|Monday, 14 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-05-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>May 23, 2003
 FM Papandreou hails lifting of sanctions against Iraq
PARIS 23/05/2003 (ANA - O. Tsipira)Foreign Minister and President of the European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers George Papandreou, speaking to Greek reporters here on Thursday, hailed the UN's decision to lift sanctions imposed on Iraq.
''Being the EU's presidency, we hail the lifting of sanctions against Iraq, with a new resolution which received a big majority. There was also unanimity by the four members of the EU which participate in the Security Council. With this resolution we are gaining the creation of a post of Special Representative of UN Secretary General Mr. (Kofi) Annan who will closely watch developments in this way,'' he said, commenting on UN resolution 1483.
Papandreou arrived in Paris on Thursday to participate in two ministerial meetings. One concerns the ''road axes of drugs from Central Asia to Europe'' organized in close cooperation with the UN's program for international control of drugs.
The second is the preparatory meeting of foreign ministers from G8 countries in light of the eight richest countries' summit due to take place in the French city of Evian on May 31.
The foreign minister expressed hope that the people of Iraq will be helped through economic growth, humanitarian aid and reconstruction which will create a country of freedom and democracy.
Papandreou also referred to the most important issues to be discussed during the two ministerial meetings on Thursday and Friday.
''Developments in the Middle East will be one of the important issues for discussion since there is even a little and existing hope for the ratification and promotion of the road map by all sides. This Map will lead us to the creation of a Palestinian state and to the safeguarding of the security of Israel,'' he said.
International terrorism and drugs are also on the table for discussion.
''We spoke of drugs and organized crime which very often involves networks of terrorism, the trafficking of people and drugs. Unfortunately, we ascertained the failure of the international community to handle the phenomenon, although it has been preoccupied intensively over the past 40 years. Being the EU presidency, we made an appeal for our policies to be evaluated and see with sincerity which other policies can be of help, such as the protection of addicts and their isolation from the networks of the underworld,'' the foreign minister added.
Iraq will be an exclusive issue in Friday's talks, due to take place in the presence of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell who also arrived in the French capital on Thursday.
Greek EU presidency welcomes UN Iraq resolution: The Greek EU presidency on Thursday welcomed the ''unanimous adoption today by the UN Security Council of a resolution on post conflict Iraq.''
''This development shows a new spirit of cooperation within the international community'', a press release issued by the presidency said.
''This resolution achieves one of the main objectives pursued by the European Union, namely that the UN must play a central role in the reconstruction process of Iraq and lend legitimacy to the action of the international community and its members,'' it added.
''The Presidency also welcomes the creation of the post of UN Special Representative for Iraq and hopes that it will now be possible to address the immediate needs of the Iraqi people, by ensuring that oil revenues will be used for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction.
''It is to be noted that the EU has always advocated the creation of conditions that will allow Iraqis to live in freedom, peace and prosperity under a representative government. Todays (Thursday) resolution provides a framework, which should allow the international community to help the Iraqis to achieve these objectives.
''Finally it should be recalled that the EU has committed itself to play a significant role in the political and economic reconstruction of Iraq,'' the presidency's press release concluded.
 FM interviewed by Le Figaro focuses on Iraq war, EU-US relations
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou focused on the war in Iraq, EU-US relations and the Greek EU presidency in an interview with the Paris daily Le Figaro newspaper that was published on Wednesday.
Responding to questions by journalist Philippe Gelie on the unity of Europeans in the post-war period, Papandreou underlined that there is willingness ''a real wish to look ahead, to gather the international community and work together''.
''The new proposal of a decision that was presented in the United Nations was accepted in a positive way by most Europeans, I believe that it offers a base to achieve a compromise,'' he added.
Great Britain and Spain ''have a special responsibility, as do the other two member-states of the Security Council (France and Germany). We should promote the European position and in parallel build a trans-Atlantic compromise. One feels that an ambition of international cohesion is created on the issue,'' Papandreou said.
Answering on how Europe emerged from the Iraq spawned crisis, Papandreou said ''Iraq brought to the surface a number of problems, if we take advantage of the opportunity to respond in a more decisive way we will be able to come out of it strengthened''.
Commenting on the results of the Greek presidency, Papandreou said that ''we expected a difficult presidency. The last few months the first steps of an enlarged Europe were made, the war in Iraq, the final phase of the Constitutional convention. We are entering a new period of European history. What unites us is the commonality of our values, democracy, cooperation, economy, human rights ... we have to build on these foundations and to revise our priorities''.
 Greek and British PMs discuss EU's constitution and security
LONDON 23/05/2003 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)Visiting Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his British counterpart Tony Blair discussed the European Union's new constitution during a working luncheon here on Thursday.
