|Thursday, 17 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-05-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>̀ay 5, 2003
cooperation SKOPJE , 05/05/2003 (ANA - N. Frangopoulos)
 EU foreign ministers agree to shaping of European Security Concept
Athens, 05/05/2003 (ANA)The European Union's 25 foreign ministers, convening on the Aegean island of Kastellorizo on Saturday in the framework of the EU's informal Council of Foreign Ministers, agreed to the shaping of a European Security Concept.
Foreign Minister and EU Council of Foreign Ministers President George Papandreou said the ministers instructed EU High Commissioner Javier Solana to prepare relevant proposals for the General Affairs Council in June with the ultimate aim of having them discussed at the EU's Thessaloniki summit.
''Despite public positions anticipating strong contrasts there was a positive spirit and we tried to combine the concerns of member-states on such issues as common European security and defense policy, aid we are giving to third countries, weapons of mass destruction and other issues. We spoke with sincerity on what the possibilities of the European Union are, what is our defense position and how we shall reshape our relations with the United States to enable them to be equal and beneficial for the international system. We shall not claim that there is no crisis in Euro-Atlantic relations, but before we get involved in a transatlantic dialogue we must have agreed ourselves beforehand on what our possibilities and targets are. It is not necessary for us to agree on common positions. However, we have our tradition and experience on issues of emergency management, the handling of terrorism, etc, and we have our own approach and this is fundamental, but we can influence the United States,'' Papandreou said at the end of the meeting, held on board the yacht ''Alexandros'' which is moored at the island's port.
Referring to whether or not consensus exists in the EU regarding foreign policy and defense, Papandreou spoke of agreement concerning the strengthening of the EU, the political will of member-states, the way of approach, etc.
''This does not mean we rule out the option of the use of force but our first option is to exhaust peaceful means,'' he added.
On the question of the prospects of Euro-Atlantic means, Foreign Relations Commissioner Chris Patten said he was optimistic due to the common targets of both sides.
''It is more possible that what the Americans and Europeans want, meaning work and security, they shall have if relations between Europe and America are harmonious,'' he said.
Solana also appeared satisfied with the Council's outcome, speaking of a ''Europe which is much more united today than it was two days ago.''
EU foreign ministers leaving Rhodes after attending informal FMs Council: European Union foreign ministers began to leave the Aegean island of Rhodes on Sunday morning after their informal Council of Foreign Ministers came to an end on the island of Kastellorizo on the previous day.
The ministers came to Rhodes late on Saturday night on board the yacht ''Alexandros.'' Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also traveled with them from Kastellorizo.
The Turkish minister had a private meeting on Sunday morning with main opposition New Democracy party Dodecannese Deputy Aristotelis Pavlidis, who is a member of the International Institute of Democracy's board, while he and Gul were colleagues at the Council of Europe.
Pavlidis conveyed an invitation to the Turkish minister from the Institute's president, Lord Russell Johnston, to participate as the main rapporteur in the 4th Parliamentary Conference of Eastern Europe, due to take place in Rhodes at the end of October.
Pavlidis also conveyed to Gul greetings from ND leader Costas Karamanlis, as well as his sympathy to the Turkish people over the tragedy caused by the recent killer earthquake in the neighboring country.
At noon, Gul visited the Castle of the Knights and the Moslem Library of Rhodes, while later he had lunch at a restaurant in the Medieval City. Gul is due to fly back to Ankara from Rhodes early in the afternoon.
 Portuguese FM says new conference on Iraq in London on May 8 or 9
Athens,05/05/2003 (ANA)Portuguese Foreign Minister Antonio Martins da Cruz, in a statement on the sidelines of the European Union's informal Council of Foreign Ministers taking place on the island of Kastellorizo, said on Saturday a new conference will take place in London on May 8 or 9 between the countries which have agreed to participate in the international stabilization force for Iraq.
''We are going to participate in a second conference, I think on May 8 or 9,'' he said, adding that a senior Portuguese officer had participated in the first conference held last Wednesday.
