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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-03-04

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

March 4, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] 'November 17' terrorist group trial opens under stringent security
  • [02] U.S. government hails commencement of N17 terrorist suspects' trial
  • [03] EU says Baghdad's compliance with UNSCR 1441 best way to avert war
  • [04] Greece calls Turkish blocking of US troops deployment very significant
  • [05] Defense minister discusses with British counterpart Iraq, Cyprus, Euroarmy
  • [06] Yiannitsis meets EUís Kinnock on Council of Ministersí regulation
  • [07] Greek tourism minister visits Australia
  • [08] Greek President to make official visit to Belgium
  • [09] PM to visit Alexandroupolis on Tuesday
  • [10] EU Commission organizes conference on gender equality
  • [11] FinMin unveils insurance market supervisory board
  • [12] Eurozone's PMI rises surprisingly in February, Greek index eases
  • [13] EU talks with Arab countries in Doha focus on economic ties
  • [14] EU members reach agreement on common patent system
  • [15] Greek stocks ease slightly on Monday
  • [16] US experts brought in for workshop on Olympics security
  • [17] Amendment hands Karaiskaki stadium to Sports Secretariat
  • [18] 2004 Athens Olympic Games commemorative coins presented at Bank of Greece
  • [19] Alternate FM expresses government's support for inter-religious dialogue
  • [20] 2nd European Conference of Jurists on issues concerning minors held in Athens
  • [21] British film producer to promote Parthenon Marble's return to Greece
  • [22] Turkish migrant trafficker jailed
  • [23] Spokesman says Turkey presenting conflicting policy

  • [01] 'November 17' terrorist group trial opens under stringent security

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    The long-awaited trial of 19 suspected members of the elusive 'November 17' terrorist group opened Monday at the women's section of the Korydallos prison, near Piraeus, under stringent security measures.

    More than 800 people were gathered outside the three designated entrances to the specially-designed trial venue at the women's prison facility, where the suspects are incarcerated, since very early in the morning, while the streets surrounding the facility have been closed off to traffic. Those gathered outside the facility include journalists, among them Athens Union of Journalists (ESIEA) acting president Panos Sombolos and members of the ESIEA presidium, TV crews, photo-journalists, witnesses, lawyers, among them Athens Bar Association president Dimitris Paxinos, and relatives of victims and the accused.

    Live television and radio coverage of the trial has been prohibited.

    Everyone entering the trial venue will undergo strict security checks, including passing through special machines that detect metal, drugs and explosive substances.

    The trial began with a deluge of objections by defense attorneys on procedural issues, who have stated they intend to submit objections on the competency of the court, validity of the pre-trial procedures, the prohibition of the live broadcast of the proceedings, and problems in communication with their clients due to the stringent security measures, mainly a bullet-proof glass enclosure for the defendants, and other matters.

    The court proceedings will be presided over by Appeals judgesí president Michalis Margaritis, 64, who joined the judicial corps in 1972 after receiving a degree from the Athens Law School and post-graduate studies specializing in European Law in London. The other justices sitting on the bench are appeals judges Nikolaos Zairis, 57, and Vassilis Kourkakis, 63. The prosecutor representing the State is 64-year-old appeals judge Christos Lambrou, a veteran to the judicial corps which he joined in 1969.

    Prosecution witnesses number more than 350, among them 40 foreign nationals. Defense lawyers number 150, while the accused are charged with an overall total of some 2,000 crimes.

    - Alexandros Giotopoulos, 59, (code-name Lambros and believed to be the terrorist group's leader), faces some 1,000 charges as, according to the indictment sheet, he is considered the moral instigator of all the 17N activities. He is believed to have been a member of 17N from its founding in 1975 up until his arrest in July 2002.

    - Nikos Papanastasiou, 52, (code-name Nikitas) faces eight charges for participating in three 17N attacks: the 1984 attempted assassination of US air force sergeant Robert Judd, the 1984 robbery of a National Bank branch in Kato Petralona in which police officer Christos Matis was killed, and the 1985 assassination of Athens daily 'Apogevmatini' publisher Nikos Mompheratos and his driver Panayotis Rousetis. He is considered to have been a 17N member from 1975 up to his arrest in July 2002.

