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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-12-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>December 9, 2004
 PM Karamanlis meets Russian premier, federal council president during visit to Russia
MOSCOW 9/12/2004 (ANA - A. Panagopoulos)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday met Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and the chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federal Assembly Sergei Mironov during the second day of his official visit to Russia.
After his talks with Mironov, Karamanlis stressed the good economic relations between Greece and Russia, saying they were based on the close historic ties between the two nations and the fact that they have been very close for many years.
"Our hope and aim is that this visit will enhance the prospects for economic relations that are even closer, friendly on the basis of mutual benefit and more productive," the Greek premier stressed.
He said that these prospects could also be enhanced through initiatives undertaken by the houses of representatives in both countries, a view echoed by Mironov.
After Karamanlis' talks with Fradkov, the Russian premier said that Greece was an important partner for Russia in Europe and underlined the friendly relations between the two peoples, noting that bilateral relations could be taken to a new qualitative level on the basis of historic experience and underlining that economic relations between the two countries are the basis for further cooperation.
Karamanlis stressed that Greece, as a member-state of the European Union, was a strategic partner for Russian within the EU, while noting that the EU needed the Russian Federation and vice-versa.
We are aware of the role of the Russian Federation in the international environment, which is a basic factor, Karamanlis said.
Referring to economic cooperation, he said this could be developed in the area of investments, trade, tourism, energy and many others that offer significant opportunities.
On Thursday, Karamanlis is due to meet the mayor of Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin before departing for Athens in the afternoon.
PM Karamanlis, on Moscow visit, meets with Patriarch Alexios of Russia: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, in Moscow on a three-day official visit at the invitation of Russian president Vladimir Putin, on Wednesday met with Patriarch Alexios II of Moscow and All Russia, an announcement by the prime minister's office said.
After the meeting, Karamanlis described his discussion with the Patriarch as "very useful", and noted the close, historic relations between the Greek and Russian peoples and the strong spiritual ties which, he said, were to a great degree due to their common Orthodox heritage. He also paid tribute to the Patriarch's immense contribution to the Russian people and to Christianity and Orthodoxy in general.
A symbolic tribute to the strong bond between Greece and Russia was the Athens government's decision to finance the construction of busts of the Likhudes brothers, 17th century monks who were pioneers in the creation of the first institution of higher education in that country, Karamanlis said.
The premier is due to meet with Putin on Thursday.
 EPP condemns attack on European Parliament president in Turkey over Cyprus
BRUSSELS 9/12/2004 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)The European People's Party (EPP) on Wednesday adopted a proposal by Greek MEP Yiannis Varvitsiotis, head of ruling New Democracy MEPs, to condemn an attack on European Parliament President Josep Borrell during his recent visit to Turkey.
Varvitsiotis was referring to scenes broadcast by the international television networks, when Borrell was subjected to verbal abuse after saying that recognition of the Cyprus Republic was automatically assumed in the case that Turkey initiated accession negotiations with the EU and not a "special condition".
 Turkey refuses to accept recognition of Cyprus as condition for EU accession talks
ANKARA 9/12/2004 (ANA/O.Tsipira)Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan listed three conditions unacceptable for Turkey for EU accession talks to begin, in a press conference he held late Tuesday night in Ankara.
Specifically, Erdogan was asked by the ANA which conditions - which will be decided upon during the December 17 EU Summit - he would consider being "out of bounds".
According to Erdogan, three important points for Turkey are: full EU accession; a specific start date for accession talks; and for Turkey to be judged on the basis of the Copenhagen criteria, without additional conditions being imposed.
The Cyprus issue, according to the Turkish premier, is "out of bounds."
 Michaloliakos holds talks with NATO's Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, General Sir John Reith
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)Deputy National Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos, in a meeting he had in Athens on Wednesday with NATO's Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and operational commander of the European Union's ALTHEA operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, General Sir John Reith, expressed the need for continued NATO and EU presence in the region of southeastern Europe until the conditions of peace and stability in the Balkans are fully restored.
On his part, General Reith expressed the conviction that the final solution of the Kosovo problem will come through dialogue and negotiations between all the involved parties.
