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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

September 4, 2003


  • [01] Prime minister certain of PASOK's victory in the next electioctions
  • [02] Social measures will not affect 2003 budget, gov't says
  • [03] Opposition raps government's social package as election ploy
  • [04] Gov't: Dialogue on proposed election law reform after TIF
  • [05] ND leader says ruling PASOK opts for perceptions and mentalities of the past
  • [06] Minister outlines progress in Greek plan for Balkan reconstruction
  • [07] Finance Ministry officials urge need for new five-year growth plan
  • [08] Greek ports need to accelerate restructuring projects
  • [09] Greek tourism organization to host international sector conference
  • [10] Athens daily loses civil suit, ordered to pay 315,000 euros
  • [11] Greek car market welcomes government measures
  • [12] Stock Market
  • [13] PM inaugurates new Hymettus west district avenue
  • [14] Civil protection agency warns of higher fire risk in Aegean on Thursday
  • [15] Giscard d' Estaing presents EU constitution draft to Europarliament
  • [16] Greece theme country at Berlin international literature festival
  • [17] Theva Metropolitan concludes visit to Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • [18] 8th International Comics Festival to begin in Athens on Thursday
  • [19] US envoy meets EU officials to discuss Cyprus
  • [20] FM Iacovou: UN resolutions highlight position on Famagusta
  • [21] 6th World Congress of WFUCA to be held in Cyprus
  • [22] Cyprus agrees with EU on nuclear disarmament

  • [01] Prime minister certain of PASOK's victory in the next electioctions

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    Prime Minister and PASOK President Costas Simitis on Wednesday said that he was certain that his party would have its mandate renewed in the next elections, which will take place, the latest, in Spring 2004.

    Speaking to a large audience, in light of the PASOK's 29th anniversary celebrations in a sports stadium in Athens, Simitis welcomed those that attended, whether new or old members, stressing that their presence sent a ''message of victory for the grand democratic and progressive party''.

    Simitis underlined that the people will once again support the ruling party so as to ''move on with a new national pride toward the country's modernization, to lead Greece to the same level with the rest of the European countries, to create a stronger society, to promote our big national issues, to conquer higher levels of social justice''.

    He added that pursuing these aims is PASOK's choice of victory, ''in a critical fight, which will seal all that we achieved and all that is at stake ... main opposition (New Democracy party) can not cut short the course of Greece to the future ... New Democracy can not govern Greece.''

    Simitis also said that ND ''offers only slander, lies and empty slogans ... the response will be given by the Greek people''.

    PASOK's President recounted the party's history and spoke of late prime minister and party founder Andreas Papandreou, noting that ''his presence always is keeping us company and inspires us''.

    He spoke of PASOK's political roots, saying ''we feel honored and strong, from our belonging to the great party of the democratic Left, the socialist Left ... which without moving from its strategic targets, without losing its unity, with model democratic processes renewed itself and provided new responses to new problems''.

    Simitis criticized ND for saying that ''it did not aim to discriminate people and divide them to those of the right and left'', and said, ''these discriminations, which were a shame for the country, were whipped out by PASOK, many years ago''.

    ''Greece of today can not be compared to the Greece of 1980 and that of 1993, but that is not enough for us,'' he noted, adding that ''conditions demand the highest of attention,'' that Greece must go forward at the same rate as in the past and with even higher rates during the next four year government term.

    He underlined that this can be achieved only with the implementation of the ''Convergence Charter'', which will be presented over the next few days and its implementation will secure ''a future of certainty, security and prospects for all''.

    The premier said that top priorities were the convergence with the rest of the European Union on all levels, the resolution of the Cyprus issue, the settlement of the continental shelf issue of the Aegean with Turkey on the basis of the Helsinki resolutions, the negotiations for the future of Europe and the organizing of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games also featured prominently in the agenda.

    Simitis was introduced to the event by PASOK party Secretary Michalis Chrysohoidis who stressed that the premier holds the steering wheel of the party in his hands, adding that he ''leads us to the future with vision and a plan, with credibility and responsibility, he leads us to the fourth consecutive election victory, which will be a victory of all Greeks''.

