|Saturday, 19 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 26, 2002
 KYSEA council OKs 'Centaur' tank purchase
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense on Monday decided that no new orders for arms and weaponry would be made apart from one for 'Centaur' troop transport vehicles in 2003, after being briefed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the results of the NATO summit held in Prague last week, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said.
Outlining the decisions made at the Prague summit regarding the changes to NATO's structure and mission, the prime minister stressed that Greece would not be making any new arms purchases unless these were absolutely necessary.
The 250-million-euro troop transporter purchase would cover a need for flexible operations capacity in the Aegean and would be decided on in cooperation with the finance ministry, Simitis said.
He stressed that the budget would be closed and that there were no margins for more increases.
Government spokesman Christos Protopapas said the prime minister had explained the need to transform NATO so that it could expand its range and deal with ''asymmetric threats and weapons of mass destruction'', to be deal with through a rapid response force.
Pointing out that the EU was also in the process of creating such as force for peace-keeping missions, Simitis said the developments showed that the EU and NATO had different but parallel orientations and margins for cooperation.
The prime minister also noted that NATO's expansion to bring in seven new member-states would alter the balance of power within the Alliance.
What had been known as the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance was now a broader alliance with the US in a leading role. The Prague summit had ratified the change to an alliance with a different form, different mission and a different balance of power. According to Simitis, this made it more important than ever to intensify efforts for a common European defense and security policy.
Responding to questions, the government spokesman said there was an upper limit for arms procurement programs at roughly two billion euros and that Greece had negotiated directly with the manufacturers so that there were no fees for middlemen.
A good climate in Greek-Turkish relations was not something that could be taken for granted and this created the need to complete the arms procurements program, Protopapas stressed.
The government had been restrained in its purchases but it had to be capable of a flexible reaction in the Aegean to defend the islands, he added.
Announcing the overall results of the KYSEA meeting, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said it had ratified four existing arms equipment programs ordered by the Armed Forces for 2001-2005 with a total cost of 2.1 billion euros, versus the four billion euros originally requested. He said the offset benefits for the four programs involved would come to 100 per cent.
The first of these was the purchase of 32 troop transport helicopters, four medi-copters and six specialized helicopters from a European consortium comprised of German, French, Italian and Dutch companies. He said the total cost of the program was 659 million euros with an option for four more choppers.
Secondly, the council approved the purchase of 12 'Apache' attack helicopters, with an option for four more, costing 683 million euros, a third program for refitting six S-type frigates assigned to the Skaramanga Shipyards and the French-Dutch consortium Thales and a fourth program costing 451 million euros for a new corvette to be built by the Elefsina shipyards in cooperation with the British shipyards Vospur, with the option to buy one more.
The reduction in overall defense spending would not create problems in covering the needs of the armed forces and create additional funds to finance the government's social spending, Papantoniou said.
As of next year, an effort would be made to downsize defense spending from the present 5 per cent to 4 per cent of GDP, the defense minister announced.
He rejected suggestions from main opposition New Democracy that the changes may have compromised defense capability, stressing that the decisions satisfied the specifications presented by the armed forces general staffs and had been decided on after painstaking and meticulous consultations with the military.
KKE, Coalition criticize KYSEA decisions: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE)announcement on Monday criticized the new arms procurements programs approved on Monday by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), saying that they met the requirements of NATO and the Euroforce rather than the country's defense needs.
The Coalition of the Left and Progress party questioned the council's decision to burden the budget with 2.2 billion euros for arms and called on the government to brief the parties regarding this expenditure.
These funds could be used to finance social policy at a time when social needs and public debt were steadily increasing, the party's announcement said.
 UN plan for Cyprus a starting point of negotiations, Simitis says
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday evening said that the United Nations' SG Kofi Annan's plan for the resolution of the Cyprus problem is a starting point for negotiations, which then should concern the issues of substance.
Speaking to a meeting of ruling PASOK Executive Bureau, Simitis stressed that the negotiations should concern issues that are related to the functionality and viability of the solution, with the confrontation of the governance problems of the state and of the future life of the island's residents.
The Annan proposals, Simitis said, should also be examined under the light of Cyprus' accession to the European Union, adding that the accession bridges the differences, limits the subordination of the Turkish Cypriot community to Turkey and strengthens common interests of the two communities.
Simitis disagreed with those that believe that there should be no negotiations at this point and that the Greek side should not rush, since, as he said, it is not certain that a resolution would arrive some day, stressing that the Turks have colonized the island and nothing precludes that they would not continue the effort to overturn the demographics of the island.
