|Thursday, 7 December 2023|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-02-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>February 14, 2005
 President Stephanopoulos points to 'self-catharsis', says Democracy provides that ability
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos on Sunday spoke of "self-catharsis", in an indirect reference to the recent turmoil over corruption in the Church of Greece and the justice system, adding that Democracy provides that ability.
The President was speaking at celebrations and a parade in Litohoro, in Pieria prefecture, marking the 128th anniversary of the revolution of Olympos, and responding to a greeting by Litohoro mayor George Papathanasiou, who said that Stephanopoulos "clear and honest political word marks the public life, and should show the way to the younger politicians".
Stephanopoulos, replied that the democratic form of government in Greece "can be fearlessly and proudly compared with any other form of government in the West".
"Naturally, phenomena that are undesirable appear in our form of government, but Democracy has the ability of self-catharsis, it has the ability to function on the basis of its institutions, and it will be proven in this instance as well that it can function and bring about the desired results without the intervention of any violent or external force," Stephanopoulos said.
The President said he was happy to ascertain, at the end of his term in office, that "throughout all this time, that I have participated in the operation of a form of government which was the best since the establishment of the Greek State".
He noted that two "corrections" of the form of government were attempted, one in 1986 and one in 2001, which, "despite some reservations one may have had on the specific provisions, which may be corrected in five years' time, it was nevertheless a fact that "we have a form of government that may be fearlessly and proudly compared with any other form of government in the West".
Stephanopoulos also made some critical nuances regarding the policy of the US, and other Western forces, in the Arab world.
"Today, there is a global tendency -- if one should construe it as being frank -- to spread democracy to all parts of the world. I put forward the reservation that the democracy that we desire is not applicable in all the countries of the world, because there exist other circumstances, other religious beliefs, and these must be respected. Consequently, wars are not needed to impose democracy, what is needed is persuasion, ideological enlightenment, self-discipline of the peoples, which cannot be imposed by the force of others," the President explained.
The celebrations began with a Te Deum at the local Aghios Dimitrios church, followed by a military and pupils' parade.
The President then visited the Litohoro Maritime Museum, and attended a reception in his honor hosted by Mayor Papathanasiou.
Stephanopoulos also toured the Dion archaeological site before returning to Athens.
The government was represented at the events by health and welfare deputy minister George Constantopoulos, while the ruling New Democracy parliamentary group was represented by its secretary Apostolos Stavrou. Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou was represented by MP Yannis Magriotis, while the PASOK parliamentary group was represented by MP Petros Efthymiou. Representatives of church, police and military authorities also attended the events.
 Opinion polls show decline in citizens' trust in Church, major institutions
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)An opinion poll by VPRC on behalf of Sunday's edition of "Eleftherotypia" newspaper shows a decline in citizens' trust in the Church and a drop in the popularity of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos whom citizens attribute responsibility for what is currently going on in the ranks of the Church.
Also, an opinion poll by KAPPA Research on behalf of Sunday's edition of "Vima" shows that the trust of citizens in major institutions has been shaken.
According to the VPRC poll, 53 per cent of those questioned view that the corruption in the Church increased in the past years against 38 per cent who answered that the situation remains the same. Sixty-eight percent view that the Archbishop is responsible for what is going on, against 18 per cent who view him as innocent, and 72 per cent view that probably the prestige of the Archbishop has diminished, against 21 per cent who have an opposite opinion.
Sixty-two per cent claim however that a change of leadership is not needed and just 21 per cent asks for the Archbishop to abandon his post.
Forty-eight per cent are in favor of the separation of the Church and the State and 35 per cent are against.
According to the KAPPA Research opinion poll, 66.7 per cent declare that their trust in the institutions has been shaken, while 79.5 per cent declare that the phenomena of corruption will always exist.
At the same time, 64.7 per cent confront positively the eventuality of the separation of the State and the Church.
In the research, however (from a sample of 1,016 priests), 70.3 per cent have a positive opinion for the Archbishop and 52.6 per cent does not see, after the latest developments, any questioning of the present leadership of the Church of Greece.
 Rice and Gul spoke at length on Cyprus issue during recent talks in Ankara
WASHINGTON 14/2/2005 (ANA/T. Ellis)U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice spoke at length on the Cyprus issue and on the possibilities which exist for lifting the current impasse and for achieving a comprehensive solution in talks she had with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul during her recent visit to Ankara.
