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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-01-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

January 3, 2005


  • [01] Karamanlis calls 2004 a 'milestone year' for Greece
  • [02] Main opposition PASOK leader Papandreou's New Year's message
  • [03] Stephanopoulos message for New Year, his last as president
  • [04] President receives Greek leadership
  • [05] Armed Forces leadership hosts reception in honor of president
  • [06] Foreign ministry says seven Greek nationals still missing in SE Asia
  • [07] New Year celebrations overshadowed by massive disaster in SE Asia, Indian Ocean
  • [08] Ministry to send humanitarian aid to tsunami-hit regions
  • [09] Deputy National Defense Minister Michaloliakos visits military hospitals
  • [10] Greek stocks up 23.09 pct in 2004
  • [11] Probe continues into murder of police sentry stationed outside British military attach''s residence
  • [12] Illegal immigrants detained near Greek-Albanian border
  • [13] Makeshift explosive device placed outside church in Kavala
  • [14] Cyprus President Papadopoulos' message for the New Year
  • [15] British Foreign Office document on 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus made public

  • [01] Karamanlis calls 2004 a 'milestone year' for Greece

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday issued his first New Year's message as the east Mediterranean nation's leader, as 2004 marked the year he assumed the premiership and returned New Democracy to power after 11 years.

    "...2004 marked the end of a historic period for Greece and the beginning of a new era. We're now on the road to a better future, certain that we can achieve our goals when we unite our forces; certain that we can win the future when we proceed with national consensus," Karamanlis notes in his message.

    The prime minister, Greece's youngest premier in the modern era, pointed directly to the wholly successful hosting of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, stressing that the Games demonstrated to the world that Greece can be a model of hospitality and security. He also referred to the European Union's largest ever expansion -- which included the Republic of Cyprus -- and the first-ever EU Constitution.

    "We supported and decisively support the Republic of Cyprus on the diplomatic stage. We've backed our neighbors' European orientation. We're in favor of neighboring Turkey's European course, certain in the conviction that this is the safest path for solving the Cyprus problem, normalizing Greek-Turkish relations and bolstering peace throughout the entire region."

    Moreover, Karamanlis commented directly on the mandate voters gave him and New Democracy during the March general elections, stressing that the "new governance", a catchphrase liberally used by Karamanlis and his government to differentiate from the previous PASOK governments, entails a vision and plan for its implementation.

    "In the few months that have passed we've successfully faced several major national issues; we've provided solutions to citizens' major problems and we've laid down the foundations for the achievement of significant collective goals," Karamanlis said, underlining that his government's policy of consensus materialized in the choice of Karolos Papoulias as the ruling party's nomination for president of the republic -- a selection, he reminded, that is backed by a vast majority of citizens.

    [02] Main opposition PASOK leader Papandreou's New Year's message

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition leader George Papandreou on Friday made his first New Year's message as the head of the PASOK part, where he listed off several goals of what he called a 'new vision' for the country.

    In starting his message, Papandreou, the former foreign minister in the last two Simitis governments, noted that "Greece achieved a great deal over the last few years, it made great strides; major goals turned into reality. With hard work, Greeks saw their quality of life improving, and our country changing."

    He referred to Cyprus' EU accession and to Greece's participation in the 'Euro-zone'.

    Among others, he charged that the current government is not solving people's daily problems and not bolstering the country's interests on the international and regional stage.

    Vis-a-vis this "policy of low expectations", as he charged, Papandreou cited a 'new vision', one that includes "true justice and solidarity" and a "Greece of participatory democracy and transparency".

    [03] Stephanopoulos message for New Year, his last as president

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday issued his traditional New Year's message -- his last as the country's head of state -- where he expressed what he termed "thoughts" instead of "advise".

    Among others, Stephanopoulos called on citizens to show a greater respect for the law and the environment, and "not to sully our cities and villages".

    "We should also stop killing and being killed on our roads; we should not participate in the corruption of some bureaucrats, and civil servants should treat citizens politely, in general terms, we should be aware of our obligations to others," Stephanopoulos, who steps down in the spring after a second term, said.