The meeting was held in the framework of preparations for the agenda of the EU summit in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, next month.
Simitis conceded that constitutional problems exist, but expressed his conviction that there will be possibilities for a decision to be taken on the new constitution of Europe before Euro-elections are held in 2004.
''We discussed with Mr. Blair the agenda of the Thessaloniki summit and the main issue was the plan for the new constitution of the European Union which Giscard d' Estaing will present to us and on which we shall have to decide before the Euro-elections in 2004.
There are problems, they are known constitutional problems, agreements on principles and on the issue of human rights. There are two possibilities, two options, and I hope that we shall be in a position to take a speedy decision after the summit in Thessaloniki,'' Simitis said after the meeting at the British prime minister's residence at 10 Downing Street.
The Greek prime minister said issues concerning the EU's security were also discussed, while EU High Commissioner for Defense and Security Policy Javier Solana will be presenting a report. He added that they also referred to Iraq and the Middle East, stressing that the issue of the Middle East will be discussed during the luncheon at the EU summit in Thessaloniki.
Simitis further said his talks with Blair had a positive outcome and a satisfactory agreement was reached on all issues discussed.
Asked whether the issue of Cyprus was discussed, Simitis said ''we discussed the Cyprus issue and we agreed that talks on the Annan plan cannot begin unless Turkey changes its present position.''
Simitis will leave for Dublin on Friday morning to meet Irish Prime Minister Berty Ahern for similar talks on the Thessaloniki summit's agenda.
 DM Papantoniou, ND former leader Evert, on Turkish provocations in Aegean
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)National defense minister Yannos Papantoniou and main opposition New Democracy (ND) former leader Miltiades Evert on Thursday ascertained an identity of views on continuing Turkish provocations in the Aegean.
After a meeting, Evert did not rule out the prospect of a 'hot incident', while Papantoniou opined that there was no immediate visible danger.
The minister added, however, that the Greek armed forces were at a high level of preparedness, and were facing the increasing violations of Greek national airspace and infringements of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) by Turkish warplanes "with calm and steadfastness".
He reiterated that there was no benefit for Greece to 'play the game of tension".
Evert commented that if Turkey continued this policy, it would alienate itself from all of Europe, while all of Hellenism would undertake initiatives to close off its road to the EU
 Diamantopoulou briefs Turkish Cypriots on EU funding
NICOSIA 23/05/2003 (ANA-G.Leonidas/CNA)Greek European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou met Thursday afternoon with Turkish Cypriot politicians and briefed them on the funding provided for the Turkish Cypriots in the event of a solution to the Cyprus problem, stressing at the same time that Cyprus must be represented in the EU by a single state with one voice.
Speaking after the meeting, which took place at the offices of the European Commission Delegation in Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot politicians expressed satisfaction over the briefing they received and noted the benefits the Turkish Cypriot community will receive from the EU in case of a political settlement.
Diamantopoulou said she was happy to receive the Turkish Cypriot politicians along with Head of the Delegation Adriaan Van der Meer ''for the first time''.
''There was an interesting exchange of views regarding the solution'' of the Cyprus problem, she said, adding that she briefed the Turkish Cypriot politicians on the fundamental principles of the EU, giving special emphasis to the fact that ''a country must be represented with one voice and be a single state''.
Diamantopoulou briefed them on the short-term and long-term EU and referred to the EU measures to be announced on June 3, the financial assistance of 206 million euros for 2004-2006 in case of a solution and the funding and strengthening of Cyprus in case of a solution from the structural funds for the period 2007-2012.
Leader of the Republican Turkish Party Mehmet Ali Talat said they discussed ''the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots, the opportunities which are gained by restricted free movement (to and from the occupied areas of the island) and also some substantial issues which relate to the solution and participation of Cyprus as a whole in the EU''.
Replying to questions, Talat said they discussed the free movement of goods and the funding from the EU in case of a Cyprus settlement before May 2004, which ''will help boost the Turkish Cypriot economy''.
Leader of the Reformist Progress Party Ertugrul Hasipoglu said the meeting with Diamantopoulou was ''useful'' and expressed hope that by next month there will be free movement of Turkish Cypriot goods.
Huseyin Angolemli, leader of the Communal Liberation Party, said ''we told her that before May 1st next year (when Cyprus joins the EU) a solution is very important'' and that, apart from the UN, ''the EU must have a duty for a solution'' of the Cyprus problem.
''The EU must work on the basis of the Annan plan in order to reach a comprehensive settlement. The measures to be announced next month by the EU will do something, especially on trade. All these things are not a solution but will help to reach a solution'', he said, speaking in Turkish through an interpreter.
