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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

September 25, 2003


  • [01] Simitis receives Hungarian President Madl; EU issues discussed
  • [02] Dialogue on election law begins with just one opposition party attending
  • [03] FM to submit draft resolution to UN for 'best possible world' through sport
  • [04] European Parliament ratifies report on European constitution
  • [05] Juvenile offenders bill discussed by Parliament committee
  • [06] Papantoniou signs Anna Lindh book of condolences in Sweden
  • [07] Simitis-Chrysohoidis meeting on Wed. 24
  • [08] Main opposition leader visits State Audit Council, criticizes gov't
  • [09] PAME labor group presents information on situation in Palestinian territory
  • [10] Greek tourism completes promotion campaign in US market
  • [11] UK tour operators-GNTO discuss tourism matters
  • [12] Farm minister says EU policy to aid sector amid global competition
  • [13] Transport Minister: Gov't will not back down on receipts for taxis
  • [14] Greek consumers to seek class action suit against PPC
  • [15] Crete, Cyprus to debate ports and EU transport networks
  • [16] Shipping welcomes inclusion in government alignment charter
  • [17] National Bank says to acquire Banca Romaneasca
  • [18] Capital Markets' Commission announces penalties
  • [19] Greek businesses need more funding to adopt new technologies, report
  • [20] Lebanese business delegation visits Athens
  • [21] GSEE seeks legislation to prevent strikes being counted as leave
  • [22] Greek stocks rise for second consecutive session
  • [23] Top leadership restructuring announced by ATHOC chief
  • [24] Deputy sports minister meets with visiting Hungarian counterpart
  • [25] Olympic image of Athens presented at Berlin photo exhibition
  • [26] MP Fassoulas to address UN Security Council on Olympic Truce
  • [27] Ecumenical Patriarch received by Georgian president
  • [28] Attorney in N17 case expresses doubts over Sotiropoulou's guilt
  • [29] One death reported in border guard incident
  • [30] WWF Hellas slams gov't measures for illegal building, forests
  • [31] EU Commission publishes lists of chemicals, illnesses in workplace
  • [32] Merchant marine minister issues message in light of Merchant Marine Day
  • [33] World cultural heritage conference begins in Rhodes
  • [34] President Papadopoulos meets US diplomat on Cyprus
  • [35] Cyprus Spokesman says wanted changes to Annan Plan within its framework
  • [36] EU highly unlikely to send observers to monitor 'elections'
  • [37] Cyprus government welcomes Berlusconi's statement

  • [01] Simitis receives Hungarian President Madl; EU issues discussed

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greece and Hungary’s common interest in the European Union’s future as well as strengthening ties between Athens and Budapest dominated talks here on Wednesday between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and visiting Hungarian President Ferenc Madl.

    The meeting at the premier’s office came a day after Greek President Kostis Stephano-poulos received Madl.

    Simitis stressed that Athens wants to aid in Hungary’s adjustment to the new European Union reality, as well as increasing coordination amongst all EU member-states in light of ongoing work over a new European Constitution. Finally, he noted that Hungary hosted many ethnic Greeks in the aftermath of a civil war in the country (1946-49)

    On his part, Madl expressed his satisfaction over Athens’ contribution so far to his country EU accession process, noting that bilateral and economic relations have been very healthy for some time.

    Additionally, he referred to the VII European (road) corridor as one area where the two countries can cooperate even more within the Union framework.

    In reference to the timely issue of Europe’s future, Madl said Budapest backs the notion of a strong Europe in terms of security and foreign policy.

    “The moment of truth will come at the Intergovernmental Conference. Europe will be called on to prove whether it is able to express its view over its own future. I am, however, certain that until then whatever outstanding issues remaining will have been resolved,” he said.

    The Hungarian head of state earlier visited the offices of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA), where he called the Hungarian economy “attractive” for Greek and other foreign investors.

    According to EBEA figures, some 110 Greek firms are active in the Hungarian market, mostly involved with tourism, commerce, telecoms, transports and other service-related sectors.

    Total Greek investment in the country is estimated at US$180 million, while Greek exports to the Visegrad country include farm produce, tobacco, plastics and metals. Conversely, Greece mostly imports industrial goods from Hungary, mainly electrical products and automobiles.

    ND leader meets with visiting Hungarian president: Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday met with visiting Hungarian President Ferenc Madl and discussed bilateral issues, as well as ways to further improve bilateral relations.