This was confirmed on Friday by U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher who noted that the two ministers also referred in brief to the Aegean, making it clear however that their discussion centered on the Cyprus issue. Rice "discussed our desire to see the Cyprus issue resolved on the basis of the Annan plan and that remains our position when we talk about Cyprus," Boucher noted.
On the Aegean issue, Boucher noted that the issue "came up in passing". He added that "they discussed more extensively Cyprus, and certainly our desire to see the Cyprus issue solved on the basis of the Annan plan."
Asked whether Rice invited her Greek counterpart Petros Molyviatis to Washington, Boucher said that there is nothing scheduled at this point but noted that Rice "obviously looks forward to seeing her Greek counterpart at various fora, but directly as well when they can."
Invited to say if Rice will visit Greece in the framework of her NATO and EU visit, Boucher noted that Rice has made clear her desire that either she or her Deputy visit all the NATO allies.
"I don't have a clear schedule for visits to further NATO allies, but she has made clear her desire that either she or her Deputy, when he is confirmed by the State, visit all the NATO allies, all the alliance countries, at an early period, within the first few months, Boucher said.
Asked on the effort of upgrading the economic support of the Turkish Cypriots. Boucher said that an American business delegation will come to northern Cyprus from Turkey," accompanied the U.S. Commercial Attache in Ankara.
"This is a private delegation that's looking at potential business opportunities in the north, Boucher said, noting that the Commercial Attache "is going along to help facilitate their work."
 Main opposition PASOK leader Papandreou, Cypriot EDEK leader Omirou discuss Cyprus issue
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou met Sunday with Cypriot Socialdemocratic EDEK party leader Yannakis Omirou, who is in Athens for events marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the EDEK branch in Athens.
After the one-hour meeting, Papandreou told reporters they had assessed the developments in the Cyprus issue, "particularly now that Cyprus is a member of the EU".
He said they also evaluated Turkey's course towards EU membership and how that could be utilized towards resolving the Cyprus problem.
Papandreou said the meeting with Omirou had been "fruitful".
Omirou, in turn, said that "PASOK has identified its life and action with the struggles of Cyprus", and noted the contributions of the late PASOK founder and former premier Andreas Papandreou (George Papandreou's father), former prime minister and preceding PASOK leader Costas Simitis, and George Papandreou.
"We remain firmly oriented towards the need for resolving the Cyprus problem as soon as possible, and hope that initiatives will be undertaken for the achievement of this great goal," the EDEK leader said.
He clarified, however, that the solution must "confront, in a satisfactory manner, the concerns, just rights and rational demands of the Cypriot Hellenism, and naturally, also consolidate the rights and privileges of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots".
Cyprus Socialdemocratic EDEK leader speaks to ANA: President of the Cyprus Socialdemocratic EDEK party President Yiannakis Omirou on Sunday told the Athens News Agency that it was ''the duty of all to have a common national strategy of the Cyprus (political) forces but also a common course with the Greek government and Greek political forces aiming primarily at the end of (Cyprus' Turkish) occupation and the reunification of our motherland.''
Omirou was speaking on the sidelines of an event organized by the Athens branch of EDEK for the 30th anniversary of its foundation. During the event, EDEK honorary president Vassos Lyssarides was awarded for his long standing political action.
FM Molyviatis to meet Cyprus' EDEK leader Omirou on Monday: Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis will meet at his office at noon on Monday with Cyprus' Socialdemocratic Movement EDEK leader Yiannakis Omirou, according to a foreign ministry press release on Sunday.
 PASOK leader Papandreou addresses event on future of Euro-Atlantic relations in Paris
Paris 14/2/2005 (ANA/O. Tsipira)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Saturday addressed an event titled "The future of Euro-Atlantic relations", organized in Paris by the organization/initiative "The Left in Europe", which is chaired by French socialist former European affairs minister and current European parliament vice president Pierre Moscovici.
The session was presided by former French socialist prime minister Michel Rocard, and attended by prominent personalities from the European socialist parties, as well as eminent professors from US universities.
The main theme of the morning session was to what degree Europe and the US comprise two internationalist models moving along different paths.
