors and access to structural funds will benefit the economy of Cyprus considerably.
''These benefits will be multiplied if Cyprus' accession is combined with the island's reunification. Because in that case the reconstruction of occupied territories (with EU subsidies) will create considerable business opportunities,'' Clerides added.
On his part, Christodoulakis noted that ''Greece, in parallel, has become the champion of economic growth in the EU and thanks to a historic coincidence Greece will be the first presiding country to welcome enlargement.''
 PM Simitis to meet with Dutch counterpart Balkenende
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will meet with his Dutch counterpart Jan Peter Balkenende on Saturday in The Hague, the acting government spokesman announced on Friday.
The Greek premier will travel to the Netherlands following his participation at a NATO summit in Prague.
Asked if Foreign Minister George Papandreou will meet in The Hague with UN special mediator for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, spokesman Telemachos Hytiris said no such meeting is planned.
 ND leader says government inaugurating election setting
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, speaking at his party's Central Committee on Friday, assessed that the period until the next election is small and that the government is inaugurating an election setting since "it is losing the ground under its feet and is appearing determined to resort to regime practices".
Karamanlis called on party members to take up battle positions and stressed that ND should stand by "farmers, people belonging to low and medium income brackets, the people of toil and those who are not privileged and who are being harmed by the government's failed policies".
He further said the Greeks are choosing ND for their present and future, believing that it will be the next government and for this reason they have increased demands from all.
Karamanlis insisted on the policy of adhering to the political center and his overtures to all citizens, saying that the party's strategy is a given fact and will not change.
He criticized the government for its policy in the economy, education and agriculture. ''What is modernization they are invoking? Vested interests, immunity and impunity? Development and progress are not built in this way, things do not change in a country with false figures and a people cannot be ruled with mockery and deceit. Never has a government shown such pettiness. Never has a government dared to wear together so much arrogance and so much misery,'' he said.
 Erdogan says tough positions do not produce results
ISTANBUL 23/11/02 (ANA)Turkey's Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking to Turkish reporters in Dublin, said supporting tough positions in foreign policy does not produce results.
Erdogan, whose statements were published in the newspaper ''Radikal'', criticized ''hawks'', saying ''you can be a 'hawk' as much as you like. This does not help in any way if you cannot find solutions.''
He went on to say ''I find difficulty in understanding the logic of those speaking of losses in the Cyprus issue. We must realize well what gains mean and what losses mean. However, we do not support the logic of concessions to rid ourselves of the problem. We are aware of the ulterior motives of those who have shaped this position and we are making efforts to reach some healthy solution.''
Erdogan further said ''we speak of establishing a partnership state in Cyprus based on two equal and sovereign founder states'', adding that ''the Cyprus issue has not been able to be solved for 40 years and we favor its solution and not the creation of new problems'' and that ''we believe we shall reach a solution with mutual sacrifices.''
The winner of Turkey's recent elections summed up by saying ''we are not preoccupying ourselves with the empty part of the glass but the full one. Politics are the art of finding effective solutions. If loving one's country is nationalism, we are more nationalists than those speaking of nationalism and we are pursuing the finding of a healthy solution to the Cyprus issue.''
 Merchant marine minister in Malta for EU-linked talks
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis is currently visiting Malta as part of talks with two shipping countries due for European Union membership, Malta and Cyprus.
During his visit, which ends on Monday, Anomeritis will meet Malta's president Guido de Marco; and the transport and communications minister, Censu Galea.
 Iranian embassy release on Karamanou initiative
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)The embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Friday vehemently denied allegations aired by Greek Euro-MP Anna Karamanou over the past week claiming that an Iranian woman and her daughter were forced to leave the country after suffering arrest and torture by local police.
Karamanou made the allegations in a letter to the public order ministry, where she called for Greek authorities to allow the woman, Fariba Sehat, and her daughter to remain in the country and not be deported to Iran.
The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran announces the story put forth is a sheer lie and that reality can easily be proved through contact with the Iranian competent authorities. The Embassy announces its readiness as well as to provide facilities for the return of the said Iranian lady to Iran accordingly, a letter issued by the embassy reads.
The Iranian side also stressed that Karamanou should have studied the case through the coordination with the Embassy before sending a letter to the Hellenic Public Order Ministry.
 Greece needs measures to support export trade
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Greece needs to support its exporting trade to boost the countries competitiveness, Northern Greece Exporters' Union (SEBE) and the Institute of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Friday.