Michaloliakos reiterated Greece's determination to contribute in the upgrading of NATO's military potential to the degree that its economic ability allows.
Regarding the contribution of the Greek armed forces in allied operations outside the borders, Michaloliakos observed that the continuous threat and unhistorical claims by Turkey against the national integrity requires the presence of strong armed forces within the Greek state. Finally, on the Cyprus issue, he expressed the hope for the full reunification of the island particularly now that Cyprus is a member of the European Union.
General Raith referred to the problems of coordination which exist between the EU and NATO with regard the creation of a rapid reaction force.
On the other hand, Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff General George Antonakopoulos briefed Reith on the parameters which influence Greece's decisions in every issue of military cooperation on a NATO and EU level.
Taking part in the ALTHEA operation which has been assumed by the EU in Bosnia-Herzegovina are 7,000 men out of which 1,000 come from non-member states.
 Main opposition leader accuses gov't of 'hostility' toward his party
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday accused the ruling New Democracy government of showing 'hostility' toward his party, as well as criticizing government policies and actions on a range of issues, from its recent review of Greek fiscal data to foreign policy.
Papandreou made the statements while visiting the Aegean island of Kalymnos, where local residents outlined their problems, with poor ferry connections for the islands and high unemployment at the top of the list.
The main opposition leader slammed the government's bill for development as completely ineffective and called an audit of state books initiated by the ND government "a fiasco". On relations with Turkey, he said ND had separated bilateral relations from Turkey's European course and this had led to a rise in airspace violations above the Aegean.
 Main opposition leader concludes tour in Kalymnos and Kos
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) President George Papandreou concluded his tour of the islands of Kalymnos and Kos on Wednesday.
While visiting the two islands, Papandreou presented PASOK's proposals for regional development and accused the government of creating a sense of 'insecurity' among citizens, referring to the economy and the fiscal audit.
Papandreou also had the opportunity to be briefed on the problems facing Kalymnos and Kos.
 KKE delegation to visit Turkey Dec. 10-14
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)A Communist Party of Greece (KKE) delegation, comprised of KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga and Central Committee party member Ilias Lengeris, will visit Istanbul and Izmir from December 10-14 at the invitation of the Communist Party of Turkey, it was announced on Wednesday.
During her stay, KKE leader Papariga will address a gathering in Istanbul on December 11, organized by the Communist Party of Turkey, and hold meetings with the Turkish party's leadership and members. She will also visit Izmir where she will hold talks with the party's organization there and with other local officials.
The KKE delegation will also meet with the leadership of the Workers' Party and visit Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.
 Ecumenical and Alexandria Patriarchs agree to 'walk together in all things'
ISTANBUL 9/12/2004 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros on Wednesday gave a mutual promise to "walk together in all things" during a five-day visit by Theodoros to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul.
During his stay, Patriarch Theodoros visited the School of Theology on the island of Halki, accompanied by Vartholomeos, where they discussed inter-Orthodox and inter-Christian relations and the inter-religious dialogues currently underway.
In statements after the talks, Patriarch Theodoros stressed that the "Ecumenical Patriarch is our support, our hope. All the Churches have his Holiness as our refuge."
He also expressed certainty that the obstacles raised by the Turkish government to reopening the School of Theology on Halki will soon be lifted.
 All Greek foreign ministry publications to be made available to Cyprus House of Journalists library
NICOSIA 9/12/2004 (ANA - G. Leonidas)All publications issued by the Greek foreign ministry will be made available to the Journalists' House on Cyprus, Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Christos Panagopoulos announced during a visit there on Wednesday.
According to the ambassador, these included important volumes from the ministry's historical archives that concerned the country's international relations.
 Greece to have same treatment as other Eurozone countries with deficit problems, Finmin says
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)Greece will not be treated in any way differently from other Eurozone countries with excessive deficit problems, Greek Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis stressed in statements to reporters on Wednesday.
Asked whether the ECOFIN Council would impose measures for the reduction of Greece's public deficit, he said it was the sole responsibility of individual EU member-states to adapt their fiscal affairs in the case of excessive public deficit.