One of the views discussed was the position for "the democratization of globalization, the globalization of democracy, and not the obstruction of globalization". It was stressed that although cooperation with the US was necessary, the EU must nevertheless have its own, clear-cut counter-proposals on the major issues and international security in order for there to be a balance of powers.
Addressing that theme, Papandreou said that US president George Bush "will come and seek cooperation, without using the word 'crusade' this time, and perhaps he will speak about the zeal for spreading democracy in the world".
"What will be the European reply, and what can the Left's reply be?", he questioned, adding "the immediate reaction could be: We do not agree with the way in which you confront things".
Papandreou said he believed that such a response did not offer an alternative solution. "On the contrary, I believe that we must think about the meaning of democracy today," he said, adding that "consequently, to formulate international democratic rules, the globalization of the meaning of democracy, comprises a major but necessary challenge".
On security, Papandreou said that the Right "greatly uses the issue of security, saying 'I am here to protect you', and thus security takes precedence over democracy in the Right's approach".
"Consequently we should see how we can formulate a democratic security or a democracy on the issues of security," he added.
Replying to press questions afterwards, Papandreou said that, with respect to its relations with the US, the EU needed to make its own proposal, otherwise it would be impossible for there to be influence so that the European positions and values would be accepted.
Second, he said, the Left, the social-democrats of Europe, needed to have a counter-proposal to Bush's proposals regarding the issues of security and democracy in the world.
 PASOK leader asks for parliamentary debate on current crisis of institutions
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou on Sunday called on the government to bring the issue of the crisis in the Church of Greece as well as in other institutions, in Parliament for debate.
Addressing a meeting of party members and friends in the region of Aetoloakarnania, central-western Greece, Papandreou also accused the government of neutrality in the current crisis in the Church while, as he said, in the pre-election period the New Democracy party was collaborating with the high clergy.
Referring to the issue of the declining trust of the public to institutions, like the church or the judiciary, Papandreou said that the question was not who would control citizens but who would control those exercising control. He added that what was needed was democratic control and social accountability, things that would be achieved through a 'democratic revolution'.
The main opposition party leader also accused the government of attempting to exercise a ''suffocating control'' of institutions like the judiciary, the Church, public administration, the mass media and entrepreneurs. The government, Papandreou charged, ''wants to bring back the dependence of the citizen on the autocratic state of the Right''.
Earlier, Papandreou addressed farmers of the region where he expressed his support.
He committed himself that PASOK, in response to demands by farmers, will see how farmers can be financed so as to acquire land and to be able to remain in their fields.
Papandreou also referred to the need for new agricultural reform, but as he stressed, what is needed is a government which believes, but he claimed that the present government does not believe in the agricultural world.
He spoke of the poverty of farmers and accused the government that it has forgotten the farmers who have lost a great part of their income and that it supports the businessmen. Referring to tobacco, Papandreou stressed that the government supports the major interests of the big tobacco industries.
 ND's Stavrou to meet First Vice-President of Russian Duma
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)The General Secretary of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party's Parliamentary Group, Apostolos Stavrou, will meet in Athens on Monday with the First Vice-President of the Russian Duma, Sliska Konstantinovna, for an exchange of views on issues of interest to both Greece and Russia.
The meeting will be held at Stavrou's office at noon.
Konstantinovna, who will be heading a parliamentary delegation, has studied law and has been honored by the Russian Federation with many medals and other distinctions.
 Development minister Sioufas to hold press conference Monday on Research and Technology issues
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)Development minister Dimitris Sioufas and secretary general for research and technology Ioannis Tsoukalas will hold a press conference on Research and Technology issues on Monday at the Zappeion Press Centre in central Athens at noon.
The subject of the press conference will be Research and Technology, which comprise the key to productivity and competitiveness, according to a ministry press release.
Also taking part in the press conference will be secretary general for development Nikos Stefanou, special secretary for competitiveness Spyros Efstathopoulos, secretary general for industry Spyros Papadopoulos, National Council for Research and Technology (ESET) vice presidents Christodoulos Stefanadis and Dimitris Trichopoulos, and other officials.