The premier said that the efforts of all Greek governments since 1974 was to make the Cyprus issue an international one and to seek a solution with the mediation of the United Nations, which now presented its plan for the resolution of the problem.
He added that all this time the Greek side achieved in proving the responsibility of the Turkish Cypriot side for not arriving at a solution, adding that now the national effort of all Greek governments is at its peak.
He stressed that this opportunity should be taken advantage of by the Greek side, so as to arrive at a just, viable and functional solution within the European Union's framework.
The UN proposal, Simitis said, has been analyzed in depth and has been evaluated in its totality, adding that whichever decisions should be made in balance with the total results of the negotiations.
He stressed, however, that the Greek Cypriot side has the sovereign rights to decide, a decision that Greece will support, adding that for a course fraught with struggles there is necessity for unity, wisdom and sobriety, as well as decisiveness along the lines of the national interests for the future of a reunited and sovereign Cyprus.
 Ruling PASOK's Executive Bureau fully backs PM's handling of Cyprus issue
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)The ruling PASOK's Executive Bureau convened on Monday night and unanimously backed Prime Minister Costas Simitis' handling of the Cyprus issue following the submission by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan of a plan for a comprehensive settlement of the political problem of Cyprus.
The entire Executive Bureau termed as ''excellent'' the government's handling of the issue and agreed that the primary objective is Cyprus' accession to the European Union, a clear-cut accession and of course the settlement of the political problem.
According to reliable sources, concern was voiced with regard to the viability and workability of the solution which will be given after the negotiations which will take place, if the Turkish Cypriot side also agrees and comes to the negotiations.
 FM holds Cyprus talks with British counterpart, Cyprus House speaker
LONDON 26/11/2002 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)Foreign Minister George Papandreou, in the framework of his presence at the conference on combating organized crime in the Balkans, held two meetings on the Cyprus issue on Monday, with his British counterpart Jack Straw, with whom he has regular contact, and Cyprus Parliament President and Cyprus AKEL party Secretary General Demetris Christofias who is also in the British capital.
Papandreou said about his talks with Straw ''we had, of course, the opportunity to discuss about the Balkans and our presidency (of the EU) in the first half of the new year, during which we shall be reaching the summit of Balkan countries with EU leaders, the 25 leaders of the EU, because we shall also be having new members.''
He added that views were exchanged on the Cyprus issue and pointed out to Straw that that time is running out and that the EU has an important role to play regarding Turkey as well for a solution to the Cyprus issue, while noting that a solution is preferable but, on the other hand, not a precondition.
''I would like to stress that I have very regular contact with Mr. Straw due to the Cyprus issue, as well as due to the presidency,'' Papandreou said.
Referring to his talks with Christofias, Papandreou said ''I had the special pleasure of meeting President Demetris Christofias here in London, who has devoted his life to the struggle for a free and just solution to the Cyprus issue and we had the opportunity of exchanging views on latest developments and for me to brief him on our moves of the foreign ministry and the Greek government in general.''
Papandreou said he wished to stress the need for negotiating on the Annan blueprint for a solution to the Cyprus issue and the limited time provided for substantive negotiating.
''I wish to stress that Greece insists and remains on its positions, which was also made clear by the decisions taken in Helsinki, that of course it is preferable that Cyprus joins the European Union united but in parallel, however, this does not constitute a precondition. This is our position which remains and which will be confirmed, of course, in Copenhagen as well,'' Papandreou added.
Christofias said ''the moments are difficult, and I would say crucial, regarding a solution to the problem of Cyprus and Cyprus' accession to the European Union. For this reason I and my friend the minister utilize every opportunity to exchange views on moves taking place or which are necessary to be made.''
He further said he repeats the decision taken by the National Council that the Annan blueprint can be negotiated, adding that it is not a solution for the Cyprus issue as there are both positive and negative elements, many clarifications are necessary and considerable changes on various aspects should be sought to enable the solution to be just and, primarily, viable.
''We do not think it is possible for a solution to be signed before Copenhagen. Unless the blueprint is 'take it or leave it or take it-take it.' In which case we think there is no other way out than a decision being taken in Copenhagen. In any case, the non-solution of the Cyprus issue is not a precondition for the accession of Cyprus and we state that we shall continue efforts to find a just and viable solution to the problem of Cyprus with goodwill, which should be supported and based on UN resolutions and on high-level agreements, as we call them, to convert the state into a federal one. Into a bicommunal, bizonal federation with whatever that entails,'' Christofias said.
 Gov't: Athens wants 'clear-cut' EU accession for Cyprus
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)The Greek government again reiterated on Monday that it wants a “clear-cut EU accession” for Cyprus without “asterisks and footnotes”.
