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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-03-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

March 26, 2003


  • [01] Greece, Lebanon seek stronger role for UN
  • [02] Greek national day marked by grief over Iraq war
  • [03] Greek defense minister to discuss US-EU relations during US visit
  • [04] Greece confirms expulsion of Iraqi embassy diplomat
  • [05] Interior minister lashes out at UK, Spanish premiers over Iraq
  • [06] War on Iraq a 'tragic defeat of diplomacy', S. African envoy says
  • [07] Church of Greece organization to send aid to Iraq
  • [08] EU condemns coup d'etat in CAR and rejects unconstitutional seizure of power
  • [09] EU condemns terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir
  • [10] EU welcomes action by Sierra Leone court
  • [11] Greek deputy FM Loverdos postpones visit to Jordan
  • [12] Greek EU presidency - health minister press conference on Thursday
  • [13] Eye-witness identifies Christodoulos Xiros in 'November 17' trial
  • [14] OTE telecom signs mobile phone deal in
  • [15] Greece plans to promote religious tourism
  • [16] Greek stocks fall 1.35 pct on renewed war fears
  • [17] N. Greece meeting focuses illegal immigration concerns
  • [18] Cyprus celebrates Greek independence
  • [19] Commission asks Turkey to support Cyprus peace efforts

  • [01] Greece, Lebanon seek stronger role for UN

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    Greece and Lebanon have said that they back a stronger role for the United Nations, calling for action by the world body after the war against Iraq ends.

    ''We are in agreement that the post-war period in Iraq must be a time in which the UN plays a decisive role,'' Prime Minister Costas Simitis said after meeting on Monday with his visiting Lebanese counterpart, Rafiq Hariri.

    ''There cannot be peace, there cannot be real help for peoples, nor settlement of all the political, economic and social problems that emerge, if the UN is not a protagonist in the attempt, and this through the UN and all countries in the region,'' Simitis told a news conference.

    At the same time, the Greek premier called for adherence to a timescale set for peace in the Middle East, that would be accompanied by closer ties between the European Union and countries of the region. Greece is currently rotating president of the 15-nation bloc.

    ''We have a common goal. The region should gradually cease to be one of crisis, that creates problems in the whole global system. On the contrary, it should move towards peace, development and cooperation,'' Simitis said.

    ''In our talks (with Hariri), it emerged that this is possible, it is not unfeasible. It may not happen soon, but work is needed,'' he added.

    Closer EU ties with Lebanon, Syria: Hariri told the news conference that Lebanon was on good terms with all Arab countries, and had privileged ties with Syria, with which it shared common interests and problems.

    ''For this reason, we believe that we must strengthen our relationship with Europe,'' the Lebanese premier said.

    ''We would like more powerful ties with the European Union in the political sector and in practical issues, more consultations and a broader dialogue, so that we could cover all the problems and the many challenges in the region, which all the Arab countries are facing,'' he noted.

    Lebanon condemns war on Iraq: The Lebanese prime minister also told reporters that his country deplored the war launched on Iraq.

    ''We believe that the use of violence will not solve the problems in the region. The United Nations must assume its role in many sectors, and not only in this region, but in the whole world. That is why we would like the UN to play a more active role,'' he said.

    After the meeting with Simitis, Hariri flew to Rome for talks.

    President Stephanopoulos receives Lebanese PM in Athens: President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday received visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who is currently in Greece on a working visit.

    [02] Greek national day marked by grief over Iraq war

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's Independence Day on Tuesday, accompanied by a traditional military parade, was marked by protests around the country against the US-led war on Iraq.

    In Athens, statements by public officials after the capital's defile contained frequent mention of the war.

    The President of the Republic, Costis Stephanopoulos, wished for a swift end to the war, in order to limit loss of life.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said that a global crisis was underway, triggered by the Iraq war.

    ''We Greeks have to show cool-headedness and prudence, and act in terms of the country's best interests,'' Simitis urged.

    ''The country's armed forces stand as a powerful deterrent,'' he added, noting Greece's stronger position internationally, its economic progress and powerful armed forces.

    Costas Karamanlis, head of the main opposition New Democracy party, expressed grief at the outbreak of war and consequent loss of life.