    They focused on the role Greece and Hungary, as medium size countries, can play in the European Union, in light of the Intergovernmental Conference of Rome.

    Madl also met with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos.

    [02] Dialogue on election law begins with just one opposition party attending

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    A cross-party committee set up by the government to discuss its proposed changes to the election system met for the first time on Wednesday with the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology being the only opposition party in attendance.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga sent a letter announcing that her party would not participate in the process due to fundamental disagreement with the government proposals, while a similar letter was sent on Tuesday by Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas.

    Both KKE and DHKKI have called for the introduction of simple proportional representation.

    Main opposition New Democracy has ruled out its participation in dialogue on reforming election law from the start, claiming that Greece had entered an extended pre-election period and accusing the government of breaking an unofficial pact between the parties to not tamper with election law in the run-up to elections.

    After the meeting, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis expressed satisfaction over the ''interesting and substantial talks'' with the Coalition and said that the government will proceed to complete dialogue within the ruling party and make its final decisions, after which the cross-party committee would be reconvened to discuss a specific draft bill that would then be tabled in Parliament.

    Commenting on ND's refusal to take part in dialogue, Skandalidis said it was a ''brutal offence to the constitutional and institutional matters of the country because these are issues of major importance concerning democracy and the course of the political system that have no pre-electoral motives and do not affect the next elections''.

    Coalition representative Stergios Pitsiorlas criticized the other parties of the Left for not attending but slammed the proposed law as "unfair and ineffective", noting that the government had gone back on promises to establish simple proportional representation.

    [03] FM to submit draft resolution to UN for 'best possible world' through sport

    NEW YORK, 25/09/2003 (ANA/P.Panagiotou)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will submit at the 58th UN General Assembly on Friday a draft resolution for the ''Building of a Peaceful and Best Possible World'' through sport and the Olympic Ideal.

    The specific proposal for the Olympic Truce, which foresees the creation of a ''window of opportunity'' for the peaceful settlement of international conflicts during the course of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, but also the general promotion of sport as a means for achieving world solidarity, is expected to be adopted in early November 2003 and will be tabled for immediate ratification by all the UN member-states.

    Following the submission of the proposal, a special ceremony will be held at the UN headquarters, in the presence of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, General Assembly President Julian Robert Hunte, foreign minister Papandreou, and the director of the Olympic Truce International Centre, Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis. Many politicians and diplomats will attend the ceremony, including Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.

    It is noteworthy to point out that following the founding by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) (in close cooperation with Greece) of international non-governmental organizations ''Olympic Truce International Foundation'' and the ''Olympic Truce International Center'', more than 350 personalities from all over the world expressed their support to the specific initiative which continues to gather momentum.

    [04] European Parliament ratifies report on European constitution

    STRASBOURG, 25/09/2003 (ANA - O. Tsipira)

    A European Parliament plenum on Wednesday ratified with 335 votes to 106 and 53 abstentions a report by Spanish Eurodeputy Gil Robles and Dimitris Tsatsos on the draft treaty for the enactment of a European constitution.

    With this ratification the European Parliament calls on the Intergovernmental Conference to approve the Constitutional Assembly's draft constitution without considerable changes.

    Tsatsos, expressing satisfaction over the outcome of the vote, told reporters it signaled a victory of politics against bureaucracy.

    He referred to the ''historic'' nature of Wednesday's European Parliament session, stressing that ''with this text we are passing into another quality of arrangements, from technical arrangements to political arrangements.''

    ''History means development,'' Tsatsos said during the presentation of his report before the plenum and added ''for this reason and with the Assembly's work the constitutional history of the European Union is beginning to roll.''

    [05] Juvenile offenders bill discussed by Parliament committee

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    A justice ministry bill for reforming the penal code for juvenile offenders was positively received by the appropriate parliamentary committee on Wednesday, though MPs expressed reservations about how it might be enforced given the lack of necessary infrastructure.

    Responding to their concerns, Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos said a bill was being prepared for the construction of care units for juvenile prisoners. He also announced plans to hire 157 extra staff to meet the requirements of the bill, which was to deal with juvenile delinquency through prevention and social reintegration measures and to limit their incarceration in prisons.

    [06] Papantoniou signs Anna Lindh book of condolences in Sweden

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Rounding up an official visit to Sweden, national defense minister Yannos Papantoniou on Wednesday signed the book of condolences for the recent killing of Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh, a ministry announcement said.

