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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-19

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

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

August 19, 2005

CONTENTS

  • [01] Karamanlis, Papadopoulos discuss latest Cyprus developments, airliner tragedy
  • [02] Main opposition leader and Cypriot president discuss Turkey's EU accession, plane crash investigation
  • [03] Cypriot president meets KKE spokesman, SYN leader
  • [04] Passengers of Cypriot plane still alive until crash, according to coroners
  • [05] US President expresses condolences to PM Karamanlis over Cypriot jetliner crash
  • [06] Ecumenical Patriarch and Patriarch of Alexandria send condolences over Cypriot plane crash
  • [07] ND secretaries consider strategy ahead of TIF, central committee meeting
  • [08] Gov't sees inflation running above 3.5% in August
  • [09] Gov't to lower tax brackets in 2007
  • [10] Stocks rise in brisk buying
  • [11] University entry-exam results to be released by August 25
  • [12] Kastoria police close to disbanding drug smuggling ring after arresting two suspects
  • [13] Afghan illegals arrested on Samos
  • [14] President Papadopoulos returns from Athens
  • [15] Bush sends a message of condolences to President Papadopoulos

  • [01] Karamanlis, Papadopoulos discuss latest Cyprus developments, airliner tragedy

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis received visiting Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on Thursday for a previously scheduled meeting to focus on the latest developments concerning the Cyprus issue that, however, was partially overshadowed by last Sunday's puzzling crash of a Cypriot airliner north of Athens.

    Athens and Nicosia's common stance vis-a-vis EU hopeful Turkey's standing refusal to recognize the island republic and EU member-state, even as Ankara extended a customs union protocol with the 10 new EU members, was initially the main item on an agenda of talks between the Greek and Cypriot leaderships.

    "Our strategic choices are well known and remain steadfast, because we believe that they serve our interests and also fulfill the wishes of our people for peace and stability in the region," Karamanlis said afterwards.

    Furthermore, the Greek premier stressed that Athens and Nicosia's next moves will take place within the "European Union's relevant organs", before referring to an upcoming COREPER (Permanent Representatives Committee) session and an informal council of EU foreign ministers.

    On his part, Papadopoulos stressed that "we have established our strategy and approach ... our position, namely, of working within the EU framework to achieve the best possible (results) for the promotion of a Cyprus solution and dealing whatever problems arise, is unchanged."

    Airliner tragedy: Karamanlis, meanwhile, again expressed the Greek people's condolences and solidarity over the downing of a Helios Airways airliner on Sunday, which claimed the lives of 121 passengers and crewmembers.

    Moreover, he reiterated Athens' volition to pinpoint the causes of the accident.

    "An investigation is moving quickly. Both governments will continue to work closely together, this is the least we can do as part of our obligation towards the victims and their families," Karamanlis emphasized.

    Papadopoulos again thanked Athens for its support and immediate response, while praising the treatment Greek authorities afforded the families of the victims.

    Both delegations later attended a working lunch.

    President Papoulias meets with Cypriot president: President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos met with President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Thursday to discuss developments regarding the Cyprus issue and Turkey's European Union accession negotiations.

    Upon receiving Papadopoulos, Papoulias expressed his sympathy again for the 121 people who were killed in a Cypriot jetliner crash near Athens on Sunday.

    Papoulias also made reference to the national challenges that lay ahead for Cyprus.

    Papadopoulos began his two-day working visit to Athens on Wednesday.

    [02] Main opposition leader and Cypriot president discuss Turkey's EU accession, plane crash investigation

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou and President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos discussed the negotiation framework surrounding Turkey's European Union accession and the investigation into the plane crash that killed all 121 people on board during their meeting on Thursday.

    "We had always supported Turkey's EU accession. The difference between us and the New Democracy government, is that we had set out a specific framework with rules and goals - a Road Map - that promoted our interests as well as the interests of Cyprus and solutions within the context of international law and acquis communautaire," Papandreou said.

    He said that the New Democracy government had missed the opportunity to contribute to the formulation of a new Turkey-EU framework in December 2004.

    The main opposition leader also referred to comments made by French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin who has urged Turkey to recognize the Republic of Cyprus.

    Papandreou said that PASOK had also presented Turkey's recognition of Cyprus as a condition when in office, but it was an issue the current government had failed to promote.

    He cited the period shortly before October 3, when Turkey's EU accession talks are scheduled to begin, as the next opportunity the Greek government cannot afford to miss. At that time, the EU will respond to Turkey's refusal to recognize Cyprus despite signing a protocol that extends its EU customs union agreement to the 10 new member states and a new negotiation framework for Turkey will be created outlining specific terms, deadlines and objectives.

    According to Papandreou, this new framework will provide new prospects and solutions for the Cyprus issue and will contribute to the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations.

    Asked about the possibility of vetoing Turkey's accession negotiations, Papandreou replied: "We discussed all options. I think that all options should remain open.(...)"

    As for Sunday's crash of Helios Airways flight ZU 522 in northeast Attica, Papandreou once again expressed his condolences to the Cypriot president and emphasized the need to hold accountable those responsible for the accident.

