|Friday, 18 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-02
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 2, 2003
 Greece unveils plan to promote exports
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Greece's National Exports Council on Monday announced a package of measures aimed to promote exports, to draft an export strategy and to reduce bureaucracy.
The measures include the hiring of Chinese and Japanese experts by the Greek state to promote exports, securing funds from a public investments' programme to support exports and offering special incentives to exporters.
The council meeting, chaired by Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, agreed that measures to promote Greek exports should be based on three axes:
-Measures to facilitate exports such as simplier procedures to enter an exporters' register, and simplified procedures in transport and custom services.
-Promoting a business programme drafted by the Export Promotion Organi-sation, creating a communication and information distribution network, establishing export promotion offices abroad and supporting pilot program-mes.
-Promoting Greek exports to Canada and Turkey and adopting a business plan ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
 Programs and policy to dominate PM's meetings in coming week
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis met Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday morning to discuss the program for Greece's financial contribution to the reconstruction of Balkan countries, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced.
Immediately afterward, the premier met the leadership of the Union of Industry of Northern Greece (SBBE), followed by a meeting with Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and PASOK Central Committee Secretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis.
On Tuesday at 10:00, Simitis will chair a meeting of the Inner Cabinet to discuss economic policy, particularly the economic and social package.
On Wednesday at 10:00, the prime minister will meet Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis and at noon he will tour the Hymettus ring road. On Wednesday evening he is due to speak at a PASOK event to mark the 29th anniversary since the party was founded on September 3, 1974 at the Panhellenic stadium.
On Thursday morning, Simitis will chair a regular cabinet meeting focusing on the government program for the coming six months, while on Friday the premier is to meet Christodoulakis, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Haris Kastanides, Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas and Deputy Press and Media Minister Tilemahos Hytiris to discuss preparations for the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), where the prime minister makes the annual speech outlining the government's economic policy for the coming year.
At 12:30 on Friday, meanwhile, Simitis is to meet IOC Honorary President Juan Antonio Samaranch before departing for Thessaloniki and TIF at the head of a government delegation.
 Foreign Minister to visit Nicosia on September 10-11
Athens, 020/9/2003 (ANA)Foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis on Monday confirmed that Foreign Minister George Papandreou was scheduled to visit Nicosia on September 10-11.
While in Cyprus, Papandreou will meet the Cypriot political leadership and representatives of opposition parties in the occupied parts of the island republic.
Responding to questions, Beglitis referred to the persecution of teachers at a school in Rizokarpaso by the illegal Turkish-Cypriot regime, saying that this confirmed the continued intransigence of Rauf Denktash and undermines the rulings of the International Court of Human Rights.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkish occupation troops took over the northern part of the island in 1974 and set up an illegal Turkish-Cypriot regime that is recognized only by Ankara.
 ND leader claims government is copying terms used by his party
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND)) party leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday accused the government of ''pinching'' and ''copying'' the terms used by the ND.
Karamanlis, who was speaking in the district of Ampelokipoi, Thessaloniki northern Greece, called on the citizens to compose with him ''The Charter of Daily Life''.
''We want to compose together this - which as I said last April - what we name the Charter of Daily Life, to compose a charter-guide - a contract with the citizen.''
Karamanlis added that ''it is not surprising that the prime minister has attempted to pinch the terms which we are using, we are referring to the period well before the elections of 2000, for the need of real economic and social convergence.''
The ND leader further said that his party spoke early summer about Greece of 2010, the prospects of 2010, adding that ''after all this, the prime minister came along to talk about a ''Charter of real Convergence 2008,'' thus indirectly but clearly accepting that ''we are right both in our criticism and strategic planning.''
 Gov't condemns Friday's deadly bomb attack in Najaf
Athens, 020/9/2003 (ANA)The Greek government condemned the terrorist bomb attack outside a mosque in Najaf, Iraq, and expressed its condolences to the families of the victims, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday.
Replying to questions, spokesman Panos Beglitis ruled out Greece's participation in a military force in Iraq but said this did not mean that Greece would not participate in reconstruction efforts in that country.
Beglitis said that Foreign Minister George Papandreou would brief the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on the issue.