    [07] Simitis-Chrysohoidis meeting on Wed. 24

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greek Prime Minister and ruling PASOK president Costas Simitis on Wednesday received PASOK secretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis for a two-hour meeting focusing on the government’s and party’s communications policy.

    In brief statements afterwards, Chrysohoidis -- who until recently was the public order minister -- appeared optimistic over ruling PASOK’s prospects in the next general elections, while he referred to the “democratic faction’s endurance” to continue after 2004.

    [08] Main opposition leader visits State Audit Council, criticizes gov't

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday visited the State Audit Council and was briefed on the problems that exist by its president Constantinos Rizos.

    In statements outside ND party headquarters later in the day, Karamanlis criticized the government, saying it lacked the will to enforce legality and transparency, and that a series of laws it had passed instituted protection for corruption.

    He said his party was in favor of upgrading the role of the state Audit Council, while noting the government's rejection of ND's proposals on this issue during the revision of the Constitution.

    [09] PAME labor group presents information on situation in Palestinian territory

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    A delegation of the labor group PAME, affiliated to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), visited Palestinian territory and presented information on the situation prevailing in the region during a press conference in Athens on Wednesday.

    Information collected by the Palestinian Authority's National Information Centre over the 35-month period concerning the second Intifada was presented at the press conference.

    According to this information, there were 2,700 dead, including 490 children and 180 women, in 20,588 air strikes. Moreover, 66 PLO members were killed, while there were also 55 dead at the barricades.

    In addition, there were 36,723 injured, including 4,140 pupils and children struck on their way to school, 10,000 workers were injured and 7,389 Palestinians are in 22 prisons and concentration camps.

    George Mavrikos noted that ''PAME, according to a decision taken by its Central Council, will participate in any mobilization or protest held in support of the Palestinians, their independence and the Intifada.''

    [10] Greek tourism completes promotion campaign in US market

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's National Tourism Organization last weekend completed an ambitious promotion campaign in the US market in cooperation with Conde Nast publishing group.

    The promotion campaign included a series of exhibitions, presentations and events for newly-wed couples in some of the biggest department stores in Madison Avenue, Manhattan.

    Greek tourism authorities organized a gala at Sherry Hotel in New York, titled "Eros-Hero-Athlos".

    The gala included 470 newly wed couples, with one couple winning an award offered by GNTO through a contest organized with Conde Nast Bridal Group and the producers of the box-office hit film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" which attracted around 11,000 couples in the US.

    [11] UK tour operators-GNTO discuss tourism matters

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's National Tourism Organization’s president, Yiannis Patellis, on Wednesday met with visiting president of the International Federation of Tour Operators IFTO, Andrew Cooper, and TUI UK's representative Colin McGregor, and discussed recent unfavorable developments including English tourists in Rhodes.

    Mr. Patellis stressed the need to avoid similar cases in the future and Greece's commitment to protecting its quality tourist product.

    The representatives of UK's tour operators pledged to begin a series of initiatives, such as organizing journalists' visits to Greece to promote the country's tourist product.

    The meeting also discussed general developments in international tourism, particularly a phenomenon of late-minute reservations, that grew strong because of the war in Iraq this year.

    Mr. Cooper and McGregor said that Greece was expected to maintain its tourist arrival numbers at last year's levels in 2003, something they called a success.

    [12] Farm minister says EU policy to aid sector amid global competition

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister George Drys said on Wednesday that the European Union's recently reviewed policy in the sector would help farmers and agribusinesses to hold their ground amid tough global competition.

    Drys was addressing the start of an annual European meeting of the Confederation of European Agriculture and the continent's COPA and COGECA farming and cooperative organizations, hosted by Greece's PASEGES cooperative group.

    The meeting ends on Friday.

    [13] Transport Minister: Gov't will not back down on receipts for taxis

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    The government will not back down over the installation of cash registers and the issue of receipts by taxis nor on allowing taxis to use bus lanes, transport minister Christos Verelis stressed on Wednesday during an interview with "Flash" radio station.

    He noted that taxi drivers were the only sector for which there was no monitoring mechanism for tax purposes and that bus lanes were intended to facilitate the movement of those using public transport.

    Verelis said the development of public transport would also transform taxis from the current 'mini-buses' taking multiple fares to a specialized form of transport with higher fares.

