|Thursday, 17 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 23, 2003
 Gov't welcomes falling jobless rate, forges 2003-2006 strategy
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)Labor and Social Insurance Minister Dimitris Reppas on Monday welcomed a decline in unemployment but pledged that the government would not fall victim to complacency.
''The government will continue its endeavor to meet its target of a radical reduction in unemployment,'' Reppas told a meeting of the National Employment Commission, which is forging a national employment action plan for 2003-2006.
The minister acknowledged that first-time job seekers were in difficulty.
The government would recruit 25,000 jobless for part-time work in social services at the start of 2004, converting unemployment benefit into employment subsidies.
Under the measure, the jobless recruited by companies would continue to receive unemployment benefit; and the employer would pay the difference between the benefit and the minimum wage plus social insurance contributions.
Among other measures in the government's employment action plan are the following:
Reppas added that the Social Protection Commission would meet on September 30 to discuss the social budget.
In addition, the government was preparing two bills on changes in industrial relations and reform of the social insurance system.
Union chief cautiously welcomes job plan: The leader of the General Confederation of Labor of Greece (GSEE), Christos Polyzogopoulos, told the National Employment Commission that the action plan appeared to be favorable.
Polyzogopoulos said that 55 percent of new entrants into the labor market worked only on a part-time or flexible basis.
A reduction in working hours was essential to lowering unemployment, he added.
The GSEE's general secretary, Yiannis Manolis, walked out of the meeting, calling procedures a mockery and claiming that inaccurate statistical data had been provided.
 PM to meet visiting Hungarian president, discuss Olympics this week
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis had a meeting with the head of the Athens Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC) Gianna Angelopoulos on Monday morning to prepare for Tuesday's meeting of the government committee for Olympic preparations, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced.
He said the premier was next scheduled to meet with National Bank of Greece governor Theodoros Karatzas at 14:00.
On Tuesday morning, meanwhile, Simitis is to meet Deputy Agriculture Minister Fotis Hatzimihalis to discuss a draft law for land classified as forest before the meeting of the government's Olympic preparations committee at noon.
On Wednesday at 10:00, the premier will chair a meeting attended by PASOK Central Committee Secretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis, Press Minister Christos Protopapas and Deputy Press Minister Telemahos Hytiris regarding communication issues, while at noon he will meet visiting Hungarian President Ferenc Madl.
Protopapas said an announcement will be made later regarding the regular cabinet meeting usually held on Thursday morning. On Thursday evening at 19:00, meanwhile, Simitis is to chair a meeting about the finances of the Games attended by Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Pachtas, Deputy Education Minister Nikos Farmakis, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Deputy Culture Minister Nasos Alevras and Olympic Games General Secretary Theodoros Kartalis.
On Friday, Simitis is to visit facilities at Agios Kosmas, followed by a meeting with Christodoulakis at 11:30.
 FM to depart for UN General Assembly on Wed.; Cyprus tops agenda
NEW YORK 23/09/2003 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou will head for the annual United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, where he is expected to meet on the sidelines with several of his counterparts from other countries, as well as with UN Chief Kofi Annan.
The long-standing Cyprus issue, the situation in strife-ridden Iraq as well as the “Olympic Truce” initiative being vigorously co-promoted by the Greek foreign ministry, are the issues expected to dominate talks Papandreou will have with Annan, as well as with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Other meetings are planned with the foreign ministers from Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Israel, China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
In a press briefing on Monday, a foreign ministry spokesman also referred to continuing attempts by the illegal regime propped up in the Turkish-occupied parts of Cyprus to attain recognition as an independent state by the Islamic Summit.
Spokesman Panos Beglitis said the issue will be brought up by Papandreou in all of his contacts with other FMs in New York.
It was also officially announced on Monday that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will visit Athens on Oct. 21.
Finally, asked about the situation in Iraq, the Greek spokesman said Athens continues to rule out the dispatch of military units there, although it is examining other ways in which to contribute towards the reconstruction of Iraq and its beleaguered society.
