|Saturday, 20 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 26, 2003
 Greek and Turkish FMs agree Cyprus issue must be solved by December 2004
NEW YORK, 26/09/2003 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul agreed here on Thursday that a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem must be found by December 2004 when the European Union will examine Turkey's request to be given a date for the beginning of accession negotiations.
Papandreou and Gul held talks on the sidelines of the 58th UN General Assembly focusing also on issues to be discussed in Athens during the Turkish foreign minister's official visit on October 21.
In statements after their meeting, the two ministers said they agreed on the need for strengthening Confidence-Building Measures, as discussions have been shaped both within the framework of the NATO alliance and between the political directors of the two countries' foreign ministries.
Replying to questions by the press, Papandreou said what is desired is to see how agreements made to date have progressed and how others can be achieved.
Apart from the framework of Greek-Turkish relations, they discussed the Cyprus issue and Turkey's European prospects in relation to the evaluation of the report at the Council of Ministers, due to be tabled in early November.
Other issues also examined were regional issues, such as Iraq and the situation in the Middle East.
Yet another issue probed by the two ministers was finding ways of cooperation on the issues of security, culture and tourism in light of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Papandreou stressed the importance of the prospect of a decrease in the two countries' armaments to enable large amounts of money to be spent on development and social programs and hailed as an ''important event'' the signing of the Ottawa agreement by Greece and Turkey, on the removal of mines on the border of the two countries, and by Canada, as an overseer for the agreement's implementation.''
The transfer of the Olympic Flame to Turkey and the promotion of the Olympic ideal, through the holding of various cultural events, was also discussed and agreed.
The Greek foreign minister said a review was made of the continuing 14 exploratory talks ''with the purpose of defining the continental shelf in the Aegean.''
Replying to a questioner on the Cyprus issue and on whether his government accepts the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations, Gul replied affirmatively on condition, however, amendments are made which are acceptable by both sides to enable dialogue to go ahead.
Gul also said he agreed with all that his Greek counterpart had stated beforehand.
Gul meets Powell: Meanwhile, Gul met Wednesday with US secretary of state Colin Powell at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, where Powell will be staying throughout the week for contacts on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
According to US sources, Powell and Gul's discussion included the Cyprus issue and the situation in Iraq.
On the Cyprus issue, the two men ''agreed that the 'elections' in the (Turkish-occupied) northern sector of the island are an important development'' and both endorsed a resumption of talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides based on UN secretary general Kofi Annan's plan, the sources said.
Papandreou is not scheduled to meet privately with Powell on the General Assembly sidelines, given that the two men met just last week in Washington for talks, but he will attend Friday's meeting between the EU foreign ministers and Powell.
Papandreou, who arrived in New York on Wednesday evening, was commencing his round of contacts with meetings with his Balkan counterparts.
The Greek foreign minister was slated to address the UN General Assembly on Friday and meet for talks with Annan, while in the evening he would attend a special event at the UN on the Olympic Truce
 Cabinet gives green light to agriculture ministry plan for forests
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)The cabinet on Thursday unanimously approved proposals by Agriculture Minister George Drys for new legislation regarding the protection of forests, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed that existing legislation on forests had to be adapted to the dictates of the Constitution.
''There must be an end to arbitrary actions due to the various interpretations given to the laws at various times. The current legislation does not reflect reality nor does it protect forests,'' Simitis said.
The prime minister asked that rules be set up that would establish order and limit instances of illegal construction.
Simitis also referred to the prevailing political climate and complaints that the government was making pre-election handouts, stressing that this was not the case.
''Not every measure is a handout. Because we are facing long-term problems, we are being accused of pre-electoral motives...we are doing our job and implementing our program. We cannot stop our work because there will be elections in seven or eight months,'' he said.
At the start of the meeting, the premier also referred to the results of opinion polls and said the government would not face any problems at election time if it continued to work intensively and kept to the deadlines it had set.
Regarding the recent waves of strikes by various groups, such as university teachers, Simitis noted that real wages had increased and were now higher than the EU average.
''We cannot accept demands by workers when these do not bear any relation to the economic realities of the country,'' the premier underlined.
While the cabinet meeting was underway, meanwhile, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology was holding a working meeting of its own to discuss the government's plans to legalize unauthorized buildings and declassify expanses of forest and how they could be stopped.
''The cabinet is making plans to sell off public land and we, in this room, are making plans to fight in order to defend the public interest,'' Coalition leader Nikos Constantopoulos told reporters.
He claimed the government measures were bowing to pre-electoral needs, as well as a ''flagrant and outright'' violation of the Constitution.
Opposition to the bill was also voiced by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Thursday, whose general secretary Aleka Papariga described it as the ''crime of the century'' and said it would lead to rampant development.
''The next generation will literally lack earth and water,'' she predicted.
Agriculture minister on draft bill: Fielding reporters' questions after the cabinet meeting, Drys said the new bill would in no way legalize the destruction of forests or real estate development on fire-razed woodland, nor compromise the current protected status of forests.