    [14] Greek consumers to seek class action suit against PPC

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    The Citizens' Union of Greece, a consumer group, on Wednesday said it was preparing a class action suit against Public Power Corporation, the country's electricity grid, protesting against a PPC policy to collect a fee for supporting renewable energy sources.

    Greek consumers are demanding more detailed information over the duration of such a decision, burdening their monthly electricity bills, since Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos has said that PPC would not collect the fee in the future and that consumers would finally get a refund of their money.

    [15] Crete, Cyprus to debate ports and EU transport networks

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Representatives of the Iraklio Port Organization in Crete are to begin talks on Thursday with the Cyprus Port Authority in connection with extension of the European Union's transport networks.

    Due to Cyprus' membership of the European Union, the EU network will stretch to the island republic via Crete.

    [16] Shipping welcomes inclusion in government alignment charter

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    The Union of Greek Shipowners on Wednesday welcomed inclusion of the shipping sector in the government's economic and social alignment charter with the European Union.

    The ship-owners, who also welcomed cooperation with the government on attaining quality in shipping, met earlier in the day with Merchant Marine Minister George Paschalides.

    [17] National Bank says to acquire Banca Romaneasca

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    National Bank of Greece is nearing agreement to acquire Banca Romaneasca of Romania, Apostolos Tamvakakis, the bank's vice-governor said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with the governor of central bank of Romania in Dubai in the sidelines of annual meetings by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Mr. Tamvakakis said that agreement was expected to be completed in the next fortnight.

    Banca Romaneasca operates a network of 25 branches in Romania and National Bank of Greece plans to open another 15 branches in the country.

    The Greek bank also plans to expand in the Russian market with its governor Theodore Karatzas and vice-governor Apostolos Tamvakakis scheduled to visit Moscow early October.

    Mr. Tamvakakis stressed that National Bank was not interested in Russia's retail banking sector but for corporate finance and capital market services.

    National Bank has the biggest international presence from any other Greek bank, with activities in 18 countries.

    [18] Capital Markets' Commission announces penalties

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's Capital Markets' Commission on Wednesday announced the imposition of penalties, worth 150,000 euros, against several securities and listed companies for breaching market legislation.

    More analytically, the Commission imposed a 10,000-euro penalty on Omega Securities, a 80,000-euro penalty on Halyvdo-fylla SA and a 30,000-euro penalty to Bank of Cyprus Ltd and UBS AG.

    [19] Greek businesses need more funding to adopt new technologies, report

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greek businesses, particular those based in the Central Macedonia region, are suffering from a gap between production and knowledge that puts a brake in adopting new technologies, a survey by the Northern Greece Industries' Union (SBBE) said on Wednesday.

    The survey also stressed that companies were also suffering from the fact that Greek banks were reluctant to fund new technology projects leaving companies in search of self-funding schemes.

    The situation, in adopting new technologies, is even worse in other regions of the country, such as Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Western Macedonia, Epirus and the Peloponnese, the survey said.

    The survey was presented by professor Theodosios Palaskas, head of research at the Institute of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE). The survey was based on a sample of 40 companies, 20 consultants and 14 support agencies in the period May-August 2003.

    The number of workers in innovative businesses, as a percentage of total workforce in the country, is 2.2 percent, compared with a 7.6 percent rate in the European Union, although the rate for Attica was 3.4 percent.

    The survey showed that 86 percent of companies believed that it was relying on their workforce to improve their competitiveness and to successfully adopt new technologies.

    [20] Lebanese business delegation visits Athens

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    A business delegation from Lebanon on Wednesday visited the offices of the Greek Industries' Union in Athens to discuss creating a Greek-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce.

    The Lebanese delegation included businessmen from the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, medical equipment, chemicals, steel, financial and tourism sectors.

    Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, president of the Greek Industries' Union, commenting on bilateral trade and financial relations said they were limited, reflecting the consequences of a civil war that had a negative impact on the economy of Lebanon, and the uncertainty over geopolitical developments in the Middle East.

    Mr. Kyriakopoulos stressed that although Greece was reporting a surplus in its trade balance with Lebanon, Greek exports accounted to 1-2 percent of total imports in the country.

    The two sides agreed there were prospects of further expanding Greek business activities in Lebanon, particularly in the construction sector and in trade transactions.

    The Lebanese delegation said that their country could be used as a platform for access to neighboring markets, because it offered some great advantages such as an association agreement with the European Union, updated legislation to attracting foreign capital, a modern banking system and lack of foreign exchange limitations.