    He said that it was absolutely necessary for the victims' families as well as for the reputation of Greece and Cyprus that the investigation into the crash conclude as soon as possible, revealing the causes of the accident.

    Gov't criticizes Papandreou comments over policy on Cyprus, relations with Ankara: The government on Thursday sharply criticized earlier statements by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, made following the latter's meeting in Athens with visiting Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, comments aimed at the government's policy vis-a-vis the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations.

    "At the very moment that Athens and Nicosia are facing current developments with unanimity, cooperation and seriousness, Mr. Papandreou is selecting the path of petty politics for clearly partisan reasons," government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said, adding:

    "It is clear that he will walk down this path alone."

    [03] Cypriot president meets KKE spokesman, SYN leader

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos and Parliamentary Spokesman of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Orestis Kolozov discussed the ongoing investigation surrounding the recent Cypriot jetliner crash and the Cyprus issue during their meeting in Athens on Thursday.

    Kolozov expressed his party's condolences once again over the death of all 121 people on board the Helios Airways Boeing 737 to Papadopoulos and emphasized that KKE would make every effort to contribute to the investigation.

    "We also had the chance to exchange certain views regarding the Cyprus issue and related developments," Kolozov said after the meeting, adding that "we confirmed once again our party's solidarity towards the people of Cyprus and KKE's determination to contribute - as much as possible - to a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem."

    Kolozov met with Papadopoulos on behalf of KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga who is on an official visit abroad.

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos on Thursday afternoon met with visiting President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos to whom he expressed his deep sorrow over the fatal crash of a Cypriot plane which fell north of Athens on Sunday. All 121 passengers and crew of the plane, belonging to the Cypriot private airline company "Helios", were killed.

    Alavanos expressed the hope that "all the necessary measures will be taken so that in the whole of the European Union the main priority will be the security of passengers and not the survival of various private companies which profiteer at the expense of passengers."

    He added that "we are very concerned about the people with low incomes, for the students who are obliged to seek cheap tickets and we want them to have complete security."

    President Papadopoulos and the Synaspismos leader also discussed Turkey's European prospects in light of the particularly important discussions which will be held in the European Union, the first on a level of Permanent Representatives of the member-states and the second later at the informal foreign ministers Council.

    Alavanos said that his party was in favor of Turkey's accession to the EU, however, under self-evident prerequisites, that is, complete democratization, a solution to the Cyprus issue and of Greek-Turkish differences and the confrontation of economic matters which will be created in all the countries in the event that the neighboring country accedes to the EU.

    The aim, Alavanos said, is to secure at the forthcoming EU meetings that Ankara's declaration not to recognize the Cyprus Republic as "legally non-existent".

    [04] Passengers of Cypriot plane still alive until crash, according to coroners

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    Coroners have so far examined sixty-five of the 118 bodies which were on board the ill-fated Cypriot Boeing 737 plane which crashed north of Athens on Sunday. They all ascertained that the lethal injuries occurred when they were still alive. This means that during the plane's crash, the 65 were alive but this does not mean that they were conscious.

    As the coroners explained, it is possible that they were fully conscious, but there is the possibility that some or all had fainted.

    The first results of the toxic tests will come out on Friday and it will be ascertained whether the passengers of the plane had inhaled toxic or poisonous gases from which they fainted.

    Authorities are still searching to find the bodies of two more passengers and of the German pilot.

    According to an ANA dispatch from Cyprus, the German pilot of the plane belonging to the Cypriot private company "Helios", had briefed the company shortly after taking off from Larnaca that he had a freezing problem with the computers of the cockpit which led to the overheating of the computers.

    According to the "Phileleftheros" newspaper, the overheating knocked out the plane's electronic systems and resulted in its final crash. Communication ceased 20 minutes after takeoff.

    [05] US President expresses condolences to PM Karamanlis over Cypriot jetliner crash

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    US President George W. Bush sent a telegram to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday expressing his condolences over the Cypriot jetliner crash that killed all 121 people on board.

    Aside from expressing his condolences to the Cypriot and Greek peoples and the victims' families, Bush also praised the Hellenic Air Force's response to the crisis by promptly sending two F-16 fighter jets to escort the plane after failed attempts at establishing radio contact.

    Additionally, he commended Greek firefighters and rescue teams who sped to the crash site.

    Bush also made reference to American transport security experts who are currently in Athens in order to assist in the related investigation still under way.

    In closing, he said that Cypriots and Greeks are in the thoughts and prayers of the American people.

    [06] Ecumenical Patriarch and Patriarch of Alexandria send condolences over Cypriot plane crash

    NICOSIA 19/8/2005 (ANA/A. Viketos)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, in a letter to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, expressed his deep sorrow to the relatives and to the whole of the Cypriot people over the Cypriot plane crash north of Athens on Sunday which killed all 121 passengers and crew on board.

    Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros II also sent messages of condolences to President Papadopoulos and to Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos.