Moving on to another issue, the spokesman announced that the foreign minister was due to travel to Riva del Garda in Italy on Friday to attend the European Union Informal General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting on 5 and 6 September.
Asked about the upcoming conference of EU small and medium-sized states in Prague, Beglitis expressed opposition to ''groupings'' and said Greece would be represented at the meeting through foreign ministry general secretary Elias Plaskovitis.
Finally, Beglitis announced that the 13th round of exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey will take place in Ankara on Tuesday.
 No final decision on electoral law proposals, gov't says
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Monday said that dialogue on reforming electoral law was still continuing and that the government had not reached any decision regarding its final proposals.
Responding to questions, he stressed that the issue was "in the phase of dialogue and we are steadfastly keeping to the procedure involved, in other words listening and assessing.
 11th round of Greek-Turkish exploratory talks take place in Ankara
ISTANBUL, 02/09/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)The Turkish foreign ministry announced on Monday that the 11th round of exploratory talks for the confrontation of outstanding bilateral issues between Greece and Turkey took place in Ankara.
Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ugur Ziyial represented Turkey along with Turkish Ambassador Deniz Bulukbasi, while Greece was represented by Foreign Ministry Secretary General Anastasios Skopelitis and Prof. Argyris Fatouros.
The meetings alternate between Athens and Ankara.
 N. Greek businessmen meet with Simitis
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday received the Industrialists' Association of Northern Greece and discussed with them the development prospects for Northern Greece and their ideas on the subject.
The presidium of N. Greece's industrialists' association outlined their basic requests, which included substantial support of investments in Greece's regions via the development funds allocated by the government and regulated by law, increased funding for the Egnatia Highway and for other infrastructure projects of northern Greece, the active support of Thessaloniki's candidacy to organize EXPO 2008 on equal footing with the organizing of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and immediate promotion of all the necessary structural changes that aim at decreasing the state intervention in the economy.
Following the meeting, the association's President Dimitris Symeonidis complained that the premier's aids study the requests of his association but are not given the evaluation and urgency they merit.
"The weight of our requests is lost, when our proposals are put through filters and lead to delays or the non realization of infrastructure projects in Northern Greece," he said, also making mention of the Greek Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans.
On his part, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Haris Kastanidis stressed that there was a long and productive discussion with the association and the premier, while talks will continue with relevant ministers.
 Northern industrialists meet main opposition leader
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Northern Greek industrialists meeting with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday asked him to take action within and outside Parliament in order to redress the imbalance in economic growth between the capital and the provinces. The president of the Union of Industry of Northern Greece (SBBE) Dimitris Symeonidis said he had asked Karamanlis to make every effort to boost the competitiveness of the Greek economy, especially in northern Greece, to close the "gap" between the centre and provinces and to "support the new developmental law on a developmental basis".
In a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis earlier on Monday, meanwhile, Symeonidis said he had asked for clear-cut deadlines for the completion of projects that now lagged behind.
Speaking on behalf of ND, party official George Souflias accused the government of "giving a one-euro raise to the unemployed and pensioners from borrowed money when it had looted the public's pocket through high prices, taxation and extremely bad social benefits".
 PM discusses ''social charter'' financial ''package'' with Finance Minister
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday met with National Economy and Finance Nikos Christodoulakis and discussed the so called financial ''package'' concerning the ''social charter'' of the government.
Following the meeting the minister said that special attention will be paid to increasing employment, to measures for the benefit of small and medium businesses and in general the competitiveness of the Greek economy.
Ruling PASOK party Secretary Michalis Chrysohoidis also participate in the meeting.
''I believe that the time of harvest has come, the time of the social dividend, with policies of redistribution,'' Christodoulakis said, adding that these policies will have to promote the Greek economy's competitiveness on one hand, and on the other to be subject to fiscal stability.
He underlined that there will not be any surprises when the ''package'' will be announced, since ''in a well planned policy there are no surprises'', adding that the well planned policy is the one that responds to the problems and challenges at the same time.
 GSEE trade union group meets main opposition leader
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)A meeting between main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and the presidency of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), Greece's largest umbrella trade union organization, ended on Monday without extracting any firm commitment from ND's leader.