    The Lebanese government aims to privatize the country's telecommunications, electricity production and distribution, water networks, harbors and tourism sectors.

    [21] GSEE seeks legislation to prevent strikes being counted as leave

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), Greece's largest umbrella trade union organization, on Wednesday asked the labor ministry to immediately prepare legislation that will prevent employers deducting leave for strike action ruled illegal by the courts until a final ruling is issued by the Supreme Court.

    [22] Greek stocks rise for second consecutive session

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks continued moving higher for the second consecutive session on Wednesday in the Athens Stock Exchange after the market successfully defended its support test at the 2,000-point level in the previous two sessions.

    The general index rose 0.94 percent to end at 2,045.55 points, with turnover a moderate 110.9 million euros.

    All sector indices ended higher, with the Construction (2.98 percent), Holding (2.01 percent) and Insurance (1.96 percent) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.78 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index jumped 1.18 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.0 percent higher.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 112.0 mln euros Wednesday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.78% percent

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

  • Underlying Index: +1.18 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (200)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 112.0 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers match sellers on Wednesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.26 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 15 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2012 (672 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.4 bln euros


    Closing rates of September 24 2003

    Parities in euro


    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,155 1,129

    [23] Top leadership restructuring announced by ATHOC chief

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Internal structural changes within the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC) were the order of the day on Tuesday, as heightened press speculation since early last month asserting a major reshuffle failed to materialize.

    ATHOC Chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki announced the restructuring, which mostly affects the organizing committee’s four board of directors, shifting responsibilities and presumably upgrading the four executives’ standing.

    Specifically, ATHOC Managing Director Ioannis Spanudakis assumes the financial responsibility of all the organizing committee’s various general directorates (including marketing and merchandising), while he will also head up a new management team overseeing contracting. According to sources, the 50-year-old Spanudakis, a former top executive at Dow Chemical Europe, will prepare the Games’ final financial results in 2005.

    ATHOC Executive Director Marton Simitsek will oversee all of the directorates involved with hosting the actual sports events and their support structures, including medical services, hospitality and food services. He will also retain control of the ticketing and torch relay preparations.

    Another ATHOC executive director, Yiannis Pyrgiotis, essentially assumes control of the all-important Olympic “overlays” – mostly temporary but thoroughly crucial infrastructure and facilities surrounding practically every permanent venue. Pyrgiotis will also head up a new facilities management unit, responsible for final quality control at various under-construction venues.

    The last of the four ATHOC executive directors, Spyros Kapralos, takes over the volunteerism portfolio from Simitsek, while assuming the position of ATHOC’s official representative vis-a-vis the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

    Finally, the media, press and communications general directorate comes under the direct control of Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, a move seen as a way of improving coordination in order to deal with possible negative press – such as the latest barrage during August’s Olympic “test events” – in the future.

    The announcements countered stepped up speculation over the past month that certain glitches at the ‘test events’ last month would spell firings and reshuffling.

    Security exercise for Olympics this week: Greek authorities began a two-day map exercise this week involving security contingencies for next year’s, especially in terms of dealing with biological and chemical weapons threats.

    Several foreign and Greek experts are taking part in the exercise, being held at the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee’s (ATHOC) headquarters in the Nea Ionia district of Athens.

    One segment of the exercise involves a complex scenario under virtual Olympic Games conditions, with the emphasis on assessing cooperation between various law enforcement and public security agencies with the police force’s specially designated Olympics Games security directorate.

    The exercise is the fifth multi-branch exercise of its kind held within the framework of preparations for the August 2004 Games, with the previous one dealing with a hypothetical plane hijacking and a bomb threat against a cruise ship.

    DHKKI leader visits ATHOC president: Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas on Wednesday visited the offices of Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee and met with its President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.

    Following the meeting, Tsovolas expressed his satisfaction over the progress of preparations for the Games and the course of the test events, which, as he said, he followed with great interest.

    ''There is a need for understanding from all agencies, social and political, there is need for cooperation and mainly during those days volunteerism must reach to a very good level,'' Tsovolas said.

    He congratulated Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and her associates, as well as all those working for this huge effort and noted that Greece ''will promote the Olympic Ideals all over the planet, exactly in the same fashion the organizers of the first Olympics did''.

    On her part, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki expressed her satisfaction over her contacts with political leaders and stressed that ''in democratic society it is natural for different opinions to co-exist, for differences to exist''.