The minister also noted, however, that talks were currently underway within the EU to review procedures for lowering public deficit and that these talks would be concluded in the first trimester of 2005.
According to Alogoskoufis, EU finance ministers had agreed on Tuesday that Greek authorities had for a long time not provided accurate information to Eurostat and had a serious lack of capacity to provide the required data, while also apportioning blame to the European Commission and the European Central Bank for failing to point out possible problems with Greek fiscal data to the ECOFIN Council.
The minister said that the Council's conclusions had "finally concluded the issue of the review of Greek fiscal data" and that the finance ministry will be replying to the European Commission's letter of notification under the excessive deficit procedure.
He reiterated that this finally "buried" predictions of disaster from the main opposition.
Alogoskoufis also commented on the rate of absorption of 3rd Community Support Framework (3rd CSF) funds by Greece, saying that this was not satisfactory. He said the government had succeeded in accelerating the rate of absorbing 3rd CSF funds in the past months and would continue the same course in the future.
At another point, he announced that state revenue from privatizations was expected to reach one billion euros.
 EU farm commissioner to Athens for wide-ranging talks
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)The European Union's agricultural and rural development commission, Marian Fischer Boel, is to visit Greece over the next two days for across-the-board talks.
On the agenda for detailed discussion are the EU's new common agricultural policy and sector regulations in the pipeline, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos told a news conference.
 Gov't urges fuel companies to pass price cuts down to consumers
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Wednesday called on fuel companies to accelerate a process of passing global oil price declines down to consumers.
At a meeting with market distributors and retailers, Sioufas said that domestic prices had fallen slightly last week, while global prices had dropped sharply and the dollar had retreated versus the euro.
 Three out of five cotton producers caught inflating output figures
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)State inspection agencies have caught three out of five cotton producers inflating production totals in order to illegally obtain European Union subsidies, the Payments and Grants Control Organization said in a statement on Wednesday.
The organization inspected 5,018 cotton producers on 7-8 December. Of the total, 42% had inflated stock totals by 10%-50%; 20% had falsified other data; and 38% showed no wrongdoing, the statement said.
 Int'l Development Association conference to be held in Athens mid-December
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)The Ministry of Finance together with the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) are organizing an international conference to be held in Athens December 13-14, in order to discuss the provision of financial aid to poor countries.
Approximately 140 representatives from aid donor and aid recipient countries, as well as high-ranking World Bank officials, will be participating in the conference. Representatives of the donor countries will discuss IDA's funding, which provides aid to 81 countries, where the majority of the population lives on less than $2 a day.
It is estimated that ¬ 28.4 billion will be given as aid over the next three years, of which ¬ 12.5 billion will come from new contributions of the 39 donor countries in order to replenish IDA's funds. The conference to be held in Athens will be the fourth such conference and concerns the period beginning July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2008. The three previous conferences were held in Paris, Hanoi and Washington.
Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis will open the conference; World Bank Vice President Geoffrey Lamb will preside.
 Stocks rise to hit new year's high
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)Stocks finished higher with players buying into medium-capitalization paper and banking blue chips to take the market to a new year's high, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 2,699.52 points, posting a rise of 0.40%. Turnover was 171.4 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.56% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.47% up; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.08% percent higher.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 150 to 138 with 69 remaining unchanged.
 Deputy sports minister, UNESCO official on 'Athens Declaration' at MINEPS IV
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)The "Athens Declaration" to be released at the conclusion of the 4th International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Sport and Physical Education (MINEPS IV) will "give guidelines on how sports should be organized from here on and how we can make it a central element of our lives," Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos said on Wednesday, during a joint press conference with UNESCO Assistant General Director Francoise Riviere, chief executive officer for UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura.
Orfanos said the declaration would bring together the three separate themes of the three-day conference in Athens that ends on Wednesday night - which concerned a draft text of an international convention against doping, enhancing the presence of women in decision-making positions in sport and promoting the teaching of physical education in schools - into a "general, political and sports text that will lay down the terms within which we will act and give governments a set of directions on how they should proceed from now on in the area of sports and education".