    - Dimitris Koufodinas, 45 (code-name Loukas, believed to be the organizationís top hit-man) faces 253 charges for participation in 84 17N activities, including participation in many 17N killings, including those of police officer Christos Matis in 1984 National Bank robbery in Kato Petralona; 'Apogevmatini' publisher Nikos Mompheratos and his driver Panayotis Rousetis in 1985; industrialist Dimitris Angelopoulos in 1986; industrialist Alexandros Athanasiadis-Bodosakis in 1988; fatal shooting of prosecutor Costas Androulidakis in 1989; New Democracy (ND) MP Pavlos Bakoyannis in 1989; US sergeant Ronald Steward in 1991; Turkish embassy assistant press attache Gyorgu Cetin in 1991; and British embassy military attache Brigadier Stephen Saunders in 2000, among others. He is believed to have been a 17N member from early 1983 to his arrest in July 2002.

    - Savvas Xiros, 41, (code-name Michalis) faces 206 charges for participation in 78 17N activities, including the assassinations of: US embassy military attache William Nordeen in 1988; New Democracy MP Pavlos Bakoyannis in 1989; former National Bank governor Michalis Vranopoulos in 1994; Turkish diplomat Omer Haluk Sipahioglu in 1994; shipowner and former shareholder and director of Elefsis Shipyards Costis Peraticos in 1997, among others. Believed to have joined 17N in 1986.

    - Christodoulis Xiros, 45, (code-name Manolis, older brother of Savvas Xiros), faces 190 charges for participation in 78 17N activities. Believed to be a 17N member from late-1983 to his arrest in July 2002.

    - Patroclos Tselentis, 43, (code-name Alekos or Tainias) faces 41 charges for participation in ten 17N activities, including five assassinations. Believed to have joined 17N in 1983.

    - Vassilis Tzortzatos, 48, (code-name Stamatis) faces 175 charges for participation in 33 17N activities, including 7 assassinations. Believed to have joined the group in 1985.

    - Vassilis Xiros, 31, (code-name Panais, younger brother of Savvas and Christodoulos Xiros), faces 39 charges for participation in 28 17N activities, including accessory in the assassinations of shipowner and former shareholder and director of Elefsis Shipyards Costis Peraticos in 1997; and British embassy military attache Brigadier Stephen Saunders in 2000. Believed to have joined the group in 1995.

    - Iraklis Kostaris, 37, (code-name Haris), faces 30 charges for participation in 9 17N activities, including accessory in the assassination of shipowner and former shareholder and director of Elefsis Shipyards Costis Peraticos in 1997 and as an accomplice in the assassination of New Democracy (ND) MP Pavlos Bakoyannis in 1989. Believed to have been a 17N member from 1988 up to his arrest in July 2002.

    - Costas Karatsolis, 37, (code-name Stelios), faces 13 charges for participation in six 17N activities, mostly concerning armed robberies, and one assassination attempt. Believed to have joined the group in late 1987.

    - Sotiris Kondylis, 43, (code-name Aris), faces 18 charges, including accessory in the assassination of Turkish diplomat Omer Haluk Sipahioglu in 1994. Believed to have joined the group in 1990.

    - Pavlos Serifis, 47, faces three major charges under the counter-terrorism law faced by most of the accused, concerning set-up and membership in a criminal organization, arms possession, and construction, procurement and possession of explosive materials. Believed to have been a member of 17N from its founding in 1975 up to his arrest in July 2002.

    - Yannis Serifis, 65 (cousin of Pavlos Serifis) faces the same charges as Pavlos Serifis. Believed to have been a member of 17N from its founding in 1975 up to his arrest in July 2002.

    - Costas Telios, 38, (code-name Markos), faces 14 charges for participation in four 17N activities. Believed to have joined the group in 1988, and of being a member up until his arrest in July 2002.

