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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-05-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

May 27, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Athens, Nicosia call for 'European solution within UN framework' for Cyprus
  • [02] Greek and Turkish FMs agree on confidence-building measures
  • [03] ''Road map'' a window of opportunity that should not be missed, FM says
  • [04] Gov't denies reports of Greek-Turkish deal for bilateral issues, Cyprus
  • [05] DM outlines steps required for upgrading EU defense industry
  • [06] DM on opinion polls, European defense industry
  • [07] EU DMs hold minute of silence for Spanish peacekeepers killed in plane crash
  • [08] German military chief due in Athens
  • [09] Chilean Parliament president meets PM, FM, Parliament president and ND leader
  • [10] Canadian premier to arrive in Athens for bilateral meetings with the EU
  • [11] Gov't denies red alert over 'Islamist terrorism'
  • [12] Turkish jets to continue infringing on Athens' FIR, Turkish chief of staff says
  • [13] Garganas denies he recommended lowering wages to boost competitiveness
  • [14] EU Agriculture Council: Drys says Greece may block CAP reform
  • [15] Labor minister meets with Synaspismos leader
  • [16] Development minister addresses exporters of northern Greece
  • [17] KKE leader criticizes gov't's labor policy, proposes pension at 55
  • [18] Labor minister, IKA governor announce measures to improve IKA services
  • [19] Greek trade deficit up 14.9 pct in Jan-Feb
  • [20] Greece participates in int'l conference tourism fair
  • [21] Greek stocks end Monday's session lower
  • [22] Witnesses recognize defendants as frequenting N17 safehouses
  • [23] Trial for Ocalan's illegal entry into Greece resumes in Athens
  • [24] Skandalidis, Kinnock meet acceding states on hiring EU civil servants
  • [25] Modern Greek painting exhibition held in Istanbul

  • [01] Athens, Nicosia call for 'European solution within UN framework' for Cyprus

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek and Cypriot governments want a European solution for the Cyprus problem within the framework of the United Nations, Greek Prime Minister and current European Council President Costas Simitis said on Monday after talks with visiting Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos in Athens.

    Simitis said his three-hour meeting with Papadopoulos had focused on two main issues: European issues and the agenda of the Thessaloniki EU Summit in June and the ongoing effort to achieve a solution to the Cyprus issue and to coordinate the actions of Athens and Nicosia in foreign policy terms.

    ''We both believe that measures on the Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot side for the partial facilitation of movement by Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots [between the occupied north and free south of the island] are not aimed at a solution of the Cyprus issue but seek to create impressions and disorient public opinion, alleviate pressures on the Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot side and ultimately, the recognition of the pseudo-state,'' Simitis stressed.

    According to the Greek premier, these moves were also a way of taking the Cyprus issue out of a UN framework and gradually 'de-internationalizing' it.

    He once again reiterated that Greece and Cyprus were adamant on the need for a Cyprus solution within a UN framework and were seeking a repetition of talks based on the Cyprus peace plan presented by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the last UN resolution after the collapse of talks at The Hague.

    ''We want a just, viable and functional solution that is compatible with the body of EU laws and regulations and EU principles,'' Simitis said.

    He noted that the Athens and Nicosia governments looked to Cyprus' EU accession to act as a catalyst for a solution.

    At the same time, the Greek premier ruled out any initiatives to re-launch the talks by the Cyprus government, noting that this would be counterproductive unless there were a change of stance from the Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot side, since it could lead to a 'degeneration' of the UN plan.

    ''The talks must begin when the conditions for our success are right,'' he told reporters.

    He said a series of measures announced by Cypriot government for Turkish-Cypriots, as well as the measures that will soon be announced by the European Commission, sought to bring the Turkish-Cypriot community closer to the EU.

    Asked if there would be specific actions to change Turkey's stance before May 2004, when Cyprus becomes a full member of the EU, Simitis said there would have to be changes to the texts that had been prepared and that various dates prior to that deadline would have to be taken into account in the preparations.

    He stressed that Athens would simply state its opinions, while final decisions would be made in Nicosia and he also noted the closer ties that Cyprus would henceforth have with the EU, particularly EU Commissioner for enlargement Guenter Verheugen.