    "I also want to reiterate that I am optimistic about our people's progress. I believe that we will overcome the difficulties that arise every time ... I hope that we will be able to solve, with consent and stability, all of the national issues before us. Finally, I am sincerely saddened because some of our fellow citizens are experiencing economic difficulties," he said, adding: "For those people, the state has increased obligations, ones I trust it will fulfill..."

    [04] President receives Greek leadership

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Saturday, New Year's Day, received the prime minister, the parliament president, the archbishop of Athens, the opposition party leaders, members of the Cabinet, deputies and representatives of the ecclesiastical, judicial, diplomatic, military and police leadership, who all wished him all the very best for 2005.

    The president welcomed, among others, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Parliament President Anna Pagoda-Benaki, Arch-bishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) representative Christos Papoutsis who conveyed best wishes from party leader George Papandreou, Communist Party of Greece Secretary-General Aleka Papariga, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos, National Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos and Greek Police Chief Yiannis Angelopoulos.

    Earlier in the day, Archbishop Christodoulos officiated a New Year's Day Te Deum service at the Athens Cathedral.

    [05] Armed Forces leadership hosts reception in honor of president

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    The Armed Forces leadership, on the occasion of the New Year, hosted a reception in honor of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos at a central Athens hotel on New Year's Eve.

    In his address, President Stephanopoulos suggested that Greece propose to Turkey referral of the issue of the boundaries of the territorial waters to the International Court at The Hague, given that, as he observed, in the 29 meetings between the relevant officials of the two countries' foreign ministries, the desired result has not been achieved and as such, the meetings could continue indefinitely.

    The president also referred to the issue of the continental shelf, noting that the solution of Greek-Turkish differences will enable Greece to concern itself with its main responsibilities, that is, the nation's prosperity.

    With regard the issue of the starting date of the accession talks which was given to Turkey by the European Union , Stephanopoulos agreed with Greece's policy and expressed the hope, because there is no certainty, as he said, that Turkey will rid itself of its present "guise" and form and become a European country.

    The president said "it is the duty of all of us to serve national interest but I do not know to what extent we serve the European interest. However, he assessed that both could be served. At the same time, Stephanopoulos called on the Greek people to display the same conduct as they did during the 2004 Olympic Games, noting that "joint effort brings about marvelous results."

    Present at the reception, among others, were Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, National Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, Deputy National Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos, ruling New Democracy (ND) party Secretary Evangelos Meimarakis, Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff General George Athanakopoulos, Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis and the armed forces leadership and senior officers.

    It was the last time Stephanopoulos attended the New Year reception by the Armed Forces as president as his tenure as President of the Republic is drawing to an after his 10 years of service to the nation.

    [06] Foreign ministry says seven Greek nationals still missing in SE Asia

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    The Foreign ministry in an announcement late Friday evening said that one of the eight Greeks listed missing in earth-quake/tsunami stricken regions in Southeast Asia, was located. He was identified as Theodoros Sgouros, a resident of Switzerland, who communicated with his family telling them that he was in good health. There are now seven individuals still unaccounted for.

    The ministry has released the names of the seven individuals reportedly in tsunami-struck regions and listed as either "missing" or being sought by their relatives.

    The ministry said the individuals were believed to be in "high risk" conditions, whereas an independent authority on citizens' data protection gave the ministry the go-ahead to publish the names.

    The individuals are:

    Emmanuella Schaeffer-Hatzidaki, a permanent overseas resident

    Elli-Katerina Schaeffer (the aforementioned woman's daughter)

    Patricia-Lucy Schaeffer (the aforementioned woman's daughter)

    Anna Maja Espo-Hatzialexiou, a Finnish national married to a Greek citizen

    Mariana Pakou, father's name Vassilis, a resident of Germany

    Panayiotis Pavlidis, a resident of Germany, and,

    Konstantinos Priotakis, a merchant seaman

    Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of these individuals is requested to call the Greek foreign ministry at (0030) 210 3681 730, (0030) 210 3681 350, (0030) 210 3681 212.

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos also reiterated that Athens has no report of a fatality or serious injury to any Greek national.

