|Thursday, 17 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 17, 2003
 PM and Cyprus president discuss possible resumption of Cyprus negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos discussed possibilities for the resumption of negotiations to find a solution to the issue of Cyprus in talks held at the Maximos Mansion in Athens on Tuesday.
In a statement, Simitis referred to the upcoming UN General Assembly and talks Papadopoulos will have in New York with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and reiterated the adherence of Greece and Cyprus to the UN process.
''We are negative towards any effort to achieve a solution outside the framework of the UN,'' the prime minister said, adding that ''achieving a just, viable and workable solution based on UN resolutions and the acquis communautaire remains our target.''
Simitis stressed the need for maintaining the readiness of both the Greek and Greek Cypriot sides for an immediate resumption of talks when this will be possible on the basis of the UN secretary general's existing plan.
PM and Cyprus president discuss possible resumption of Cyprus negotiations
The prime minister said the intransigence of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is continuing whom, as he stressed, Ankara is continuing to fully support.
'''Elections' to take place in occupied territory (in Cyprus) on December 10 will clarify the scene,'' Simitis further said, adding that ''these 'elections' are constitutionally illegal.''
Replying to a questioner, the prime minister said the Greek and Greek Cypriot sides ''do not invest'' in the outcome of these 'elections' but continue to work on the basis of present-day factors, meaning the negative and intransigent position of the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish sides.
On the question of Cyprus' European course, Simitis said everything is developing smoothly and that ''Cyprus will be able to function unimpeded as a member-state of the European Union on May 1, 2004, when the accession process will be formally completed.''
The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the invitation extended by President Kostis Stephanopoulos to Papadopoulos to visit Greece officially during the autumn.
On his part, Papadopoulos said his meeting with Simitis was part of regular contacts between the two governments for better coordinating actions and the appropriate assessment of developments.
The Cyprus president further spoke of a ''positive response by other factors related as well to a solution to the Cyprus issue abroad'' to the effort of Nicosia and Athens for a solution.
Replying to a question on the presence of international observers at the 'elections' in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, Papadopoulos said particular importance must not be attached to the fact since ''authority should not be given to the result of the elections with the presence of observers.''
 ND leader and Cyprus president discuss developments in Cyprus negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos discussed the issue of Cyprus and possible developments in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus in light of ''elections'' to be held there in December in talks held in Athens on Tuesday.
Karamanlis said the Annan plan must be adjusted to the new realities existing as a result of Cyprus' accession to the European Union, adding that he supports all of Papadopoulos' efforts for a workable and viable solution to the Cyprus issue based on the acquis communautaire and European principles.
The ND leader further said Cyprus is in its natural environment, the EU, and this requires a change in mentality in the new era.
Karamanlis said in this environment the Annan plan, adjusted to the new reality, can lead to this new era which ''we hope will concern all'' and noted that every initiative by the international community must be in this direction.
He stressed that this primarily concerns the EU which plays the decisive role because Europe in the 21st century cannot tolerate territory of Europe to be under foreign occupation, while the citizens of Cyprus must feel the same security as the rest of the European citizens do.
 Visiting Cyprus president meets with parliament president negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis reaffirmed on Tues-day that the Greek parliament was at the side of the entire Cypriot people, during a meeting with visiting Cyprus president Tasos Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos, in turn, expressed appreciation at the reaffirmation that the Greek parliament would support, to the end, the Cyprus people for the reunification of the island republic and the Cyprus Republic's smooth accession to and operation within the European Union.
Kaklamanis underlined that the Cypriot president had the primary responsibility and top role in the efforts for the restoration of Cyprus' unity, withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops, and the symbiosis of the entire Cypriot people -- Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots -- in conditions of cooperation, mutual understanding and progress.
"This is Cyprus' prospect in the EU, which will also more generally to stability, security and tranquility in the eastern Mediterranean, of which Cyprus is a particularly important strategic and economic factor," Kaklamanis said.
 Weston says US wants restart of Cyprus talks as soon as possible
WASHINGTON, 17/09/2003 (ANA – T. Ellis)Foreign Minister George Papandreou met here on Tuesday with the State Department special coordinator for Cyprus Tom Weston, for contacts lasting some 45 minutes.
Weston later cited what he called an identity of views by the two sides over the Cyprus problem, as well as a productive exchange of views.
He also reiterated Washington’s position for an immediate restart of talks by the two sides on the island, one leading to a Cyprus solution as soon as possible. He added that efforts in the current phase are centered on the period until the island republic formally joins the European Union on May 1, 2004.