Angolemli added that ''it is a reality that the EU now is working for Cyprus and our aim is at the end of the day to see a reunified Cyprus member of the EU.''
Earlier this afternoon, Diamantopoulou met with leaders of Greek Cypriot political parties.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The most recent talks to reach a comprehensive settlement based on a proposal submitted by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan collapsed at The Hague, due to the stance of the Turkish side.
 Greek EU Commissioner Diamantopoulou says Denktash's position is deteriorating
NICOSIA 23/05/2003 (ANA-G. Leonidas/CNA)The European Union has accepted Cyprus in its ranks as a single state and the European institutional framework does not allow any kind of derogation from this approach, Anna Diamantopoulou, EU Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs said here on Thursday, noting that the settlement of the Cyprus problem is now an EU problem.
Diamantopoulou, on a visit to the island, said that the a priori rejection by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of EU measures to support the Turkish Cypriots is making his position more untenable in the international arena and things become more difficult as far as his acceptance as a reliable interlocutor is concerned.
Diamantopoulou, who was speaking after meeting House President Demetris Christofias, was also received earlier on Thursday by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
Later on she met Foreign Minister George Iacovou who said that during their meeting it was pointed out that Cyprus should work with a view to stay ahead of the rest of the ten countries which will join the EU in May 2004.
The minister expressed regret at Denktash's rejection of the EU measures, adding that this will not make a good impression on the EU. Asked if the signing of the EU Accession Treaty calls for changes in a UN peace plan on a Cyprus solution, the EU Commissioner noted that the EU had said it would be willing to accommodate into the Treaty elements to be agreed by the two sides but stressed that the Union cannot violate its own principles.
''The EU has accepted Cyprus in its ranks as a single state and the institutional framework of the EU does not allow any kind of derogation from this approach. It is a single state, with a single voice to represent it in the EU. The way a country is functioning internally is up to that country,'' Diamantopoulou said.
She noted that the solution of the political problem is now a problem of the EU and added that the situation in Cyprus compared to the one she saw the previous time she was on the island one and a half years ago is more auspicious and optimistic.
Diamantopoulou also referred to EU support for a Cyprus solution by contributing to the work of the UN ''which is the prime institution for the settlement of the problem.''
She said that through its own institutional framework and the acquis communautaire the EU offers the guarantees for the viability and functionality of a settlement, while its institutional framework offers the biggest guarantee for the coexistence of both communities, which have different cultural, linguistic and religious characteristics, as is the case in many European countries.
The EU, she added, intends to support the whole of the island to become part of the global economy. She reiterated that in the event of a settlement, EU funds will be channeled to finance infrastructure projects in the northern part of the island and said the Commission will announce in two weeks time a package of measures regarding infrastructure, human resources and support of trade in Cyprus' occupied areas.
Referring to the easing of restrictions on free movement, Diamantopoulou said the flow of people across the divide creates a positive momentum but does not constitute the solution or a form of a solution to the problem.
The House President said after the meeting he was not surprised that Denktash rejected the EU measures for the Turkish Cypriots prior to their announcement, noting that he himself had predicted that Denktash would be negative if the EU applies all measures though the Republic's institutions.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
 Denktash ''a-priori'' rejects EU's planned measures for Turkish Cypriots
NICOSIA 23/05/2003 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on Wednesday said he was going to reject the package of measures put together by the European Commission for the Turkish Cypriot community on Cyprus, claiming that such measures were not aimed at opening the door for trade relations with his 'state', but at the recognition of the Cyprus Republic by the Turkish Cypriots.
Denktash claimed that if European Commission intentions were sincerely designed for advancing peace on Cyprus, they should not include any restrictions such as on the export of Turkish Cypriot goods from the legal ports of the island which are not recognized by his pseudo-state.
Moreover, he said that there were two peoples on Cyprus, something which he said was not even included in the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan, since, as he claimed, this could lead to a right for self-determination.
The Turkish Cypriot leader also warned that Turkish guarantees should be strong and should not be removed, as foreseen in the Annan plan, and claimed that the best solution for the Cyprus issue would be one that would ''retain a bi-zonal order with two states maintaining good neighbor relations between them.''
''This is why the Annan plan was rejected'', he said.
The European Commission planned to forward its statement on a package of aid and trade measures for Turkish Cypriots to the European Council and all Community organs in the first part of June, the head of the delegation of the European Commission to Cyprus had said on Monday.
EU Ambassador to Cyprus Adriaan van der Meer said this would be a statement-framework that will indicate specific rapprochement measures that the Commission wished to see implemented.
UN brokered marathon talks held in March at the Hague collapsed on 13 March in the face of the Turkish Cypriot side's intransigence, following months of intensive deliberations by Annan on a peace plan he initially tabled in November with the internationally-recognized Cyprus government and the leader of the minority Turkish Cypriot community for reuniting the divided island republic of Cyprus.