    Asked about the controversy over whether sections of the Annan plan conformed to the body of EU rules and regulations, Simitis said that the issue was now under discussion. He said the European Commission considered the plan to broadly conform to EU requirements while the Greek side believed it needed improvement on some points.

    With regard to Turkey's stance in general, Simitis stressed that Ankara needed to show signs of its intentions well in advance if it was interested in its European course.

    ''They can't just turn around and say 'we'll think about what to do' two days before the European Summit in December 2004,'' he underlined.

    One such issue on which Turkey needed to quickly conform was the free access by Cyprus-flagged ships to Turkish ports, he said.

    At the same time, both Simitis and Papadopoulos played down the significance of airspace violations by the Turkish side, saying that this was nothing new and would not be allowed to affect their efforts and policies.

    In his statements to reporters, the president of Cyprus referred to the long-standing arguments of the Turkish-Cypriot side against reunification and abolishing the dividing line on the island. He noted that the Cypriot people had themselves debunked the arguments presented over the years by Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash - namely that a collapse of the 'green line' dividing the island would lead to incidents of the type seen in Bosnia or Kosovo.

    Visiting Cyprus president Papadopoulos confers with Greek counterpart: Visiting Cyprus president Tasos Papadopoulos on Monday conferred with his Greek counterpart, Kostis Stephanopoulos, on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue.

    Papadopoulos, who arrived in Athens on Sunday for a working visit at the invitation of Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, had a half-hour meeting with President Stephanopoulos before his talks with Simitis.

    [02] Greek and Turkish FMs agree on confidence-building measures

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul agreed on Monday to the taking of three low-policy confidence-building measures.

    The two foreign ministers held their meeting in Hersonisos on the island of Crete where the Euro-Mediterranean meeting is taking place.

    Papandreou announced that what was agreed was the mutual exchange of visits by officers of the armed forces' three branches, mutual visits by students of the armed forces' academies and the establishment of telematic medicine offices between two military hospitals of the two countries.

    The foreign minister said the issue of national airspace violations by Turkish warplanes was also discussed and it was agreed that the issue be examined by the two foreign ministries' political directors.

    Papandreou raised the issue of minority religious foundations with his Turkish counterpart, while Gul briefed him on the latest developments.

    It was agreed that the issue will be settled by the heads of the foreign ministries' relevant departments at a meeting to be held in early June.

    [03] ''Road map'' a window of opportunity that should not be missed, FM says

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday said that the acceptance of the 'road map' was a window of opportunity for peace in the Middle East that should not be missed.

    Speaking at the inaugural session of the Euro-Mediterranean conference in Crete, Papandreou stressed that the ''road map'' was a product of the common effort of the international community aiming to create two states, Israel and Palestine, that will live in peace and security one next to the other by the end of 2005.

    He stressed that the ''road map'' provides the opportunity and aids the process with specific steps, adding ''I understand the possible caution or even the suspicion of many, since this is not the first effort. Hopes were created in the past without final result''.

    ''It is now important to move on without delay in implementing the 'road map' with decisiveness ... and political will. This means that we should leave aside the differences and the divisions and to work for a comprehensive peace in the region,'' Papandreou said.

    Papandreou also stressed that Europe's development can only be completed with the establishment of unbreakable bonds with the Mediterranean countries through the securing of values, such as peace, security and human rights.

    He stressed that the next step to be taken is that of bilateral association agreements between the EU and the countries of the Mediterranean, the establishment and the successful implementation of the MEDA program, among other measures.

    He concluded by congratulating Turkey for its victory in the Eurovision song contest and the award it received at the Cannes Film Festival, over the weekend.

    Israeli FM says road map a historic opportunity

    Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, speaking during a press conference in Hersonisos in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean conference, said on Monday the road map is a historic opportunity to close the cycle of blood in the region.

    Shalom also accused Syria of harboring and training terrorists and added that he did not know whether his Syrian counterpart would receive him.