Moreover, he noted that the point is not whether negotiations begin immediately before or after December elections in the Turkish-occupied north of the island, but rather whether enough
time will be available to allow their completion and the holding of a referendum in both communities by May 1.
The veteran American diplomat was also briefed by Papandreou over his recent contacts on Cyprus last week, while discussing what meetings may take place next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, where both Papandreou and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos will participate.
Finally, in reference to UN Chief Kofi Annan, Weston said he stands by his positions on the matter and over his mission, adding that he (Annan) is ready when all sides express their political will – a reference to Annan’s role as a key broker in talks aimed at a Cyprus solution.
Weston also referred to the UN Chief’s and the US side’s disappointment at the “lack” of response until today, a statement indirectly pointed at the Denktash regime in the occupied areas.
On his part, Papandreou said a solution to the Cyprus issue remains the priority of Greek foreign policy. In this context, he underlined Tuesday's meeting between Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos in Athens and his own visit to Nicosia a week ago.
The foreign minister said Weston expressed to him the readiness of the US to contribute to the lifting of the deadlock and the seeking of a solution based on the Annan plan.
During the 45-minute talks at Papandreou's hotel, an ''assessment of developments and of the situation created'' was made also in light of the ''election'' to take place in the Turkish Cypriot community in December.
Also discussed was Annan's intention to activate himself once again, provided the Turkish side previously shows the political will to participate in substantive negotiations on the secretary general's existing plan.
Papandreou met later with the leadership of the ''Jewish American Committee'', discussing latest developments in the Middle East, explaining the position of Greece, as well as of the EU, on the issue of Israel's expressed intention to ''remove'' Yasser Arafat and stressing the need of ''salvaging'' the road map.
 FM Papandreou to meet Rice, Powell on Wednesday negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Visiting Foreign Minister George Papandreou will be meeting US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice at the White House (in the early hours of Wednesday Greek time) and afterwards he will be honored with the ''Defender of Democracy'' award by the Global Action group.
Talks with Rice will focus primarily on Iraq and efforts to ''bridge'' positions between the US and Europe to enable a common approach for the transfer of power to the Iraqis as soon as possible, while emphasis will also be placed on latest developments in the Middle East.
Also to be discussed will be the Cyprus issue and the volatile situation in the Balkans and Rice is expected to request a briefing on preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, particularly with regard to the security sector.
After the White House, the foreign minister will be visiting the Congress Library where he will be given the ''Defender of Democracy'' award by the Parliamentarians for Global Action organization which includes 1,350 deputies from 105 legislatures from all over the world who are active in ''promoting peace, democracy, justice and development.''
Papandreou, who visited Greek American Democratic senator and Foreign Relations Committee member Paul Sarbanes in Congress earlier, will be meeting his US counterpart Colin Powell at the State Department on Wednesday and will also be having contacts with senators, analysts and scientific foundation associates.
 Main opposition leader asks ND to prepare for elections negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday asked the party's secretariats to immediately begin preparations to ensure the party was "battle-ready" for a pre-election race.
He instructed party officials to monitor the completion of electoral lists, appoint elective representatives, put together election campaign committees in each prefecture and start choosing candidates in areas where the party was not represented in Parliament.
These are five one-seat electoral districts and in the prefectures of Lesvos and Lasithi.
ND Central Committee Secretary Vaggelis Meimarakis will be sending out a circular to prefectural committees over the next few days, in which he will outline the criteria set by the party for those interested in standing for election.
After the meeting, however, Karamanlis asked the heads of the secretariats not to make estimates about when the elections might take place.
 Gov't challenges ND to match its 'transparency offensive' negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Tuesday said that main opposition New Democracy now faced an ''open challenge'' to match an ''offensive for transparency'' initiated by the government and order its own MPs to release details of their stock market transactions for inspection.
Noting that PASOK MPs had responded to the call to submit to inspection by Monday, the deadline given by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Protopapas stressed that ND now had the political responsibility to appear consistent, given its previous insistence that details of stock market transactions be released, whereas now it was avoiding to demand transparency of its MPs financial behavior.
''We await the actions of ND leader Costas Karamanlis,'' he added.
 14th round of Greek-Turkish exploratory talks on Wednesday negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)The 14th round of exploratory talks between foreign ministry officials of Greece and Turkey regarding the Aegean continental shelf is to begin in Athens on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis announced.
