|Wednesday, 16 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-02-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>February 9, 2005
 Karolos Papoulias elected 6th President of the Hellenic Republic
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Karolos Papoulias, the candidate nominated by the New Democracy government and supported by main opposition PASOK as the next President of the Hellenic Republic, was elected to the post by an overwhelming parliamentary majority of 279 votes on Tuesday evening.
Specifically, 163 New Democracy MPs, 114 PASOK MPs and two independent MPs (Stelios Papathemelis and Stephanos Manos) voted for Papoulias. Out of the 300-member chamber, 296 MPs voted, while four were absent. Those absent were ND MP Ilhan Ahmet who is on official mission abroad; PASOK MP Kostas Tsimas who is ill; KKE MP Antonis Skyllakos who was absent also due to illness, and independent MP Andreas Andrianopoulos.
Ahmet and Tsimas sent letters saying that had they been present they would have voted for Papoulias.
Seventeen MPs, 11 from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and six from the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party, declared themselves 'present.'
After the voting, Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki went to Papoulias' office to officially inform him of the outcome.
It is the first time that a candidate for the presidency is elected with a total of 279 votes. Until now, outgoing President Kostis Stephanopoulos had received the most votes (269 votes) on his re-election on Feb. 8, 2000 out of 298 MPs present. Stephanopoulos' second five-year term concludes on March 11, 2005.
Papoulias will be the sixth President of the Republic since the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1974, following Mihalis Stasinopoulos, Constantine Tsatsos, Constantine Karamanlis, Christos Sartzetakis and Stephanopoulos.
Parliament president informs Papoulias of his election to the presidency: Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki went to Karolos Papoulias' office on Tuesday evening to inform him of Parliament's decision to elect him as the new President of the Hellenic Republic.
Psarouda-Benaki emphasized that Papoulias' five-year term will be filled with important events and developments.
"European unity will be reinforced with the possible ratification of the European Constitution; national borders and a part of national sovereignty will be limited for the sake of peace, prosperity and security in an enlarged Europe; human and citizen rights will change as new authorities and powers try to protect them or violate them; and democracy will face challenges and may be tried under new forms of governance," Psarouda-Benaki said.
"Our country will face serious dilemmas in many areas: there are developments under way concerning national issues which require consensus and level-headedness; radical changes on an economic and social level as well as serious decisions must be made in order to improve citizens' quality of life; education and training require a new direction and Greek culture will have to regain its historical status as innovator," she added.
The parliament president expressed confidence that Papoulias will fulfill his role as President of the Hellenic Republic successfully, armed with "his extensive experience in politics, his professional training, his social sensitivity, and his low-key and modest personality."
In response, Papoulias said that Tuesday's outcome in Parliament, justifies the constitutional requirement that calls for consensus in the presidential election.
"I believe that consensus is an achievement for our political culture and a demand of Greek society on all important issues that concern our country. My interaction with Greek citizens has taught me that political maturity and integrity, sensibility and sensitivity in public life in order to prepare for a better tomorrow for our country and to build a society less selfish and fairer is the collective goal," Papoulias said.
"With respect for the opinions of all political parties and representatives of the Greek people, I express my sincere gratitude for this great honor, which I accept with a sense of responsibility," he concluded.
PM outlines his decision for selection of Papoulias as president: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday explained his choice of former foreign minister Karolos Papoulias as the next president of the republic by noting that the latter's lengthy political career was characterized by "conscientiousness and consensus".
Speaking to ruling New Democracy Parliamentary group only hours before the 300-MP legislature is expected to overwhelmingly send Papoulias to the presidential mansion, Karamanlis also noted that as a former foreign minister, Papoulias retains both the knowledge and experience needed to fulfill the duties of a head of state.
"Our choice (Papoulias) meets the challenges of the era; it serves the country's interests; it stems from our unwavering decision to put an end to (political) dividing lines of the past..." Karamanlis said.
Moreover, the prime minister praised and thanked the outgoing president, Kostis Stephanopoulos, for the manner in which he served the institution of the presidency, parliamentary democracy and expatriate Hellenism.