GSEE president Christos Polyzogopoulos said Karamanlis had heard GSEE's demands but had not promised any specific action.
The trade union group would judge the proposals of the two large parties after they made their announcements within the framework of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), he added.
Asked to comment on the social benefits package that Prime Minister Costas Simitis is expected to announce at TIF, Polyzogopoulos said that GSEE viewed this positively and sought further support for worker incomes.
GSEE vice-president and ND member Yiannis Manolis, however, noted that the ''middle-class no longer exists in our country'' and said that talk of benefits was misleading, while he accused the prime minister of making similar promises that he had failed to keep in the past.
 Parliament debate on Olympic Airlines starts Wednesday
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)The Greek parliament starts a debate on Wednesday on an amendment tabled by the Transport and Communications ministry for the creation of a new national carrier, called Olympic Airlines that will employ 1,850 staff and operate a fleet of 44 aircraft.
The government expects that the new company would be ready to begin operations in two or three months.
Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis, in a radio interview on Monday, stressed that the new company would have advantages that would make it attractive to investors. Mr. Verelis said that Olympic Airlines would be viable from the first year of operations although he did not exclude the abolition of certain loss-making flights and the start of new ones based on financial criteria.
Olympic Airways' pilots, however, are threatening with strike action, accusing the government and the national carrier's management of going back on deals with unions.
OA's chairman and chief executive, Dionysis Kalophonos, said that a strike action by pilots would be disastrous for the company and said that the national carrier was considering leasing charter aircraft to service its passengers.
 Hellas Jet to start Athens-Brussels flights
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Hellas Jet, a new Greek airline company, on Monday announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement with Belgium's SN Brussels Airlines.
Under the deal, Hellas Jet will start twice daily flights in the Athens-Brussels route.
Hellas Jet began operations in June 24, 2003 and currently operates regular flights between Athens and Brussels, Zurich, London and Paris.
 Greek stocks remain under pressure, end lower
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks ended lower on Monday with the Athens Stock Exchange unable to follow other European bourses higher.
The general index ended 0.62 percent lower at 2,196.94 points, below the 2,200 level reflecting heavy losses in blue chip stocks like Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (it ended 3.81 percent down).
All sector indices ended lower, with the Insurance, IT Solution and Food-Beverage indices suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day (6.09 percent, 5.99 percent and 4.54 percent, respectively). The Bank index recorded the smallest losses of the day (-0.46 percent).
Turnover was a moderate 166.5 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.39 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 2.36 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index plunged 4.08 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 313 to 39 with another 12 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Vovos International, Maillis, Elgeka, Piraeus Bank, and Piraeus Leasing.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover
at 180.1 mln euros Monday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers
match sellers on Monday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Closing rates of September 1 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,105 1,080
 N17 trial - first female defendant takes stand
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)The only female defendant amongst the 19 at closely watched “November 17” trial took the stand in her defense on Monday, telling judges she was not a genuine object of investigations, while attributing her arrest to vindictiveness against her companion and later husband, Dimitris Koufodinas -- the terror group’s alleged “operational chief”.
Asked repeatedly about her life with Koufodinas since their first meeting on a remote and sparsely populated isle south of Crete (Gavdos) in 1989, the 41-year-old Sotiropoulou simply reiterated that she believed her companion’s story that he lived under an assumed name after evading mandatory military service. Also, she again told the court that she knew him as “Dimitris Lambropoulos” until the time his real identity was announced by pursuing authorities.
Sotiropoulou, who married Koufodinas in jail last year while they awaited trial, testified in the rejoinder phase of current proceedings that there were things about him that "bothered her". However, she said there were “not 100 (N17) actions to make me think he disappeared (from time to time); he wasn’t away from home, he was a homebody.”
Referring to two different sets of her fingerprints found in two separate N17 safe houses in Athens, Sotiropoulou – identified in court documents as a professional beekeeper – said she didn’t know how hers were found on the door of the Damareos St. safe house, nor on a book found within the Patmos St. safe house.
