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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-11-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

November 5, 2004

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM Molyviatis lodges demarche, warns of multiple negative consequences of unilateral US recognition of FYROM as 'Macedonia'
  • [02] PM has raised FYROM issue in EU presidency developments
  • [03] Karamanlis to personally brief EU leaders over unilateral US decision regarding FYROM name; Powell says decision 'not directed at Greece'
  • [04] Greek president tells Bush "We are disappointed by the recognition of FYROM"
  • [05] Foreign ministry spokesman outlines foreign ministry's actions in wake of FYROM recognition issue
  • [06] State Department spokesman says FYROM recognition reward for government's effort to turn country into multinational democracy
  • [07] State Department spokesman says FYROM recognition not directed against Greece
  • [08] Boucher says Ambassador Miller informed Greek gov't late Wednesday night on Washington's decision to recognize the 'Republic of Macedonia'
  • [09] European Council President says EU recognizes FYROM with the name 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'
  • [10] EU Parliament President regrets US' decision to recognize FYROM as "Republic of Macedonia"
  • [11] EU's Interparliamentary Delegation president says FYROM recognition negative development
  • [12] Germany will not follow U.S. on issue of FYROM's name, sources say
  • [13] Papandreou sharply criticizes government on FYROM issue
  • [14] MPs demand that Parliament be briefed on US recognition of FYROM as 'Macedonia'
  • [15] Coalition (SYN) party slams U.S. decision on FYROM as 'raw intervention in Balkans'
  • [16] Coalition president says FYROM recognition negative and alarming development
  • [17] AHEPA expresses opposition to U.S. recognition of FYROM as 'Republic of Macedonia'
  • [18] Church reaction to speculation over change in US policy vis-a-vis FYROM
  • [19] Defense Minister and Russian counterpart ascertain that Greece is not questioning quality of Russian armaments
  • [20] Turkish warplanes violate Greek national air space, fly over Greek islands
  • [21] Turkish fighter planes infringe Athens FIR, detected by civilian aircraft's radar, sources say
  • [22] Constantopoulos meets with Bulgarian President in Sofia
  • [23] Internal ND election amongst deputies
  • [24] Govt aims to attract more direct foreign investments
  • [25] Three-way talks in Athens on jumpstarting long-delayed pipeline project
  • [26] Finmin to meet German counterpart Friday
  • [27] Greece seeks to boost business activity with UAE
  • [28] Early retirement scheme targets more than 4,000 OTE employees
  • [29] Transport Minister Liapis discusses voluntary retirement measure with OTE employees
  • [30] Greek Merchant Marine Ministry SG attends Paris and Tokyo MOUs meeting in Vancouver
  • [31] Govt to support regional trade fairs
  • [32] Minister backs Greek-Swedish projects in Balkans
  • [33] Merchant marine minister meets Ambassador of the Republic of Korea
  • [34] Tourism minister inaugurates international tourism exhibition in Thessaloniki
  • [35] Greek authorities on alert after dioxin scare in Holland
  • [36] Stocks rise to hit new year's high
  • [37] Singer Grigoris Bithikotsis in hospital for by-pass operation
  • [38] Prof. Glykatzi-Ahrweiler elected to Lambrakis Press Group board
  • [39] Cyprus president congratulates George Bush

  • [01] FM Molyviatis lodges demarche, warns of multiple negative consequences of unilateral US recognition of FYROM as 'Macedonia'

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Foreign minister Petros Molyviatis on Thursday impressed upon US ambassador in Athens Thomas Miller the "multiple negative consequences" that the US government's "unilateral decision to proceed to recognition of FYROM with its constitutional name", and presented him with a demarche.

    Miller was summoned by Molyviatis to the foreign ministry at noon after information that the US administration intended, in the next few hours, to issue a statement announcing its decision to recognize FYROM with the disputed name "Macedonia".

    According to diplomatic sources, the US government's move aims at boosting the FYROM government ahead of a November 7 referendum on fundamental decentralization laws that would grant more powers to the country's ethnic Albanians.

    The same sources said that during Molyviatis' recent visit to the FYROM capital of Skopje, such a prospect had not been visible, while the FYROM government had agreed to accelerate the UN-brokered bilateral dialogue between Skopje and Athens for finding a mutually acceptable solution to the FYROM name issue. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which broke off from Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, is provisionally recognized as FYROM internationally, including by the UN and other international organizations.

    According to press sources, the US ambassador in Skopje informed the FYROM government of Washington's intentions earlier Thursday morning.

    Earlier Thursday, Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos had confirmed the existence of information of impending recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its constitutional name by the US.

    Koumoutsakos had said that "indeed this information exists" -- referring to information that Washington plans to issue a statement in the next few hours announcing its decision to recognize FYROM with the disputed name 'Macedonia' -- and added that foreign minister Molyviatis, after consulting with prime minister Costas Karamanlis, had cancelled his trip to Brussels where he was due to attend the European Council meeting and had summoned Miller to the ministry.

    Molyviatis had also briefed President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos and the leaders of the Greek political parties on the issue, the spokesman added.

    Reactions: The main opposition PASOK party, through its press officer Nikos Athanasakis, described the impending recognition of FYROM with its constitutional name by the US as a "very negative development".

    Athanasakis cast blame for the development on the government and called on premier Karamanlis to initiative a comprehensive discussion in parliament on the country's foreign policy and strategy "which the country must at last acquire", adding that if the premier did not do so, then PASOK would take the initiative.

    Athanasakis noted that the development came just after the US presidential elections (in which George Bush was re-elected for a second term), and despite the fact that a process to find a solution to the issue was ongoing in the framework of the United Nations.

    He said that under the preceding governments of PASOK and the policy they implemented, such a decision on the part of the US and other countries had been averted.

    He also said that "today, with the Karamanlis government, we are face-to-face with this very negative development that it had not been possible to avert, despite the fact that all indications existed on this intention of the US".

    Athanasakis accused the government on lack of strategy in foreign policy and lack of action, and said that the country's prestige had been crushed, while warning of the risk of Greece finding itself in the face of "serious losses of advantages and acquis".

    He said that Greece was already facing such consequences both with the FYROM developments as well as with the entire situation that has evolved in Greek-Turkish relations with the daily provocations, and also with the developments in the Cyprus issue and at EU level.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in an announcement that "it is confirmed that it is not possible to seek the insurance of sovereign rights and peace from within the structures of imperialism, in NATO and the EU".

