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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

September 29, 2003


  • [01] IOC president proclaims his confidence in Athens 2004 Games security program
  • [02] ATHOC responds to Washington Post's criticism over Games' security
  • [03] Culture minister makes clarifications on the security of the Olympic Games
  • [04] Gov't spokesman denies Washington Post report on Games' security
  • [05] Washington Post's article claims Athens 2004 problems in security system
  • [06] Annan "ready to return" to Cyprus issue when developments permit, FM says
  • [07] Olympic Truce
  • [08] Deputy FM arrives in Tehran for two-day visit, heading delegation
  • [09] DM to visit Cyprus from Monday to Wednesday
  • [10] Main opposition leads over ruling party in opinion poll
  • [11] ND leader criticizes government's privatization policies
  • [12] ND leader calls on gov't to initiate elections
  • [13] Constantopoulos calls on Left to unite in the face of neo-liberalism
  • [14] Turkish FM expresses hope that Olympic Flame will pass through Turkey
  • [15] Greek-Turkish economic conference takes place in Crete
  • [16] Culture minister inaugurates new permanent exhibition of Vergina treasures
  • [17] Environment minister ends tour of Lasithi, to visit Iraklio on Monday
  • [18] Coach overturns, thirty-two Hungarians reported injured
  • [19] Anti-war rally in Athens, in light of Day of Action Against War
  • [20] Seven Slovaks rescued south of Crete
  • [21] Prince Albert of Monaco visits Patras on Saturday
  • [22] Cyprus government welcomes Powell's statements on Cyprus

  • [01] IOC president proclaims his confidence in Athens 2004 Games security program

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    IOC President Jacques Rogge expressed complete confidence in the security program for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games in an interview to Greek TV networks and the ANA at Lausanne on Friday.

    The Belgium-born “immortal” stressed that there was a very experienced team at ATHOC and the Greek government, who have made the best efforts humanely possible in security.

    At the same time, Rogge kept his distance from the IOC Coordination Committee President Dennis Oswald who had recently told Germany’s “Frankfurter Allgemeine” that elections in Greece were making Olympic preparations difficult.

    He stressed that money spent for the Olympic projects were “wisely spent” since they will change the image of the city of Athens.

    The full text of the interview follows below:

    Q: How do you comment on the recent statements of IOC Coordination Committee President Dennis Oswald to “Frankfurter Allgemeine” with regard to the Olympic preparations in Athens?

    Rogge: I am not going to justify, to condemn or criticize. I have full confidence in Mr. Oswald, he is doing an excellent job, and this issue of the interview is the past, and it’s of no importance any more. But what’s important is to work hard everyday to make the Games a success.

    Q: Do you believe that elections in Greece will affect the Athens 2004 Olympic Games?

    Rogge: It’s up to the Greeks to decide what they want in terms of the political future of their country. I have no concerns whatsoever about delays whenever there are elections. Because the IOC has a great experience at that. Let’s not forget that the preparation for the Games is always spread around seven years. Athens was elected in ’97. In every democratic country during seven years there is at least one election. We had one election a couple of months before the Games in Sydney. We had elections in Barcelona. We had elections in many-many of Olympic Games before. And never had this had a negative affect on the preparation of the Games. And the reason is quite clear. The reason is that the Olympic Games are far too important for a city and a country to allow for delays or to allow for political infighting. So, I have no concern about Athens. I know that my Greek friends – whatever the outcome – will have really good Games.

    Q: Do you believe that the IOC provides sufficient encouragement for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games?

    Basically, we are encouraging the organizers on a day-to-day basis. The IOC is investing a lot of money in the operational budget of the Olympic Games thanks to the TV rights and the sponsorship contracts internationally of which the proceedings are given to the Organizing Committee. Furthermore, the IOC is also helping very much the Organizing Committee with a lot of technical experience, information from the past Games and advice. So, we are encouraging. As far as public encouragement, we are giving that. I have always said that I believe that the Games will be a success. I have always said that while there were delays I was sure that my Greek friends could catch up with delays, which they are doing now, and will deliver on time with a great quality. So, I don’t think there is a lack of support from the International Olympic Committee. Do not forget that there is an ATHOC, a very enthusiastic team. They don’t need a pat on the back on a day-to-day basis to work. They work well, because they are motivated and because they believe in their cause. So, I see absolutely no lack of support. On the contrary.