    - Thomas Serifis, 37, (code-name Stathis), faces eight charges for participation in four 17N activities. Does not face charges related to the 17N assassinations. Believed to have joined the group in late 1988.

    - Theologos Psaradellis, 60, (code-name Fotis), faces six charges for participation in two 17N activities: two attempted assassinations, and two armed robberies -- that of the ELTA post office in Patissia, Athens, in 1988, and at the ELTA post office in Egaleo in 1988. Believed to have joined the organization in 1978.

    - Dionyssis Georgiadis, 27, (code-name Alexis), faces nine charges for participation in four 17N activities. Is not charged with participation in 17N assassinations. Believed to have joined the organization in 1988. - Angeliki Sotiropoulou, 41, (the only woman arrested for alleged membership in 17N, former wife of another defendant, Savvas Xiros, and long-time companion of defendant Dimitris Koufodinas, whom she married in a civil service at Korydallos prison after their incarceration) faces five charges for participation in two 17N activities: the assassination of British embassy military attache Brigadier Stephen Saunders in 2000, and an attempted explosion in the port of Piraeus. She is believed to have joined the group in 1986.

    - Anestis Papanastasiou, 41 (cousin of defendant Nikos Papanastasiou). He is not charged with participation in any 17N attack, but accused of set-up and membership in a criminal organization.

    N17 court opts to remove bullet-proof cubicle surrounding accused: The Three-member Criminal Appeals Court trying the sensational ''November 17'' terrorism case on Monday decided that the bullet-proof glass cubicle surrounding the dock and the 19 defendants should be removed, starting with the bullet-proof glass initially and afterward the frame.

    The counsel for several of the defendants had moved for the cubicle's removal when the trial began on Monday morning, claiming that it was not there for their clients' protection but as a 'communications gimmick' designed to send a message outside the courtroom.

    Lawyers for the defense questioned whether the extra security measures were necessary and said that it discriminated against their clients relative to defendants in other cases, while some the defendants themselves claimed to have problems hearing the proceedings and communicating with their lawyers.

    The removal of the cubicle was also requested by the public prosecutor on the bench Christos Lambrou in order to ensure unimpeded communication between the accused and their defense counsel.

    N17 court has allowed use of tape-recorders, gov't says: The court trying the 19 defendants accused as members of the terror group "November 17" had decided to allow journalists to use tape-recorders within the courtroom, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Monday.

    He said the authorities were also considering the transfer of card phones into the press room next to the court.

    Responding to questions about the bullet-proof glass cubicle surrounding the prisoners' dock, which the court decided should be removed during the first day of the trial on Monday, the spokesman said this had been constructed by "Themida Kataskevastiki" - the company in charge of setting up the interior of the courtroom and overseeing security measures.

    On the trial itself, the spokesman reiterated that the important thing was its substance.

    He stressed that through the actions of Greek authorities, "terrorism in Greece has suffered a great defeat, both through the arrest of N17 and with the arrest of members of other terrorist groups."

    During the trial, he added, there would be an attempt to dispel the "myth" surrounding terrorism without denying anyone freedom of expression.

    Protopapas stressed that the trial was a "very important moment for the country and society" and that the trial was taking place within the framework of criminal proceedings set out by law.

    "People who stole, robbed banks, set bombs and killed cannot be tried in a political trial. They displayed criminal behavior and must face a criminal trial".

    [02] U.S. government hails commencement of N17 terrorist suspects' trial

    WASHINGTON 04/03/2003 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The U.S. government on Monday hailed the commencement of the November 17 terrorist group suspects' trial, praised the Greek authorities for their arrest and added that it will follow the development of the trial with interest since the group's victims include four American citizens and a Greek employee of the U.S. embassy in Athens.

    ''It is an issue in which we are interested and which we are following closely. We believe that the terrorists should be brought before justice for their crimes. The United States fully supports the government of Greece in bringing the defendants to trial for multiple crimes,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

    ''The Greek government's successes against the notorious terrorist group are worthy of recognition,'' he further said, as well as the fact that the issue has been brought before justice.