    [07] New Year celebrations overshadowed by massive disaster in SE Asia, Indian Ocean

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    The tragedy in the countries of southeast Asia on December 26 which experienced a massive 8.9 points on the Richter scale earthquake and subsequent tsunami and which has brought the latest death toll to approximately 150,000, overshadowed the New Year celebrations which took place in Greece, as well as in the rest of the world. In Athens, a minute of silence was kept for the victims of the catastrophic quake and tsunami tidal waves. At the event that took place in Kotzia Square, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni announced a European-wide initiative for the support of those affected from the disaster, an initiative which will be undertaken by the Athens Municipality.

    [08] Ministry to send humanitarian aid to tsunami-hit regions

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Nikos Tsiartsionis announced on Sunday that his ministry will send humanitarian aid to those affected from earthquake/tsunami stricken southeastern Asia.

    In statements, the minister said that "Greece, which is a country of islands and seismogenic, is fully aware of the tragedy of the peoples of Southeast Asia, who are living the consequences of this disaster and for this reason, it cannot remain indifferent.

    [09] Deputy National Defense Minister Michaloliakos visits military hospitals

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    Deputy National Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos on Saturday, New Year's Day, visited the military hospitals in Athens and Piraeus to exchange best wishes and offer gifts to the patients and hospital staff.

    Michaloliakos stressed the need in 2005 for compassion and love to constitute a way of life to the benefit of all the inhabitants of the world and called for the cooperation of all of the developed countries for the improvement in the standard of living of inhabitants in developing countries.

    [10] Greek stocks up 23.09 pct in 2004

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended slightly higher the last trading session of 2004 but the market failed to reach the 2,800-mark for the second consecutive session due to lack of adequate liquidity and reduced trading hours ahead of the New Year's Eve in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The composite index rose 0.06 percent to close at 2,786.18 points, for a net gain of 23.09 percent in the year.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip stocks fell 0.05 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.53 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.03 percent up.

    Most sector indices scored gains with the Construction, Food-Beverage and Retail indices recording the biggest percentage gains of the day (1.51 pct, 1.08 pct and 1.07 pct, respectively).

    Turnover was a low 93.5 million euros. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 193 to 80 with another 74 issues unchanged.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index ended at 1,547.47 points, off 0.05 percent, the FTSE/ASE 40 index rose 0.53 percent to end at 2,309.91 points, the FTSE/ASE 80 index ended at 470.05 points, up 1.03 percent and the FTSE/ASE 140 index rose 0.08 percent to close at 3,263.14 points.

    ASE 2004 review: The Athens Stock Exchange was a two-speed market in 2004 with blue chip stocks rallying throughout the year but smaller capitalization stocks losing group.

    The composite index rose 522.60 points, or 23.09 percent, to end at 2,786.18 points, from 2,263.58 points in 2003, with the FTSE 20 index rising 32.27 percent over the 12-month period and the Banks sector leading the rally with a 44.32 percent increase. On the other hand, medium- and small-sized capitalization stocks fell by 2.83 percent and 21.31 percent, respectively.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers in 2004 by 279 to 87 with only four issues unchanged. Turnover rose by almost 15 percent this year to 35.79 billion euros, up from 30.97 billion euros in 2003, while market capitalization jumped to 95 billion euros from 84 billion over the same period.

    The Greek market remained on a positive trend for the second consecutive year reflecting improved profitability by listed companies, increased interest by foreign institutional investors and better market operation.

    The year 2005 begins with much better preconditions compared with the previous two years on expectations of higher profitability and more bold moves by the government, either in resolving the country's pension system, or reducing its participation in state companies.

    Analysts expect the first six months of the year to be stronger with investor interest focusing on listed companies with high dividend return, to large organizations with cost restructuring programs and with market leaders in retail and wholesale.

    The "good" scenario sees the market reaching the 3,000-mark this year, although any delays in resolving the pension problem in the banking sector, or listed companies' inability to timely adjust to the introduction of International Accounting Standards were the main risk factors for the second half of the year.

    [11] Probe continues into murder of police sentry stationed outside British military attach''s residence

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    Authorities over the weekend continued their investigation into the gangland-style slaying of a police sentry outside the residence of the British military attache in Athens' upscale northern suburb of Kifissia.

    Haralambos Amanatidis, 32, was found riddled with bullets in the early morning hours of Friday, Christmas Eve, outside his guard post.