Speaking to reporters, during a news conference, SEBE chairman, Dimitris Symeonidis, IOBE chairman Lucas Kyriakopoulos and Theodosios Palaskas, a university professor head of IOBE's research, stressed the need to draft an integrated national strategy plan to enhance the country's outward behavior and expressed their worries over the course of Greek exports and the country's competitiveness.
Mr. Symeonidis said that the value of Greek exports as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product was steadily less or equal to 10 percent of GDP in the last decade (9.7 percent in 1990, 8.3 percent in 2000 and 9.0 percent in 2001), and noted a 24.5 percent drop in Greek exports in 2001 compared with the previous year.
Mr. Symeonidis also noted that exports were 12.5 percent down in the first nine months of 2002 and that the country's trade and current accounts' deficits worsened over the same period.
He said that a National Competitiveness Council should work to raise Greek exports' contribution to the country's GDP by at least two or three percentage points for the situation to improve.
IOBE's chairman, Mr. Kyriakopoulos, stressed that a new economic environment added new elements in a modern view of competitiveness, such as the speed with which international competition transformed and affected each national economy.
He presented an IOBE's report, based on a sample of 1,200 businesses in Greece, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland and Italy. The report showed that 52 percent of Greek companies (mainly small- and medium-size enterprises) saw their competitiveness drop significantly in the last three years, compared with an average fall of 30.4 percent in other European countries. On the other hand, 56 percent of European companies improved their positions in the domestic and international markets, up from 29 percent of Greek companies.
Around 46.5 percent of Greek enterprises adopted strictly defensive policies in their operations, while 50.4 percent of foreign companies adopted aggressive policies in product promotion and development. This aggressive policy helped in increasing employment in foreign companies, while Greek companies' defensive policy led to a 37 percent drop in employment.
 Capital Markets' Commission approves PPC's IPO
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Greece's Capital Markets' Commission on Friday approved Public Power Corporation's (PPC) listing application envisaging an initial public offering of up to 15 percent of the company's equity stake.
PPC plans to sell a part of its equity stake through the Athens Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, December 3-6.
The company will start a series of road shows, beginning next Tuesday in Athens.
The Capital Markets' Commission, in its regular weekly meeting, also approved a merger plan between Eurolink Securities and Nexus Securities. The new company will be called Nexus-Eurolink Securities and will have an equity capital of 16.5 million euros.
 Cooperation and Aid program signed with Albania
TIRANA 23/11/02 (ANA)The Cooperation and Aid program between Greece and Albania was signed on Thursday afternoon at the Local Administration and Decentralization ministry.
The program includes infrastructure projects totalling 1.5 million euros. The implementation of this program will begin in January 2003 and 26 communities in various Albanian cities will benefit.
After the signing of the agreement, Greek Ambassador Iliopoulos thanked Local Administration and Decentralization Minister Blusi for his assistance enabling the program to get started and said ''the signing of the agreement implements the Greek government's free aid for infrastructure projects in southern Albania.''
On his part, Blusi expressed satisfaction over the signing of the agreement and for Greece's aid to Albania, saying ''development programs in infrastructure projects in many communities in Albania will improve the life of citizens in these regions considerably.''
 Agricultural Policy Council discusses EU enlargement
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)The Agricultural Policy Council convened for its 10th session on Friday and discussed European Union enlargement, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and fishing.
Agriculture Minister George Drys referred in his address to the environment in which Greek agriculture is moving in the international market and the new ''social potential'' being shaped on an international level.
Summing up decisions taken in ''Brussels'', Drys said subsidies have been secured until 2013, there is no ceiling for expenditures in the CAP's 2nd pylon and the total decrease in funds for the ''15'' will be in the region of 4-5 percent over the 2007-2013 period. This decrease will affect the subsidization of Greek producers very slightly.
On the question of fishing, Drys mentioned the targets of reshaping the EU's common fishing policy, adding that Greece is interested in common fishing policy for the Mediterranean which initially necessitates the harmonization of legislation between Mediterranean countries.
Drys further said the country will pursue recognition of the importance of coastal fishing which forms a considerable part of fishing in Greece.
 Business seminar to bring together Portuguese, Greek companies Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)A group of Portuguese businessmen will accompany the country's President Jorge Sampaio during his official visit to Greece, December 1-4, to discuss business cooperation with their Greek colleagues.
On this occasion, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) is organizing a seminar on Monday, December 2, in cooperation with Portugal's Institute of Exporting Trade (ICEP) on: ''Greece-Portugal: economic challenge and new opportunities in Europe''.