Speaking during his regular press briefing, spokesman Christos Protopapas again referred to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis’ comments on the sidelines of the Prague NATO summit last week, where he underlined that European Union expansion is unattainable without Cyprus.
“No one has so far tied the solution of the Cyprus problem with Cyprus’ EU accession; and no one has the political or the moral right to do this. The decision at the Brussels (EU) summit does not point to such a message, and there is no reason to not abide by the provisions agreed to (at the summit),” Protopapas stressed.
Asked about Ankara’s recent stance in light of the tabling of the Annan peace plan for Cyprus and deliberations on the “Euro-force” issue, the spokesman cited what he called an “evasive and inconsistent stance with contradictory statements ... one where it’s not clear where it (stance) will balance out”.
Finally, he noted that Greek PM Simitis has already conveyed to the UN chief Athens’ willingness to employ the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations.
 British Foreign Secretary Straw in Ankara next week for talks on Cyprus issue
ISTANBUL 26/11/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will visit Ankara next week to discuss the Cyprus issue, Britain's special representative for Cyprus, Lord David Hannay, said on Monday.
Lord David described as ''constructive'' the talks he had in Ankara with Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ugur Zigial and reiterated that the objective is for United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's proposals for a comprehensive settlement of the political problem of Cyprus to be accepted as a basis for a settlement prior to the European Union summit in Copenhagen on December 12-14.
''Our aim is for us to have results before the Copenhagen summit,'' said Lord David, speaking to reporters after his meeting with Zigial.
Lord David termed as constructive the meeting he had with the Turkish deputy foreign minister and stressed that he had no desire to make any official statements ''as the negotiations between the sides are continuing,'' Anadolu news agency quoted him as saying.
Asked to comment on what will happen in the case that there is no result before the Copenhagen summit, the British envoy said that he did not wish to concern himself with conjectures.
To a further question whether there was any direct relation between the Cyprus issue and Turkey's EU accession, Lord Hannay said there is no official relation but various corresponding issues are interrelated.
Lord David reiterated that Britain was in favor of the setting of a date for the start of negotiations for Turkey's accession to the EU and reminded that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had held particularly positive talks in London with the winner of Turkey's general elections, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
''Mr Blair is impressed with Erdogan's views for the future of Turkey,'' the British diplomat concluded.
Denktash expected to give 'positive written reply' to Annan's blueprint, reports: Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is expected to give ''a positive written reply in the coming two days'' to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's blueprint for a comprehensive settlement of the political problem of Cyprus, the Anadolu news agency reported on Monday.
The Anadolu news agency quotes diplomatic sources which claim that Denktash's answer will be positive.
Denktash remains in hospital in New York since October 7 following open-heart surgery.
The UN Chief's proposals for a basis of a Cyprus settlement was presented to the sides on November 11 and the Greek Cypriot side replied on November 18 to the UN within the requested timeframe.
However, the Turkish Cypriot side failed to meet the deadline.
 FM Papandreou to meet with US counterpart in Washington
WASHINGTON 26/11/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)Greece's foreign minister George Papandreou was scheduled to discuss the Cyprus issue, Greek-US bilateral relations, and international affairs during a two-day visit to the US capital on Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to an itinerary released on Monday, Papandreou was due to meet with US president George Bush's national security advisor Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday and secretary of state Colin Powell on Wednesday.
The meetings, taking place ahead of Greece's assumption of the rotating EU presidency for the first half of 2003, were due to focus mainly on current developments in the Cyprus issue following the release of a draft plan by UN chief Kofi Annan as a basis for negotiations for a Cyprus solution.
The talks would further encompass EU-Turkey relations and the US request that a date be set for the commencement of negotiations for Turkey’s EU accession, a request with which Greece is in agreement provided that Turkey displayed a spirit of cooperation for a Cyprus resolution.
The two above issues were discussed Sunday in New York by US undersecretary of state for political affairs Marc Grossman and newly-appointed Turkish foreign minister Yasar Yakis, who paid a lightning visit to the city for a first meeting and exchange of views with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who is in hospital there.
Papandreou will further discuss with the two US officials Greek-US bilateral relations as well as international affairs, such as the Euro-Atlantic dialogue, the situation in Iraq, and developments in the Middle East.
During his short stay in Washington, Papandreou will give TV interviews to the C-SPAN network and CNN, and meet with US media journalists covering diplomatic affairs, before departing Washington Wednesday evening.
 Finmin to meet German, French counterparts
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis is to hold talks this week with his German and French counterparts in connection with Greece's presidency of the Eurogroup.
