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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-01

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

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

August 1, 2005

CONTENTS

  • [01] Paradox must eclipse, Greece warns after Turkey signs extension of customs union with EU to new members without recognizing Republic of Cyprus
  • [02] Greece concludes presidency of UN Security Council for July, praised as "constructive" by UN circles
  • [03] ND MEP questions Commission over Greek minority's property rights, schools in Turkey
  • [04] Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis underlines concern over spread of international terror
  • [05] Greek tourists visiting Turkey rose by 40 percent this year, Greek and Turkish tourism ministers note after meeting in Istanbul
  • [06] Goods, liquid fuel transport trucks call indefinite strike as of August 1
  • [07] Fire at Aghioi Theodoroi, Corinth partially under control
  • [08] Greek water polo team finishes third in world championship

  • [01] Paradox must eclipse, Greece warns after Turkey signs extension of customs union with EU to new members without recognizing Republic of Cyprus

    Athens, 1/8/2005 (ANA)

    Greece on Saturday warned that the paradox regarding Turkey's policy on EU member Cyprus must eclipse, while the British EU presidency reiterated that the 25-nation block recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus as a subject of international law, after Ankara late Friday night signed a Protocol extending its EU customs union Agreement to the Union's 10 new members, including Cyprus, but simultaneously issued a unilateral declaration reaffirming its policy of not recognizing the internationally-acknowledged Republic of Cyprus.

    The EU and the international community recognize the Greek Cypriot government of the Republic of Cyprus as the sole legitimate authority on the divided Mediterranean island, the northern part of which is under Turkish occupation.

    "With its unilateral statement -- which it unfortunately deemed it needed to make -- Turkey appears to persist in the dead-end proliferation of a political and legal paradox. It persists, in other words, on its non-recognition of a European Union member state, at a time indeed when the commencement of negotiations was awaited for the purpose of its own accession to the EU.

    This paradox must eclipse. The sooner the better. The signing of the Protocol must comprise a substantive step towards normalization of Turkey's relations with the Republic of Cyprus," Greece's foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said in a statement released in Athens on Saturday.

    The British EU presidency statement noted that the Union recognized only the Republic of Cyprus as a subject of international law, and said that the Council of the European Union "will examine the terms of the Turkish declaration in due course with a view to agreeing any further EU response".

    In Nicosia, the government of the Republic of Cyprus expressed "deep regret" over Turkey's unilateral declaration issued in tandem with its signing of the Protocol, in a statement issued by government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides, and called on Turkey to abide by the principles on which the EU is founded.

    Greek foreign ministry spokesman's statement: "With the signing of the 'Ankara Agreement Protocol', Turkey proceeded to typical fulfillment of the obligation it undertook last December towards the European Union as a whole, and each member state separately -- and consequently towards the Republic of Cyprus, with whatever that entails," Koumoutsakos said in his statement.

    "At the same time, however, with its unilateral declaration -- which it unfortunately deemed it should make -- Turkey appears to persist in the dead-end policy of a political and legal paradox. It persists, in other words, on non-recognition of a member state of the European Union, at a time indeed when the commencement of negotiations is awaited for the purpose of its own accession to the EU," the Greek foreign ministry spokesman's statement said.

    "This paradox must eclipse. The sooner the better. The signing of the Protocol must comprise a substantive step towards normalization of Turkey's relations with the Republic of Cyprus," the statement continued.

    "As always, we (the Greek government) are in constant contact and cooperation with the government of Cyprus," Koumoutsakos' statement said, adding that "the Foreign Ministry is examining with due circumspection all the aspects of the Turkish declaration. The Greek position will be put forward in the framework of the (EU) Council of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) that is being convened for this purpose towards the end of August, and which will unanimously take its relevant decisions".

    British EU presidency statement: "The Presidency welcomes Turkey's signature earlier today of the Ankara Agreement Protocol in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council of December 2004.

