|Saturday, 18 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-05-10
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>May 10, 2003
 Greek inflation drops to 3.4 pct in April, yr/yr
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Greek inflation, as measured by the annual consumer price index, plunged to 3.4 percent in April from 4.1 percent in March, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.
NSS, in its monthly report, said that the significant fall in the inflation rate reflected sharply lower oil prices after the end of the war in Iraq.
Prices in housing services fell by 3.1 percent in April, while prices in transport prices dropped 0.6 percent over the same month.
On the other hand, prices rose by 1.3 percent in food products (mainly meat and potatoes), by 0.5 percent in healthcare services, by 1.7 percent in restaurants and by 0.6 percent in other goods and services in April.
The average inflation rate in the May 2002-April 2003 period rose 3.6 percent compared with the same period the previous year, NSS said.
The harmonized inflation rate dropped to 3.3 percent in April from 3.9 percent in March.
 Simitis continues EU tour, meets with Hungarian premier
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Greek Prime Minister and European Council President-in-office Costas Simitis said on Friday from Budapest that there are no fundamental differences among European Union member-states in relation to the situation in Iraq, but rather differences existed in terms of the role of the United States and the United Nations, and these were understandable, could be explained in terms of the existing global situation and could be settled.
Simitis’ visit to Hungary was part of his tour of European Union member-states and acceding countries in view of June’s Thessaloniki EU Council. The visit was the first official visit by a European Council President to Hungary after this country entered the Union.
On Friday morning, Simitis met for talks in Budapest with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Medgyessy. The one-and-a-half-hour meeting was also attended by the two premiers’ delegations, and was held at the Hungarian Parliament building.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Medgyessy said “it is the first time our country takes part in such deliberations (with an EU Presidency) in its capacity as a new member-state of the European Union,” adding that his discussion with Simitis centered on the most significant issues to be examined during the Thessaloniki EU Council.
According to the Hungarian premier, such issues included matters concerning the Convention on the Future of Europe and the proposal to be tabled for discussion in Thessaloniki by Convention Chairman Valery Giscard d'Estaing; issues relating to the operation of the European Commission, the President election process and decision-taking procedures; the rotating EU presidency; whether the Union should have a permanent post of a Foreign Minister; and, the entire range of matters regarding the control of immigration and ways to deal with illegal immigration.
Medgyessy further stressed the need for a common European Union policy on immigration, stressing that such a policy required the appropriate finance to upgrade the guarding of EU borders with non-EU states.
Simitis congratulated both the Hungarian political leadership and the country’s people on their successful efforts leading to their nation’s accession into the European bloc.
Referring to the Iraq conflict, Simitis expounded on the EU position, saying that there was the first phase of “security”, explaining that a military force was required to safeguard peace, but European states and the UN believe that such a military force should be provided by the US-led allied forces.
The second phase, according to Simitis, was “recovery and reconstruction”, which related more to providing political and economic support to help the Iraqi people. He said that the UN and the EU should take part in that phase, and if there will be a relative UN resolution, the EU will very probably take part in Iraq’s reconstruction.
Simitis added that there will be discussion among UN Security Council members and that U.S. proposals would give rise to fresh debate, aimed at clarifying exactly what the role of the EU, its member-states and the UN will be.
He further underlined that a European principle was that the UN should play a primary role and be the center of legality of the international community and sanction the actions decided by the international community. That is why there should be a UN Security Council resolution on the issues to be dealt with regarding Iraq.
Referring to European affairs, the EU Council president said the Union should decide what institutions it should have in the years to come, by changing its structures and finding new ways to take decisions swiftly and at the same time be close to its citizens.
Replying to a question on the possible delay in the ratification of the Accession Treaty for the 10 new member-states, Simitis said that there might be some disagreeing voices in some states, but differing views should be respected. “I would say that there is a large majority in favor of the ten new member-states,” Simitis added.
Simitis finally underlined that “we all know there are varying levels (in the EU) in terms of economic and social development. This poses some problems, but on the other hand we all know that the European Union cannot be there as a strong union by having as members only half of the European nations.”
Before his departure from Bucharest for Bratislava, Slovakia Simitis visited the headquarters of the European Commission Representation to honor the “Europe Day”, celebrated on Friday throughout the EU.
 Greek and Slovak PMs discuss EU Thessaloniki summit issues
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis held talks in Bratislava with his Slovak counterpart Mikulas Dzurinda on Friday, as part of his ''round of capitals'' in light of the European Union's Thessaloniki summit in June.
Dzurinda told reporters afterwards the main issue to be discussed at the summit will be the results of the Convention on the future of Europe.
The Slovak prime minister said the second main issue Simitis briefed him on was the reforming of European institutions who wished to be informed on his position regarding the system of the EU's presidency.
Dzurinda further said the issue of the election of the Commission's future president was also discussed, as well as its composition and many issues concerning the reforming of EU institutions.
The next issue discussed with Simitis, Dzurinda added, was the question of common European policy on guarding borders and welcomed Simitis' proposal to include it among the main issues to be examined at the Thessaloniki summit.
''Slovakia supports the widest possible cooperation in this sector and also for common cross border guarding and the best possible utilization of European funds to handle this problem,'' Dzurinda said.
Simitis said the issue of illegal immigration will be discussed at the summit, adding that illegal immigrants come across borders and indeed the borders of all EU countries and then can travel to every country. He went on to say that if there is no coordination and common policy no country will be able to combat illegal immigration alone.