 Greek Parliament delegation to visit Ramallah, Arafat this week
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis on Monday told the delegation from the Greek Committee for International Recession and Peace that a cross-party delegation from the Greek Parliament will be visiting Ramallah and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat within the coming week.
During his meeting with the six-member delegation, Kaklamanis discussed developments in Palestine and Iraq.
 Magriotis meets with Ukraine's Yalchenko
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)Visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis met on Monday in Kiev with Ukrainian Alternate Deputy Foreign Minister Yalchenko, according to a foreign ministry announcement in Athens.
After the meeting Yalchenko thanked the Greek government for supporting Ukraine's EU candidacy.
On his part, Magriotis called Ukraine a ''model country concerning the policy it implements for ethnic minorities, among them the Greek community in the country''.
 Karamanlis sends congratulatory letter to Stoiber over CSU victory
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday sent a congratulatory letter to Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber for the victory of the Christian-Social Union party in Sunday's elections in Bavaria, Germany.
In his letter, Karamanlis noted the ''impressive victory'' of CSU, calling it one more proof of the strength of the values of the center and of the center-right, both in Germany and the rest of Europe.
''It is obvious that the Europeans are looking for new policies for the strengthening of development, the battle against unemployment, the battle against social insecurity and the offer of better social services. The message is clear for a new beginning in Europe,'' Karamanlis said.
 Gov't spokesman on latest opinion poll results
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)The government spokesman answered more questions on Monday during his regular press briefing concerning a minor barrage of opinion polls released over the weekend by most of Athens’ major daily newspapers.
In reaction to poll results showing a decreasing but still noteworthy lead for main opposition New Democracy over ruling PASOK, spokesman Christos Protopapas noted that a “new political climate has been created, one creating conditions for (a PASOK) victory in the coming elections.”
 Gas stations announce end of strike late on Monday
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)Petrol station owners late on Monday announced the end of an indefinite strike that had begun at midnight.
The decision was taken and announced formally after a meeting of the union federation's board late on Monday, after an agreement was reached earlier in the evening between the president of the Federation of Gas Station Owners of Greece, Dimitris Makryvelias and Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis.
The strike had been ordained after a breakdown of talks with the government on the mandatory issue of receipts for gasoline.
Electronic cash registers are to be installed at the pumps to record gasoline sales in a move to streamline taxation.
In addition, the development ministry has imposed a price ceiling on liquid fuel in mostly island regions to crack down on profiteering with higher fuel transportation costs as a pretext.
Makryvelias said that under the terms of the agreement with the government, manufacturers of electronic cash registers will have until October 1 to apply for the project.
Gas station owners have complained about the lack of choice of suppliers for the registers to be installed at the pumps. Larger petrol stations will have 20 days to order from a manufacturer, and small units until February 28, the union leader said.
 EU to maintain farm subsidy program by 2012, Prodi
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)The European Union will maintain its subsidy program on farm products by 2012 at least, while its reform plan covering olive oil includes introducing the criterion of "quantity, production and quality to benefit more smaller and weaker farmers," European Commission President Romano Prodi said on Monday.
In an interview with a local newspaper and television station in Crete, the EU executive's head expressed his great respect for Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis although he declined to answer questions over who was going to succeed him as president of the Commission. "It depends on thousand political balances...North...South...Euro-election results. It is very difficult to make predictions right now, it’s like soccer betting and even more difficult in this case," Mr Prodi said.
The Commission president also praised Greece's EU presidency term in the first six months of 2003.
Prodi, commenting on a draft European constitution, said he opposed the idea of a double executive body and stressed it was utopic to believe that 25 countries could decide on the principle of unanimity.
He was adamant that all EU member-states should retain their commissioner positions and distanced himself from a French-German position over a federal Europe, saying he was always thinking of Europe "as a union of people and nations".
Commenting on the responsibilities of a future EU Foreign Minister, Prodi said that they would be limited initially and underlined his contribution to efforts for a unified Cyprus to enter the EU.