Greek businesses will have the opportunity to meet with representatives of 48 Portuguese agencies and companies.
 Low exports due to public sector, private firms
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said on Friday that both the public sector and companies were to blame for weak exports.
''The reasons for the country's weak exports performance include quantity and quality aspects, and the reasons should be sought both in the organization of the public sector and in moves by companies, Loverdos said.
He was speaking at a meeting on the role of exports in growth held by the Association of Northern Greek Industrialists and Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research.
 Taxis to stage 48-hour strike starting Wednesday
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Taxi owners will stage a 48-hour strike beginning at 0500 hours on Wednesday, their union said in a statement.
The SATA union said on Friday that it had called the strike to press for a rise in the base tariff, and to protest against the introduction of new bus lanes, from which taxis are barred.
Members will stage a protest in central Athens on Thursday and a protest march along selected bus lanes, the statement said.
 State to keep minimum 34 pct in Greek Tourism Real Estate Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)The government is to retain a minimum 34 percent stake in Greek Tourism Real Estate SA, a development subsidiary of the Greek National Tourism Organization, under the terms of a bill given to parliament on Friday.
The ruling applies if the company should seek listing on the Athens Stock Exchange or any other bourse, according to the tourism bill devised by the development ministry.
The bill also contains articles on boosting tourism studies and research.
 Northern industrialists call 2003 budget realistic
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)The Association of Northern Greek Industrialists said on Friday that the government's budget for 2003 was realistic.
"The budget has many positive points...it is in the right direction," said the association's president, Dimitris Symeonidis.
The budget could also help to boost growth if public spending were cut, except for investments, coupled with a productive use of funds gained from the move, Symeonidis said in a statement.
 GSEE conference gets under way on Saturday
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)The 31st conference of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) gets under way on Saturday and will focus on efforts to increase workers' participation in trade unions.
The GSEE plenum held a meeting on Friday to discuss the major issues to be raised at the conference held at a hotel in an Athens coastal resort.
GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos referred to the tendency of workers to keep themselves at a distance which he claimed that ''apart from our own lack of presence, is due to the restructures and to the new labor environment which the new economy imposes where the degree of trade unionism is nil.'' Polyzogoupoulos cited as an example the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) which currently has 17,000 employees compared to 30,000 in the past.
He said the basic idea for achieving the objective of strengthening trade unions will be the unification of labor centers and federations and the creation of a council in every region with the participation of all labor centers.
 Greek stocks end with small losses on Friday
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Greek stocks ended the last trading session of the week with small losses, unable to extend their previous day's gains, in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday.
The general index fell 0.09 percent to end at 1,858.90 points, with turnover an improved 106.63 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.19 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.44 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.26 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 161 to 144 with another 58 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Panafon, Cosmote, Public Power Corporation, and Alpha Bank.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 61.3 mln euros Friday
Equity Index Futures:
Day's Market Turnover: 61.3 mln euros
Bond Market Close: Turnover at 2.2 bln euros on Friday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond, expiring 2012
 New bill prohibits camera coverage of court trials, including N17 trials Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)No television crews or hidden cameras will be allowed in the upcoming trials of alleged ''November 17'' terrorist group members, under a bill unveiled Friday by the justice ministry.
The bill, unveiled by justice minister Filippos Petsalnikos, sets up an supervision and control corps for prison institutions, and sets down regulations for radio and television coverage of trials, the arbitrary use of ''hidden cameras'', the deportation of aliens who have completed prison terms in Greece, and the make-up of the judges' bench in appeal trials of major cases.
The bill prohibits across the board the taping and broadcast of all trials without a prior court decision of the contrary and the agreement of the prosecutor and all the litigants to allow cameras in the courtroom. This exception would apply mainly in cases where the court ruled that videotaping and broadcasting of the specific judicial proceedings served the public interest. The bill further prohibits the use of ''hidden cameras'' unless use is made in the presence of a judicial or other court authority. Unauthorized use of a hidden camera will also hereby be prosecuted ex officio instead of following the lodging of a complaint, as is the present practice.
As for the supervision corps for the entire correctional system in Greece, the body will have nine members, headed by a retired judicial functionary appointed by the justice minister and staffed with three employees providing clerk duties. These employees may not be members of the board of any trade union organizations or have served in the preceding eight years, or be currently serving, in any capacity in the offices of government members, deputy ministers, ministerial secretary generals, political parties or MPs.
Also, the bill stipulates that the trials of minors will be held in camera for all cases of sexual crimes and sexual exploitation for financial gain.