Other meetings with eurozone finance ministers will follow later in the week.
Greece assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union for the first half of 2003, another reason for the sessions.
 Deputy FM calls for expatriates' support in upcoming crucial period
NEW YORK 26/11/2002 (ANA – M. Georgiadou)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis continued his visit here over the weekend by addressing a session of the World Council of Overseas Hellenes (SAE) regional conference, where he emphasized that expatriate Greeks’ unity is a “primary element for our effectiveness”.
Magriotis also said SAE’s solidarity and support is necessary to determine a strategy for the now timely Cyprus issue, stressing that such support will assist Cyprus’ EU accession, something he said is a given during the upcoming Copenhagen summit.
Additionally, he called on the expatriate Greek organization to support Greece during Athens’ six-month rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2003.
Finally, he told SAE delegates that the United Nations and other international bodies must point out the responsibilities shouldered by the Turkish Cypriot side, as well as Ankara, over what he called their delay in answering whether they consider the recently tabled Annan peace plan for Cyprus as a basis for negotiations.
 Greece to build military hospital, naval base in Albania
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Greece and Albania signed three defense-related agreements here on Monday, with all three pacts expanding Athens’ support for its northwestern neighbor’s efforts to modernize its armed forces and related infrastructure.
The Greek armed forces will build, supply and initially staff a new military hospital in the southern Albanian town of Gjirokaster. The facility will, in turn, be staffed by Albanian military physicians expected to be trained by Greece’s defense ministry.
The total budget for the facility and training totals 1.47 million euros, with the hospital expected serve the entire community when completed.
Meanwhile, Athens has agreed to train Albanian officers at a multinational operations centre in northern Greece (Kilkis), which annually trains 40 military cadres for peace-keeping missions.
Moreover, both countries’ defense ministers agreed -- in principle -- to begin construction of a naval base in Durres, central Albania, for use by that country’s armed forces. Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and his Albanian counterpart Panteli Majko will sign the final agreement next month in Tirana, according to reports.
The project carries a cost of 5.5 million euros, all expected to be financed by the Greek defense ministry. Work is scheduled to start in 2003 and be completed in 2005. Under provisions of the bilateral agreement, Greek naval vessels will be allowed to use the new base.
In statements after the defense ministers’ meeting here, Papantoniou reiterated that Athens backs Albania’s request to join NATO, as it does a similar request by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
On his part, Majko said Greek-Albanian defense relations are currently at their best level ever.
 Land registry first pilot project to be completed by 2004, V. Papandreou says
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou on Monday announced that the first pilot program of the National Land Registry that began in 1997 will conclude in 2004 and the owners of the properties will be called to pay and one-time property tax ranging from 30 to 880 euros per property.
This first pilot program was conducted in six regions of Greece and property owners will have to pay the taxes on land, mines, houses and apartments once they receive their titles of ownership.
She also forecasted that the National Land Registry project will be completed after 2010, when, according to planning, the government will announce the tender for the last region to be included in the registry.
With the completion of the registry, she said, 131.6 thousand square kilometers will have been surveyed and some 32 million claims will have been provided with titles of ownership.
The funding of this rather large project will come from the third community support framework fund, the government's budget and the one-time property tax levied.
 Conference for Future of Europe appoints Greek official
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)The Conference for the Future of Europe on Monday appointed, following a proposal by its President Valerie Giscard d' Estaing, Greek government representative George Katiforis as president of the newly established Labor Group of the Social Europe Conference.
The work of the Conference, whose purpose is to prepare the European Union's new constitution, has been allocated between 10 work groups covering the entire spectrum of EU policies.
Almost all of the conference's members called for the creation of a new work group on Social Europe, whose president will submit proposals to it on articles of the new European constitution concerning the social sector.
 Deputy FM stresses importance of unity among Greeks abroad
NEW YORK 26/11/2002 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis, addressing the 2nd session of the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) 5th Regional Conference on Monday, stressed the importance of unity among Greeks abroad as a primary element for effectiveness in their activities.
Magriotis said ''SAE was created to strengthen, promote and coordinate the work of traditional overseas Greek organizations'' and stressed the importance of the next two years for Greece, calling at the same time for SAE's mobilization and support through the defining of a strategy on the Cyprus issue.
He also called for SAE's support during the European Union's Greek presidency in the first half of 2003, saying that Greece will be actively involved in issues preoccupying the EU, as well as with global issues.
In another development, ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis, general director of the International Olympic Truce Centre, addressing a reception organized by SAE in the framework of the 5th Regional Conference referred to the ideal of peace and to Greece's initiatives to promote the idea of truce and the Olympic spirit in general.