He pointed out that at the present stage countries participating in talks on manning the international stabilization force will not officially announce the number of their troops to be sent to Iraq.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said no final decision has been taken yet and that ''the issue was also raised here (at the informal Council) and the possibility of other countries participating has been left open.''
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said on his part his country remains firm on its position that the UN should be called on a soon as possible to enlarge the framework of action of the force to be deployed in Iraq.
Referring to the first conference held in London on the stabilization force for Iraq, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said on the sidelines of the informal Council in Kastellorizo ''we were aware of the conference and we were informed of its progress and results'', adding that the conference ''was not secret.''
 FM says Poland's involvement in postwar Iraq governing to be discussed in NATO
Athens,05/05/2003 (ANA)Foreign Minister and European Union Council of Foreign Ministers President George Papandreou said on Saturday Poland's involvement in the governing of postwar Iraq will be discussed in the framework of the NATO alliance.
Papandreou was speaking after the end of the 25 EU foreign ministers meeting in the framework of the EU's informal Council of Foreign Ministers, which moved to the island of Kastellorizo on Saturday after beginning on the island of Rhodes.
The foreign minister said he was briefed on the issue by the Polish delegation which claimed that "it had an additional responsibility in Iraq since it had supported the attack."
 Cypriot and Turkish FMs meet in cordial climate in Kastellorizo
Athens,05/05/2003 (ANA)Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou met his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in a cordial climate on Saturday, in the framework of the European Union's informal Council of Foreign Ministers taking place on the Aegean island of Kastellorizo.
The two ministers shook hands and embraced each other, while Iacovou extended his condolences to Gul for the victims of the killer earthquake which struck southeastern Turkey recently.
He also told him that as of Sunday they will be able to communicate by phone directly since relevant restrictions have been lifted.
Turning up at the meeting, Gul commented on measures being taken by the government of Cyprus for the Turkish Cypriots, saying that "some are acceptable and others are not" and added that the embargo imposed by both the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides against the other community should be lifted.
The foreign ministers arrived at the Turkish coastal town of Kas later in the day as guests of the Turkish foreign minister.
 Greek FM hails free movement of Greek and Turkish Cypriots
Athens,05/05/2003 (ANA)Greek Foreign Minister and European Union Council of Foreign Ministers President George Papandreou, referring on Saturday to the free movement of Greek and Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus, said ''we welcome the new communication.''
Papandreou, visiting the Turkish coastal town of Kas in the framework of a visit by EU foreign ministers participating in the informal Council of Foreign Ministers in Kastellorizo, said that this situation ''shows that we can work in the European Union apart from dividing lines. It also shows the will of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to find a solution. It is a myth that Greeks and Turks cannot live together and we must bring it down.''
Referring to the same issue, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul expressed confidence in the two communities in Cyprus, saying that ''since the European Union, the UN and Greece support the negotiations, we also desire the same thing.''
On the question of whether the visit to Kas by Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou, together with the EU ministers, is interpreted as an indirect recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, he said ''the position of the Turkish government on this issue is known'', referring to Ankara's steadfast position of not recognizing the Republic of Cyprus.
 Greek and Turkish FMs announce ratification of treaty banning personnel mines
Athens,05/05/2003 (ANA)Greek Foreign Minister and European Union Council of Foreign Ministers President George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul jointly announced on Saturday the ratification of the treaty banning the use of personnel mines.
The announcement was made in the coastal Turkish town of Kas where most of the ministers participating in the informal EU Council of Foreign Ministers on the islands of Rhodes and Kastellorizo had arrived early in the afternoon.
Athens and Ankara will be sending the ratification letter to the UN simultaneously as a move considered to be ''symbolic of the intention of the two peoples to have their borders become a line of cooperation and peace.''
Papandreou thanked Gul for hospitality provided and pointed out that moves such as this ''show that we can forge ahead apart from our differences. Just as the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are doing these days.''
