|Saturday, 19 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-08-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 19, 2003
 PM confident Athens will be ready, safe for the 2004 Olympics
Athens, 18/09/2003 (ANA)A day after Athens 2004 organizers (ATHOC) confidently proclaimed the successful conclusion of three Olympic “test events” over the weekend, Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday appeared satisfied over progress with Olympic preparations, stressing that Greece will be ready for the Games.
Accompanied by Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and a pair of ministers whose portfolios include several important 2004-related projects -- Culture Minister Eleftherios Venizelos and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou -- the premier toured the Agios Kosmas Olympic Sailing Centre (off the coast where the sailing competition will be held) as well as the Faliron Coastal Zone Olympic Complex, which includes several under-construction venues that will host beach volleyball, the handball preliminaries and Taekwondo.
''The projects are on schedule and they will be ready on time. Greece will be ready and safe during the Olympic Games”, the premier told reporters following his tour.
He also emphasized the positive and tangible impact of both projects on the adjacent coastal areas – long left unexploited -- as well as on the quality of life for Athens residents.
Referring to the “test events” that began earlier in the month at the Schinias Rowing and Canoeing Centre, and which were plagued by high winds for the first two days of the junior rowing world championships, Simitis said the purpose of the trials was to identify flaws and make corrections.
''We are not under the illusion that everything is perfect, on the contrary. But this is exactly why we want to proceed according to plan and with decisiveness. We want everyone involved to act responsibly. We are not going to allow anyone to behave irresponsibly,” he stressed.
ATHOC: On her part, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said the purpose of the Olympic “test events” was to test venues, systems, procedures and the staff, so that everything can be up and working during the actual Olympic Games.
''We are now correcting problems that arise and we are monitoring progress with the events’ organization. We are going to be ready next year, there is no doubt about that'', she stressed.
The ATHOC chief also reiterated that organizers would make their assessments after the completion of the test events.
Four competitions were completed without any glitches last week at Olympic venues in and around Athens – archery, canoe/kayak, equestrian events and cycling.
Venizelos: Asked to comment on recent foreign press articles concerning the all-important security dimension at the upcoming Games, Venizelos merely cited what he called “ulterior motives”.
''I am afraid that all these (reports) are often associated with very specific, open issues regarding commissions related to the procurement of supplies, equipment and other contracts related to security'', he said, adding:
''Greece is a European country, with a European awareness of the issue of international terrorism, while participating in all international organizations and mechanisms for security in the world.''
''We have the readiness and ability to confront all issues in collaboration with other countries and their services. Greece invests a large amount of money on security issues. We do not want any danger-mongering from anyone, and we do not want any indirect pressure from anyone,” he concluded.
ND reaction: Meanwhile, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party MP Fani Palli-Petralia charged that the "government must finally understand that the Olympic Games are not a game of (media) communications, but a very serious national effort, one that necessitates coordination, hard work, and especially, restrictions on the waste of money and time, of which the latter has narrowed dangerously."
Finally, 28 ND deputies on Monday addressed a letter to the chairman of the Parliament's cultural affairs committee requesting bi-monthly briefings by the culture minister, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni over progress in Olympic preparations.
They asked that all three officials are ''called as soon as possible to brief the committee''.
The main opposition deputies also said an agreement should be forged regarding ''principles and procedures aimed at the equal participation by all political forces in this national effort (Olympic Games)...”
 IOC Oswald satisfied with Olympic preparations
Athens, 18/09/2003 (ANA)Denis Oswald, who heads the International Olympic Commit-tee's (IOC) Coordination Commission for the Games, told premier Simitis on Monday he was pleased with the progress of preparation for the Athens 2004 Games, during a one-and-half-hour meeting they had, attended also by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.
Speaking on the rather hot and popular 'security issue', Oswald noted there should be no concern about safety of the Athens 2004 Games, while commenting on certain reports appearing in the foreign press and bringing up the specific issue, he underlined that all the cities which have organized the Games have faced similar critique some months before the Games started.
With regard to progress of Games-related projects underway in the Greek capital, Oswald's concerns centered solely on parts of works at the Olympic Stadium (OAKA), the Karaiskaki Soccer Grounds in coastal Faliro area and the Athens Tram project.
In statements after the end of the meeting, Oswald said: ''I am overall happy with the Olympic Games preparation. With regard to security, it remains first priority, but there should be no concern as everyone works hard on that issue.''