 Alternate FM does not rule out possibility of military force being sent to Iraq negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, replying to a question from Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Deputy Orestis Kolozov on Tuesday, did not rule out the possibility of a military force being sent to Iraq in the framework of the UN's humanitarian mission.
Yiannitsis said a discussion on Iraq is currently taking place at the UN and in accordance with the decision to be taken the Greek government will determine its position.
However, he stressed that the UN must play a decisive role in the future of Iraq and with respect for the country's territorial integrity, the assumption of governance by the Iraqis themselves shortly and the decisive control of the country's natural resources by the Iraqis themselves.
In any case, the minister said absence from humanitarian missions in the region is not a position of the Greek government.
 PM and PASOK secretary finalize party's program until end of year negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis and ruling PASOK party secretary general Mihalis Chrysohoidis finalized the party's program until the end of the year in talks held at the Maximos Mansion on Tuesday night.
According to reports, they discussed details of the program, decided during the party's latest Executive Bureau meeting, while it was confirmed that until December the course of the government and the party will be common and will move in accordance with what has been decided.
This includes convening the party's National Council, organizing an international conference on the future of democratic socialism, promoting the convergence charter in the provinces and preparing regional charters, as announced by the prime minister. The same reports said PASOK's president and secretary ascertained an improvement in the climate for the ruling party, which was termed encouraging and considerably different from the difficult climate of the period preceding Simitis' announcements.
Opinion polls expected to be publicized in the coming days are also being awaited in the ruling party with greater optimism, the reports said. It is assessed that from one opinion poll to another the ''gap'' between PASOK and the New Democracy party will narrow.
 President Stephanopoulos receives foreign ambassadors' credentials negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Tuesday received the new ambassadors of Mexico Alejandro Diaz Perez Duarte, the Swiss Confederation Pierre Monod, Finland Ole Johan Norrback and France Bruno Delaye who delivered their credentials to him.
The relevant ceremony was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos and Presidency of the Republic Secretary General ambassador Costas Ailianos.
 Greek investment funds' assets up 5.34 pct in 2003, report negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Greece's 25 listed closed-end funds' assets totalled 1.80 billion euros at the end of August from 1.77 billion euros a month before, for an increase of 1.7 percent, official figures showed on Tuesday.
A monthly report by the Union of Institutional Investors said that the sector's assets were up by 91 million euros, or 5.34 percent, since the start of the year.
The report attributed the increase in the sector's assets to a recovery of prices in the Athens Stock Exchange in August (the general index rose 2.41 percent in the month) and noted that the sector's average return of their internal value rose to 11.69 percent at the end of August from 10.35 percent in July.
A total of 14 companies exceeded the average return of the sector, presenting returns ranging from 11.83 percent to 27.61 percent in August, with only four companies presenting negative returns in the month.
The sector's average discount fell to 13.63 percent in August from 15.16 percent in July, reflecting a 4.74 percent rise in the investment sector index in ASE over the same period.
The majority closed-end funds traded at a discount in August, ranging from 4.43 percent to 23.73 percent, with only three companies trading at a premium.
The investment index is up 37.39 percent so far this year, exceeding a 26.43 percent rise in the general index of the market.
 Greek industrial production up 1.9 pct in July, yr/yr negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Industrial production in Greece was unchanged in July from the previous month and 1.9 percent higher compared with the same month in 2002, Eurostat said on Tuesday.
The EU executive's statistics agency, in its monthly report, said that industrial production in the eurozone rose 0.6 percent in July from the previous month and by 0.3 percent in the EU-15.
Belgium (3.0 percent), Finland (3.0 percent) and Germany with Portugal (2.2 percent each) recorded the highest percentage increases in industrial production in July, while Ireland (-3.9 percent) and France (-0.3 percent) recorded the only declines. Eurostat said there were no figures for Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden.
Industrial production fell 0.3 percent in the eurozone and 0.4 percent in the EU-15 in July compared with the same month in 2002.
 Gov't: offer to teachers the 'best possible' given economic constraints negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)The government's offer to teachers was as generous as economic constraints allowed and stretched the limits of what the state could afford, government spokesman Christos Protopapas noted on Tuesday.
He said the deal offered to teachers on Monday night was the best the government could give and a positive way out for their financial demands, stressing that the government had made its decision on this basis.
He also pointed out that the social package announced by the government specifically targeted vulnerable social groups and that the government examined other demands "carefully and responsibly".