The Greek minister also referred to considerable growth which will take place both on the Greek islands and the Turkish coast as Turkey moves towards Europe.
''Turkey now has a clear European prospect and in 2004 it will be receiving a very important reply from the European Union. We hope it will be a positive reply and we are working to be in a position to help in this direction,'' Papandreou said.
 Holbrooke accuses U.S. gov't of not playing major role for Cyprus settlement
NEW YORK, 05/05/2003 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)Former U.S. president Bill Clinton's special envoy for the Cyprus issue, Richard Holbrooke, criticized the government of George W. Bush of not playing a major role in recent efforts for a settlement of the Cyprus problem. He was speaking on Saturday at the European Studies Centre of New York's Columbia University on the theme ''U.S.-EU relations after the war in Iraq''.
The former U.S. special envoy for Cyprus said that despite the efforts of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his special adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash ''was the reason for the collapse of the talks.''
Holbrooke claimed that ''the Turkish Cypriot leader could be compared to (Palestinian President) Yasser Arafat due to his intransigence, his unacceptable conduct and because it is in his nature to take matters very personally which leaves no room for discussion or agreement.''
Holbrooke called on the Turkish Cypriots to rid themselves of Denktash and proceed towards a bizonal, bicommunal, federal Cypriot state.
The former U.S. envoy spoke highly of former Cyprus president Glafcos Clerides noting his ''brave efforts.'' Praising Clerides for ''his responsibility during the talks,'' Holbrooke stressed with emphasis that ''personally, I was never afraid to publicly attribute the blame where it fit,'' that is, to the Turkish Cypriot leader.
 EU environment ministers discuss EU constitution and environmental protection
Athens,05/05/2003 (ANA)The European Union's 25 environment ministers stressed the need, during their two-day conference ending in Athens over the weekend, for article 6 obliging countries to include environ-mental protection in sector policies not to be removed from the EU's new constitution and unanimously ratified a relevant proposal by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou.
The conference was also attended by seven ministers from Balkan countries. Other issues discussed were the establishment of sustainable development and the more appropriate utilization of waters in southeastern Europe.
 Communist party leader says EU cannot secure peace and security for peoples
Athens,05/05/2003 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said on Saturday the European Union cannot secure peace and security for peoples because contrasts within the EU and between European forces and the United States will not cease to exist. Papariga, addressing a conference in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on the ''Future of Europe'', organized by the ''Action:Thessaloniki 2003'' group, said on the occasion of the EU's Thessaloniki summit in June popular movements are being given the opportunity of having a more substantive discussion on the future of Europe.
She further said "there are two paths: the one path is the future of the EU as it exists, which is gloomy for peoples. There is also the future concerning the peoples themselves and Europe, which is completely different."
Papariga pointed out that "the future of Europe is linked inseparably to the future of the movement in each member-state. The more the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist movement is strengthened the more possibilities of changes in power will multiply and the European Union shall be weakened."
 Albanian president requests reconsideration of bilateral military agreement law
GJIROKASTER 05/05/2003 (ANA - B. Barkas)President of the Republic Alfred Moysiu appealed to Albania's Parliament over the weekend to reconsider a relevant law consolidating the military agreement between Greece and Albania.
According to the agreement, Greece undertakes to overhaul the naval base at Durres, a project worth five million euros, over a period of 5-7 years.
The law in question was ratified by Albania's Parliament on April 4 in a climate of strong reaction linking the present agreement with the law on the state of war of 1940 or concerning allegations of the country's sovereignty being put into doubt.
In the Albanian president's view, the law is contrary to the country's constitution in some points. It permits the Albanian and Greek fleet to conclude a cooperation protocol on regulating the presence of Greek warships at the base of Durres, which the constitution does not allow.
The law, according to the president, does not specify the type of Greek fleet entitled to visit the Albanian naval base (whether it will be a merchant or military fleet).