    Chrysohoidis lauded the founding members of PASOK, who along with Andreas Papandreou transformed it to a popular movement, adding that they can be proud, since they turned vision into reality and they were leading players in the founding of the democratic and independent Greece.

    KKE responds to Simitis' speech at PASOK's anniversary event: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Wednesday issued a press release responding to Prime Minister Costas Simitis' address to ruling PASOK party's 29th anniversary since its founding.

    ''The speech of the premier for the 29 years since PASOK's founding, confirmed that PASOK not only implements the policy of the 'right', but that it can also use its pre-dictatorship terminology,'' the press release said.

    It added that since the premier, in the past, made use of the British inspired Cold War term ''iron curtain'', now in his speech at this event he spoke of ''autocratic pro-soviet left''.

    ''We must remind him and his government, even though they know it, that KKE was present for 85 years and is present in every fight for peace and for the people's rights, giving its blood whenever necessary,'' the press release concluded.

    [02] Social measures will not affect 2003 budget, gov't says

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    The 2003 budget will only be slightly affected by the package of social and economic measures announced by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and remain on track, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Wednesday in response to questions.

    Noting that only two of the measures announced will be implemented before the end of 2003, Protopapas said the next budget for 2004 will take the added expenditure for the measures into account.

    Answering critics that expressed doubt about whether the measures would be implemented at all, Protopapas underlined that "with a sense of responsibility we state our commitment that all these will be put into action".

    [03] Opposition raps government's social package as election ploy

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Wednesday criticized a new government package of social measures as a pre-election ploy to win votes.

    ''No one objects to assistance for financially weaker classes,'' said George Alogoskoufis, ND's economy spokesman.

    ''What the country needs, however, is a focused economic and social policy to strike a balance between the need for rapid economic growth, a rise in employment, and support for those who are really in need,'' Alogoskoufis said in a statement.

    He charged that the government was offering handouts ahead of national elections.

    Mitsotakis: Gov't social package 'politically irresponsible'; gov't reaction: Former premier Constantine Mitsotakis, the honorary president of main opposition New Democracy, was scathing about the measures announced the previous day by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in his ''social package'', describing them as ''acts of criminal political irresponsibility''.

    ''New Democracy leader Costas] Karamanlis is right to ask for immediate elections. For this irresponsible government - which sacrifices everything in a desperate attempt to cling to power - to remain for a few months longer is not only nationally damaging but nationally dangerous,'' Mitsotakis said.

    The former premier accused the government of offering handouts with borrowed money and further increasing public debt. He also accused Simitis of dealing a heavy blow to the already struggling Greek economy with his Tuesday statement that ''the time of harvest is here''.

    According to Mitsotakis, this was a challenge to other categories of Greeks with just demands to militantly press for their satisfaction.

    Responding to the attacks from ND, meanwhile, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said the main opposition was following a ''weathercock policy'' and said that its members where issuing conflicting statements in an ''unprecedented display of confusion and panic''.

    Replying to Mitsotakis' claim that the government was cultivating a climate that encouraged demands for further benefits, Protopapas said the former premier was ''obviously stressing to Mr. Karamanlis that he must not blindly adopt the demands of just anyone''.

    ''Yesterday's package of economic and social policy matches the capacity of our economy, while the demands of other social groups will be dealt with sensitively but based on the true capabilities of the economy,'' the spokesman concluded.

    Laliotis: gov't social measures 'a start' but warns against arrogance: The measures announced in the government's social package were ''a start'' but had to be followed through, former PASOK secretary Costas Laliotis said on Wednesday, while he echoed other members of the party in saying that they should have been implemented sooner.

    While slamming main opposition New Democracy for ''contradictory policy'', however, he also warned against arrogance by 'certain members of the government' with respect to the benefits package.

    ''I say this because some are guilty of brashness and I have to point out that the 30 euros given are no more than 10 thousand drachmas a month or 300 drachmas a day.''

    PASOK deputies say they are happy over measures unveiled by PM: Ruling PASOK deputies attending the traditional dinner hosted by Foreign Minister George Papandreou to mark the conclusion of the Parliament's summer session on Tuesday said they were happy over the contents of the ''social package'' unveiled by Prime Minister Costas Simitis. They noted, however, that gradual implementation of the measures could have started earlier.