    [07] ND secretaries consider strategy ahead of TIF, central committee meeting

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    Ruling New Democracy party secretaries met on Thursday ahead of an upcoming central committee meeting, with talks focusing on the government's high-profile reforms program and the party's presence at next month's Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    According to reports, ND's cadres agreed over a proposal to elect mayors, prefects and councilors in the first election round (with 41 or 42 percent), pointing to the electoral system employed in general elections.

    Party secretaries also touched on the issue of the ND-affiliated DAKE grouping participating in mobilizations during the prime minister's visit to TIF, with members stressing that DAKE will support unions' demands but not anti-government rallies.

    ND secretary Vangelis Meimarakis chaired the meeting.

    [08] Gov't sees inflation running above 3.5% in August

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    The consumer price index (CPI) in August 2005 is likely to top 3.5% against 3.9% in July, based on the month's data so far, the National Statistical Service of Greece said on Thursday.

    The CPI is expected to maintain high levels in coming months due to high oil prices, the NSSG said.

    Analysts are forecasting that global oil prices will exceed 63 US dollars a barrel from earlier predictions of 50 dollars.

    The NSSG has said it will release August inflation data on September 7, earlier than September 9 as originally announced.

    [09] Gov't to lower tax brackets in 2007

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Thursday that the government would lower tax brackets for the public in 2007.

    Alogoskoufis was speaking ahead of the prime minister's annual economic policy speech in Thessaloniki next month.

    He added that improvement of the ministry's computer system had meant that for the first time integrated cross-checks were effected on tax returns, revealing discrepancies in 274,992 declarations.

    [10] Stocks rise in brisk buying

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher with players buying briskly across the board, taking the market above 3,000 points, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 3,304.83 points, marking a rise of 0.81%. Turnover was 158.8 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.67% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.67% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.97% up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 172 to 79 with 74 remaining unchanged.

    [11] University entry-exam results to be released by August 25

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    Entry-exam results for universities (AEI) and technical colleges (TEI) will be released no later than August 25, Education Minister Marietta Giannakou said after her two-hour meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday.

    Giannakou said that she discussed all issues related to the new school year with the premier.

    Asked about the ministry's budget, Giannakou said that she has asked for a 22% increase compared with 2004 but emphasized that it will depend on the overall budget and the finance ministry's forecasts.

    The main priority at this time, she said, was supporting the country's economy.

    [12] Kastoria police close to disbanding drug smuggling ring after arresting two suspects

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    The arrest of two suspects in possession of more than 6 kilos of heroine in northwestern Greece may be a lead to a drug smuggling ring, Kastoria police said on Thursday.

    The two Albanian suspects were arrested near the village of Pentavrysso when border patrol guards discovered 6 kilos and 260 grams of heroine in their duffel bag.

    When questioned, the two suspects said that an Albanian national had provided them with the drugs in Korce which they were meant to turn over to a Greek, who they did not name.

    Police believe the two are members of a larger operation responsible for smuggling drugs from Albania into Greece.

    [13] Afghan illegals arrested on Samos

    Athens, 19/8/2005 (ANA)

    Fourteen Afghan illegal immigrants, among them three children and two women, were intercepted on the eastern Aegean island of Samos Thursday morning.

    According to local authorities, the illegals were probably ferried onto the island from the nearby Asia Minor coast by Turkish migrant smugglers, while discounting statements from the illegals that they used plastic dinghies.

    [14] President Papadopoulos returns from Athens

    LARNACA 19/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    The quality and credibility of the investigation into the cause of the Helios Airways plane crash, near Athens on Sunday, that killed all 121 persons on board, is not going to be sacrificed to gain time, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said.

    Speaking Thursday evening at Larnaca Airport upon his return from Athens where he was briefed by the government on the course of the investigation and had meetings with the Greek political leadership on the Cyprus problem, Papadopoulos ex-pressed satisfaction over the mobilization of the Greek authorities noting their valuable work from the first moment of the air crash until now.

    He also said that the Greek experts assisted by US colleagues and Boeing experts as well as other services dealing with the air crash have strict orders for a full investigation the soonest possible.

    ''Such kind of investigations are complicated and need time'', President Papadopoulos stressed. He also said that Cyprus has a lot of experience on DNA identification and if necessary additional staff will be sent to Greece for help.

    Responding to questions President Papadopoulos said that he had the opportunity to read the dialogue between the two F16 pilots and the Civil Aviation headquarters noting that the ''description was shocking''.

    He concluded that it does not reveal anything which is not already known.

    [15] Bush sends a message of condolences to President Papadopoulos

    NICOSIA 19/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    President of the United States George Bush has sent a message of condolences to the Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos for Sunday's air crash that resulted in the death of 121 people.

    ''Laura and I send our deepest condolences to you, the Cypriot and Greek people, and the loved ones of the victims of Helios Airlines Flight 522'', Bush said.

    ''In this time of national mourning, the Cypriot and Greek people are in the thoughts and prayers of the American people'', he noted.

    ''We also stand ready to offer assistance that you may seek,'' the US President concluded.


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