Composition of Working Group for the promotion of access to the fast internet announced: Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Professor Ioannis Tsoukalas, Secretary General for Research and Technology, have announced the composition of the Working Group for the promotion of the access to the Broad Zone (fast internet) by students and educational staff.
In an announcement Sunday, it is said that the Working Group will prepare proposals on necessary measures to be taken that will facilitate a continuous, fast and economical access of students and scientists of Greek universities to the various services offered by the internet.
 KKE 17th Congress concludes with re-election of Papariga to party helm
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)The 17th Congress of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) were concluded Saturday night in Athens with the re-election of Aleka Papariga as party secretary general and the election of the party's new Central Committee.
The new Central Committee will elect a new Political Bureau at an imminent meeting, the date of which was not immediately announced.
Closing the Congress discussions on Saturday night, Papariga said it was the Central Committee's assessment that the KKE was on an upward course.
She said the climate of self-criticism expressed in the addresses by the delegates, "without griping and defeatism and without trying to pass the responsibilities down", was a positive factor. That spirit, which indicated the party's maturation, was an element that proved the KKE's upward course, and something that needed to be preserved and developed after the Congress.
Chiefly, however, she noted that that climate needed to be manifested "immediately and without delay in the effort to adapt the content of the guidance work, to orient our action to the popular problems more than we have in the past, to the cause of socialism, with particular emphasis on the working class, the youth, and women".
According to statistics released by the KKE on the 17th Congress, 8.2 percent of the delegates were in the age bracket of up to 29 years old, 8.8 percent between 30-39, 37.1 percent in the 40-49 age bracket, 38.1 percent in the 50-59 age bracket, 5.2 percent between 60-69 years of age, and 2.6 percent in the 70 and above age bracket.
Also, 69.2 percent of the delegates were workers and employees, 3.8 percent were farmers, 5.3 percent were professionals and small industry owners, 3.3 percent were self-employed professionals without employees, another 3.3 percent were self-employed professionals with employees, 0.5 percent were merchants, 8.1 percent were pensioners, 2.4 percent were students, 2.9 percent were researchers and university professors, 1.0 per-cent were artists and authors, and 0.2 percent were housewives.
With respect to level of education, 6.7 percent of the delegates were primary school graduates, 7.5 percent were junior high school graduates, 19.2 percent were high school (lyceum) graduates, 19.2 percent were technical school graduates, 9.9 percent were TEI technical college graduates, 30.8 percent were AEI university graduates, and 6.7 percent had completed post-graduate studies.
 Berisha visits Greek minority in southern Albania
GJIROKASTR, Albania 14/2/2005 (ANA/P. Barkas)Albania's Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha, during a two-day visit to the prefectures of Gjirokaster and Aghii Saranta, sought to restore his party's dialogue with the structures of the Greek minority in Albania.
Berisha, who spoke from the position of potential victor in the pending general elections in the summer, explained that this position of the Democratic Party derives from the fact that "the basic aim is the country's accession to the European Union, however, you can only go to Europe only through the maintenance of the provisions for the respect of the rights of the minorities."
He clarified, however, that there is no agreement with the Human Rights Union Party which represents the Greek minority.
Berisha said he was in favor of the proposal of the Human Rights Union Party with regard the shaping of the electoral regions in southern Albania.
 Five hikers killed, six injured in avalanche near ski resort on Mt. Mainalos
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)The bodies of five hikers -- initially reported as missing on Sunday after an avalanche struck a section of the ski centre at Ostrakina, some 30 kilometers outside Tripolis, on Mt. Mainalon in the Peloponnese -- were recovered in the early afternoon, while six others were lightly injured, rescue workers reported.
The leader of a group of hikers, speaking to fire brigade officers by cell phone, had initially reported that at least five of the 32 members of the group were missing after the avalanche struck at 1:35 p.m. at Ostrakina on Mt. Mainalos. He also said he feared two of the missing trekkers were dead.
Three fire trucks and a ground division of 50 firefighters from Tripolis rushed to the region, as well as a 15-member team of the EMAK emergency rescue squad from Elefsina, with specially trained dogs, and a group of volunteer rescuers from Patras with a special vehicle equipped with trackers capable of tracing persons in the snow, assisted by a Super Puma all-weather helicopter.
The site of the avalanche was at a large distance from the Mt. Mainalon ski centre, and snowfall and heavy fog in the area were obstructing the efforts of rescue crews.