    They said that emphasis should be now placed on the implementation of the measures, which they reckoned would take some time, therefore placing the parliamentary elections at some time not earlier than March.

    With discussion turning to foreign policy issues, the minister briefed his dinner guests on issues topping the foreign ministry agenda, namely the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations, the situation in Iraq and the Balkans.

    Papandreou informed them that bilateral contacts between Greece and Turkey were continuing in a good climate, but said that discussions on the Aegean continental shelf had not produced any results so far.

    He said that Greece was acting with regard to these issues on the basis of the decisions made at the EU Helsinki summit in 1999, which called for rapprochement and the settlement of Greek-Turkish bilateral issues by the end of 2004, before they were taken before the International Court of Justice in The Hague for arbitration.

    [04] Gov't: Dialogue on proposed election law reform after TIF

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    The government intends to present its proposal for reforms to the election law to the parties after the upcoming Thessaloniki International Fair in September and convene a cross-party committee to review alternative scenarios and conduct dialogue on the issue, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis said on Wednesday.

    Skandalidis, who had just concluded a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, said that the country's institutional reorganization, as well as the course of local government and regional reorganization had also been discussed at the meeting.

    Moreover, the interior minister dismissed strong criticism by the leadership of main opposition New Democracy (ND) over the package of measures unveiled by the prime minister the previous day.

    He said the government would exhaust its four-year term and carry out its policies, which he stressed would be judged on the basis of their benefits for the people and not on the way it was viewed by ND's leadership.

    Simitis on Tuesday unveiled a ''social package'' of measures and benefits, worth 1.7 billion euros, targeting lower-income Greek families, farmers and small-and medium-sized enterprises.

    [05] ND leader says ruling PASOK opts for perceptions and mentalities of the past

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis said on Wednesday night that ''the ruling group (PASOK) has inaugurated the election period with a dive to perceptions and mentalities of the past.'' The ND leader added that ''the prime minister himself let it be clearly shown - and he proved this yesterday (Tuesday) in a most outspoken manner - that they have chosen specific old fashioned characterics.''

    Karamanlis, who was addressing a meeting of his party's scientific associates at a central Athens hotel, did not reject the social dimension of certain of the measures which Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced on Tuesday, but the timing and manner they were announced.

    ''We, all these years, were and remain close to forgotten Greece. We were and remain close to the citizens who were forgotten by the governments of modernization. We understood and understand their problems. We support the strengthening of the socially weaker classes, the socially vulnerable groups of the population. We believe that the government was late in remembering them. They remembered them during the election period, having led them to a tragic impasse,'' the ND leader said.

    Karamanlis said that for the ND, ''social policy is a permanent obligation,'' adding that ''the vulgar attempt to buy-off consciences on the eve of the elections is in essence the degradation of social policy.''

    ''Social policy means a program of development which is unswervingly upheld and not announcements which start on the eve of the elections with the sole purpose of restricting the defeat of a government which departs, leaving Greece in debt,'' he said.

    In conclusion, Karamanlis, having expressed his conviction that the ND will win the general elections, said that once in power, it will not be intolerant and that ''the dividing lines of the past will have nothing to say.''

    [06] Minister outlines progress in Greek plan for Balkan reconstruction

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    An international tender to select a technical advisor for Greece's National Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans (NPERB) is due to be completed within September, Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos told reporters on Wednesday.

    He also blamed delays in implementing the NEPRB on the recipient countries and the political and economic problems these faced.

    Loverdos made the statements as he was going into the 8th meeting of the NEPRB Monitoring Committee at the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry.

    He said that Wednesday's committee meeting would look into the process of collecting the dossiers for the five major public works that had been submitted, to which another 10 remained to be added. These dossiers would then be passed on to the technical advisor and would include that section of Road Axis 10 passing through the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    According to the minister, the delay in appointing a technical advisor was linked to the bids that had been received but he predicted that, once in place, a technical advisor would greatly accelerate the rate of implementation of the program.