    The Greek people must be on alert over these developments, to pit itself against every nationalistic manifestation, and decisively confront the planning of imperialism in the Balkan region", the announcement said.

    It said that at a time when the Greek and FYROM governments had agreed to follow a procedure, in the framework of the UN, to find a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue, the US government, with its unilateral decision, "undermines this procedure".

    The KKE had, several years ago, taken a position on the FYROM name issue, the announcement said. "When all the other parties were making FYROM's name a nationalistic banner and were organizing rallies, the KKE had underlined, as early as 1992, that the neighboring country's name was not the main issue, and put forward, as a condition for recognition (of the new country), the geographic delineation and the removal of any irredentist tendencies that existed in the neighboring country's constitution," it said.

    The main issue, the KKE said, is the imperialistic policy of "divide and conquer", the antagonism among the leading forces in the EU and the US, which "sliced up the Balkans".

    Meanwhile, diplomatic circles in FYROM confirmed to the ANA correspondent in Skopje that the FYROM government had received an "official confirmation" from the US for recognition of the country's constitutional name.

    According to press information, the first reaction on the part of FYROM would be issued by FYROM president Branco Crvenkovski on Thursday afternoon.

    [02] PM has raised FYROM issue in EU presidency developments

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has raised the issue of U.S. recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its adopted constitutional name 'Republic of Macedonia' with the head of the Dutch EU presidency, Dutch premier Jan Peter Balkenende, sources said on Thursday.

    According to the same sources, Balkenende informed Karamanlis that he was aware of the issue and that the EU's position differed from that of the United States.

    During a dinner by EU heads of state and government on Thursday night, Karamanlis was expected to underline that this is a very negative development for Greece and for the Balkans as a whole.

    The Greek premier is also likely to stress that this is a unilateral move by the U.S. that will exacerbate the long-standing problem at a time when Greece and FYROM had agreed to intensify UN-mediated talks to find a mutually acceptable solution.

    Karamanlis is further expected to underline Athens intention to continue talks under UN auspices in the hope that the U.S. move will not lead Skopje to adopt a more intransigent stance, while warning Skopje that decisions within the EU are taken unanimously and that a resolution of the problem lies through dialogue to achieve a mutually acceptable solution.

    The Greek premier will likely send a clear message that Athens - in order to avoid further misunderstandings and friction - will not consider the possibility of FYROM's accession to the EU and NATO unless a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue has been achieved.

    Meanwhile, government sources said that Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis had been contacted on the phone by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who explained the reasons for Washington's decision, stressing that it was not directed against Greece and that the U.S. was aware that this was a sensitive issue for Athens.

    According to Powell, Washington had after lengthy consideration decided to go ahead with recognition in view of the referendum of November 7 in FYROM.

    Molyviatis stressed that the unilateral U.S. action had already had negative repercussions, regardless of its intentions, and created serious problems. He also criticized the move as untimely, since it came at a time when Greece had undertaken initiatives to intensify talks on the issue, which would now be hampered.

    The Greek foreign minister had sent a letter to Powell four days earlier protesting against the signature of an agreement between Washington and Skopje using the disputed name 'Macedonia' for the republic, noting that such actions did not facilitate finding a solution to the problem.

    Government sources also noted that Greece will be lodging demarches over the latest developments concerning FYROM with the United Nations and UN special representative for the FYROM name issue Matthew Nimetz.

    Greece objects to the FYROM's use of the name 'Macedonia' adopted under the neighboring republic's constitution, on the grounds that it is historically misleading and conceals desires on the northern Greek province of the same name.

    [03] Karamanlis to personally brief EU leaders over unilateral US decision regarding FYROM name; Powell says decision 'not directed at Greece'

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry on Thursday underlined that Athens has conveyed its most strenuous objections directly to the US Secretary of State over Washington's abrupt decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as the "Republic of Macedonia", whereas Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will personally take up the issue with European leaders at an EU summit in Brussels later in the evening.

    Speaking during a hastily called press conference, a foreign ministry spokesman said Secretary of State Colin Powell phoned Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis to tell him that the US administration's decision was not "directed at Greece", spokesman George Koumoutsakos said.

    The call came hours after the US envoy in Athens informed the Greek government of the unexpected move, and following the latter's subsequent summoning to the foreign ministry. Athens also lodged a demarche over the decision, which came less than 24 hours after US President George W. Bush won a second term in the White House.

    The spokesman said the Greek FM cited Athens' "animated skepticism" over the decision and also reiterated to Powell that the move will have negative consequences. That statement echoed Molyviatis' previous statements to US ambassador Thomas Miller.

    Additionally, Koumoutsakos said the Greek foreign ministry had sent the US State Department a letter a few days ago that protested a US-FYROM defense agreement last month -- signed in Skopje, in fact, by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- that referred to FYROM as simply "Macedonia".

    Finally, the spokesman also questioned what he called the Bush administration's haste in making such a unilateral decision during a period when Greek-FYROM talks to find a mutually acceptable solution to the "name issue" had been revived, by a Greek initiative no less. He said Athens failed to understand the decision within such a context.

    Asked about the decision's affect on Greek-US relations, the spokesman referred to an "unhappy moment".

    "It is, however, just one moment, and we will manage it with cool-headedness and with the certainty that over the last six months the Greek government took the correct actions," he said.

    [04] Greek president tells Bush "We are disappointed by the recognition of FYROM"

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    "The Greek people are highly disappointed that FYROM has been recognized by the name 'Macedonia'," President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos wrote in the congratulatory telegram he sent Thursday to US President George W. Bush on occasion of his re-election.

    The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has irredentist designs against Greece's northern region of Macedonia and promotes claims against Greece, the president said.

    "Greece does not forget the tradition of friendship and cooperation that it shares with the US, nor the support your country has showed us in the past so that we could retain our democratic regime," the Greek president wrote, adding that recognizing the name "Macedonia" has disappointed the Greek people.

    Greece objects to the use of the name 'Macedonia' by FYROM as concealing expansionist designs against Greece's northern region with the same name.