    ''Syria does not desire negotiations. It is harboring terrorists. They have training camps for terrorists on their territory, while facilities are provided for terrorists from Damascus airport,'' he said.

    Shalom reiterated that ''we accepted the road map despite difficulties."

    Statements to the press: Papandreou, who is chairing a Euro-Mediterranean foreign ministers meeting which opened here on Monday afternoon, said upon his arrival at Iraklion airport that one of the meeting’s major targets was to create the conditions for a strong Euro-Mediterranean partnership, especially following the Iraq war and the new Road Map for the Middle East.

    He added that the Road Map “is a great help in getting the peace process off the ground, a process which would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2005. The conference is a major chance to sum up whatever we have achieved so far and review new challenges.”

    Referring to the European Union, Papandreou, who currently presides over the EU General Affairs Council, underlined that the Union was currently in continued contact with the remaining members of the ‘quartet’ (Russia, US, United Nations) and was ready to undertake any role it would be required to, and keenly support the ME Road Map.

    With regard to the Palestinian issue, he noted that there is an in principle agreement between the two parties – Israel and the Palestinian Authority, in spite of both parties’ reservations.

    “We have not reached the point to have achieved a comprehensive settlement ... we need clear steps to arrive at the desirable point,” Papandreou said.

    Earlier in Athens, responding to a question concerning Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul with whom he met on Monday evening, Papandreou said that in all multilateral meetings ''we always have the opportunity to discuss our bilateral relations''.

    ''As you know there is a process for the measures of good neighborliness, which are discussed on the level of political directors,'' Papandreou said in response to a question on whether an agreement on confidence building measures would be signed.

    ''I know that during their recent meetings the political directors had discussed some measures. If they are ready and I believe that they will be discussed today on the level of political directors, there is a chance, either now or in our next meeting, that we will sign certain measures, which will not be of a military nature''.

    He concluded that the measures are of two categories, saying that one includes confidence building measures discussed via the representatives in NATO and the other includes good neighborliness measures which are not of a military nature and concern the cross border cooperation and aid the decrease of tensions between the two countries.

    [04] Gov't denies reports of Greek-Turkish deal for bilateral issues, Cyprus

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Monday denied press reports that Greece and Turkey were working on a 'package deal' to settle Greek-Turkish differences and the Cyprus issue.

    Greece desired and was promoting a solution to the Cyprus problem and such a solution might assist in dealing with other problems that might possibly exist.

    He also stressed that a solution of the Cyprus issue would necessarily have to precede such a prospect.

    The spokesman appeared pessimistic about the possibility of such a solution, however, noting that the stance of the Turkish side did not create the conditions that promoted a solution.

    [05] DM outlines steps required for upgrading EU defense industry

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, in addressing an event on European prospects and the reinforcement of European defense in Athens on Monday, outlined the steps required so that the structural and technological upgrading of the EU's defense industry could proceed.

    Papantoniou, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, said that boosting competitiveness required cooperation for long-term planning of the operational needs in armament sectors of strategic importance, as well as freeing the European defense industries from state control.

    National boundaries had to be abolished with respect to the European defense industry, he said, stressing that nationalistic perceptions of the small national industries would have to be overcome.

    Papantoniou further reminded that the EU trade union movements endorsed efforts for reinforcing the European industrial base through acquisitions and mergers of enterprises.

    [06] DM on opinion polls, European defense industry

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    National defense minister Yannos Papantoniou on Monday conceded that recent opinion polls appearing in the press indicated a "crisis of confidence" in the ruling party and the government, which needed to be recovered.

    Commenting on the recent opinion polls and statements by the central bank governor on unemployment, he said that the government must recover the people's confidence by putting forward the work it has accomplished and setting out a course for the next four years.

    This, he added, should be the central theme of Tuesday's meeting of the PASOK central committee, so that the climate could be reversed in a short time.

    Papantoniou, a former national economy and finance minister, made the statements in reply to press questions after addressing an event on European prospects and the strengthening of European defense and security policy organized by the national defense ministry.

    In his address to the event, Papantoniou outlined the steps required so that the structural and technological upgrading of the EU's defense industry could proceed.