The Greek prime minister also referred to the SARS virus, saying it is an epidemic and that every EU country fears that the virus will also come to Europe.
He noted that no country can control it by itself and there should be a coordinated effort on the part of the EU, which was discussed by the Council of Ministers last Tuesday which took specific decisions.
''We want a more powerful European Union and for this reason I believe that in Slovakia all should participate in the referendum and with their vote safeguard the powerful, effective and more workable European Union for all European citizens,'' Simitis said.
The Greek prime minister will continue his tour of capitals with a visit to the Czech Republic on Saturday.
 Greek gov't firm on the need for single state on Cyprus
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)The Greek government would not back down on its position regarding the need for a single state on Cyprus, Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Friday.
"There is a need for a single state on Cyprus. This is our position, this is accepted by the international community and we will not back down from this view. It is in this light that, in cooperation with the Cyprus Republic, we have been seeking a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the decisions of the United Nations. Turkey must understand this well," Protopapas said.
He was responding to comments made by Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the occupied territories in northern Cyprus about "two states" on Cyprus.
The spokesman did not make any further statements since the full text of Erdogan's speech had not arrived before the regular press briefing in Athens.
Yiannitsis says a comprehensive solution must be sought on Cyprus: Alternate Foreign Minister on Friday said that a comprehensive solution should be sought for the Cyprus issue, one that would provide confidence and institutional stability.
In an interview to the Athens News Agency (ANA), on the opportunity of recent developments on the island, Yiannitsis called measures taken by the Turkish Cypriot side allowing the free movement of Cypriots on both sides of the dividing green line ''fragmental'' and said it was apparent that the intransigence exhibited by Turkish Cypriots failed to withstand real-life events.
''Under the enormous pressure of reality they had to proceed with the measures'', he said, adding ''the current situation is not going to withstand reality, either. A settlement on the Cyprus issue will have to come through institutions and agreements, which can only be effected through successful negotiations based on the (United Nations Secretary General) Kofi Annan's plan. The Turkish Cypriot side will have to realize that a comprehensive solution is the only way, one that will allow for confidence and institutional stability in what is being decided and where the whole thing is going''.
The alternate minister told ANA that there are crucial political issues that need to be resolved in Cyprus and that people cannot keep living in uncertainty and they cannot move ahead through what he called fragmental moves.
The ''Green Line'' in Cyprus that has for almost 30 years partitioned the island republic, separating the free areas from a Turkish-Cypriot pseudo-state in the north that is recognized only by Ankara and supported by Turkish occupation troops, was opened for the first time just before Orthodox Easter in the later part of April.
The official confirmation of Cyprus' accession into the European Union in mid-April has led to pressure from EU partners for a final resolution of the island's political problem and for the Turkish Cypriot community to abandon its intransigent policy.
 FM Papandreou and FYROM liaison office chief discuss bilateral, EU relations
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Foreign minister George Papandreou on Friday received the new chief of FYROM's liaison office in Athens, Blagoj Handziski, and noted the excellent relations between the two countries, as well as Greece's efforts for FYROM's integration into the "European structures".
Speaking to reporters after his talks with Handziski, a former FYROM foreign minister, Papandreou also expressed optimism on the positive development of the Stabilization and Association agreement and the course of the UN-brokered FYROM name talks.
Replying to questions, Papandreou said that the cooperation between the two governments was "close", adding that the groundwork had been laid for positive developments.
Handziski expressed gratitude for Greece's interest in the western Balkans region and for its initiatives for those countries' rapprochement with the European Union".
"We are appreciative of the Statement that the Greek EU presidency is preparing on the rapprochement of the Western Balkan countries with the European Union for the Council (EU summit meeting) in Thessaloniki, and want to believe that the European Union will find a way to reinforce our effort," Handziski said.
He further said that his country was particularly grateful to Prime Minister Costas Simitis and foreign minister Papandreou for their contribution to the effort for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in FYROM in 2001, as well as for Greece's expressed support for preservation of his country's territorial integrity and borders.
 Yiannitsis: confident of positive results at Thessaloniki Council in June
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Transatlantic Dialogue, immigration, the Western Balkan region, the Future of Europe and developments in the Middle East will be the focus of discussions at the European Council in Thessaloniki on 20 and 21 June.
In an interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA) on Friday, Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis said that he expected the Thessaloniki Council to be very interesting and that he was confident of its results, noting that the Greek European Union presidency had so far successfully handled the issues that had arisen during its term.
During its mandate at the EU presidency, Greece had proved itself capable of successfully handling very important and difficult issues that had not been faced by at an EU presidency level for decades, Yiannitsis added.
Asked about the upcoming work of presidency, Yiannitsis singled out the Thessaloniki Council in June.
''In Thessaloniki we will have two very important meetings. On the first day we will discuss the Convention and the institutional changes in Europe and make decision regarding the second phase, which includes policy issues and the direction that European unification will take. On the second day we are going to discuss EU policy in the Balkan region - a very good opportunity to advance the dialogue on EU-Balkan relations'', he said.
Replying to a question about progress in EU-Balkan issues, Yiannitsis said:
''Bulgaria and Romania are already candidates for accession to the EU, Croatia has submitted an application, and Association and Stability Treaty negotiations are underway with the other countries in the region. Moreover, he has the first EU military force in place at the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). There is progress, but also difficulties and a need for continuous efforts''.
