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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-07-07

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

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

July 7, 2005

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't: Time has come for FYROM to offer convincing answers to irredentist maps, texts
  • [02] Karamanlis reiterates Athens' support for Romania's EU entry during meeting with PM Tariceanu
  • [03] Romanian PM meets with Hellenic-Romanian Business Council members
  • [04] Athens on election in neighboring Albania
  • [05] European Parliament overwhelmingly approves Hatzidakis report on regional development
  • [06] Gov't on 'primary shareholder' bill, Constitution
  • [07] ESR decides to suspend issue of transparency certificates using 'loophole' in controversial law
  • [08] Gov't on PM's scheduled visit to Turkey
  • [09] OSCE concludes its Parliamentary Assembly in Washington
  • [10] Minister briefs president of the republic on energy projects
  • [11] FM meets with Group of Like Minded Countries, discusses UN reforms
  • [12] Deputy FM hosts luncheon for Arab ambassadors
  • [13] Coalition party opposed to role of informal world directorate by G8
  • [14] Palestine Diplomatic Representation on press reports vis-a-vis Irineos
  • [15] Ombudsman proposes changes to immigration law
  • [16] U.S. Independence Day celebrated at ambassador's residence
  • [17] Turkish warplanes violate Greek national air space
  • [18] PASOK party leader addresses event marking ninth anniversary of his father's death
  • [19] PASOK spokesman strongly warns members against statements contrary to party positions
  • [20] Gov't unveils strategic plan to boost Greek exports
  • [21] Greek economic diplomacy eyes emerging markets
  • [22] Opposition party leader addresses event organized by Foreign University Graduates Societies
  • [23] Gov't begins dialogue on labour relations
  • [24] Shopkeepers hold protest rally outside Parliament over bill extending shop opening hours
  • [25] Unified consumption tax on oil will not burden households, ministers say
  • [26] Gov't stresses that changes to diesel oil tax will not burden public's pocket
  • [27] Greece warned over EU legislation on biofuels
  • [28] Victoria State Energy and Natural Resources Industries Minister discusses cooperation with deputy development minister
  • [29] Weaker euro boosts Eurozone corporate profits, NBG report
  • [30] EU takes Greece to court for energy market breach
  • [31] Athens mayor presents plan for redeveloping Votanikos, Alexandras Avenue
  • [32] Chipita buys shares in east European subsidiary
  • [33] Eurobank holds seminar on investing in Turkey
  • [34] Grecotel completes 30-mln-euro hotels investment
  • [35] OTE publications subsidiary set up in Cyprus
  • [36] Intrakat expands in Armenia, Libya
  • [37] Traffic on Rio-Antirrio bridge to stop periodically as of Friday
  • [38] Stocks rise in blue chip buying
  • [39] UNICEF's international competition on repercussions of AIDS virus successfully concluded
  • [40] Greek mobile medical unit in Kabul to become fully operational in August
  • [41] Journalists' unions cite lack of transparency and protection of employees' rights as key problems in mass media sector
  • [42] International symposium on ancient Greek philosophy to be held on Samos, Lesvos and Megara
  • [43] Alexandros S. Onassis foundation proceeds with election of new directorate
  • [44] Guards block efforts of cannabis smuggler at Greek-Albanian border
  • [45] Athens Mayor congratulates London on winning Olympic bid
  • [46] Government to make utmost efforts for Turkish Cypriot missing
  • [47] House President expresses Cypriots' hopes from British Presidency

  • [01] Gov't: Time has come for FYROM to offer convincing answers to irredentist maps, texts

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Wednesday again took up the issue of irredentist maps and texts either directly or indirectly promoted by the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), following a same-day report in an Athens daily.

    The latest instance of an irredentist map and text was apparently detected in a textbook used by junior high school pupils in FYROM. Specifically, a map showing the Balkans and prominently depicting a region identified as "Macedonia", with the latter including significant portions of modern-day Greece and Bulgaria. Three hands, meanwhile, extending from the south (Greece), east (Bulgaria) and north (Serbia) are seen on the illustration as encroaching on this "greater Macedonia's" territory. Moreover, Albania isn't even demarcated on the notorious map.

    A relevant report and the illustration were published by the Wednesday edition of the Athens daily "Kathimerini".

    During his regular press briefing on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos called the map and the related school text a "serious matter".

    "The matter that arose affects FYROM's foreign ministry, and especially the veracity of the answers and statements it has given," Koumoutsakos said, referring to a similar instance last week, when a website linked with the FYROM ministry's website featured a map incorporating land from each of the land-locked country's neighbors.

    That link was subsequently removed from the FYROM ministry's official site, although the Skopje government insisted at the time that it was not responsible for the content of independent websites.

    In linking both instances of "creative map-making", Koumoutsakos criticized the previous response by FYROM's foreign ministry as "lacking substance".

    "The fundamental question is whether school textbooks (in the neighboring country) and their content are a matter involving private parties?" he asked.

    In broadening the issue beyond just maps and periodic irredentist language long considered a nuisance by successive Greek governments, Koumoutsakos referred directly to the previously strife-ridden former Yugoslav state's European prospects.

    "The time has come for persuasive answers to be given on the issue of irredentist and threatening propaganda ... these answers are not just demanded by Greece, but are primarily a demand linked with Europe's political reality. Europe is allergic to irredentism; it's hoped that this propaganda does not act as a stranglehold on policies that must be followed in order to solve problems and outstanding issues that exist in the region," the spokesman said.

    Koumoutsakos concluded by saying that the problem lies squarely with the FYROM side and not the Greek government, whereas he noted that the international political and diplomatic mood vis-a-vis the "name issue" still separating the two countries has shifted in Athens' favor.

    Greece provided a guarded but more-or-less positive reaction to a recent proposal by a special UN mediator over a mutually acceptable name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, whereas the Skopje government flatly rejected any compromise solution.

    Although Athens and Skopje have achieved remarkable progress in bilateral relations, especially in trade and investments, since signing an UN-mediated "interim agreement" 10 years ago, the "name issue" continues to block the full normalization of ties.

    Athens strenuously opposes FYROM's use of the name "Macedonia", citing historical and political reasons. Moreover, Greece's largest province, which shares borders with FYROM, is called Macedonia, the same geographical region that more-or-less corresponds with the ancient kingdom of Macedonia.

    Additionally, he reiterated that Greece's positions regarding EU-FYROM ties remain unchanged, in light of an EU-FYROM Association Council meeting expected to take place at the end of the month.