    Loverdos also said that lists of 22 minor projects, 18 productive investments and 5 major infrastructure works were ready and would be presented on Thursday at an event outlining the progress of the NPERB at Pavilion 8 in the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    He said the activities underway so far represented one quarter of the total NEPRB package, which would last another 3.5 years.

    Regarding the construction of an Institutions Building in Sarajevo, Loverdos said that the Bosnia-Herzegovina government had delayed in drawing the sum of two million euros deposited by the Greek government from the bank and warned that the Greek side might well transfer these funds to other projects unless this was done soon.

    On road axis 10 in Serbia, meanwhile, he said that Belgrade had not yet prepared a dossier for that part of the project.

    [07] Finance Ministry officials urge need for new five-year growth plan

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek economy needs a growth and convergence program with a duration of at least five years and a timeframe by 2010, officials from the Economy and Finance ministry said on Wednesday.

    The officials said that the program should also integrate the prospects of other sectors of the economy, such as education-research and healthcare-welfare.

    Greece's economic growth plan for the next three years is based on implementing a Third Community Support Framework program and the government's annual Public Investment Programs. The ministry officials stressed that a Third Community Support Framework program was drafted with a timetable of 2006, but all evidence showed that the program was not expected to be completed before 2008, a development offering the opportunity to extend the program's timetable to 2010.

    [08] Greek ports need to accelerate restructuring projects

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's passenger shipping sector sailed in "calm waters" in the summer season, a trend likely to continue with the help of Harbor Police' systematic presence, Merchant Marine Minister George Pashalides said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, in his first news conference since taking over the ministry, Mr Pashalides noted, however, that privatized Greek harbors should accelerate their restructuring trend as the passenger shipping industry was progressing more rapidly with its restructuring plans.

    The Greek minister stressed that Greek ports needed more money than the 600 million euros earmarked by the government to complete their infrastructure projects.

    Mr. Pashalides said he expected to unveil a "master plan" for the Greek shipping industry for the period 2004-2008 and stressed that a joint committee with the economy and finance ministry would begin drafting a second package of measures to boost the Greek vessel's competitiveness.

    The Merchant Marine Minister said that all 130 Greek ports, including the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio, reported a 4.0 percent increase in ship traffic and a 3.0 percent increase in passenger traffic in the months of June-July-August compared with the same period last year. Mr Pashalides said that the Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio ports recorded increases of 10 percent in ship traffic and 11 percent in passenger traffic over the same period.

    Mr Pashalides said that ship engine faults in the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio totalled 14 in June-July and August, up from eight in the same period last year.

    He announced a package of measures by the ministry to deal with an expected increase of transport traffic next year because of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    [09] Greek tourism organization to host international sector conference

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek National Tourism Organization is to host an international conference of the Association of International Scientific Experts in Tourism (AIEST) in Athens on September 8-11.

    The meeting will focus on sports and tourism, organizers said on Wednesday.

    [10] Athens daily loses civil suit, ordered to pay 315,000 euros

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    Athens daily “Kathimerini” lost a civil lawsuit to businessman Socrates Kokkalis on Wednesday and was ordered to pay 315,000 euros and to publish the court’s decision, which ruled that the newspaper reports were slanderous and defamed Kokkalis and his firm Intracom.

    The lawsuit was initiated by Kokkalis in response to 154 reports against him in the newspaper that were published between January 2001 and December of the same year.

    [11] Greek car market welcomes government measures

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greek car market executives welcomed a decision by the government to lower registration duties on new cars.

    Dimitris Patsios, director general of the Union of Car Importers-Dealers in the country, speaking to ANA said that the government measures were moving towards the right direction and satisfied the union's demands. Mr Patsios also called for a full abolition of registration duties on new cars. He stressed that car prices would drop in the country following the implementation of the government measure.

    The Union said it expected domestic car sales to move satisfactory by the end of the year, reversing an expected 5.0 percent fall compared with 2002. The Union said that car sales traditionally rise in pre-election years.

    The Union of Car Dealers, however, said the measures were inadequate and did not comply to European legislation. The union reiterated its demand for expanding the measure of lowering registration duties to used cars.