    The head of the Communist Party of Greece, Aleka Papariga, sharply criticized both the government and New Democracy for their stand in the war, saying it was hypocritical to support Greece's bid for independence in 1821 while allowing the invaders of Iraq to use Greek airspace and military installations on domestic soil.

    The leader of the Coalition of the Left and Progress, Nikos Constantopoulos, called for an immediate halt to the war, which he called illegal, unethical and catastrophic.

    National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said that at this sensitive time, Greece's annual military parade served as a reminder to friends and foes of Greece's military clout.

    A demonstration was held in Thessaloniki, the country's second city, by members of the Communist Party of Greece and peace activists after the city's military defile; and street protests took place on the island of Samos, and in the Cretan towns of Irakleio and Hania.

    In Istanbul, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos expressed his grief at the pain of war.

    In the US, the president of the World Council of Hellenes, Andrew Athens, welcomed the fact that Greece was a democratic state, enjoying the highest standard of living in eastern Europe and the only country in the area with membership of NATO and the European Union.

    ''It has come a long way from the ravages of the wars of the 20th century. It has become the land of milk and honey as attested by the influx of millions of refugees and immigrants from the other Balkan states and from the war-torn countries of the Middle East,'' Athens said in a statement.

    Political leadership cites dire int'l situation in March 25 statements: Greece's leadership and major political parties focused on Tuesday's Greek Independence Day anniversary, with most also referring to developments on the international scene and especially the Iraq crisis, in statements issued a day earlier.

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos noted that although war in Iraq isn't in this country's immediate region, ''it does affect us and influence us''.

    ''March 25 reminds us of the constant need to work on national interests and national aspirations ... I hope this war (in Iraq) ends as soon as possible, with the fewest possible casualties. The Greek people, imbued with feelings of patriotic responsibility and having knowledge of the international situation, will continue to back the principles of international legality.'

    ''The decision by the warriors of 1821 to sacrifice everything for freedom, and the heroism that they demonstrated, should guide our acts, just as they freed the land from the slavery that had been imposed on it. In much the same manner we should struggle for the maintenance of our independence and the defense of our nation,'' the president said.

    On his part, Prime Minister Costas Simitis’ message on the occasion of the 182nd anniversary of the beginning of the Greek War of Independence, celebrated every March 25, touched on what he called the particularly critical international situation at present, one characterized by tensions in international relations and a world economic downturn.

    “Our country, within this unfavorable international environment, has a voice, has prestige and has a presence. It has clearly positioned itself against the (Iraq) war,” he stated in a message released here on Monday.

    He also stressed that Greece, as the current EU president, has made every possible effort so that this conflict could be avoided.

    New Democracy: “On yet another occasion all of us Greeks express our standing devotion to peace,” main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis stressed in his message.

    “Maintaining international legality and respect of International Law, the permanent starting point and foundation of our country’s international reasoning and arguments, are not only the Greek people’s demand today, but of all humanity’s as well,” he added.

    In his March 25 message, Karamanlis noted that it is a “message of unity and alignment with the common struggle for freedom, self-determination of peoples and human dignity.”

    In directly commenting on the Iraq war, he ND leader said:

    “In the aftermath of this war, we are all obliged to think about and assume our responsibilities. Our decisions and our actions must aim at vigorously strengthening peace, security, democracy and prosperity for the whole world.”

    KKE: The Communist Party of Greece’s (KKE) message for March 25 was particular caustic in regards to the war in Iraq, noting that Tuesday’s commemoration coincides with an “imperialistic war against the Iraqi people, with the message remaining as timely as ever: When a people struggle for their rights, united and without concern for sacrifices, then they achieve great things, even when their strength is less than their opponent,” a KKE announcement read.

    “One hundred and eighty-two years after the start of the 1821 Revolution, the liberation of the working classes and the popular masses from the domination of monopolies and imperialism is linked directly with the struggle against a predatory war, with the struggle to ‘extricate Greece from this war’.”

    Synaspismos: The Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) noted that the struggle for independence, human rights and social progress is always timely, and is expressed today through new movements against ‘neo-liberal globalization’.

    The party also called the war in Iraq ‘illegal, unjust and catastrophic’.

