|Saturday, 19 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-05-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>May 26, 2003
 FM promotes west Balkan states' EU prospects
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou reiterated Athens position of accelerating western Balkan countries EU prospects, during a speech on Saturday at the World Economic Forums South-East Europe Meeting, which was held in Athens over the weekend.
The conference comes during the culminating weeks of the Greek EU Presidency, an event that has brought together several heads of state and government as well as numerous foreign investors, regional business leaders and key ministers and opinion-makers. The message that we will try and send to the European Council in Thessaloniki is that were ready to overcome historical differences and establish the rule of law, conversely, the European Union commits itself to substantive economic and political support so that the countries of the western Balkans become EU member states, he said.
Asked about Athens relations with Turkey and the Cyprus issue, Papandreou referred to a new dynamic that allows for a decrease in tensions, and shows the way for different solutions, one of which could be the International Court at The Hague.
In answer to a question about a latest flurry of violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warplanes over the past few days, the Greek FM noted that the Greek side is taking all the necessary actions, while also saying the issue will be tabled at the ongoing Greek-Turkish dialogue.
Finally, commenting on the latest developments in the Middle East peace process, Papandreou said the "ice has broken, although problems remain."
Several important steps towards implementing the road map for a solution to the Middle East problem were taken, although dialogue with the United States not concluded, he said.
National Bank of Greece Chairman and Governor Theodoros Karatzas and Soros Fund Management Chairman George Soros co-chaired the conference.
 Simitis discusses EU issues with Slovenian leadership
LJUBLJANA , 26/05/2003 (ANA)Issues dealing with the latest EU expansion, and especially the situation in the western Balkans, dominated Prime Minister Costas Simitis talks here with his Slovenian counterpart Anton Rop, part of the Greek premiers ongoing tour of European capitals in his capacity as the EU president-in-office and prior to next months summit in Thessaloniki.
When the Iraq crisis was at the center of attention and discussions, the Union had forgot about Kosovo; that there continues to be a fragile situation in the former Yugoslavia, but after the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic they remembered that something must be done with the western Balkans.''
Simitis added that issues dealing with the western Balkans development (more funding for energy and transport networks, etc.), harmonization with the Unions acquis communautaire and even strategies to combat organized crime will be discussed in Thessaloniki.
On his part, Rop said he believes the Union's common security and defense policy should be strengthened, something Ljubljana supports.
"However, we want whatever changes taken in this direction to be supplementary vis-a-vis NATO's role," he stressed.
 Karamanlis lashes out at gov't over unemployment, economy
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis sharply criticized the government over the weekend, focusing particularly on unemployment and the economy, this time during a visit on the small, picturesque eastern Aegean island of Astypalea. Karamanlis emphasized that the governments economic policy is leading the country into a dead-end, while referring to phenomena of decay that drowns every healthy investment its clear that those governing have compromised with views that do not fit with Greeks unsettled spirit. Practices that perpetuate misery and mediocrity have been rewarded. Theyve surrendered the state to corruption he charged.
Finally, Karamanlis repeated a slogan hes used more and more over the recent period, noting that an immediate priority for a new government by New Democracys is the re-establishment of the state.
In response, the government spokesman countered that Karamanlis is resorting again to his practice of tirades, division and bipartisanship, because thats the way he thinks he can influence opinion polls underway at this time. The spokesman, Christos Protopapas, was speaking from Thessaloniki.
 Latest poll shows ND lead
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)Two latest opinion polls in as many Athens dailies were published on Sunday, with one listing a continuing lead by the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party over ruling PASOK and the other focusing on preferences by PASOK voters.
ND leads PASOK by almost 10 percentage points, according to reports, with 39.6 percent of respondents saying they prefer the main opposition to 29.8 percent for the ruling party. Some 4.7 percent of respondents chose the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), 2.6 percent the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos), 2 percent picked the out-of-Parliament DHKKI party and 1.8 percent favored the recently created LA.OS. Group. Another 17.4 percent of respondents declined to answer.
In the poll, conducted by the firm Rass and published in the Sunday edition of Kathimerini, ND leader Costas Karamanlis garnered 33.5 percent of respondents preferences on the question of who is better suited to be prime minister. Premier Costas Simitis was preferred by 32.8 percent of respondents.
In another poll published by the Sunday edition of Eleftherotypia, meanwhile, 55.9 percent of respondents said they do not want a change in PASOKs leadership, as opposed to 33.8 percent in support of the opposite.
The poll was conducted by the V-PRC firm between May 21-23.
Some 40.7 percent of respondents called on PM Costas Simitis to change policy on several crucial sectors.
Fighting unemployment, checking inflation and easing cost-of-living hikes as well as the health sector dominated respondents concerns.
 FM at event in honor of Isabel Allende
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou will attend a breakfast on Monday morning organized by the Andreas Papandreou Foundation, named after his late father, in honor of visiting Chilean Parliament President Isabel Allende. The event will be held at the Zappeion Hall in downtown Athens.