    A motive remains the elusive question in the case, as initial inquiry failed to turn up any questionable dealings by the relatively young police sentry. Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis, who briefed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis hours later over the incident, told reporters that investigations are being launched in all directions, although it was highly unlikely that the incident was a terrorist attack.

    According to reports, Amanatidis had changed shifts with a colleague in order to attend a memorial service for his late father in northern Greece the next day.

    A coroner's report stated that the victim was shot at close range five times, with most of the bullets fired at his head and neck, whereas he was wearing a bullet-proof vest at the time of the attack. Authorities also disclosed on Saturday that the perpetrator or perpetrators used two weapons in the attack, firing a total of 15 rounds. One was a revolver and the other a 9mm sub-machine gun, believed to be the weapon stolen from the guard.

    The sentry was hit five times, three times from bullets fired by the sub-machine gun and twice by the revolver. A ballistic examination revealed that neither of the two weapons had been used in any criminal acts.

    British defense attache Col. Mark Blatherwick and his family were unharmed during the incident and had not been in danger at any time, according to a British embassy spokesperson. Blatherwick has been serving at the British embassy in Athens for the past nine months.

    Amanatidis was buried with honors on Saturday morning in his home town of Lefkathia, Imathia prefecture. The victim was engaged and due to be married in the near future. He was sharing an apartment in Athens with another colleague.

    Focus turns to abandoned vehicle

    Meanwhile, the latest development on Sunday revolved around an abandoned vehicle found on Saturday some three kilometers from the crime scene.

    Police said the vehicle, which still sported its own license plates, was a white Nissan Micra, reported stolen on Dec. 29 from the Nea Ionia district of Athens. No link between the crime and the vehicle had been reported by press time, whereas authorities were investigating the possibility of the car being used as the getaway vehicle in a jewellery store robbery on Friday - a heist that netted the assailants roughly one million euros in cash and jewellery.

    [12] Illegal immigrants detained near Greek-Albanian border

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    An Albanian man was arrested and nine Albanian illegal immigrants, including two children, were detained Friday in Kakavia, near the Greek-Albanian border, police said.

    According to police, the man had rented a car and picked up the illegal immigrants from the border near Kakavia to transport them to an unknown destination inside Greece. He was paid 1,500 euro for each of the illegal immigrants, totalling 13,500 euro.

    They were spotted by border guards at Doliana, Ioannina, however, and were taken before a public prosecutor, while the car was also seized.

    [13] Makeshift explosive device placed outside church in Kavala

    Athens, 03/01/2005 (ANA)

    Unidentified persons placed a makeshift explosive device outside the Church of Aghion Anargyron in Kavala, northern Greece, on Sunday which did not explode.

    The device constituted a plastic vessel with flammable material of unknown composition, three gas canisters and a lit candle. The explosive device was retrieved by Kavala police who are launching an investigation.

    These past few months unidentified culprits have placed gas canisters outside of churches, to two cars belonging to mayors and to the public service department of the Agriculture ministry which is located in the centre of Kavala.

    [14] Cyprus President Papadopoulos' message for the New Year

    Nicosia, 03/01/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos wished, in his message on the occasion of the New Year, deliverance and vindication of the struggle of the Cyprus people and expressed belief that better days will dawn for Cyprus.

    He also called upon all to join forces and unite, noting that ''only united can we hope and be certain about a happier future for our country."

    In his message, President Papadopoulos made a special reference to the tragedy in Southeast Asia that was hit by the tsunami waves triggered by a 9 point on the Richter scale quake on Sunday, and called upon the Cyprus people to contribute to efforts to alleviate the suffering of the victims. He also expressed on behalf of the government and the people of Cyprus his deepest sorrow for the tragic event.

    Referring to 2004, he said that it has been an important year for Cyprus, noting the two historic landmarks, Cyprus' accession to the European Union and the referendum for the Annan plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    He noted that the accession to the EU was realized thanks to the efforts made by all the governments of the Republic, the Parliament and the sacrifices of the Cyprus people and referring to the referendum he reiterated that on April 24, the Greek Cypriots did not vote against the reunification of Cyprus, but against the specific plan.