    Defense Minister: Finally, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou noted in his message that 1821 revolution against dour Ottoman rule promotes the value of collective action and the devotion to achieving national goals.

    Scuffles at school parade as students stage impromptu protest: Minor scuffles with police broke out toward the end of the traditional school parade held each year in Athens to mark the March 25 national holiday after 50 students attempted to stage an impromptu anti-war protest.

    Police intervened when young protestors from the crowd attempted to break through the police cordon and march in front of Education Minister Petros Efthymiou and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni with banners protesting against the Iraq war.

    Some tension ensued when police prevented them passing but the parade then came to a close and the protestors were allowed through and headed for the Propylaia.

    A strong anti-war climate had prevailed throughout the parade among the watching public, with several banners, badges and peace slogans visible among the crowd during the wreath-laying ceremony before the Unknown Soldier monument at Syntagma Square.

    Greek school children had been the protagonists during several days of protests and marches held throughout the country against the Iraq war, with anti-war sentiment running particularly high among the young.

    Due to the unseasonably cold weather and snow, the students of Kalavryta highschool who traditionally begin the school parade each year were unable to travel to Athens. This year's parade was therefore led by the highschool of Paralimni in Cyprus, which was attended by Cyprus martyrs Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou, both victims of Turkish occupation forces on the island republic.

    In addition to Efthymiou and Bakoyianni, the parade was also watched by representatives of the Greek Parliament and political parties, local government and the Church of Greece.

    Speaking after the parade, Efthymiou said the March 25 national holiday was a message of unity as the world lived through the horror of a war.

    He stressed the need for unity, decisiveness and steadiness in defending national interests and promoting policies of peace throughout the world "because it is impossible to imagine these new generations living in similar horror as a life prospect," he said.

    Bakoyianni hailed the student parade, noting that Greece's youth had managed to convey their anti-war message with civility and dignity as well as exceptional firmness.

    [03] Greek defense minister to discuss US-EU relations during US visit

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    Greek Defense Minister and head of the EU defense ministers' council Yiannos Papantoniou plans to have talks with United States officials regarding the country's relations with the European Union and the United Nations during a visit scheduled to take place between March 30 and April 6.

    The visit on the occasion of the delivery of the first F-16 Block 52+ Fighter Falcons commissioned from the Texas-based company Lockheed Martin, with the handover ceremony due to take place in Texas on April 2.

    During his stay in the country, Papantoniou is to meet U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, White House security advisor Condoleezza Rice and U.S. senators, while he is also scheduled to speak at Harvard University.

    [04] Greece confirms expulsion of Iraqi embassy diplomat

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Monday confirmed that it had expelled Iraqi embassy diplomat Arak Abdullah last week, but said it was not examining the prospect of closing down the Iraqi embassy.

    Foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis, during a press briefing, confirmed that Arak Abdullah, second in rank at the Iraqi embassy in Athens, had been expelled following information by the appropriate Greek authorities the he had carried out "actions outside the Iraqi diplomatic mission in Athens".

    He declined to give details on the diplomat's actions.

    Replying to press questions, Beglitis said that no request for the closure of the Iraqi embassy in Athens had been submitted to the Greek government, either directly or indirectly.

    "The Greek side is not examining such an eventuality," he said.

    [05] Interior minister lashes out at UK, Spanish premiers over Iraq

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis on Tuesday sharply criticized the prime ministers of the United Kingdom and Spain for backing a US-led war launched on Iraq.

    ''The superpower seems to have lost the last remnants of historical memory and reference. It is handling the global situation with an autocratic superciliousness and selective, circumstantial decisions that lack historical principles,'' Skandalidis said in a speech in the northwestern town of Ioannina.

    ''We understand the powerful jolt from the September 11 attack...But we are sure that the hegemony of the global police-man - who imposes his own law through force of arms, scorning and bypassing international order - cannot inspire the American people for much longer,'' he noted.

    Regardless of the outcome of the war, the UK and Spanish premiers and their acolytes should come to realize the meaning of historical rejection, Skandalidis said, also criticizing the European Union for being divided and incapable over a critical issue.