    Stephanopoulos expressed the wish that "World peace and cooperation among nations which will help fight terrorism and its causes will be achieved during your new four-year term." In closing, the Greek president wrote: "Again, I hope you achieve your goals regarding the prosperity of your great country and the American people

    [05] Foreign ministry spokesman outlines foreign ministry's actions in wake of FYROM recognition issue

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Foreign ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos, speaking to reporters on Thursday, outlined the foreign ministry's actions in the wake of the recognition by the U.S. of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its constitutional name.

    "From the actions of the foreign minister, from the content of the demarche delivered to the American ambassador and from what (foreign minister) Mr. Molyviatis told Mr. Powell, it appears precisely what the climate of the Greek reaction was and how the Greek side assesses the American action," he said.

    The spokesman said that during Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis's visit to Washington last May, the Greek delegation had been called on to express its views on the issue of FYROM's name.

    Koumoutsakos said Karamanlis set out Greek positions at length and the intention of the Greek side to go ahead with a substantive and sincere dialogue to find a mutually acceptable solution and that an intensive initiative began ever since which took on various forms.

    The spokesman also referred to meetings between Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis and the UN's special envoy on the issue Mathew Nimetz, the visit Molyviatis made to Skopje (FYROM) and to the issuing, at Greece's initiative, of a joint position by the European Union on "the need to strengthen dialogue in the direction of a mutually acceptable solution."

    Replying to a question on whether Greece intends to prevent the accession of FYROM to the EU and NATO with its constitutional name, Koumoutsakos reminded that a report will be issued in early 2005 by the European Commission on FYROM's pending application to join the EU.

    "This is a landmark in time and the developments of the past hours are being jointly assessed in the course towards this landmark," he said.

    On the question of the possibility of bilateral dialogue on the issue of the name continuing (since the interim agreement reached in 1995 is valid provided it is not denounced by one of the two sides), Koumoutsakos said "the agreement remains active and firm."

    Clarifying reference previously made by Molyviatis to "negative repercussions" from the unilateral recognition of FYROM with its constitutional name, the spokesman spoke of the creation of "a negative climate among Greek public opinion, as well as among parties."

    [06] State Department spokesman says FYROM recognition reward for government's effort to turn country into multinational democracy

    WASHINGTON 5/11/2004 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    U.S. State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher made the following statement regarding his country's recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) under its constitutional name, during his press briefing on Thursday.

    ''The United States has decided to refer to Macedonia officially from now on as "the Republic of Macedonia".

    ''By recognizing Macedonia's chosen constitutional name, we underscore the U.S. commitment to a permanent polytechnic democratic Macedonian State within existing borders.

    ''The U.S., the EU and NATO have been working for years to bring lasting stability to the Balkans.

    ''The key to Macedonia's future remains in the Ochrid Agreement. Macedonia's multiethnic government coalition has worked to finish implementing the Agreement. Macedonian leadership made this courageous decision to carry out the decentralization of the process.

    ''We have made this decision of Macedonia name without prejudice to the ongoing negotiation under the U.N. auspices between Macedonia and Greece over the name.

    We hope these talks will reach speedy and mutually agreeable conclusions.''

    Earlier, State Department spokesman Steve Pike described for the Athens News Agency (ANA) the U.S. decision as a reward for the effort being made by FYROM's government to turn the country into a multinational democracy.

    "We decided to recognize 'Macedonia' as 'Republic of Macedonia' because this is the constitutional name they have chosen and we recognize it with it," Pike said.

    "We desire to underline the adherence of the U.S. to the existence of a viable, multinational and democratic Macedonian state, within existing borders. The U.S., the EU and NATO have been working for years to bring permanent stability to the Balkans. We believe that the key to the future of Macedonia remains the Ohrid agreement. The coalition government of Macedonia has worked to complete its implementation. The Macedonian leadership took the bold decision to go ahead with decentralization anticipated by the agreement and the U.S. desires to support the efforts being made by Macedonia in this direction, in the framework of our support for Macedonia's further approach to the EU and NATO and to participation in the EU," he said.

    The decision, ratified by Secretary of Sate Colin Powell, and valid as of Wednesday, was also taken as a reward for the fact that "Macedonia was a steadfast supporter of the U.S. in the war against international terrorism" and, as Pike stressed, "this is something that we recognize and appreciate."

    Referring to repercussions this move by the U.S. will have for Greece, the spokesman said "the decision on the name of Macedonia was taken without prejudice against negotiations underway under the auspices of the UN between Macedonia and Greece. We hope these talks will reach a mutually acceptable agreement soon."

    He went on to say that "in the event that the two sides agree on another name then we shall take such a development into consideration and we shall examine it."

    [07] State Department spokesman says FYROM recognition not directed against Greece

    WASHINGTON 5/11/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis)

    U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, replying to a relevant question, said on Thursday that the United States realizes the sensitivities of the Greeks on the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and desires to assure the Greek people that the decision to recognize it as "Republic of Macedonia" is not directed against Greece "which remains one of our closest allies."

    Boucher said the decision was taken by Secretary of State Colin Powell and denied that this specific moment was chosen with political criteria so as not to precede the elections and draw reaction from the Greek Americans.

    The spokesman reiterated that the U.S. believes that with this move it will strengthen stability in "Macedonia" and the wider Balkans, while underlining that Washington was in contact with many European countries, the EU and NATO recently, as it was formulating its final position on the issue.

    He added that in this context, Washington was also in contact with UN mediator Mathew Nimetz.

    [08] Boucher says Ambassador Miller informed Greek gov't late Wednesday night on Washington's decision to recognize the 'Republic of Macedonia'

    WASHINGTON 5/11/2004 (ANA/T.Ellis)

    The Greek government was briefed on Washington's decision to recognize the "Republic of Macedonia" on Wednesday, late at night (Greek time), by U.S. Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller, State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher stressed on Thursday.

    Boucher added that in the opinion of the United States, "Macedonia", its leaders and its people have repeatedly made clear that they do not maintain territorial claims against Greece, a stance which the U.S. agrees with.

    "We are aware of the Greek concerns but we have explained that we regard that this is the correct decision at the right moment of time, which is not turned against any third country," Boucher stated repeatedly in the course of his briefing.

    He insisted that the purpose of the United States is to express its support to the efforts for the implementation of the Ochrid Agreement which he assessed that it contributes significantly in the stability in the Balkans. Boucher noted that the prospects of the recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was an issue which was under examination for quite a period, during which "many encouraged us to do it and others not." He added that the fact that the referendum is approaching constitutes part of the entire equation.