He said the new legislation would provide a solution to problems concerning agricultural land that had reverted to forest and that of forests occupied and exploited by third parties, who would be called to pay a symbolic fine.
Drys said there would be provision for the high fines imposed on those who had illegally erected buildings within forests, possibly with favorable terms or by handing the building over to the forestry service within six months.
He also announced plans to redraw the forestry register and complete a map of forested land and noted that real-estate development associations would be given one last chance to trade lands that they legally owned but could not develop with other public lands where building was allowed.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Fotis Hatzimihalis stressed, meanwhile, that there would be no measures for lands shown to have been forest whose use was illegally changed before 1975.
 Balkan FMs discuss post-Thessaloniki developments in NY panel discussion
NEW YORK, 26/09/2003 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)The general conclusion reached at a panel discussion among several Balkan foreign ministers Wednesday night in New York, including Greece's alternate foreign minister Tasos Yiannitsis, was that ''the Balkans are turning over a new page and say no to ethnic and religious conflicts''.
The discussion, attended by Yiannitsis, Slovenian foreign minister Dimitrij Rupel, Serbia-Montenegro foreign minister Goran Svilanovic, Bosnia-Herzegovina foreign minister Mladen Ivanic, and Albanian former FM Mohamed Kaplani, was held at Columbia University in New York, organized by the university's School of International and Public Affairs together with the Eastern European Center’s Harriman Institute. The foreign ministers of Albania and FYROM were not in attendance at the discussion.
Titled ''After Thessaloniki: New directions for SE Europe'', the discussion focused on the political developments that followed the European Union summit and the concurrent EU-SE Europe (Western Balkans) summit in Thessaloniki last June.
Kaplani said that the EU summit in Thessaloniki, which marked the end of Greece's six-month EU presidency, had been a "juncture" for the effort for full accession of the Wester Balkan countries into the European and Euro-Atlantic structures (EU and NATO).
Svilanovic praised the Thessaloniki summit as having been a "major success' for the future accession of the Western Balkan countries into the EU, adding that those countries, "although financially weak, expressed their genuine interest in becoming members of the European family".
Ivanic and Rupel also pointed out that the Thessaloniki summit had issued a positive message, dispute the "state of confusion" in the Eu due to the imminent accession of 10 new member states at the time and the "challenges faced by the existing member states at international level chiefly due to the war in Iraq".
Yiannitsis, in turn, explained that the goal of the summit had been to extend an "absolutely clearcut message" regarding the Balkan countries' European prospect, stressing the importance of EU integration via the accession of new member countries, and cited the examples of candidates Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as Croatia, which was expected to apply for membership in February.
"The Western Balkan countries were among the immediate priorities of our political agenda throughout the Greek (EU) presidency," he said, explaining, however, that: "These countries need to work hard, since success within the EU is not a given fact. But the fact that the economic reforms of recent years have been deemed as particularly successful for the course of the existing member-states comprises a strong incentive for the acceding countries".
On the issue of border controls, which he noted was of immense interest to Greece, Yiannitsis explained that saw this matter "primarily in the framework of management of the inflow of illegal immigrants".
"The European Union needs the immigrants," he said, but added that the EU "must, in turn, advance policies that will incorporate them into the European society, otherwise problems will arise, such as the spectacular rise of the ultra-right party in the latest elections in France due to the deficient incorporation of second and third generation immigrants".
Yiannitsis further noted the joint commitment of the Balkan states for the creation of a new society, and their desire for the assumption of a European role, noting that "in the framework of globalization, it is the duty of societies to be open to the exchange of new ideas and the introduction of new policy directions".
He cited the Cyprus issue as an example, noting the EU's relative request that the problem between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides be overcome in the framework of a uniform European prospect for the island republic.
 Hungarian President Madl tours N. Greece
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Visiting Hungarian President Ferenc Madl called on northern Greek entrepreneurs work with the Hungarian counterparts in terms of investments and trade, during his visit on Thursday to the northern port city of Thessaloniki.
The Hungarian president was accompanied by 33 business-people from his country, with the intent on forging better cooperation by the two sides in terms of the western Balkans region.
 Eurodeputy says European Convention draft constitution has serious weaknesses
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Professor and Eurodeputy Dimitris Tsatsos, speaking during a press conference at the European Parliament's offices on Thursday, said the draft constitution of the Convention for the future of Europe has serious weaknesses.
Tsatsos said the institution of European Council president does not leave unharmed the balance between institutional organs, or the operation of the European Commission or the equality of countries.
The Eurodeputy added that it is an institution with a democratic deficit, while the corresponding abolition of the rotating presidency harms the equality of countries.
Tsatsos went on to say the commission's composition with 25 commissioners distinguished as ''full'' and ''imperfect'' constitutes the birth of a monster.
''The effort to buy off a 'yes' in the introduction of the European Council president institution is obvious here by offering even an imperfect commissioner,'' he said.
Tsatsos noted that even on the issue of foreign and security policy there was a weakness in substantive steps, which would allow the European Union to restore its political credibility on the international scene.