He said that the Thessaloniki Council would also involve preparations for the EU-USA meeting on a Troika level on 25 June in Washington.
''This will be a highly significant meeting included in the agenda of the Transatlantic dialogue. Other issues will constitute a continuation of discussions at the informal General Affairs Council that took place in Kastellorizo the first weekend in May. We are waiting for proposals on this from the EU's High Representative Javier Solana'', he said.
Moreover, Yiannitsis said another very important event would be the EU-Russia summit on 31 May at St. Petersburg.
''This will provide an opportunity to discuss EU-Russia relations which have been advancing within a context other than the one of the past. EU-Russia relations are very interesting and despite difficulties, both sides have demonstrated an interest in overcoming problems and forging ahead''.
 ND leader and Austrian chancellor discuss future of
EU VIENNA 10/05/2003 (ANA - A. Panagopoulos)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis and Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel on Friday discussed the future of the European Union in the wake of the recent enlargement, the new European constitution and negotiations to take place on institutional changes to take place in the EU.
Karamanlis reiterated his position regarding the need for a common foreign and security policy to be shaped.
Turkey's European prospect was also discussed since many EU countries, including Austria, have expressed serious reservations over Turkey's accession to the EU.
Karamanlis stressed in a statement the need for the new European constitution to contain a mutual solidarity and assistance clause to enable all European citizens to enjoy the same level of security.
The ND leader, who responded to an invitation by Schuessel on the day Europe Day is being celebrated, said Greece and Austria, being countries of a medium size, can play a role in having the gap between big and small countries bridged during the long and difficult negotiations on institutional changes in the new Europe of the ''25.''
Karamanlis further said the discussion on these changes should not become a place for conflicts and feuds, insisting on his position on the need for the EU's political unification, adding that it in necessary and unavoidable that a group of nations, a hard nucleus, will move in this direction because it is necessitated by reality, while increased cooperation is also permitted by the institutional framework.
 Deputy DM discusses future of new NATO port facilities in N.A. Greece
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Deputy Defense Minister Loukas Apostolidis on Friday stressed that his ministry will decide on the future of the Eleftheres, Northern Greece port facilities depending on the positions of the local population.
The port was slated to be expanded for use by NATO, but local residents protested the decision, claiming that it would damage tourism, agricultural output and the existing trade in that small local traffic port.
''The defense ministry will make a decision, which will be in accordance with the positions of the institutional bodies and the residents of the Kavala Prefecture, concerning the military port,'' Apostolidis said.
He stressed that the construction projects of the road access to the port and the improvements will continue, stressing, however, that the role of the port will remain touristic in essence.
 Greek deputy minister and Cyprus finance minister discuss EU issues
NICOSIA 10/05/2003 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Finance Minister Markos Kyprianou on Friday discussed European Union issues with Greek Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Christos Pachtas, who is currently on an official visit to Cyprus.
Speaking after the meeting, Kyprianou said substantive EU issues were discussed, such as regional policy and cohesion policy, as well as issues concerning both the handling of these issues over the next three years and how whatever changes that can take place in the period beginning in 2007 can be utilized better.
Kyprianou said, among other things, ''we, apart from seeing that there are many common targets and a common handling of issues with the Greek government, believe at the same time that we can draw and utilize the experiences of Greece precisely to be in a position to take advantage of prospects being presented to us by the EU in the best possible way.''
On his part, Pachtas expressed the hope that the days to follow will be fruitful for a political solution to the Cyprus problem as well.
''I am saying this for many reasons. One of the reasons are what we discussed today because we all understand that the island will have other financing prospects reunited and other prospects as it is today,'' Pachtas said.
 Gov't comments on anti-graft measures, slams ND as 'hypocritical'
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)The government was in favor of honesty and transparency and was seeking to create a consensus that would allow Parliament to take additional measures to protect the legal framework of democracy, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Friday when asked to comment on the main opposition's proposals for combatting corruption.
At the same time, however, he accused New Democracy of sending out mixed messages and urged it to stop behaving ''hypocritically''.
More specifically, he noted that the party had asked that legal limits for participation in state contracts of 'main shareholders' in media enterprises be reduced to 1 per cent from 5 per cent at the same time as ND MEP Antonis Trakatellis was clamoring for an abolition of all restrictions.
''ND must tell us whether it wants full deregulation or even stricter controls. And it must not behave hypocritically,'' he said.
Regarding measures for the MP 'statement of means' declaration, he said the government would discuss this issue when the proposals being prepared by Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis were ready.
Acknowledging that there were pockets of graft within the state sector, Protopapas noted that a special force of public administration inspectors had been set up precisely in order to stamp these out.
 FinMin rejects talk of rising unemployment
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)There is no danger of rising unemployment in the country, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Friday, replying to a forecast made by Greek Industries' Union (SEB) the previous day of a significant increase in unemployment in the coming years.
Mr Christodoulakis stressed that businesses ought to invest more and to employ more workers.
The Greek minister made this remarks during a meeting with tax agency officials. Mr Christodoulakis urged tax agency officials to implement measures to simplify transactions with taxpayers and to intensify inspections for collecting overdue debt to the state.