    "Naturally, we are seeking ways to support the full implementation of the Ochrid Agreement, including the decentralization which is so important, and we felt that this is the right moment for us to proceed in this step," Boucher concluded.

    [09] European Council President says EU recognizes FYROM with the name 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'

    BRUSSELS 5/11/2004 (ANA/A. Simatos)

    European Council President and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende reiterated here on Thursday night in the course of a press conference that the name with which the European Union recognizes FYROM is "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".

    At the same time, Balkenende appeared satisfied over the fact that incoming European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso announced the new composition of the proposed commission.

    [10] EU Parliament President regrets US' decision to recognize FYROM as "Republic of Macedonia"

    BRUSSELS 5/11/2004 (ANA/G.Zitouniati, M.Spinthourakis)

    European Parliament President Jose Borrell expressed his sorrow regarding the United States' decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as "Republic of Macedonia."

    During a press conference held on Thursday evening in Brussels, where the EU Council meeting of European heads of state is being held, Borrell, in response to a related question by a Bulgarian TV station, replied, that he was truly saddened by the US' decision, especially since there was no previous consultation with the EU.

    Earlier on Thursday, New Democracy Eurodeputy and Vice President of the European Parliament Antonis Trakatellis sent a letter to Borrell, requesting that all terms currently in effect regarding the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia be adhered to.

    Trakatellis stressed in his letter, that the official name in the UN is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and emphasized that the name issue is a matter of bilateral negotiations so that a mutually acceptable solution can be found.

    The Vice President of the European Parliament also agreed with Archbishop of America Dimitrios for Greeks living in the US as well as other political figures to protest the US decision so that it is not adopted by President Bush.

    [11] EU's Interparliamentary Delegation president says FYROM recognition negative development

    BRUSSELS 5/11/2004 (ANA/M.Spinthourakis)

    Eurodeputy and European Union Interparliamentary Delegation President George Papastamkos said on Thursday the recognition by the U.S. of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its constitutional name constitutes a negative development.

    "The unilateral, while sidestepping the UN, recognition of FYROM on behalf of the U.S. with its constitutional name constitutes a negative development. 'FYROM' remains the official name for the European Union. The UN is the natural place of dialogue and discussion. In any case, both at constitutional rule level and at the level of fundamental proclaimed policy the actions of the European Union are always compatible with the principles and values of the United Nations Organization and its resolutions," he said.

    [12] Germany will not follow U.S. on issue of FYROM's name, sources say

    BERLIN 5/11/2004 (ANA/P. Stangos)

    The announcement that the United States will proceed to the recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its constitutional name "Republic of 'Macedonia'" on Thursday once again raised the issue appearing in Germany last week with the ratification of a similar resolution by German Parliament.

    The development had led to a demarche by the Greek ambassador in Berlin, resulting in assurances by the German foreign ministry on the "unchangeable position of the German government" and the stance publicly demonstrated by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder with which he rejected the German Parliament's resolution and "advised" FYROM Prime Minister Hari Kostov to seek a solution to the problem "through dialogue."

    A German diplomatic source declined any comment on Thursday on the decision taken by the U.S. to recognize FYROM with its constitutional name, but referred to the assurances made by the German foreign ministry last Friday according to which "the German position remains unchanged."

    Another diplomatic source said later the German government does not intend to follow the U.S. with- "unilateral moves."

    [13] Papandreou sharply criticizes government on FYROM issue

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    George Papandreou, President of the main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party blamed the government for developments regarding the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) use of its constitutional name "Republic of Macedonia", after an emergency meeting held at PASOK headquarters on Thursday evening. Papandreou said that Greece ''has gone from being a protagonist to being an 'extra'''.

    Papandreou severely attacked the government, stressing that after a few months of New Democracy being in power the country ''has gone from being a pioneer to being an observer in Cyprus''. "We've moved away from the Helsinki agreement, we are absent and unprepared in the Balkans and we're without a powerful voice in the EU," he added.

    He also criticized the government by saying that Greeks feel insecure on national issues as well as on economic and social issues.

    Papandreou said that the policies of PASOK governments had ensured security and stability in the region and had protected Greek national interests.

    Finally, Papandreou also criticized the US government for its decision to proceed to the recognition of FYROM under its constitutional name saying that it was a "unilateral and unacceptable decision which may very well have a negative impact in the greater region.''

    Roussopoulos responds to Papandreou: Greek government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos replied from here on Thursday to criticism launched earlier in the day by main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou against the government.

    Roussopoulos is accompanying Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis who is in Brussels for the two-day European Council session.

    "Mr. Papandreou is blaming the Greek government for the recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the part of the United States with its constitutional name, ignoring that under PASOK governments, neither one, nor two, but 130 countries (among them China) recognized Skopje with its constitutional name. Was this or not a slap?" Roussopoulos noted.

    Regarding Papandreou's reference to the Cyprus issue, the government spokesman noted that "the president of PASOK must be ashamed about the 'yes' he said and brought him in opposition with 76 percent of the Cypriot people."

    Concerning Papandreou's reference to Greek-Turkish relations, Roussopoulos observed: Was it not Mr. Papandreou who in 1999 in Helsinki said that we should not ask for exchanges from Turkey on its accession to the European Union?"

    The government spokesman finally said that "it is strange" and should concern the Greek citizens, "the fact that Mr. Papandreou instead of blaming those who cause a crisis in Greece, is blaming the Greek government."

    "Is this a 'patriotic' stance,?" Roussopoulos questioned and underlined that the ruling New Democracy party is handling the national issues "without petty political expediencies." He added:" We regret the fact that PASOK is slipping on a road damaging the country. And in a climate of petty political acrimony he will be tragically alone."

    [14] MPs demand that Parliament be briefed on US recognition of FYROM as 'Macedonia'

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Opposition MPs but also ruling New Democracy's Parliamentary spokesman Vyron Polydoras on Thursday demanded that Parliament be immediately briefed on the latest developments regarding the anticipated recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with its constitutional name 'Republic of Macedonia' by the United States.

    Polydoras asked Parliament's presidency to convey the body's request to the government but at the same time called for steadiness and national unity, stressing that the issue was not one that the opposition should frantically try to exploit.