FM Molyviatis congratulates Papoulias on being elected president: Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis expressed his sincere congratulations to Karolos Papoulias, "an old friend" whom he's known since University, on being elected President of the Hellenic Republic by Parliament on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, Molyviatis said he was certain Papoulias would make a very good president and would succeed in his duties.
Main opposition leader Papandreou satisfied of the election: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said that the election of Karolos Papoulias as President of the Hellenic Republic on Tuesday, marks an important day in the institution's history.
Papandreou noted that Papoulias was elected by a wide parliamentary majority and highlighted the fact that Papoulias is a former member of PASOK. Papandreou also stated that Papoulias would make a worthy successor to outgoing President Kostis Stephanopoulos, given his experience, personality and character.
In closing, Papandreou said PASOK was proud of this election.
Papandreou expressed his certainty that Karolos Papoulias would perform successfully his duties as President of the Republic, shortly after the result of the parliamentary vote for the presidential election was announced on Tuesday evening.
''I am happy for Karolos Papoulias' election as President of the Republic. I congratulate him, I wish him success and I am certain that his tenure in office will be successful,'' Papandreou told reporters.
 FM Molyviatis and Serbian President discuss Kosovo
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis said he was certain Greece, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, would play a constructive and important role in developments concerning the Balkans, after his meeting on Tuesday with Serbian President Boris Tadic in Athens.
Molyviatis described the meeting as useful, friendly and sincere, during which the two officials discussed the situation in the region and confirmed the need to accelerate Serbia's European prospects, in order to reinforce security and stability in the region.
The Greek foreign minister said that the answer to the Kosovo problem must be based on European principles and values, which was the concept on which his discussion with UN Special Representative in Kosovo Soeren Jessen-Peterssen was based on Monday. He emphasized that Greece supports negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade in order to ensure the safe return of refugees as well as the return of monasteries' property.
On his part, Tadic said that the Kosovo issue did not only concern Serbia, but that it is rather a broader, European issue. He said that Greece, as an EU member and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, plays a particular role in the Balkan region and added that Greece understands the problem, which is why he believes that Greece will play a significant role in resolving Kosovo's governance issue.
Tadic emphasized that members from both the Serbian and Albanian communities will have to be part of the regime that will finally govern Kosovo. He also warned that a passive stance will have disastrous consequences for the broader region.
Asked to comment on the situation in Kosovo, Tadic said it was unacceptable and said he was opposed to this Serbian province becoming an independent state, since according to Tadic, this could serve as a precedent for other crises in the region. Furthermore, Kosovo does not have the economic prospects necessary for an independent state. Kosovo's independence would increase the already great number of refugees who have fled the area, a development which would be disastrous for Serbia's economy and a threat to the country's institutions, he said.
 PM Karamanlis: 'Transparency everywhere, zero tolerance to vested interests and corruption'
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday focused directly on the ongoing and partially intertwined furors rocking the independent judiciary and the Church of Greece's hierarchy, as he reiterated a pre-election call for "transparency everywhere, zero tolerance to vested interests and corruption".
Karamanlis told deputies of his ruling New Democracy party that the recent revelations and disclosures have "cast a shadow on the highest institutions of democracy and Greek society, uncovering corruption with deep roots in the past."
A trial- and parole-fixing syndicate allegedly comprised of several judges, trial lawyers, court officials and even a high-ranking controversial cleric first exploded onto the national spotlight following an expose by a noted TV investigative journalist. Press focus on the cleric, Iakovos Yiosakis, subsequently generated a whirlwind of allegations - corruption, misappropriation of funds, influence-peddling and even licentiousness -- against a handful of top ecclesiastical leaders.
Karamanlis, who assumed the premiership after a convincing election victory last March on a platform that prominently featured ND's intention to fight corruption, graft and vested interests, warned that citizens are demanding an absolute end to "unlawful situations and phenomena of corruption".
In touching on allegations that have stunned the powerful Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece, Karamanlis emphasized that his government will "applaud every effort by the Church to set its house in order."
In terms of the unprecedented corruption probe in the justice system, Karamanlis said the government will encourage every effort at reform in the independent judiciary as well as a strengthening of the institution's self-regulation and self-protection.