The Republic of Cyprus signed its EU accession treaty in Athens mid-April along with Malta and eight central and east European nations.
 Alternate FM and visiting New Zealand FM discuss bilateral, EU issues
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis on Thursday met New Zealand's Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Philip Goff for talks on bilateral issues, while they later moved on to talks on an EU troika level. At the end of the meeting, Goff signed the Olympic Truce declaration.
The New Zealand minister is in Greece to represent his country at celebrations for the anniversary of the 1941 Battle of Crete that will take place on the island on Friday.
Yiannitsis and Goff discussed a bilateral agreement that will give young New Zealanders the right to work when visiting Greece for holidays, which the two countries hope to sign by the end of the year.
The Greek minister also expressed Athens' support for New Zealand's initiative against whale hunting and thanked Goff for Wellington's support of Greece's candidacy for a seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
With respect to EU issues, Goff said New Zealand would like its citizens to have greater freedom of movement within Europe than that provided under the Schengen Treaty, while he welcomed the proposals made by European Commissioner for agriculture Franz Fischler on reforming the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The talks also covered the issue of international terrorism, where Goff stressed the need to tackle the "root causes" of the phenomenon and stressed the importance of the "road map" for Middle East peace.
Regarding products derived from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), the New Zealand minister took a different stance to that of the EU, saying that the trade in these products should proceed in accordance with the directives of the World Trade Organization, with caution and circumspection and solely within a framework of scientifically supported restrictions.
 FM on terrorism in Italian daily ''La Stampa''
ROME 23/05/2003 (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakos)Terrorism is not a new problem, as Italians and Greeks know too well, Greeces Foreign Minister and current EU General Affairs Council president George Papandreou said in an interview with Italian daily La Stampa, titled Papandreou: terrorism cannot be fought with bombs.
The Greek minister said that apart from terrorism, todays reality also includes other threats, such as the deadly SARS virus and other possible epidemics, which all come down to the same concern: how to achieve security in a world which is being more and more globalized.
We should not forget that in order to fight terrorism we should locate its causes. And also that one of the problems giving rise to extremism is the Palestinian issue, Papandreou told the Italian paper.
As terrorism is going to be one of the major topics on the agenda of Junes EU-US summit in Washington, Papandreous interview centered on the specific matter, and a question he was asked was whether he believed the European Union could influence the US response.
He replied that Europe wishes a peaceful solution, but I do not have the right to believe that the US would like to resort, once again, to a preventive attack. A challenge in EU-US relations is that: I cannot imagine that Europe would ever consent to a preventive attack ... What is a preventive attack? A way to prevent something that you do not know whether it really exists.
Papandreou was asked whether this was a message to Washington. He replied that he did not believe that the US would want to resolve matters only through war. That is why what Europe would have to offer is very important in facilitating a peaceful resolution of possible problems.
 Euro-Mediterranean ministerial conference to be held on Crete
BRUSSELS 23/05/2003 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)The situation prevailing in Iraq and the Middle East will be the focus of discussions during the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference to be held on Crete on May 26 and 27.
The agenda of the meeting also includes a common evaluation, in light of EU enlargement, of the way to define the role of EU partnership with Mediterranean nations in order to eliminate the tensions that followed the Iraq crisis.
Commenting on the conference, European External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten said: The most successful EU foreign policy to date has been enlargement. We now have to investigate how we can define together with our Mediterranean partners the ways to develop the Barcelona process, so that they can too enjoy in the largest extend possible the same benefits, even if EU admission is not a matter of concern to them.
Participating ministers would examine the progress achieved since the last conference in Valencia, Spain, last year, during which they unanimously agreed on an action plan.
The plans long- and mid-term initiatives are aimed at strengthening cooperation on political and economic reforms to boost prosperity levels and enhancing mutual understanding.
A number of issues on which the ministers would be called upon to achieve agreement include a speedy implementation of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation agreements, a deepening of political and security cooperation, especially fighting terrorism and improvement in respect for human rights and democracy.
 Greek EU presidency express sorrow over catastrophic quake in Algeria
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)The Greek European Union Presidency on Thursday expressed its "profound sorrow" over the catastrophic earthquake in Algiers that caused the death of at least 700 people.
"The EU Presidency expresses its profound sorrow and its deepest condolences to the government and the people of Algeria as well as to the relatives of the victims of the disastrous earthquake, which befell yesterday (Wednesday) this country.
"The EU is ready to offer all possible assistance in order to alleviate the suffering of the Algerian people affected by this tragedy," a Greek foreign ministry statement said.