    Main opposition PASOK's parliamentary spokesman Haris Kastanidis said the latest developments were "extremely unfavorable" and a major issue for Greek foreign policy, noting that the government had either been taken completely by surprise or had not thought it necessary to inform Parliament.

    He expressed "deep concern" over the U.S. government's move and questioned the government's ability to react so as to prevent unfavorable developments in foreign policy.

    Former Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis criticized the U.S. decision, saying it created additional problems for the governments of Athens and Skopje in their efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution through the mediatory process currently underway within the United Nations.

    According to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the decision was 'no surprise' and there had been ample warning in the media, while the Coalition of the Left and Progress party said the U.S. was seeking to create "fluidity" in the region of the Balkans.

    [15] Coalition (SYN) party slams U.S. decision on FYROM as 'raw intervention in Balkans'

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party (Synaspismos) on Thursday slammed a decision by the United States to officially recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with the name "Republic of Macedonia", saying it was yet another incidence of "raw intervention by the U.S. in the Balkans".

    According to a party announcement, the move was an apt demonstration of Washington's perception of how to resolve international problems, given that Athens and Skopje had agreed to seek a mutually acceptable solution to the disputed name issue through negotiations.

    It said the intervention was part of an overall U.S. plan for dominance in the region, which undermined prospects for peace, stability and security in the Balkans.

    The party said the developments also highlighted the responsibility of current and previous governments of PASOK and ruling New Democracy, which had failed to achieve a timely solution to the issue through negotiations.

    [16] Coalition president says FYROM recognition negative and alarming development

    SOFIA 5/11/2004 (ANA/B. Borisov)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Nikos Constantopoulos said on Thursday the recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by the United States with its constitutional name is a negative and alarming development.

    "It is clearly a negative and alarming development which is taking place exactly the day after the election of Mr. Bush," he said.

    Constantopoulos, currently on a two-day visit to Bulgaria, said this development concerning FYROM ''shows that the U.S. government continues to defy and undermine international collective procedures and the UN,'' adding that U.S. policy ''insists on intervening competitively towards the EU in the Balkans, claiming maximum influence to predetermine developments.''

    He further expressed fear that the Balkans will find themselves once again at the focal point of international antagonism and of the political intervention of the United States.

    Constantopoulos also noted that the Greek political leadership in its entirety must realize the exact meaning of this development and activate itself.

    [17] AHEPA expresses opposition to U.S. recognition of FYROM as 'Republic of Macedonia'

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) on Thursday expressed concern over reports that the United States government intends to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with the name 'Republic of Macedonia', in an announcement issued by AHEPA President Franklin Manios.

    Manios underlined AHEPA's position that a final settlement of the name recognition issue must not contain the word 'Macedonia' or any form of 'Macedonia' because it infringes on Greek history and heritage.

    The announcement also notes that relations between Greece and FYROM had steadily improved in recent years and expressed concern that the "unilateral decision" by the U.S. might create unnecessary tension in the region and will stymie progress made on the name recognition issue between the two neighbors. AHEPA added that it will make a formal inquiry to the U.S. Department of State.

    [18] Church reaction to speculation over change in US policy vis--vis FYROM

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    The ecclesiastical leadership of the influential Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece also reacted immediately to early morning reports on Thursday stating that Washington had decided to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as simply "Macedonia", a move that will likely infuriate Athens and Greek public opinion.

    According to a spokesman for the Church of Greece's standing Holy Synod, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos interrupted a same-day session in order to express his concern to Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis over the rumored development.

    The spokesman, Metropolitan Dorotheos, reiterated that the Church believes that the landlocked former Yugoslav republic on Greece's northern border should not use the word "Macedonia" in its name. Macedonia is the name of Greece's largest province, the one referred to in antiquity as the home of the Macedonia dynasty of Philip II and his son, Alexander the Great.

    On his part, Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Anthimos said any such recognition of FYROM as the "Republic of Macedonia" by the US would be a "grave injustice for our homeland, Greece; and it also creates dangers for peace in the Balkan region".

    Finally, he said the Church is ready to organize mass rallies to protest any such development.

    [19] Defense Minister and Russian counterpart ascertain that Greece is not questioning quality of Russian armaments

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos and his Russian counterpart Sergei Ivanov clarified, during a joint press conference they held in Moscow on Thursday, that Greek Parliament is investigating whether any Greek law was violated when the then Greek government of Costas Simitis purchased the Russian TOR-M1 weaponry systems and ZUBR hovercraft. In no way is the quality of these systems being questioned, they said.

    At the same time, Spiliotopoulos announced that the Greek government will ask Russia to contribute to the case within the context of the investigation the Russian side is conducting concerning the TOR-M1 issue. He explained that what is being investigated is the legality of the procurement procedure on the part of the Greek defense ministry as well as the possibility to link the system with the rest of the Greek air defense system.

    Ivanov said that Russia is treating Greece's parliamentary investigation as a domestic issue. Additionally, he said that if the Russian weaponry systems were not of such high quality, they wouldn't rank second in terms of world sales.

    As for the ZUBR hovercraft, Ivanov said that "it is difficult to think of another type of fighter craft that would be better, considering Greece's sea, which has 1,000 islands that need to be protected, operationally and quickly," he said, adding that the Russian navy uses the same aircraft.

    Spiliotopoulos also informed Ivanov of the provocative behavior of Turkey's Air Force in the Aegean, reiterating that the necessary prerequisite for stability and peace in the region is respect of international law.

    Ivanov referred to Russia's cooperation with NATO on the fight against terrorism, saying that there were certain problems that have to do with the position of certain countries regarding their contribution to the fight against international terrorism. "Depending on a country's reaction to our requests, we can tell whether that country is sincere about cooperating in the fight against terrorism. Based on this, we decide on our approach towards this specific, and I emphasize specific, country, on this issue," Ivanov said.

    The Russian defense minister also referred to the first, experimental cooperation between ships of the Black Sea Navy and NATO ships, which are active in the eastern Mediterranean as part of operation Active Endeavor, with the objective of preventing the supply of weapons of mass destruction or their parts.

    According to Greek defense ministry sources, the two ministers discussed the prospects of bilateral cooperation on a military and defense/technical level, confirming both sides' desire for further cooperation.