 EU constitution should refer to out-of-court settlements, EU ombudsman says
BRUSSELS, 26/09/2003 (ANA - A. Simatos)European Ombudsman Nikos Diamantouros on Thursday asked that the future European Constitution contain a reference to the various mechanisms for settling disputes between EU citizens out of court.
Diamantouros said there should be a summary of a clear and coherent system for out-of-court settlements, in addition to judicial mechanisms for protecting rights according to European law,
noting that the former methods had the advantage of being free, more flexible and less time-consuming than going through the courts.
He was speaking in Strasbourg, during a public debate at the European Parliament on the activities undertaken by the European Ombudsman to assist the public in defending their rights.
During the debate, he noted that the European Ombudsman should be proactive, in addition to responding to the complaints it received, so as put European citizens in a stronger position and expand the range of choices available to them to protect their rights.
 ND briefs prefecture union on its plans for local government
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Thursday presented his party's main positions on prefectural government to the Union of Prefectural Authorities of Greece.
Karamanlis is to present his party's program on public administration in general next Monday.
The ND leader stressed that prefectural authorities required specialized staff, means and funds to effectively carry out their many responsibilities, which they were unable to do at this time.
He stressed that stronger local government was an element in the main opposition's plan for the transition to a more capable state.
 Senior PASOK party officials to attend event in Nicosia on Social Democracy
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Three senior officials of Greece's ruling PASOK party, namely Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and European deputies George Katiforis and Dimitris Tsasos will attend an event in Nicosia organized by the Socialdemocrats (EDEK).
The PASOK members will make recommendations at the event, entitled ''Social Democracy in Cyprus and Europe in the 21st Century'', which will be held in the Cypriot capital on October 4.
The event is dedicated to the memory of slain Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh.
 Turkish president calls for furthering Greek-Turkish rapprochement process
ANKARA, 26/09/2003 (ANA - A. Abatzis)Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on Thursday underlined his hope for ''the further promotion of the rapprochement process, that was manifested over the past few years between Greece and Turkey, aiming to find just, permanent and meaningful solution in the problems we have''.
In a speech he delivered in Ismir at the university there he stressed that ''the rapprochement process is, for both countries, a significant opportunity that should not be lost'', while he also noted the ''significance of the cooperation between the Greek and Turkish universities, in the process of rapprochement''.
 Christodoulos asks for meeting to settle dispute with Fanar
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)The influential head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Christodoulos, has reportedly sent a letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos requesting a face-to-face meeting in order to settle differences that have recently strained relations between the former and the Istanbul-based Patriarchate.
In the letter dated September 19 and received at the Patriarchate's Fanar district seat in Istanbul on Wednesday, Christodoulos refers to the history of the dispute and asks to meet -- without the intervention of third parties -- with Vartholomeos regarding the issue of ecclesiastical administration in the so-called 'New Lands' - comprised of the bishoprics of northern Greece, as well as the northern and eastern Aegean.
The administration of dioceses in those areas was awarded to the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece by the Patriarchate in 1928. Northern Greece and the eastern Aegean islands became Greek territory after 1912-13.
Christodoulos, the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, notes that it is unseemly for the problems between the Churches to become an item in the news, before asking Vartholomeos to set a date and place for their meeting, which might well take place within October.
The dispute more-or-less erupted onto the limelight after the death of long-time Thessaloniki Metropolitan Panteleimon II over the summer, with the Patriarchate subsequently demanding a list of potential candidates that the Church of Greece was considering to fill the vacant spot.
 Change of Command at Forward NATO Base in Chania, Crete
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)A change of command of the NATO Permanent Mediterranean Naval Force, known as ''STANAYFORMED'', took place at the Forward NATO Base at Marathi, Chania, in Crete on Thursday.
Dutch Rear-Admiral Philip Wirth handed over the command of the force to German Vice-Admiral Hans Jochen Withauer.
Present at the ceremony were Greek Commander of the Fleet Lieutenant-Admiral Thomas Katopodis, Italian Commander of Southern Europe Allied Forces Lieutenant-Admiral Ferdinando Sanfeilice di Monteforte, while honored guest was German Defense Undersecretary Kiaus Gunther Biederbick.
In accordance with the protocol, the national anthems of the countries belonging to the force were heard.
Anchored throughout the duration of the ceremony at Marathi, were the Greek frigate ''Psara'' as well as war ships from The Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Great Britain, Italy as well as the American destroyer ''USS STOUT''.
The mission of the NATO force is to obstruct and confront terrorist actions.
 Greek govt discusses pricing policy with super markets
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Big super market chains operating in Greece reaffirmed their commitment to freeze their prices in the next four months but stressed that the role of multinational groups and the Greek industry was creating hurdles in a battle against inflation in the country.
Representatives from the country's largest super market chains met with Development Deputy Minister Kimon Koulouris on Thursday to discuss pricing policy for the remaining of the year ahead of a meeting between Mr Koulouris and representatives of multinational groups on Monday to discuss their pricing policy.
The Greek minister stressed that he wanted to ensure low prices for the Christmas table and generally more affordable prices to lower incomes in the country and noted that he has began a dialogue with Greek industries on the issue.