In earlier responses to questions by the three-judge bench and two prosecutors, Sotiropoulou claimed police queried her only about Koufodinas following her arrest. The latter subsequently turned himself in to authorities last summer after his companion and the mother of his teenage son was already in jail.
Tuesday’s court proceedings are expected to generate even more interest, as the alleged “primus inter pares” of the once-elusive terrorist group, Alexandros Giotopoulos, will make his rejoinder.
 Annual Athens book fair to be moved to Acropolis foothills
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)The annual book fair held each year at the Pedion tou Areos park in Athens is to be moved to the foothills of the Acropolis this year due to restoration work at the park.
The 32nd Book Festival will be housed at the Dionysiou Areopagitou pedestrian road from September 12-28, while the official opening will take place on the evening of September 15 with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos officiating.
 Weak earthquake from Parnitha rift jolts western Athens
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)A weak earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale whose epicenter was in the Parnitha region jolted the western suburbs of Athens at 2:05 this afternoon.
 Prime minister to inaugurate park-way on Wednesday
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday will inaugurate a parkway connecting north central Athens metro with the Attiki Odos Highway that connects the city with the airport, cutting time travel time to the airport down to 9 minutes.
The Hemitus parkway road will be a toll way, which will be included in the existing Attiki Odos highway system.
 Ecumenical patriarch issues message on ''Day of prayer for the environment''
ISTANBUL, 02/09/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Monday issued a message on the recent forest fires that hit countries around the world.
In light of the ''Day of prayer for the environment'', Vartholomeos said that ''the climate arrhythmia and the natural disasters that result from it are due more to human action, which is taking place without thought and appreciation for the effects on nature''.
He also spoke of the murder of innocent people, noting that ''the mass execution of the innocent and unknown, for the intimidation of a community, so as to force it to submit to the just or unjust demands of the executioners, does not understand the fact that this method has been used many times in History, but never succeed in its aims''.
 Xanthi man charged with antiquities smuggling
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)A cache of ancient coins – 12 silver and one gold – landed a 74-year-old Xanthi man in jail over the weekend on antiquities smuggling charges, following a police sting operation in Athens.
The ancient coins were reportedly discovered during an illegal excavation in the Abdera archaeological site near Xanthi (Thrace province) -– the birthplace of Democritus, an excellent ancient geometer best known for his atomic theory.
 Drop in road accident deaths compared to previous year
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)There was a slight drop in the number of deaths and injuries due to road accidents in the first half of 2003 relative to the same period in 2002, according to figures released by the National Statistics Service of Greece on Monday.
It said there was a total of 734 deaths and 9,458 injuries in 7,259 road accidents over the first six months of the year. In the same period in 2002 there were 768 deaths and 10,954 injuries.
 Ethnic Greek parliamentarians continue high-level contacts
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Monday received the presidium of the world inter-parliamentary union of expatriate Greeks, which convened over the weekend in Athens.
Members of the presidium -- parliamentarians, representatives and assemblymen of Greek origin from various countries around the world -- briefed Kaklamanis on the group’s efforts for better coordination and communication among its members.
Additionally, talks revolved around preparations for the up-coming 2004 Olympic Games as well as their promotion in other national parliaments and legislatures around the world.
Deputy FM Yiannis Magriotis will receive the presidium’s members on Tuesday.
 Greek Foundation for Culture organizes two exhibitions in Ukraine
Athens, 02/09/2003 (ANA)The branch of the Greek Foundation for Culture in Ukraine is organizing an exhibition of photographs entitled ''Groups with cultural distinctiveness'' and a second one of paintings of children, entitled ''Ecological conscience. Natural environment. Fauna and Flora''.
The exhibitions are co-organized by the Friends of the Melina Mercuri Foundation and will be hosted in the Odessa exhibition galleries of the Greek Foundation for Culture branch between Sept. 7 and Oct. 6.
 Chizov meets Christofias, Hadzidemetriou
NICOSIA, 02/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)House President Demetris Christofias and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Vladimir Chizov, pledged to do whatever possible so that the reintroduction of visas for Russians will take place as efficiently as possible.