    [20] Turkish warplanes violate Greek national air space, fly over Greek islands

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Turkish warplanes once again violated Greek national air space on Thursday and in certain cases flights of Turkish aircraft over Greek islands were observed.

    According to press reports, two Turkish F-16 jets entered the region of the Aegean between the islands of Chios and Samos at 16.28 without submitting flight plans.

    The two Turkish planes flew three times over the island of Agathonissi at an altitude of 22,000 feet and once over there island of Fournoi at an altitude of 18,000 feet.

    Greek air force jets were engaged in mock dogfights with the Turkish aircraft which ultimately left the Aegean region at 17.00 hours.

    At 17.34 a Turkish naval cooperation CN-235 aircraft flew over the island of Symi at an altitude of 6,500 feet and was then recognized and intercepted by Greek jets.

    By 15.30, 14 Turkish warplanes had violated national air space on eight occasions in the region of the southern Aegean.

    In two cases the interception process developed into mock dogfights, while four of the Turkish aircraft were armed.

    According to the same reports, all the Turkish aircraft had been trapped throughout the entire duration of their flights over the Aegean by land-based anti-aircraft systems.

    [21] Turkish fighter planes infringe Athens FIR, detected by civilian aircraft's radar, sources say

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Sources on Thursday reported another infringement on the Athens Flight Information Region by Turkish fighter jets, saying that the aircraft had also been detected by the on-board radar of a civilian Olympic Airlines plane flying between the islands of Karpathos and Rhodes early in the morning.

    The OA plane was flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet when a formation of three Turkish fighter jets appeared on its radar screen three nautical miles ahead. The Turkish aircraft had entered the Aegean without submitting flight plans with Athens.

    The OA pilot did not declare a hazardous situation but raised his plane 1,000 feet higher and continued his flight as normal.

    The Turkish fighters were subsequently identified and intercepted by Greek air force jets.

    [22] Constantopoulos meets with Bulgarian President in Sofia

    SOFIA 5/11/2004 (ANA/B.Borisov)

    "Greek-Bulgarian relations are of strategic importance on a bilateral level, but also in terms of stability in the Balkans and European integration," Nikos Constantopoulos, President of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party said Thursday, the first of a two-day visit here, in order to meet with the country's political leadership.

    Constantopoulos met with Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov, Vice President of Parliament Luben Kornezov, the President of the Parliamentary Group on Bulgarian-Greek relations Ali Imamov and other political leaders.

    Constantopoulos welcomed Bulgaria's course towards the EU and emphasized that Greece, Bulgaria and the other Balkan countries must claim a European future of peace, cooperation and social justice. Emphasizing the strategic interests the two countries have in common, Constantopoulos said that the necessary steps for further development and cooperation must continue at an uninterrupted and dynamic pace.

    "It is an important period for the Balkans. As far as we are concerned the Balkans are part of Europe and Greece must and can be a strategic partner to all the Balkan countries for EU accession," Constantopoulos said.

    Kornezov expressed gratitude for Greece's unfailing support as his country prepares to join the EU.

    "I had a sincere and friendly discussion with the President of Bulgaria and with the parties of the Bulgarian Parliament. We exchanged views and information on Bulgaria's EU course, on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline and cross-border stations, where all steps must be completed without time and bureaucratic delays," Constantopoulos said.

    SYN's president and delegation also met with the Greek Democratic Organization for Education and Culture. The organization's President Panayiotis Topaloudis briefed Constantopoulos on his organization's efforts "to ensure that the Greek spirit and Greek civilization in Bulgaria will not fade," despite the serious financial problems Greeks, as well as most Bulgarians, face in the country.

    On Friday, Constantopoulos will meet with socialist party leader Sergei Stanisev and Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolai Milkov.

    [23] Internal ND election amongst deputies

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Internal elections by the ruling New Democracy party for the appointment of sector heads - as well as alternates -- of various portfolios were concluded on Thursday at the party's central Athens offices. The sector heads and alternates were selected from the party's Parliament deputies.

    [24] Govt aims to attract more direct foreign investments

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Thursday presented the government's development policy aimed to boost the country's national product and achieve a more fair distribution and to ensure development and well-being for all citizens in the country.

    Addressing a seminar organized by the Greek-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, Sioufas said that the government was seeking to ensure high growth rates by mobilizing the country's domestic economic capability and to attract direct foreign investments. Also to encourage and support investments and to establish a new business climate in the country.

    The Greek minister stressed the competitiveness was the key to achieve these goals. He noted that, according to World Economic Forum data, Greece still remained low in a global list of competitiveness and that Greek competitiveness was steadily declining in the last few years. The Development ministry's aim is to draft and implement the necessary policies to allow the Greek economy to recovery and acquire new dynamism.

    Sioufas said that the government aimed to achieve a fiscal restructuring and restoring macro-economic balance, to reform a tax law, the adopt a new development law, to strengthen investment initiatives and entrepreneurship, to review mechanisms and redistribution of community funding programs, to restructure a public procurement system, to reduce the state, combating profiteering, reducing the cost of living, supporting Small- and Medium-sized enterprises and to implement a new energy policy in the country. He also noted that the government would seek to boost the country's export-orientation, to invest in the country's human resources and to evaluate the impact of legislation on competitiveness.

    [25] Three-way talks in Athens on jumpstarting long-delayed pipeline project

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Works groups representing Greece, Russia and Bulgaria met here on Thursday to discuss efforts at jumpstarting a long-delayed project to build an oil pipeline connecting the Black Sea port of Burgas (Bulgaria) with Greece's northern Aegean port of Alexandroupoli.

    Initially developed in the mid 1990s, the pipeline is projected to transport Russian crude oil along a land route that bypasses the traffic-congested Bosporus and Hellespont straits.

    Concerns over its viability, ownership share, a guaranteed supply of oil and financing have kept the project on the drawing boards.

    "A great deal of back-tracking has occurred over the past years, however, something appears to have changed in the last few months. All of us here today have made significant efforts to reach this point after 33 months, where we can discuss (this project) with more determination than at any other time," Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said in inaugurating the talks.

    He also noted that a future Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline will not be a competitor vis--vis the straits for the transport of oil, but instead will serve as an auxiliary route.

    [26] Finmin to meet German counterpart Friday

    BERLIN 5/11/2004 (ANA/P.Stangos)

    Visiting Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis is to meet his German counterpart, Hans Eichel, for talks in an unofficial meeting on Friday.