    [06] War on Iraq a 'tragic defeat of diplomacy', S. African envoy says

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    The decision to launch war on Iraq was a tragic defeat of diplomacy and negotiations, while it did not have the sanction of the United Nations, South African Ambassador to Athens Jannie Momberg said on Monday.

    ''The moment we all feared and hoped to avoid has come. The government of South Africa expresses its regret at the decision of the allies to use force outside the framework of the Security Council,'' he noted.

    South Africa would like to reconfirm the positions of the African Union and the Independents Movement that war is not a solution for the problems of the world. The majority of nations and people on the earth, including the Vatican and the leaders of the major religions, support this view, Momberg added.

    He also stressed that the war should not further undermine the multilateralism and mandate of the United Nations.

    [07] Church of Greece organization to send aid to Iraq

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    The non-governmental organization "Solidarity" run by the Orthodox Church of Greece announced on Monday that it has put together a large consignment of humanitarian aid - including medicines, clothing and tents - to send to war-battered Iraq.

    It also announced plans to create children camps in countries neighboring Iraq in order to protect as many children as possible and said that it would station an employee in the area for as long as was necessary.

    Those wishing to contribute to 'Solidarity' by donating either cash, medical supplies or clothes can contact the organization at the following telephone numbers: 210 7235273 and 210 8037643. Alternatively, they can deposit cash donations directly into the Eurobank Ergasias bank account 026 053 020015664676 2.

    [08] EU condemns coup d'etat in CAR and rejects unconstitutional seizure of power

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    European Union president Greece on Monday issued a declaration on behalf of the EU condemning the military coup d'etat of 15 March in the Central African Republic (CAR) and rejecting any unconstitutional seizure of power.

    The full text of the declaration follows below:

    ''The European Union firmly condemns the military coup d'etat which took place on 15 March in the Central African Republic. The European Union deplores the loss of human lives which this has caused among both the local population and foreign nationals, and among the CEMAC peacekeeping forces in particular.

    ''The European Union rejects any unconstitutional seizure of power. It emphasizes its attachment to democratic principles and to free and democratic elections, which are the only means for a change of Government.

    ''The European Union calls on the rebel forces to take all steps to end the violence and its material consequences for the civilian population.

    ''The European Union urges the Central African authorities and all nationals of the Central African Republic to resume forthwith the political dialogue which is the only means of returning to the path of reconciliation, democracy and national reconstruction.

    ''The European Union reiterates its support for the CEMAC force, on the understanding that it is up to the CEMAC countries to make any adjustments they deem advisable, in particular to enable that regional force to help find a way out of the crisis by peaceful means.

    ''Reaffirming its support for the efforts of the African Union, the CEMAC and the sub-regional organizations to restore peace in the Central African Republic, the European Union stresses the importance of respect for democratic principles, which are the condition for its cooperation with the CAR and the other ACP States.

    ''The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.

    [09] EU condemns terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    The European Union's presidency has deplored the slaughter of civilians by terrorists in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

    ''The EU presidency strongly condemns today's (Thursday's) appalling massacre of innocent civilians by terrorists in the village of Nandimarg of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. There can be no justification for such an atrocious act,'' Greece, the 15-nation bloc's rotating president, said in a statement the day of the assault.

    ''The presidency reiterates the EU's categorical rejection of terrorism in all its forms. It expresses its deepest and most sincere condolences to the government of India and to the families of the victims,'' the statement said.

    [10] EU welcomes action by Sierra Leone court

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    The European Union's presidency on Tuesday welcomed indictments and arrests ordered by a special court in Sierra Leone as a move towards peace.

    ''The EU welcomes the prompt and diligent action of the Special Court of Sierra Leone. This constitutes an important milestone on the path for peace, justice and reconciliation for the people of Sierra Leone,'' Greece, the 15-nation bloc's rotating president, said in a statement.

    ''The EU reiterates its strong support for the Special Court of Sierra Leone in its crucial task of bringing the main perpetrators of serious violations of international humanitarian law in Sierra Leone to justice,'' the statement said.

    Also backing the EU presidency's declaration were acceding EU members Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia; EU-associated countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey; the EFTA countries; and members of the European Economic Area.