Meanwhile, government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris, asked during a press briefing to comment on the justice ministry's bill, pointed out that the draft law would be tabled in parliament for debate and vote.
He explained that the prohibition of televised coverage affected all trials, and not only the N17 trials.
Defending the measure as "correct", Hytiris explained that litigants tended to have a different attitude in the presence of television cameras, adding that it was not by chance that television crews were not allowed in courtrooms in any other country.
 Alleged 'N17' leader denies he authored terrorist 'handbook' Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Alleged November 17 mastermind Alexandros Giotopoulos on Friday vehemently denied a barrage of same-day press reports linking him to handwritten directions to would-be terrorists, including instructions on how to make various types of explosive devices as well as techniques to avoid police detection and capture.
The reports were first published in the Sunday edition of To Vima newspaper, which reported that authorities believe the handwritten documents found in one of two N17 safehouses (Patmos Street) were composed by Giotopoulos, 58, identified by a handful of other N17 suspects in their initial confessions as the lethal terror bands primus inter pares.
On his part, Giotopoulos who lived under the assumed name of Mihalis Economou for the last 27 years and has been jailed since mid July -- on Friday dismissed the press reports in a statement issued via his attorney. He also claimed that the quoted texts were cut and pasted from various other documents emanating from anti-junta organizations (between 1967-1974) and from recent forgeries.
There is an attempt underway to cover up the obvious lack, after five months of investigations, of any serious evidence or serious testimony regarding my participation in even one action out of N17s 100... Giotopoulos said in a statement released by his defense counsel.
 'Toros' exhibition in Barcelona forms part of Cultural Olympiad Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)A major exhibition that forms part of the Cultural Olympiad has opened its doors in the Spanish city of Barcelona this month, organized in collaboration with the Organization for the Promotion of Hellenic Heritage.
The exhibition is entitled 'Toros: Image i culte a la Mediterrania antiga' and explores the use of bulls as an image and as figures of worship in the ancient world, including Greece.
It is taking place at Barcelona's Museum of the History of the City (Museo d'Historia de la Cuitat with the participation of the greatest museums in Europe, including the Louvre, the Vatican, the British Museum and Berlin museums.
It is the third and last exhibition organized by the Barcelona museum in a program focusing on the art, history and culture of the Mediterranean region.
One of the most powerful images in ancient religions and cults, bulls figure in artwork numerous ancient cultures from the early cave paintings of prehistoric times up until the Etruscans. Even with the advent of Christianity, bulls remained an evocative symbol that often appears in religious painting.
The exhibition will run in Barcelona until March 6, 2003 and will then be transferred to Athens, where it will be on show at the Benaki Museum from March 19 until June 7.
 Migrant smuggling arrests in Patra; 1 man used forged Swedish passport Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Two men were arrested at the western port of Patra Thursday evening on migrant smuggling charges moments before they were set to board an Italy-bound ferryboat.
One suspect, the driver, was identified as Iraqi national Kaleb Abdelah, 34. The other man, who was also charged with carrying a forged Swedish passport, was not identified.
Both men were arrested and their vehicle was confiscated.
 Exhibition of ancient artifacts uncovered by roadbuilding works Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)An exhibition featuring ancient artifacts brought to light as a result of major transport infrastructure projects in northern Greece will open its doors in the regional capital of Thessaloniki on Sunday.
The exhibition is called ''Ancient homesteads on modern roads'' and will be held at the 'Krypti Stoa' monument in the city's ancient agora.
The artifacts were revealed as a result of excavation to mark out and construct major roadways, such as the Egnatia Highway, a new railway line and a new national highway.
They include a series of 12 fort-like homesteads, farmhouses and country villas dating back 27 centuries, with the initial conclusions pointing to there being primitive Macedonian fiefs.
The exhibition includes hundreds of artifacts, including metalwork, pottery objects for daily use, farm tools and glassware. They come from three digs in the Vrasna-Asprovalta region, one in the Lagada plain and one near Koboloi in Pieria.
This is the first exhibition worldwide that tracks the development of farmhouses over the centuries. It features gigantic jars of wine, amphorae for oil, special pottery sieves, cooking pots, wooden beams for threshing wheat, pottery beehives for making and keeping honey and an underground larder for storing food dating from the 4th and 5th centuries B.C.
The exhibition has been organized by the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum and the 16th prehistoric and classical antiquities service and will run until the end of 2003.