 Greek minister to visit FYROM to discuss development and energy cooperation SKOPJE , 05/05/2003 (ANA - N. Frangopoulos)Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will make a one-day visit to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Monday and will hold talks with President Boris Trajkovski, Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski and other government officials.
Issues Tsohatzopoulos will be discussing primarily concern forms of cooperation in the development and energy sectors between Greece and FYROM.
Ways of achieving the effective operation of the OKTA refinery, purchased by the Hellenic Petroleum company, are also expected to be examined.
Crvenkovski's new government had criticized OKTA's buyout agreement and quite a few obstacles appeared in the recent past concerning the refinery's work.
Despite this, however, cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector is at a high level.
As part of the agreement regarding OKTA, a crude oil pipeline linking Thessaloniki and Skopje has been built and is operating, while work has also got underway to build a pipeline linking OKTA's refinery in Skopje with Kosovo. Plans also include the construction of a second pipeline from Skopje to Southern Serbia.
 ND leader visits Ithaki, accuses gov't of disorientation and deception
Athens, 05/05/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, speaking on the island of Ithaki on Saturday in the framework of a two-day tour of the area, accused the government of preferring subterfuge and of making desperate efforts to disorientate and deceive public opinion at a time of revelations.
Karamanlis said that a few days ago Prime Minister Costas Simitis promised to announce measures in the future which will modernize the political system and the state, adding that this is deception since when someone has been in power for 20 years the least he must do is respect citizens and avoid the frequent use of the word ''shall.''
Karamanlis also referred to the issue of the Stock Exchange and the need, as he said, for an explanation to be provided on why 1.5 million Greeks lost their money and added that as far as his party is concerned the issue remains open.
Gov't accuses ND leader of bringing back climate of scandal talk: The government accused main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday of bringing back a climate of scandal talk and expressed confidence that the people will give victory to the PASOK party and Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the elections due in 2004.
Government spokesman Christos Protopapas, responding to criticism of the government from Karamanlis on the Ionian island of Cephalonia on Saturday, said "Mr. Karamanlis is attempting to conceal his party's political non-existence by bringing back a climate of scandal talk, involving himself directly in the ongoing war between business interests."
The spokesman said the government is shaping a better future for Greek citizens and Greek society with its work and policy, while the Greek people will once again give victory to PASOK and Simitis in the elections in 2004 and to Karamanlis the answer he deserves.
 ND official conveys invitation to Gul on behalf of Lord Russell
Athens,05/05/2003 (ANA)Aristides Pavlidis, responsible for the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party's foreign policy parliamentary group, met on Sunday with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul at the residence of the Turkish General Consul in Rhodes.
Pavlidis, as member of the board of the International Democracy Institute, on behalf of the president of the institute, Lord Russell Johnston, conveyed to Gul, with whom he was a colleague at the Council of Europe, an invitation to take part as main rapporteur in the 4th Conference of Eastern Mediterranean Parliamentarians, which will be held in Rhodes towards the end of October.
 Coalition party leader calls for proportional election system
Athens,05/05/2003 (ANA)Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party leader Nikos Constantopoulos said on Sunday Prime Minister Costas Simitis' only solution to contribute to a change in the country's political system is to ratify the proportional election system now.
Constantopoulos, addressing a party conference in the northern city of Ioannina, said that phenomena of vested interests and corruption were fuelled by the PASOK party's governance policy.
The Coalition party leader also criticized Simitis that it is his own options and policies that are creating a morbid and corrosive political, institutional and social climate.
In another development, the Coalition party's Central Political Committee convened on May 2-3 and ratified the party's positions on its policy congress to be held in Athens between May 30-June 1.
The Central Political Committee's positions will be publicized and sent to the party's organizations to be discussed at their assemblies.
 Lesvos conference ascertains ''the de facto collapse of the Nicosia wall'
Athens, 05/05/2003 (ANA)A conference organized by the citizens movement ''Co-existence and Communication in the Aegean'' ended in Lesvos, on Sunday with the participants ascertaining ''the de facto collapse of the Nicosia wall'' in light of developments in Cyprus.