    [12] Stock Market

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    A wave of renewed profit taking late at the session reversed an early advance of prices and pushed Greek stocks lower for the third consecutive day this week in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

    The general index ended 0.36 percent lower at 2,142.67 points, with turnover a moderate 185.2 million euros.

    The Telecommunications, Wholesale and Metal sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (1.11 percent, 0.59 percent and 0.32 percent, respectively), while the IT Solutions, Publication and Insurance sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (2.12 percent, 2.05 percent and 1.94 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.74 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.51 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.52 percent down. The wider FTSE/ASE 140 index eased 0.68 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 174 to 146 with another 45 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Vodafone, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Alpha Bank, National Bank of Greece, and Public Power Corporation.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover

    at 162.0 mln euros Wednesday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.74% percent

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.51 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (2,671)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 162.0 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Sellers

    match buyers on Wednesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.49 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 12 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2013 (720 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 4.0 bln euros


    Closing rates of September 3 2003

    Parities in euro


    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,086 1,062

    [13] PM inaugurates new Hymettus west district avenue

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday inaugurated the Hymettus west district avenue (part of the Attica Highway project) and opened it to traffic.

    ''This is an impressive project comparable to the most impressive and best works in the European Union'', Simitis said, adding: ''With this project, we prove that we achieve our goals, and we will continue to do so.''

    The segment opened to traffic on Wednesday is 12 kilometers long and it connects the Katehaki intersection with the Rafina intersection on the Attika highway.

    An additional segment, the so-called eastern branch of Hymettus west district avenue, is scheduled for completion in April and it will connect the avenue with the Doukissis Plakentias intersection.

    Simitis said that road construction projects such as the Hymettus west district avenue and the Attica highway were intended to improve quality of life and solve many traffic problems in Attica.

    ''This project changes the tiring daily routine associated with the citizens' transportation '', the prime minister said, adding that users would save 40 minutes to one hour of traveling time.

    He said this would result in substantial reductions in the use of fuel, with associated environmental benefits for the capital.

    The prime minister stressed that Greece was changing and that the projects were becoming a reality through correct planning, consistency and persistence.

    ''We want Greece to be different and strong, so that Greeks can be proud of their land'', he said.

    He stressed that the project was carried in accordance with the most modern safety specifications and international standards.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou, who accompanied the prime minister, said the Hymettus west district avenue was a quality project that will bring relief to the capital and its eastern districts.

    ''We created a project in harmony with the environment'', she said, adding ''It was completed with much speed and without any delays.''

    She said the rest of the Attica Highway would be open to traffic in November, and referred to the 200 thousand trees that have been planted along its length.

    Intended to relieve traffic on Messogeion and Kifissias Avenues, the Hymettus ring-road skirting western Athens will serve an estimated 30 thousand vehicles daily, cutting traveling by 40 minutes to one hour daily.

    [14] Civil protection agency warns of higher fire risk in Aegean on Thursday

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    The General Secretariat for Civil Protection on Wednesday warned that there was a heightened risk of fires breaking out on several islands in the Aegean on Thursday and said local authorities and state services had been placed on alert in these areas.

    Among the islands where the risk of fire was deemed higher were Hios, Samos, the Cyclades group, the Dodecanese, Lasithi prefecture on Crete and Evia.

    The agency also advised the public to avoid activities in the open that might cause a fire through negligence, such as lighting bonfires, use of machinery such as circular saws and welding equipment that let off sparks, and disposal of lighted cigarettes.

    [15] Giscard d' Estaing presents EU constitution draft to Europarliament

    STRASBOURG, 04/09/2003 (ANA - O. Tsipira)

    President of the Convention for the Future of Europe Valery Giscard d' Estaing on Wednesday presented the draft of the Treaty for the enactment of a European Constitution to the European Parliament's plenum.

    He spoke of a laborious effort that lasted 16 months and yielded a text that can be acceptable by the largest possible number of Europeans, while he added that the basic values aim to ''determine a new balance of powers, taking into account what is the greatest novelty of the European Union, which is to united peoples and states''.

    Giscard d' Estaing stressed that the convention drafted a system of democracy on a European scale, which takes into account the 450 million people that live within the Union, the multiple forms of member states, as well as the will for unity of the European continent.