    Finally, the spokesman said any next move -- as far as UN-mediated efforts to resolve the "name issue" are concerned -- must hail from the FYROM side, while noting that whereas contacts are continuing, a lull has been observed in terms of real developments.

    [02] Karamanlis reiterates Athens' support for Romania's EU entry during meeting with PM Tariceanu

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis reiterated Athens' long-standing support for Romania's EU accession prospects, as he received his visiting Romanian counterpart Calin Popescu Tariceanu here on Wednesday.

    "Greece continues to support the prospects of the European Union's expansion," Karamanlis underlined, in again expressing his certainty that Romania will meet all of its obligations within the framework of EU accession negotiations for achieving membership in 2007.

    Moreover, Karamanlis emphasized that Greece will be amongst the first EU member-states to ratify a relevant Treaty of Accession for Romania and Bulgaria.

    In terms of bilateral relations, both prime ministers referred to excellent ties and the capacity of even greater trade and investment cooperation, as Greece is currently amongst the top three investors (2.5 billion euros) in that north Balkan country.

    Karamanlis also briefed his counterpart on the Greek presidency's goals and priorities for the Inter-Balkan cooperation group.

    On his part, Tariceanu first stressed that he invited Karamanlis to Romania for an official visit, while terming bilateral political and trade relations as outstanding and a model for regional cooperation.

    The Romanian PM added that Bucharest is interested in coordinating its positions with Athens after its entry into the EU as far as regional policy is concerned, citing areas of great interest for both countries, such as Kosovo and Moldova.

    Moreover, he noted that Greeks in Romania and Romanians in Greece can play a significant role as a "bridge" between the two regional neighbors. Along those lines, he said he requested that Romanian citizens' social security payments be taken into account by Greek funds, an issue he said could be resolved on a reciprocal basis.

    Earlier, Tariceanu attended a meeting of the Greek-Romanian Business Council, where he spoke to members of the group, which includes executives of several of the major Greek companies active in Romania.

    Presidentof the Republic Karolos Papaoulias meets with visiting Romanian prime minister: President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday met with visiting Romanian prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, for talks that focused on bilateral relations, as well as regional and international including the situation in the Balkans, Turkey's EU course, and the Cyprus problem.

    According to diplomatic sources, the meeting lasted longer than scheduled, which reflected the very good level of bilateral relations between the two countries.

    Papoulias reaffirmed Greece's support for Romania's EU accession course and the country's accession to NATO.

    Romania, as well as other EU candidate countries, have become concerned to a degree over the recent rejection of the European Union's Constitutional Treaty in referenda in France and the Netherlands, which has been construed by certain quarters as an indirect criticism of the 25-nation bloc's further enlargement, the diplomatic sources noted.

    Greece holds one of the top positions in foreign investments in Romania, while mutual trade relations have marked substantial growth in recent years.

    Parliament President meets with Romanian PM: Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki discussed friendly relations between Greece and Romania and the cooperation between the two countries on multiple levels with visiting Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu during their meeting on Wednesday.

    Benaki emphasized that Romania's imminent EU accession will create the right conditions for closer ties between the two countries and added that Greek parliament will ratify the accession treaty as quickly as possible.

    On his part, Tariceanu thanked Benaki and said that Romania will make every possible effort to ensure implementation of reforms in the judiciary, public administration and competitive-ness so that Romania will be ready to join the EU on January 1, 2007.

    He also invited Benaki to Bucharest, an invitation she gladly accepted.

    Also present at the meeting was Parliament Vice President and Head of the European Affairs Committee Sotiris Hatzigakis.

    [03] Romanian PM meets with Hellenic-Romanian Business Council members

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu on Wednesday met with members of the Hellenic Romanian Business Council on occasion of his visit to Athens.

    During the meeting, attendees had the opportunity to exchange views on issues related to Greek investment in Romania - Greece is among the leading investors in the country with investments exceeding 2.5 billion.

    Tariceanu was also briefed on the council's activities and company members' future business plans.

    [04] Athens on election in neighboring Albania

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Athens on Wednesday centered on the positive aspects of last weekend's parliamentary election in neighboring Albania, pointing to increased voter turnout in comparison with past polls as well as an improvement in the overall conditions for holding the election.

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos added that official results have still not been released, while he nevertheless cited OECD references to irregularities, "although less than in the past".

    He also stressed that the European Union has made it clear to Albanian leadership that the smooth holding of elections is one of the criteria that will be judged in relation to the country's European prospects.

    "Greece backs this course by Albania towards its inclusion in European institutions under the conditions, spirit and prerequisites that this course entails," the spokesman said, while praising the participation of an ethnic Greek party in the election.

    Asked by reporters about the likelihood of one-time Albanian leader and current Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha returning to power, given certain negative comments aired by the latter against Athens in the past, the spokesman noted that "Greece works harmoniously with all democratically elected governments", something he said it will continue with whatever government arises in the neighboring country.

    "Greek foreign policy is conducted with a view to the future, and I don't believe that the past can serve as an impediment, but only as a tool of analysis for the policy that will be followed..." he concluded.

    [05] European Parliament overwhelmingly approves Hatzidakis report on regional development

    PARIS, 07/07/2005 (ANA/O.Tsipira)

    The Plenary Session of the European Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved New Democracy MEP Konstantinos Hatzidakis' report on regional development funding with 574 votes in favor, 45 against and 44 abstentions.

    Specifically, Hatzidakis' report concerns the priorities that should govern the European Union's regional development policies and the distribution of EU funds - the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund - for the period 2007-2013.

    By adopting Hatzidakis' report, MEPs agree that 0.41% of EU GDP should be earmarked for cohesion policy; any significant modification to the overall architecture of the Commission proposals, including attempts to renationalize all or part of EU regional policy, should be rejected; and that cohesion policy must be ring-fenced from negotiations on the financial perspective or attempts to make drastic cuts in EU spending.

    Members of European Parliament expressed their regret that the EU Council was unable to reach a decision regarding the EU's budget for the period 2007-2013.

    "Parliament believes that the uncertainty surrounding the financing of structural policies might further undermine citizens' confidence in the European project. The House urges the European Council to take a decision on the financial perspective as early as possible, and in any event before the end of 2005, in order to ensure that an adequate period is allowed to European regions and Member States for the preparation of the new operational programs," they said in a press release.