    Q: Do you believe Athens will be ready on time for the Games?

    Rogge: I think there is enough time, provided that no time is lost in the future. Yes, I believe that.

    Q: Do you think that Athens is making proper preparations in security?

    Rogge: Well, the reports that I am getting about security are positive. Security is, as you know, the number one priority of the Olympic Games. For security we rely, of course, on the country and on the government. The Greek government has invested a lot of money in security. There is a very experienced team, both in the government and in ATHOC. Peter Ryan, the former security chief of Sydney is working with ATHOC and we have also the former security chief of the Barcelona Games who is advising the IOC and working together with the organizers. I know that it is a lot of on-going collaboration between security teams of other countries, which is a very good thing. I believe that everything that was humanely possible has been put in place, but no-one can guarantee a hundred percent security in whatever situation. But the Greek government has definitely made the best efforts that are possible in security. So, therefore, I’m confident.

    Q: If you were in Mrs. Angelopoulos’ place, what would you say would be the biggest preparation problem?

    Rogge: I think it’s on reverse. I am the one asking Mrs. Angelopoulos what the problem is on the organization. I am not the organizer. I am presiding over the IOC and we are working together with the organizers. But the organizers know, far better than we do, what the problems are. So, I think you should put this question to Mrs. Angelopoulos.

    Q: How do you comment on the government’s overruns on the Olympic budget, while previous Olympic Games have yielded a profit? What went wrong with Athens and its over budget?

    Rogge: I think you have completely wrong information. The operational budget of the Games is in balance. And is set, if I remember well, at 1.896 million dollars. That operational budget is funded through a major contribution of the IOC – approximately fifty percent -- and through national sponsorship and the sale of tickets. If things go according to the plan, that budget will yield a profit. And it is that budget that will operate again to pay for transportation and to take care of fabricating of the Olympic village to make sure that television is in place and so on. That budget has always been

    a profit in the previous Games since 1984. There is a second budget that is not directly an Olympic budget. And there, maybe you have over overruns. That is the budget to construct the roads; that is the budget to do the tramway; that is the budget to work on what is going to be a legacy for Greece for generations. You cannot say that the ring road or the tram or other major infrastructure costs by the Metro are Olympic budget. The Olympic Games only last sixteen days. And you don’t build roads for sixteen days. You build roads for generations to come. If there is an increase in that budget, that is a matter for the government to look about. But I would like to say that the money that is invested in infrastructure is one that was needed and I believe you will all agree that it will change Athens, it could make it a totally different city, and that is money wisely spent. Because it’s money that is changing the life of the city and it’s money that at the same time will serve for generations to come.

    Q: If you had to choose a member of the IOC as the president of the Coordination Committee, if you could go back to that, would you choose again Oswald?

    Rogge: Absolutely, of course. He is the best man in that position.

    Q: What is your suggestion to Mr. Oswald?

    Rogge: I have no suggestions to give to Mr. Oswald, he is doing an excellent job and at the great satisfaction of the IOC. I have total trust in him, I think he delivers what we need from the point of view of the IOC; so, I am expressing my full confidence in him. I am not going to comment on Mr. Oswald’s way of handling. I am saying he is doing a perfect job. For the rest I do not wish to comment.

    [02] ATHOC responds to Washington Post's criticism over Games' security

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    The Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee issued a press release stressing that the security of the Games is one of the highest priorities in the overall organizing of the events and that Greece is working hard to organize totally safe Games.

    The press release was issued in response to a Washington Post article on the security of Olympic Games, which shone a negative light on the security arrangements, saying that there are many problems at this stage.

    ''The Athens 2004, through its directorate of security for the Olympic Games, provided security services of Olympic levels in only a number of the athletic events that took place in August,'' the press release said, adding that ''This effort was recognized with very positive comments by the IOC president, in recent statements, by all the Olympic Movement, as well as by the U.S. secretary of state and the U.S. ambassador in Athens''.

    ''Beyond any fantastic scenarios and hyperbole there is only one reality: Greece is preparing with great effort to organize totally safe Olympic Games in 2004,'' the press release concluded.