    [11] Greek deputy FM Loverdos postpones visit to Jordan

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos has postponed a scheduled visit to Jordan due to the war in Iraq, diplomatic sources said on Monday.

    The deputy minister's trip to Jordan, where he was due to hold bilateral cooperation talks with local government officials, has been postponed, not cancelled, the sources clarified.

    [12] Greek EU presidency - health minister press conference on Thursday

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    Greek Health and Welfare Minister Costas Stephanis will hold a press conference at 15.30, Thursday, 27 March, at the ''Vergina Hall'' of the Divani Caravel Hotel in Athens, a health ministry press release said on Monday.

    The press conference, held on the opportunity of a Congress on Mental Health and Stigma organized within the framework of the Greek EU presidency, will host a number of distinguished speakers, including Deputy Director General, DG Employment and Social Affairs, European Commission Karl-Johan Lonnroth.

    [13] Eye-witness identifies Christodoulos Xiros in 'November 17' trial

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    The driver of 'November 17' victim Dimitris Angelopoulos on Monday positively identified the suspect Christodoulos Xiros, one of 19 standing trial as members of the notorious terrorist organization, as the man he had seen watching the victim's car in the month prior to Angelopoulos' assassination on April 8, 1986.

    In testimony before the Three-Member Criminal Appeals Court, Georgios Dimitropoulos claimed that a number of minor incidents preceding the attack had created the impression that steelworks owner Angelopoulos was being watched.

    The most important of these, according to the witness, was a time when the car carrying Dimitris Angelopoulos was involved in a minor accident with another car in the centre of Athens.

    ''After the crash, I saw Christodoulos Xiros standing and watching Dimitris Angelopoulos through the window of our car,'' the witness said.

    Asked why he had not mentioned this incident in his statements to the police, he claimed to have been intimated by threatening phone calls but was chastised by presiding judge Mihalis Margaritis.

    ''We all receive phone calls. Even the president (presiding judge) might receive calls but does not take them into account,'' he said.

    Four of the five witnesses called to testify regarding the Angelopoulos assassination were absent from the court on Monday, including the widow of the victim, who presented a doctor's note that advised her to avoid emotional stress.

    Alexandros Lykourezos, the lawyer handling the Angelopoulos family civil suit, also asked the court to put defendant Patroklos Tselentis on the stand since he had referred to the killing in detail in his testimony to police and had not withdrawn these statements.

    The court reserved judgment because Tselentis' counsel was absent.

    Implicated in the Angelopoulos killing are the defendants Dimitris Koufodinas, Patroklos Tselentis, Vassilis Tzortzatos and the late Yiannis Skandalis, while Christodoulos Xiros stands accused of firing the shots that killed the victim.

    The trial will continued on Wednesday, after the March 25 national holiday on Tuesday, with testimony regarding the bomb attacks on two buses carrying American servicemen in Rendi and Kavouri, the George Carros murder attempt and the murder of Alexandros Athanasiadis-Bodosakis.

    [14] OTE telecom signs mobile phone deal in

    FYROM SKOPJE 26/03/2003 (ANA / N. Frangopoulos)

    A mobile phone subsidiary of Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), which is a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, on Tuesday signed a contract with a domestic fixed-line operator in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for a network link.

    Conclusion of the contract signed by MTS, the Greek firm's subsidiary, and FYROM's Mac Tel means that OTE may launch its mobile phone service in the neighboring country in May.

    MTS had previously signed a link-up arrangement with Mac Tel's mobile phone subsidiary, Mobi-Mac.

    A majority stake in the two FYROM firms is held by Matav of Hungary, which, in turn, belongs to Deutsche Telecom of Germany.

    OTE has held an operating license for FYROM's second mobile network since the end of 2001.

    [15] Greece plans to promote religious tourism

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek government plans to promote religious tourism in the country through projects of transforming traditional buildings and old monasteries into guest houses to attract visitors and tourists.

    Economy and Finance Minister Christos Pahtas on Monday approved funds, totalling 1.95 million euros, from a Public Investments Program for 2003.

    Development Deputy Minister George Georgakopoulos has submitted plans for a series of such projects, worth 4.6 million euros.

