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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

September 13, 2003


  • [01] Arafat's expulsion would be a 'mistake', Greece says
  • [02] ND leader Karamanlis blasts government, convergence Charter
  • [03] PM and Cyprus president teleconference to inaugurate Hellas-Sat 2 operations
  • [04] DM Papantoniou to visit Cyprus
  • [05] PM Simitis, interior minister Skandalidis discuss electoral law
  • [06] ALCO opinion poll puts ND in 6.7 pct lead over PASOK
  • [07] Main opposition leader visits Thessaloniki Technical Chamber
  • [08] LAOS leader hopes for decisive 'third party' slot in next elections
  • [09] Greek govít rejects report of upward reviewing of budget deficit
  • [10] Greek exports rose 7.0 pct in 1st half, govít says
  • [11] Northern exporters ask PM to help strengthen exports sector
  • [12] ECOFIN meeting in Stressa on Saturday
  • [13] GSEE trade union divided over govít measures
  • [14] Greek super market sector in "price war"
  • [15] Govít tables legislation to reduce car registration costs
  • [16] Parliament announces switch to natural gas
  • [17] Greek stocks end week 2.96 percent lower
  • [18] N17 trial prosecutor says evidence points clearly to Giotopoulos' guilt
  • [19] Academic year starts under cloud of strike action, universities lead the fray
  • [20] Archbishop of America holds memorial service for Sept. 11 victims
  • [21] UN releases study on asylum application approval rate
  • [22] Composer Mikis Theodorakis admitted to Onassion for check-up
  • [23] Involvement in illegal elections problematic, says minister

  • [01] Arafat's expulsion would be a 'mistake', Greece says

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Friday expressed open disagreement with the Israeli government's decision to expel Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, saying it would create further obstacles in the path toward peace.

    ''I want to stress that I think this decision to be a mistake, because if it is carried out it will create new tension and possibly new adventures in the Middle East and wider region,'' Papandreou said.

    The Greek foreign minister made the statement, which echoed the official line of the EU, after talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis regarding the results of his visit to Cyprus on Wednesday and Thursday and an upcoming visit to Athens next Tuesday by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.

    Papandreou afterwards said there was a climate of ''very close and good cooperation'' between Athens and Nicosia and predicted that there would be important developments in the Cyprus issue.

    ''We all know that Turkey's progress toward the European Union will come up against the issue of a solution to the Cyprus problem,'' he added.

    Asked if Greece was prepared to receive Arafat if Israel went ahead with its decision, Papandreou said he would not answer to ''hypothetical situations'' and made it clear that the Middle East will be one of the main items on the agenda during his talks next week with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and other high-ranking US government officials in Washington.

    Acting government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris later said that the Greek government condemned Arafat's potential expulsion.

    ''Such a development would in no way assist the way of peace, instead it would make it extremely difficult,'' he said.

    Asked whether Arafat would be welcome in Greece, Hytiris noted that the Palestinian leader had made it clear he did not intend to leave Ramallah.

    Opposition parties declare solidarity to Palestinian people, Arafat: Main opposition New Democracy (ND) follows the developments in the Middle East with special concern, party spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Friday,

    He stressed that the decision of the Israeli cabinet to deport Palestinian President Yasser Arafat adds a one more element of uncertainty and instability to an already burdened situation in the region.

    Roussopoulos added that the Israeli decision does not contribute to the laborious efforts the international community is making for peace and the achieving of an acceptable solution for all parties involved.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga spoke with Arafat by telephone on Friday afternoon and expressed to him the unqualified support and solidarity of KKE for him and for the Palestinian people.

    Papariga condemned the decision of the Israeli leadership to deport Arafat and reassured him that her party was doing all it can to express its solidarity with mass mobilizations.

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) issued a press release noting that the Sharon government was becoming more and more dangerous and offensive and that its actions undermined every effort and prospect for a just solution of the Palestinian problem.

    Synaspismos also expressed its solidarity to the Palestinian people and to Arafat and promised to make every effort for the realization of a Palestinian state.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas also condemned the decision of the Israeli cabinet, saying that it is against every rule of international law and political ethics.

    He added that his party is at the side of the ''national liberation struggle'' of the Palestinian people and Arafat as well.