    [03] EU says Baghdad's compliance with UNSCR 1441 best way to avert war

    DOHA 04/03/2003 (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos)

    The European Union on Monday said that everyone was in support of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and there was still a window of opportunity to avert war if Iraq leader Saddam Hussein came through with a dramatic gesture for disarmament.

    Talking to reporters after talks here with Gulf Cooperation Council delegates, Greek Foreign Minister and EU Council President in office George Papandreou on Monday stressed the EU wished a peaceful solution to the crisis without precluding the use of force as the last resort, adding ''and we are supporting the UN''.

    Asked about the differences in opinion among EU member states, Papandreou said that everyone within the EU was bound by their preference for a peaceful solution.

    ''There are individual differences, of course, but there is also very strong unity in the desire to exhaust all peaceful means'', he said.

    ''There is further need for initiatives to confront the Iraqi crisis'', Papandreou said and stressed that despite disagreement within the EU and the UN, there is agreement on UNSCR 1441, and that the message to Saddam is that compliance with the UN resolution is the best way to avert war.

    [04] Greece calls Turkish blocking of US troops deployment very significant

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    EU presidency Greece on Monday said that the Turkish Parliament's decision to refuse facilities for the deployment of US troops for a possible war against Iraq was very significant and should set one thinking.

    Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas reiterated the Greek EU presidency's wish that any developments on Iraq occur within the framework of the United Nations.

    Commenting on recent statements made by Turkish ruling party leader Recep Erdogan, who wished for ''good bilateral relations'' with Greece, the spokesman said that Greece also wished for good neighborly relations, but that Ankara would have to demonstrate ''consistency through words and deeds''.

    [05] Defense minister discusses with British counterpart Iraq, Cyprus, Euroarmy

    LONDON 04/03/2003 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    ''My conviction and that of the Greek government is naturally that the diplomatic window which exists on the issue of Iraq is today more open in comparison to the previous days,'' Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told reporters after an hour-long meeting here on Monday with British Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon.

    The Greek minister noted two basic factors, which, according to his assessment, have changed the scene and the prospects of a war in Iraq. It is, he said, the Turkish parliament's decision not to allow the installation or the passage through Turkish territory of U.S. troops and the anti-war position of international public opinion and particularly public opinion in Britain which demands a second UN resolution for Britain and the U.S. to act together in a military operation in Iraq.''

    ''With these facts the possibility of the war in Iraq remains of course strong, but less strong in comparison to the previous days and consequently this strengthens the Greek EU presidency's efforts for a diplomatic solution to the Iraq crisis,'' Papantoniou said.

    The Greek minister said he also discussed with his British counterpart the Cyprus issue and latest developments and stressed the intransigence of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and for the need of the international community to exert pressure for Denktash to give a positive reply to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at The Hague on March 10 concerning the referendum.

    Hoon assured his Greek counterpart that on the issue of Cyprus, the British government will make great efforts in the right direction.

    ''The proper direction naturally is for the Cypriots, and particularly the Turkish Cypriots to freely express their opinion concerning their future,'' Papantoniou added.

    Another issue which Papantoniou discussed with the British secretary for defense was the first activation of the ''Euroarmy'' in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), where early in April it will replace the existing international military force.

    ''The European defense exists and is operational,'' said Papantoniou, adding that he will be in FYROM to receive the first soldiers of the ''Euroarmy''.

    [06] Yiannitsis meets EUís Kinnock on Council of Ministersí regulation

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis met with visiting European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Administrative Reform Neil Kinnock on Monday, with discussion between them focusing on the new regulations for the operation of the European Union Council of Ministers and the employment arrangements for EU employees.

    During a working lunch, Kinnock stressed that the achievement of a political decision by the Council of Ministers regarding the adoption of the new regulations is an essential matter for the smooth operation of the EU. He further expressed a hope that a positive outcome would be achieved during the Greek EU Presidency on the specific matter.

    Yiannitsis said the Greek presidency viewed a political decision on the issue as highly important, especially in view of the Unionís expansion.

    As a foreign ministry announcement said, the Greek EU Presidency intends to make all possible efforts to cooperate with EU member-states to conclude procedures for the adoption of a new regulation by the Council as soon as possible.