 ECB VP Papademos on Stability Pact, interest rates
BRUSSELS 23/09/2003 (ANA)European Central Bank Vice-President (ECB) Loukas Papademos was quoted in an interview published by a Belgian newspaper here over the weekend, with particular reference to the Frankfurt-based central bank’s policies regarding the recently timely discussion about the euro-zone's Stability Pact.
Commenting to the “L’Echo” paper, Papademos was said that the ECB expects all member-states experiencing fiscal imbalances to “make every effort, as they should” to respect obligations emanating from the Stability Pact. The latter was a direct reference to the latest developments involving France and Germany.
In a separate issue, he said the ECB’s interest rates are currently at the proper level, while fiscal policies should be decided with a long-term view in mind, before adding that many countries tend to give more gravity to their short-term economic policies.
 Grocery store owners pledge "price freeze" policy
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)The Panhellenic Union of Grocery Store Owners on Monday pledged to follow a trend, currently prevailing in the Greek market, to freeze prices in the next four months.
Speaking to reporters, in a press conference, representatives of the union stressed that Greek producers and manufacturers have recommended rises of up to 16.6 percent in their wholesale prices to the retail sector so far this year and criticized a "price freeze" policy, recently adopted by large retail groups in the country as an effort to gain more market share against small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Leonidas Kariyiannis, chairman of the union, stressed that around 20,000 shops have closed in the last 15 years around the country and noted that the sector accounted for 35 percent of market turnover.
 ASE finds support at 2,000 level on Monday
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks ended lower the first trading session of a new week in the Athens Stock Exchange, with the general index falling below the 2,000 level one hour before the bell.
The index, however, managed to recover part of its earlier heavy losses to end at 2,021.94 points, down 0.86 percent. Traders said the market found technical support at the 2,000 level with many investors buying blue chip stocks in the last half hour of trading.
Turnover was a low 98.8 million euros.
The Publication, Textile and IT Solution sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (3.61 percent, 3.47 percent and 3.32 percent, respectively), while the Bank sector fell by 0.17 percent. The Investment sector was the only one to score gains (up 0.27 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.52 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 1.58 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index plunged 2.84 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 292 to 50 with another 22 issues unchanged.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 98.0 mln euros Monday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers lag sellers on Monday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
 President Stephanopoulos inspects Olympics facilities
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday carried out a tour of Olympic facilities being constructed around Athens, accompanied by Athens Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos.
The president visited the site of the Olympic Village, the Olympics Weight-Lifting Centre in Nikaia, the Olympic Tae Kwon Do Centre and Beach Volleyball facilities in Faliro and the Olympic Sailing Centre at Agios Kosmas.
He was shown around the Olympic Village by Deputy Labor Minister Eleftherios Tziolas and Worker Housing Foundation president Athanassios Asimakopoulos, at the weight-lifting centre by Deputy Culture Minister Nassos Alevras, while at Faliro and Agios Kosmas he was briefed by Environment Minister Vasso Papandreou.
 PM meets with ATHOC chief prior to Tues. inter-ministerial session
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis received Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki at his office on Monday, a day ahead of tomorrow's regular inter-ministerial meeting.
The latest inter-ministerial meeting, which brings together a handful of Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers in charge of 2004-related preparations as well as ATHOC's top leadership, is expected to focus on preparations for the 2004 Paralympic Games in September 2004, which will follow the Olympic Games by a month.
Making Athens a more accessible city for people with disabilities is among the highest priorities on the agenda.
On Monday, Simitis and Angelopoulou-Daskalaki also discussed the ATHOC chief’s recent visit to Lausanne for a briefing of the IOC’s leadership.
According to other sources, the Games’ finances were also covered, a particularly sensitive topic that has earned the government’s heightened attention in the past, as the prime minister reportedly stressed that the overall Olympics budget must remain at the level announced a year ago, namely, 4.4 billion euros.
Along those lines, the budget issue will be the focus of a high-ranking government meeting in the near future.