 Attica cited as an EU area with highest proportion of doctors
BRUSSELS 23/11/02 (ANA/G.Zitouniati)Attica is one of the European Union's three areas with the highest proportion of doctors in relation to population, Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency, said on Friday.
A report on the EU's regions said that Attica had 6.4 doctors per 1000 residents, ranking the prefecture top along with two areas in Belgium.
In another section of the report, the southern Aegean ranked top in terms of annual garbage per inhabitant in tourist areas of the EU at 1,053 kilos, followed by the Cote d'Azure in France at 713 kilos.
Central Macedonia came last in terms of garbage per resident at 334 kilos annually.
 Greek-Turkish cooperation in...artificial insemination!
Athens 23/11/02 (ANA)Greek-Turkish cooperation has recently expanded to the field of artificial insemination.
According to an article appearing in Friday's edition of the Turkish daily "Hurriyet", more than a thousand couples traveled abroad each year, with Greece as the top preference, for the purpose of acquiring donated sperm to bring back to Turkey for artificial insemination of the wife.
Under Turkish law, artificial insemination with donated sperm is prohibited. The procedure is allowed only with the use of sperm coming from the husband.
Citing a private artificial insemination center in Ismir, Hurriyet said that the country of preference for such couples was Greece.
 UEFA fines Panathinaikos and Fenerbahce for incidents in Istanbul and Athens
NION, Switzerland 23/11/02 (ANA)The UEFA disciplinary committee on Friday fined Panathinaikos Athens soccer club 40,000 Swiss francs because its fans threw flares and behaved in an improper manner during the second round, first leg UEFA Cup match with Fenerbahce in Istanbul on October 31.
The European federation also fined Fenerbahce 65,000 Swiss francs for the throwing of flares by its fans in the same match.
Panathinaikos was also fined 30,000 Swiss francs because in the second leg match at the ''Apostolos Nikolaidis'' stadium in Athens on November 14, its fans threw flares while rules were violated regarding the number of officials seated at the Greek club's stand.
For the same match in Athens, Fenerbahce was also fined 1,000 Swiss francs for the conduct of its fans who threw flares.
 Annan stands by his timetable on Cyprus
UNITED NATIONS 23/11/02 (CNA/ANA)The UN Secretary-General remains firm in the timetable he gave to the two sides in Cyprus to reach a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem by December 12, when the Copenhagen European Council will be held.
A statement by the Secretary-General's spokesman on the meeting Kofi Annan had Friday with his Special Adviser, Alvaro de Soto in The Hague said Annan is encouraged by the generally positive reaction to his blueprint, submitted on November 11, and looks forward to receiving the two sides' substantive reactions to move the process ahead in earnest. He also said de Soto would return to the region to continue his consultations.
''The Secretary-General today met with his Special Advisor on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, to take stock of efforts to solve the Cyprus problem,'' the spokesman said.
''He (the SG) is encouraged by the generally positive reaction to his plan that is emerging, and wants to press ahead with the parties in accordance with the calendar which is part and parcel of the plan and which is designed to take advantage of the opportunity that is available now,'' the Secretary-General's spokesman added.
During The Hague meeting on Friday, the two ''discussed steps for engaging the parties intensively in the next week or so,'' the spokesman said, adding that the ''Secretary-General looks forward to receiving their substantive reactions with a view to moving ahead in earnest.''
'The Secretary-General will also remain in contact with the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey on the matter, and his Special Advisor will return to the region to continue his consultations,'' the spokesman concluded.
According to sources, the Secretary General will be back in New York on December 4.
Asked whether he has any indication when Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would give him his answer to the plan Annan submitted to the two sides, the spokesman said ''we know that Mr. Denktash has health problems, that he remains in New York and has indicated that he needed a bit more time for consultations.''
He expressed hope that the UN ''will be getting some more definitively remarks from him in the future.''
To a question how many days Denktash had asked for an extension and whether it was given, the spokesman said he could not confirm that.
The Greek Cypriot side replied Monday to the UN within the requested time framework of seven days from the day the UN proposal was presented on November 11.
However, the Turkish Cypriot side failed to meet Monday's deadline.
Denktash is still recovering in New York since October 7 following open-heart surgery.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.
It is expected to be invited by the Copenhagen EU Summit, along with other nine candidate countries, to join the EU.
 Security Council draft resolution on UNFICYP
UNITED NATIONS 23/11/02 (CNA/ANA)The UN Security Council on Friday, in a draft resolution extending the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for another six months, urges the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish forces to rescind restrictions imposed on the operations of UNFICYP and to restore the military status quo ante at Strovilia.