''It is an effort which can be beneficial for Greece,'' Lambrinidis said, adding that ''the biggest public project Greece will be building in coming years is its public image.''
 GHM replies to Israeli envoy’s letter to ESHEA
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)was compiled by GHM.
''GHM and Minority Rights Group -Greece (MRG-G) co-authors of the report on anti-Semitism in Greece, would like to point out that the redistribution of the report by your embassy to Greek journalists, though formally legitimate, was predictably counter productive''.
''Had the embassy asked for permission, which other re-distributors did, we would not have granted it. Because we believe that the public campaign against anti-Semitism in Greece is a matter of the country's Jewish community, NGOs and other Greek institutions or individuals,'' the letter authored by GHM spokesman Panayotis Dimitras said.
''GHM and MRG-G have even more the right to feel frustrated for 'defamation against them for actions of another institution,' to paraphrase your public letter to the President of the Union of Athens Dailies' Journalists, although we do in fact agree that the ensuing attacks against the embassy were libelous and in some cases, reconfirmed the presence of anti-Semitism and deep-rooted beliefs in conspiracy theories,'' the letter concluded.
Sasson, in his letter had said that ''we became aware of the fact that certain journalists are shamelessly distorting the truth and claiming that there is a supposed ''black list'' of journalists in a report of the Israeli Embassy concerning anti-Semitism in Greece.''
 Greek EU presidency to advance energy market deregulation
BRUSSELS 26/11/2002 (ANA/G.Zitouniati)Greece's rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003 will work to advance a decision taken on Monday by EU energy ministers to deregulate electricity and natural gas in the 15-nation bloc.
Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told reporters in the Belgian capital that deregulation on July 1, 2004 for non-household consumers would be a priority in Greece's six-month presidency, along with full liberalization on July 1, 2007 under the same decision.
Tsohatzopoulos added that the Greek presidency would also urge the use of renewable energy and underline the environmental dimension of sustainable development.
Finally, the minister reported that Greece had secured an exemption from the deregulation ruling for electricity in the country's smaller islands, in order to avoid a disruption of supplies.
 The City of London wants Greek EU presidency to back single financial market
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Greece's rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003 should advance a plan by the 15-nation bloc to complete a single market for financial services by 2005, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Gavyn Arthur, said on Monday.
''The promotion of such a market will be one of the duties of the Greek presidency, and the City of London will help in this direction,'' Arthur told the Hellenic-British Chamber of Commerce in Athens.
The timescale for the move, which is to be effected through an action plan for the sector, was set at an EU summit in Lisbon.
Integration of the financial services market would offer Greece cheaper capital for the country's many small and medium sized enterprises, and allow a greater choice of financial products in shipping, Arthur told the chamber luncheon.
''The City believes that completion of a single market in the financial services sector will have a positive outcome for Europe's economy,'' he added.
 Drys stresses significance of tobacco industry on Greek economy
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)The tobacco industry is a major contributor to the Greek economy, Agriculture Minister George Drys said on Monday.
Addressing a seminar on the tobacco industry, organized by the American-Hellenic Chamber in Athens, Mr Drys said that all domestic economic and social activities related with tobacco were currently at a crossroad with all parties needed to take significant decisions over the industry's future.
The Greek minister said that Greek producers' worries were related with a decision by the European Union to continue, or not, subsidizing the tobacco sector in Europe, and developments in the framework of the World Trade Organization and a planned reform of a Common Agriculture Policy in the European Union.
Mr Drys said that Greece, after hard negotiations, managed to achieve an extension of EU subsidies to tobacco growers for another three years to 2006.
He noted, however, that a debate over the future of tobacco subsidies was not completed and that the Greek government was prepared to deal any new developments in the sector.
Mr Drys said that the tobacco industry accounted for 1.03 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, compared with an average 0.13 percent rate in European Union member-states.
The industry offers jobs to 250,000 people, or 5.6 percent of the country's total workforce, up from 0.6 percent in the EU, while tobacco exports accounted for 4.32 percent of total Greek exports in 2001.
The tobacco industry contributes significantly to state coffers as well, with tax revenues totalling 2.65 billion euros in 2002.
 Proodeftiki, Athena in Romanian road building project
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Proodeftiki SA, an Athens quoted engineering contractor, said on Monday that it had been allocated a budget of 21.5 million euros by Romanian authorities for a road building project in the Balkan country.
The company has formed a merger with another contractor, Athena SA. Participation in the project is 65 percent, or 13.975 million euros.
The project is funded by the European Union.