According to Orfanos, the result text was "particularly strong" and would act as a worldwide guide for sports and education in the coming decades.
Riviere said that ill health had forced the UNESCO chief had been forced to miss the Athens MINEPS IV conference, symbolically organized three months after the Olympic Games and the Paralympics.
In her statements, she emphasized work on the Convention against doping, saying that it was now in the final stages before completion and would probably be unanimously approved in 2005. She also noted that the convention, drafted in just two years, did not concern only competitive sports but sought to sensitize the general public.
"We are talking about the Declaration of Athens, the spirit of Athens, and through the talks that took place here we will promote an agreement that will be a tool in combatting doping," she said.
Asked whether effective control of doping was a realistic goal when sports had become synonymous with commercialization, Riviere said that it was necessary to form an 'alliance' against the phenomenon that included governments.
"...It has become clear that governments must be involved. [Sports organizations] cannot handle it on their own. The governments come to complement what sports organizations have begun. In any case, the doping problem has taken on social dimensions as it spreads to gyms. This makes it necessary to have a strong alliance that includes the involvement of society through the media, since young people are often not aware of what may happen to them. We have to educate the public and future athletes that there may be hidden dangers, both to their health but also that they might get caught," she said.
Riviere also noted that UNESCO could not oblige sports organizations, such as FIFA, that had not signed its treaty to abide by it rules on doping and was dependent on their good will.
MINEPS IV conference concludes with adoption of Athens Declaration: The Athens Declaration was unanimously approved by participants of the 4th International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Sport and Physical Education (MINEPS IV), a three-day conference which concluded in Athens on Wednesday evening. Three committees, which specialized on specific themes, also reached decisions approved by conference participants. Specifically, Commission I studied the Draft International Convention Against Doping in Sport; Commission II worked on the Strategy of Reinforcing Sport and Physical Education in Education Systems; and Commission III examined the issue of Women and Sport.
"There are four documents (the declaration and the Commissions' decisions) which serve as a guide as to how we wish to move forward. How will we minimize the negative effects of a society which is developing, but which also develops negative actions," Deputy Culture Minister responsible for Sports George Orfanos said after the conference ended.
"We made a great step with the adoption of the document, which confirms our dedication to principles, which we refuse to sell short. At the same time our agreement constitutes a message towards mankind: That you can find common avenues when you put differences aside. UNESCO will assume responsibility for implementing that which we decided here," he added.
The Athens Declaration, among other things, notes that since sports plays such an influential role on youngsters, it is imperative to raise public awareness regarding efforts to make sports 'cleaner' and to bring it closer to initial ideals. Additionally, those signing the declaration emphasize the importance of international sports meetings in developing friendly relations among nations, and agree that physical education and sports are one of the most effective ways to improve well-being. They also condemn the use of illegal, performance-enhancing drugs and violence in sport.
 Amnesty International's women and war report released
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)Women are the unrecognized victims of war, facing most of the consequences of the armed conflicts currently in progress around the world, according to Amnesty International's (AI) report "Lives Blown Apart", which was presented during a press conference of the AI's Greek branch on Wednesday. The report is within the context of the broader "Stop Violence Against Women" campaign.
"Violence against women is the greatest human rights scandal today. From the day they are born until the day they die, during peacetime or in war, women face violence and discrimination by the government, the regional community and the family," Secretary General of AI's Greek headquarters Paulina Gioka said. The report presents data according to which women's rights are violated throughout the world, from Columbia, Iraq and Sudan to Chechnya, Nepal and Afghanistan, as well as in other 30 regions that are facing armed conflict.
AI's Director in Greece Gerasimos Kouvaras said that Greece, as a UN Security Council member, must support efforts to protect women and their rights. The main objectives of the "Stop Violence Against Women" campaign are to eliminate laws that discriminate against women, to stop tolerance of violence against women, and for countries and the international community to take effective action in protecting women against violence.