Moreover, he said the government is determined to proceed regardless of the political cost.
 Gov't distances itself from ND MEP's proposal for separation of Church and State
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Tuesday said that a proposal for the separation of Church and State put forward by the head of ruling New Democracy MEPs Yiannis Varvitsiotis was "not a consideration for the government".
"The matter was discussed during the revision of the Constitution and the specific articles are now given," he said, denying that the government was now examining the possibility of a further review of the Constitution.
Regarding the government's position on the crisis within the Church, Antonaros pointed to statements by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to the ruling party's parliamentary group on Tuesday, who called for "zero tolerance" of corruption and said that everything necessary would be done to restore the public's faith in the foremost institutions of society.
Stressing that the government "will not dictate to anyone what they should do," he added that the government applauded all efforts by the Church to clear up corruption within its ranks.
Noting that this effort would essentially support the Church as an institution, he stressed that there "is no room for compromises" and that bold decisions were needed, while he also emphasized the factor of time in any action that was taken.
"The government has expressed its views on developments, has said how it expects those that are responsible to act and - naturally - has the expectation that its views will be taken into account," he added.
Asked if the government was in contact with the Church, Antonaros said that "contact was made as considered necessary at various times" but refused to reply on whether the government was in contact with the Church at the present time.
He also refused to say if Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras intended to order a judicial investigation into allegations that Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, had intervened on behalf a drug dealer in the courts.
"Mr. Papaligouras supervises the execution of justice and I am certain - as the prime minister said today - that the great majority of Greek judges carry out their duties conscientiously and on the basis of the oaths they have made," he said.
Coalition (Synaspismos) party outlines 10 proposals for separation of Church and State: The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party on Tuesday presented 10 proposals for the separation of Church and State. The party also strongly criticized Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, for the situation in the Church and the two main parties for rejecting proposals to separate Church and State during a revision of the Constitution.
According to a party announcement "the responsibility borne by Archbishop Christodoulos and the majority of the Church's leadership in this crisis is highly obvious and great," because of their obstinate resistance to all proposals for modernization, transparency and democratization within the Church and their increasing intervention in politics as "protectors" of traditions and "national values".
The proposals put forward by Synaspismos include establishing a civil oath of office, allowing non-religious funerals and cremations and abolishing legislation on proselytisation that have landed Greece in trouble with the European Court of Justice.
Other measures concerned references to religion in the Constitution and 'over-protection' of religion under the law, religious education in schools and military units, amendments to laws for the construction of places of worship that previously required approval of local Orthodox prelates, civil service marriages, as well as measures regarding Church property and the legal regime governing the Church.
 Holy Synod issues first decisions linked with ongoing corruption allegations
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)The Holy Synod, the plenum comprised of the Church of Greece's top ecclesiastical leaders, convened on Tuesday as part of a continuing bid to clear-up a recent spate of allegations against a handful of top clerics, as influential Archbishop Christodoulos was the latest figure to come under media scrutiny this week for a support letter he wrote on behalf of a man facing a drug conviction.
One of the more prominent decisions out of Tuesday's Holy Synod meeting in Athens forbids clerics in the current phase from participating in public discussions, a more-or-less indirect ban on television panel appearances. Numerous high-ranking Church leaders have appeared on television programs in the past few weeks as the furor over alleged clerical corruption continued to swirl.
In other business, the Holy Synod's members exonerated Metropolitan of Thessaliotidos (the Karditsa area of central Greece) Theoklitos of any wrongdoing in a particularly titillating case. Theoklitos had been among the first high-ranking clerics recently accused of inappropriate behavior, namely, of selling drugs. His accuser was the man he succeeded, Metropolitan Konstantinos, whom the Holy Synod on Tuesday deemed as untrustworthy. A witness called by Konstantinos, Metropolitan Alexios, also dismissed the charge.
However, Theoklitos reportedly told his colleagues that he wanted the case to be further investigated, part of a bid, as he said, to completely clear his name.