 Separate Parliamentary state report and balance sheet debate
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)As of this year, and through a Parliamentary regulation amendment, Parliament will discuss the state report and balance sheet separately from the state budget, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said on Monday.
Kaklamanis was speaking while receiving the Auditing Council's report on the 2001 state report and balance sheet from the Council's President Constantine Rizos.
Kaklamanis said the state report and balance sheet would be discussed by the plenum for two days and for a further two days, at a special committee, by 13 members of the Economic Affairs Committee.
''This Committee, which in essence will monitor the budget's implementation on the part of Parliament, will have, it is the government's obligation, a monthly briefing on what is being spent and where it is being spent from the state budget,'' he added.
 Interior ministry announces civil service jobs for graduates
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis on Monday announced that the government will be hiring 1,000 new civil servants in order to increase the number of staff with tertiary-level education working in ministries.
The minister said the new positions would be announced soon and that each ministry involved would decide whether the new positions would be filled through a written exam or through a point-system, with the second considered more likely.
The new jobs sought to improve public administration and the service offered to the general public, he said.
The largest number of new positions will be in the finance ministry (182), followed by the culture ministry with 166 and the defense ministry with 119. Next in line will be the transport ministry with 83 new positions and the development ministry with 72, followed by the agriculture ministry with 65, the environment ministry with 50 and the merchant marine ministry with 54. The education ministry stands to get 40 new staff, the public order ministry 34, the labor ministry with 25, the justice and media ministries 20 apiece, the Macedonia-Thrace ministry five and the Aegean ministry four.
 Greek tourism in ad campaign in German railways
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Greece's National Tourist Organization (GNTO) is currently implementing a widespread advertising campaign in Germany, focusing on the use of Greek words and promoting landscape pictures from Attica and Crete.
The campaign is running in Germany's railway and metro stations and will be continued with a Greek food month in Germany's and European railways.
GNTO's advertising campaign will reach its climax in the Berlin International Tourism Trade Fair.
 EFG Eurobank Ergasias unveils changes in organizational structure
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)EFG Eurobank Ergasias on Monday announced a series of changes in its organizational structure aimed to benefit from the introduction of Altamira integrated technological platform in the bank.
The reform plan was drafted in cooperation with Boston Consulting Group, one of the biggest and more credible consultant groups in the world.
Under the plan, EFG Eurobank Ergasias' retail banking sector, headed by Mr Vyron Ballis, will incorporate the bank's branch network to include two types of branches, ''universal'' and ''standard'' categories.
The bank's corporate banking sector will be incorporated in the wider wholesale banking department headed by Mr Nikolaos Karamouzis. The new corporate banking department will create 35-40 business centers, including the current business credit network and 15-20 new units.
The bank's network will operate under the brand name ''Eurobank'', while the group will maintain its EFG Eurobank Ergasias title.
 Greece gets more EU credits for cotton producers
BRUSSELS 26/11/2002 (ANA/M.Spinthouraki)The European Union's finance ministers on Monday approved a further 77 million euros for cotton producers.
Greek Deputy Finance Minister George Floridis told reporters after the meeting that the EU's budget draft for 2003 classed the additional amount for cotton producers under farm spending.
Of the total, 64 million euros were destined for Greece, Floridis said.
 Paralympics official merchandising begins on Monday
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)The official Athens 2004 Paralympics consumer goods are in the market as of Monday, including lapel pins, mouse pads, hats, scarves, ties, and T-shirts, as well as posters and postcards.
This merchandise is available in special Olympic shops, while in the coming weeks these goods will be available in all points where Olympic goods are sold.
 Greek stocks end Monday's session 0.75 percent higher
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks ended the first trading session of a new week higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, reflecting strong buying interest for blue chip stocks in the bank sector, particularly National Bank and Commercial Bank stocks.
The general index ended 0.75 percent higher at 1,872.77 points, with turnover a moderate low 85.9 million euros.
The Textile, Wholesale and Publication sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (3.16 percent, 2.91 percent and 1.93 percent, respectively), while the Insurance, Investment and Retail sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (0.41 percent, 0.26 percent and 0.07 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 1.48 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.27 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 1.0 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 242 to 76 with another 40 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Goody's, Plaisio, Cosmote, and National Bank of Greece.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 61.4 mln euros Monday
Equity Index Futures:
Day's Market Turnover: 61.4 mln euros
Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Monday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Bond: 10-year, expiring May 2012 (383 mln euros)
 Public order minister at UK conference for Balkan organized crime
LONDON 26/11/2002 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)Organized crime was a problem imported into Greece that created the most serious problems in the countries in which it originated, preventing their reconstruction and democratic development, Greek Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis said on Monday.