    Speaking of the intergovernmental conference of the EU member-states that will meet to discuss the Constitution draft will begin in a month and will only have two and a half months to conclude, adding that the time-limits are short and the possible solutions are three: to make it better, to arrive at a draft that is not as good as the proposed one or to vote on it as is.

    [16] Greece theme country at Berlin international literature festival

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    A series of cultural events dedicated to Greece and entitled ''Focus Griechenland'', will be organized by the Berlin international Festival of Literature and the Greek Cultural Foundation in Berlin from September 10-21.

    Greece is the theme country at the Berlin international Festival of Literature, in the context of which is incorporated the program-dedication ''Focus Griechenland''.

    The program of events include a seminar on the translation of Greek literature, readings, music evenings, debates, poetry readings and film projections.

    [17] Theva Metropolitan concludes visit to Ecumenical Patriarchate

    ISTANBUL, 04/09/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Metropolitan of Theva and Livadia Ieronimos departed for Athens on Wednesday following a short visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    During his stay the Greek Metropolitan was received by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and following their meeting declared that he was ''satisfied and happy''.

    In an unrelated development, Turkish newspapers continue to feature reports and articles on the meeting of Vartholomeos with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, which took place last Thursday and focused on the problems of the Greek community in Turkey, including the issue of the re-opening of the Halki School of Theology.

    Newspapers featured titles as ''He complained to us, about us'' and Turkish Milliyet daily underlined that ''the laws (ratified by Turkey) for the adjustment with the European Union will remain on paper (not enforced), all the while that the Vakoufia General Directorate continues to consider the existence of minorities as dangerous for the security of the country''.

    [18] 8th International Comics Festival to begin in Athens on Thursday

    Athens, 04/09/2003 (ANA)

    The 8th International Comics Festival will begin at the Technopolis Centre in Gazi, Athens on Thursday and run until Sunday.

    It features well-known foreign and Greek artists and is organized by the magazine Babel under the auspices of the Culture Ministry.

    This year's festival will include fewer artists than in previous years but with more extensive treatment of their work.

    The lion's share of space will go to the works of Argentine comic’s legend Alberto Breccia, with 100 of his original works on show. This is a very small part of his massive output, the vast majority of which was systematically destroyed by the Argentinean junta.

    [19] US envoy meets EU officials to discuss Cyprus

    BRUSSELS, 04/08/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston met in Brussels on Wednesday with European Com-mission officials, in the context of a tour he began in London on Tuesday regarding the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to reporters, Weston said confidence-building measures in Cyprus would not be considered a substitute to a comprehensive settlement, adding that Turkey should be doing more on the Cyprus issue if it wants to begin negotiations for accession to the EU.

    Weston said he would also be visiting Cyprus, Greece and Turkey in mid-October, after he has wrapped up meetings with EU member states.

    After Brussels, Weston will travel to Berlin, Paris and Rome, before flying back to the US.

    On Wednesday, Weston met with officials from the General Directorate of German Commissioner on Enlargement Gunter Verheugen, who is currently on a visit to the Baltic countries.

    Weston also met with a representative of the EU's High Representative for Foreign and Defense Policy Javier Solana and representatives of Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Louis Michel.

    The US diplomat said that during the meetings views were exchanged regarding developments in the Cyprus problem since May, when he had made his last tour.

    He added that the US maintains a very active role in the context of the UN Security Council and supports all UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's efforts to reach a settlement.

    Weston noted that some confidence-building measures have been implemented but noted that in no case would these measures substitute a comprehensive settlement.

    He furthermore said the US ''do not see how it will be possible'' for Turkey to meet its aspirations for opening accession talks with the EU ''unless there is a solution to the Cyprus problem,'' noting that there is still time to reach a settlement on the basis of the Annan plan before Cyprus becomes a full member of the EU in May 2004.

    ''Turkey should be doing more on the Cyprus issue,'' he said.

    On the recent signing of the so-called ''framework agreement for a customs union'' between Turkey and the illegal Turkish Cypriot

    regime in the occupied north of Cyprus, Weston said it could prove problematic.

    He said ''there are real questions which need to be answered by Turkey,'' on the deal.