Commenting on a sharp fall in the inflation rate (it fell to 3.4 percent in April from 4.1 percent in March), he said that "this significant decline shows that the Greek economy has began escaping pressures, created in the previous two months, from geopolitical uncertainties, the war in Iraq and severely bad weather conditions in the country".
Commenting on a decision by Swiss company Schiesser Pallas to close down its factory in Greece, Mr Christodoulakis was adamant: "We will try to avoid this development in a way that it will not be against workers but will offer prospects to the company's competitiveness. It is unacceptable for a company to receive state subsidies to migrate and at the same time leaving unemployed people behind. We will not allow this to happen."
 Finmin raps firms that get state funds then relocate abroad
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Friday that firms aided by state funding should not then relocate abroad, leaving people jobless.
The minister was apparently referring to Schiesser of Switzerland, a multinational that announced last week it would close its underwear manufacturing plant near Athens, relocating to Bulgaria but keeping a northern plant open.
Christodoulakis was responding to a call for help from the plant's roughly 500 workers, due for redundancy on May 30.
Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas has held talks with Schiesser's management, and said that the firm appeared resolved to go ahead with closure.
Also involved in talks with management were representatives of the General Confederation of Labor of Greece, a trade union umbrella group that represents nearly a million workers.
Christodoulakis also told reporters there was no question of a rise in joblessness, countering statements the previous day by the Association of Greek Industry, which forecast that unemployment could double to 18-20 percent if the government failed to take the right action.
 Greek gov’t submits draft bill on bond loan issuance
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)The Greek government on Friday submitted to parliament a draft legislation envisaging changes in the procedure of issuance bond loans in the country.
Under the new draft bill, the economy and finance ministry aims to promote changes in bond loan issuance procedures, regulating bond loans with exchanging securities, establishing the practice of securitization, and offering new tax status.
The new bill also aims to harmonized Greek law with European law on regulations covering financial derivatives after a debt default.
 Greek stocks end 2.13 percent lower on Friday
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks ended sharply lower the last trading session of the week in the Athens Stock Exchange, hit by a new wave of profit taking mainly in blue chip stocks and particularly in the bank sector.
Alpha Bank's shares fell 6.60 percent (the share was trading ex-dividend).
The general index plunged 2.13 percent to end at 1,712.71 points, with turnover at 110.3 million euros. The general index ended the week with a net loss of 0.47 percent.
The Bank, Cement and Retail sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (4.18 percent, 2.57 percent and 2.49 percent, respectively), while the IT Solutions and Wholesale sectors scored the biggest gains (1.47 percent and 0.13 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks dropped 3.86 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.64 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index eased 0.47 percent and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index ended 2.41 percent down.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 209 to 86 with another 55 issues unchanged.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 82.6 mln euros Friday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers match sellers on Friday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Closing rates of May 9 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,155 1,129
 Athens Hilton chosen as IOC's official operations hotel
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Athens 2004 organizers (ATHOC) on Friday signed a deal appointing the recently refurbished Athens Hilton as the official International Olympic Committee (IOC) hotel for the duration of next year’s Summer Olympics.
ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki signed the agreement with Hilton International vice-president for the Mediterranean Peter Van der Vliet, while Athens-based Alpha Bank chairman Yiannis Kostopoulos, whose listed group owns the property, also attended a brief ceremony in the Greek capital.
“The results of the (hotel’s) refurbishment are stunning, not just in terms of aesthetics but as far as its operational level as well ... This new Hilton already comprises a first-hand example of the legacy that the Games will leave to the city,” Angelopoulos-Daskalaki told a press conference held at the landmark Athens hotel’s roof garden.
Van der Vliet noted that Hilton International was particularly pleased that two very “demanding” and high-profile entities, IOC and ATHOC, chose the hotel as the operational centre during the 2004 Games.
Kostopoulos, who also heads up Alpha’s hotel and resort subsidiary, Ioniki, said the major remodeling works at the high-rise hotel were completed in 14 months, a point of particular pride for the Alpha group, a grand 2004 Olympic Games sponsor in its own right.
“I don’t when we’ll redeem the dividends from this investment, but we’re making a contribution to the city and the Games. The challenge now is to see that it (hotel complex) operates as efficiently as possible,” Kostopoulos said.
The newly remodeled Athens Hilton opened its door on Feb. 11, 2003 after a major and comprehensive make-over.
 2004 organizers point to Games' impact on GDP
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)The Athens 2004 Olympics Games are expected to significantly boost growth in the country next year, Athens Organizing Committee (ATHOC) Managing Director Yiannis Spanoudakis told a council of European Union sports ministers meeting here on Friday.
The ATHOC executive said the annual increase in GDP from the Games is expected vary between 0.93 and 1.34 percent over the entire course of 2004, with a boost in employment also foreseen.
“The country’s changing image in the world comprises the greatest Olympic legacy,” he said, adding that the country’s image will also be greatly improved aboard as well.
“The basic element of this Olympic legacy is the constant and permanent improvement of millions of people’s quality of life,” he told the gathering of EU sports ministers.
 Hellenic Post Office issues Athens Olympics stamps
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Hellenic Post Office has issued commemorative stamps for the Athens 2004 Olympics, depicting sports in the international event performed by Athena and Phoebus, its mascots.
The booklet of 28 stamps costing 14.99 euros will be on sale until December 31, 2004, the post office said in a statement on Friday.
Hellenic Post Office is a sponsor of the Athens games.