    [03] Culture minister makes clarifications on the security of the Olympic Games

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    ''The security of the Olympic Games is an international plan which the country implements in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and with seven other countries, including the U.S., Australia, Great Britain and Israel, which have experience around these issues and naturally particular interest in the security of the Olympic Games,'' Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos stated on Sunday when asked to comment on an article in the Washington Post over the weekend regarding the security of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    ''There is collective international responsibility always within the framework of the Constitution and the laws of the state. From there on the security program as we have shaped it, and this also concerns the telecommunications infrastructure and the human resources and all the other measures, is being implemented and carried out normally always within the limits of the budget we have set,'' the culture minister concluded.

    [04] Gov't spokesman denies Washington Post report on Games' security

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Saturday said that ''we will hold the most secure Olympic Games ever,'' adding that reports in newspapers had nothing to do with reality and that there are interests ''which think that they can pressure us'' and for that reason we disregard them.

    Protopapas, referring to an article that appeared in the Washington Post and claimed that there are significant problems with security for the Games, said that ''a perfect plan is being drafted for the security of the Games, with the cooperation of the United States, Britain and another five countries''.

    [05] Washington Post's article claims Athens 2004 problems in security system

    WASHINGTON, 29/09/2003 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The Washington Post on its Saturday edition published a negative article in its front page concerning the security of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    The article signed by Gregory Vista, a staff writer of the newspaper, lead the story as follows: '' With less than 11 months to go before the Athens Olympics, security is much more porous than either the Greek or U.S. governments has acknowledged and planning to protect the half-million athletes and spectators is beset by problems, according to confidential government reports and administration officials.''

    ''Intelligence reports circulating within the U.S. government describe a number of Greek security lapses, including one that allowed a test agent disguised as a pregnant woman to carry a mock bomb through a checkpoint and another to plant a fake device on a ferry. The reports, from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, also cite disorganized police forces, breakdowns in maritime patrols and serious concerns over the slow pace of counterterrorism planning. Security personnel from around the globe said an August test revealed serious, if correctable, deficiencies,'' the report said.

    Other main points of the article showed the police and coast guard forces as being unorganized, while special mention was made of mechanical problems with coast guard vessels.

    The U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller was also quoted saying that ''the United States has established an interagency task force with members from the CIA, the State Department, the FBI and the Pentagon to troubleshoot security problems and observe progress in Athens. In addition, Ambassador Thomas J. Miller, who was scheduled to end his diplomatic tour in Greece before August, will stay there through the Olympics''.

    [06] Annan "ready to return" to Cyprus issue when developments permit, FM says

    NEW YORK, 29/09/2003 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Friday said that United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan was standing by ''ready to return'' when the necessary developments take place concerning the Cyprus issue.

    Speaking after his meeting with Annan, Papandreou, who was in New York for the 58th UN General Assembly, said that ''the discussion was very useful and we had the opportunity to evaluate the events and the developments concerning the Cyprus issue, especially the accession of Cyprus (to the EU). On May 1st it will be a full member''.

    He added that they examined ways to ''utilize the develop-mints'' toward the resolution of the problem.

    Papandreou underlined that the discussion took place under the ''new spirit that exists now between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, as well as in light of Cyprus' accession to the European Union, also observing the forces of the Turkish Cypriots, their demand for a solution and a united Cyprus''.

    ''We evaluated the possibilities for initiatives from the international community, by the United Nations,'' Papandreou said, adding that Annan ''is ready to offer his services … when there will be political will''.

    Special UN envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto was also present in the meeting and according to diplomatic sources he said that he would not undertake initiatives in Cyprus until the ''required conditions'' are created.

    Before his meeting with Annan, Papandreou met with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos. Following their meeting Papadopoulos said that ''we reviewed all the situation and we remain steadfast on our

    positions. We believe that there is a wait and see attitude on the part of the international community, but our positions are gaining significant support''.

    On his part, Papandreou said that ''in our evaluation, our position remains steadfast. I agree that there is a wait and see attitude, it is an expectation that the developments over the next few months will provide us with an opportunity to strengthen the initiatives''.

    He added that ''there always is a common mind (between Athens and Nicosia) and we have made it clear for some time now, while Papadopoulos agreed and stressed that ''I refuse to comment on the self-evident. There is total cooperation''.

    Further on, Papandreou commented on his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Collin Powell, saying that Powell stressed that ''the United States wish for the resolution of the Cyprus issue by May 1st 2004 and the Annan plan is on the negotiations table''.