    Communist party condemns Israeli threat to expel Arafat: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Friday condemned the Israeli government's decision to expel Palestinian President Yasser Arafat from Ramallah, saying it was a "new escalation of the intransigent, terrorist, imperialist policy of Sharon's government" that aimed to close all roads to a "just and viable solution of the Palestinian problem".

    [02] ND leader Karamanlis blasts government, convergence Charter

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday launched a scathing attack on the government for delays in infrastructures in northern Greece, and accused Prime Minister Costas Simitis of using the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) each year to ''promise the same things''.

    Shortly after his arrival in the northern Greek capital, addressing a meeting of the local prefectural council, Karamanlis said that the prime minister each year used the TIF -- where the premier at the time traditionally announces the guidelines of the government's economic policy for the following year -- ''to promise the same things, and the only thing that changes each time is the date of implementation of the promises''.

    Referring to the Economic and Social Convergence Charter unveiled by the premier on Wednesday, Karamanlis called it the ''Charter of his deviation from his targets, the Charter of his failure''.

    He also warned that the citizens' concern for a better quality of life and their justified demand for infrastructures befitting a European country ''cannot be the objects of pre-electoral exploitation''.

    Karamanlis cited delays in several major projects slated for northern Greece, including the Thessaloniki Metro, the modernization of the northern Greek capital's Macedonia Airport, the Via Egnatia roadway, the road arteries of central Macedonia and others, accused the government of ''believing they are addressing lotus-eaters, since they cut up the Via Egnatia project into 20-kilometre strips in order to rig pre-electoral games for cheap impressions''.

    Karamanlis said it was necessary to ''demand better and more, to move ahead more quickly, and to build a new citizen-politics relationship of confidence between us''.

    ''In this era of challenges and big wagers, there is no room for dividing lines. They express absolutely nothing, because the problems and the solutions have no color,'' the ND leader continued.

    Reiterating his party's overture to voters of all parties, he said that ''we extend our hands to all the Greeks, without asking what they voted yesterday''.

    Karamanlis said the basic priority of his party's policy was to re-establish the state through reinforcement of local government, and noted that prefectural government faced serious deficiencies, adding that ''the wider system of power has reached the point of being synonymous with corruption and lack of transparency, while the establishment and conservatism are obstacles to the developmental process and regional development''.

    Outlining the basic principle's of his party's policy on local government, Karamanlis stressed the need for dialogue and cooperation, assurance of the prefectures' financial and administrative self-sufficiency, and reinforcement of their develop-mental role and social character.

    Later in the day, Karamanlis also addressed party officials in Thessaloniki criticizing the government and responding to Prime Minister Costas Simitis' program.

    He stressed that PASOK will not ''drop from the tree like a ripe fruit'' and accused the government of having been ''addicted to using all acceptable and unacceptable means to cling to power''.

    ''The lies are over with and all together we will make them understand that they can not string along the Greek people any more,'' he said.

    Gov't responds to ND criticism of social package: Acting government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris on Friday responded to criticism volleyed at the government by main opposition New Democracy, while noting that ND appeared to have at least three different positions on the measures announced in the social package.

    "According to ND, the measures are: first, too few, second, too many and third, impossible promises. Costas Karamanlis supports the third view and he is wrong, because the measures are specific and they will be carried out," Hytiris said.

    [03] PM and Cyprus president teleconference to inaugurate Hellas-Sat 2 operations

    NICOSIA 13/09/2003 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will hold a teleconference with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos via the newly-launched Greek-Cypriot satellite 'Hellas Sat 2' on Monday at 12:45, during a ceremony for the delivery of transmitters to the Greek State after the completion of tests and the start of the satellite's commercial operation.

    According to an announcement by Hellas Sat, there will also be a presentation of the technical capabilities of the satellite, which is currently considered to be the most powerful in Europe.

    In addition to his talks with Papadopoulos, the Greek premier will be linked up to Greek troops currently serving in Kabul, Afghanistan and with the mayor of the remote Aegean islet of Fourni, near Ikaria.

    The choice of locations is symbolic, seeking to demonstrate the success of the joint Greek-Cypriot project and its capacity to provide telecommunications links to all areas in Greece and most areas around the world.

    [04] DM Papantoniou to visit Cyprus

    NICOSIA 13/09/2003 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Greece's defense minister Yannos Papantoniou will pay his first official visit to Cyprus, in his present capacity, beginning September 29, it was announced on Friday.