As far as the Archbishop is concerned, a press release by his office stressed that Christodoulos never sent an official or unofficial representative for the previous election to elect a new Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the latest allegation linked to a convicted drug dealer wanted by Interpol, a man -- identified as one Apostolos Vavilis -- for whom the Archbishop wrote a letter of support when he (Vavilis) was facing a felony drug smuggling charge a few years ago.
 PASOK president comments on Greek economy, state of the Church
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Unemployment and labor issues in general are citizens' key priorities, according to PASOK's Coordinating Committee which met on Tuesday.
PASOK President George Papandreou, who presided over the meeting, said the government had done nothing in this sector during its 10 months in office and accused the government of failing to deliver on its campaign promises. Papandreou said that PASOK would cooperate with workers, trade unions and social organizations to help boost the labor market.
Speaking about the crisis the justice system and the Greek Church are currently facing, Papandreou said that the issues need to be resolved immediately and reiterated his party's position which calls for "transparency for all, social monitoring and social accountability."
He emphasized that the new dialogue which has begun regarding changes in the Church, must result in a new framework governing relations between Church and state.
 No change to position on ratification of Euro-Constitution, gov't stresses
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)The government's position regarding the ratification of the European Constitutional Treaty had not changed, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said on Tuesday when asked to comment on a proposal for a nationwide referendum on the issue made by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.
The ratification process will soon be beginning in Parliament, Antonaros added.
 Appeal for Bozkurt not to be extradited to Germany
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Forty-six deputies of the Greek Parliament, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos), the European Party of the Left, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council, tens of trade union organizations, workers' associations, anti-war movements and social agencies on Tuesday called for Sinan Bozkurt (Tailan) not to be extradited to Germany and expressed their support to the Kurd who is in prison.
Sinan Bozkurt is being held in the prison of Komotini for 11 months and the German authorities have asked for his extradition for three offences.
 Greek economic competitiveness easing, report says
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Greece's high growth rate in the last few years (4.0 pct on average) was not accompanied by a similar improvement of the Greek economic competitiveness, National Bank's analysts said in a report.
The report said that economic growth was based, mainly, on higher investments and employment (particularly immigrants) and forecast that these growth rates would not be easy to be preserved in the future since the country was helped by the organizing of the Olympic Games.
National Bank's analysts stressed that competitiveness, based on international experience, was the main determining factor of higher real incomes in an economy, therefore maintaining high growth rates and the road towards real convergence were directly linked to higher competitiveness in the country.
The analysis showed that Greek economic competitiveness was gradually easing in the last few years, with labor productivity and total productivity contributing less than expected to economic growth for a country aiming to achieve real economic convergence with other EU states.
The report stressed that EU's expansion and a higher inflation rate in the country had an impact on Greek exports' competitiveness. Greek exports' share in international markets shrank, although the services' sector was boosted in the 2003-2004 period, helped by favorable developments in the ocean shipping industry.
The bank's analysts urged for efforts to boost competitiveness through an improvement of the country's regulatory framework, reducing bureaucracy and encouraging business activity. The long-term and youth unemployment rates were among the highest in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (56.5 pct and 25.1 pct in Greece compared with 43.4 pct and 14.7 pct in OECD average rates).
The report said that to maintain high growth rates in the future would need a significant rise in productivity in the country, a goal likely to be facilitated through accelerating structural reforms in Greece.
 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report - Entrepreneurial activity in Greece
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)5.8 per cent of the population of Greece between the ages of 18 and 64 had some kind of business activity in 2004. This percentage is lower than that registered in 2003 (6.8 per cent), consequently last year the total business activity in the country dropped in relation to the previous year.
As in 2003, a large part of the business activity which was registered in Greece in 2004 (about 30 per cent), concerns "Necessity Entrepreneurial Activity", while in the other European countries the "Opportunity Entrepreneurial Activity" surpasses ''Necessity Entrepreneurial Activity".
The above data on Greece is included in the report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) for 2004. GEM constitutes the largest research program on the monitoring of business activity on a national and international level.
Thirty four countries, which represent about 10 per cent of the world population, took part in the GEM research in 2004. The level of business activity seems that it has not changed significantly in relation to 2003.