 ATHOC office opens in Volos, central Greece
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)The first of four official Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) offices in as many Olympic cities outside of Athens was inaugurated on Saturday in the central Greek port-city of Volos, which will host the soccer preliminaries during the Games.
Volos, along with Thessaloniki, Patras and Irakleio on Crete will host the 2004 soccer preliminaries, while the semi-finals and final will be held in Athens.
ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki was on hand for the offices opening, as were local government representatives.
 Gov't rejects central bank gov.'s call for tight wage policy
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)The government again distanced itself from the latest proposals by Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas to lower wages in order to combat inflation and unemployment, with Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas saying the proposals do not match up with government policy.
Reppas added that the government also rejected calls by international organizations, aired from time to time, also advising cuts in Greek wage scales in order to fight unemployment. The minister noted that wages in the east Mediterranean country remain below the EU average.
In published comments in an Athens daily on Saturday, Garganas called for a tight policy on wages and price hikes so the countrys growth rate remains unaffected while joblessness is cut.
The central bank governor also stressed that wage and price hikes were inter-related factors, of decisive significance for the inflation rate.
 Unified EU audio-visual policy discussed at informal ministers' council
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)Culture ministers from 25 European Union member-states and acceding-states gathered in Thessaloniki over the weekend for an informal summit meeting here, only weeks before the EU summit takes place in a Thessaloniki-area resort.
Expectedly, the issue of Europes unified policies vis-a-vis the United States prolific and lucrative audio-visual production dominated the session.
In a press conference after the informal summits conclusion, EU Commissioner Viviane Reding stressed to reporters that we do not want to become the United States of Europe ... we will retain our cultural diversity, we do not want to become a melting pot, our roots are our advantage.
Asked about Greeces standing request for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens from the British Museum, Reding, the EU Commissioner responsible for education and culture, said: This is a bilateral issue.
However, she also referred to the EUs position over the close relationship and cooperation between museums of the 25 European countries.
On his part, Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who hosted the event held under the Greek EU presidencys auspices, reiterated that the EU supports UNESCOs initiatives, while also recognizes the international agencys role on the international stage. Among others, he cited the need for a multilateral agreement for the protection and promotion of the worlds cultural diversity.
In fact, Reding and Venizelos are due to meet with UNESCO UNESCO Director-General Kochiro Matsuura in a few days to discuss the issue. Various cultural events coincided with the informal culture ministers summit, including a performance of an ancient comedy, performances by various dance and music troupes as well as tours of Byzantine-era cathedrals were on the agenda.
 20th 'N17' suspect freed by magistrate, investigation continues
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)The 20th November 17 terrorist group suspect, arrested only this past week, was unconditionally freed by local appellate level magistrate on Saturday following a brief arraignment, where he again denied charges of involvement with the lethal urban terror band.
Costas Avramidis, 42, was arrested by police this week based on a fingerprint detected on a book seized in one of two N17 safe houses in Athens as well as testimony by one of the 19 N17 suspects currently on trial, Sotiris Kondylis.
According to reports, meanwhile, Kondylis reportedly said he knows the man but that he is not a member of the ultra-leftist terrorist group, and after being shown a photograph of Avramidis -- alternately identified as a civil engineer by training or as an artist. November 1 has claimed responsibility for more than two dozen assassinations as well numerous bomb and rocket attacks since 1975.
In his statements, Avramidis claimed he was being persecuted for his beliefs and political activity. Among others, he freely admits to being an active member of a local group struggling against what it calls state terrorism and oppression.
 Illegal migrants intercepted on Samos
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)A total of 15 illegal immigrants, 12 Somalis and three Iranian nationals, were intercepted on the eastern Aegean island of Samos on Saturday, according to reports.
The three Iranians reportedly made it across the narrow strait separating the Greek isle from the nearby Asia Minor coast by swimming, whereas an unidentified migrant smuggler landed the Somalis before fleeing back to Turkish territory. All of the illegals are due to face a local magistrate.
Meanwhile, authorities reported that a Turkish coast guard patrol boat picked up 11 illegal immigrants stranded aboard a small boat midway between the Asia Minor shores and the Dodecanese island of Rhodes, in the SE Aegean. The Turkish side was notified by Greek authorities of the incident.
 Archaeologist honored for efforts to preserve Cyprus' cultural heritage
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)Visiting Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos bestowed the island republics highest medal of valor to archaeologist Maria Anagnostopoulou for work in rescuing Cyprus cultural heritage, during a ceremony on Sunday evening in the Old Parliament Building in downtown Athens.
The medal was received by Anagnostopoulous daughter, as her mother was unable to attend due to illness.
 AHEPA symposium concludes in Athens
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)Hellenisms role in the world amid ongoing globalization based on the Olympic ideals was the focus of an American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) symposium in Athens over the weekend, held at the Old Parliament Building, where the theme of Hellenism and Universality also dominated most speakers comments.