    He said that boosting competitiveness required cooperation for long-term planning of the operational needs in armament sectors of strategic importance, as well as freeing the European defense industries from state control.

    National boundaries needed to be abolished with respect to the European defense industry, he said, stressing that nationalistic perceptions of the small national industries needed to be overcome.

    Papantoniou further reminded that the EU trade union movements endorsed the efforts for reinforcing the European industrial base through acquisitions and mergers of enterprises.

    [07] EU DMs hold minute of silence for Spanish peacekeepers killed in plane crash

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    European Union defense ministers meeting in Athens on Monday held a minute of silence in memory of 62 Spanish peacekeepers returning from duty in Afghanistan whose plane crashed while attempting a refueling stopover in Turkey earlier in the day.

    The EU council of defense ministers observed a minute of silence at the opening of a meeting on ''European prospects for the strengthening of European defense and security policy'', organized in Athens by the Greek ministry of national defense, as the current chair of the council.

    A Ukrainian Yak-42 plane carrying the 62 Spanish soldiers and 12 crew members crashed in thick fog and low visibility early Monday in northwestern Turkey near the Black sea city of Trabzon, killing everyone on board.

    The plane, the final destination of which was the Spanish city of Zaragoza, crashed into a foggy hillside near the small town of Macka, some 35 from Trabzon airport, during its third attempt to land at the airport, where it was scheduled to make a second refueling stop after a first refueling in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.

    The soldiers, part of Spain's 120-strong contingent to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan, which is responsible for helping maintain security in the Afghan capital.

    The Yak-42 had been chartered by the Spanish defense ministry to bring home the 62 peacekeepers, who had completed their mission with ISAF.

    ND leader expresses condolences to Aznar for death of Spanish soldiers: Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday sent a telegram to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar expressing his condolences over the tragic death of the Spanish soldiers in the airplane accident near Trabizon, Turkey.

    The men were part of the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, and were on their way back to their base, but their airplane crushed as it was attempting to land for refueling.

    [08] German military chief due in Athens

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    The chief of Germany's national defense general staff, General Wolfgang Schneiderhan, was due in Athens on Monday for a three-day official visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Gen. George Antonakopoulos.

    According to a Greek national defense general staff (GEETHA) announcement, Gen. Schneiderhan was scheduled to meet with the Hellenic Armed Forces' military and civilian leadership to discuss matters of mutual military interest.

    On Wednesday, the German chief of staff was due to attend the final stage of the SARISA-2003 exercise.

    [09] Chilean Parliament president meets PM, FM, Parliament president and ND leader

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Chilean Parliament President Isabel Allende held consecutive meetings in Athens on Monday with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis and ruling PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis.

    In all discussions held reference was made to bilateral relations between Greece and Chile, while the considerable role played by her father Salvador Allende in Chile's struggles for democracy was also stressed.

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and Allende, who visited him at the head of a Parliamentary delegation, discussed the further strengthening of the already very good relations between Greece and Chile, cooperation between the Parliaments both through their Friendship Groups and international organizations, and the international situation.

    Kaklamanis underlined the parallel paths crossed by the two peoples through difficult struggles and sacrifices for freedom, democracy and progress.

    He also referred to the international situation, terming its present picture ''gloomy'', and to prospects for the ideals of freedom, peace and human rights ''which inspire the Greek and Chilean people and the peoples of the entire world.''

    Allende expressed the warm sentiments of herself and the Chilean people towards the Greek people ''on whose support and solidarity we have always relied on in very difficult moments.''

    She was thankful for the Greek Parliament's support for her country's Association Agreement with the European Union and invited Kaklamanis to visit Santiago, who accepted the invitation.

    Allende also visited Laliotis at the party's head office, accompanied by a Parliamentary delegation.

    Also present were Foreign Policy and International Relations Secretary Paraskevas Avgerinos and PASOK Deputy Foivos Ioannidis.

    [10] Canadian premier to arrive in Athens for bilateral meetings with the EU

    MONTREAL 27/05/2003 (ANA I. Frangouli)

    Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien will visit Greece on Wednesday and Thursday for the Canada-European Union summit to discuss issues related to genetically modified products, as well as the efforts to achieve a free trade agreement between Canada and the EU.