Chrysohoidis was taking part in a London conference on dealing with organized crime in the Balkans.
The minister noted that there were many aspects to organized crime in the Balkan region, many of which had become a problem in Greece. Among them he listed the trade in women and children, drugs and money laundering.
All these activities undermined democracy and international cooperation to combat these phenomena had to be further developed, he stressed.
Greece was also represented by Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who said the European Union intended to discuss a number of proposals for dealing with organized crime in the Balkans. Among these were close monitoring of the situation by the EU Troika public order ministers and activating a centre in Albania's Vlore with the cooperation of Greece, Albania, Italy, Germany and other EU member-states for dealing with this problem.
 City of London Mayor: District thrives as a 'premier euro centre'
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Gavyn Arthur, emphasized here on Monday that the City continues to rank as Europe’s pre-eminent financial and business centre even if Britain still remains outside the “euro zone”.
“... despite the UK electing to remain outside the euro zone for the time being, London remains the centre for trading of the currency; be it euro-denominated equities, bonds, foreign exchange or overnight money, London is the place,” Arthur said during a banquet organized by the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in downtown Athens.
Earlier, in statements to the ANA, Arthur -- who also doubles as the chancellor of the City University -- stressed that euro transactions in London’s financial and business district today exceed transactions of all the previous currencies put together. He also noted that there’s really no “message” to convey to the European business community as far as City’s importance and vitality in the “euro zone” age is concerned, “they know that it is still the best place to do business”.
“The City sees the euro in the commercial and not political terms. The huge size of the City markets and the depth and breadth of its international expertise has allowed it to thrive as a the premier euro centre; and there are no signs of any loss of business as a result of this situation,” he said, before adding that the completion of a single financial services market will offer Greece cheaper capital for its SME sector and a wider choice of financial products for the all-important Greek-owned shipping industry.
Arthur heads a high-ranking business delegation to the Greek capital that includes British Bankers’ Association president Roger Brown; Anthony Belchambers, the CEO of the Futures and Options Association (FOA) and HSBC’s Robert Gray, the chairman of the board for the International Primary Market Association (IPMA).
Finally, among the officials attending the chamber event was Athens Mayor-elect Dora Bakoyianni.
 Deputy interior minister on renewal of immigrants' residence permits
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Deputy Interior Minister Lambros Papadimas said on Monday that the time left for immigrants regarding the renewal of their residence permits is running short (31.12.2002).
Briefing representatives of immigrant associations, the minister said that according to checks made by the ministry nationwide, it was ascertained that at the present phase the total number of applications for the renewal of permits is less than the number of temporary permits.
Foreigners wishing to be briefed directly on the course of their application for renewal of their residence permits can do so by ringing 1464 or visiting the ministry's website.
 Alleged N17 suspect expected to appeal for release
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Yiannis Serifis, currently being held in custody for alleged participation in the November 17 terrorist organization, is expected to appeal for his release to investigator Leonidas Zervombeakos on Tuesday.
According to reports, the appeal, to be delivered by his lawyer, will stress that evidence is inadequate for him to be charged and kept temporarily in custody, while testimonies will also be invoked confirming that Serifis has nothing to do with terrorism.
Moreover, according to manuscripts included in the file of proceedings on the November 17 organization, which according to police belong to alleged terrorist suspect Alexandros Giotopoulos, the organization’s alleged supervisor kept notes on speeches made by experts on the Athens airport at Spata.
 Greek Eurodeputy presents EU anti-smoking directive
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Greek Eurodeputy Meni Malliori held a joint press conference with Health and Welfare Minister Kostas Stephanis in Athens on Monday, presenting the new European Union directive concerning advertisements and sponsorships from tobacco companies.
Malliori, who was appointed by the Europarliament to promote the directive, said that 42 per cent of the EU's population are smokers and 60 per cent of them begin smoking before the age of 13, while 90 per cent of smokers begin this addictive habit before the age of 19.
According to the Eurodeputy, some half a million Europeans die every year from complications related to smoking, while the number of victims around the world reach over three million a year.
 Kaklamanis inaugurates seminar on EU in Athens
Athens, 26/11/2002 (ANA)Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Monday in Athens inaugurated a symposium organized by Parliament in cooperation with the Black Sea International Studies Center and was entitled "The parliamentary prospect of a United Europe".
Kaklamanis stressed the new challenges, as well as the dangers for the creation of new dividing lines if the right action is not taken during the enlargement of the European Union toward Central and Eastern Europe.
 Cyprus FM Kasoulides says Turkey in no hurry for solution
LARNACA 26/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)Turkey is in no hurry for a Cyprus settlement before the Copenhagen European Council, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said here on Monday.