According to later reports, the bodies of the five missing hikers were found by rescue workers under the snow.
The 32-member group, belonging to the Greek Hiking Club of Athens, was on a visit to the Mainalos Ski Centre when the avalanche hit, at the peak of Profitis Ilias.
Three of the casualties are men, and two are women, but no details were released on their identities. The six injured hikers were taken to the Panarkadiko Hospital for first aid, while rescue teams were checking identities to make sure that all the hikers were accounted for.
 Author Tatiana Gritsi-Milliex dies at age of 84
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)One of Greece's most important prose writers, Tatiana Gritsi-Milliex, died Sunday at the General State Hospital in Nikaia, near Pireaus, at the age of 84.
Tatiana Gritsi-Milliex, the daughter of Michalis Gritsis and Eleni Salari, was born in Athens on October 20, 1920 and finished high school with lessons at home.
In 1942 she was enrolled in the University of Athens, but abandoned studies there to learn French, at the French Institute of Athens, and took voice lessons at the Greek Conservatory.
In 1939 she married French writer, intellectual and philhellene Roger Milliex, whom she met at the French Institute, and had two children with him. During the German occupation in Greece in WWII, she joined the National Liberation Front, and became a volunteer with the Hellenic Red Cross.
Between 1945 and 1975, she traveled among France, Cyprus and Italy, with in-between returns to Greece. The Milliex couple continued their activities for Greece in France in 1945-46, and Tatiana studied Art History and Aesthetics at the Louvre during that time. during that same period she took part in the 1st International Conference of Women in Paris, on the theme of the resistance activities of Greek women.
After Milliex assumed the post of director of studies at the French Institute of Athens in 1947, the couple returned to Athens, where they remained until 1959. during that period she worked at the Centre for Asia Minor Studies, took part in several painting exhibitions throughout Greece, and devoted much time to her writing.
The couple then went to Cyprus, where the remained from 1959 to 1971, and where Roger worked at the French Educational Centre there while Tatiana involved herself in the cultural upgrading of the island.
From there the couple went to Genoa, Italy, where they worked for the establishment of a Modern Greek Studies chair at the university, and against the colonels' dictatorship that had taken over in Greece, which stripped Tatiana of her Greek citizenship. Following the restoration of democracy in Greece, the couple returned to Athens and Tatiana worked at National Radio Foundation (EIR) in 1974-75, 1983-84, and at the Greek radio/television station ERT-2.
As a journalist and critic, Tatiana worked with several newspapers, including Anexartytos Typos, Anendotos, Avghi (1974-77), the Sunday Eleftherotypia (1976-84), Ta Nea (Cyprus, 1964-70), and others, as well as numerous magazines.
She was a member of the Racine Academy in Paris, a founding member of the Hellenic Writers Society, the Pen Club, the Greek Literary and Historical Archive, the Society of Critics and Visual Arts, etc.
She received several state and other awards for her short stories and novels. She made her first appearance in the Greek literary field in 1945, with the publication of her short stories in the magazine Elefthera Grammata, and also translated theatrical plays into Greek, while part of her personal archive that survived seizure by the dictatorship was published by the Kedros publishing firm in 1973, under the title Sparagmata.
The Coalition of the Left (SYN) praised her contribution to literature and her work in the resistance, and expressed its deepest condolences to her husband, Roger Milliex.
Tatiana Gritsi-Milliex's funeral will be held on Wednesday.
 Man in possession of more than 4,000 antiquities arrested
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)Police of the Antiquities Department on Saturday arrested a 40-year-old man who was found in possession of more than 4,000 antiquities.
In a search which was made in a storeroom of his home in Nea Apollonia, Thessaloniki, northern Greece, police found 3,200 coins of the prehistoric era, of the Roman, Classical Hellenistic and Byzatine years, 300 fossils and parts of fossils, 18 pieces of jewelery, parts of urns, a religious book of 1783 and other objects.
The man, who will appear before the court on charges of antiquity smuggling, claimed to the authorities that he had found them during various times in fields of the region.
 Sculptor arrested for Internet fraud
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)A 34-year-old sculptor has been arrested on charges of fraud via the Internet and violation of the law on protection of personal data, and was taken before a public prosecutor on Sunday.