 IOC VP is briefed by ATHOC president
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)International Olympic Committee Vice-President and President of the World Archery Federation James Easton visited on Friday Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.
Easton was briefed by Angelopoulos-Daskalaki on the course of preparation for the Games, while earlier in the day he met with Athens 2004 Archery director Pavlos Tsivanakis and Sports General Director for Athens 2004 Makis Asimakopoulos.
 ND deputy criticizes gov't for Olympic Games' preparations problems
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Fani Palli-Petralia, responsible for her party's follow-up on the Olympic Games, said on Friday ''today we found out that the responsible Deputy Minister Nasos Alevras can not guarantee that the Olympic Stadium, in 2004, a month before the Olympic Games, will be able to host the European Cup Bruno Jauli of the Super League''.
''In 2002, the complete Test Events program of the Games that was drafted earlier, was moved to 2003 and 2004. Now we have been led to the cancellation of significant athletic events,'' she added.
 Numerous events held in Athens in celebration of 'Europe Day'
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)A number of theatrical, musical and dance performances were held in Athens on Friday in celebration of ''Europe Day'', May 9.
The events were held under the auspices of Attica Supra-Prefect Fofi Gennimata who in statements said ''European culture is our heritage, there is no old or new Europe, there is a Europe, birthplace of sciences and arts.''
Gennimata added that ''today, we are celebrating a Europe which gave birth to culture, a Europe which borrowed the positive elements of the cultures of the East and assimilated them, which respects differentiality, and it is this Europe we know, want and love as it is henceforth our common home.''
One of the major events was held below the Acropolis where popular singer George Dalaras gave a concert which was attended not only by Athenians but also by visitors from other European cities.
On the occasion of ''Europe Day'', pavilions of the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC), Youth General Secretariat and European Commission distributed to the public material concerning action programs for sciences, culture, literature, arts and on volunteerism, which Greece will so much need during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
 Environment minister, Athens mayor discuss waste management
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Environment Minister Vasso Papandreou and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni stressed the need to implement existing plans for waste management in the Athens area in statements to reporters after a meeting on Friday.
''The disgrace of illegal dumps that ...endanger public health and the environment must come to an end,'' Papandreou stressed.
''We must move toward integrated waste management, as in all developed countries, using modern technology. We will do this in spite of the reactions... There is a regional plan that has been approved and will be implemented,'' she underlined.
Bakoyianni said the Athens municipality had a clear-cut view on the issue, and believed that it was possible in the modern world to manage waste in ways that were environmentally acceptable. Anarchic management was detrimental to the public and a large municipality, such as Athens, should deal with such problems at their roots, she added.
Apart from waste management, Bakoyianni and Papandreou also discussed planned aesthetic overhauls of the city for the Athens Olympics.
 Vartholomeos addresses "New Presidents" organization conference
ISTANBUL 10/05/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Friday addressed the conference of the ''New Presidents'' organization that is taking place here.
''The world has never needed the entanglement of the spiritual leaders in the international affairs more than now,'' Vartholomeos said, adding that ''we should take a visible stance on the stage, especially because many crimes are committed today in the name of religion''.
''We lived at the crossroads of the east and west and became witnesses of great disasters befall both sides, as we see today again in Iraq. We lived next to the Muslims and the Jews and developed relations of trust with both,'' he underlined, noting that ''there is no salvation through war, there is no war that will end all wars, the tragic chain of the Sept. 11, 2001 events in New York, the wars in Kabul in 2002 and in Baghdad in 2003 will not save humanity''.
 Two more witnesses in N17 trial place Vassilis Xiros at Peratikos murder
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Two more witnesses testifying in the trial of 19 suspected ''November 17'' terrorists on Friday said they had seen the defendant Vassilis Xiros at the murder of shipowner Kostis Peratikos in 1997.
Shop-owner Giorgos Bouas recognized both Vassilis and Savvas Xiros as two of the culprits on the scene, with greater certainty for Vassilis, and said that the man who shot the shipowner was not Savvas but someone with a ''dancing step and straight hair''.
The last witness on the stand during Friday's proceedings, Panagiotis Roussis, also recognized Vassilis Xiros as one of two men he had seen hijacking a taxi at gunpoint after the incident in order to make their getaway.
The third Xiros brother, Christodoulos, was identified by an eye-witness to the robbery of an Ergasias Bank branch in Peristeri on July 18, 1990. Shop owner Fani Gouskou said she was positive that she had seen Christodoulos emerge from a van after the robbery holding a bag.
Christodoulos Xiros said the witness was ''imagining things'' and denied all involvement with the terror group.
Also appearing on the witness stand on Friday was Post Offices employee Yiannis Piaditis, who recognized Vassilis Xiros and Dimitris Koufodinas - the alleged operations chief for N17 - as the perpetrators of a robbery at the Vyrona post office branch in 1997. The witness also expressed the opinion that the robbers had been in possession of information from the central post office service since they knew that there were two bags of money on that day containing the IKA pensions payroll.
During Friday's session, the Three-Member Criminal Appeals Court accepted a request from the defense for Vassilis Tzortzatos that the court be shown photographs of three men that had been identified by eye-witnesses in the past as the perpetrators of a post office robbery in Egaleo in 1991 and had subsequently been cleared of the charges when the case went to court.
According to Tzortzatos' defense counsel, if the same witnesses now identified others as the perpetrators of the robbery in the N17 trial, this would highlight how subjective such eye-witness identifications could be.