 Turkish patrol boat harasses Greek caique near Imia islet
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)A Turkish patrol boat on Thursday morning harassed a Greek caique sailing towards the tiny islet of Imia, off Kalymnos.
The caique's owner, Antonis Vezyropoulos, has for many years kept a flock of sheep on Imia.
Once the Turkish patrol boat spotted the Greek from Pserimos, it started sailing at high speed in and out of Greek territorial waters, resulting in waves threatening the small caique of the Greek who nevertheless continued his journey towards Imia.
When he became aware that the Turkish patrol boat had no intention of leaving, he alerted the Kalymnos Port Authority by mobile phone which immediately sent an armed speedboat forcing the Turkish boat to retreat to Turkish territorial waters.
Vezyropopoulos was finally escorted to Imia by the Greek patrol boat.
It is not the first time that Vezyropoulos has been harassed by Turkish patrol boats.
The small islet of Imia was thrust into international limelight in late January 1996 when the Tansu Ciller government in Ankara unexpectedly contested the rocky outcrop and even the surrounding sea regions status as Greek territory, causing the most serious Greek-Turkish crisis since 1976.
 Gov't sees isolated business failures, not closure trend
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Thursday that company closures and bankruptcies announced recently were isolated incidents of business failures.
In addition, the minister cited what he called unjustified attempts to defame the economy in connection with the recent closures.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Christodoulakis, Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas charged the main opposition New Democracy party with being a slave to market forces and sowing messages of fear and panic among employees.
The finance minister added that in 2000 to 2002, 243,000 more people were hired than made redundant or leaving the labor market under voluntary retirement schemes.
He reiterated that the government would try to save jobs wherever possible and aid any workers made redundant through jobless schemes.
 ND slams 'anti-developmental' economic policy; gov't responds
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy on Thursday slammed the government's "dead-end" economic policies and its stance toward business closures, following a meeting between ND leader Costas Karamanlis and representatives of the business community at the party's headquarters.
ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos asserted that the recent wave of bankruptcies and relocations by large companies was more than just a coincidence and a direct result of its "anti-developmental, managerial and tax-gouging" policies that kept inflation at high levels.
He said this framework was stifling Greek businesses, which found themselves gradually pushed out of the Greek market due to their low competitiveness.
He also urged the government to make public all the figures relating to joblessness and employment, noting that this was not an issue that lent itself to petty party-politics.
Responding to Roussopoulos, government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Thursday rejected the main opposition's criticism and said the spokesman should not have doubted the official unemployment figures from the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) without presenting other figures to back up the claim.
He reiterated that more businesses were opening than closing, according to the figures, and said the government would do everything in its power to return the workers laid off through closures to production.
 OTE leads ASE lower on Thursday
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks ended lower on Thursday hit by a 3.18 percent drop in Hellenic Telecommunications Organizations share price in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index fell 0.48 percent to end fractionally above the 1,700 level at 1,700.09 points, with turnover a moderate 97.1 million euros.
The IT Solution, Retail and Cement sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.80 percent, 2.34 percent and 2.18 percent, respectively), while the Textile and Bank sectors scored gains (0.86 percent and 0.06 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.57 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.98 percent down, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 0.90 percent and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index fell 0.68 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 208 to 85 with another 63 issues unchanged.
Derivatives Market Close: Trade at discount Thursday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers outpace sellers on Thursday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Closing rates of May 22 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,181 1,154
 Deputy minister and Athens mayor sign agreement for sports projects
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)Deputy Sports Minister George Lianis and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni signed an agreement on Thursday for sports projects worth over 5,770,000 euros to be carried out in Athens and provide a new impetus for sport.
The agreement anticipates the placing of turf at the stadiums of Rouf and Alepotrypa, used by Athens clubs, the building of five 5X5 fields (at Neos Kosmos, Treis Gefyres, Rouf, Kolonos and Chrysoupolis Square) and the transformation of the Serafeio into a modern swimming pool having Olympic Games specifications.
Lianis later said ''projects taking place in Athens on the occasion of the Olympic Games are huge. The Olympic Games of August 2004 are not an affair of Athens alone but of all of Greece.''
Bakoyianni said on her part ''I thank Mr. Lianis for the agreement reached. The Municipality of Athens has a great responsibility for the city's preparation in light of the Olympic Games. Within the limits of the Municipality, however, there are no sports installations which will remain in it after the Olympic Games.''
 ATHOC telephone ticketing center receives 13,000 calls in a week
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)The Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) ticketing offices received more than 13,000 calls during the first week of their operations, ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said on Thursday.
Some 3 pre cent of the calls to the super modern trilingual ATHOC Telephone Ticketing Office originated abroad, while the most often asked question was the way to procure the catalogue of events and tickets and the ways of payment.