The two-day conference, entitled ''The citizens of the Aegean, Greeks and Turks, discuss the present and the future'', was inaugurated by Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis who termed as ''cosmogony facts'' events taking place in Cyprus. He noted that ''it is the people who have the initiative of movement and when-ever there is intransigence this is compelled to succumb and give the hand of reconciliation.''
During the conference, Lesvos Prefect Pavlos Vogiatzis made a proposal for Greek-Turkish enterprises under the name ''Aegean Aroma'', which will jointly produce and manufacture quality products.
 Kavala sends 500 tones of foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals to Iraqi people
Athens, 05/05/2003 (ANA)Five hundred tones of foodstuffs and quantities of pharmaceuticals have been sent to the suffering people of Iraq from Kavala, northern Greece. The consignment has been arriving in Baghdad in parts.
The ''Doctors of the World'' organization is delivering the foodstuffs to those in need and the pharmaceuticals to the ''Al Baraji'' children's hospital and the ''Al Kidi'' general hospital in Baghdad.
On the occasion, the "Doctors of the World" organization thanked the population of the Kavala prefecture, as well as cultural societies, for their moving support in gathering foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and blankets as humanitarian aid for the people of Iraq and for children in particular.
 Small plane ditches in sea off Rhodes, pilot rescued
Athens,05/05/2003 (ANA)A twin-engine Cessna plane ditched in the sea region 12 nautical miles west of the airport on the island of Rhodes at noon on Saturday, while the only person on board the aircraft was rescued when a salvage vessel, a fishing boat and a Super Puma rescue helicopter reached the area.
The rescued pilot, identified as German national Ralf Bacting, was taken to hospital on the island of Rhodes for precautionary reasons.
The aircraft was on a training flight from Rhodes to the nearby island of Kos but was forced to ditch in the sea due to mechanical failure.
 Greek and Turkish Cypriots continuing to cross dividing line
NICOSIA 05/05/2003 (ANA - G. Leonidas/CNA)Greek and Turkish Cypriots continued to cross the dividing line in Cyprus smoothly on Saturday, while people on foot were passing through checkpoints at the Ledra Palace, Strovilia and Pergamos without delay. However, slight delays were being noted for people crossing into Turkish-occupied territory in their cars.
In another development, a new checkpoint is expected to open at Agios Dometios in the area of Nicosia on Monday or Tuesday, to enable Greek Cypriots to cross over into Turkish-occupied territory and Turkish Cypriots to enter the government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus, exclusively for vehicles.
The National Guard has protested to the United Nations against the activities of Turkish soldiers and officers who, taking advantage of work to prepare the checkpoint, are entering the buffer zone. In addition, Turkish soldiers are carrying out work in the occupation checkpoint which constitutes a change in the area's status quo.
In an incident in Kyrenia, in northern Cyprus, two Greek Cypriots were beaten up by a Turkish settler because they did not allow him to overtake them.
According to the Turkish Cypriot newspaper ''Kibris'', the Turk was arrested by so-called police in the occupied areas, while the Greek Cypriots were taken to hospital.
The newspaper termed the incident ''undesirable.''
Meanwhile, a total of 2,394 Turkish Cypriots had crossed into the government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus by noon on Saturday, after the easing last week of restrictions on the free movement of Cypriots, which the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus had imposed.
A Police press release said by 12 noon on Saturday, a total of 6,618 Greek Cypriots had crossed over into the areas under Turkish occupation.
Of the 2,394 Turkish Cypriots, 1,800 crossed into the free areas from the Ledra Palace checkpoint, 322 through the Pergamos checkpoint and 272 through the Strovilia checkpoint.
As regards Greek Cypriots, 2,742 entered the Turkish occupied areas through Ledra Palace, 2,150 through Pergamos and 1,726 through Strovilia.