 European Commission to publicize recommendations on Greek fiscal reform on Wednesday
BRUSSELS 9/2/2005 (ANA/B.Demiris)The European Commission will publicize on Wednesday its proposals for Greece's fiscal reform, which will have to be achieved within the next two years.
Specifically, following a proposal by European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia, the plenary session of European Commissioners is expected to adopt a proposition recommending to the Economy and Finance Ministers' Council (ECOFIN) to apply article 104C, paragraph 9 of the EU Treaty. According to sources, the Commission will require Greek authorities to strictly adhere to the 2005 budget, since they don't believe that the fiscal deficit will fall below the 3% ceiling this year.
According to the same sources, the Commission is not expected to ask Greek authorities to adopt additional measures in 2005 and will also request a 12-month extension (i.e., end 2006) for Greece to reduce its fiscal deficit to less than 3%.
The Commission's proposal is to be reviewed initially on February 16 during the informal meeting of the Eurozone's finance ministers, while the final decision will be made on February 17 by ECOFIN.
 ADEDY terms IMF proposals for Greek economy 'provocative'
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)The Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) in an announcement on Tuesday termed the proposals which are included in the annual report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the Greek economy as provocative for the working people and the poor popular classes.
The ADEDY announcement said "the neo-liberal recommendations for cuts in salaries and pensions in social insurance and health, for the speeding up of privatization and the extension of flexible labor relations constitute basic and anti-popular formulas which are permanently repeated."
ADEDY said "the trade union movement will oppose any effort by the government for the implementation of these policies and will continue the struggle for the safeguarding and broadening of social rights for real increases in salaries and pensions, for the protection and upgrading of public services, for full employment, for the abolition of anti-social insurance regulations and the broadening of social insurance rights."
 Greece, Bosnia sign agreement for road transports
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)The Greek and Bosnian transport ministers on Tuesday signed a memorandum of cooperation in the field of overland passenger and cargo transportation, including two-way routes and transit hauls.
The agreement was signed in Athens by Greek Minister Mihalis Liapis and his Bosnian counterpart Branko Dokic.
 Serbian President B. Tadic addresses Greek politicians and entrepreneurs
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Serbian President Boris Tadic, addressing on Tuesday night Greek and Serbian politicians and entrepreneurs, called on Greek entrepreneurs to "build in the foundations of the strong traditional relations between the two countries, quality business relations which will strengthen the economic cooperation between Greece and Serbia."
He further said his country and he himself is doing everything possible in order for there to be a secure investment climate, that he looks forward exclusively in the European accession of Serbia and that Greece is one of the greatest investors in his country.
"My vision is for my country to soon accede to the European Union and to play a major role in the economic development in the Western Balkans," Tadic said.
His speech was made during a dinner initiating a Greek-Serbian business forum which starts on Wednesday.
 ASE closing report: prices end lower
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Greek stocks ended Tuesday's session slightly lower with sellers taking the upper hand in trading of blue chip and medium-capitalization stocks in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The composite index fell 0.22 percent to 2,934.90 points with the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks easing 0.37 pct, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ending 0.72 percent lower and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ending 0.31 percent higher.
Sector indices ended mixed. The Textile, Cement and Retail indices scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (3.04 pct, 2.21 pct and 1.24 pct), while the Construction (1.71 pct), IT (1.32 pct) and Publications (0.99 pct) suffered the heaviest losses.
Turnover was a strong 217.9 million euros. In the broader market, decliners led advancers by 157 to 139 with another 59 issues unchanged.
The Greek market fell on Tuesday after a three-day rally in the Athens Stock Exchange which pushed the composite index 2.14 percent up. Titan Cement jumped 3.66 percent at 26.64 euros per share after favorable recommendations made by UBS on the Greek company's share price target.
Other strong gainers were Coca-Cola and Cosmote (up 1.85 pct and 1.87 pct, respectively), while Alpha Bank, National Bank and Hellenic Telecoms eased by 1.31 pct, 1.15 pct and 1.49 pct, respectively.