Angelopoulos-Daskalaki called on Greeks to rush and buy tickets and not leave it to the last minute, as Greeks tend to do, stressing that ''it is not accidental that the program came out 15 months before the Games. We are asking of all Greeks to rush so that they may catch up As you know we are obliged to open simultaneously the ticket sales to all the European Union''.
 Another 'N17' suspect arrested, police cite '2nd generation' member'
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)The anti-terrorism squad on Thursday announced the name and detailed some of the evidence it said it gathered against the latest November 17 suspect arrested the same day, initially identified by the alias Costas the Pontian.
Authorities said Constantinos Avramidis, 42, was arrested at his east Athens apartment and delivered to special anti-terrorism prosecutors for questioning. His arrest brings the number of N17 suspects to 20, 19 of whom are currently on trial for numerous felony charges, including more than a score of murders.
According to police statements, Avramidis was linked to the elusive and deadly ultra leftist terror band by a lone fingerprint detected on a moveable object -- a book entitled Urban guerilla warfare found in one of two N17 safe houses raided by police last summer.
Another point of evidence that led to his arrest, police sources claimed, was testimony by alleged N17 member Sotiris Kondylis, who reportedly said he brought Avramidis in contact with Dimitris Koufodinas, who is himself accused as the lethal groups top assassin and operations chief.
Other reports claim that police detained him during one of the recent anti-war demonstrations in Athens, later taking his fingerprints following an arraignment. He was reportedly involved in the anti-state political groupings more-or-less active in and around the central Athens square of Exarchia and planned to appear as a defense witness at the N17, other unconfirmed reports claim.
The Pontian moniker apparently refers to the suspects extraction, from the southeastern Black Sea coast or Pontus, in modern-day Turkey, the land from where the forefathers of tens of thousands of ethnic Greeks immigrated to Greece proper in the early 20th century.
 Alleged terrorist to be released on bail following stroke
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)An alleged member of the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorist group held in custody pending trial was ordered released following health problems.
Appellate court investigator Leonidas Zervobeakos on Thursday ordered Tsigaridas' release after he suffered a stroke on Sunday and was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment.
Christos Tsigaridas was taken to the Evangelismos hospital in central Athens from Korydallos prison, where he has been detained for several months. Tsigaridas is still in the hospital.
The terms of his release included a 20,000 euro bail, his mandatory appearance to the police twice a month and he was barred from leaving the country.
Charges have been brought against Tsigaridas and other suspected members of the urban guerrilla group for attempted murder and weapons possession.
Tsigaridas has accepted political responsibility for acts perpetrated by ELA until 1991, when he says he withdrew from the group.
 Greeks strongly support common EU foreign and security policy, polls shows
BRUSSELS 23/05/2003 (ANA - V. Demiris)Greeks, Italians and Luxembourgians are the most enthusiastic supporters of developing common European Union policies for foreign affairs, defense and security issues within the 15 EU member-states, according to a Eurobarometer polls released here on Thursday.
The survey was carried out between March 18 and April 30 among the 15 full members of the EU using a sample of 16,307 people.
A similar poll was also carried out in the 10 new member-states that will become full members in 2004 and in candidate-states Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey between March 22 and April 28 using a sample of 12,124 people.
The biggest champions of a common EU foreign policy are the Luxembourgians, with 84 per cent in favor and 12 per cent against, followed by the Greeks with 82 per cent in favor and 12 per cent against and the Italians with 79 per cent in favor and 8 per cent against.
In a poll released in February, 76 per cent of Greeks had been in favor of a common EU foreign policy.
The lowest support for a common EU foreign policy was in Britain, where 37 per cent were in favor and 39 per cent were against, followed by Denmark with 55 per cent in favor and 33 per cent against.
Figures for the EU ''15'' as a whole were 67 per cent in favor and 19 per cent against.
Among the 13 new members and the candidate-states, highest support was expressed in Cyprus, where 82 per cent of those asked were in favor and 11 per cent were against, followed by Slovenia, where 74 were in favor and 15 were against. Lowest support was in Malta, with 46 per cent in favor and 29 per cent against, and the Czech Republic, with 49 per cent in favor and 29 per cent against.
Among the 13 countries overall, 64 per cent were in favor and 20 per cent against.
Support for a common EU policy for security in defense was higher, with 74 per cent in favor among the EU as a whole, compared to 71 per cent in February, and 15 per cent against. The strongest support was again found in Luxembourg (92 per cent for and 7 per cent against), followed by Italy (86 per cent for and 5 per cent against) and Greece (84 per cent for and 9 per cent against). Lowest support was in Britain, with 47 per cent in favor and 31 per cent against, and in Ireland, with 51 per cent in favor and 27 per cent against.