During the campaign, AI will condemn violence against women as the most serious human rights violation; it will question religious, social and cultural habits and stereotypes that degrade women; it will support women's equal participation in power and decision-making. Additionally, AI will support and cooperate with women's non-governmental organizations, it will create strong alliances and will join its voice with those of local organizations fighting for women's rights.
During the press conference it was emphasized that Greece should support full implementation of UN Security Council Decision No. 1325, regarding women, peace and security. Additionally, the country should also contribute to providing aid and protecting women, and ensuring that peacekeeping forces will not violate women's human rights.
"We must pressure those who can bring about change," Kouvaras said.
 Iraklion municipality buys El Greco's "The Baptism of Christ"
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)The Municipality of Iraklion (Crete) was the highest bidder for El Greco's "The Baptism of Christ" at Christie's of London auction, which took place on Wednesday. Specifically, the municipality bid 700,000 British pounds, which it will have to pay within the next two weeks.
"Recognition of those, who through their work have honored our city, must be shown in practice. That was the rationale that led us to purchase an important work of Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), who is internationally recognized as one of the world's greatest painters," Mayor of Iraklion Yiannis Kourakis said. "We are sure that everyone - authorities and citizens - will recognize the symbolic and substantial meaning of our action and will contribute according to their ability, so that the required amount can be raised," he added.
 'Melina, for ever Sunday' album presented at Benaki Museum
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)"Melina, for ever Sunday" is the title of an album which was presented at the Benaki Museum on Wednesday by SKAI 100.3 publications and "Kerkyra".
It is a luxury album comprised of 600 pages with international posters from the film career of late culture minister Melina Mercouri
The album is separated in entities, one for each film, and includes a great number of posters from all the countries where each film was projected and photographs.
The presentation was co-organized by the Melina Mercouri Foundation, while speakers included, among others, Health and Social Solidarity Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis, Costas Laliotis, Nikos Papandreou, Spyros Mercouris and George Pilihos.
 'The Parthenon Zoophoros', a photographic essay of the temple's frieze, unveiled
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)Nearly a century after the first attempt to photograph the Parthenon sculptures, Greek photographer Socrates Mavromatis portrays the world-renowned marble frieze and sculptures in their entirety, and in their present-day state, in a photographic essay that went into circulation on Wednesday.
Titled "The Parthenon Zoophoros", the book is virtually a photographic album of the sculptures, with accompanying texts written by Angelos Delivorias, director of the Benaki Museum, and is published jointly by Melissa Publications and the Benaki Museum.
The book contains photographs of the original sculptures, housed in the Acropolis Museum, the British Museum, and the Louvre.
The Parthenon sculptures -- those housed at the British Museum -- were first photographed by British photographers in London in 1910, while two French photographers photographed those housed at the Louvre in 1912.
 Athens Mayor presents Athens Olympics DVD series
Athens, 9/12/2004 (ANA)Mayor of Athens Dora Bakoyannis presented a DVD series of the Athens Olympic Games during a special event held in Athens on Wednesday. During the presentation, Bakoyannis referred to making the most of the legacy left by the Olympic Games, saying "we need to do it quickly and while the memory of the Games remains fresh in the minds and conscience of the international community."
The series comprises four DVDs featuring highlights from the opening and closing ceremonies, highlights of the competitions, as well as a photo album.
Bakoyannis also referred to the results of a survey conducted by Kapa Research, according to which 66.7% of Athens residents do not want cars to circulate in the city centre. The mayor was pleased with the result and stressed that "our long-term goal is to close the centre to traffic." However, she noted that this will happen gradually and through dialogue with all concerned.
Additionally, a crushing majority of those surveyed - 95% - said they think the centre should be refurbished, serving as a recreational centre in the Attica region. Finally, 72,4% believe that the Olympic Games will benefit the country, while 25% do not.
 Issue of Cyprus recognition set to be referred to Council
BRUSSELS 9/12/2004 (CNA/ANA)Dutch Permanent Representative and President of COREPER II Tom de Bruijn has predicted that the issue of the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey will be referred for discussion to the 25 leaders at the European Council at their meeting on December 16-17.
Wednesday's meeting of COREPER, which will continue on Thursday, examined the second draft of the Dutch presidency conclusions which also refer to Turkey.