    On Wednesday Chretien will meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, European Commission President Romano Prodi and President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, while he will be hosted to a dinner with the representatives of the European Union.

    On Thursday he will meet with main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni. Chretien will conclude his visit hosting a dinner for Greek and the Canadian businessmen that will arrive in Athens with him.

    [11] Gov't denies red alert over 'Islamist terrorism'

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Monday denied that Greek authorities had declared a state of emergency and high alert, stressing that Greece was one of the safest countries in the world, as proved by its track record of successes against terrorism.

    He was responding to a report in the 'Sunday Vima' which said that Islamist terrorism was the number one threat to Olympic Games security.

    [12] Turkish jets to continue infringing on Athens' FIR, Turkish chief of staff says

    ANKARA 27/05/2003 (ANA - A. Abatzis)

    Turkish fighter jets will continue to fly in the Athens Flight Information Region without submitting relevant flight plans, Turkish Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkiok said on Monday.

    The Athens FIR was set by international organizations and concerns all flight control over a region. Over the past years Turkish fighter jets have been infringing on the Athens FIR. Greek airspace is limited to the islands 10 miles off them, as well as the mainland.

    Ozkiok also spoke of flights in international airspace and also made mention of what he called '' provocation'' on the part of Greece and questioned the 10 mile airspace zone off the Greek coast line of the mainland and islands.

    ''Greece, over the past few days, began consciously to attract the international interest, following the Cyprus issue, on the Aegean ... It is an old disagreement their habit to consider the border with Turkey and the islands to be the region we call flight information region,'' Ozkiok said.

    [13] Garganas denies he recommended lowering wages to boost competitiveness

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece's governor Nikolaos Garganas on Monday categorically dismissed talk that he was recommending to the government to lower wages in an effort to boost the country's competitiveness.

    ''I have never recommended lowering wages. I have never supported that a solution to unemployment was to lower wages. My position, and that of the Bank of Greece, which was repeatedly stressed, is that to achieve a gradual convergence of domestic inflation with the Eurozone's average rate the rise in nominal incomes should be equal to the rise in productivity,'' the Greek central banker said in a statement.

    Mr Garganas noted that the bank's ''clear positions'' were included in its reports on monetary policy submitted to the Greek parliament and the cabinet in November 2002 and March 2003, respectively, and in its recent report to the bank's general shareholders' meeting (April 2003).

    Gov't distances itself from statements by Bank of Greece governor on salaries: The government has distanced itself from statements by Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas who, in an interview with a newspaper on Saturday, had expressed support for a decrease in the increase rate of working people's salaries.

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Monday ''the logics of the necessary building of competitiveness in salary cutbacks and the deregulation of labor rights are distant and outside the logic of the government.''

    The spokesman also called on the main opposition New Democracy party to reply whether it endorses views voiced by economic circles and the federation of Greek industries on salary cutbacks for working people and the deregulation of the labor market.

    [14] EU Agriculture Council: Drys says Greece may block CAP reform

    BRUSSELS 27/05/2003 (ANA – M. Kourmousis)

    Un unexpected statement that may ‘block’ the ratification process of the European Union’s reform of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) marked the opening of the final stage of tripartite deliberations, during the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers held here on Monday.

    Greece’s Agriculture Minister George Drys, who chairs the meeting, asked the European Commission to issue a bounding statement that “there would be sufficient funds to support Mediterranean products,” in line with a relevant Council decision.

    During the deliberation stage, Greece also raised again the issue relating to milk production quota, with Drys saying that now that CAP is on the table, milk production quotas should be rationalized.

    He added that Greece regarded it unthinkable that some member-states with an equal population to others to have a three times higher quota in milk production.

    Drys also made it clear to the Commission that Greece, unless its demands were accepted, will not vote for the new CAP.

    The tripartite deliberations are held between the president of Council of Ministers, in this case Drys, Agriculture and Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler and the farming minister of each EU member-state. This means that Drys would meet for discussions with all 15 ministers. Meetings with the farming ministers form the ten EU acceding countries would be held on Tuesday.