    In Frankfurt on Wednesday, Alogoskoufis was quoted as saying by German newspapers that he did not expect Greece to be penalized by the European Union for erroneous deficit data submitted by the last government.

    [27] Greece seeks to boost business activity with UAE

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Greece's External Trade Organization (OPE) on Thursday unveiled its action program for 2005 aimed to boost Greek exports, focusing on new significant markets such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    OPE said it planned to participate in five international trade fairs to be held in Dubai, known for their impeccable organization and their high numbers of visitors, both private and commercial. The participation of Greek enterprises to established sector trade fairs is a significant tool to gain access into new markets such as the UAE and the wider Gulf region.

    The action program also includes business delegations to UAE, seminars in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras and meetings between representatives of business community from both countries.

    United Arab Emirates have developed into one of the most significant world export centers. The country's strong growth is based on a flourishing construction sector and a high population growth rate. UAE plans establish itself as one of the most advanced international business activity hubs in the world.

    Currently, more than 30 Greek companies have established activities in UAE in sectors such as construction, commerce, aquaculture, shipping and new technologies.

    [28] Early retirement scheme targets more than 4,000 OTE employees

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Consensual procedures will apply when implementing the early retirement scheme, which will affect more than 4,000 employees of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), within the context of the organization's restructuring.

    This became evident after Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis met with the leadership of OTE's workers union on Thursday as well as after meetings recently held between Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis with OTE's management.

    After the meeting, Liapis reiterated that change requires consensus since "without the employees' consent you cannot implement effective policies." The minister also assured employees on behalf of the government and on behalf of OTE that every effort will be made for the company's restructuring.

    G. Panagopoulos, President of OTE's workers union said that OTE's management over the next few days will announce the number of employees to retire early as well as the incentives the company will offer employees to do so.

    The union representatives also mentioned the National Telecommunications and Postal Committee to the minister, saying that it needs to play its role properly, instead of allowing other telecommunications companies to operate at the expense of OTE.

    [29] Transport Minister Liapis discusses voluntary retirement measure with OTE employees

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    The measure for the voluntary retirement of more than 4,000 employees of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) will finally be implemented through consensus procedures, within the context of the effort being made to improve the organization.

    This arises following a meeting which Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis had on Thursday with the presidium of OTE's employees union (OME-OTE), as well as from similar recent meetings the presidium had with National Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and with OTE's board, where a positive climate was ascertained by all the sides.

    Following Thursday's meeting, Liapis, having announced that he was a firm supporter of voluntary retirement "in the real sense of the term," said that "for any changes to be made, a spirit of consensus and labor peace is required, because without the agreed opinion of the employees, you cannot implement effective policies."

    The transport minister also assured the employees that on the part of the government and of OTE, everything possible will be done to improve the organization.

    To a question on the number of employees who will leave, Liapis said that the OTE board will make a relevant recommendation and that a dialogue will follow with the employees, in order for an agreement to be reached.

    [30] Greek Merchant Marine Ministry SG attends Paris and Tokyo MOUs meeting in Vancouver

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Ministry Secretary General professor Ioannis Tzoannos represented Greece at the 2nd interministerial meeting of the countries participating in the Paris and Tokyo MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding of Port State Control) which was held in Vancouver, Canada from November 2-3 and signed the joint proclamation which aims at strengthening "the cycle of responsibility" for the combating of practices which cause shipping accidents and sea pollution.

    A Merchant Marine Ministry announcement on Thursday said that Tzoannos noted Greece's particular sensitivity on issues concerning the prevention of shipping accidents and the protection of the sea environment and expounded on the package of state measures which the Greek government is taking on a national and international level for quality shipping.

    Specifically, he stressed that the Merchant Marine Ministry's departments care about the continuous training and briefing of Greek inspectors. The latest statistics are indicative of the effectiveness of the efforts, where more than 30 percent of foreign ships are inspected in Greek ports.

    [31] Govt to support regional trade fairs

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Greece's Development Ministry is expected to present a plan in January 2005 aimed to support all regional trade fairs in the country, Dimitris Vrettakos, the ministry's secretary-general of Commerce said on Thursday.

    Addressing the inaugurating ceremony of the 4th Pan-Hellenic General Trade Fair "Crete 2004", organized by Thessaloniki International Trade Fair SA in Heraclion, Crete, Vrettakos said: "Our aim is to help Greek enterprises participating in regional trade fairs to become more competitive and to open their wings to foreign markets".

    "After the successful organizing of the Athens Olympic Games, focus will shift to regional Greece. A Fourth Community Support Framework program will focus on the competitiveness of Greek enterprises, a goal achieved through their participation in regional trade fairs," Vrettakos noted.

    Nikos Kassimatis, Thessaloniki International Trade Fair's manager, said that the two regional trade fairs, currently organized in Crete and Thrace (Northern Greece) would become a pilot for expanding the network of regional trade fairs around the country.

    "Our aims is not only to support and develop local businesses but to adopt a more outgoing behavior, to develop partnerships and to open up new markets, both domestic and international," Kassimatis stressed.

    A total of 85 exhibitors participate in this year's CRETE trade fair, of which 63 are direct exhibitors and 22 indirect from Greece, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and Turkey.

    [32] Minister backs Greek-Swedish projects in Balkans

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Thursday that he favored the creation of Greek-Swedish consortiums for projects in the Balkans, an areas in which there was leeway for growth.

    Addressing the Greek-Swedish Chamber, Sioufas also noted that alliances could be formed in the financial sector, including with the Black Sea Bank.

    The minister asked the chamber to help identify sectors in which cooperation between firms of the two countries could be established, adding that opportunities in the Greek economy could be publicized in Sweden.

    [33] Merchant marine minister meets Ambassador of the Republic of Korea

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyannis met Thursday with the Ambassador to Greece of the Republic of Korea, Chung Hae-Moon.

    According to a merchant marine ministry announcement, issues of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting. Emphasis was given to the business activity which the two countries are developing in the shipping sector, given that Greek shipping at present constitutes the greatest investor for Korean shipyards.

    The announcement said that among other things discussed was the possibility of broadening the excellent cooperation between Greece and Korea in also other sectors of shipping such as the safety of ships, the protection of the environment, the unimpeded activity of maritime trade, the deregulation of international sea transport services on a global level, and the facilitating of Greek seamen in the context of the practice of their profession.