Among the new member-states and candidate states, support for a common defense and security policy was expressed by 71 per cent of those asked, with 16 per cent against, with the strongest support in Cyprus and the lowest in Malta.
 Pan-European environmental protocols signed in Kiev
KIEV 23/05/2003 (ANA)Environmental protection topped the agenda at the fifth Pan-European Ministerial Conference here over the past two days, with three protocols signed by the EU as well as countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia as well as in the Balkans.
The protocols refer to a strategy for evaluating environmental repercussions, registering transports of pollution-causing substances as well compensation in the wake of industrial accidents causing damages in international or trans-national waters.
Greek Public Works and Environment Minister Vasso Papandreou, who presided over the EU council of environment ministers, signed the protocols for the Union.
Papandreou met on the sidelines of the conference with the Ukrainian environment minister as well as her counterparts from the United States, Armenia and Georgia.
In talks with the former, she called for stepped up efforts to create an international maritime institute for the Black Sea, an initiative co-funded by Athens.
 Isabel Allende to arrive in Greece on Friday
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)World-famous author Isabel Allende, daughter of murdered Chilean president Salvador Allende and currently president of the Chilean Parliament, is to visit Greece on Friday at the invitation of Greek Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis.
Allende will remain in the country until May 27 and will have a series of meeting with Greek officials and politicians on Monday.
Among them will be Kaklamanis, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis, while on Monday evening she will be received by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
Shortly before her departure on Tuesday, she will hold a press conference at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in central Athens.
 Greek Archbishop's message for Environment Day
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)In a message on Thursday to mark Environment Day, Arch-bishop Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece, head of the Greek Orthodox Church, said people were being pushed to adopt a way of life that was "tragically unfriendly" to the environment and, finally, inhuman.
"Everything happens to make people go faster and faster with the excuse that, in this way, they will gain time and have more room for their personal life. This is an illusion, since the sense of anxiety and urgency never stops, and people never cease to be intensely aware of competition, of being undermined and exploited," the Archbishop said.
According to Christodoulos, modern man was caught up in this "insane course" and has lost controlled of his development and growth.
He urged people not to get "carried away by ambition" and to see the environment as a "House of God" that had been entrusted to them to manage and care for, not on the basis of reason or morality but arising from a love of God and His creation.
"The Orthodox Church does not moralize, it does not seek a rational explanation nor propose technocratic solutions to the above problems," he added.
 Proclamation on Electronic Health ratified in Brussels
BRUSSELS 23/05/2003 (ANA - A. Simatos)A proclamation on ''Electronic Health'' was ratified here on Thursday during a meeting held under the chairmanship of Health Minister Costas Stefanis.
The meeting was attended by the health and telecommunications ministers of European Union member-states, those of candidate countries and countries of the European Free Trade Zone.
The proclamation expresses the commitment of EU member-states for the development of national and regional plans for the implementation of Electronic Health, as an indivisible part of the ''eEurope 2005'' Action Plan.
Proposals made by participants during the discussion were included in the final text by the Greek Presidency.
The meeting was held in the framework of the Conference and Exhibition on Electronic Health ''eHealth'', organized by the European Commission and the Greek Presidency and due to end on Friday.
European Red Cross road safety campaign launched on 3 June
The Hellenic Red Cross on 3 June will hold a conference on the launch of a ''European Red Cross Road Safety Campaign'', to be held at the ''Errikos Dunant'' hospital in Athens.
Red Cross societies from the European Union, with the support of the European Commission and Toyota, will embark on a road safety campaign spanning 25 European countries and targeting children aged from 7 to 11, aimed at influencing the behavior of road users, especially young drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
The press conference will be attended by European Commission representative Jean Paul Rossard and program chief coordinator Uto Moehring, while Greek Minister of Education Petros Efthymiou, Transportation Christos Verelis and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni have been invited to attend.
 Alternate FM, former Cyprus president address IOBE conference in Athens
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis on Thursday spoke of the effects of the European Union's enlargement during a one-day conference organized by the Foundation of Economic and Industrial Studies (IOBE) in Athens.
He spoke of the colossal changes brought about by enlargement, which he said is not just the inclusion of ''some countries or economic data, but a challenge with multiplying effects for the European and international landscape''.
He stressed that Greece ''due to the significant improvement of its development level, will receive less funds than what it would have if it had not improved on a standard of living level in a series of regions of the country''.
Former Cyprus president George Vassiliou also addressed the conference, stressing that the effects of enlargement for Cyprus and Greece will be more positive than pessimistic circles predict.
''The importance of enlargement lies in the dynamism that it will give apart from figures,'' Vassiliou added.