With regard to striking university teachers, meanwhile, Proto-papas said the government would do its best to arrive at a settlement but stressed that this would have to be within the limits of what the economy could bear.
 Primary school teachers to join striking colleagues on Oct. 6 negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Primary school teachers on Tuesday decided to join in with labor action initiated by their colleagues in universities and senior schools over pay demands, starting with a one-day warning strike on October 6.
The teachers' federation warned, meanwhile, that strike action would escalate if primary education teachers' demands were not satisfied.
The union rejected a pay rise of 120-170 euros offered on Monday by the government, saying that this amounted to 103 euros less than the pay rise received by other state employees.
Commenting on the wave of strikes in the education sector, Education Minister Petros Efthymiou stressed that the government had adhered to the deal it had struck in talks with the civil servants' union ADEDY and after pressure from the education ministry the government had given special treatment to teachers compared to other civil servants with respect to their pay rises.
He called on teachers to show the ''necessary sensitivity'' and not go ahead with the strikes.
He also announced a meeting on Wednesday with university teachers, who called a five-day strike this week, to discuss how their demands might be met.
 Greece, Turkey due to sign natgas deal negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Tuesday that Greece and Turkey are due to sign an agreement on bringing natural gas from the Caspian.
''An agreement has been signed between DEPA SA of Greece and Botas of Turkey for construction of the pipeline. What remains is signature of a contact between the two governments,'' Tsohatzopoulos said in reply to a reporter's question in Thessaloniki. He gave no timescale.
The minister was in the northern port city to attend a ceremony for signature of a contract between suppliers and the city's university, which is to receive natural gas.
 Intralot launches e-gaming company in Turkey negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Intralot, a listed Greek gaming company, on Tuesday announced the set up of a subsidiary in Turkey in cooperation with Turkcell, the largest mobile telephony operator in the neighboring country.
The new company, Libero SA, will offer gaming services through alternative networks (mobile phones, call centers, digital TV and Internet.
Libero, in cooperation with Intralot and other local companies, will establish a system based on the LOTOS system by Intralot, already supplied with Turkey's Soccer Lottery Organization Sportoto.
The new company will use Turkcell's network in Turkey and is expected to begin operating by the end of 2003 in two phases: the first, offering its services with mobile phones (WAP over GPRS) and Internet (Web portal in the Internet), and the second offering Interactive Voice Recognition system and iDTV, and Digital TV services.
The system will be the first to be offered in Europe operating through alternative networks.
 Delegation of entrepreneurs and state officials from Brazil visit Greece negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)A 15-member delegation of entrepreneurs from Brazil, headed by the Governor of the state of Goias, Marconi Ferreira Perillo Junior, visited the headquarters of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO)in Athens, following an initiative taken by Greece's Embassy in Brazil.
The Brazilian delegation visited Greece from September 8-14, participated at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair (TIF) and apart from the GNTO, also met with the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) and the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBETH).
At the same time, the GNTO, within the framework of its projection of Athens, arranged a tour of sites in the city.
 Street market unions pledge price freezing negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)The Panhellenic Federation of Street Market Sellers on Tuesday pledged to freeze their prices on manufactured goods (household, clothing, footwear, flowers, frozen and dried foods).
The Federation announced an agreement by its members to keep their prices unchanged at September 13th levels and to seek price cuts up to 15 percent in the next few weeks.
The move comes a few days after several big super market chains announced they were freezing their prices for the next four months in an effort to help contain inflationary pressures in the economy.
 Central bank to up growth forecast, governor says negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)The central bank will raise its existing growth forecast of 3.7 percent for 2003, its governor, Nikolas Garganas told reporters on Tuesday.
At the same time, the Bank of Greece's inflation forecast of an average 3.6 percent remains in place, Garganas said concerning the bank's interim monetary policy report, which is destined for parliament in early October.
He also said that consumer loans had shown a slight slowdown in the rate of increase since controls were lifted; but bad loans in the sector displayed a higher rate than the eurozone average.
 Taxis begin 48-hour strike on Wednesday negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Taxi drivers in Athens and Attica are to begin a 48-hour strike on Wednesday at five o'clock in the morning, their union said in a statement.
The drivers are protesting against a government plan to make the use of electronic cash registers in their vehicles mandatory from January 1, 2004; and against the government's refusal to allow taxis to use bus lanes.
The government has said it will not backtrack on receipts. Taxi drivers are also seeking a rise in tariffs.