    Discussions are held on the basis of a questionnaire prepared by the EU Presidency (currently Greece), containing eight questions on policy matters.

    The Commission’s opinion is expected to be issued early June, and the Greek EU presidency would then prepare the final recommendation to be tabled for approval at the Agriculture Ministers Council on June 11-12.

    Earlier in the day, the Council reviewed issues relating to genetically modified organisms and their co-existence with conventional farming.

    Fischler presented the conclusions of a scientific conference of April 24, in which a primary statement was “those genetically modified organisms are granted license and may be cultivated in Europe, would be safe.” This means that taking special measures is out of question.

    The Commissioner added that a Commission text containing the specific directives-directions would be issued in the coming months, perhaps in July.

    Some northern member-states, e.g. Holland, are in favor of the free and unrestricted use of genetically altered products, while some southern, e.g. Greece, demand strict rules in granting farming license to such products.

    Another issue examined regarded the allocation of fishing in the so-called ‘western waters’, on which Ireland and Spain are at loggerheads. However, Drys said he expected that a compromise solution would be found at the June Council.

    [15] Labor minister meets with Synaspismos leader

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas on Monday met with Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos and discussed the recent bankruptcies of companies and the concurrent loss of jobs.

    Reppas stated to the press that he briefed the Synaspismos leader and his delegation on the initiatives the government is undertaking to support the workers of businesses in crisis, for the preparations of the new growth legislation and the regulations for the participation of the society of citizens in the dialogue on labor relations.

    Constantopoulos, on his part, said that the policy of the government does not ''develop the economy nor does it protect society,'' saying that recent statements by the governor of the Bank of Greece herald a social nightmare, if the current policy is followed.

    [16] Development minister addresses exporters of northern Greece

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Monday evening addressed the General Assembly of the Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece, noting that the strengthening of Greece's foreign trade constituted a priority for the government.

    He said that at the next meeting of the National Council for Competitiveness and Development, the main issue under discussion will be the growth of foreign trade.

    Citing Eurostat data, he expressed the conviction that in 2004 and 2005 there will be an increase in Greek exports.

    [17] KKE leader criticizes gov't's labor policy, proposes pension at 55

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Aleka Papariga on Monday criticized the government for hiring thousands of people in the public sector and related sectors in light of the next elections, stressing that such hiring would not solve the problem.

    Papariga, during a press conference in Athens, also presented a series of proposals for the confrontation of the problem of unemployment in Greece.

    The KKE leader underlined that the government is preparing to hire some 90.000 people, of which some 50.000 will be hired in the public sector with short-term contracts, while the rest 40.000 will be hired in businesses that will accept relevant subsidies from the government.

    Papariga proposed that the unemployed should receive 80 per cent of the basic entry salary of workers for the duration of their unemployment, while men should retire at the age of 55 and women at the age of 50.

    [18] Labor minister, IKA governor announce measures to improve IKA services

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas and Social Security Foundation (IKA) Governor Miltiades Nektarios on Monday announced a series of measures to simplify the processes and to upgrade the services of the foundation to the insured.

    The basic aim of the measures is to minimize the waiting period a client has to wait to actually see a doctor, to simplify the paperwork for reimbursement of medical expenses, to simplify the process of prescriptions being filled and a series of measures to facilitate the access to services for special categories of patients with chronic disabling illnesses.

    [19] Greek trade deficit up 14.9 pct in Jan-Feb

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Greek imports rose 12.8 percent to total 5.370 billion euros in the January-February period from 4.760 billion euros in the same period last year, official figures showed on Monday.

    The value of imports-arrivals (excluding oil products) rose by 573 million euros, or 14.7 percent over the same period, while the value exports-deliveries totalled 1.921 billion euros in January-February, from 1.759 billion euros last year, an increase of 9.2 percent.

    The value of exports-deliveries (excluding oil products) rose by 70.7 million euros, or 4.4 percent over the same period.

    Greece's trade balance showed a deficit of 3.448 billion euros in the first two months of 2003, from 3.001 billion euros last year, an increase of 14.9 percent.