    During the three-day visit, Papantoniou will hold separate talks with Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos, House of Representatives Dimitris Christofias, and defense minister Kyriakos Mavronikolas.

    Papantoniou's meeting with President Papadopoulos will take place on the morning of October 1, ahead of a military parade marking the anniversary of Cyprus' independence, and was scheduled to last 30 minutes.

    Papantoniou was slated to attend the parade together with the Cypriot officials.

    [05] PM Simitis, interior minister Skandalidis discuss electoral law

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and interior minister Costas Skandalidis on Friday discussed the final positions for the dialogue on the electoral law.

    Skandalidis told reporters after the meeting that the proposal covering the issues of the dialogue on the electoral law would be forwarded to the political parties on Monday, while the inter-party committee would be convened in two weeks' time.

    The two men further discussed the finalization of the "source of wealth" bill, which will be unveiled on September 18.

    [06] ALCO opinion poll puts ND in 6.7 pct lead over PASOK

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    A nationwide opinion poll conducted by the ALCO polling company on behalf of ''Apogevmatini'' daily news paper puts main opposition New Democracy party 6.7 percentage ahead of the ruling PASOK party.

    Released on Friday, the poll showed that ND was ahead with 39.7 percent against 33 percent for PASOK with respect to intended votes among those polled.

    Also, 49.3 percent of respondents believed New Democracy would win the general elections against 28.4 percent for PASOK, while earlier polls by the same company showed a 55.6 per cent for ND and 24.4 per cent for PASOK.

    As for most appropriate prime minister, premier Costas Simitis was leading ND leader Costas Karamanlis 0.4 percentage points, while in a previous poll the comparative results were in favor of Karamanlis by 1.6 per cent.

    In the question of the most popular political leader, Karamanlis led by 48.5 per cent approval, with Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology Nikos Constantopoulos placing second with 46.5 per cent, premier Simitis at 43.6 per cent and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga garnering 23.6 per cent.

    [07] Main opposition leader visits Thessaloniki Technical Chamber

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis once again blasted the government as "unreliable" during a visit to the Thessaloniki Technical Chamber on Friday - the second stop during his visit to the northern Greek city - and said it lacked the political will to carry out major public works that were essential for the development of northern Greece.

    He asked for the Chamber's cooperation and said its role should be upgraded so that it could act as a true consultant to the State, both in terms of the institutional framework that governed the construction of works and in practical terms.

    He said construction of public works was currently inefficient, with delays, high cost and bad quality.

    [08] LAOS leader hopes for decisive 'third party' slot in next elections

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader Giorgos Karatzaferis on Friday said his party hoped for a good third place in the coming elections, with enough seats to be able to play the role of 'regulator' in the formation of the next government.

    Karatzaferis predicted that neither of the two main parties would manage to get an absolute majority and that LAOS would come third nationwide, while possibly even threatening the second-place party in the north of the country.

    ''We do not care who is in front, we only want them to work with us in implementing policies more beneficial for the people,'' he said.

    He was speaking in Thessaloniki, during a visit to the 68th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    [09] Greek govít rejects report of upward reviewing of budget deficit

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's Economy and Finance ministry on Friday strongly rejected a report by Reuters over an upward review of the general government's deficit from 0.9 percent to 1.7 percent of the country's gross domestic product in 2003.

    A ministry statement said that, according to available data over the execution of the state budget and budgets by general government's agencies, ministry officials expect that the government would achieve its deficit target without any significant divergence this year.

    [10] Greek exports rose 7.0 pct in 1st half, govít says

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greek exports rose 7.0 percent in the first half of 2003, Foreign Deputy Minister Andreas Loverdos said on Friday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, the Panhellenic Exporters' Union and the Northern Greece Exporters' Union, Mr Loverdos said that this development should not lead to complacency but the need to find solutions to more problems.

    Northern Greece Exporters' Union briefed the Prime Minister over a plan to reactivate the Export Promotion Organization and discussed over a government draft law, to be voted in parliament, envisaging the integration of trade attaches to the Foreign Affairs ministry.

    Christina Sakellaridi, chairman of the Panhellenic Exporters' Union, said that Greek exports recovered in the last few years and welcomed a decision by the government to include export promotion measures in a "Convergence Charter" presented by the premier on Wednesday.