    According to Hatzidakis, such a development would be positive for Greece, "since in this case more Greek regions will qualify for full funding."

    Regarding the 0.41% of GDP that would be earmarked for cohesion policy, the ND MEP said that this would be the best possible scenario for Greece which would receive 22.5 billion in EU funding.

    In his report, Hatzidakis also proposed that accessibility by people with disabilities to EU funded-programs should be a prerequisite. According to his proposal, funding should be withdrawn in the event that this prerequisite is not fulfilled.

    Regarding transparency, MEPs noted that the "Commission and Member States have joint responsibility for the Structural Funds."

    The Commission calls on member states to make annual declarations of assurance that EU taxpayers' money has been spent "in a regular, legal and transparent manner."

    MEPs, however, called on the Commission to clarify "what it means by 'irregularity for reporting purposes by Member States.'"

    Main opposition PASOK MEPs and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis voted for the Hatzidakis report.

    [06] Gov't on 'primary shareholder' bill, Constitution

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Responding to questions about the currently suspended "primary shareholder" law, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Wednesday pointed to past statements by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos that the government "has an obligation to defend the Constitution".

    Asked about apparently conflicting statements on Tuesday by Roussopoulos and the vice-president of the National Radio and Television Council (ESR) Dimitris Haralambis concerning the issue of transparency certificates by the ESR - which the authority has now stopped issuing - Antonaros said that Roussopoulos was referring to the period from this time onward.

    The spokesman also reiterated the government's view, conveyed in a letter sent to the European Commission, that suspension of the law 3310/2005 passed by the present government automatically led to the suspension of the previous "primary shareholder" law 3021 passed by PASOK in 2002.

    "This means that there is no reason to issue transparency certificates," he added.

    Asked whether the suspension of both laws creative a legislative gap "in which corruption can run rampant", given the government's previous line that the bill was necessary to ensure transparency and curb phenomena of graft involving public-sector contracts, Antonaros simply noted that "combatting corruption is one of the basic pillars of government policy" and that talks between the government and the European Commission were continuing.

    On Tuesday, Roussopoulos said the government had informed the European Commission that suspension of the 2005 law led to the corresponding suspension of previous PASOK law, in response to a warning letter sent last Thursday by the Commission that gave the government a five-day deadline in which to scrap the law.

    The European Commission has raised objections to both acts of legislation, which implement an article of the Greek Constitution that limits the rights of owners of mass media enterprises to take on public-sector contracts. The measures were designed to prevent the media from exerting undue influence on the award of state contracts and also extended to the next of kin of people owning up to 1 per cent of a media enterprise.

    Both laws were judged to be incompatible with fundamental European directives and treaties by the European Commission, which has threatened to cut off EU funding in all cases where the law may have affected the outcome of tenders and to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice.

    The government said on Wednesday it was continuing consultations to find a "common ground" with the EU on this issue.

    [07] ESR decides to suspend issue of transparency certificates using 'loophole' in controversial law

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The National Radio and Television Council (ESR) on Wednesday decided to stop issuing transparency certificates required under the previous PASOK government's "primary media shareholder" law by using a "loophole" provided by the law, as opposed to an outright suspension of the law in accordance with a government circular.

    The ESR said that it would take advantage of a paragraph in the law stating that transparency certificates or acts of rejection must be issued within 10 days, after which time the public-sector authority offering the contract must proceed to draw up a contract with the applicant.

    ESR President Ioannis Laskaridis said the ESR would simply allow the 10-day period to elapse without issuing certificates, rather than explicitly state that the certificate is not necessary, in order to avoid later problems with the validity of contracts in the eyes of the courts.

    According to a circular sent by Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos earlier, the article suspending the present government's 'primary shareholder' law, indirectly brought about the suspension of articles in law 3021/2002 passed by PASOK on this issue.

    Laskaridis said that this created a problem since the 2002 law also stated that contracts for which proper procedures were not adhered to were considered null and void, creating the possibility that a court might find that the law had not been indirectly suspended and that its provisions still applied.

    The ESR president also admitted that the problem arose because the minister's circular was not an act of legislation and that the Council had not originally interpreted suspension of the 2005 law to mean indirect abolition of the 2002 law as well and had been issuing transparency certificates in the meantime.

    "Accepting this view in retrospect is a little risky and we will insist on our own tactics," he added.

    An opposing but minority view was expressed by ESR vice-president Dimitris Haralambis, who said that the issue of transparency certificates under both 'primary shareholder' laws should have been stopped because they were contrary to Community law and could therefore not be a term for awarding a government contract.

    The European Commission has raised objections to both 'primary shareholder' laws, one passed by PASOK in 2002 and one passed by the present government in early 2005, which implement an article of the Greek Constitution that limits the rights of owners of mass media enterprises to take on public-sector contracts. The measures were designed to prevent the media from exerting undue influence on the way state contracts are awarded and also extended to the next of kin of people owning up to 1 per cent of a media enterprise.

    Both laws were judged to be incompatible with fundamental European directives and treaties by the European Commission, which has threatened to cut off EU funding in all cases where the law may have affected the outcome of tenders and to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice.

    The government said on Wednesday announced the suspension of both laws and said it was continuing consultations to find a "common ground" with the EU on this issue.

    [08] Gov't on PM's scheduled visit to Turkey

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Wednesday fielded questions over a recently announced official visit by the prime minister to neighboring Turkey, a visit expected to take place at the end of the summer.

    "The Greek prime minister's scheduled visit to Turkey is a confirmation of both countries' volition to seek out opportunities and to find ways that will strengthen the view that both countries must work seriously towards an ever greater improvement in the (political) climate, something that assists all of the actions that must take place to achieve a normalization of bilateral relations, which as you know, is a strategic goal of Greece's foreign policy," the foreign ministry's spokesman said.

    Spokesman George Koumoutsakos made the statement in reply to a press question on whether the reasons that made such an official visit by a Greek premier to Ankara unattainable in the past have disappeared, including the continued Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus.

    [09] OSCE concludes its Parliamentary Assembly in Washington

    WASHINGTON, 07/07/2005 (ANA/T. Ellis)

    The 14th annual conference of the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly, held here between July 1-5, concluded its works on Tuesday.

    The Assembly's Vice President and head of the Greek Parliamentary delegation Panos Kammenos, together with the Assembly's President Alchy Hastings and two other vice presidents, held talks at the White House with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.