Carrefour's managing director, Mr Didier Fleury, stressed that prices have either doubled or tripled in certain products because of increased prices imposed by manufacturers, both multinational and domestic.
He acknowledged that several products (soft drinks, milk, detergents) were sold 30-40 percent higher in Greece compared with the rest of the European Union and rejected rumors of massive price increases before the company announced a "price freeze" policy for the next four months.
 Greek tourism to recover in 2004
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Greek tourism is expected to recover in 2004 with the Athens Olympic Games, Greece's National Tourism Organization’s president Yiannis Patellis said on Thursday.
In a statement released on the occasion of celebrating the World Tourism Day in September 27, Mr. Patellis stressed that the tourism sector employs directly 300,000 people and another 200,000 indirectly. He predicted that the industry could create another 200,000 jobs by 2010.
Mr. Patellis underlined that GNTO has drafted a special long-term program of tourist development, based on the adoption of integrated regional surveys aimed to specialize the country's tourist product.
The World Tourism Day is celebrated worldwide for the last 23 years with the aim to highlight the significance of tourism's social, cultural, political and economic values.
Meanwhile, Greece's largest consumer group INKA on Thursday announced that the tourism sector ranked fourth in its list of complaints by consumers, with complaints totalling 7,104 in the first eight months of the year.
 Tsohatzopoulos to meet with Chinese technology minister on Friday
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will meet on Friday with Chinese Minister of Research and Technology Xu Guanhua, who is officially visiting Greece and will discuss with him developments in the cooperation between Greece and China, concerning research and development.
The cooperation between the two countries is based on an agreement signed in 1979 and on nine protocols signed since then on issues of common interest, such as agriculture, food technologies, renewable energy sources and technologies for energy conservation, among many.
The two ministers will also focus on cooperation concerning the Olympic Games, as Beijing will host the 2008 Games, while they will discuss ways to include China in the 6th Community Framework Program for Research.
 Evert meets with central bank governor Garganas
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party (ND) MP and former party president Miltiades Evert on Thursday urged the government to take immediate steps, albeit delayed, to contain the budget deficit.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the governor of the Bank of Greece, Nikos Garganas, Evert called on the government to "brief the citizens" and also take measures, "albeit delayed", to contain the deficit.
Expressing concern, Evert said that the budget had exceeded all projections, the deficit was immense and expenditure was out of control, while there was a shortfall in revenues.
 National Bank announces deal to buy Banca Romaneasca
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)National Bank of Greece on Thursday announced the signing of an agreement for the purchase of a 81.6 percent equity stake in Banca Romaneasca SA from its main shareholder Romanian American Enterprise Fund for an undisclosed sum.
A bank statement said that the acquisition was a significant step towards strengthening the bank's dominant role in Southeastern Europe and allowed National Bank to make a dynamic entry in the rapidly growing market of Romania.
National Bank of Greece Group already operates a securities firm, an insurance company and branch unit in Romania.
In total, National Bank operates a network of three subsidiary banks in eight countries in Southeastern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean, and five subsidiaries with a total network of 200 units, employing 4,000 people and assets totalling 2.6 billion euros.
Banca Romaneasca is a medium-sized Romanian bank operating a network of 25 branch units around the country, with assets totalling 140 million euros.
National Bank of Greece aims to raise the Romanian bank's network to 40 units and to give emphasis to its retail banking services.
The agreement needs approval from the Bank of Greece and the banking supervisory authorities of Romania.
 Work stoppages at OA next Friday
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)The union representing state-owned Olympic Airways’ (OA) in-flight staff (stewards and air hostesses) on Thursday announced three-hour work stoppages for next Friday, with representatives claiming that the debt-ridden national carrier is training contract staff and bypassing its permanent employees.
The latest industrial action come in light of another bill last month aimed at restructuring the long-ailing air carrier.
 Eurostat reports decrease in wine grape production in Greece
BRUSSELS, 26/09/2003 (ANA/A. Simatos)The European Union's statistical service, Eurostat on Thursday announced that over the 1989-1999 period there was a significant decrease of the land used for grapevines, the product of which is used for wine, in Greece, as well as the rest of the European Union.
Greece was the dubious champion with a 27.5 per cent decrease, with Italy coming second (24.6 per cent) and France last with 4.8 per cent. The Eurostat report noted that the largest decrease was noted in the Greek islands with a decrease of 55 per cent, while central Greece, despite a 7.5 per cent drop it remains the largest producer of grapes for wine making.
As far as table grapes are concerned, Eurostat reported that Greece lost some 29.2 per cent of its production capacity, while France took first place with a loss of 49.2 per cent and Spain with 49 per cent.
 Greek stocks end lower on Thursday
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday as investors seemed reluctant to feed-in a two-day rally of prices.
The general index fell 0.88 percent to end at 2,027.46 points, off the day's lows of 2,020.16 points. Turnover was a moderate 101.3 million euros.