    [34] Tourism minister inaugurates international tourism exhibition in Thessaloniki

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Tourist Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos inaugurated the 20th international tourism exhibition Filoxenia in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Thursday and stressed that there is no place for misery in Greek tourism.

    Calling for cooperation by all agencies for the progress of Greek tourism, Avramopoulos said he is determined to change the image of Greek tourism, moving away from the model of sun and sea and at the same time developing alternate forms of tourism.

    The minister placed emphasis on the development of other forms of tourism, such as convention and exhibition tourism, cultural and urban tourism and diving and sailing tourism.

    Avramopoulos also noted that, according to reports, 75 percent of people wishing to travel in the world in the years to come choose Greece as their destination.

    [35] Greek authorities on alert after dioxin scare in Holland

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Greece's Agricultural Development and Foods ministry on Thursday reassured that no imports of animal feed suspicious of dioxin contamination have ever been made or is currently underway except from animal feed supplements included in animal feed by up to 2.0 percent.

    Speaking to reporters, in the wake of a dioxin scandal that was revealed in cattle farms in Holland, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evaggelos Basiakos said that despite that the EU's Early Warning System has not mentioned any imports of suspicious animal feed in Greece, the ministry has started a pre-emptive investigation in cooperation with EU authorities to avoid the import or use of such products.

    Basiakos noted that all milk, meat and other products imported from the European Union were inspected on their arrival and their distribution by veterinary officials.

    "We are monitoring developments with calm," the Greek minister said.

    Results of tests on Dutch dairy, meat imports in a few days, food inspection agency says: The Greek foods control agency EFET on Thursday announced that the results of sample testing on imported Dutch meat and dairy produce that entered Greece between August 3 and November 1 - when imports stopped in response to an EU alert - will be out in five or six days time.

    EFET President Nikos Katsaros said the problem with the dioxin-tainted foods had been caused by earth on the potatoes fed to animals in Dutch farms. He claimed said that several months passed before food safety mechanisms were activated, even though high dioxin levels in Dutch meat and dairy produce had been detected in early August.

    He said that the results of tests carried out on products on sale in Greek supermarkets will be made available to consumers, while noting that earlier inspections by EFET for dioxins and other toxins in foods on sale in Greece had found dioxin levels to be lower than the maximum allowable levels and lower than the EU average.

    [36] Stocks rise to hit new year's high

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher with the general index hitting a new record for the year and rising for a seventh straight session, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 2,581.48 points, showing a rise of 1.26 percent. Turnover was 215.8 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.74 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.09 percent up; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.01 percent higher.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 217 to 68 with 77 remaining unchanged.

    [37] Singer Grigoris Bithikotsis in hospital for by-pass operation

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Popular Greek singer Grigoris Bithikotsis has been admitted into Ygeia hospital in Athens, where he underwent a scheduled heart by-pass operation on Thursday morning. The singer is currently in intensive care, while doctors say his condition in good.

    [38] Prof. Glykatzi-Ahrweiler elected to Lambrakis Press Group board

    Athens 5/11/2004 (ANA)

    Professor Eleni Glykatzi-Ahrweiler was elected an independent, non-executive member of the Lambrakis Press Group board on Thursday, following the resignation of her predecessor Apostolos Georgiadis for personal reasons.

    Following the above change, the Lambrakis group board now consists of Christos Lambrakis, Stavros Psycharis, Eleni Glykatzi-Ahrweiler, Ioannis Goumas, Leon Karapanagiotis, Nikolaos Koritsas, Tryfon Koutalidis, Constantinos Lymbero-poulos, Adamantios Pepelasis and Grigorios Skalkeas.

    [39] Cyprus president congratulates George Bush

    NICOSIA 5/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has congratulated warmly US President George Bush on his election victory, which secured him a second term in office, and wished him every success in the performance of his high duties.

    In a letter to President Bush, Papadopoulos says he looks forward to continuing US interest in Cyprus and to Washington's contribution to a viable and functional bizonal, bicommunal federation, based on UN resolutions and international law.

    Papadopoulos refers to the leading role the US plays in the world arena, particularly in the field of combating international terrorism and securing world peace and stability, and noted that a second term in office provides the US President with another historic opportunity to respond successfully to this challenge.

    President Papadopoulos expresses the conviction that the US would seek the broader possible international cooperation to strengthen the role of international and regional organizations, in particular the United Nations, for a more collective and effective handling of world affairs.

    ''I believe that this is an expectation shared by all heads of state and government who are in Brussels today for the European Council summit,'' President Papadopoulos adds.

    ''I also wish to see that during your second term in office your administration's interest in Cyprus will continue and that the US will contribute, in an objective manner, to a functional and viable solution in Cyprus, a bizonal, bicommunal federation on the basis of UN resolution and international law,'' he says.

    ''I am certain that you share the view that such a solution of the question of Cyprus will contribute the utmost to regional stability and security, which are so necessary in this sensitive area of the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean,'' President Papadopoulos' letter concludes.

    Cyprus president: we shall not reveal our position now: Cyprus will decide on its stance with regard to Turkey's European Union course having examined all facts and developments at the time, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said here on Thursday.

    Papadopoulos said Cyprus should not be expected to outline the position it will adopt at the December EU summit ahead of time, especially when Turkey, that occupies one third of Cyprus, has yet to recognize the Republic of Cyprus.

    The EU is set to decide on whether to fix a date for the start of accession negotiations with Turkey on December 17, when EU leaders will meet.

    Responding to questions, Papadopoulos said that the terms the EU has set out for Ankara with regard to its European aspirations will be discussed at the December European Council.

    ''Our position has been and remains that Turkey has obligations both towards the EU and towards Cyprus, which it has to fulfill before it gets a date for the start of accession negotiations,'' he said.

    President Papadopoulos said that as a matter of principle Cyprus does not wish to exercise its right of veto to block the start of membership talks with Turkey.

    ''In principle, we favor a date for the start of EU-Turkey talks provided that Ankara complies with all its obligations to the EU and to Cyprus and it stops repeated and continuous hostile acts against Cyprus,'' he stressed.

    Papadopoulos revealed that recently Turkey vetoed again the participation of Cyprus to the Missile Technology Control Regime, without any reason and without any excuse.


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