    Their talks focused, among other matters, on combatting terrorism, the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, democratic procedures in countries of eastern Europe and the OSCE's role in consolidating democracy in countries of the wider Middle East, while reference was also made to Greek-Turkish relations.

    During the conference, titled "30 Years after Helsinki: Future challenges", deputies from 55 OSCE member-states discussed the issues concerning the international organization, such as security, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, economic and political cooperation, environment, democracy, human rights, protection of minorities and individual rights, and the illegal trafficking of people.

    [10] Minister briefs president of the republic on energy projects

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Wednesday briefed the president of the republic, Karolos Papoulias, on three major energy projects that were recently completed, turning Greece into an international energy hub.

    Sioufas also outlined initiatives the government has taken to help boost growth, competitiveness, investment, and research and development.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, on Sunday launched the start of construction of a natural gas pipeline between the two countries; Greece has signed a protocol with Italy for construction of another natgas pipeline; and Greece has signed a political protocol with Russia and Bulgarian for construction of an oil pipeline.

    [11] FM meets with Group of Like Minded Countries, discusses UN reforms

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis met with the ambassadors of the Group of Like Minded Countries (LMC) on Wednesday and discussed issues related to reforms of the United Nations and the Security Council in particular, whose presidency Greece has assumed for the month of July.

    Specifically, Molyviatis met with the ambassadors of Italy, Turkey, Algeria, Mexico, Korea and the charge d'affaires of the embassies of Spain, Canada, Argentina, Angola, Albania and Pakistan.

    [12] Deputy FM hosts luncheon for Arab ambassadors

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis hosted a luncheon for 14 ambassadors from Arab countries at the foreign ministry on Wednesday and stressed the Greek government's strong will to increase Greek exports to Arab countries and to attract Arab investments to Greece.

    The luncheon was attended, among others, by Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Christos Folias, Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou and representatives of the Federation of Greek Industries, the Union of Greek Shipowners and the Union of Greek Banks.

    The meeting was a continuation of the visit made to Egypt by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis last November and was part of the political and economic rapprochement between countries in the European basin, according to diplomatic sources of the ministry.

    Issues discussed during the luncheon concerned economic cooperation and the further promotion of bilateral economic and trade relations.

    [13] Coalition party opposed to role of informal world directorate by G8

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology on Wednesday expressed its opposition to "the role of the informal world directorate which the G8 want to play with their annual conferences," on the occasion of the meeting of the G8 in Scotland.

    "The major problems of mankind can only be tackled with equal worldwide cooperation, particularly with the direct participation of the countries of the Third World," said an announcement by the party's Political Secretariat.

    The announcement added that these countries, which account for over 80 percent of the world's population, "demand justice and not charity from the powerful and by whose policies they are gravely harmed economically, socially and environ-mentally".

    [14] Palestine Diplomatic Representation on press reports vis-a-vis Irineos

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The Diplomatic Representation of Palestine in Athens, prompted by recent reports appearing in the Greek and Palestinian press, said in a press release on Wednesday that the document published in the press alleging that the Palestinian National Authority has absolved former Patriarch Irineos of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem of responsibilities concerning the long-term lease of Patriarchate properties to unnamed Israeli interests.

    Irineos was ousted as Patriarch by the Patriarchate's Holy Synod in May after his name was embroiled in a scandal involving the lease of Patriarchate property - including a landmark Palestinian hotel near the gates of the old city of Jerusalem - to unnamed Israeli interests. He was demoted to the rank of monk by an ecclesiastical court in mid-June and a caretaker was appointed.

    "The document attributed to being a report by the Palestinian Investigative Committee, which has appeared in the Palestinian and Greek press, does not constitute an official report of the Palestinian Council of Ministers (Cabinet), nor expresses its official position," the press release said.

    "The official position of the Palestinian National Authority remains firm, as expressed by the Palestinian Council of Minister on May 8, 2005, which approved the decision of the Jerusalem Patriarchate's Holy Synod to depose Mr. Irineos, considering him personally responsible for the actions of Nikos Papadimas (Irineos' former financial manager, who is now under investigation for fraud), as he himself (Irineos) had signed the proxies (giving power of attorney to Papadimas) in question," the release said.

    "The Palestinian National Authority, as we have stated from the outset, places absolute priority on the nullification of the illegal contracts so as to reacquire our land," it said.

    "Any delay in the issue of the Presidential Decree for the ratification of the Palestinian Council of Ministers' decision is due only to the complex legal actions being taken by the Palestinian National Authority to void the illegal contracts," the press release continued.

    "The Diplomatic Representation of Palestine, from the outset of the crisis, is in direct contact and complete cooperation and coordination with the Greek government, and with all the Greek political parties, to jointly serve our common target for the unity of the Church, and for catharsis in the Patriarchate, to the benefit of our common national interests," the release added.

    "The Diplomatic Representation of Palestine has chosen all this time not to respond to unjust and groundless accusations and attacks we have received from a section of the Greek press," the release said, concluding: "We assure the Greek public opinion that our stance on the entire issue is aimed at the preservation and further consolidation of the historic ties of friendship, cooperation, solidarity and fraternity between our peoples".

    [15] Ombudsman proposes changes to immigration law

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    In light of the upcoming amendment of Greek immigration laws, the Ombudsman has submitted a series of proposals aimed at making legislation more effective and at protecting immigrants' rights.

    The Ombudsman sent its proposals to Minister of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Prokopis Pavloupolos during the drafting process of the new bill.

    A significant number of the Ombudsman's proposals were incorporated in the bill.

    However, several proposals were not adopted. Because the Ombudsman feels that they would have further improved the draft law, it sent a related report to Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki and requested her help during the parliamentary debate over the bill.

    [16] U.S. Independence Day celebrated at ambassador's residence

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The anniversary of U.S. Independence Day was celebrated at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Athens Charles Ries on Tuesday night in the presence of many cabinet members, representatives of the country's military leadership, the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and many members of the diplomatic corps.

    "Long live the independence of America, long live Greece, the birthplace of democracy," the U.S. ambassador said in a brief speech. Referring to the role played by the United States, he said the U.S. from the American Revolution and its independence to Iraq and Afghanistan today, has defended freedom and democracy.

    Guests at the reception included Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, Agricultural Development and Foodstuffs Minister Evangelos Basiakos and Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis.

    [17] Turkish warplanes violate Greek national air space

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The Turkish air force resumed its illegal activities in the Aegean as of Tuesday with infringements of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and violations of Greek national air space.