    Greek imports totalled 14.563 billion euros in the January-May 2003 period from 12.433 billion euros in the same period last year, an increase of 17.1 percent, the National Statistics service said.

    The value of imports-arrivals - excluding oil products - rose 14.4 percent over the same period, the NSS said in a report.

    Greek exports totalled 4.948 billion euros in the first five months of the year from 4.723 billion euros in the same period in 2002, for an increase of 4.7 percent, with the value of exports - excluding oil products - rising 7.1 percent over the same period.

    Greece's trade balance showed a deficit of 9.615 billion euros in the January-May period, from 7.709 billion euros last year, an increase of 24.7 percent.

    [11] Northern exporters ask PM to help strengthen exports sector

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Northern exporters on Friday asked Prime Minister Costas Simitis to take measures that would help strengthen the exports sector.

    In a meeting with Simitis, leaders of the Association of Exporters of Northern Greece asked for funds and equipment to be given to embassy trade attaches in order to boost economic diplomacy.

    In addition, the exporters asked for the creation of a national exports strategy while welcoming establishment of the National Exports Council.

    The association said that the prime minister pledged at the meeting that he would call the association and two other major trade groups - the Association of Greek Industry and the Panhellenic Exporters Association - to give feedback on a government bill that will expand the function of embassy economic and trade departments.

    [12] ECOFIN meeting in Stressa on Saturday

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Reducing VAT factors, monitoring of the financial system and decision-making in economic policy are the issues to dominate an informal ECOFIN meeting to be held Saturday in Stressa, Italy.

    EU finance ministers are expected to discuss European Com-mission's proposals over a general review of reduced factors aimed to expand the range of implementing value added tax within member-states. The plan aims to secure harmonization of VAT tax implementation in the EU.

    The council will also discuss ways to monitor the financial system and in particular ways of preventing future crises and analyzing priorities of the financial system's future functions.

    EU finance ministers will discuss decision-making in economic policies under a new EU constitution and the issue of over-debted poor countries ahead of a ministerial meeting by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank next week in Dubai.

    [13] GSEE trade union divided over govít measures

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    The government's measures aimed to promote economic and social convergence in the country, divided GSEE - the country's largest trade union umbrella.

    A union assembly on Friday discussed the government measures, with ruling-party affiliated trade unionists expressing their support to the measures and urged GSEE to begin a dialogue with the government, while opposition-party affiliated unionists rejecting the measures.

    GSEE's chairman, Christos Polyzogopoulos, addressing the assembly stressed that the government's recently announced measures adopted some of the unions demands and that they were generally moving in a positive direction.

    He recommended that GSEE begin a dialogue with the government over finalizing the measures and detailing their implementations.

    [14] Greek super market sector in "price war"

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    A decision by Carrefour-Marinopoulos on Thursday to freeze prices on a majority of its products in the period from September 15 to January 15, signaled a "price war" in the super market sector in Greece, with Veropoulos Super Market Group on Friday announcing a decision to freeze prices with its wholesale suppliers, from Monday, 15 September, until December 31.

    Dimitris Daskalopoulos, chairman of the Greek Food Industries' Union (SEBT), said the move to freeze or contain prices was a normal reaction totally consistent with market competition rules.

    [15] Govít tables legislation to reduce car registration costs

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Friday tabled a draft law to parliament envisaging cuts up to 43 percent in registration duties for new and used car sales in the country.

    The draft law will have a retroactive effect from September 3rd.

    The government expects the new measure would lead to a loss of 20 million euros to this year's budget, and losses around 130 million euros in next year's budget, a sum likely to be reduced to 80 million euros as the government expects increased revenues (totalling 50 million euros) from higher car and motorcycle sales next year.

    The decision to reduce registration duties on cars and motor-cycles was included in a "social package" of measures, worth 2.3 billion euros, announced by the government the previous week.

    [16] Parliament announces switch to natural gas

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek Parliament on Friday announced that it was switching to natural gas instead of oil for its central heating system as of this Autumn, in order to "actively participate in efforts to reduce atmospheric pollution in Athens".

    [17] Greek stocks end week 2.96 percent lower

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended the final session of a negative week lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, despite strong resistance showed by a handful of blue chip stocks like Alpha Bank and Public Power Corporation.