    "It also notes that Turkey has issued a declaration reaffirming, for its part, its long-standing policy on Cyprus. The Presidency recalls that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus signed the Accession Treaty on 16 April 2003 and the Republic of Cyprus became a Member State of the European Union on 1 May 2004, and that the established position of the European Union is that it recognizes the Republic of Cyprus, only, as a subject of international law.

    "The Presidency welcomes Turkey's continuing commitment, in its declaration, to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. The Presidency agrees that a just and lasting settlement, in line with the principles on which the Union is founded, will contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region.

    "The Council of the European Union will examine the terms of the Turkish declaration in due course with a view to agreeing any further EU response."

    Statement by Cyprus government spokesman: The Government of the Republic of Cyprus has expressed ''deep regret'' over the issue by Turkey of a unilateral declaration on Cyprus, at the time of its signature of the adaptation protocol to the Ankara Agreement of 1963, extending its customs union with the EU to the ten new member states, including the Cyprus Republic.

    Cyprus government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides, in a written statement, said the content of the Turkish declaration, stating that Ankara does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, would be examined thoroughly in order to assess ''especially whether it puts into question the validity of the signature of the Protocol itself".

    The Government, he added, would then officially present its position to the Council of the European Union, ''which is expected to react accordingly, establishing, inter alia, whether the specific precondition set by the European Council in December 2004 for the opening of accession negotiations has been properly fulfilled".

    The spokesman said it was ''regrettable, nevertheless, that a candidate for accession declares that it does not recognize one of the member states of the Union it wishes to join".

    This institutional paradox, he underlined, cannot be sustained, especially in view of the expected opening of accession negotiations between Turkey and ''the Union of the 25".

    Chrysostomides called on Turkey to abide by the principles upon which the EU is founded and to embark on a process of speedy normalization of its relations with the Republic of Cyprus, ''in line with the principle of equal treatment of all member states of the Union.''

    Coalition (Synaspismos) party stresses concern over way Turkey signed customs union: The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party voiced concerns in an announcement on Sunday over the manner in which Turkey signed a protocol extending customs union to the 10 new member-states of the European Union, including Cyprus. At the same time, Turkey issued a unilateral statement, in which it reaffirmed its policy of not recognizing the Cyprus Republic.

    "This does not constitute fully conforming to the European acquis but its violation," the party said, noting that it was worrying that this had occurred with the support of the current British presidency of the Community.

    The party stressed that Turkey's EU accession course would not be seen to operate as an "automatic pilot" for the solution of the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish problems.

    "There is thus no excuse for complacency, or letting up efforts or an absence of initiative on a political and diplomatic level. The Greek government must undertake its responsibilities. The main issue is to re-launch negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus issue within the framework of the United Nations and based on its decisions. And Greece's participation in the UN Security Council must be exploited in this direction," the announcement concluded.

    [02] Greece concludes presidency of UN Security Council for July, praised as "constructive" by UN circles

    NEW YORK 1/8/2005 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greece, which has been elected to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the two-year term 2005-2006, wound up its presidency of the Security Council for the month of July, which diplomatic circles at the UN praised as being "constructive".

    The final Security Council session for the month of July was held on Friday, ahead of Japan's formal assumption of the post on Monday for the month of August.

    During its last July session, the Security Council, chaired by Greece's permanent ambassador to the UN Adamantios Vassilakis, the Council adopted four resolutions concerning renewal of the mandates for the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and Georgia (UNOMIG), renewal of the sanctions imposed by Committee 1267 on the Al Qaida organization, and extension of the sanctions on the Republic of Congo.

    Replying to press questions after the session, and asked about the "importance of reinforcing Committee 1267" -- the Security Council committee established to Resolution 1267 of 1999 "concerning Al Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities" -- to enable it to have better access to Al Qaida and Taliban resources, Vassilakis pointed out that the new decision was the Security Council's unanimity in continuing to confront terrorist actions, adding that the decision would spur the members to continue their efforts to combat terrorism.