    According to sources of the National Defense General Staff, 36 Turkish warplanes made 14 infringements of air traffic regulations in the Athens FIR on Wednesday, which developed into three violations of national air space in the northern, central and southern Aegean.

    In all cases the Turkish aircraft were recognized and intercepted by Greek air force jets, while in one case the interception process developed into a mock dogfight.

    On Tuesday, 30 Turkish warplanes had made 14 infringements of the Athens FIR and three violations of national air space in the northern, central and southern Aegean. One interception process had developed into a mock dogfight.

    Moreover, five Turkish formations were armed on Tuesday and seven on Wednesday.

    [18] PASOK party leader addresses event marking ninth anniversary of his father's death

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, addressing an event organized by the George Papandreou Foundation on Wednesday night marking the ninth anniversary of the death of his father and PASOK's founder Andreas Papandreou, said "Andreas Papandreou spoke with the future. The duty of our party is, honoring our traditions, to give a target and a vision to the Greek people."

    Papandreou further said "I remember Andreas Papandreou when, during the dictatorship, they asked him why the junta imposed itself so easily in Greece, brought Italy as an example in which they were trying to impose a dictatorship there as well, saying that the difference with Italy is that it had an organized labor movement, decentralized local administration and a deeply rooted democracy."

    The PASOK party leader said that "this message in the era of globalization is opportune since it is necessary, and the duty of all us progressives, to deepen democratic institutions and give a role to the citizen."

    The event was attended, among others, by Margarita Papandreou, Sofia Papandreou and Nikos and Andrikos Papandreou.

    [19] PASOK spokesman strongly warns members against statements contrary to party positions

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis on Wednesday issued a strong warning to all party officials who distance themselves from the party's official positions with public statements.

    Athanassakis reiterated PASOK President George Papandreou's statement that "he does not consider PASOK officials to serve the role of journalist, reporter or commentator."

    Instead, he called on any one with specific proposals to bring them to the attention of Papandreou, the party's political council or to the committees in which he or she participates.

    He stressed that the expression of diverse opinions "is desirable in formulating correct positions."

    However, "it is not desirable nor necessary when it creates the impression or has the potential of creating the impression that it only leads to 'noise' or the sake of noise or self-promotion," he said.

    Athanassakis made these remarks when asked to comment on statements made by PASOK MPs Stavros Benos and Christos Verelis.

    [20] Gov't unveils strategic plan to boost Greek exports

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday unveiled the government's strategic plan to boost exports of Greek products, based on the key-work "export-orientation".

    Presenting the plan, Alogoskoufis said Greek enterprises' exports were particularly low in recent years, at 7.4 pct of the country's Gross Domestic Product, compared with 40 percent in Germany and 95 percent in Belgium.

    The Greek minister stressed that low exports were reflected in the country's increasing trade deficit, currently at 27 billion US dollars, and attributed this development to low competitiveness by Greek enterprises, discouraging of business activity and the absence of a critical mass of export-oriented enterprises in the country.

    "The key word is export-orientation," Alogoskoufis said.

    The new business plan by the Export Promotion Organization, aimed to boost Greek exports, envisages conducting a study to determine market targets for Greek products, promoting a special program for Greek food products, such as olive oil, organizing eight business trips to US, Canada, Arabia, Japan, China, Poland, Russia and Egypt, organizing an international conference on Mediterranean Food in autumn, participating in 45 international trade fairs and upgrading the role of a National Export Council.

    [21] Greek economic diplomacy eyes emerging markets

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis said on Wednesday that Greece's economic diplomacy drive included a focus on emerging markets.

    The country's outward-looking economic policy was divided firstly into the Mediterranean area, the Middle East, and the Arab world; secondly Turkey; thirdly the Black Sea and Caspian region; and fourthly the Balkans, Stylianidis told a meeting arranged by graduates of universities abroad.

    "If there's one area in which the outward-looking nature of Greek economic diplomacy has shown spectacular results in recent years, then that is the Balkans," he noted.

    Currently operating in the region were more than 3,500 Greek operations, mainly subsidiaries of home-based firms. More than 6.0 billion euros of Greek capital was invested in the Balkans, creating 200,000 jobs, Stylianidis said.

    Another success was a political agreement by Greece, Russia and Bulgaria this year to build an oil pipeline, in a project stalled over 13 years, he added.

    [22] Opposition party leader addresses event organized by Foreign University Graduates Societies

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou said the government of the New Democracy party "has squandered all the strategic advantages of the country in an irresponsible way".

    Papandreou also criticized Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in connection with his announcement regarding a decrease by 10 billion euros of "extravagance" in the public sector and instead of this, as he said, "unfortunately we have an increase in expenditures, a decrease in revenues and a budget which will be difficult to carry out."

    [23] Gov't begins dialogue on labour relations

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Improving competitiveness of small enterprises and establishing safe and healthy working conditions are the aim of a dialogue that began on Wednesday, Labor Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos said.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with the presidency of National Association of Greek Traders, Panagiotopoulos said that an existing legislation on labor relations has failed and stressed the need of a dialogue to achieve a legislative adjustment to the real needs of both workers and enterprises.

    The Greek minister is scheduled to meet on Thursday with representatives of small- and medium-sized enterprises and industrialists, and to meet with representatives of GSEE -the country's largest trade union umbrella- on Monday. GSEE has said it would meet Labor minister on three preconditions: the government will not present a draft law during negotiations, ensuring there is enough time to have a complete dialogue and to expand talks with other issues of special interest to workers.

    [24] Shopkeepers hold protest rally outside Parliament over bill extending shop opening hours

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    A protest against a draft bill that will extend shop opening hours was held outside Parliament on Wednesday by shopkeepers and other owners of small and medium-sized businesses represented by the trade federation GSEBEE.

    According to protestors, the proposed bill will lead to an oligopoly of the market and the gradual closure of small businesses, while consumers will end up paying more, especially those outside large cities.

    They said that the main problem faced by markets was the restricted income of consumers and not a lack of hours in which to shop and urged the government to take steps to increase available income, "instead of giving consumers the convenience of touring the big supermarkets and major multinational chains on their weekends".

    [25] Unified consumption tax on oil will not burden households, ministers say

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Wednesday reiterated that government plans to unify special consumption taxes on heating and diesel oil would not burden Greek households.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with President of Republic Karolos Papoulias, Sioufas stressed that people should not worry and underlined that new regulations were aimed to effectively combat corruption in the fuel market. The Greek minister said the new system was honest and simple and reiterated that the government was examining ways to return money to the consumers.