He was speaking before his departure for London, where he will meet new Minister of State for European Affairs Dennis MacShane and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
Invited to comment on statements made by his Turkish counterpart Yasar Yakis that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will soon make a positive statement on the UN Secretary General's blueprint for Cyprus, Kasoulides said he hoped this ''will take place the soonest.''
The foreign minister also said it will have to be diagnosed whether there is willingness on behalf of Turkey to reach an accord on Cyprus or if Turkey is using a solution to the Cyprus problem to secure a date to commence accession negotiations with the European Union.
However, Kasoulides expressed certainty that Turkey would receive an assurance in Copenhagen to start accession negotiations with the EU.
The Greek Cypriot side replied on November 18 to the UN within the requested timeframe from the day the UN proposal was presented on November 11.
However, the Turkish Cypriot side failed to meet the deadline.
Denktash remains in hospital in New York since October 7 following open-heart surgery.
 UN wants a reply from Denktash the soonest
UNITED NATIONS 26/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)The UN wants a reply from Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to the UN Secretary General's plan for a Cyprus settlement the soonest and will take things from there on.
Assistant Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here on Monday during a daily press briefing that the UN has still not received an official answer from the Turkish Cypriot leader and would not want to predict when it would be given, saying ''that question is probably best reserved for him."
He also said the Secretary General would be in direct touch with the Turkish and Greek governments.
The spokesman repeated that ''time is of the essence'' and that the UN understands that Denktash, who has been recuperating in New York since October 7 when he underwent open-heart surgery, has health problems. However he stressed ''we want to receive an answer as soon as possible."
''The next step for us is to hear from Mr. Denktash. I cannot go further than that. We are waiting to hear from him his preliminary reaction to the plan. And I will take it from there'', the spokesman remarked.
Dujarric said the Secretary General had not used the word ''deadline'' when he asked the two sides to give their reply to his plan by November 18. ''As the Secretary General said in a statement last week, he is encouraged by the positive responses he is hearing for his plan and we are looking forward to hearing from Mr. Denktash."
He said Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Yasar Yakis will be seeing Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto on Tuesday in Berlin, ''so we will have more after that meeting''.
Asked if the UN chief plans to call the two leaders for talks in New York, Dujarric said the Secretary General ''will be in touch with the Turkish and Greek governments as well, directly, so we are consulting. He added that he did not have any other specific information on that.
To a question if he believes there is enough time to complete the negotiations before December 12 when the European Council will convene in Copenhagen to decide on the enlargement of the European Union, Dujarric said ''things have to start before we can speculate whether or not there is enough time''.
The spokesman mentioned the meetings the Secretary General held in Paris while on an official visit there. The Cyprus problem was among the issues discussed with President Jacques Chirac.
He added that the Security Council was due to vote later in the day on a resolution for the renewal of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate.
 Van der Meer: Advantages to linking solution with accession
NICOSIA 26/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)Head of the European Commission to Cyprus, Adrian Van der Meer, has said there are many advantages to linking the solution of the Cyprus problem with the island's accession to the European Union. Speaking on Monday after meeting Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides whom he informed on the progress on Cyprus' accession process, Van der Meer described this week as ''very crucial'' because he said the Commission ''hopes to finalize negotiations on the outstanding issues.''
The EU ambassador said he was still confident that a deal can be reached on the UN Secretary-General's plan before the Copenhagen European Council on December 12-13.
He said he was still confident that a ''deal can be reached'' on the UN Secretary-General's plan before Copenhagen, adding ''we will make together with all others to use all diplomatic channels to achieve that goal.''
Asked whether a referendum should be held on the solution and the accession, the European Commission diplomat said, ''these are draft questions on the UN plan.''
He called on journalists to ''see what will be the outcome of the negotiations also as far as this question of the referendum is concerned.'' Obviously, he added, ''we feel big advantages in linking the two issues.'' Cyprus is among the ten countries which the European Commission recommended they finalize accession negotiations by the end of the year.
 Synod rejects Annan plan but will work towards unity
NICOSIA 26/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)The Synod of the Church of Cyprus maintains its position that it rejects the UN Secretary-General's plan for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.
The position was repeated here on Monday after the Synod members were informed by Attorney General Alecos Markides on the provisions of the Annan blueprint.
Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos said clergymen asked Markides to convey to the government the message that the Church will contribute to keeping the people united ''during these critical times.''
''Our position has not changed,'' the bishop said, adding that the Synod assured the Attorney General that ''the Church will never contribute to dividing the people, on the contrary, it will work for the peace of our people.''