All sector indices ended lower, with the Textile (3.90 percent), Publications (3.87 percent) and IT Solutions (3.15 percent) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day. The Telecommunications sector eased 0.68 percent.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.94 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 1.17 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 2.34 percent down.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 283 to 48 with another 27 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Alpha Bank, Public Power Corporation, National Bank of Greece and Hellenic Stock Exchanges.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 77.8 mln euros Thursday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Thursday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Closing rates of September 25 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,158 1,132
 ATHOC president outlines progress in Athens Olympic Games preparations
LAUSANNE, 26/09/2003 (ANA - D. Kalambakas)Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki outlined progress in preparations for the Athens Olympic Games before the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Executive Committee here on Thursday.
on the question of its budget, she said in a statement there will not be an excess of even one euro.
Daskalaki made an analytical presentation of sports events held in August, saying we ''passed them successfully.''
A presentation was then made of the course of projects which, despite tight time schedules, are proceeding normally, as she said.
Referring to the issue of security, Daskalaki said ''it is our top priority. It was successfully tested during the sports events in August'', adding that ''nothing is disorientating us from our targets. We are continuing to work equally hard and we are confident that we shall organize excellent Games.''
IOC Coordinating Committee President Denis Oswald praised sports events held in August, as well as preparations in general.
''The sport events of August were successful and drew excellent and positive comments from athletes and the representatives of Federations,'' he said.
Oswald then underlined two points.
''Firstly, the quality of installations in Athens is admittedly excellent. They are the best we have ever seen in Olympic Games. Secondly, we have been surprised by volunteers at the sport events in August. They were very good, industrious, versatile and always ready to help with a smile.''
Commenting on projects, the Coordinating Committee's president said they are developing smoothly, despite tight time schedules, and he is absolutely satisfied with impressive progress achieved, particularly with Karaiskaki stadium and the tram network over the past two months.
Oswald also said relations and cooperation between Athens 2004 and the government are very good.
 ISSF president lauds ATHOC work ahead of Athens 2004 Games
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) President Horst Schreiber on Thursday visited the construction sites of the facilities for the Olympic Shooting competition in Markopoulos, accompanied by ISSF Director Franz Schreiber.
Following the visit, H. Schreiber called the installations the best in the world, once they will be completed, adding ''the construction of the installations is going very well and huge progress has been made''.
ATHOC officials briefed the president and the director of ISSF, while the President of the Greek Shooting Federation Pavlos Kanellakis was present during the meetings.
 Gov't keeps Olympics budget goal but allows for special spending
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Thursday that the government had retained a target of 4.6 billion euros for the Athens 2004 Olympics budget, but allowance would be made for any extra small-scale spending, if warranted.
At the same time, Venizelos acknowledged that ''totally justifiable and reasonable needs'' could arise that would require a minor increase of 5 to 10 per cent in expenditure.
He was speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on the budget for the international event.
 Extradition request for Gusinskyi forests to be decided on Mon.
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)An extradition request by Moscow for fugitive Russian media mogul Vladimir Gusinsky will be decided on Monday, following a first hearing by on Thursday by a council of appellate justices here.
The council decided to allow a postponement so that Gusinsky and his attorneys can present evidence they claim prove his point of politically motivated persecution against because of coverage by his powerful NTV network in Russia. His attorneys also pointed to a legal precedent set by a Spanish court two years ago, which rejected Moscow’s request for extradition.
Gusinsky, 51, was arrested at Athens’ international airport in late August but was later released on a 60,000-euro bond and under the condition that he remain in the country.
The former chief of the Media-Most Holdings, one of Russia’s largest independent broadcast networks, had arrived in Athens aboard a flight from Tel-Aviv. He was traveling with both Russian and Israeli passports.
Gusinsky was one of a small group of Russian entrepreneurs known as
the "oligarchs" who made vast fortunes in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse.
He had been detained in Spain almost two years ago, although courts there rejected Moscow's extradition request in April 2001
 Alternate FM takes part in UN humanitarian network meeting
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis on Thursday participated in a meeting of the United Nations Network for Human Security Ministerial Conference, where international humanitarian issues were discussed.
The meeting of representatives of the 16 countries that are participating in the network took place at the sidelines of the 58th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.
According to a press release issued by the foreign ministry, Yiannitsis presented the Greek positions on problems, such as the abolition of landmines, combating small arms trafficking and the combating practices that want children to be combatants.
The next meeting of the network will take place in May 2004.
 Andreas Papandreou Foundation backs dialogue on new European realities
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)The Andreas Papandreou Foundation, the French Institute of Athens and the Goethe Institute are holding a series of events in the framework of backing dialogue on issues concerning Europe's new realities, according to a press release issued by the Foundation on Thursday.
The events are titled ''For a European History rid of prejudices and stereotypes:the example of Franco-German rapprochement and Greek-Turkish initiatives.''
The common initiatives were started by the French Institute of Athens and the Goethe Institute in the framework of celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Franco-German Elysee Treaty, with the purpose of dialogue on Franco-German experience, and were enriched by the contribution of the Andreas Papandreou Foundation whose aim is, among others, the enrichment of public dialogue with issues concerning the future of Europe and cooperation among its peoples.