 Three Greek 'Doctors of the World' to leave for Algiers to help quake sufferers
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)A group of three Greek ''Doctors of the World'' will leave for Algiers at dawn on Friday and from there they will arrive in the earthquake-stricken areas to offer help to the thousands of sufferers. They will be equipped with necessary medical and pharmaceutical supplies.
The Greek ''Doctors of the World'' appealed for money, food and pharmaceuticals to help meet the needs of the earthquake victims.
 Report on fatal truck-bus crash in Tempi released
Athens, 23/05/2003 (ANA)A highly anticipated report on a bus-truck collision in early April that cost the life of 21 high school pupils returning from a field trip on Thursday stressed that the coach carrying the students sported a faulty suspension and a de-activated tachometer.
The same (a de-activated tachometer) was true for the plywood-laden lorry that slammed into the coach in the narrow Tempi valley highway, central Greece. Worn-out tires were also found on that truck, an ingredient that played a role in the fatal collision.
According to investigators, the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control of the vehicle, allowing it to veer into the opposite lane and into the coachs side.
 President says overwhelming majority of Greek Cypriot side ready for talks
NICOSIA 23/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos declared here on Thursday ''the readiness and willingness of the overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriot side for direct and substantive negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan to find a solution in accordance with the relevant decisions and the United Nations framework.''
Addressing the opening of the 28th Cyprus International Fair, Papadopoulos said the Annan plan ''is still on the table as are the improvements we have suggested in the document I have submitted to the UN Secretary General and the amendments that have become necessary following the signing of the Accession Treaty.''
''These amendments have been proved feasible following the partial lifting of the restrictions which were imposed since the Turkish invasion in 1974 and the continuing occupation. We have not put forward any other condition or prerequisite for negotiations, after the Hague meeting,'' Papadopoulos stressed.
He assured that these basic policy positions are well known, understood and appreciated by all parties involved in the efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem.
Papadopoulos reiterated his firm objective to celebrate on May 1st 2004 the official accession of a re-united Cyprus and the expectation of the government and the people that a reunited Cyprus will face the challenges before it.
He said he expected that Greek and Turkish Cypriots will share in an equitable way the benefits and opportunities to be accrued by EU accession.
He also noted that the partial lifting of restrictions which the occupation regime itself had put in place ''does not constitute a solution of the Cyprus problem, neither do any other steps which the occupation regime and Turkey are obliged to take and may take in order to comply with international law and their international obligations.''
Papadopoulos noted it was natural that the initiative for the lifting of measures related to the occupation could only come from the occupation forces since it is they who have imposed and maintain the occupation.
''Such things, however, are not even steps towards a solution. This is so because they constitute attempts to establish relations of good neighborliness as if there were in Cyprus two separate, equal, and lawful state entities, because this is the current policy and goal of the occupation regime,'' the President of the Republic said.
He stressed that ''this policy cannot be accepted and this attempt by Mr. Denktash will not succeed. Neither in Cyprus nor internationally. It is one thing to take steps towards a viable and workable solution and another to take steps for the sake of impressions and public relations,'' Papadopoulos added.
Referring to this year's Cyprus International Fair, he noted that it is opening its gates at the historic juncture of the signing of the Accession Treaty of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union.
Papadopoulos expressed the belief and hope that in the new competitive European environment, the Republic of Cyprus will be able to play a major role in the Euro-Mediterranean Economic Partnership.
''Our aim and goal is to be a good partner and not a nuisance in the framework of the European Union,'' he noted and stressed that the State Fairs Authority can and should contribute even further to the common efforts to project the geographical, economic and technological comparative advantages of the Republic of Cyprus so as to turn Cyprus into a modern regional business center in many fields.
 Cyprus solution must be pursued on the basis of Annan plan
NICOSIA 23/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said here on Thursday the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the reunification of the island must be addressed on the basis of the Annan plan, taking into consideration what new has come up in the meantime. Addressing the opening of the 28th Cyprus International Fair, representing Greece and the Greek EU presidency, Loverdos underlined that ''Cyprus' accession to the EU marks a new historic era for the Republic of Cyprus because it projects and includes new strategic dimensions and it will bring about adjustments in its goals and orientations.''
Loverdos noted that with Cyprus' accession Cyprus and Greece become key players in shaping Euro Mediterranean policy and indispensable associates in building political dialogue with the countries of the Middle East.
Greece acts as Cyprus' route to the EU and the countries of southeastern Europe while Cyprus acts as a common channel with Greece towards the Middle East and beyond that, to markets of the Arabic world, Loverdos said.
He noted that the stable cooperation of grecocypriot enterprises, structural reforms, market liberalization and the auspicious economic environment will strengthen bilateral economic relations.