    Excluding oil products, the trade deficit widened by 502.4 million euros, or 22 percent, over the same period in 2002.

    [20] Greece participates in int'l conference tourism fair

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Greece successfully participated in this year's International Conference Tourism Fair (EIBTM), organized by Reed Exhibitions in Geneva, Switzerland, Greece's National Tourism Organization said on Monday.

    GNTO said the country's pavilion attracted a satisfactory number of visitors after cooperation with the organizers of EIBTM.

    The Greek tourism authority in cooperation with the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee presented the country's preparations for organizing the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and conference tourism prospects in Greece.

    [21] Greek stocks end Monday's session lower

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended Monday's session mixed to lower reflecting lack of fresh incentives and directions from the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended 0.09 percent down at 1,689.33 points, with turnover a low 86.8 million euros.

    The Insurance, Textile and Construction sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.50 percent, 2.36 percent and 1.44 percent, respectively), while the Investment, IT Solution and Telecommunications sectors scored the biggest gains (2.96 percent, 1.11 percent and 0.68 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.16 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.74 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 1.55 percent and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index ended 0.41 percent off.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 240 to 86 with another 35 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Trade at discount Monday

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: -0.16 percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: -0.74 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (199)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 52.7

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outpace sellers on Monday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 3.82 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 14 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 1.35 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-year, expiring May 2013 (295 mln euros)

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of May 26 2003

    Parities in euro

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,190 1,163

    [22] Witnesses recognize defendants as frequenting N17 safehouses

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    Three of the defendants in the ongoing trial of 19 suspected ''November 17'' terrorists were recognized during testimony on Monday by residents of the two apartment buildings in Pangrati and Patissia where the terror group had rented two safehouses found by police.

    In another part of the proceedings, meanwhile, eye-witness Dimitra Kapsalaki denied that Dimitris Koufodinas was the man who shot her husband, surgeon Zacharias Kapsalakis, in 1987.

    According to Bethlehem Kalfoglou, a resident of the apartment building in Damareos Street in Pangrati, she had seen the owner of the apartment with Savvas Xiros on the day it was leased.

    She also testified to hearing an unusual amount of activity in the apartment on the night of July 1, 2002 - following the explosion in Piraeus in which Savvas Xiros was injured in a premature bomb blast - saying she had heard someone unlocking and locking the front door about 10-15 times on the same night.

    Apartment owner Petros Vrahatis said the apartment had been leased by Dionysis Georgiadis, who had rented it under the name Vassilis Papadimitriou. The witness told the court that Georgiadis had not negotiated the rent or asked to see the apartment but signed the lease agreement immediately.

    Georgiadis admitted to closing the deal according to instructions from Savvas Xiros but denied signing the lease.

    When told that the previous witness had seen him with Xiros, Vrahatis said that he had met a number of potential tenants and could not remember if Xiros was among them.

    Xiros claimed to have spoken with Vrahatis over the phone prior to sending Georgiadis and to have seen him both during negotiations for the lease and later to arrange repairs for plumbing problems in the apartment.

    The alleged leader of the terror group, Alexandros Giotopoulos, was identified by the manager of the Patmos Street apartment building, Roza Kofina, where police found the second of the group's safehouses.

    The witness said she had seen Giotopoulos visit the apartment with Savvas Xiros and two other people seven years before.

    She described him as a well-dressed gentleman with light-colored eyes and hair that was not as white as the defendant's hair was now. She said the building maintenance dues were paid by Savvas Xiros, who had introduced himself as Grigoris Xiros.

    Xiros denied Kofina's claim that she had seen Giotopoulos entering the apartment, saying it was impossible due to the organization’s tactics and ''various other reasons''.

    In her testimony to the court, Dimitra Kapsalaki said Koufodinas had been with the man who had shot surgeon Zacharias Kapsalakis in the legs in 1987, while stressing that he had not been the shooter. She also told the court that she did not believe the two men intended to kill her husband, who passed away in 1995.