    She added that all Greeks want to see the effort conclude successfully, noting that ''in this affair we need the support of the political forces, because they affect positively toward society's participation''.

    [24] Deputy sports minister meets with visiting Hungarian counterpart

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Deputy Sports Minister George Lianis met on Wednesday with his visiting counterpart Pal Sekeres, who is an Olympic Medalist in fencing, and discussed issues concerning the Olympic Games.

    Sekeres, who is also responsible for persons with special needs, as he himself was in a car accident leaving him handicapped, spoke strongly for issues related to the accessibility of installations for people with mobility problems.

    Lianis invited, via his counterpart, the living members of the 1954 Hungarian national soccer team to visit Greece during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    [25] Olympic image of Athens presented at Berlin photo exhibition

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    A total of 13.5 kilometers of roads, squares and pedestrian streets, constituting seven routes in the historic centre of Athens, will be ''dressed'' in light and images to promote the city's Olympic image, strengthening its festive atmosphere during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

    The plan has been completed and is being presented for the first time at an exhibition, titled ''Seize the Light'', at the exhibition centre of the Bewag electricity company's former branch power station in a neighborhood of Berlin as of Wednesday until Sunday November 16, 2003.

    The exhibition was inaugurated by Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni and other officials.

    [26] MP Fassoulas to address UN Security Council on Olympic Truce

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Association of Greek Olympic Medalists (SEO) President Panayotis Fassoulas, who is currently in New York, will address the members of the UN Security Council on Friday evening on the Olympic Truce during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    Fassoulas, a former international basketball star and currently a deputy of the ruling PASOK party, will represent Greece at the UN Security Council, along with Foreign Minister George Papandreou and the Director of the Olympic Truce International Centre, Stavros Lambrinidis.

    ''It is very important for me that I was called to the UN Security Council in my capacity as president of the Greek Olympic medalists. The Olympic Truce is of great importance for the Olympic Games and our country because it provides the focal point of the different Games we want,'' Fassoulas said on his departure for the US.

    [27] Ecumenical Patriarch received by Georgian president

    ISTANBUL, 25/09/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Wednesday met Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze in at the presidential mansion in Tbilisi, accompanied by Georgia Patriarch Ilia.

    Shevardnadze thanked Vartholomeos for his visit to Georgia for the millennial anniversary since the foundation of the Bagrati Cathedral, a Georgian national monument and invited him to return to Georgia for the inauguration of the Holy Trinity cathedral next year.

    Vartholomeos expressed his satisfaction with his fourth visit to Georgia and said the Holy Trinity cathedral was a "jewel for Tbilisi that symbolizes the new era that began in Georgia 10 years ago."

    [28] Attorney in N17 case expresses doubts over Sotiropoulou's guilt

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    An attorney representing the civil suit for the rocket attack against former finance minister Ioannis Paleokrassas on Wednesday expressed doubts as to the guilt of the sole female defendant in the ''November 17'' case, Aggeliki Sotiropoulou, and asked the court to remember that she had a child.

    Attorney Alexandros Katsantonis described Savvas Xiros, alleged N17 operations chief Dimitris Koufodinas and Patroklos Tselentis as ''true terrorists'' but called on the court to acknowledge Tselentis' repentance as a mitigating circumstance.

    On the other hand, he questioned the true repentance of Costas Telios, who was also involved in the hit against Paleokrassas. If he had really been shocked by the death of passer-by Thanos Axarlian he would have immediately informed the authorities, Katsantonis said.

    The attorney accused the alleged terrorists in the court of cowardice, particularly Vassilis Tzortzatos, and asserted that there were no women within the organization. At the same time, he claimed that only N17's operational branch was in the courtroom. He was succeeded by attorney Alexandros Lykourezos, representing the civil suits for the murders of businessmen Alexandros Athanasiadis and Dimitris Angelopoulos and the attack on businessman Vardis Vardinoyiannis.

    Lykourezos called N17 an ''organization of individual terrorism'' and a ''gang of fear and terror'' that had strewn death and pain for 27 years with the arrogance of those who got off unscathed.

    He called on alleged N17 leader Alexandros Giotopoulos to confess his guilt, while he asked the court to acknowledge the extenuating circumstance of true repentance for Tselentis, Telios and Sotiris Kondylis.