The following events will take place in the framework of manifestations scheduled.
A meeting will be held on September 26, in which French, German, Greek and Turkish scientists will discuss the issue of stereotypes in the sensitive sector of education and will make proposals on combatting them.
A concert will be held on September 27 at 21.00 by the cooperating groups Bosphorus (Turkey) & Mode Plagal (Greece), A. Nieschier (Germany) and E. Roche (France).
The above events will take place at the French Institute.
A round table discussion will also be held during which personalities from the sectors of politics and the mass media will present their views in connection with stereotypes and combatting them (the date has not yet been set).
 Thursday's proceedings at 'N17' trial begin with delay
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)More final arguments by attorneys representing the families of victims gunned down by “November” 17 as well as intended targets injured by the notorious terror group continued before a special three-judge court on Thursday.
Eliza Vozenberg, who represents both former minister George Petsos and the family of slain shipowner Kostis Peraticos, covered many of the same points brought up by her colleagues over the past two weeks of oral statements by attorneys backing the prosecution’s case.
Among others, she said Dimitris Koufodinas was the group’s operations chief, while noting that alleged N17 mastermind Alexandros Giotopoulos is “gutless” for not admitting to his role, thereby leaving the comrades “twisting in the wind”, as she claimed.
She attributed the 62-year-old Giotopoulos’ stance to a hope that he will fare better in the appeals stage or even at the European Court level.
Finally, she said that beyond Giotopoulos, the once-elusive terror group’s leadership is still at large, although its “big guns are here (in court).”
Thursday’s session began with a one-hour delay because of the failure of defense attorneys to arrive on time at the specially modified jailhouse courtroom. The incident marked the second time the trial was delayed for the same reason, causing a outburst by presiding judge Mihalis Margaritis over the incident.
 Businessman shot and wounded outside Athens home
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Businessman Nikos Mazarakis was shot and wounded by two assailants outside his home in a northern Athens suburb on Thursday evening, while doctors at an Athens hospital where he was taken for treatment said his life is in no danger.
Mazarakis, 59, had just parked his car at his home in the suburb of Anoixi, when the two assailants approached him and one of them fired two shots at him with a pistol, while one bullet hit him in the neck.
The assailants wore motorcycle helmets and fled the scene on a motorcycle immediately after the attack.
Mazarakis' wife and other relatives, who heard the shots, rushed out of the house and on seeing him covered in blood but still conscious called an ambulance and the police.
When police and the ambulance arrived he was unable to make any statement and was taken to the Red Cross hospital in Athens and immediately underwent surgery.
Police officers believe the most probable motive behind the attempt on Mazarakis' life are personal differences between him and other persons, but they do not rule out any other explanation.
 188 scientists present ways to preserve historic cities
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)One hundred eighty-eight scientists met on Thursday in Rhodes, in the framework of an international symposium on cities of international heritage, and presented their efforts to protect monuments in historic cities.
They showcased efforts in Milan, Venice, Genoa, Trieste, Bari, Istanbul and Kioto among others, while representatives of the Greek culture ministry presented a databank in three languages concerning a program of common action for Mediterranean countries, aiming to exchange experiences and technical know-how, as well as personnel training.
Rhodes Mayor George Yiannopoulos, who is hosting the symposium, presented the efforts and programs of the City of Rhodes to preserve the historic part of the city, which is one of the best preserved medieval architectural examples in the region.
 Peace rally in central Athens in support of Palestinian people
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)The Committee for International Detente and Peace held a rally in central Athens on Thursday evening in support of the Palestinian people and condemned ''the murders and destruction committed in a systematic way by the Israeli occupation army, having the support of the US.''
The assembled asked of the Greek government to ''abandon the policy of silence and openly declare support for the founding of an independent Palestinian state.''
The Committee for International Detente and Peace then held a march to the US Embassy late Thursday night. No incidents were reported.
 'Century of Modernism' the focus of HAU seminars as of Nov.
Athens, 26/09/2003 (ANA)The Athens-based Hellenic American Union (HAU) will organize two separate series of seminars (12 sessions each) beginning in November and focusing on the “Century of Modernism”, its history, theory and main protagonists.
The first seminar begins on Nov. 10 (every Monday), whereas the second commences on Nov. 13 (every Thursday). The price for attending the seminars is 240 euros (190 for students), or 400 euros for both seminars (350 for students). Applications must be received by Oct. 29.
For more information, call the HAU at (210) 36.80.071 or (210) 36.80.047.
President Papadopoulos says no new effort if Denktash stays UNITED NATIONS, 26/09/2003
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has expressed the view that a new effort to solve the Cyprus problem would not start as long as the Turkish Cypriot leadership remained the same, adding that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan ''has doubts if after the elections in the Turkish occupied areas there will be conditions for a speedy resumption of the talks.''
Speaking to Cypriot and Greek reporters after a half-hour meeting in New York with Annan on Thursday, President Papadopoulos made clear that no pressure was exerted on him nor were any concerns expressed that the Greek Cypriot side is talking about the necessity for changes to the Annan plan for a settlement.