Attica security police director Stefanos Skotis announced on Sunday that the sculptor had created a web page on the Internet through which he promised appointments to the public sector, transfers of Greek university students studying abroad to Greek institutions of higher education, and in general the solution of all problems and requests through political intervention. To make his claims more credible, the detainee had uploaded forged photographs of politicians holding documents carrying his company's logo.
The detainee charged between 500 and 2,000 euros for his "services". Payment was made via credit cards, and the applicants were obliged to fill in a special form seeking such information as their personal data, and the number, expiration date and security code of their credit card.
The sculptor, who resides in the Ambelokipi residential district of Athens, called his webpage "dirty works", and the page contained, on the bottom, a small click-on image that opened up a disclaimer that everything appearing on the webpage was "virtual". However, the image was small and obscure, and thus visitors to the web page usually overlooked it, thus missing the disclaimer that would make them suspect that the services offered were a fraud.
The Security Police's electronic crimes division was being contacted daily by victims who had paid for the "services" then realized that they had been defrauded. Complaints were also lodged abroad, including in Luxembourg and as far away as Australia.
The sum of money stolen by the perpetrator through the web fraud has not yet been assessed, but police believe it is a large sum.
The perpetrator, upon his arrest, told police that his web page was a "work of art" and that he expected the Art Museum to express interest in it!
 Statue of late statesman George Papandreou unveiled
Athens, 14/2/2005 (ANA)The statue of late statesman George Papandreou was unveiled on Sunday afternoon at the initiative of Athens' Municipality of Egaleo during a special event held at Anexartisias Square.
In his address, Egaleo Mayor Dimitris Kalogeropoulos referred to the "charismatic" personality and action of George Papandreou.
Among those present at the event were as representative of the government its Culture Secretary Christos Zahopoulos and main opposition Panhellenic Social Movement (PASOK) deputies Yiannis Haralambopoulos. G. Diamantidis, P. Kritikos and George Geitonas.
The statue was created by sculptress Koutifari eight years ago.
 Cyprus President: We are working discreetly to reach an agreed settlement
NICOSIA 14/2/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said the Greek Cypriot side has been working systematically and discreetly to create conditions that guarantee substantive and constructive negotiations leading to an agreed settlement of the Cyprus problem, within the new context created by accession of Cyprus to the EU.
In a speech at a Maronite religious service in Nicosia Sunday morning, Papadopoulos said he remains committed and focused on reaching a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation, a solution ''that will reunite Cyprus, be functional and viable, and make gradual
rapprochement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities a reality.''
Papadopoulos said a solution should promote and secure social and economic reunification. ''It should not consolidate the separation of the two communities and of institutions, should not allow either community to impose its will on the other, and should not permit either community to lead the common state to permanent deadlocks, paralysis and eventual dissolution.''
''For quite a while now, we have been working systematically, discreetly and quietly, in order to create the right conditions that will provide guarantees for substantive and constructive negotiations that will lead to an agreed settlement of the Cyprus problem, within the new context created by Cyprus' accession to the EU,'' the Cypriot president said .
All factors of good faith, in Cyprus and abroad, he continued, ''acknowledge now the sincerity of our efforts to create the necessary preconditions securing that a new round of talks can produce a viable, functional and acceptable solution, if substantive amendments are made to the Annan plan,'' as the UN blueprint for a Cyprus settlement rejected in a referendum among Greek Cypriots on April 24 last year and accepted by Turkish Cypriots is known.
''This is why I feel deep regret when the sincerity of our intentions for achieving as soon as possible such a solution is doubted and undermined continuously and in bad faith, firstly in Cyprus, and when these damaging claims are reproduced abroad and unnecessarily burden me with the additional task of having to convince my interlocutors about the sincerity and consistency of our will for a speedy solution,'' Papadopoulos added.
The president noted that the Greek Cypriot side had drawn numerous lessons from the latest initiative by the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan. ''Repetition of procedures, handling, and erroneous judgments of the negotiating team of the UN would be an unforgivable mistake and would prove counterproductive and harmful,'' he said.
It is for this reason, Papadopoulos went on, that ''we have timely noted that arbitration and strict timetables have proven unfruitful'' in achieving a free negotiation on an equal basis which would lead to an agreed and viable solution.