The composite index jumped above the 2,950 levels early in the session but was unable to maintain this position due to lack of follow-through buying. The FTSE/ASE 20 index ended at 1,616.51 points, the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended at 2,579 points, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index closed at 525.22 points and the wider FTSE 140 index ended at 3,449.76 points.
 Greek bond prices rose in January
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Turnover in the Greek state bond market rose more than 20 percent in January compared with the same month last year, to 80 billion euros from 37.39 billion euros in December, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.
The central bank, in its monthly report on the domestic electronic secondary bond market, said that daily average turnover was 4.0 billion euros.
The report said that investors' interest focused, once again, on long-term securities -particularly of seven-to-10 years duration- which accounted around 61 percent of total turnover in the month (48.86 billion euros). The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded bond, with a turnover of 22.6 billion euros, followed by the 15-year bond with 11.9 billion euros.
The central bank said that 52.26 percent of trade was buy orders with the remaining 47.34 percent sell orders.
Bond prices continued moving higher around the world affected by high liquidity levels in international markets. Record low bond returns, both in the Eurozone and the US, encouraged buying of long-term state securities during the first month of 2005.
Greek benchmark bond prices rose by 2-272 basis points in the month, with the 20-year bond price rising to 123 points (yielding 4.05 pct) at the end of January from 120.28 points (4.25 pct) in the previous month.
The 10-year benchmark bond price rose to 106.64 (yielding 3.64 pct) from 105.39 (3.80 pct) over the same period.
The average yield spread between the 10-year Greek and the German benchmark bond fell to 10 bps in January from 12 bps in December.
 Controversial archimandrite jailed pending trial
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)The cleric at the centre of a trial fixing scandal still dominating local headlines, archimandrite Iakovos Yiosakis, was remanded into custody on Friday on felony charges of antiquities smuggling, days after he was first incarcerated pending questioning in the case.
The suspended cleric is charged with stealing dozens of Byzantine-era icons from a monastery on the island of Kythira in the 1990s.
Yiosakis' name came up during two previous investigations into the same case, although he was cleared in both instances.
 Citizenship bestowed on family of teacher killed in Beslan massacre
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)Two out of the eight family members of a retired ethnic Greek school teacher killed during the Beslan school massacre last September formally received Greek citizenship on Tuesday during a brief ceremony in Thessaloniki.
Another six family members of slain teacher Yiannis Kanidis, among the hundred of victims killed when Chechen terrorists took over the elementary school in north Ossetia, will be naturalized at Greek diplomatic missions in Russia.
 Benaki Museum presents exhibition on 'The Greek culture through the look of European travelers and scholars' (15th-20th century)
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)The Benaki Museum is currently presenting an exhibition entitled "The Greek culture through the look of European travelers and scholars" (15th-20th century).
The exhibition, housed at the building at Koumbari Street, presents 140 titles of books from the collection of Dimitris Kontominas. Through these publications is appeared the particular interest of each traveler - sightseer, composing a panorama of historical places of Hellenism, in the West and in the East, from south Italy to the coasts of the Black Sea.
 Hellenic Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary
Athens, 9/2/2005 (ANA)The Hellenic Festival has chosen to celebrate its 50th anniversary with international artists such as Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Agni Baltsa, Dario Fo, Mikis Theodorakis, Vassilis Papakonstantinou, Peter Stein and others.
During these 50 years, the Hellenic Festival has acquired "a limited international character with distinguished artists. In order to generate great interest from abroad, long-term relations are necessary," the Festival's General Manager Yiannis Karahissaridis said on Tuesday, as he presented the program for the Herod Atticus Theatre, the Epidaurus Theatre and "Musical July", which runs from May 20 through October 8.
Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, present at Tuesday's event, said that the Festival's 50th anniversary will be celebrated at the Herod Atticus Theatre on August 24, with a special ceremony commemorating all those who contributed to the Festival's existence. Former Prime Minister Georgios Rallis will be the guest of honor, who as state minister had signed the decree which founded the Athens Festival.
 Cyprus government comments on US, British positions
NICOSIA 9/2/2005 (CNA/ANA)Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides pointed out on Tuesday that international law and order and aviation regulations define the rules for the use of ports and airports in Turkish occupied Cyprus.