 Cypriot President: Discussions on measures must not replace negotiations
LIMASSOL 05/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos has warned that any appeal at present for a resumption of the UN-led peace talks would be tantamount to leading negotiations on the substance of the problem to discussions on confidence building measures.
The president recalled that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has told both sides in Cyprus very clearly that he wants them to indicate to him their readiness to put his peace proposal to a referendum without reopening its basic principles or essential trade offs.
''Any appeal now for the resumption of talks means that negotiations on the Cyprus problem would degenerate into discussions on confidence building measures instead of negotiations on the issue itself.
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who maintains that the solution in Cyprus is to agree on measures of good neighborliness between two independent 'states', wishes to see negotiations on the substance of the problem be replaced by discussions on confidence building measures," President Papadopoulos said.
He said that ''the Secretary General has told us very clearly that in order to begin a new initiative he wants us to give him indications that we are ready to accept his plan on a comprehensive settlement as it is and fix a day for a referendum on it." Invited to comment on the crossings to and from the occupied areas of Cyprus, following the easing of restrictions on free movement by the Turkish Cypriot regime, the president noted it is up to the individuals to decide whether they want to enter occupied Cyprus or not.
''For 30 years now, the state has been consistently demanding free movement without any restrictions and thus it cannot undermine its own policy by prohibiting free movement'', he stressed.
He also noted that Denktash cannot claim that he promotes free movement when he prohibits Greek Cypriots from staying in houses or other private premises.
The regime in the island's occupied areas decided last week to allow Greek Cypriots to stay overnight (for three subsequent nights) in occupied Cyprus but said overnight stay must be at local hotels, many of which are owned by Greek Cypriots but are now being usurped by Turks or Turkish Cypriots.
 Greek Cypriot side ready to resume negotiations on CyprusNICOSIA (05/05/2003 CNA/ANA)
The Greek Cypriot side is ready to resume negotiations for a settlement of the Cyprus problem, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides told CNA on Saturday, commenting on statements made by UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.
''The National Council has declared the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side for immediate negotiations,'' Chrisostomides said.
De Soto said that UN SG Kofi Anan, has to hear the leaders of the two sides on the island, as well as Greece and Turkey, say that they are truly and seriously committed in efforts to reach a solution within a certain timeframe.
Chrisostomides noted that ''we are interested in the substance of the negotiations and in pursuing a solution to the Cyprus issue''.
The spokesman expressed the belief that no one in Cyprus wants the negotiations on the substance of the Cyprus problem to turn into negotiations on confidence building measures.
Regarding free movement, Chrisostomides told CNA that for years now governments of the Republic pursued to secure free movement all over Cyprus and added that ''no restrictions will be imposed on free movement.''
Late last month the Turkish regime in the occupied north decided to ease restrictions on free movement which it had imposed in 1974. This led thousands of Greek Cypriots to the occupied areas, in spite of hours of waiting at check points and other obstacles the regime had raised, to see their homes, they had not been allowed to see for nearly thirty years.
 Government: occupation regime must respect human rights
NICOSIA 05/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)The foreign ministry has asked the UN to make all necessary representations to the occupation regime in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic to ensure respect of the human rights of Greek Cypriots entering those areas.
A foreign ministry press release said on Saturday that following instructions from Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, the ministry ''has protested strongly and denounced to UNFICYP as inhuman and humiliating the behavior of the occupation regime towards a number of Greek Cypriots.''
The foreign ministry's actions came after an incident that occurred in the occupied areas, during which the so-called Turkish ''authorities'' entered a house of Greek Cypriot enclaved people in Ayia Triada village and forced their children and grandchildren who were visiting them to leave the house. The regime ordered the children and grandchildren to spend the night at a local hotel.
The ministry of foreign affairs, the press release said, has asked ''the UN to take all necessary action so that the Turkish side meets its obligations that emanate from the 1975 Third Vienna Agreement and the provisions of UN Security Council resolutions regarding the enclaved people.''