Several speakers addressed delegates at the conference, including noted Greek-American scientists Aris Patrinos, Dimitris Nanopoulos and Stamatis Krimizis.
 Future of Euro-cinema discussed in Thessaloniki
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)Some of Europes most notable film directors, Wim Wenders, Krzysztof Zanussi, Dusan Makavejev, Agnieszka Holland and Theo Angelopoulos, among others, gathered in Thessaloniki over the weekend on the sidelines of an informal EU culture ministers council to discuss, what else, the future of European cinema amid Hollywoods dominance.
Makavejev, best known for his 1981 Montenegro film, noted that if the European (film) production wants to find its share of the European market then it must find room for humor...
European cinema tells the tales of the losers, but the public prefers the winners, Polish director Andrei Waida said in a videotaped message.
Award-winning Wenders, the current president of the European Film Academy, added that we must consciously and unconsciously settle in our new home Europe.
The theme of the directors' conference was entitled ''The future of cinema and the audio-visual sector in the wake of the Union's expansion''
 Olympiakos takes 7th straight championship title
Athens, 26/05/2003 (ANA)Olympiakos Piraeus won its seventh straight Greek first division championship on Sunday by easily defeating Xanthi 5-1 away in the last game of the 2002-2003 season, tying (70 points) with perennial arch-rival Panathinaikos Athens but taking the title with a better head-to-head record.
Both clubs qualified for direct Champions League play next season.
Third place went to AEK Athens, which finished the season with a blazing 12-game winning streak -- including a 1-2 victory over Olympiakos on the latters home pitch -- and only two points behind its rivals. AEKs management woes throughout the whole season were apparently a major obstacle to the club taking the title, while Panathinaikos suffered a devastating 3-0 loss to Olympiakos during the previous week of play, a defeat that more-or-less erased its championship hopes. As consolation, AEK will play a qualifying match for Champions League play in late August.
On Sunday, Panathinaikos outlasted indifferent Akratitos Athens 3-1 during a home game played on the island of Rhodes, as the former was banished from its home pitch for fan hooliganism.
AEK, also banished from its home field, downed tough Panionios Athens 4-2 after falling behind 0-2 in the first half hour. Panionios had already qualified for UEFA Cup play.
 No EU initiative to substitute UN effortsLARNACA 26/05/2003 (ANA) (CNA/ANA)
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said here on Sunday that despite its vivid interest in a solution to the Cyprus problem the European Union will not assume any role that would substitute the UN initiative.
President Papadopoulos flew to Athens for talks on Monday with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who is the current EU President. He will also meet Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos.
Speaking at Larnaca Airport, President Papadopoulos also referred to the US concern for Cyprus, ''which has always been great''.
He said Foreign Minister Georgios Iacovou's forthcoming meeting with his US counterpart Colin Powell in Washington had been arranged after a Cyprus request. Papadopoulos also referred to a trip to Cyprus by US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston.
Asked on a delay noted in a European Commission's interim report concerning Cyprus' harmonization with the acquis communautaire, President Papadopoulos said according to an action plan that was set during his meetings with Cyprus' Chief Negotiator with the EU Takis Hadjidemetriou Cyprus would maintain its leading position in efforts to complete harmonization.
Asked to comment on reports that one of the reasons of his visit to Athens is a more active involvement by the EU on the Cyprus issue, he said the EU position is clear: ''Even though the EU has a vivid interest in developments in Cyprus it will not undertake any role that would substitute the UN initiatives.''
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
 FM makes representations about occupation regime's ''black list''
NICOSIA 26/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus Foreign Minister Georgios Iacovou protested on Sunday to the United Nations over a ''black list'' that the illegal regime in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkish troops has prepared.
The ''black list'' includes a number of Greek Cypriots that the occupation regime does not allow entry into the occupied territory.
The minister had a communication Sunday morning with Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Chief of Mission Zbigniew Wlosowicz to whom he protested against the Denktash regime's provocative act.
The occupation regime on Saturday refused entrance into the occupied part of Cyprus to Greek Cypriot Andreas Pieri, who has been a resident in Britain since 1948, saying that his name is included in the ''black list''.
In another incident, a Turkish Cypriot, who lives in the free areas of the Republic, was beaten up at the check point by the regime's so- called police and was not allowed to enter the occupied areas.
Iacovou raised the problems created by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's ''black list'' on the basis of which the occupation regime acts in an arbitrary manner.
After explaining to Wlosowicz that such attitude far from constituting a step conducive to freedom of movement, proves the true intensions of the occupation regime, the foreign minister asked the United Nations to take appropriate action.
Iacovou is currently in Athens, accompanying President Tassos Papadopoulos, who will hold talks on Monday with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
 Anastassiades reelected DISY's president
NICOSIA26/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)Nicos Anastassiades was reelected here on Sunday night President of the Democratic Rally party, securing 55.05 percent of the vote over former foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who got 44.95 percent.
Anastassiades secured 9,928 votes and Kasoulides 8,108.