    Papandreou, who met with Powell during the joint EU-USA foreign ministers' meeting, also said that he reiterated to Powell the common Greek and Cypriot positions on the problem and thanked him for his efforts, stressing that the Greek Cypriot side is ready to come to talks in the event that the UN secretary general issues relevant invitations for discussions on based on his plan.

    [07] Olympic Truce

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Papandreou, during his stay in New York, also promoted the Olympic Truce effort with an event organized by the International Olympic Truce Center at the United Nations building.

    Annan and UN General Assembly President Robert Hunt expressed their support for the initiative and Annan congratulated Papandreou for his efforts concerning the Olympic Ideal and promised to promote its implementation.

    Papandreou made mention of his proposal to the UN to ratify a resolution for ''The building of a Peaceful and best possible world'' through sports and the Olympic Ideal.

    A number of Greek Olympic medalists were present in the event.

    [08] Deputy FM arrives in Tehran for two-day visit, heading delegation

    TEHRAN, 29/09/2003 (ANA/E. Boukaouri)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Sunday began a two-day visit in Iran, heading a delegation of Greek state officials and diplomats for meetings in the framework of the 4th joint inter-ministerial committee of the two countries.

    Loverdos opened the session of the committee on Sunday morning and met with Housing Minister Ali Abdol-Alizadeh.

    ''The insistence of the Iranian side brought us to Teheran for the 4th meeting of the joint inter-ministerial committee, to examine the spectrum of the economic relations, but the climate is not pleasant, since there are outstanding bills of Iran to the company Helliniki Techniki, which concluded a construction project in Iran and due to the war with Iraq in the 1980s, walked out,'' the minister said, in statements to the press.

    He added that the Iranian justice system ruled in favor of the Greek company, but the decisions were not implemented, while a similar problem appeared now with the company called Skapaneas.

    On Monday Loverdos will meet with his counterpart Ali Ahani.

    [09] DM to visit Cyprus from Monday to Wednesday

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou will conduct a three-day visit to Cyprus beginning on Monday, in light of the 43rd anniversary, since the island republic's independence.

    Papantoniou will meet with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on Wednesday and right after the meeting he was invited to observe the customary military parade. The Greek minister will also meet with members of the island republic's government and leaders of political parties.

    [10] Main opposition leads over ruling party in opinion poll

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    An opinion poll published over the weekend, regarding general elections due in spring 2004 show a margin of 7.5 per cent in favor of main opposition New Democracy (ND) party over ruling PASOK in voter preference.

    The poll conducted between Sept. 15 and Sept. 21 by a company called DHMEL and published by the ''Kosmos tou Ependiti'' weekly financial newspaper, showed ND receiving 43.2 per cent of the voters' preference, while ruling PASOK received 35.7 per cent, the Communist Party of Greece 5.6 per cent, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) at 2.9 per cent and the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) at 2.2 per cent, under the 3 per cent limit for entrance in Parliament.

    As for other results of the opinion poll, ND is likely to win the next election according to 46.3 percent of respondents. The difference in this category between ND and PASOK narrowed to 16.4 percent whereas in previous polls the difference had reached more than 45 percent in favor of ND.

    [11] ND leader criticizes government's privatization policies

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Sunday said that privatizations with "decisions made in secret, under the table, will not be binding for ND and they will be re-examined".

    Speaking to a meeting of businessmen in the City of Orestiada, Evros prefecture, Karamanlis criticized the government's policy regarding the country's regions and the economy in general, stressing that ''no illegality will be tolerated''.

    He underlined that the income from privatizations should be analogous to the capitalization of the company sold, while the interests of the employees should be safeguarded.

    He added that his party would promote pure and clear cut privatizations and spoke of the necessity for the creation of a social current, ''since the majority of the citizens should agree with the aims and visions for the new governance of the country''.

    Karamanlis criticized the prime minister for populism and promises and that he "shows contempt for the citizens", adding that ''the citizens have been fed up with rehashed promises and are looking for credibility, planning, program, vision, realistic policy and tangible results''.

    Later in the day, Karamanlis addressed a similar meeting in Alexandroupoli, the Evros prefecture capital, saying that ''Evros should acquire a regional policy. A policy that will be capable of retaining the population at its land. Evros can be transformed to a nodal point of action for Southeastern Europe''.