    Facing charges for the specific shooting are Koufodinas, Patroklos Tselentis and Vassilis Tzortzatos, while Tselentis has admitted to being the driver in the attempt against the doctor. He said he did not see anything related to the hit because he had been waiting outside in the car.

    Earlier on Monday, the court also heard testimony from eye-witnesses to various other attacks attributed to N17, such as the Ergasias Bank robbery in Peristeri and a number of bomb attacks, but none of them could positively identify any of the defendants as the perpetrators.

    At the end of Monday's session, presiding judge Mihalis Margaritis said he would begin to hear testimony from defense witnesses as well as any more prosecution witnesses that appeared in court, starting with 10 defense witnesses called by the prosecution, so as not to waste time in the procedure. The defense has called another 300 witnesses.

    [23] Trial for Ocalan's illegal entry into Greece resumes in Athens

    Athens, 27/05/2003 (ANA)

    The trial of 13 people accused of illegally smuggling rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan into Greece some four years ago resumed in Athens on Monday after a break of more than four months.

    Among the accused is retired Navy captain Antonis Naxakis and two of Ocalan's associates, Yakar Chedkiz and Kaya Aifer, who are charged with compromising the country's international peaceful relations.

    The former leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who is now being held in Turkish jails, was smuggled into Greece in January 1999 without the knowledge of the Greek government while fleeing capture by Turkish authorities. He was eventually caught in Kenya, where he had taken sanctuary in the Greek Embassy.

    Ocalan also faces charges of illegally entering Greece in the Athens trial, while another nine people have been charged with assisting Naxakis bring him into the country.

    These are: author Voula Damianakou and her daughter Eleni Vasilopoulou, airline pilot Zisis Bechlivanidis, state airport public relations chief Stefanos Evangelatos and airport employee Evangelos Stergiopoulos, Aegean Airlines representative Antonis Simigdalas and Aegean Airlines employee Georgios Mavros, police officer Dimitris Karagiorgis and a police officer detached to the National Intelligence Service, Georgios Magginas.

    Apart from Ocalan, his two Kurdish associates were also absent at the start of the trial, which was adjourned so that their defense counsel could contact their clients, since the court is demanding that they be present in person.

    Monday's court session was chiefly taken up by reading out the charges against the defendants, while the court has refused a defense request to allow TV crews in the courtroom.

    [24] Skandalidis, Kinnock meet acceding states on hiring EU civil servants

    BRUSSELS 27/05/2003 (ANA – A. Simatos)

    Ministers and senior officials from the ten EU acceding countries met here on Monday with European Commission Vice-President Neil Kinnock in a day-long conference on administrative reform and the measures being put in place to recruit new European Union civil servants from acceding states.

    It was the first ever conference involving the ministries responsible for public administration from the Enlargement countries with the Commission and it provided an excellent opportunity to sound out opinions on the staff recruitment process and to build on the established dialogue between the Commission and the governments involved.

    Together with Greek Minister of Interior and Public Administration Costas Scandalides, representing the current EU Presidency, Kinnock was also able to inform his colleagues of the most recent developments in the Commission's ongoing radical modernization program.

    According to Kinnock, last year the Commission concluded that it will require 3,900 additional staff from acceding countries by the end of a seven-year transition period. Some 200 have already been recruited to non-permanent posts designed to prepare the ground for enlargement.

    Recruitment targets have been set for each country according to population size, the weighting of votes in Council and the number of seats each country has in the European Parliament.

    Skandalidis described the criteria for hiring of staff into EU administration positions from the ten acceding nations as proper, realistic and to the right direction.

    [25] Modern Greek painting exhibition held in Istanbul

    ISTANBUL 27/05/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Tens of representatives from the Greek community as well as intellectuals from Istanbul have already visited the exhibition ''Classical Memories in Modern Greek Art'' which is being held within the framework of the Greek European Union Presidency under the auspices of the Culture Ministry and in cooperation of Greece's general consulate in Istanbul with the National Gallery-Museum ''Alexandros Soutsos''.

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos inaugurated the exhibition which for the first time transfers to Turkey the most important representatives of modern Greek art.

    The exhibition, comprised of 70 paintings, will be open to the public until June 26.


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