The court decided that the specific case will be examined on Tuesday so that the photographs in question could be obtained from police headquarters.
The trial ended early on Friday because a member of the court had to be absent and will continue on Monday with the robbery at the Marinopoulos supermarket and other bomb attacks.
 Suspected ELA terrorist responds to additional charges
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Suspected terrorist Mihalis Kassimis, accused of being a member of the urban guerrilla group Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA), on Friday appeared before Appeals Examining Magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos to make his plea to an additional 53 charges related to acts committed by the terror band.
Kassimis had earlier been faced with charges of joining and participating in a terrorist organization and with being an accomplice in the attempted murder of former GSEE president Giorgos Raftopoulos in 1987 and had been set free pending trial.
He denies all involvement with ELA.
 Journalists' union protests Albanian journalists' residence permit non-renewal
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)The Athens Journalists' Union (ESHEA) on Friday strongly protested the non-renewal of the residence permit of Albanian Journalist Gazi Kaplani.
In a press release the ESHEA board of directors stressed that Kaplani is a journalist and writer ''who is working in Greece since 1991, is insured, submits tax returns and since 2001 he has a Greek state scholarship for his Ph.D. studies in Panteion University. The social and personal life and action of Gazi Kaplani is legal and transparent''.
ESHEA called on the public order ministry to make public ''the confidential report on the journalist, from which it stems that he is 'dangerous for public order and security' and which places him in constant danger of deportation''.
 Greek said to be owner of Honduras-flag ship seized off Spain with 3.5t cocaine
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)A Greek concern was believed to be the owner of a Honduras-flag former World War II boat loaded with 3.5 tones of cocaine that was seized in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean by British and Spanish customs officers early Friday.
The ''SMS Cork'', a German-built former torpedo boat, was seized and its Columbian captain and seven-member Greek crew arrested in a joint operation by the British navy and Spanish customs as it was sailing 520 nautical miles off the western coast of Spain.
Sources at the Greek merchant marine ministry said that, according to initial information, the restructured torpedo boat, which was en route from a ''Latin American port to a destination in Europe'', was owned by a Greek shipowner ''who hired seven Greek seamen who now are facing the Spanish justice system''.
The sources said the ''Cork'' was being escorted by Spanish coastguard vessels to a port in Spain, where the crew would be taken before local judicial authorities.
The cocaine, which has a street value of more than 400 million dollars, is considered one of the biggest ever drug hauls by British and Spanish authorities, who believe the drugs were destined for the Iberian peninsula and had come from Colombia, one of the world's biggest producers of cocaine.
 Tourism trade groups question health minister's SARS call
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Two tourism trade groups on Friday questioned a recommendation from Health Minister Kostis Stephanis that Greek hotels should decline to accept bookings by visitors from areas with cases of SARS, a deadly pneumonia-type virus.
The Association of Tourism and Travel Bureaus in Greece (HATTA) lodged a strong protest with Stephanis, saying the minister was shifting the problem of protection to travel operators and hoteliers, needlessly creating an adverse climate.
Attica hoteliers said that they were willing to back moves by the state to provide protection against SARS, but only if they were part of a coordinated plan.
 Greek Scientists Society of the U.S. offers Kranidiotis scholarship
NEW YORK 10/05/2003 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)The Society of Greek Scientists of the United States, established in 1994, will offer a scholarship every year in memory of the late Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis. The scholarship will be given to a student of the Centre of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of the Queens College at New York's Municipal University.
The scholarship institution is being established by the society as of this year and an event has already taken place in Astoria for the fund's financial backing.
 Minister of state sues Kouris for slander
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)Minister of State Stefanos Manikas on Friday filed a civil suit for slander, libel and defamation against the owner and chief editor of the newspaper "Avriani", Giorgos Kouris and Giorgos Tsiroyiannis respectively, over the paper's allegations against him.
The suit concerns "Avriani" articles that accused Manikas of taking part in "stock market games" and hinting that he made unlawful profits through insider trading.
 Equality of the Genders General Secretary visits Cyprus
Athens, 10/05/2003 (ANA)The Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Ministry's General Secretary for the Equality of the Genders, Efi Bekou, is currently on a visit to Cyprus at the invitation of the president of the Women's Organization of the Democratic Party (DIKO) and DIKO deputy Antigoni Papadopoulos.
At an event organized by the Women's Organization of DIKO in Limassol on Sunday, Bekou, within the framework of the Greek EU Presidency, will present the European policies and strategies for the equality of women in the European Union.
The event is held under the auspices of Justice and Public Order Minister Doros Theodorou, Cyprus' relevant minister on Equality of the Genders issues.
 Cypriot Government dismisses Turkey's flexibility as political device
NICOSIA 10/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides said on Friday that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was totally in line with the positions and the policy of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and that efforts to make the new Turkish government seem more flexible on the Cyprus problem were just a political device.
Speaking after a ministerial meeting at the Presidential Palace, Chrisostomides said Erdogan held an illegal visit to the Turkish occupied areas on Friday as a ''conqueror'' and that the ''new measures'' announced by the occupation regime do not promote a settlement but instead perpetuate the division of the island.
The spokesman said Erdogan's statements during his one-day illegal visit to the island ''confirm the ascertainment of the government of the Republic of Cyprus that Erdogan fully sides with the positions and the policy of Denktash."