    Last to address the court on Wednesday was attorney George Petsos, representing a civil suit for the murder of ship owner Kostis Peratikos and one for an attack on himself.

    Petsos argued that the defendants in the courtroom were only a portion of the operational branch of domestic terrorism.

    He said the attack on him was a criminal action ''imbued with political expedients without political motives and political opportunism''.

    Claiming to have forgiven the accused for the attack against himself, meanwhile, Petsos said he could ''hear in the courtroom the voice of Kostis Peratikos, who had not managed to save himself from N17''.

    [29] One death reported in border guard incident

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    One illegal immigrant was fatally injured during a run-in with border guards on the Greek-Albanian border early Wednesday morning, according to authorities, while another four would-be migrants were intercepted during the same incident.

    The incident occurred at the Ieropigi site in Kastoria prefecture, close to the border with Albania.

    According to reports, four of six Albanian illegals attempting to enter into Greek territory were intercepted by border guards, while another two migrants fled under the cover of darkness. One of those two men, however, was later found dead a short distance away, apparently hit by a sole warning shot fired by a border guard.

    All four of the detained would-be migrants, as well as the border guard that fired the shot are due to face a local prosecutor.

    [30] WWF Hellas slams gov't measures for illegal building, forests

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek branch of the World Wildlife Fund on Wednesday noted its opposition to planned government measures for buildings without planning permission and forests, saying that they would not solve the problems caused by lawless construction and corruption but instead reward those that broke the law.

    WWF Hellas asked for surveys of existing forests and land classified as forest and the publication of maps of forest land, followed by measures dealing with special cases.

    [31] EU Commission publishes lists of chemicals, illnesses in workplace

    BRUSSELS, 25/09/2003 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission, following a relevant initiative of Greek Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, called on Wednesday to undertake measures to prevent certain diseases that are transmitted in the working place.

    The Commission also published two catalogues, one listing chemical agents and diseases that are directly related, according to the Commission, to workplace related illnesses, which may be used by employees to request for compensation.

    The second catalogue is complementary to the first, listing chemical agents and diseases, which are suspected of being work related, but in this case it is up to the employee to prove that the illness was work related.

    ''We recommend to member-states not only to take preventative measures, but also to provide aid to the Commission for the collection of data, that will allow us to formulate a clearer picture of the problem in all of Europe,'' Diamantopoulou said.

    [32] Merchant marine minister issues message in light of Merchant Marine Day

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister George Paschalidis on Tuesday issued a message in light of World Merchant Marine Day 2003, stressing that Greece is obliged to maintain and support its first place on both a European and international level.

    ''We are obliged to give qualitative characteristics to all those elements of the Greek merchant marine. We want the cooperation of the ship-owners and the sailors in the framework of the National Council of Merchant Marine Policy, that we will activate very soon,'' he said.

    [33] World cultural heritage conference begins in Rhodes

    Athens, 25/09/2003 (ANA)

    Mayors of 188 cities are participating in the 7th Conference of World Cultural Heritage Cities which opened on the Aegean island of Rhodes on Wednesday. The conference was inaugurated by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    Mayors and special scientists are discussing a new model of education and training in maintaining and preserving historic cities, while tourist development is another issue of interest to mayors.

    Addressing the conference, Venizelos pointed out that in the era of globalization two trends entailing dangers are appearing. The one is the danger of the leveling of civilizations and the other of the clash of civilizations.

    The minister also stressed that 80 percent of the population of Europe live in urban regions, which means that cultural heritage is to be found in it.

    UNESCO's goodwill ambassador Marianna Vardinoyianni stressed the role of the Organization regarding the protection of global heritage and for the achievement of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence among peoples.

    [34] President Papadopoulos meets US diplomat on Cyprus

    NEW YORK, 25/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos met US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston here Wednesday, as diplomatic efforts to secure the resumption of the UN-led peace talks on Cyprus are speeding up.

    No statements were made after the one-hour meeting, held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.

    According to high-ranking diplomatic sources, President Papadopoulos and Weston reviewed developments in view of Papadopoulos' meeting on Thursday with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Among the issues is how the negotiations on Cyprus can restart following the so-called ''parliamentary elections'' in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic in December.

    The same sources said that Weston raised the issue of sending observers from international organizations to monitor the illegal ''elections''.

    During the past few days, US mobility has increased as Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman is becoming involved in the procedure.