 Meeting of Balkan justice ministers
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)The development of international and regional judicial cooperation among Balkan countries in the context of their convergence with the European models was the subject of discussion at the 2nd Meeting of Balkan justice ministers in Romania, where Greece was represented by its justice minister Philippos Petsalnikos.
The Balkan ministers further discussed strategies for reform of the judicial systems of the Balkan states, aimed at building a just state and the fundamental consolidation of human rights.
Addressing his Balkan colleagues, Petsalnikos stressed the importance that needed to be placed on upgrading the judicial system of the Balkan countries, with emphasis on the system's more efficient organization and operation, consolidation of the independence of the judicial functionaries, and consolidation of the just state.
He further noted the need to reinforce the training of the judicial functionaries, noting that for that reason Greece had advanced a program for continuing training of the judicial functionaries of its neighboring countries at the National School of Judges in Thessaloniki.
According to a Greek justice ministry announcement issued later on Monday, the ministers attending the meeting issued a joint communique calling for the creation of a Balkan network of judicial cooperation in penal issues to help prevent and combat organized crime, in civil cases to facilitate access to justice for Balkan nationals and the creation of a permanent framework of cooperation between judges in the Balkan area through the regular organization of events on issues of mutual interest.
It also called for setting up contact points in judicial and government services dealing with matters of international legal cooperation, mutual cooperation within the framework of European integration and harmonization with EU law and continued annual meetings at a ministerial level to discuss progress in European integration.
 Deputy FM inaugurates new Greek embassy in Ukraine
KIEV 23/09/2003 (ANA - S. Aravopoulou)Deputy Foreign Minister for expatriate affairs Yiannis Magriotis on Monday ended a three-day official visit to the Ukraine by attending the inauguration of a new building to house the Greek Embassy in Kiev, accompanied by his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymir Yelchenko.
Magriotis said the new larger building for the Greek Embassy marked "a new cycle in relations with the Ukraine".
Talks between the Greek minister and Yelchenko covered bilateral relations, joint initiatives and projects begun by Greece concerning the Ukraine's ethnic Greek population.
The visit also paved the way for a planned visit to Greece in February by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.
 Victims' attorneys continue to tear into 'N17' during trial's final phase
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)The chorus of final arguments by attorneys representing the families of November 17’s victims, as well as targeted individuals that survived attacks, continued on Monday at the trial of 19 terrorist suspects.
One attorney said the ultra-leftist terror gang wanted to kill her client, former Parliament MP Lefteris Papadimitriou. Moreover, she said the selection of Papadimitriou as a target was capricious and inexplicable, albeit part of the once-elusive group’s aim of sowing fear and terror within Greek society.
“N17’s members tried to escape their miserable lives in this rancorous manner,” attorney Anthoula Sobolou said.
Earlier, the ex-deputy himself characterized N17 as nothing more than an “outdated and marginal group” that was out-of-step with society and the times.
Regarding Alexandros Giotopoulos, alias “Michel Economou”, the alleged mastermind of the group, Papadimitriou was sharp in his comments about the 62-year-old Paris-born defendant.
“He (Giotopoulos) elevated the committal of crimes against a society he ostensibly served into a profession. Because he is cowardly, and only for that reason, even now in the 11th hour, he still does not assume responsibility for his actions, despite the fact that even the rocks cry out his guilt ... he’s hiding behind his finger, although we can all see him,” the former deputy said in citing a couple of Greek adages.
Besides himself, Papadimitriou is representing several police officers injured in various N17 attacks over the past two and a half decades. The former New Democracy deputy was ambushed and shot in the legs by a N17 hitman in late 1992.
The trial continues on Tuesday at before the three-judge appellate court at a specially modified jailhouse hall at the Korydallos penitentiary.
 Vartholomeos to meet with Shevardnadze on Tuesday
ISTANBUL 23/09/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos arrived in Batumi, Georgia, on Monday and will depart for Tibilisi, where on Tuesday afternoon he will meet with the country's President Eduard Shevardnadze.
The two men met on Monday afternoon during events celebrating the millennium since the founding of the church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Bagrati, which is a national monument for the Georgian people.