    Addressing the Turkish Cypriots, Cyprus President extended a message of friendship and called upon them to acknowledge the Greek Cypriot concerns about the perpetuation of division and to understand that the common and long-term interest of all is best served through a real reunification of Cyprus.

    President Papadopoulos underlined that the Greek Cypriot side works ''systematically and quietly to create the correct prerequisites that will provide the guarantees for substantial and constructive negotiations that will lead to an agreed solution to the Cyprus problem in the new conditions created by our accession to the European Union."

    ''Arbitration and tight deadlines that shift pressure to our side were proven ineffective for an equal negotiation, able to lead to an agreed, viable solution," he noted.

    ''I know and share our people's concern about the further course of our national problem. A lot is being said about possible new initiatives and new efforts to promote a solution to the Cyprus

    problem. However, our first and foremost concern and priority remains the promotion of an acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem," President Papadopoulos underlined.

    He also expressed conviction that his wish for the New Year is same as the wish and expectation of all Cypriots, that an end may be put to the invasion and occupation and that Cyprus may be vindicated.

    ''We wish for deliverance and vindication through a functional and viable solution of a bizonal and bicommunal federation, in which all the lawful inhabitants of Cyprus may be able as equal citizens -without any discrimination - to build in conditions of security a common homeland, united, prosperous and peaceful," the Cyprus president said.

    He added, ''I believe in the final vindication of our common struggle. Better days will dawn for our homeland and for all of our people. I call upon all of you to join forces and unite. Only united can we hope and be certain about a happier future for our country."

    Referring to the tragic events in Asia, he said ''it is natural on this occasion to turn our thoughts to the tragic and catastrophic natural phenomenon that wreaked havoc in South Eastern Asia and brought mourning and desperation''.

    ''On behalf of the Cyprus people, I express our profound grief and our sympathy to the governments and the peoples of the affected countries for this great tragedy. I wish to call upon you to assist in any way you can the relief effort, displaying once again the virtues of humanism and solidarity that characterize our people.

    Referring to the year 2004 Cyprus President said it was a very important year for Cyprus with two historic landmarks.

    ''On May 1st the Republic of Cyprus became a member of the European Union, fulfilling in this way our dream, thanks to the efforts made by all the governments of the Republic, the Parliament and mainly thanks to the sacrifices of the Cyprus people. On April 24, the people of Cyprus were called upon to decide on their future through a referendum," he said.

    President Papadopoulos reiterated that the verdict of the Greek Cypriots regarding the Annan plan should be respected by all, ''not only by word but also by deeds that will guide and cement the unity of the people and their leaders."

    He added that on April 24 the people did not reject a solution to the Cyprus problem, did not vote against the reunification of Cyprus, but they rejected this specific Plan, judging that it would not lead to the reunification of their country or to a workable solution.

    In his address to the Turkish Cypriots Cyprus President extended a message of friendship and wishes for a common course towards the common future of our common country.

    ''I call upon them to acknowledge the Greek Cypriot concerns about the perpetuation of division and to understand that the common and long-term interest of all of us is best served through a real reunification of our country," he added.

    In his message for the New Year President Papadopoulos addressed his special wishes to the refugees, the enclaved people and the relatives of missing persons as well as to the national guardsmen.

    ''Also I would like to express my particular appreciation to all those who are away from their homes, manning essential services and serving the public at large," he said.

    ''From the bottom of my heart, I wish all of you a Happy New Year. I wish that the New Year will be full of joy, prosperity and progress for all the lawful inhabitants of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins'', the President concluded.

    [15] British Foreign Office document on 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus made public

    London, 03/01/2005 (CAN/ANA)

    Britain, as third guarantor power of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus, gave free movement to Turkey to invade Cyprus, promising that it will not obstruct the implementation of its plan.

    This is revealed from the confidential documents of the British government for 1974 which were made public on Saturday, January 1.

    A Foreign Office document which refers to the critical talks between Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit with his British counterpart Harold Wilson, at the premier's office at 10, Downing Street on the night of July 17, which lasted for three-and-a-half hours and in which the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries took part, presents Ecevit as asking from the British side to allow the arrival of Turkish troops through the British Bases to avoid, as he said, bloodshed.

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