    Grossman, who on Friday will be received by President Papadopoulos, has asked and secured a meeting next week with the UN Chief.

    According to diplomatic sources, Grossman will convey the US request that Annan becomes more flexible in his conditions for the resumption of the talks so that the negotiations can resume in January.

    [35] Cyprus Spokesman says wanted changes to Annan Plan within its framework

    NICOSIA, 25/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Wednesday the changes the Greek Cypriot side wishes in order to improve a Cyprus settlement plan proposed by UN chief Kofi Annan are within the framework and the philosophy of the plan, while the Turkish efforts for changes are far from it.

    ''The issue of balance (within the plan) will be taken into consideration,'' the spokesman said, adding that ''what we are pursuing is not to remove rights from our Turkish Cypriot compatriots.''

    ''On the contrary, we want a balanced, viable and functional plan, which will operate smoothly within the framework of the EU, so we can be a productive member and EU partner,'' Chrysostomides added.

    He reiterated the position of the Greek Cypriot side that ''we are ready, without preconditions, for an immediate resumption of the negotiations based on the Annan Plan, so that a solution is achieved on the improvements we want before May 1st 2004,'' when Cyprus will formally enter the EU.

    Noting that the improvements the Greek Cypriot side wants ''are within the framework and philosophy of the Annan Plan,'' he said ''the Turkish aspirations concerning the changes it wants are far from the Annan Plan.''

    On reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will announce some initiatives on Famagusta when he visits Athens, Chrysostomides said the Greek Cypriot side is ready for all possibilities.

    The combined statements by Gul and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash ''on moves and gestures are made just for diplomatic points without anything specific,'' Chrysostomides concluded.

    [36] EU highly unlikely to send observers to monitor 'elections'

    NICOSIA, 25/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Head of the European Commission Delegation to Cyprus Adriaan Van der Meer said on Wednesday it was highly unlikely that the European Union would send observers to the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic to monitor the illegal ''parliamentary elections'' scheduled for December.

    Speaking after a meeting with Justice and Public Order Minister Doros Theodorou, Van der Meer added that the EU would monitor developments regarding the ''elections''.

    Invited to say whether the EU would send observers to monitor the so-called ''elections'' in the occupied areas, Van der Meer replied ''it is highly unlikely that we will send monitors to the north.'' However, he added that ''we keep on monitoring the developments.''

    During his meeting with Theodorou, Van der Meer said they discussed the goodwill package of the Cyprus government and the EU package, both aimed at strengthening the Turkish Cypriots.

    He congratulated the government and the Parliament ''for adopting so many harmonization laws last week,'' describing the work a ''tremendous jump and leap forward as regards the harmonization process seven months before the accession of Cyprus to the EU.''

    This progress, Van der Meer added, will be part of the monitoring report, which the EU will publish in November, noting that the EU counts now ''on further implementation of the laws, specifically in environment and agriculture.''

    As regards the EU package for the Turkish Cypriots, Van der Meer said the Union is now heading towards decisions.

    The first is that it will commit funds worth 12 million Euros for projects for Nicosia, Kyrenia and Famagusta for environmental purposes but also for cultural heritage. This process, he added, will be finalized in October.

    The second decision is that next Monday two phyto-sanitary experts will arrive on the island from Portugal and Italy to carry out checks in the occupied areas of the orchards and also to do the so-called pre-harvest inspections, Van der Meer added.

    The experts will initially be here for two weeks and will return when the real harvest begins.

    Van der Meer said ''we are making good progress as regards the accession of Cyprus to the EU on 1st May 2004, making good progress as regards the implementation of our packages for the north.''

    He emphasized however that the packages ''can never be a substitute for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue based on the Annan plan.''

    [37] Cyprus government welcomes Berlusconi's statement

    NICOSIA, 25/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus government welcomed a statement here Wednesday by European Council President Silvio Berlusconi on Cyprus, made within the framework of the UN General Assembly.

    Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said he welcomes Berlusconi's statement ''that the EU will continue in every way efforts and help the Secretary General in solving the Cyprus problem, so that an overall, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem is found, based on UN resolutions.''

    The Prime Minister of Italy reiterated the EU's willingness to accommodate the terms of a Cyprus settlement in line with the principles on which the EU is founded.

    Addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Berlusconi said that ''in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council of Thessaloniki, the European Union will continue to work tirelessly in support of the UN Secretary General's efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem, consistent with the relevant Security Council resolutions.''

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