He also said that British attempts to bring back for approval a European Union regulation on direct trade between the occupied north and the EU are not based on an objective evaluation of all the circumstances regarding this issue.
His comments come in response to remarks by US Secretary of State that Washington is trying to ease the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and reports that Britain wants to reintroduce the direct trade regulation, which so far has not been approved by the Commission.
''Turkish Cypriots are isolated because of Turkey's policy in occupied Cyprus, the adoption of economic indexes and of Turkey's legal tender and the fact that up until recently Turkish Cypriots were prevented to visit the southern government controlled part of the island and trade with the Greek Cypriots,'' Chrysostomides said.
Responding to questions, he said British attempts to reintroduce the direct trade regulation ''are not founded on an objective assessment of the situation.''
''We oppose this policy, we do not agree with that,'' he added.
He pointed out that the government is in favor of efforts for the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots relating to another EU regulation, the Green Line regulation.
The government, he said, does not oppose the allocation of EU aid amounting to 259 million euro to the Turkish Cypriot and has already given its consent to that.
The spokesman explained that these two regulations (direct trade and financial assistance) have been linked by Mehmet Ali Talat, Turkish Cypriot self-styled prime minister, who insists on their joint application.
Asked to comment on a three-day meeting on Cyprus, organized by the British Foreign Office, he said he was ''somewhat surprised that it is taking place behind closed doors and off the record and yet journalists participating in the meeting can talk to delegates in private on the record.''
He said the government had all the necessary information about the meeting well in advance, adding that he knows neither the objective nor the outcome of the meeting.
''The conference covers issues that worry our side with regard to the solution of the Cyprus problem,'' he added.
About 140 participants from Cyprus, England and Europe began on Tuesday their deliberations on various issues, including the main concerns of the island's two communities, the latest trends in public opinion, the impact of Cyprus' accession to the EU and prospects for a settlement.
 Cyprus House President comments US Secretary of State statements
LARNACA 9/2/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus House President Demetris Christofias has said that recent statements by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice are "deja vu". She had said that the US seeks ways to resume talks for the Cyprus problem and ease the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.
Speaking at Larnaca airport on his return from London, Christofias said ''Rice has reiterated the very well-known positions of the US, in a milder way than previously,'' and he recalled ''statements and threats against Cyprus before the April referenda on the Annan plan (UN solution plan) as well as after the referenda.''
Greek Cypriots in their overwhelming majority (76 per cent) rejected the plan. Turkish Cypriots approved it by 65 per cent.
Christofias said the US administration had taken steps to enable an airline to announce flights to the occupied areas and to ensure that a UN report on Cyprus included positions that would render useless Security Council resolution 541, which condemned the unilateral declaration of independence by the Turkish Cypriot regime.
He said this effort by the US did not bear fruit due to the veto of China, Russia and France.
Responding to questions, Christofias said ''the so-called isolation of Turkish Cypriots is due first of all to the occupation and the repercussions of the occupation.''
 British Foreign Secretary: Turkey has a duty to recognize Cyprus
NICOSIA 9/2/2005 (CNA/ANA)Turkey has a duty, within the European Union framework, to recognize the Cyprus Republic, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said, assuring that the British government has no intention of giving any kind of recognition to the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime in Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas.
Straw was speaking at a meeting on Monday in London with a delegation of the National Federation of Cypriots in the United Kingdom.
A Federation press release said the delegation discussed with Straw the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and outlined a series of issues related to British policy on Cyprus.
The delegation expressed serious concerns for actions of the British government that seem to promote secessionist tendencies in Cyprus, by-passing the legal government of the Cyprus Republic.
The press release noted Straw ''replied to issues raised and assured that the British government does not intend to give any kind of recognition to the occupying regime, underlying that Turkey is obliged, within the EU framework, to recognize the Cyprus Republic.''
The Federation's delegation comprised its President Haris Sofoklides, its Vice Presidents Michalis Ellinas, Andreas Papaevripidis and Christodoulos Stylianou and its Executive Secretary Andreas Karaolis.