''Plausible efforts were made to give the impression, internationally and in Cyprus, that Erdogan had a seemingly different and more flexible policy on the Cyprus problem than that of Denktash or the political and military establishment in Turkey. Once again, it is proved that this is just a political device," Chrisostomides said.
He added that ''no hopes should be placed on expecting a change in the intransigent position of the Turkish government any time soon regarding the Cyprus problem, so as to make possible the achieving of a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem."
Chrisostomides said Erdogan ''visited the territory of the Republic of Cyprus as a 'conqueror' and asks for the recognition of the 'realities' that have been imposed by the Turkish invasion of 1974 and have been since maintained by the force of arms."
He added that the Republic does not maintain an ''economic embargo'' against the Turkish Cypriots and noted that the government's package of measures to support the Turkish Cypriots aimed at ''exactly the opposite," that is to make all legal citizens of the Republic equal in the eye of the law and to share the prosperity, security and advantages offered by the island's accession to the EU.
Chrisostomides explained that the existing restrictions are imposed by international organizations, based on international law and regulations, which forbid activities with non-recognized regimes.
''These restrictions can only be lifted with a solution of the Cyprus problem," he said, adding that doing so before a settlement would constitute recognition of the Turkish occupation regime.
He said measures announced by Turkey and the Turkish occupation regime did not constitute a settlement but just ''perpetuate the division of Cyprus," adding that ''a real step would be for Denktash to accept the Annan plan as a basis for resuming negotiations under UN auspices and according to Security Council resolutions on Cyprus."
Chrisostomides said the government calls on Denktash ''to follow this course'' and noted that it expects from the Turkish government and Erdogan, ''if they really want a just and viable solution, to persuade Denktash to follow this course."
Regarding Ankara's decision to allow ships flying the Cypriot flag to moor in Turkish ports, Chrisostomides said this was ''an obligation of Turkey's'' and thus ''cannot be considered a goodwill measure."
Asked about Friday afternoon's meeting at the Presidential Palace, Chrisostomides explained that it was a continuation of Thursday's discussion between ministers and officials dealing with the implementation of measures to support the Turkish Cypriots.
''The implementation of the measures is proceeding. Already most have been applied and the implementation of the rest is expected. The government is monitoring on a daily basis the implementation of the policy for Turkish Cypriots, aiming for them to be equal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and to participate equally in the common prosperity," he said.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 President Papadopoulos rejects Erdogan's view of 'two states' in Cyprus
NICOSIA 10/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos rejected Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's position that there are ''two sovereign states'' on the island.
In a statement issued by Papadopoulos, as Erdogan is conducting a one-day illegal ''visit'' to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, the president said if Erdogan supports a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, as well as the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General just as he claimed during his departure from Turkey on Friday, he can turn his general declaration into a specific political action.''
This way, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will be persuaded to come forward to substantial negotiations, accepting the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations, he added.
Cyprus' accession to the EU, President Papadopoulos said, led the UN to intensify efforts for an overall settlement.
The president expressed hope that these fundamental principles will be acknowledged as corresponding to today's realities, and that from this acknowledgement any developments leading to a just, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem will be determined.
In his statement, Papadopoulos said Erdogan's ''visit'' to the occupied areas is an ''illegal action that comes from the political leader of a country which invaded and still occupies illegally and with the use of force a great part of the Republic of Cyprus whose independence, territorial integrity and security it had guaranteed in 1960.''
He said ''if Mr. Erdogan supports a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, as well as the good offices mission of the Secretary-General just as he claimed during his departure from Turkey today, he can turn his general declaration into a specific political action, persuading Mr. Denktash to come forward to substantial negotiations, accepting the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations.''
Papadopoulos reiterated the willingness and readiness of the Greek Cypriot side for ''direct and substantial talks under the UN auspices, based on the Annan plan, to find a solution based on the relevant UN decisions.''
''Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have actually shown and with their attitude proved in the last days that the common vision of a reunited country unites them,'' he said.
''The two communities can and should live together in peace, through a reunited country and a single state, within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation. However, the recent ease in the restrictions in the freedom of movement of citizens, imposed by the Turkish side since 1974, and the pursuit of measures of good neighborliness cannot be considered nor do they constitute a solution to the Cyprus problem,'' he added.
''The political approach for the creation of two areas in Cyprus with a nationally component population respectively, clashes with high-level agreements and the relevant Security Council resolutions.
It is therefore just that resolutions 541 and 550 consider the declaration of the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' legally invalid and demand its revocation and call on the states not to recognize it,'' Papadopoulos noted.
He said ''the experience of all these years proves that the international community neither accepts nor it can accept the existence and recognition of two sovereign states on the island'' and that ''it was the insistence in the recognition of a second state on the island that led to the isolation of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, without any responsibility on our part.''
''Because of the occupation and the division, Cyprus' accession to the European Union does not allow the implementation of the acquis communautaire throughout the island. It was Cyprus' accession prospect to the EU that led the UN to intensify efforts for an overall settlement, with the approval of all, including Mr.
Denktash,'' Papadopoulos said.
''I hope that these fundamental principles will be acknowledged as corresponding to today's realities, and that from this acknowledgement any developments leading to a just, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem will be determined'', the president concluded.
Speaking to reporters during a gathering to celebrate Europe Day today, President Papadopoulos said it would seem strange to him if Erdogan announced measures that Denktash ought to announce himself.