    [20] FM Iacovou: UN resolutions highlight position on Famagusta

    LARNACA, 04/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The position of the international community on a proposal by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to open for settlement by Greek Cypriots the fenced area of the occupied town of Famagusta (Varosha) under Turkish Cypriot administration is outlined in UN Security Council resolutions 550 and 789 and it will not change, Foreign Minister George Iacovou has said.

    Iacovou said on Wednesday that as long as Denktash remains on the political scene the possibilities for progress towards a solution in Cyprus are limited.

    The UN considers Turkey, whose troops invaded the island in 1974, responsible for the status quo in Varosha and has called on Ankara to return the occupied city to the UN which will in turn hand it over to its legal residents.

    On Turkey's efforts to convince the European Union that it is making the necessary reforms in line with the acquis communautaire, the foreign minister noted that these attempts have not convinced anyone, since the seven packages of reforms Ankara has adopted have hardly been implemented.

    Speaking to the press on his return from Damascus, where he paid an official visit and invited to comment on Denktash's proposal for Varosha, Iacovou said the international community's position on this issue ''is highlighted in Security Council resolutions 550 and 789'' and it will not change.

    ''I expect various maneuvers from Denktash between now and the December 'elections' in the occupied areas. Denktash has acted in this manner in the past and I believe he will use Famagusta as a pawn,'' Iacovou said.

    Replying to questions, Iacovou indicated that US sources believe that as long as Denktash remains on the scene there are few prospects for progress.

    On his visit to Syria, Iacovou said it was important, noting that he briefed the Syrian side on the Cyprus problem, mainly in view of the Islamic Conference that will take place in Kuala Lumpur next month.

    He also said he discussed with his Syrian interlocutors the Middle East and regional problems.

    The foreign minister said that various agreements Cyprus has signed with Syria in the past 40 years have to be amended, as a result of Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    [21] 6th World Congress of WFUCA to be held in Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 04/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cultural diversity is one of the main subjects to be discussed during the 6th World Congress of World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centers and Associations (WFUCA) which opens here September 5.

    Speaking during a press conference here Wednesday George Christofides, President of the Cyprus Federation of UNESCO Clubs and Associations (CYFUCA) said that during the congress issues such as the continued Turkish occupation of Cyprus' northern third and the looting of the cultural heritage in the occupied areas will be discussed.

    He added that Turkish Cypriots have been invited to participate in the Congress to express the ''common will for dialogue and cooperation.''

    ''The participation at the conference of UNESCO observers and representatives of various national committees and the fact that the General Assembly of UNESCO will take place in Paris right after this congress produce a coincidence that could be useful in efforts for a Cyprus settlement,'' Christofides said.

    Patrick Gallaud, Secretary General of WFUCA said he was very glad to be in Cyprus for the preparation of the Congress noting that there are about 5.000 UNESCO clubs promoting projects in the fields of culture, education, environment and new technologies.

    ''Through these projects people get to know UNESCO,'' while they ''promote peace all over the world,'' Gallaud said.

    He further noted that during the Congress they will examine ''cultural diversity'' adding ''it is very important for Cyprus because for the world federation the symbol is peace, dialogue and civilization.''

    The congress takes place every four years and aims to bring closer the 5,000 UNESCO clubs and discuss issues that are relevant to UNESCO priorities.

    [22] Cyprus agrees with EU on nuclear disarmament

    NICOSIA, 04/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The Republic of Cyprus agrees with the common position of the EU member states regarding nuclear issues, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sotos Zackheos said on Wednesday.

    Speaking before the Third Conference on the rapid implementation of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, taking place in Vienna, Zackheos said Cyprus pays great importance to the rapid implementation of the Treaty, which it considers an important element for nuclear disarmament and the promotion of peace and stability worldwide.

    Zackheos called on the states that have not yet ratified the Treaty to do so as soon as possible, so that it can come into effect, noting that Cyprus has ratified the Treaty as well as relevant protocols.

    He also urged all countries to abide by the nuclear test moratorium and refrain from actions that are contrary to the Treaty.

    The Conference was called by the UN Secretary General and is being hosted by the government of Austria. The Treaty was adopted at the UN General Assembly in 1996.

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