Christofias and Chizov, who met ON Monday morning, said that relations between Cyprus and the Russian Federation would continue to develop and be friendly. As far as the visa issue is concerned, said Christofias, the two sides ''continue to work in an effort to reduce as much as possible'' the negative repercussions so that exchanges will not decrease, but on the contrary will become even more.''
The House President also thanked Russia for its stance on the Cyprus problem at the UN last June.
On his part, Chizov said the two sides reviewed bilateral agreements, noting that it was ascertained that the majority of agreements do not need to be reviewed or abolished.
The Russian diplomat pointed out that ''it was neither our choice, nor Cyprus''. It is something which is directly associated with Cyprus' future regime as part of the EU.''
Chizov also said the desire of both sides is to make everything possible for the reintroduction of visas to be as painless as possible for the citizens of the Russian Federation who are visiting Cyprus and Cypriots who will travel to Russia.
He said that there is some flexibility in the acquis communautaire which we want to make use of.''
Although he said he is not anymore Russia's special representative on Cyprus, Chizov said he discussed the Cyprus problem with the President of the Republic, the Foreign Minister and Christofias.
During a meeting with Harmonization Coordinator Takis Hadzidemetriou, the two pointed out the impact which Cyprus' accession to the EU will have on Cyprus-Russian relations.
A statement said that during the meeting, which was held on Sunday before Hadzidemetriou 's departure to Romania, the two exchanged views on the new form of relations and cooperation between Russia and Cyprus.
Suggestions were made on practical measures to promote cooperation and agreed to create bilateral committees, which will monitor and solve any problems that might arise from the implementation of the acquis.
Chizov said that by November this year, a total of 27 agreements between Cyprus and Russia must be examined.
 Al-Assad assures of his country's infinite support to Cyprus causeNICOSIA(CNA/ANA)
Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad assured of his firm support to the Cyprus cause as well as his country's unlimited collaboration at international fora during a meeting in Damascus on Monday with Foreign Minister George Iacovou.
The Cypriot minister is on an official visit to Syria at the invitation of Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara.
During the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, President Al-Assad expressed delight over the visit and referred to the traditionally and close bonds of friendship between the two countries and peoples, an official statement said here Monday.
Iacovou briefed the Syrian president on the current situation on the Cyprus problem and the deadlock due to the Turkish intransigence, assuring of the commitment and readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to find a solution the soonest.
President Assad reassured of his country's Õ'' firm support to Cyprus and its fair cause, as well as its infinite help at international fora.''
Assad further congratulated Cyprus for its accession to the European Union, remarking that Cyprus has brought Europe to the Middle East and as of ''May 1st 2004 Syria will be the closest (Middle East) country to the EU''.
This, he added, will have positive repercussions in the region and will strengthen Cyprus' position on a regional and international level. Assad said Europe should continue to exhibit special interest on the region's problems.
In addition, he said he hoped that the close cooperation with Cyprus will continue and the traditional friendly relations will be further strengthened between the two countries even after May 2004.
The two men also discussed the Iraqi issue, the Middle East problem and other regional and international issues of interest.
Iacovou will hold talks with al-Shara and will also be received by Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa Miro. He will also meet Parliament chairman Mohammad Naji al-Otri and Antioch Patriarch Ignatius IV.
 Spokesman says Denktash using Famagusta as negotiating card
NICOSIA, 02/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Monday that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash always uses the fenced-off town of Famagusta as a negotiating card.
Chrysostomides said Denktash ''continues to use the town of Varosha for his own political purposes and diplomatic handlings contrary to what international norms and UN Security Council decisions state.''
The spokesman noted that ''the high level agreement of 1979 had repeated the commitment for the town of Famagusta to be handed over to the UN for the purpose of its legitimate inhabitants reestablishing themselves there.''
''Resolution 550 reiterates the same, while resolution 789, with a reference to 550, says that the area, under UNFICYP control, must be expanded to include Famagusta for the implementation of resolution 550.'' he added.
 Government making representations over expulsion of teachers
NICOSIA, 02/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)The government is taking all necessary measures through the UN to oblige the occupation regime comply with the obligations of the Third Vienna Agreement and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in connection with the education of enclaved children in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus.
Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said here Monday the occupation regime ''continues to violate obligations deriving from the Third Vienna Agreement which notes the right to education without problems, for the enclaved children in Karpass.''
He also said Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash ''is also violating the decision of the ECHR in the 4th Interstate Application of Cyprus versus which said Turkey violated the right to education' in Karpass.
Asked if the government intends to take measures to secure that the Karpass students will begin school as normal next week, the spokesman said, ''surely, the government is taking all necessary measures through the UN, through contacts with UNFICYP, to oblige the occupation regime comply with its obligations deriving from the Third Vienna Convention and the ECHR decisions.''
''The representations will continue and I hope that at the end we will secure the right to education for the children of Karpass,'' he added.
Chrysostomides said that the government has submitted a list with new names of teachers willing to teach at Rizokarpaso and is expecting the occupation regime to reply.
The Spokesman also confirmed that members of the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber who had crossed to Rizokarpaso over the weekend to survey the damage to houses belonging to the enclaved were expelled by the Denktash regime.
The occupation regime expelled two Greek Cypriot teachers who had crossed to Rizokarpasso over the weekend to prepare the school for the new year.
On May 10 2001 the European Court found Turkey guilty of human rights violations, on 14 counts, of the Convention relating to the right to life, liberty and security, prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment, the right to respect for private and family life, protection of property and right to peaceful enjoyment of their property and the right to an effective remedy.
The Court also said Turkey violated rights relating to freedom of thought and expression, right to education and the right to a fair trial.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.
 EuroMP calls on Straw and Verheuen to put pressure on Denktash
NICOSIA, 02/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)British Conservative Member of the European Parliament Theresa Villiers has written to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and European Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen, urging them to put pressure on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to reopen Rizokarpaso High School in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.
In a statement, Villiers says she intends ''to raise this issue in the European Parliament'' and notes that it is ''shameful that children are being manipulated'' by being forced to attend school in the government-controlled areas of the Republic.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Villiers said ''in the light of Mr. Denktash's intransigence, I have written to both Jack Straw and Gunter Verheugen, calling on them to do all they can to see Rizokarpaso High School reopened as soon as possible'.''
''Mr. Denktash's refusal to reopen the school, without any reasons given, forces children living in the occupied areas to attend high schools in the free areas. This leads to the break up of families and is an attempt by Mr. Denktash to force those in the occupied areas to leave their homes and villages,'' Villiers adds.
She furthermore says that ''the right to education is a humanitarian issue and it is a disgrace that Mr. Denktash puts dogma before the educational interests of these children''.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 UNFICYP trying to get results in school issue
NICOSIA, 02/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is making efforts to bring about satisfactory results in the issue of the Rizokarpaso school in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic, Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Chief of Mission Zbigniew Wlosowicz said on Monday.
Wlosowicz was speaking after a meeting with Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sotos Zackheos, who said that the school must reopen, adding that the new Director for the Cyprus Problem at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Markoulli has spoken with the Italian presidency of the EU regarding this matter.
''We are in touch with the authorities in the north and we are trying to pay good offices. We hope we will manage to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion,'' Wlosowicz said, adding that UNFICYP is in ''constant touch'' with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this issue.
Asked about the intentions of the religious leadership in the Turkish occupied areas to repair hotels in the fenced-off town of Famagusta and operate them, Wlosowicz said ''that piece of information has not come to my office yet but as soon as it does we will look into it.''
Zackheos said he invited Wlosowicz to the Ministry after instructions from the President to discuss the issue of the fenced-off area of Famagusta and that of the Rizokarpaso school.
Regarding Famagusta, Zackheos said ''we consider Turkey responsible and along with the representations made in Nicosia, representations must be made in New York to the Turkish permanent delegation'' to the UN.
Referring to the Rizokarpaso school, Zackheos said it must reopen immediately and ''not have another illegality added to the other illegalities.''
Zackheos said Markoulli, ''again acting on the President's instructions, spoke with the Italian presidency of the EU'' about this issue.
Markoulli said that the president's instructions were to have contacts with the US Ambassador in Nicosia as well, but because the Embassy was closed on Monday due to a holiday, the representations will be made on Tuesday.