The wording in the draft conclusions notes that the European Council ''welcomes Turkey's decision to sign the protocol regarding the adaptation of the Ankara Agreement, taking account of the accession of the ten new member states."
During Wednesday's session the above wording remained unchanged, despite a firm intervention by Cypriot Permanent Representative Nicos Emiliou.
According to community sources, Emiliou pointed out the negative aspects of Turkey's policy on the issue of recognition, stressing that although the Copenhagen criteria do not clearly demand
recognition, this issue, he said, is obvious.
''No-one could have imagined that we would have reached such an absurd situation, on the one hand Turkey ignoring us and not recognizing the Republic of Cyprus and on the other hand asking for Cyprus' vote to begin accession negotiations," Emiliou said. Emiliou warned EU member states that with its attitude, Turkey is leading the Republic of Cyprus to paths which it does not wish to follow but may have no other choice.
The Cypriot Representative was backed by his Irish, Greek and Austrian colleagues.
The COREPER president described the issue as very serious and sensitive and predicted that with Wednesday's developments, the issue will be referred to the European Council.
 UN Chief asks for funds for a Special Adviser on Cyprus
UNITED NATIONS 9/12/2004 (CNA/ANA)UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked the 5th Committee of the UN General Assembly to allocate an estimated 532,700 net or 576,500 dollars gross funds for a Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus and his staff.
In his report to the committee, the Secretary General refers to developments on Cyprus noting that the outcome of the referenda on a UN solution plan has resulted in a stalemate. He also says that he does not see any basis for resuming his good offices as long as the stand-off remains.
He further indicated that ''the prospect for the reunification of their country rested primarily in the hands of the Cypriots''.
However, Kofi Annan notes that ''the foregoing factors combine to make it imperative that the Secretary-General's good offices mission retains a capacity and readiness during 2005 to re-engage in Cyprus as and when needed and at the shortest possible notice''.
In the report, the Secretary-General underlines that the objective is to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
He outlines the expected accomplishment indicator of achievement outputs, which are an ''agreement by both parties on a comprehensive settlement'', ''dialogue among political parties, including governmental coalition, leading to a new approach towards settlement'', ''political discussions among political parties and civil society'', ''reports to the Security Council'' and briefings of the Security Council.
Annan stresses that ''the objective is expected to be achieved provided that the two parties in Cyprus are willing and committed to reach a political solution, and that the international community, especially the interested countries in the region, provide support for the Secretary-General's efforts."
The Secretary General notes that the estimated requirements for the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General for Cyprus for a one-year period ending 31 December 2005 amount to $532,700 net ($576,500 gross).
He explains that the 2005 requirements of the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus in the amount of $532,700 would provide for the salaries and common staff costs of his staff ($222,700), official travel of the Special Adviser and his staff ($304,300) and other operational and logistical costs ($5,700).
 Cypriot president disappointed over EU summit draft conclusions
NICOSIA 9/12/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has expressed to Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who is currently presiding over the European Council, the disappointment of the Republic of Cyprus over references in the second draft conclusions of the EU summit, to be held later this month.
CNA has learned that during his meeting Tuesday in Nicosia with Balkenende, President Papadopoulos raised the issue of normalizing relations between Turkey and Cyprus.
According to sources, the Cypriot president reiterated the government's position that the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey emerges through the Copenhagen criteria, and presented the views of foreign law experts, who said the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey is connected to the Copenhagen criteria.
Balkenende told President Papadopoulos that he was aware of Nicosia's positions and the views of foreign law experts, and described the demands of the Cypriot government reasonable and fair.
Discussions during Tuesday's meeting focused on Nicosia's positions to iron out its relations with Ankara.
The same sources said Balkenende told President Papadopoulos that the draft European Council conclusions did not necessarily have to contain a reference on Cyprus and that the adjustment of the Ankara Agreement, for the Turkey-EU Customs Union, in order to include all new member states, covers Cyprus.
President Papadopoulos said this reference was not enough and that the draft conclusions should contain a reference on smoothing out the relations between Ankara and Nicosia.