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said the government would present, by the end of the month, a detailed plan to unify taxes on heating and diesel oil and ways to return taxes to consumers.

    Speaking to reporters, Alogoskoufis reiterated the government's will to effectively combat fuel smuggling and said the plan would not burden taxpayers.

    The Greek minister announced a media campaign aimed to better inform taxpayers over tax evasion.

    [26] Gov't stresses that changes to diesel oil tax will not burden public's pocket

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The government on Wednesday underlined that plans to unify consumption taxes on heating and diesel oil would not leave the public out of pocket and were a fundamental reform that sought to clamp down on corruption in fuel distribution circuits.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros warned against "cultivating phobic syndromes" and referred reporters to statements made by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on the measures, while stressing that the phenomenon of fuel-smuggling would be stopped "efficiently, using honest means that do not burden Greek citizens".

    "In any case, by implementing the measures, Greek society and the Greek economy will benefit. This circuit cannot continue to leech money that it is not entitled to have," he added.

    Asked whether the government had considered alternative methods of controlling fuel fraud, Antonaros said that inspections and other measures were seen as ineffective, pointing out that 2,500 officers were already being used to monitor and inspect the fuel trade without effect.

    Questioned about the government's decision to announce the planned measure before working out a system for tax rebates to households, the spokesman noted that this was still at the stage of discussion and consultation.

    In statements on Wednesday, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas reiterated that government plans for fuel taxes will not burden Greek households and that the government was examining ways to return money to the consumers.

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said that a detailed plan on unifying taxes and a rebate system for consumers will be presented by the end of this month.

    Main opposition against merger of diesel,

    heating oil tax: The main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Wednesday criticized the government's plan to merge taxes on diesel and heating oil.

    "The cost of cracking down on illegal trade in the sector should be paid by practitioners and whoever else breaks the law," PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said in a statement.

    "This is mandatory internal borrowing from consumers for the state budget," Athanassakis added.

    [27] Greece warned over EU legislation on biofuels

    BRUSSELS, 07/07/2005 (ANA/B.Demiris)

    The European Commission sent Greece a reasoned opinion on Wednesday regarding the latter's failure to implement European Union legislation on biofuels.

    Specifically, Greece failed to comply with EU Directive 2003/30/EC, according to which member states during 2004 had to transpose the directive; send the commission a national report with an indicative target for the share of the petrol and diesel market that will be taken by biofuels at the end of 2005; and explain any difference between this target and the 2% reference value defined in the directive.

    Greece was one among nine member states to receive a reasoned opinion on this issue - the final stage before a member state is referred to the European Court of Justice.

    The other recipients were Estonia, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and France.

    Speaking of the nine countries' failure to adopt EU legislation on biofuels, European Commissioner responsible for Energy Andris Piebalgs said: "This is particularly unfortunate since biofuels have an important role to play in European transport and energy policy as one of the few options available for replacing oil-based fuels."

    According to Peibalgs, biofuels "tackle climate change by avoiding emissions of greenhouse gases; they diversify Europe's sources of energy and reduce dependence on oil imports; and they offer new markets for European agriculture."

    Furthermore, according to the Commission, the target adopted by Greece - 0.7% - is not in compliance with the reference value of 2% set by the EU regarding the increase of biofuel use over the next five years through the implementation of a series of measures including tax incentives and subsidies to the manufacturing sector among others.

    Denmark (0%), Ireland (0.06%), Finland (0.1%), UK (0.3%), Hungary (0.4%-0.6%) and Poland (0.5%) have also failed to adopt targets in compliance with EU directive 2003/30/EC.

    [28] Victoria State Energy and Natural Resources Industries Minister discusses cooperation with deputy development minister

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Victoria State (Australia) Energy and Natural Resources Industries Minister Fanos Theofanous visited Deputy Development Minister George Salangoudis on Wednesday for talks on possibilities of strengthening cooperation between the two countries on energy issues.

    According to an announcement by the development ministry, Theofanous showed great interest in the utilization of lignite in the production of electric power, a sector to which the state of Victoria has given priority.

    An electric power production plant of a total capacity of 5 MW is already operating in Victoria on a trial basis, while the construction of another plant having a capacity of 100 MW has been scheduled over the next two years.

    The possibility of cooperation between the two sides in the construction of the new plant was examined during the talks since Greece has considerable experience in the production of electric power with lignite.

    Theofanous also invited the deputy development minister to visit the plant already operating.

    [29] Weaker euro boosts Eurozone corporate profits, NBG report

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    A weak euro is slowing down corporate profit growth rates in the Eurozone, a National Bank of Greece's report said on Wednesday.

    National Bank, in its monthly bulletin on the euro area, said that Eurozone's stock markets were performing better, recording a 9.0 percent increase so far this year, compared with US and Japan markets. This development puzzles analysts since a weak macro-economic environment in the Eurozone and rising international oil prices did not justify a positive trend in stock markets. However, a declining euro currency, down 11.0 percent against the US dollars in the last three months, and down 3.5 pct against a basket of other currencies.

    Current market valuations have integrated a positive impact of a lower euro exchange rate on Eurozone's corporate profits, with the majority of analysts expecting an 8.0 percent increase in corporate profits, by companies included in MSCI Eurozone index, up from a 5.7 percent earlier estimate three months ago.

    Corporate profits, by companies included in a Datastream index, jumped 16 percent in 2004, after a 4.5 percent drop in 2003, and were reporting a 22 percent increase so far this year. Improved profitability reflected an expanding profit margin by 1.2 percent last year, due to cost saving and productivity increase programs.

    NBG's report stressed that an expected slowing down of economic growth to 1.5 pct this year, from 1.8 pct in 2004, was counterbalanced by a 3.5 percent decline in the euro exchange rate in the first six months of 2005, with a lower euro rate impact expected to be felt mainly in the second and third quarters' profits.

    The report presented two scenarios for 2005. The first saw the euro falling to 1.15 US dollars by the end of 2005, or 6.2 pct down annually, with GDP rising by 1.5 pct and corporate profits up 13 percent. The second saw the euro rising to 1.30 US dollars, GDP at 1.2 pct and corporate profits rising by 10 percent annually.

    The report expects European stock markets to rise by 4-9 percent by the end of the year.