    [07] Greek tourism minister visits Australia

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    Australian tourists, willing to visit Greece, are attracted by a theme tourism and the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Development Deputy Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos said on Monday.

    The Greek minister is currently visiting Australia for talks with government officials and tour operators in a bid to boost tourist arrivals from down-under.

    Mr Georgakopoulos said that the Greek tourism authorities were planning joint programs with other countries, particularly Italy, to promote theme tourism in the region.

    The Greek minister said that the government would seek viable solutions in a demand by Australian tour operators to establish a direct air connection between Greece and Australia.

    Mr Georgakopoulos met in Melbourne with Victoria state's Tourism Minister, Mr John Pantazopoulos, and with representatives of the Greek community in the region. The Greek minister will also visit Canberra and Sydney.

    Meanwhile, Greece's National Tourism Organization (GNTO) on Monday said that the UK conference market was showing a fundamental and increasing interest for Greece, despite negative conditions in the international market because of fears of a war in Iraq.

    GNTO held a special event on conference tourism in London last week, in the framework of a Confex international exhibition in the UK capital.

    The event was organized by a newly set-up agency on conference and incentives tourism by GNTO in London.

    [08] Greek President to make official visit to Belgium

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is to carry out an official visit to Belgium on April 1-3 at the invitation of Belgium's King Albert II and Queen Paola, it was announced on Monday.

    [09] PM to visit Alexandroupolis on Tuesday

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will on Tuesday visit the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced on Monday.

    On Wednesday at 10:00, Simitis will chair a government meeting to discuss the Lisbon summit policies that will be attended by Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas and Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    At 12:30 the same day, the premier will meet the leadership of the foreign ministry to discuss foreign policy issues.

    On Thursday at 11:30, Simitis will receive the new Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, while on Friday at 10:00 he will meet Education Minister Petros Efthymiou before addressing a conference by European trade unions on employment at noon.

    [10] EU Commission organizes conference on gender equality

    BRUSSELS 04/03/2003 (ANA-A.Simatos)

    The European Commission is organizing a conference of gender equality to be held here on Tuesday, at the initiative of EU Education and Culture Commissioner Viviane Reding.

    The event aims to prepare certain recommendations to the members of the Convention on the Future of Europe.

    The one-day conference agenda includes a discussion of the outcome of EU policies so far as a driving force with respect to gender equality in the Union following expansion.

    Participants will include EU Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, the President of the Europarliamentís Womenís Rights Committee Anna Karamanou, MEPs and members of the Convention on the Future of Europe.

    [11] FinMin unveils insurance market supervisory board

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Monday unveiled plans to set up an independent board to supervise the domestic insurance market.

    Addressing an annual general assembly of the Union of Insurance Companies, Mr Christodoulakis rejected plans for a new round of premium price increases in the insurance sector and stressed that such a move would be unjustified.

    Dimitris Kontominas, the Union's outgoing chairman, noted that higher prices were necessary because of the negative international business climate and stressed that the insurance sector topped the list in revoking operation licenses. Mr Kontominas defended a plan to set up an independent supervisory board that would combat unfair competition in the Greek market.

    The Greek minister stressed that the board would be supervised by the Bank of Greece, on the model of the Greek Capital Markets' Commission.

    [12] Eurozone's PMI rises surprisingly in February, Greek index eases

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    Eurozone's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), measuring business activity in the manufacturing sector, recorded a surprise increase in February - for the first time in the last six months - reflecting increased production and orders, a monthly Reuters/NTC Research report said on Monday.

    The Greek PMI remained above the 50 points reading - the level separating growth and contraction - although it fell to 51.3 in February from 53.1 in January.

    The fall in the index reflected the impact of severe weather conditions around the country in the previous month. February's reading was the lowest in the last 12 months despite higher sales both in the domestic and foreign markets and steady employment levels in the month.

    Eurozone's PMI rose to 50.1 in February from 49.3 in the previous month, exceeding analysts' predictions of a reading of 49.5.