    ''The basic axis of the economic policy is the implantation of a national strategy of regional development. For this aim to succeed a development organization for the region should be founded,'' he added.

    On his part, government spokesman Christos Protopapas responded to Karamanlis saying that ''it is without a question the right of Mr. Karamanlis to dream of re-inventing the state of the Right Wing. It is unacceptable, however, that with baseless declarations he is trying again to create problems to the economy''.

    ''At last, let him name the contracts or the privatizations which, allegedly, have problems or let him stop creating fake shadows over public life,'' Protopapas concluded.

    [12] ND leader calls on gov't to initiate elections

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday called on the government to initiate the process of elections, saying that the further continuation of the current conditions damage the country.

    Speaking to an open rally in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, Karamanlis said that the country's economy could not withstand a prolonged pre-election period and promised that should his party win the next elections he would implement "a new type of governance, where intolerance and divisions of the people have no space".

    He set 2010 as the target date for what he called the "transference to a state of increased capacities, effectiveness, responsibility, honesty, with real social elements and humane, without bureaucracy and corruption".

    [13] Constantopoulos calls on Left to unite in the face of neo-liberalism

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Sunday called on the Left to unite ''in order for a strong answer to be given to neo-liberalism'' in the next general elections.

    Constantopoulos was speaking at the close of three-day events of the party's Youth Festival.

    Referring to political developments, Constantopoulos said ''the country has entered a prolonged election period of particular importance, not so much over the final result which will emerge, but mainly because of the exposure of the real face of its protagonists, for the exposure of the mechanisms recruited to fool the suppressive reality through impressions.''

    According to the Coalition leader, ''the basic problem which the government is facing and which it cannot overcome is its detachment from the broad popular classes, from the progressive social gains and sensitivities.'' He added that ''based on what the prime minister did this past month, he showed that he has no understanding of the cause of this detachment.''

    Constantopoulos further said that ''despite support from the mass media, what came to the surface was the central problem of the double-talk and non-credibility of his policy.''

    Referring overall to the policy of ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy (ND) party) Constantopoulos said that the policy of Prime Minister Costas Simitis ''cannot win the confidence of the people,'' while ''the proclamations'' of ND leader Costas Karamanlis ''confirm that the Greek people must not have illusions.''

    Constantopoulos noted that the ND refused the proposal by Synaspismos ''for guaranteed social income, for social support of dignified survival, for the establishment of a 35-hour working week and for not the selling out of public enterprises of a strategic character.''

    He further accused the two major parties for rejecting the request of the Left for a simple proportional system.

    [14] Turkish FM expresses hope that Olympic Flame will pass through Turkey

    NEW YORK, 29/09/2003 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)

    Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, in statements to the ANA on Friday here, expressed the hope that the Olympic Flame pass through Turkey, to bring the message of peace in all the region.

    Gul, who was present at an event organized by the International Olympic Truce Center at the United Nations, said that ''both sides (Greece and Turkey) have a lot in common. We live in the same region and we try to create new conditions of cooperation and mutual understanding, solving problems, which are keeping us apart for so many years''.

    To an ANA question on whether he meant the Cyprus issue, he responded positively, adding that his hope is ''to resolve all the problems in a peaceful manner, with a dialogue and of course the same is true for the case of Cyprus''.

    He concluded saying that his visit to Athens on Oct. 21, ''will be one more step for the improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations''.

    [15] Greek-Turkish economic conference takes place in Crete

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    The 5th Greek-Turkish Economic Conference was held in Hania, Crete and focused on the possibilities for the further advancement of transport and trade between the two countries.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis addressed the conference, stressing the necessity for common economic initiatives, conditions of security and the rule of law, improvement of cross border transport and expanding the regional energy and communications networks.

    Turkish Commerce and Industry Minister Ali Coskwn also addressed the conference, noting that the history of the two neighboring countries had their ups and downs, but stressed that businessmen should not focus on the negative points, rather they should hope for the best.

    [16] Culture minister inaugurates new permanent exhibition of Vergina treasures

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Sunday inaugurated the permanent completed exhibition of the Treasures of the Royal Tombs of Vergina at its natural site - where they were discovered by professor Manolis Andronikos and his scientific team in November 1977.