He said that in numerous rounds of talks over the years, the Greek Cypriot side had proven ''that we are reasonable and pragmatic, and ready for a painful but dignified compromise, that we desire and pursue a solution, more than anyone else, the soonest possible.''
 Turkish Premier sees new initiative after ''elections'' in occupied Cyprus
ISTANBUL 14/2/2005 (CNA/ANA)Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes that there will be a new initiative on Cyprus after the so-called presidential elections in Turkish occupied Cyprus in April, and said he wants to see the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides increase their contacts in order to create common ground ahead of any new initiative.
According to reliable sources close to a meeting here Saturday between Erdogan and a four-member delegation from the Democratic Rally party (DISI) from Cyprus, the premier said the non solution in Cyprus is not a solution and pointed out that politicians are there to solve problems, views which he has already outlined to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan whom he has asked to undertake a new initiative on Cyprus, as Erdogan said.
Erdogan, the same sources have said, explained to the DISI delegation that he hopes that after the ''elections'' the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities will express a common willingness for a process that will prove to be effective towards a political settlement.
He said he would contribute towards this goal and is convinced that his Greek counterpart will follow suit.
The Turkish premier believes that concerns and anxieties raised at the meeting by the DISI delegation could be discussed at the negotiating table, saying he is ready to talk about such matters.
He advocated increased contact between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides with a view at reaching an understanding, adding that such a process could create common ground before any actual negotiations begin afresh.
Erdogan thinks that there could occur a meeting between the Cyprus president and Turkish Cypriot so-called premier Mehmet Ali Talat, under any form, be it informal, friendly or even secret.
He said he would encourage Talat to work towards this direction and hoped that Tassos Papadopoulos would also be encouraged to do the same, while he expressed hope for a positive approach on the part of the Cypriot president.
Erdogan said he would sign a protocol to Turkey's customs union agreement with the European Union, extending it to all ten new EU members, by 3 October, provided that his signature means nothing more than the extension of a commercial deal.
 DISI leader: Our visit to Turkey has been very successful
ISTANBUL 14/2/2005 (CNA/ANA)Leader of Greek Cypriot Democratic Rally Party (DISI) Nicos Anastassiades has described his visit to Turkey very successful bearing in mind the goals he had set out before coming here.
Speaking Sunday after a brief conversation of the DISI delegation with Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, Anastassiades said ''we came here to convey the concerns of the Greek Cypriots and to sound out intentions.''
''We return to Cyprus having an overall picture of the situation but also with hope that Turkey's European perspective and the new initiative which we hope will unfold in the coming months will help at long last to create conditions for the reunification of Cyprus,'' he said.
Welcoming DISI delegation Bartholomew said ''I warmly congratulate the President of DISI for the work he is doing towards rapprochement,
unity, cooperation and friendship between the two sides at this crucial and historic moment when everybody is seeking a final, definite and viable solution to the Cyprus problem and at a time when Turkey is about to embark on its substantive course towards EU membership.''
He advocated Greco-Turkish friendship and wished for a political settlement in Cyprus as soon as possible.
The DISI delegation attended Sunday morning a church service officiated by Patriarch Bartholomew. They were to leave Turkey Sunday night.
 Cyprus government makes representations to US
NICOSIA 14/2/2005 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government has made representations to the US over a forthcoming visit to Cyprus' occupied areas of the US Commercial Attache at the US Embassy in Ankara, who will be escorting an American business delegation, Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou told CNA.
According to the Turkish Cypriot press the delegation will fly from Turkey to the illegal airport in occupied Tymbou (Ercan).
Iacovou said that ''if the visit by the Commercial Attache finally takes place, I underline that this action will consist a violation of the Cyprus Republic's laws and UN resolutions 541 and 550.''
''What makes us especially worried is the fact that the delegation will be escorted by the US Commercial Attache in Ankara. The allegation that he will facilitate their contacts is not valid. We have made representations (to the US) both in Nicosia and in Washington,'' he said.
US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher confirmed Friday that an American business delegation will visit the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, accompanied by the US Commercial Attache of the US Embassy in Ankara.
Boucher noted that ''this delegation is consistent with our goal of easing the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots by expanding business contacts on and off the island''.