    The production index in the manufacturing sector recorded the highest growth rate in the last three months, to 51.6 in February from 51 in January. Austria, France, Italy, Greece and Germany recorded the highest growth rates, while the Netherlands, Ireland and Spain recorded falls in the production index.

    The employment index in the manufacturing sector in the eurozone remained below the 50 level, at 47.2 points in February, with the Netherlands and Germany recording the biggest falls.

    [13] EU talks with Arab countries in Doha focus on economic ties

    DOHA 04/03/2003 (ANA-D. Constantakopoulos)

    Gulf Arab-European Union economic ties were the focus of discussions in Doha on Monday between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and an EU delegation headed by Greek Foreign Minister and EU president in office George Papandreou.

    The GCC, grouping Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, is the EU's fifth trading partner world-wide and wants Europe to lift restrictions on its members' exports on the grounds that they present a 17-billion-dollar trading deficit, with 16 billion dollars in exports to and 33 billion dollars imports from the EU.

    Arab peninsula states that have rich reserves of hydrocarbon fuels are traditionally pro-American, which explains why their discussions with the EU delegation did not dwell at length on either the Iraq crisis or the Palestinian issue, as one might expect.

    During the discussions, the Arab states expressed their wish for simplification of the visa system for their citizens, while the EU bought up the issue of a new EU delegation office opening in Riyadh where the GCC headquarters are located.

    Papandreou, who might fly to New York this week for the UN Security Council meeting, had a telephone conversation with his Cypriot counterpart George Iakovou.

    [14] EU members reach agreement on common patent system

    BRUSSELS 04/03/2003 (ANA - G. Zitouniati)

    The European Union's council on fair competition on Monday arrived at a decision on the much talked about common European patent system, during a meeting headed by Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who is the presiding minister.

    [15] Greek stocks ease slightly on Monday

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks eased slightly on Monday reflecting lack of buying interest and uncertainty over international economic and geopolitical developments.

    The general index fell 0.13 percent to end at 1,611.97 points, with turnover a low 77.6 million euros.

    The IT, Textile and IT Solutions sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.30 percent, 1.80 percent and 1.43 percent, respectively), while the Cement, Retail and Metal sectors scores the biggest percentage gains (0.73 percent, 0.60 percent and 0.46 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.50 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.50 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 0.87 percent. The wider FTSE/ASE 140 index fell 0.54 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 177 to 123 with another 53 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 41.5 mln euros Monday

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: -0.50 percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: -0.50 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (385)

    Day's Market Turnover: 41.5 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers match sellers on Monday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.97 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 20 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 1.6 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-year, expiring May 2013 (230 mln euros)

    [16] US experts brought in for workshop on Olympics security

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    Greek officials and United States experts in Olympic security had an opportunity to work together and share their experiences at a four-day workshop in Athens last week that aimed to enhance security coordination for the 2004 Olympics taking place in the city.

    A press release from the American Embassy on Monday quoted American Ambassador Thomas Miller as saying that this was ''another example of commitment the U.S. government has made to support the Greek government in making the 2004 Olympic Games secure.''

    Greek Police Chief Fotis Nasiakos, on his part, said the workshop offered by the U.S. was ''proof of good U.S.-Greek bilateral relations'' and he underlined the active cooperation between the two nations for a safe and peaceful 2004 Olympic Games.

    This was the first ''Olympic Security Senior Policy Workshop'' of three being sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and the Greek police, in which 24 U.S. officials made presentations and met with 110 high-level Greek government participants. The workshop focused on after-action reports and a presentation from the Salt Lake City Olympics.

    It was presented by U.S. federal, state and local representative experts from an inter-agency team who specialize in large-scale security issues, securing roads, airports and ports. This team was involved in the planning and execution of the Salt Lake City Olympics.

    [17] Amendment hands Karaiskaki stadium to Sports Secretariat

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    An amendment to a draft bill tabled in Parliament by the Finance ministry on Monday transfers the use, management and administration of Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus, along with any associated facilities and equipment, from the Greek Olympic Committee to the General Secretariat for Sports.