Ecumenical Patriarch received by Patriarch of Georgia: Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos was received by Georgia Patriarch Ilia on Monday at the seat of the Georgian Patriarchate in Tbilisi.
Vartholomeos is currently in the midst of a three-day official visit to Georgia, during which he met Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.
The Patriarch's visit was carried out on the occasion of celebrations marking the 1000th anniversary since the completion of the Bagrati Cathedral in the city of Kutaisi, considered an ethnic and religious symbol for Georgians.
 OASA to lay on extra buses during taxi strike
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)The Athens public transport body OASA on Monday announced that it would extend bus timetables and the frequency of bus services in Attica to assist the public during a four-day strike begun by taxi drivers.
Taxi drivers are protesting against government plans to make them install electronic cash registers and issue receipts for fares.
OASA said that buses will operate from 5:00 in the morning until 1:00 after midnight, while trolley bus routes will become more frequent and operate between 5:00 in the morning and 1:30 after midnight.
Athens Metro extends work hours due to taxi strike: Following the example set by the Urban Transport Organization (OASA), the Attiko Metro company announced on Monday an extension of work hours for the Athens Metro to facilitate the public due to the four-day taxi strike.
The company announced the departure of the last train from Syntagma Square to all terminal stations (Sepolia, Daphne, Monastiraki and Ethniki Amyna) will take place at 01:00, from Sepolia to Daphne at 00:49, from Daphne to Sepolia at 00:49, from Monastiraki to Ethniki Amyna at 00:55 and from Ethniki Amyna to Monastiraki at 00:47.
 First female motorcycle officers join Athens traffic police
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)The first four women to join the Athens traffic department's motorcycle force began patrols in the centre of Athens on Monday, carrying out the full range of duties undertaken by their male colleagues.
These will include motorbike patrols in the city centre to locate offenders, regulate traffic and respond to calls from the police centre to deal with problems that arise.
The four women had been requested by the traffic department for the motorbike patrol and join a total of 30 women currently employed by the Athens traffic department.
They are not the first female motorcycle officers in the Greek police force as a whole, however, since women have for some years served in the 'Z' motorcycle team attached to the Attica emergency response unit.
 Request for Gusinsky's extradition sent to justice ministry
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)The Greek foreign ministry on Monday sent the request by the office of Moscow's prosecutor to the Greek justice ministry, concerning the extradition of Russian businessman Vladimir Gusinsky, who was detained in Greece on a request of the Russian authorities.
Gusinsky, a former media baron in Russia, was arrested in Athens on Aug. 25 at the Athens International Airport, but was later released under terms, having been ordered to remain in the country, pending the arrival of paperwork from Russia.
The request of the Russian government will be reviewed by the Athens Appellate Court.
 International telecard and coin exhibition in Thessaloniki next month
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)The 10th international telecard and coin exhibition will take place in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on October 4-5, with the participation of dozens of business firms specializing in the sale of collectors' items from Greece and abroad, the post office service ELTA and telecommunications organizations.
On the occasion of the exhibition's 10th anniversary, a special collectors' telecard in a limited number of copies, a commemorative series of silver Greek euro coins and a commemorative seal and envelope from ELTA will be issued.
The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) has issued more than 2,000 telecards since 1992 which, as is also the case in other countries, also appeal to collectors.
 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre to perform in Athens this week
Athens, 23/09/2003 (ANA)The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre troupe is scheduled to perform at Athens' Lycabettus theatre on three nights from September 23-26, under the aegis of United States Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller.
The dance troupe's repertoire is strongly influenced by gospel and spiritual music that reflect the african-american roots of its Texas-born founder Alvin Ailey and last performed in Greece in September 2001.
The performances are organized by the Athens Municipality cultural organization
 Cyprus President says slim chance of talks before 'elections'
NICOSIA 23/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos said on Monday that from his discussions with those interested or involved in the Cyprus problem, he did not get the impression that there were great chances of negotiations for a settlement beginning or concluding before the illegal ''parliamentary elections'' in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic, scheduled for December.