    [16] Greek stocks fall 1.35 pct on renewed war fears

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks fell on Monday following a reversal of last week's rally in international markets as fears of a prolonged war in Iraq depressed sentiment.

    The general index ended 1.35 percent lower at 1,549.21 points, with turnover an extremely low of 39.8 million euros.

    All sector indices ended lower, with the IT Solutions, Publications, Wholesale, Holding, Construction and Textile sectors suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day (3.54 percent, 3.49 percent, 2.73 percent, 2.71 percent, 2.62 percent and 2.42 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.33 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.41 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 2.30 percent and the FTSE/ASE 140 index ended 1.44 percent lower.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 270 to 57 with another 27 issues unchanged.

    [17] N. Greece meeting focuses illegal immigration concerns

    Athens, 26/03/2003 (ANA)

    The problem of illegal immigration as well as efforts to stem the tide of illegal migrants attempting to enter Greece was the focus of a meeting here on Monday by the coordinating council for Macedonia-Thrace regional entities.

    According to officials afterwards, reports from the Evros border prefecture show that the situation on the Greek-Turkish frontier is under control, with no unusual surge in migrants noted so far. Authorities had feared that thousands of would-be migrants, mostly fleeing the war zones in the Middle East, were waiting on the Turkish side in order to attempt a crossing into Greece and by extension the European Union.

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis said three migrant reception centers have been set up in Evros, able to host a total of 1,500 people. He also said the meeting focused on conditions at the centers as well as possibly integrating such individuals into society.

    [18] Cyprus celebrates Greek independence

    NICOSIA 26/03/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus held on Tuesday liturgies and celebrations, including parades, in all free areas of the Republic, to commemorate the 25th of March 1821, when the Greek armed revolution officially began to free Greece from 400 years of Ottoman occupation.

    In a message the Greek Ambassador in Nicosia Christos Panagopoulos said that despite the collapse of the UN-led efforts in The Hague for a Cyprus settlement earlier this month, efforts to reach a solution must continue within the UN framework.

    The centre of the celebrations was Nicosia, where Salamis Bishop Varnavas led a doxology.

    The liturgy was held in the presence of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and other officials.

    In his address during the ceremony Government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides said that Cyprus is still struggling to free its areas, occupied since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

    Chrisostomides said that the people of Cyprus derive strength from the great Greek revolution of 1821 and led by President Papadopoulos will struggle for justice until ''the sun of freedom rises over the island''.

    President Papadopoulos, Bishop Varnavas, the Greek Ambassador in Nicosia and other officials watched the parade from a special platform outside the Greek Embassy in Nicosia.

    Participating in the parade were war veterans, students, scouts, guides, associations and organizations.

    In a televised message Panagopoulos said that this year's celebrations find Cyprus facing a new historic era, since the island will sign next month in Athens the EU Accession Treaty.

    The success of Cyprus becoming a full EU state was the result of a long-lasting, systematic work on behalf of Cyprus and Greece, he said.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem Panagopoulos said that today's (Tuesday's) celebration is overshadowed by the collapse of the UN-led negotiations for a Cyprus settlement two weeks ago in The Hague.

    ''This is a negative development for which Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot side are the only responsible'', he added.

    Panagopoulos reassured the Cyprus issue remains the first national priority of the Greek policy and said that the deadlock in The Hague should not result to the end of the efforts for a Cyprus settlement ''which must continue within the UN framework''.

    President Papadopoulos and House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias have sent congratulatory messages to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and President Costis Stephanopoulos.

    [19] Commission asks Turkey to support Cyprus peace efforts

    BRUSSELS 26/03/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The European Commission is asking Turkey to soundly support efforts for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, based on the UN framework.

    The Commission position is expressed in a new proposal on the EU-Turkey relations to be adopted on Wednesday in Brussels as part of the order it received from the Copenhagen European Council.

    It is being accompanied by a recommendation by Enlargement Commissioner, Gunter Verheugen to grant Turkey 1.05 bil. Euro in financial assistance for the period 2004-2006.

    The General Affairs Council will examine the proposal on 14 April in Luxembourg where a decision is expected to be taken, unless Turkey invades northern Iraq putting the European Union in a difficult spot since it is contrary to such action.

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