President Papadopoulos said ''we reviewed the current situation, the possibility to start a new effort for negotiations.''
''I have the impression that a new effort will not start as long as the same leadership remains in the Turkish Cypriot community. We spoke about our positions. I reiterated the positions we had
expressed at The Hague and since then on the necessity for improvements to the plan,'' he said.
The president noted that Annan ''did not express concern'' or say that the plan could not take changes.
''Nor did the Secretary General speak or exert pressure for referenda and the resumption of talks at the time being, having even doubts that after the elections in the Turkish occupied areas there would be conditions for a speedy resumption of the talks'', the president added.
Asked if he believed that after the so-called ''parliamentary elections'' in the Turkish occupied areas in December these conditions would be in place, President Papadopoulos said ''a lot depends not only on the result but on what kind of result there will be and how this will affect Turkey.''
Invited to say if Annan had some plans for the coming months, President Papadopoulos replied in the negative.
The meeting was attended by Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou, Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN Andreas Mavroyiannis and Director of the President's Diplomatic Office Tasos Tzionis.
On the UN side, present at the meeting were Deputy General Secretary Kieran Prendergast and the UN chief's Special Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.
President Papadopoulos said that the decisions of the Turkish side regarding the Cyprus problem were taken in Ankara, including the issue of who will represent the Turkish Cypriot community in talks to solve the Cyprus problem.
Papadopoulos said there was no progress at the time being on the Cyprus problem, due to the Turkish stance, adding that everyone was waiting for a shift in Turkey's stance and as a consequence that of the Turkish Cypriots.
President Papadopoulos noted that the so-called ''parliamentary elections'' in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic were not to be held to decide who would be the Turkish Cypriot ''president'' or who would be the negotiator in talks to solve the Cyprus problem.
He added that for Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to be removed from power, he must suffer a significant loss in the ''elections'', so that Ankara feels the obligation and has the excuse to replace Denktash with someone else.
''With Denktash, there is no hope for an agreement'' on the Cyprus problem, because the Turkish Cypriot leader regards the twice-revised solution plan proposed by UN chief Kofi Annan ''dead and buried'', the president said, adding that ''with someone else there is at least the hope that there will be a different approach by Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots.''
Cyprus President addresses UN General Assembly UNITED NATIONS, 26/09/2003
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has stressed the need for a functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem that will embrace all Cypriots and will allow Cyprus to take its stride and assume fully its place and role within the European family.
Addressing the 58th session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Papadopoulos announced the Cyprus government's decision to unilaterally start within the next two months, in cooperation with the United Nations and with the financial support of the European Union, demining in the buffer zone and unilaterally proceed with the destruction of an appreciable amount of stockpiled anti-personnel mines during November 2003.
As regards efforts for a Cyprus settlement he reiterated that ''we are always ready whenever the Secretary-General invites us to engage in serious negotiations on the basis of his plan in order to reach a settlement as soon as possible, in conformity with relevant United Nations Resolutions'' and expressed hope ''that soon it will be possible for the other side to realize that they have to return to the negotiating table, cooperate constructively with the Secretary-General and demonstrate the necessary political will to yield a settlement.''
Papadopoulos referred to the humanitarian issue of the missing persons stressing that ''we still strive in Cyprus for establishing the fate of all those missing, both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, since the Turkish invasion of 1974.''
''This is a major issue of a purely humanitarian character and we seek the support of the international community as a whole in order to put an end, at last, to the continuing ordeal of so many families.
For this to happen, the cooperation and political will of the Republic of Turkey are absolutely necessary,'' he added.
Furthermore, President Papadopoulos said the rights of the few remaining enclaved persons in the occupied part of Cyprus continue to be violated. ''The rights of the refugees are also still being denied, whilst our people face new faits accomplis by the occupation army, as is the case of the advance of the Turkish Army in the area of Strovilia. With the assistance of the international community we are, nevertheless, resolved to persevere for the implementation of international conventions and for the restoration of the human rights of all Cypriots,'' he added.
As regards Turkish Cypriots, the Cypriot president said ''we continue as far as we are concerned to do our best to bring them on board and we have embarked on an ambitious policy in order to enhance their standard of living and allow them to fully enjoy rights and benefits that they are entitled to as Cypriots.''
Papadopoulos stressed that ''the Government of Cyprus, attaches great importance to the international effort against mine proliferation and the clearing of minefields'' and for this reason ''it has taken the initiative to clear all minefields in the buffer zone laid by the National Guard immediately after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.''
''In this regard, I would like to announce today my Government's decision and firm commitment first: to unilaterally start within the next two months, in cooperation with the United Nations and the financial support of the European Union, demining in the buffer zone and second: to unilaterally proceed with the destruction of an appreciable amount of stockpiled anti-personnel mines during the month of November this year,'' he added.
He noted that ''this is just a first but, I believe, a major step in the implementation of our obligations under the Ottawa Convention.''