    The general index fell 0.58 percent to end at 2,082.78 points, for a net loss of 2.96 percent in the week.

    All sector indices ended lower with the Holding (2.48 percent), Publications (3.32 percent) and Construction (2.07 percent) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Turnover was a low 113.5 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.37 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 1.55 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 2.24 percent down.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 251 to 73 with another 35 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 106.0 mln euros Friday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.37% percent

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

  • Underlying Index: -1.55 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (1,539)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 106.0 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Friday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.31 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 12 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2013 (355 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.1 bln euros


    Closing rates of September 12 2003

    Parities in euro

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,126 1,100

    [18] N17 trial prosecutor says evidence points clearly to Giotopoulos' guilt

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    There was overwhelming evidence to support a guilty verdict for alleged November 17 leader Alexandros Giotopoulos, state prosecutor Vassilis Markis asserted as he closed his address to the Three-Member Criminal Appeals Court on Friday.

    The detailed arguments given by Markis to back up this claim prompted angry reactions from the 62-year-old Giotopoulos, who interrupted to insist that he was innocence and had been framed by the authorities.

    Markis countered by saying that police had turned to Giotopoulos in their investigation through logical processes, after coming to the conclusion that the writer of N17's proclamations had been educated in France.

    He also stressed the physical evidence found at the terror group's safehouse on Patmos St - particularly the forged stamps and printing equipment that appeared to have been used to create a fake ID card in the name Mihalis Economou that had been found on Giotopoulos at the time of his arrest.

    Markis noted that Savvas Xiros had freely admitted to actually forging the ID on Giotopoulos' behalf during an interview with TV journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos the previous September.

    Had Giotopoulos' assertions been true, Markis added, Xiros would have been free to say so during the interview. Instead, he admitted knowing Giotopoulos, but only under his false name of Mihalis Economou.

    The prosecutor was also strongly critical of the stance adopted by the political parties to the group's activities over the years, saying that they had used its action in their political jousts and succumbed to conspiracy theories.

    In references to specific hits, Markis made a number of recommendations that departed from the original charges in the indictments, based on the evidence that came up during the trial.

    For example, he asked that only those members of the group that actually participated in a robbery at the Sykourio Army Camp be charged with supplying explosive materials and that Giotopoulos be convicted as moral instigator of the robbery.

    Regarding the robbery of an OTE branch in Piraeus in 2001, he recommended that Vassilis Xiros be acquitted of attempted manslaughter, since the phone company employee had been shot by his brother Savvas. He asked that Savvas Xiros be sentenced for intentionally causing grievous bodily harm for the same incident and that Giotopoulos be cleared of a charge of morally instigating the act since Savvas appeared to have proceeded without express instructions from Giotopoulos.

    He also said Giotopoulos should be acquitted of all charges related to the robbery of a National Bank branch in Thessaloniki, which had Savvas Xiros claimed had been ordered independently by Dimitris Koufodinas.

    Finally, he said that Dionysis Georgiadis had not convinced him of his innocence and recommended that he be found guilty of causing the explosion at an Alpha Bank branch in Patissia in 1999.

    Early on Friday, meanwhile, chief prosecutor Christos Lambrou asked the court's indulgence if he had omitted to make recommendations for any of the numerous acts listed in the indictment and asked that the court find the defendants guilty of any act in the hundreds of charges for which no specific recommendation had been made.

    [19] Academic year starts under cloud of strike action, universities lead the fray

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    The new academic year has begun under the cloud of threatened strike action at all levels of state education, starting with a five-day strike called by most Greek universities on Monday after pay negotiations between academics and the finance ministry collapsed.

    According to polytechnic teacher Yiannis Maistros, the meeting with Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Farmakis had been disappointing and fell far short of what university teachers had hoped for.

    Academics accuse the government of not dealing with the financial problems of universities and are also displeased with an offered pay rise of 7 per cent.

    In their demands to the tripartite dialogue committee, academics had asked for a 20 per cent pay rise for two years.

    Farmakis said that announcements concerning university finances will be made by Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis but did not name any specific date.

    In the meantime, the teachers union OLME is meeting on Friday to decide whether senior school teachers will go strike in the coming weeks, while primary school teachers are also dissatisfied and have not ruled out the possibility of strike action.