For his part, Venizelos commented that the meeting with Oswald was the ''most pleasant one of all such meetings we have had so far. Oswald's assessment is positive. Some minor problems would be dealt with through cooperation''.
 Protopapas on Athens Games security
Athens, 18/09/2003 (ANA)Government spokesman and Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas on Monday expressed the certainty that Greece would host the best and safest Olympic Games ever.
He was responding to a question by the press regarding a report in the British daily Guardian, which cast doubt on the safety of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
''We all know that there are many Games- and security-associated interests, and because of these interests such reports may appear in the press from time to time,'' Protopapas said, noting that ''such interests are serving some people.''
The spokesman reminded that the Athens 2004 Games' security system planning was an operation carried out with the participation of seven countries, a fact that was view as of ''high importance''.
He added that the safety of the Athens Games was guaranteed by the government's hard work.
 ND presses gov't for immediate relief to quake-stricken Lefkada
Athens, 18/09/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday said his party would pressure the government to immediately send relief measures it announced following a strong earthquake that rattled the island of Lefkada last week.
Speaking from the Ionian island, the ND leader said Lefkada remained a safe tourist destination.
An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale shook the island on Thursday, causing damages in roadways and buildings, mainly in the western and northern parts, but no fatalities.
 Gov't: 128 FYROM citizens entered Greece under temporary visit provision
Athens, 18/09/2003 (ANA)The government on Monday said a total of 128 citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have taken advantage of a recent measure allowing visits into the country by individuals considered by Athens as political refugees mostly emanating from the Greek civil war (1946-49).
Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said 116 such individuals had crossed into Greece from the Niki border post to date, with another 12 entering from the Evzoni post since the measure came into effect on Aug. 10. Loverdos added that of the group, 53 had already returned to FYROM, the land-locked former Yugoslav republic to Greece’s immediate north.
“This is more proof that everything proceeded as we expected, without surprises, without the problems foreseen by those who are guided by prejudice and their extremist positions,” he said.
Athens cited “humanitarian reasons” for the decision to allow the temporary visits.
The measure involves political refugees excluded under a 1982 law. The visit permits are good for 20 days, while the provision will last until Oct. 30, 2003.
Greece has requested that visitors taking advantage of the measure use new FYROM travel documents, namely, newly issued passports as well as necessary entry visas. The foreign ministry will review the measure after its conclusion in order to decide whether it is repeated.
 Economic policy to focus on development, employment, Christodoulakis says
Athens, 18/09/2003 (ANA)The government's economic policy in the coming months would focus primarily on development and employment, National Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Monday after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
The meeting was also attended by Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis and Labor and Social Security Minister Dimitris Reppas.
Christodoulakis added that the economic policy would also place emphasis on social cohesion and speeding up denationalization procedures and structural reforms.
According to the minister, the agenda of Monday's meeting with premier Simitis included issues pertaining to future of the ailing national air carrier Olympic Airways and the Skaramanga Shipyards.
Similar meetings of the government's economic staff are expected to be held by the end of the month to lay down the basic guidelines of the economic policy to be followed by the government in the coming months.
 Bourse closes at highest levels of 03
Athens, 18/09/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks closed at its highest level of the year on Monday as the Athens Stock Exchange's general index was up 2.41 percent to end at 2,243.67 points. Turnover totalled a robust 175.3 million euros.
All sector indices ended higher with Holdings and Constructions scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day (4.14 and 4.12 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 2.28 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 3.16 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 3.85 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 312 to 30 with another 28 issues unchanged.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 90.43 mln euros Monday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Monday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.69 bln euros
Closing rates of August 18 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,127 1,102
 Suspect ID'd as Faliraki assailant ordered jailed pending trial
Athens, 18/09/2003 (ANA)Authorities on the holiday island of Rhodes on Monday ordered the continued incarceration of a 21-year-old British man charged with manslaughter following a nightclub brawl last week that left a teenage holiday-maker bleeding to death.
Peter-Mark Navarro was remanded in custody after he was arraigned before a local judicial magistrate on the popular Dodecanese Island. According to police, he confessed to slashing 17-year-old Paddy Doran’s neck with a broken beer bottle during an alcohol-fuelled melee between two groups of young British tourists at the raucous Faliraki resort. Authorities had also announced last week that he had first been identified as the assailant by three of the men in custody.
Doran, from Peterborough, central England, was with a group of friends identified as British citizens originally from Northern Ireland.
According to reports, the brawl began after a minor altercation inside a local disco club.