    In a unanimous resolution on Friday (1617/2005), the Security Council renewed the existing sanctions on Al Qaida, Osama bin-Laden, the Taliban and all other associated individuals and entities for a further 17 months.

    The Resolution calls on all the member countries to continue to implement the measures contained in the earlier relevant Security Council resolutions, including a freeze on the assets of the above, the trade ban and the arms embargo.

    [03] ND MEP questions Commission over Greek minority's property rights, schools in Turkey

    Athens, 1/8/2005 (ANA)

    New Democracy MEP Antonis Samaras, a former party leader, has asked the European Commission what actions it intends to take to stop Turkey's General Vakuf Directorate from selling property that belongs to the Greek minority in Turkey and how it intends to safeguard the property rights of minorities in Turkey, given that present laws allowed transgressions to continue.

    In a question put to the Commission this week, Samaras said that Turkey's Vakuf directorate was continuing to sell off whatever property of the Greek minority still remained, even though the Greek minority in Istanbul and the Ecumenical Patriarchate were hoping that Turkish authorities would begin to return property taken in systematic land-grabbing since 1923.

    According to Samaras, the Vakuf directorate has in past weeks been trying to complete the takeover of a school belonging to the Aghios Georgios Antifonitis Community, which was part of the charitable Institution Vakuf of Panaghia of Mouchliou of Fanar, as well as two properties belonging to the charitable institution Vakuf Baloukli.

    Another issue raised by Samaras was that of Greek minority schools, where he pointed out that Turkish policy prevented Greek citizens - who are also EU citizens - from sending their children to Greek expatriate schools because Turkish authorities refused to issue the necessary license.

    Samaras asked if the Commission had raised or intended to raise this issue in the context of EU-Turkish accession negotiations and what measures it intended to take to make Turkey stop this particular practice, which he said prevented EU citizens from freely establishing themselves and working in Turkey.

    [04] Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis underlines concern over spread of international terror

    Athens, 1/8/2005 (ANA)

    Greece's "national composer" Mikis Theodorakis underlined his concern over the spreading phenomenon of terrorism and suicide bombers, during a press conference given in Hania on Sunday on the sidelines of an international conference.

    "It is with great concern that we see that humanity, instead of moving toward peace and prosperity and correcting the mistakes of the rich toward the poor peoples - in African and South Asia where the biggest wrongs are - is instead moving to an escalation of warfare and other similar losses and actions," he said.

    According to Theodorakis the "three major wounds" of the world at present were the Palestinian problem, Iraq and ever-increasing suicide bomb attacks that appeared to be spreading.

    "This situation has to end. And in order for it to end, we must go back and look at things all over again, since the end of the World War. We have to see, in fact, that every country must confine itself to its own borders. The strong countries can prevail but using economic means, cultural means, human means but not war. The use of force must once again be forbidden," he stressed.

    He said that the United Nations should become more active and take decisions, so as to stop the escalation of violence.

    Theodorakis also noted that many ordinary Europeans had been strongly opposed to the war in Iraq when it began but gave up when they found themselves ignored by their leaders.

    "America believes that with this terrible power that it has that by imposing violence somewhere it will make humanity quiet and that others will not be able to react. Today there is this reaction with people who commit suicide. Tomorrow it will be something else," the composer said.

    Theodorakis also referred to relations between Greece and Turkey, saying that the two neighbors would have decided whether they would live with each other or against each other.

    He called for a stop to armaments procurements in both countries, pointing out that these drained resources and kept the two countries back.

    "As a Greek, I feel the injustice that is taking place in my country, see that first among the 15 and now the 25 EU states it is last in development. Without arms programs, my country would be in the top positions," he said.