    [20] Archbishop of America holds memorial service for Sept. 11 victims

    NEW YORK 13/09/2003 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America Dimitrios officiated a memorial service on Thursday for the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, at the site of the, now destroyed, Greek Orthodox Church dedicated to Agios Nikolaos.

    The Church was totally destroyed when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed, literally, on it.

    The memorial service, beyond its general character became more specific as the names of the 25 Greek expatriates, that were killed in the attack, were mentioned and the prelate of the Greek Orthodox Church held in his hands a little girl that was born after the attack, having lost her father in the towers.

    Dimitrios spoke of the efforts to rebuild the small chapel and once again thanked the Greek government for providing some 500,000 dollars toward that end.

    ''From our membership and from our communities 2,1 million dollars were collected. This money have already been allocated, except for a small sum, about 17,000 dollars,'' he said, adding ''there is no Sept. 11 orphan child of a Greek expatriate that did not receive substantial aid, so as to go on with his/her studies. In addition from the sum that was collected we covered the needs of other orphans, which were not aided by any other agency''.

    On his part, Greek Consul to New York Dimitris Platis said that ''all of Greece, all Greeks sympathize with the pain of the families that lost their loved ones by the attack of the barbarians. We do not want, we can not, nor do we have the right to forget''.

    Platis stressed that Prime Minister Costas Simitis and several government officials and of Greece's political leadership have visited ''ground zero'' to express their ''repugnance for the tremendous crime and to do honor to the victims of Sept. 11.''

    Cyprus' Consul Martha Mavromati was also at the ceremony, stressing that the island republic honors the dead of Sept. 11.

    [21] UN releases study on asylum application approval rate

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    The United Nations High Commission on refugees released a comparative study of the European Union's statistics, revealing that Greece in 2002 granted refugee or humanitarian status to 1.1 per cent of applicants, compared with 12 other European Union member-states that granted such status to 21.1 per cent of applicants.

    Commenting on applicants from Iraq, officials said that EU countries granted this status to 47.7 per cent of applicants, while Greece's rate of acceptance was 1 per cent, this said, however, it was noted that the Greek government has reassured the High Commission that no Iraqi national will be repatriated, including those that have applied for asylum.

    [22] Composer Mikis Theodorakis admitted to Onassion for check-up

    Athens, 13/09/2003 (ANA)

    Composer Mikis Theodorakis has been admitted to the Onassion Cardiac Centre for a precautionary check-up after complaining of mild chest pains around the heart.

    The internationally-acclaimed composer was checked into the hospital on Thursday for a complete screening that will be completed during the weekend, though doctors were reassuring about his condition and stressed that the tests were just a precaution.

    [23] Involvement in illegal elections problematic, says minister

    NICOSIA 13/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Giorgos Iakovou has warned against any involvement in December's illegal elections in Turkish occupied Cyprus, saying that any such move would boost the current status quo there which the UN has branded ''legally invalid.''

    ''These so-called parliamentary elections are illegal since thousands of Turkish settlers, brought to occupied Cyprus by Ankara, are participating,'' the minister told CNA on Friday, invited to comment on the possibility of having independent observers monitor the poll.

    ''Any observer mission to monitor these elections could offer support to the status quo of (Turkish Cypriot leader) Rauf Denktash,'' the minister added.

    Speaking on the same issue, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said that Nicosia believes that no action, which might facilitate or strengthen secessionist moves on the part of the Turkish Cypriot leader, should be made.

    ''Any such action is contrary to Security Council resolution 550 which calls on all states not to facilitate or in any way assist the secessionist entity in Turkish occupied Cyprus,'' the spokesman said.

    He said he did not think that the EU was interested in monitoring through an observer mission December's ''poll'' in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

    The spokesman said this coming ''poll'' in occupied Cyprus is a very complicated issue because illegal settlers from Turkey will participate and the Turkish occupation troops are on site.

    On the same issue, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said the EU is monitoring developments.

    Replying to questions, spokesman Chrysostomides appeared rather pessimistic about the prospect of seeing the UN-led negotiations resume before December this year.

    ''If there is good will at the talks, then there can be improvements on the UN peace proposal, the Annan plan, on a comprehensive settlement,'' he added.

    The UN negotiations broke down in March this year when Denktash refused to hold a referendum on the Annan plan. The Greek Cypriot side agreed to a referendum.

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