Invited to comment on reports that Erdogan would not announce any measures during his illegal ''visit'', Papadopoulos said ''most of the rumors were press reports, it would seem very strange for Mr. Erdogan to announce measures in Cyprus which Mr. Denktash ought to announce.''
Invited to comment on statements that the views of Erdogan and Denktash were similar, Papadopoulos said this was not something irregular.
He said he could not see any difference in statements and policy between Erdogan and Denktash since the collapse of The Hague talks.
Papadopoulos reiterated that the measures are not a solution. ''I would say they are not even a step towards a solution'', he added.
 Erdogan reiterates Turkish positions on arrival in Turkish-occupied Cyprus
NICOSIA 10/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday there were ''two states, two languages, two religions'' in Cyprus and that a settlement of the island's political problem should be ''based on this reality.''
Speaking on his arrival in the Turkish-occupied areas of the island for a one-day illegal visit, Erdogan assured the Turkish Cypriots that Turkey would always be there for them.
Erdogan's plane landed at the illegal Lefkoniko airport in the Turkish- occupied areas at 11:45 local time (08:45 GMT) and was welcomed by so-called ''prime minister'' Dervis Eroglu and ''vice-president'' Serdar Denktash.
On departure from Ankara, Erdogan said the Cyprus problem was at a crucial stage and that Turkish measures aimed at building confidence between the two sides on the island would contribute to efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
He welcomed the Turkish occupation regime's decision to ease the restrictions on the free movement of citizens on the island, imposed since the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus.
''Building a climate of trust between the two sides is important. We believe this will prepare the ground for a comprehensive settlement, based on the realities on the island'', Erdogan said.
He said that Ankara supports a just and viable solution based on the ''realities'' and noted that Turkey intends to continue efforts in this direction and supports UN efforts to reach a settlement.
On arrival in the Turkish-occupied areas, Erdogan said ''history has taught us that those who struggle succeed and make their own future.''
He said that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has made ''steps that we support'', adding that ''we see the results of his last gesture, we should all welcome them.''
Erdogan noted that during his short stay he would be meeting with Denktash and Eroglu, as well as political party leaders.
Referring to the easing of restrictions on the free movement of citizens, Erdogan said this ''contributes to reaching a solution'' and that ''everyone should see this as an opportunity.''
He said that the so-called embargo on exports from the Turkish occupied areas should be lifted and that ''this was the most important issue for Cyprus.'' Erdogan also appealed to human rights supporters to look at the situation.
This is Erdogan's first trip to occupied Cyprus since he assumed office as a prime minister.
Erdogan says Greek Cypriots must reciprocate: Erdogan has called on the Greek Cypriot side to reciprocate to moves Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has made in the past few weeks.
Erdogan, speaking at the checkpoint of the Turkish Cypriot regime near the buffer zone during his one-day illegal ''visit'' on Friday, claimed that Denktash has a constructive approach towards the resumption of UN-led peace talks.
Asked by CNA to comment on recent developments on the island, the Turkish premier, speaking through an interpreter, said ''I value these steps at the 'border' as positive steps, I also value Denktash's proposal to open the closed area of Varosha to be utilized, made on April 2, as a very positive step as well.''
Erdogan was referring to the partial lifting of restrictions on freedom of movement Denktash had imposed since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded Cyprus.
''All these steps towards a solution should also be counter-replied by the Greek Cypriot administration of south Cyprus as well,''
Erdogan said, adding that ''we want this beautiful island to be an island of peace, we want the first quarter of the 21st century to establish peace, let our steps towards peace continue and make Cyprus an island of peace.''
Invited by CNA if he would persuade Denktash to return to the negotiating table, Erdogan claimed that Denktash ''is already in a positive attitude, as long as both sides have an understanding.''
Erdogan went on a walk-about near the checkpoint in occupied Nicosia, which lasted about 25 minutes. The premier talked to a lot of people, shook hands with some waiting in their cars to cross into occupied Cyprus, allowed for photo opportunities, and walked up to the Ledra Palace hotel, lying in the buffer zone under the control of the UN.
 Christofias calls on Turkish premier to recognize responsibilities
NICOSIA 10/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)President of the Cyprus House of Representatives Demetris Christofias has called on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to recognize Turkey's responsibility for the situation in Cyprus and to indicate to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that the semi-measures he has been applying will not lead to the recognition of the regime in the Turkish occupied areas of the island.
Christofias described Erdogan as a ''contemporary politician'' and said the Turkish prime minister, who is conducting an illegal ''visit'' to the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus here Friday, should say ''mea culpa for his country and realize that Cyprus must regain its independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty through a bizonal, bicommunal federation solution.''
He added that Erdogan had an obligation to point out to Denktash that the Turkish Cypriot leader ''should not dream that the semi-measures he is applying will become permanent and lead to the recognition of two separate states.''
Erdogan should also ''push Denktash to understand that he must return to talks under UN auspices to negotiate constructively on the basis of the Annan plan so as to bring about the reunification of our country and people.''
Christofias reiterated the Greek Cypriot side's readiness to negotiate towards a Cyprus settlement.
Negotiations to reach a settlement collapsed earlier this year, when Denktash refused to put to a referendum the solution plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In late April, the Turkish occupation regime eased the restrictions on the free movement of citizens on the island.