Speaking at Larnaca Airport on his departure for New York, President Papadopoulos said it would be in the interests of both communities on the island if the so-called ''elections'' were won by political parties that believe in a settlement within the context of a solution plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
The president said he was flying to New York to participate in the UN General Assembly. During his stay, he will be meeting with Annan, State Department officials, and leaders or representatives of governments.
Asked what he expected from his meeting with Annan, President Papadopoulos said ''nothing in particular but I believe that every meeting with the Secretary General to discuss the Annan plan is always useful.''
Replying to other questions, the president said ''the changes we are pursuing to improve the Annan plan do not necessarily mean that we are removing rights from the Turkish Cypriots but aim at making the plan functional and thus more viable,'' a development which would be ''in favor of both communities.''
Invited to say if negotiations for a settlement could start soon, President Papadopoulos said ''we are ready at any time to participate in negotiations based on the Annan plan under the auspices of the UN, either before or after December.''
''My information and discussions with all those interested or who have a role to play in negotiations on Cyprus do not give me the impression that there are many possibilities of starting negotiations or for their successful conclusion before the elections of December in the occupied areas,'' he added.
Asked what significance he allocated to the ''elections'', the president said, ''If the elections are won by parties that believe in the need for a solution within the context of the Annan plan, that certainly would be in the interests of both communities. However, if the outcome of the elections is such that would justify or would lead to the removal of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, then that would be an immeasurable occurrence and I cannot make any predictions.''
The president explained that Denktash's views are clear, that is the Turkish Cypriot leader considers the Annan plan ''dead and buried'' and insists on the creation of ''two separate states'' on the island.
 Cyprus Spokesman says no indication of observers for 'elections'
NICOSIA 23/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Monday that the government had no official or unofficial indication that non governmental observers intended to visit Cyprus for the so-called ''parliamentary elections'' in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic, scheduled to take place in December.
Commenting on statements British High Commissioner to Cyprus Lyn Parker made to daily newspaper ''Politis'' that it would be desirable for independent observers from non governmental organizations to visit Cyprus for the illegal ''elections'', Chrysostomides noted that even if they did come to Cyprus, the government would not concede to their monitoring the ''elections''.
He added it was not yet clear if there was a suggestion for the observers to determine the number of Turkish settlers who have illegally obtained the ''right'' from the Turkish occupation regime to ''vote'' in the so-called ''elections''.
Replying to questions, the spokesman said the number of settlers could be determined by carrying out systematic censuses, as stipulated in UN resolution 789.
The spokesman referred to Turkish Cypriot press reports that there were 137,000 ''voters'' in the Turkish occupied areas, of which only 75,000 were Turkish Cypriots.
He said it would be ''positive'' if the observers could prove this but noted that since it may not be possible, the presence of the observers would ''offer nothing apart from checking on the day of the elections that these were carried out in a free and democratic manner.''
Cyprus FM Iacovou launches meetings in New York UNITED NATIONS 23/09/2003 (CNA)
Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou met on Monday in New York with his Israeli counterpart Sylvan Shalom, kicking off a series of meetings at UN headquarters.
During Monday's meeting, the Israeli minister congratulated Cyprus on its accession to the European Union. Shalom noted that he looks forward to close cooperation on the bilateral level and in the context of the EU, adding that Israel acknowledges Cyprus' role in the region. Iacovou and Shalom also discussed the Cyprus problem and the situation in the Middle East.
Iacovou was accompanied by Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis and Foreign Ministry officials.
On Monday, the one-day high-level meeting to evaluate the AIDS combating program began at UN headquarters. Iacovou represents Cyprus at the meeting.
The meeting will be addressed by many heads of state and ministers, among whom Iacovou on behalf of President Tassos Papadopoulos.
Later on Monday, Iacovou was due to attend a working lunch hosted by the American Jewish Committee. Also present will be Mavroyiannis and the chairmen of organizations of Cypriots living abroad.