    The same amendment also allows the sports secretariat to offer a 49-year contract for the use, administration and management of the football field to the Piraeus-based soccer club Olympiakos, which has for years used Karaiskaki as its home ground, on condition that it undertakes to rebuild and refurbish the stadium for use as an Olympics facility.

    After this period, the use, administration and management of the stadium will revert to the Greek Olympic Committee, while during the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 the stadium will be given over for use by the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC) without charge.

    A report justifying the amendment, meanwhile, notes that existing facilities at Karaiskaki do not meet the standards set by international soccer federations FIFA and UEFA, nor the special standards for the Olympic soccer tournament that have been particularly stressed by the International Olympic Committee and ATHOC.

    The dilapidated stadium was picked by the world soccer federation FIFA to host the 2004 Olympics football finals in December following a pledge by the Olympiakos club management to build a new, state-of-the-art facility on the site in time for the August 2004 Olympics.

    [18] 2004 Athens Olympic Games commemorative coins presented at Bank of Greece

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    A special issue of commemorative coins for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games was presented at the Bank of Greece on Monday in the presence of Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas.

    Daskalaki said 160,000 gold and 800,000 silver coins will be issued, while revenues expected by ATHOC amount to 2.5 million euros.

    [19] Alternate FM expresses government's support for inter-religious dialogue

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis on Monday stressed the Greek government's support for the inter-religious dialogue in his meetings with Christian Orthodox and Jewish delegations.

    The meeting took place in light of preparations for bilateral talks between Orthodox Christians and Jews.

    Yiannitsis stressed that after the ''Sept. 11'' terrorist attack in the United States it became all the more necessary to promote the inter-religious dialogue in all forms, to examine if societies include religious fanaticism and to take measures for the greatest possible time period so that they may not appear again.

    ''It is our duty to avert such ideas from becoming dominant ones in the modern world,'' he said.

    He stressed the Greek EU presidency's initiative to call a European Union summit for the crisis in Iraq, to ensure that Iraq would not drive a wedge between the EU and the USA or between the members of the EU, and added that the UN is the main international body to take decisions and act on questions of peace or war and to ensure the quality of relations between the EU and the Arab world which should remain constructive.

    On his part, Rabi Israel Singer, head of the Jewish delegation, stressed that in the present meeting all Jewish communities would be represented and thanked the Metropolitan of France Emmanuel for his initiative to organize the meeting.

    He also stressed that although the Jewish community is small in number, it does feel that it has the responsibility and obligation to construct mutual understanding together with other religious communities.

    In his closing remarks, Yiannitsis reiterated that dialogue, tolerance and understanding of different ideas have their roots in Greece and expressed his wish for a successful dialogue.

    The Orthodox side is represented by Metropolitan Emmanuel, Metropolitan of Peristeri Chrysostomos, Bishop of Batscka Irineos, University of Belgrade Theology School Rector Rev. Vladan Perisic, University of Athens Prof. Vlassios Feidias, George Schira of the Archbishopric of America and Dr. Gary Vatsikouras of the Geneva Graduate Studies Institute.

    The Jewish side was represented by Rabi Singer, International Jewish Council Chairman Rabi Henni Sobel from Sao Paolo, Brazil, International European Committee Vice-Chairman Rabi Joel Meyers, Rabi Leon Feldman from New York, Chairman of the Central Jewish Council of Greece Moses Konstantinis and the President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki David Saltiel.

    [20] 2nd European Conference of Jurists on issues concerning minors held in Athens

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    The ''2nd European Conference of Jurists responsible for issues concerning minors'' was held in Athens on Monday. It was organized by the ''Foundation for the child and the family'' in cooperation with the ''Foundation pour l'Enfance'' and was a continuation of the ''1st Conference of Judges'' held in Paris in November 2000.

    The aim of this year's conference, held under the auspices of the justice ministry with the support of the European Commission, was the protection of minors through the examination of various national legislations, organizational systems, practices and experiments applied in different European Union member-states.

    Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos referred to the stunning figure of 1,000,000 children in the world which are forced into prostitution every year and to the law ratified in 2002 anticipating stiff penalties for pornography, indecent assault, pandering and the fatal seduction of children.

    He added that the Greek government will utilize the six-month period of the Greek EU presidency to promote institutions protecting children.

    Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis referred to the unfavorable position of children, even in developed European countries, and commented on the fact that the EU, although it has been preoccupying itself since 1991 with the in-depth examination of children's living conditions in the EU, has not yet succeeded in giving priority to action concerning children's issues.

    [21] British film producer to promote Parthenon Marble's return to Greece

    WASHINGTON 04/03/2003 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    World famous British film producer William Steward will deliver a series of lectures in the United States and Canada on the necessity for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

    The first lecture of the series will be delivered in San Francisco on Thursday. The producer will also appear in Vancouver, Portland, Saint Louis, Chicago, Washington, Toronto and Ottawa.

    The tour was organized by the St. Louis University Greek studies chair.

    [22] Turkish migrant trafficker jailed

    Athens, 04/03/2003 (ANA)

    A Turkish migrant trafficker was sentenced to four years and ten months imprisonment and fined 35,500 euro by a court in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece on Monday.

    Turkish national Yanik Kadir, 30, was sentenced for transporting five illegal immigrants.

    The trafficker, along with the five illegal immigrants (two Russian women, two Ukrainian women and an Armenian) were picked up by the trawler ''Moralis D.'' in the early afternoon on Saturday from a dinghy near the rocky islet ''Zourafa''.

    The five illegal immigrants each received two-month suspended jail sentences and will be deported.

    [23] Spokesman says Turkey presenting conflicting policy

    NICOSIA 04/03/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides announced here on Monday that the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus question, will meet Wednesday morning to assess the situation and discuss a UN request to hold a referendum on a peace plan for a comprehensive settlement, proposed by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

    The spokesman said that President Tassos Papadopoulos would be leaving for Athens Wednesday evening for consultations with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, and would return home on Thursday.

    Chrysostomides said that Turkey is sending conflicting messages about its policy on Cyprus, with some expressing the desire for a political settlement and others backing the intransigent positions of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    The spokesman, speaking at his first press briefing after assuming office, said the decision of the Greek Cypriot side to a UN request to hold a referendum on a peace plan for a comprehensive settlement will be taken on the basis of decisions the National Council takes and irrespective of what the Turkish side says or does.

    He also said that political parties comprising the National Council should inform the people of Cyprus about the peace plan according to their positions.

    His comments came only days after Annan had asked the two sides in Cyprus to go to The Hague on Monday, March 10, to tell him whether they will put to a referendum for approval a peace plan he presented them with last week, during his three-day working visit here.

    Asked what the government could expect from the Turkish Cypriot side at The Hague, Chrysostomides said that ''there is a conflicting policy from Turkey, we have Tayyip Erdogan (leader of ruling party) trying to convince us that the Turkish government wants a solution in Cyprus and on the other hand we have his Foreign Minister expressing support for Denktash's policy.''

    Replying to questions about any fallout on the Greek Cypriot side from a possible rejection of the UN plan by the Turkish Cypriot side, the spokesman said there would be none, adding that President Tassos Papadopoulos had said that the decision of the Greek Cypriot side would be taken on the basis of the deliberations and the decisions of the National Council, the top advisory body to the President.

    ''If the Turkish side decides in the meantime to reject the Annan plan, this will certainly affect the future course of the negotiations on the basis of the timeframe as this has been defined,'' he said.

    Invited to say whether a ''yes'' response to Annan's request would commit the government to backing the peace plan ahead of the March 30 referendum, Chrysostomides said ''the government is not involved in the negotiations, it is a matter for the Greek Cypriot community and the parties that comprise the National Council.''

    ''I would imagine that, depending on the positions they adopt at the Council, political parties will have to inform the people accordingly,'' he added.

    Replying to questions, he said the President has informed the Secretary General that he wishes to negotiate various aspects of his peace plan, noting that preparations for all issues pertaining the plan is underway.


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