 Greek stocks continue moving lower on Tuesday negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks remained under pressure to end lower in Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with the Greek bourse continuing moving against the tide of rising international markets.
The general index ended 1.05 percent lower at 2,026.07 points, slightly off its session lows of 2,020 points. Turnover was a low 135.2 million euros.
All sector indices ended lower, with the Textile (4.31 percent), IT Solution (3.79 percent) and Wholesale (2.68 percent) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.80 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.88 percent down and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 2.36 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 291 to 39 with another 28 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Alpha Bank, National Bank of Greece, Football Pools Organization, and Vodafone.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 158.3 mln euros Tuesday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers
lag sellers on Tuesday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Closing rates of September 16 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,132 1,106
 One N. Greece village remembers new acting Swedish FM 'as one of its own' negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)One small township in northern Greece certainly took notice this past week of the appointment of new acting Swedish Foreign Minister Jan Karlsson, who happens to be an honorary citizen of the village of Valtero, in Serres prefecture, east of the major port city of Thessaloniki.
Karlsson was sworn-in last week following the heinous murder of his predecessor Anna Lindh in Stockholm. He was previously the minister for Cooperation and Migration at the Swedish Foreign Ministry.
According to reports, local residents remember Karlsson from his visits to the town, back to the first in 1986, and during a time when he was a member of Sweden’s Parliament.
Local residents also sent him a congratulatory telegram, according to reports.
 Attorney claims Tselentis was shooter in Matis murder by N17 negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)The attorney representing the family of slain police officer Christos Matis, who was shot during a bank robbery carried out by the terrorist group November 17, on Tuesday claimed that the person who actually shot the officer was Patroklos Tselentis and not Dimitris Koufodinas, as claimed in the indictment.
Attorney Stavros Georgiou cited the testimony of eye-witnesses to the 1984 robbery, who said that the robber disguised as a police officer had held down the victim while a man dressed in civilian clothes had shot him.
Other witnesses, meanwhile, had confirmed that the man in a police uniform had been Koufodinas.
According to Georgiou, Tselentis was lying when he claimed not to have entered the bank and when he said that no woman had been involved in the robbery. Furthermore, he accused Tselentis of hiding the fact that he was armed with the same type of gun as Koufodinas.
Georgiou also questioned whether all the organization’s leader-ship was actually in the courtroom and said that Alexandros Giotopoulos did not cut a convincing figure as the sole leader of N17, though he did not doubt that he was among the group's high-ranking members.
After Georgiou, the court was addressed by the attorney Evgenios Potamitis representing the Momferatos family regarding the twin murders of newspaper publisher Nikos Mom-feratos and his driver Panagiotis Rousetis in 1986.
Potamitis argued that Momferatos had been killed by Dimitris Koufodinas and Christodoulos Xiros, while Patroklos Tselentis had shot the driver Rousetis.
He was followed by the attorney for the Rousetis family in the same case, who said the twin murder had been a ''new chapter'' for the terror group, which until that time had concentrated on ''revenge killings'' against people associated with the 1967-1974 junta.
 Map exhibition focusing on Cyprus at Benaki Museum negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)An exhibition that charts the history of Cyprus as this was recorded in European cartography from the 15th until the 19th centuries opened its doors at the Benaki Museum in Athens on Tuesday, inaugurated by Cyprus Minister of Education and Culture Pefkios Georgiades. The exhibition features roughly 100 maps out of 250 contained in the collection of Cypriot national Sylvia Ioannou.
Organizers said the aim of the exhibition, which is entitled ''Sweet Country, Cyprus'' is to highlight the economic, administrative and cultural ties between Cyprus and Europe through history on the occasion of the island's accession to the EU.
 Major hashish seizure reported negotiations
Athens, 17/09/2003 (ANA)Police seized 32 kilos of hashish on Monday and arrested one man believed to be connected with a major drug trafficking ring run out of Albania.
The suspect was identified as Ilia Sias, 27, an Albanian national. Police found the hashish in the man’s car after a search in the Kolonos district of Athens.
An investigation is continuing.
 UN Chief expresses regret over failure to reach Cyprus settlement
UNITED NATIONS, 17/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has expressed regret that the Cyprus problem despite his intensive exercise of his good offices, remains unresolved.
However, he stresses that he would resume active efforts to resolve this longstanding problem provided that the parties concerned would demonstrate their commitment to a settlement based on his peace plan.
The UN chief notes that a settlement before the entry into force of the Treaty of Accession to the European Union - on May 1, 2004 - would still allow a reunited Cyprus to accede to the European Union.