    [30] EU takes Greece to court for energy market breach

    BRUSSELS, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The European Union's executive Commission said on Wednesday that it would take Greece and four other countries to the Court of Justice for a failure to transpose the bloc's regulations on gas and electricity markets into national law.

    "This legislation is an essential step towards the completion of a truly competitive EU energy market and vital for the success of the Lisbon strategy", said Andris Piebalgs, the commissioner responsible for energy.

    This is the third stage in an infringement procedure after the Commission sent letters of formal notice in October 2004, the Commission said in a statement.

    The two energy directives have provided freedom of choice of supplier for industrial customers since July 1, 2004 and will offer this for domestic customers from July 1, 2007.

    The directives, which combine opening to competition with maintaining service quality, protection for vulnerable customers, and security of supply, will determine the shape of the EU energy market in the future and serve as a basis for the development of energy partnerships with the EU's neighbors, especially in the Western Balkans.

    [31] Athens mayor presents plan for redeveloping Votanikos, Alexandras Avenue

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni on Wednesday presented a plan for redeveloping and refurbishing the Votanikos area and Alexandras Avenue to Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, during a meeting at the finance ministry.

    Afterwards, Alogoskoufis said the plan will also solve the problem of the Panathinaikos stadium, which is to be constructed using the private/public sector joint venture model.

    The project will be the first to be carried out using the new legislative framework for joint ventures involving state and private-sector partners, to be established under a new bill that the government intends to table for discussion in Parliament this month.

    Apart from constructing a stadium for the Panathinaikos soccer team, the project will also set up infrastructure relating to the protection of the environment.

    Participants will be the Athens Municipality representing the public sector and the private construction companies that will carry out the project.

    [32] Chipita buys shares in east European subsidiary

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Chipita Participations SA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Athens-quoted Chipita SA, on Wednesday signed an agreement in Nicosia, Cyprus with two funds managed by Global Finance for the purchase of their holdings in Chipita East Europe Ltd.

    Purchased from the Black Sea Fund and the Euromerchant Balkan Fund, the stock amounts to 28.74% of Chipita East Europe's share capital, the parent company said in a statement.

    The purchase price for the stock was 25.66 million euros, the statement said.

    [33] Eurobank holds seminar on investing in Turkey

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    EFG Istanbul Securities SA, a Turkish subsidiary of Athens-quoted EFG Eurobank Ergasias, on Wednesday held a seminar in Athens for market players on investment opportunities in the neighboring country.

    Taking part were around 90 Greek corporate executives, institutional investors and market analysts.

    The deputy managing director of Eurobank, Nikos Karamouzis, said that investment opportunities existed in Turkey, although risk was involved.

    EFG Istanbul Securities ranks 15th among Turkey's 111 stock brokerages, holding a market share of 2.3%

    [34] Grecotel completes 30-mln-euro hotels investment

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The Daskalantonaki-Grecotel Group said on Wednesday that it had opened four hotel complexes, completing a 30-million-euro investment for 2005.

    The luxury hotels are located in Corfu, Kalamata, and the western coast of the Peloponnese, representing Greece's largest tourism investment, the company said in a statement.

    The five-star Grecotel Eva Palace in Corfu, which opens on July 8, is expected to attract visitors mainly from central Europe.

    [35] OTE publications subsidiary set up in Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 07/07/2005 (ANA/G Leonidas)

    Infote SA, a publications subsidiary of Athens-quoted OTE telecom, has launched operations in Cyprus.

    In 2006, the company is to issue the Nicosia Daily Yellow Pages, a telephone catalogue; and open a business directory enquiries line; senior executives told a news conference on Wednesday.

    Athens-based Infote specializes in printed and electronic telephone directories.

    [36] Intrakat expands in Armenia, Libya

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Athens-quoted Intrakat SA, a member of the Intracom Group, said on Wednesday that it had opened branches in Armenia and Libya as part of an expansion strategy abroad.

    The Yerevan-based branch will operate indefinitely, with the operation in Tripoli, Libya to remain open for five years, Intrakat said in a statement.

    [37] Traffic on Rio-Antirrio bridge to stop periodically as of Friday

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Traffic on the Rio-Antirrio bridge, joining the Peloponnese with central Greece, will be stopped as of Friday and until Wednesday July 13, for duration of 10 minutes between 6.30 and 8.30 in the morning.

    The stopping of traffic was considered necessary, according to an announcement by the "Gefyra SA" company, to enable the completion of the first stage of work to strengthen the bridge's lightning protection system.

    [38] Stocks rise in blue chip buying

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher with players buying into high-capitalization paper, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 3,102.19 points, marking a rise of 0.93%. Turnover was 188.7 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.99% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.24% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.46% up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 150 to 124 with 59 remaining unchanged.

    [39] UNICEF's international competition on repercussions of AIDS virus successfully concluded

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    UNICEF's international competition on the implementation of a worldwide campaign aimed at sensitizing the public on the repercussions of the deadly AIDs virus for children and young people in the poorest countries in the world has been successfully concluded.

    According to an announcement made at a downtown Athens hotel on Wednesday, participations in this campaign have reached 300 from 30 countries, while Greece made a good impression at creativity level and took second place regarding the number of participations, after Britain, with 34 participations.

    UNICEF, the organization "which is helping to create a world in which the rights of every child will be respected, is striving to prevent the spreading of the AIDS virus among young people and to enable children and families struck by the lethal virus to live with dignity," the announcement said.

    [40] Greek mobile medical unit in Kabul to become fully operational in August

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek Mobile Surgical Centre - Hospital, located at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan, will become fully operational in mid-August.

    It will be the second, largest military hospital in Afghanistan.

    The Centre, called "299 KIHNE," will be staffed with 30 doctors and nurses and 20 support staff.

    The Centre will operate for 18 months.

    [41] Journalists' unions cite lack of transparency and protection of employees' rights as key problems in mass media sector

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The Athens' Journalists Union (ESHEA) and the trade unions EPHEA and ETER with which it cooperates, held a press conference on Wednesday and cited a lack of transparency and a complete lack of protection of employees' rights as key problems currently facing the mass media industry.

    The press conference was held in light of the problems employees at various newspapers, radio and TV stations are facing, such as being owed salaries and their employers failing to make payments to their respective insurance funds.

    Nana Daoudaki, acting president of ESHEA, said that "ESHEA will not allow employees of the mass media industry to be held hostage in order to serve the interests of companies."

    She also said that a new problem which has recently surfaced is that of "invisible ownership" and implied that in some cases this may involve money laundering.