    [05] Greek tourists visiting Turkey rose by 40 percent this year, Greek and Turkish tourism ministers note after meeting in Istanbul

    ISTANBUL 1/8/2005 (ANA/A. Kourkoulas)

    The number of Greek tourists who have visited Turkey jumped by 40 percent this year, Turkey's culture and tourism minister Attila Koc and Greece's visiting tourism development minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said Saturday in Istanbul, after a meeting on the sidelines of an event organized by the Turkish Touristic Hotels and Investors Association (TUROB).

    The two ministers, speaking to the press, stated their desire for investments in the tourism sector, and stressed that the two peoples "are not only friends, they are not only trade partners, but they have shared a common history and common fate".

    Avramopoulos said that tourism would help the two peoples to get to know each other better. "We do not consider tourism as only a commercial activity, but also an activity that provides an opportunity for the two peoples to get to know each other better. There is no geographical distance between Turkey and Greece, only a psychological distance. We do not consider Turkey an opponent in the sector of tourism, but a partner and friend," the Greek minister said.

    Koc, in turn, noted that since 2002 to the present, a total of 25 protocols and agreements have been signed (for cooperation in the tourism sector).

    The meeting was also attended by Turkish local government authorities and president of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO, or EOT) Aristides Kalogeropoulos.

    [06] Goods, liquid fuel transport trucks call indefinite strike as of August 1

    Athens, 1/8/2005 (ANA)

    The owners of private lorries transporting goods, refrigerated trucks carrying out domestic and international transports, and liquid fuel tanker trucks on Saturday announced they have called an indefinite strike beginning on Monday, August 1.

    An announcement by the Central Coordinating Committee of the Cooperating Federations of the public use trucks issued Saturday said that the strike had been planned to take place, and the final decision was taken during a meeting of the Committee earlier in the day, after it was ascertained that employment minister Panos Panayiotopoulos refused to sign a transportation and communications ministry draft law.

    [07] Fire at Aghioi Theodoroi, Corinth partially under control

    Athens, 1/8/2005 (ANA)

    A fire that broke out near the national highway at Agioi Theodoroi in Corinth - which at some point had threatened to burn down homes in the village of Leontari - was partially under control on Sunday night, fire-fighters said.

    The flames actually passed through the gardens and yards of three houses in the village but no damage was reported. It also inflicted relatively limited damage to the woodland where it initially broke out, due to a prompt response by the fire department.

    A force of 120 firemen, 40 fire-engines and another 100 fire-fighters on foot, as well as eight fire-fighting airplanes and six helicopters, are currently taking part in the fire-fighting operation. An investigation into the causes of the fire will be conducted by the fire department's arson investigation force.

    Fire in forest ravine near Ano Glyfada reported under control: A fire broke out in the early afternoon Saturday in a forest expanse near the Athens coastal suburb of Ano Glyfada, but firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control two hours later.

    A team of 30 firefighters with 10 fire engines and a 40-man-strong team of the EMAK emergency operations unit managed to bring the blaze under control after battling the flames for two hours, assisted by four firefighting planes and two helicopters.

    Fire on Zakynthos partially under control: A fire that broke out on Mount Skopos on the Ionian island of Zakynthos is now partially under control, the fire department reported on Sunday.

    The fire broke out late on Saturday in scrubland but was hard to put out because the area was highly inaccessible to fire-fighting forces on foot.

    With the assistance of two aircraft and a helicopter that joined the fire-fighting effort at dawn, the fire was placed under partial control.

    [08] Greek water polo team finishes third in world championship

    Athens, 1/8/2005 (ANA)

    Greece's men's team in water polo finished third in the world championship on Saturday to win the highest place in the history of the Greek national team in the sport. Serbia finished in first place and Hungary in second.

    The match against Croatia for third place was won by a single goal, shot by Georgos Afroudakis during overtime, 11 minutes before the end of the game. The goal that tied the score and sent the two teams into overtime was shot by Christos Afroudakis, nine minutes before the final whistle.


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