It further "reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, and in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of 29 June 1999 and subsequent resolutions."
The draft resolution, which is expected to be approved on Monday, "welcomes the report of the Secretary-General of November 15 on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, and in particular the call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness."
It notes, "the government of Cyprus has agreed that in view of the prevailing conditions in the island it is necessary to keep the UNFICYP beyond December 15, 2002."
"Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the UN to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping operations," the Security Council "reaffirms all its relevant resolutions on Cyprus, and in particular resolution 1251 (1999) of June 29, 1999 and subsequent resolutions."
It also decides to extend the mandate of UNFICYP for a further period ending June 15, 2003, and requests the SG to submit a report by June 1, 2003 on the implementation of the resolution.
It "urges the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkish forces to rescind the restrictions imposed on June 30, 2000 on the operations of UNFICYP and to restore the military status quo ante at Strovilia," adding that it decides to remain "actively seized of the matter."
The Turkish occupation forces illegally put up a checkpoint in the southeastern area of Strovilia as part of measures against UNFICYP in retaliation to the non-inclusion of an addendum in a report by UN chief Kofi Annan for an earlier renewal of the Force's mandate with a Turkish demand for separate discussions with UNFICYP.
 Negative vote in referendum should not jeopardize EU accession, says Markides
NICOSIA 23/11/02 (CNA/ANA)A negative vote in a referendum on an agreed political settlement of the Cyprus question, on the basis of a UN proposal, should not relate to the Republic's accession to the European Union, Attorney General Alecos Markides said here on Friday.
He also said that there will not be any solution unless negotiations on the UN proposal, submitted to the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides last week, take place.
Speaking after a meeting of a subcommittee of the National Council, he said President Glafcos Clerides was briefed on the work carried out by experts in relation to arrangements proposed by the UN with regard to the territorial issue.
The Attorney General refused to comment or characterize the actual content of the proposal, saying it will be studied further.
He added that clarifications will be sought from the UN on many issues and noted that there are continuous consultations on the matter.
''What we are seeking to clarify is to see what exactly the UN had in mind as they were noting down specific issues contained in the Secretary General's proposal,'' Markides said, adding that in the negotiation one has to be certain about the content of the specifics of the proposal.
Asked if he was sure there would be negotiations on the UN proposal, he replied ''if there are no negotiations, then there will be no settlement.''
Replying to questions about when the negotiations would start, he said he did not know what the response of the Turkish Cypriot side would be and when this would be forthcoming.
''We all need to be patient,'' he added.
Asked to clarify whether a negative vote in a referendum, to endorse the agreed settlement will affect Cyprus' accession, Markides said ''if things go well, it is up to the political leadership to decide whether it will sign a settlement or not.''
''If at the end of the day the political leaders decide they will sign the agreement, the Greek Cypriot side has an obligation to argue with all available means that any negative vote in the referendum does not relate to EU membership,'' Markides said.
Commenting on the work of the subcommittee, the Attorney General said that it is preparing a list of issues which need to be clarified and it will meet again next week.
The Attorney General's comments came in the wake of remarks by Cyprus' chief negotiator with the EU George Vassiliou that a negative vote by the Greek Cypriots in the referendum means accession will not take place.
 AHI congratulates US Senate over resolution on Cyprus
WASHINGTON 23/11/02 (CNA/ANA)The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) has applauded the United States Senate on its November 18 unanimous approval of a resolution that endorses the accession of Cyprus to the European Union (EU) and calls for the reunification of the divided island.
AHI Chairman James Marketos stated ''we are at a crucial juncture in the history of Cyprus on the eve of Cyprus' accession to the EU at the upcoming Copenhagen Summit on December 12-13.''
''The Senate resolution sends a strong message to the international community that the U.S. strongly supports Cyprus' EU membership bid without preconditions, and reaffirms its support of a reunified island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation, as outlined in UN
Security Council resolutions,'' Marketos said in a statement. AHI sent special thanks to Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who sponsored the resolution and to the resolution's co-sponsors.
The Senate initiative resolves that ''the current status quo on Cyprus must be ended and the island and its people be reunited, in a bizonal, bicommunal federal Cyprus, with full consideration of United Nations Security Council resolutions and international treaties.''
It also affirms that, ''while a successful resolution of the Cyprus problem would facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the EU, in the absence of such a resolution, the accession of Cyprus to the EU could act as a further catalyst for the solution of the Cyprus