    EPHEA President Markos Ganas said that the work environment in the media industry is turning "from bad to unacceptable."

    Press conference speakers, including media employees, called on the government to monitor and ensure the implementation of collective labor agreements, the payment of wages and contributions to insurance funds.

    They also demanded that transparency prevail regarding media ownership.

    [42] International symposium on ancient Greek philosophy to be held on Samos, Lesvos and Megara

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The 5th International Symposium on Ancient Greek Philosophy will be held on the islands of Samos and the Turkish town of Efes on July 16-28, on the island of Lesvos on August 7-14 and in the town of Megara on August 21-27 this year, with the support of the finance, tourism, culture and Aegean ministries.

    The symposium is organized by the Institute of Philosophical Studies, headed by Apostolos Pieris, and participants will include 17 distinguished experts in the field from the United States, Britain, Germany, Russia, Italy, Switzerland, France and Israel.

    [43] Alexandros S. Onassis foundation proceeds with election of new directorate

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    The board of the Alexandros S. Onassis and the Alexandros S. Onassis Socially Beneficial foundations has proceeded with the election of a new directorate, following the withdrawal of Stylianos A. Papadimitriou, Pavlos I. Ioannidis and Apostolos G. Zambelas who remain lifelong members of the board of the two foundations, as dictated by the will of Aristotelis Onassis.

    The resignation was accepted by the board which awarded them the title of honorary president and of honorary vice presidents respectively.

    Unanimously elected by the board to succeed the outgoing directorate were Antonios S. Papadimitriou, as president and cashier, Ioannis P. Ioannidis, as vice president, and George A. Zambelas as secretary.

    [44] Guards block efforts of cannabis smuggler at Greek-Albanian border

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Border security guards at the Greek-Albanian border in the Ioannina Prefecture forced a smuggler to abandon 116 kilos of cannabis in his car on Wednesday.

    The guards pursued the smuggler when he refused to stop for inspection. He then abandoned the car, where guards found four bags of unprocessed cannabis.

    The suspect escaped arrest, but police said they know who he is. They did not make his identity public.

    [45] Athens Mayor congratulates London on winning Olympic bid

    Athens, 07/07/2005 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis sent a letter to London Mayor Ken Livingstone, congratulating him on London's victory in its bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.

    Along with her congratulatory remarks, Bakoyannis also expressed her willingness to share Athens' Olympic experience with London.

    "True to the Olympic Ideal, let's hope that these Games will also bring peoples from all over the world closer together in a spirit of peace and harmony, promoting the concept of fair competition and highlighting the strength of body and spirit," Bakoyannis wrote.

    Cyprus government denounces illegal settling of occupied areas NICOSIA,

    07/07/2005 (CNA)

    The Cyprus government is continuously making representations to international organizations as regards the ongoing illegal settling of Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Wednesday, adding that the number of

    settlers in the occupied areas has increased.

    Commenting on stories in the Turkish press saying that thousands of Turkish settlers-workers have left the occupied areas, Chrysostomides said that the press refrains from saying that during the past few days 25-30 thousand Turks from mainland Turkey came to the occupied areas and some of them are receiving ''residence permissions.''

    ''The 10,000 that have left, if this is the correct number, are expected to return with passports and take residence permissions. This is an additional number of Turks from mainland Turkey to the ones that already live in the occupied areas. That is the 25-30 thousand Turks and the 10,000 who left are additional to the already known number of settlers to occupied areas of Cyprus,'' he noted.

    The spokesman said that the government's representations as regards the illegal exploitation of properties, illegal settling etc are constant, adding that there is no practical way other than these representations to address the situation due to the Turkish occupation.

    Asked about the EU role in this issue, he said the EU could not oblige Turkey to implement its regulations, since Turkey was not an EU member state.

    ''The EU is annoyed by this but what can it do?'' he wondered, noting that ''Turkey is not an EU member sate but is responsible for Cyprus'

    occupied areas.''

    ''Which other measures can the EU take, other than urging and looking into this situation in the context of the deliberations as regards the negotiating framework or later after the beginning of the negotiations? What else can it do?'' he wondered.

    [46] Government to make utmost efforts for Turkish Cypriot missing

    NICOSIA, 07/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus Government has reassured a group of Turkish Cypriots over its firm position that the humanitarian issue of missing persons should be settled far from any political expediency.

    A group of Turkish Cypriot relatives of missing persons passed Wednesday morning to the government-controlled areas of the Republic in order

    to submit a letter of complaint to President Tassos Papadopoulos and Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou, regarding the absence of

    progress in efforts to solve the humanitarian issue.

    At the Presidential Palace, the group met with Director of the Diplomatic Office of the President Tasos Tzionis in the presence of the Greek Cypriot member of the Committee of Missing Persons, Elias Georgiades.

    Director of the President's Press Office Marios Karoyian said that during the meeting ''there were questions and answers and the whole discussion took place in a very friendly climate.''

    In their letters, the Turkish Cypriot relatives note that they gave blood two years ago to help the DNA process of identification of remains, but nothing happened since then.

    ''There has been a sincere exchange of views and we were given the opportunity to reiterate the will of the Cyprus government to make utmost efforts to face a problem that troubles all relatives, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, with special emphasis on the issue of the Turkish Cypriot missing persons,'' Karoyian said.

    President of the Turkish Cypriot foundation for human rights Emine Erk said that ''the relatives of the missing from the villages of Tohni and Peristerona have given two letters of complaints asking for details about the fate of their relatives.''

    Asked if she received any answers today, Erk said ''we had a long discussion.''

    [47] House President expresses Cypriots' hopes from British Presidency

    NICOSIA, 07/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias told new British High Commissioner in Nicosia Peter Millett on Wednesday that the Cyprus people look to the British EU Presidency to maintain a stance that will not create anti-British feelings.

    Speaking to the press after a meeting with the new High Commissioner, Christofias said that Millett told him that this is also his own goal. The House President added though that ''in diplomacy these statements must be interpreted into political action.''

    Referring to the meeting, Christofias said they discussed how they should build their relations and that he elaborated on the history of the Cyprus problem and Britain's role.

    ''I talked to the new High Commissioner very frankly and I expressed to him our views concerning Britain's policy historically, but mainly during this period that it presides'' over the EU, he said.

    He noted that they agreed to have frequent meetings and to elaborate on the Greek Cypriot positions on the Cyprus question.


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