    The exhibition concerns the total findings from the excavations and which were exhibited until 1997 at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and since then were transferred gradually to the original site of the excavations.

    ''The new, great permanent exhibition of Vergina, in my opinion, is the most charming and most important exhibition in Europe at this moment of time,'' Venizelos said.

    [17] Environment minister ends tour of Lasithi, to visit Iraklio on Monday

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou on Sunday concluded a tour of Lasithi prefecture in eastern Crete with pledges that a number of development projects will be implemented in the prefecture.

    The environment minister visited the municipality of Sitia in the morning and was briefed by the mayor, Mr. Tsikalakis, on issues concerning the municipality and its broader region. The minister also visited the airport and the waste water purification installations.

    As she stated at Sitia airport, tenders will be submitted early next year for a permanent 8,000 square-meter building complex at the airport, while until then a fabricated lounge will be installed temporarily for the needs of the airport.

    Finally, Papandreou said the port of Sitia is at the third stage of construction and is incorporated in the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF).

    The minister on Monday will visit Iraklio where she will tour development projects and conduct a series of meetings with the Regional Administrative Secretary of Crete, the prefect and mayors of the prefecture.

    [18] Coach overturns, thirty-two Hungarians reported injured

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    A coach carrying Hungarian nationals overturned at 10:10 p.m. on Sunday, on the national Thessaloniki-Athens highway at the hight of Platamonas, northern Greece. According to initial reports, thirty-two people were injured, five of them seriously. The injured were being taken to the hospitals of Katerini and Larissa. It was unknown at press time if any of the passengers were killed.

    The exact causes why the vehicle overturned has not yet been determined. The coach was carrying a Hungarian music and dance group comprised of youth aged between 18-20 years old. It was made known that the group had taken part in events in Ermioni in the Attica region and was returning to Hungary.

    Public Order Minister Pantelis Tsirtikidis went to the scene and was being briefed on the accident.

    [19] Anti-war rally in Athens, in light of Day of Action Against War

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Student organizations, labor unions and ecological organizations organized an anti-war rally in Athens on Saturday, in light of the World Day of Action Against War, condemning conditions of violence in Palestine and against the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

    The protesters strongly condemned the actions of Israel against the Palestinians and Palestinian Authority Ambassador Abdallah Abdallah addressed the rally along with several Greek personages.

    Following the rally the protestors were treated to a concert by popular Greek artists.

    [20] Seven Slovaks rescued south of Crete

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Seven Slovakian nationals were rescued by a private vessel on Saturday morning after there boat capsized one nautical mile north of the Gyaros Island, south of Crete.

    All seven were taken to the Syros General Hospital and according to reports are in good health.

    [21] Prince Albert of Monaco visits Patras on Saturday

    Athens, 29/09/2003 (ANA)

    Prince Albert of Monaco visited Patra, Greece on Saturday in his capacity as chairman of the principality's Olympic Committee, as he was invited to inspect the sports facilities of the city, which is biding for the 2009 Mediterranean Games.

    Prince Albert is voting member on the committee that organizes the 2009 Mediterranean Games.

    [22] Cyprus government welcomes Powell's statements on Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 29/09/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides over the weekend welcomed US Secretary of State Colin Powell's statements that the Cyprus problem can and must be solved, noting however that these messages should be directed to Turkey.

    As regards Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's statements before the UN General Assembly, Chrysostomides said what the Cyprus government is waiting to see is real change in Turkey's stance on Cyprus.

    Chrysostomides reiterated the Greek Cypriot side's wish for a Cyprus settlement before Cyprus' accession to the EU on May 1, 2004, adding that this position along with the Greek Cypriot side's willingness to start negotiations with no terms and preconditions was reaffirmed by Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos during his recent meetings in New York with US officials.

    ''US Secretary of State statements are in line with the spirit of the Greek Cypriot side's, the EU and the US willingness for a solution to Cyprus,'' Chrysostomides said adding that ''what is expected is a real change of the Turkish stance.''

    Powell had said ''the Annan plan remains on the table'', adding that ''all sides must be encouraged to find a settlement before May 1 when Cyprus becomes a full member of the EU''.

    Gul had said before the UN General Assembly that ''Turkey sincerely desires a lasting political settlement establishing a new partnership in Cyprus'' and that Turkey continues to support the good offices mission of the United Nations Secretary General.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

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