Annan's Cyprus reference is included in his annual report to the UN General Assembly on the work of the United Nations, released Monday at UN Headquarters. Chapter I of the report entitled ''Achieving peace and security'' that deals with conflict prevention and peacemaking in many regional problems includes, among others, a paragraph on Cyprus.
The Secretary General says in his report that he does not believe ''that any purpose would be served by taking a new initiative unless the parties demonstrate their commitment to a settlement on the basis of the plan. Should such a commitment be forthcoming, I shall resume active efforts to resolve this longstanding dispute.''
In the meantime, he adds, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus continues to monitor the buffer zone across the island.
The UN Chief expresses regret that the Cyprus problem despite his intensive exercise of his good offices remains unresolved and he emphasizes that ''the lifting of travel restrictions between the north and south of the island in recent months, while welcome, is no substitute for a comprehensive settlement of the core issues.''
Commenting on the failure of the UN-sponsored Cyprus talks at The Hague in March of 2003, he says that a unique opportunity to achieve a settlement was squandered - a settlement which would have allowed a reunited Cyprus to sign the Treaty of Accession to the European Union April 16 2003.
He explains that he submitted in November 2002 a draft comprehensive settlement to the two Cypriot leaders as time was running out before the Treaty's signature, and with hopes renewed by the election in November 2002 of a government of Turkey that seemed genuinely disposed to resolving the question.
''Despite their agreeing to negotiate on the basis of that plan, the negotiations failed to result in an agreement and in April 2003 I closed the office of my Special Adviser,'' he adds.
Annan's intensive efforts failed to reach a Cyprus settlement after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's refusal to put to a referendum the UN chief's peace plan.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
 Bicommunal groups organize events to bring communities closer
NICOSIA 17/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)With the aim to establish a day when Cypriots from both communities of the island can celebrate together, Cypriot bicommunal groups are organizing a series of events aspiring to bring both sides closer.
The events begin on September 21st, which has been declared International Peace Day by the United Nations and will culminate on September 30th in a bicommunal event at the Ledra Palace in Nicosia.
Nicos Anastasiou, Coordinator of Bicommunal Groups, told a press conference here Tuesday that ''in Cyprus we have a situation where each side annually has different dates where they celebrate various events," adding that ''what usual is the case is that when one side celebrates, the other side mourns or ignores what is happening."
''During our bicommunal work all these years we have felt very strongly the need to decide that there should be one day where all Cypriots celebrate together," Anastasiou said, adding the bicommunal groups consider September 30th a day to be celebrated ''as the Cyprus Peace Day''.
He also said that the bicommunal groups are encouraging, political parties, non-governmental organizations, bicommunal and communal groups to contribute towards the establishment of a Cyprus peace day.
Referring to the present situation of the Cyprus problem, Anastasiou said ''we are fully aware that we do not yet have a political solution to the Cyprus problem but as peace builders we keep saying that the job of citizens to build the peace is important before, during and after the process of finding a political solution."
''Irrespective of whatever political settlement can be found, unless the citizens on the grass root level can regain trust and understand that we are here to live together on this island, no political solution will ever work," he added.
On September 21, Greek Cypriots from the occupied village of Elia will get together with Turkish Cypriots from the neigh-boring village of Petra in the free areas, at Orkontas village where Greek Cypriots can overlook their occupied village.
The next day, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will protest the showing of passports at checkpoints by getting two donkeys to cross the divide.
As Turkish Cypriot Neshe Yasin said, this move comes as a response to a past statement made by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that ''there are no Cypriots in Cyprus but only Cypriot donkeys." In case the donkeys are required to show passport, the bicommunal groups have prepared some for them.
On September 24, the bicommunal groups are organizing in the free areas an event entitled ''Cypriot Memories, Culture and Future'' where Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot senior citizens will pass on their memories and culture. In this event, which will be broadcast live through the Internet, young Cypriots can see the traditional making of coffee.
The series of the bicommunal events also include reunion of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots living in mixed villages before the 1974 Turkish invasion, like in the occupied village Lapithos on September 27 and in the occupied village of Kazafani on September 28.
On September 30 the events will culminate with the celebration of the ''Cyprus Peace Day'' at Ledra Palace, where a bicommunal march ending at Ledra Palace would take place, while with the support of Doctors of the World and Karaiskakion Foundation there will be blood donation and blood sample donations for tests for bone marrow transplants.