Referring to the long-standing Cyprus problem Papadopoulos said ''we have been facing the catastrophic results of aggression and we have been struggling for more than 29 years for the solution of the problem created by the invasion and occupation of the northern part of our country by Turkey. Despite all efforts Turkish intransigence has not been curbed and their defiance of numerous Resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Security Council continues unabated.''
He said that such an attitude ''constitutes not only unacceptable behavior in international relations but is also completely anachronistic and incomprehensible to any rational thought.
Furthermore it is at variance with the will and the wish of the overwhelming majority of the Turkish Cypriots themselves who are persistently asking for a solution and participation in the accession of Cyprus to the European Union.''
Papadopoulos praised UN efforts for a Cyprus settlement and said ''we still believe in the United Nations, we are grateful for its interest and involvement and I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to the Secretary-General for his tireless efforts within the framework of his Good Offices Mission for Cyprus, entrusted to him by the Security Council.''
'' I would like also to praise the work of his Special Adviser, Mr. Alvaro de Soto and all members of his team, of his Assistant Special Representative and the UN Mission as well as to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and to the contributing countries, Papadopoulos said.
He added that ''it is appropriate to mention this here at this stage because the continuing and longstanding Turkish intransigence has a few months ago thwarted what was probably the strongest ever initiative of the United Nations for finding a solution in Cyprus.''
''We understand and share the bitterness and the disappointment of all involved for the failure but as I said before we should not give up. We always counted on UN support and involvement and we will continue to do so,'' Papadopoulos said and stressed that
''a solution is urgently needed in Cyprus.''
''A functional and viable solution that will embrace all Cypriots and will allow our country to take its stride and assume fully its place and role within the European family. A united Cyprus in a united Europe thriving and navigating along with its partners towards a secure and prosperous future and working hand in hand with all other members of the international community for the promotion of universal values,'' he pointed out.
 Iacovou asks FMs to work for ICO resolution to reflect real situation
NEW YORK, 26/09/2003 (ANA)Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou met here on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, with his counterparts from Kazakhstan, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Tunisia and Libya.
During the meetings Iacovou stressed the need the forthcoming Islamic Conference Organisation (ICO) resolution on Cyprus reflect reality and be in line with the UN Security Council resolutions. Iacovou requested his counterparts to work in this direction.
At his meeting with Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Kassymzihgomart Tokaev, Iacovou referred to the efforts for a Cyprus settlement and noted that the responsibility for the failure of the talks lies with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
Tokaev assured that his government does not and will not recognize the pseudostate in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus nor it has any relationship with it. He pledged that Kazakhstan will work so that the resolution to be approved by the ICO in Malaysia to be balanced.
At his meetings with the foreign ministers of Oman and Qatar, Yousef Al-Alawi Bin Abdulla and Sheikh Hamad bin Javar Al-Thani, Iacovou exchanged views with his counterparts on bilateral relations and cooperation in international and other fora.
He also briefed them on Cyprus' EU accession course and handed over to them a document outlining the Cyprus government's positions on the Islamic Conference, asking them to exert their pressure for the adoption of a resolution by the Islamic Conference that will respond to reality.
Qatar's foreign minister welcomed the decision of the Cyprus government to open an Embassy in Doha and expressed hope that this decision will mark the beginning of closed relations between the two countries.
Bahrein's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al-Kahalifa at his meeting with Iacovou recalled the friendship and cooperation between the two ministers and their countries and commended Cyprus' development, that led her into the EU.
He congratulated Iacovou over Cyprus' accession to the EU, that will give her many possibilities to play an important role in the Middle East region and wider.
Iacovou briefed Al-Kahalifa on latest developments in the Cyprus problem, at the latter's request, and noted that the responsibility for the deadlock lies with the Turkish side and that this is substantiated by the UN Security Council resolutions.
Al-Kahalifa pledged that he would cooperate with the foreign ministers of other countries, members of the Islamic Conference, on this issue.
Tunisian Foreign Minister Habib Ben Yahia expressed satisfaction with the diplomatic relations between the two countries and noted that they show Tunisia's will for closer relations with Cyprus.
Tunisia looks forward, he added, to closer relations with Cyprus being a member of the EU, bilaterally and in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Conference.
Iacovou asked Ben Yahia to work for an ICO resolution on Cyprus responding to reality.
The two ministers agreed to meet again on the sidelines of the Euro-Mediterranean Conference that will take place in Naples, Italy, at the beginning of November.
Iacovou also met with Libyan Foreign Minister Abdurrahrman Mohamed Shalghemr, with whom he exchanged views on bilateral, Mediterranean and international relations.
Shalghemr congratulated Cyprus for its accession to the EU and asked to be briefed on developments in the Cyprus problem.
Iacovou asked Libya to exert its pressure during the Islamic Conference for a resolution that will respond to the situation and developments in Cyprus.
Shalghemr pledged that his country would play a positive role at the Islamic Conference and the efforts to solve all problems of the region.
The Libyan foreign minister also said Cypriot investors were most welcomed to his country.
The two ministers agreed to review all existing cooperation agreements with an aim to improve them.