Conversely, another five suspects, mostly in their early 20s, were freed after paying a 4,000-euro bail. They were charged with “direct complicity” in the homicide.
Two men, M. Brain, 25, and Tomas Delagny, 27, were freed after no evidence tying them to the incident was presented.
All of the men were arraigned over the past 24 hours following their arrests in the aftermath of the incident last week, which caused heightened media coverage – mainly by British news outlets and papers – to fall on Faliraki and other such holiday “enclaves” around the Mediterranean favored by young British tourists in search of low-priced “sun and suds”.
 Archbishop Christodoulos arrives in Poland for official visit
Athens, 18/09/2003 (ANA)Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos arrived in Poland on Sunday afternoon for an official visit to the Orthodox Church of Poland, which will last until Friday.
Christodoulos was welcomed at Warsaw airport by Metropolitan Savvas of Warsaw and a number of other clergymen.
Addressing Christodoulos, Metropolitan Savvas said the visit was signifying a greater tightening of ties of brotherhood existing among the Greek and Polish churches.
For his part Archbishop Christodoulos pointed to the ''unbreakable ties'' between the Polish and Greek people, which as he said were developed since the 19th century.
''Polish people are internationally known for their diligence, productiveness and honesty, and these gifts have been witnessed by the Greek people in Polish immigrants living in Greece,'' Christodoulos said.
 FM Iacovou: Developments depend on 'Turkish Cypriot elections'
NICOSIA 18/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)Foreign Minister George Iacovou said on Monday that his foreign interlocutors keep reiterating to him the belief that things will continue to be difficult as long as Rauf Denktash remains the representative of the Turkish Cypriot side at the Cyprus talks.
''All of them are referring to the period after the 'Turkish Cypriot elections' this coming December,'' Iacovou said, adding that ''the diplomatic representatives of almost all countries believe that the parties which support Denktash will lose the so-called elections.''
Asked about the content of a letter sent to him by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Iacovou refrained from commenting but recalled that when he met the Secretary of State earlier this year in Washington Powell had reiterated US interest in a Cyprus settlement before May 1st 2004, so that a united Cyprus can join the EU.
The foreign minister said that Powell had also told him that the US is convinced that the Cyprus government wants a solution and is eager to cooperate to that end.
''And this for me is very very important indeed,'' Iacovou added.
Replying to questions, Iacovou said that various countries keep reiterating that ''while Denktash is the interlocutor at the peace talks, things are difficult and everybody refers to the 'post-election' period.''
Iacovou noted that if the so-called ''opposition'' in Turkish occupied Cyprus wins the ''elections'' then another interlocutor is expected to replace Denktash.
Diplomatic representatives of almost all countries believe that the parties which support Denktash will lose the ''elections'', the minister said.
 Russian Ambassador: Solution to Cyprus problem long overdue
NICOSIA 18/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)Russia believes that the solution of the Cyprus problem is long overdue and eventually justice will prevail and the island will be reunited according to UN resolutions.
"The Cypriot people know very well our principled position on the Cyprus problem. We consider the solution of the problem long overdue, the country is too small to be divided and we hope very much that eventually justice will prevail and the country will become united in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions" and all other resolutions adopted in the past 29 years, Russia's Ambassador in Nicosia Vladimir Pavlinov said on Monday.
He was speaking to the press after accepting a resolution by the Mayor of occupied Morphou municipality, condemning the Turkish invasion and occupation of the island's northern third.
Asked if Russia will start a new initiative along with the US and the EU, Pavlinov said "we have been playing an active role since the beginning. We were active in discussing the problem and trying to push through the restart or the continuation of the negotiations for 29 years and we still have our special representative for Cyprus which other countries do not have."
Pavlinov said the non-solution of the problem "does not bring stability to this part of the world, the eastern Mediterranean and it will be for the benefit of all here, not only for Cypriots, both Greek and Turks, but also for Greece and Turkey."
Asked if he has information that the US will start a new initiative for a Cyprus solution before 1st May 2004 when Cyprus joins the EU, Pavlinov said he did not have any such information.
"I only know that the UN Secretary General is ready or will be ready to start his good offices provided that all sides show genuine will to solve the problem on the basis of his plan," the Russian Ambassador added.
Referring to a peace proposal on a comprehensive settlement put forward by Annan, he said that ''the plan can be a good foundation for restarting negotiations. Negotiations can restart on the basis of the Anan plan whatever improvements" are made.
Pavlinov also said he will communicate the Morphou Municipality resolution to Moscow.