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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-09-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

September 7, 2005


  • [01] Italian FM Fini says extra conditions for Ankara a 'mistake', calls on Turkey to recognize Cyprus
  • [02] Visiting State Dep't official thanks Greece for offer of assistance to hurricane-devastated region, no Greek victims reported
  • [03] Greek Communist Party expresses sympathy for victims of Hurricane Katrina
  • [04] Inner Cabinet focuses on public domain draft bill
  • [05] Greek gov't seeks ways to support weaker social groups
  • [06] Gov't on economic policy, fixed odds pool for football matches
  • [07] Government condemns reported neo-Nazi event, says rumors unconfirmed
  • [08] Cultural ties between Greece and France tighter, Deputy Culture Minister says
  • [09] PASOK President meets with MPs from Central Macedonia, prepares agenda ahead of TIF
  • [10] OA employee groups to rally in Thessaloniki ahead of Commission decision
  • [11] SYN supports local authorities' demands
  • [12] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos refers to tragic September 1955 events in Istanbul in address to pilgrims
  • [13] ESR to focus on programming, council president says
  • [14] Kremlin decorates Mount Athos monk Jeremiah
  • [15] Thessaloniki International Fair expects record number of visitors
  • [16] No decision taken on objective real estate values, finance ministry announcement says
  • [17] Greece named featured country at Cairo's 2006 tourism trade fair
  • [18] Gov't tables bill adopting revised European Patent Convention
  • [19] Greek tourism needs more improvement, tourist enterprises say
  • [20] Gov't approves private commercial use of tourism facilities
  • [21] Greek-Turkish trade continues to grow, Turkish envoy notes
  • [22] Greek bourse recovers on blue chip buying
  • [23] Archangelos 2005 international air show in mid-September
  • [24] 19th century church in Halkidiki burns down
  • [25] WWF Hellas and EFG Eurobank present program for the conservation of Parnitha's forest
  • [26] CEDEFOP to hold seminar to mark 30th anniversary since its foundation
  • [27] Britain must stick to EU principles, says Cyprus Spokesman

  • [01] Italian FM Fini says extra conditions for Ankara a 'mistake', calls on Turkey to recognize Cyprus

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini on Tuesday stressed that it would be a mistake for the European Union to tack on additional conditions for beginning accession talks with EU hopeful Turkey, although he unequivocally called on Ankara to recognize the Republic of Cyprus.

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had earlier received the visiting Italian deputy premier and foreign minister during separate meetings.

    Fini's comments came after a meeting with his counterpart, Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, as talks expectedly focused on last week's "counter-statement" - unveiled by the British EU presidency - to offset Ankara's declaration in late July. The Turkish government stated that it will not recognize EU member-state Cyprus until a solution to the Cyprus problem is attained.

    Turkey's diplomatic gambit was attached to an extension of a customs union protocol signed by the Ankara government to extend the pact with the EU's 10 new members, a group that includes Cyprus.

    "The European Council last December ascertained that Turkey fulfilled all of the conditions set out for it," Fini said, adding: "Turkey must at the same time bear in mind that there are issues that it cannot continuously leave for the future."

    Moreover, the Italian official praised Athens for what he called "its wise, intelligent, correct and very courageous" stance vis-a-vis Turkey's accession negotiations, while at the same time expressing a hope that such accession talks begin as scheduled on Oct. 3.

    "Ankara must also solve the major issues pending, such as recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, during the lengthy period that they (negotiations) will take," Fini nevertheless emphasized.

    On his part, Molyviatis expressed Athens' satisfaction with Tuesday's talks and confirmed the excellent state of relations between Greece and Italy, both on the bilateral level and within various international fora.

    The Greek FM noted that EU expansion, the Union's fiscal prospects as well as EU-Turkey relations were among the items on the agenda of talks, whereas both sides held converging views on a variety of issues.

    The situation in the Middle East and southeast Europe, in general, was also discussed, Molyviatis said, before stressing that joint efforts are necessary to ensure peace, democracy and stability in the wider region.

    "The catalyst for achieving all these goals is none other than the European prospect of all our neighbors," the Greek FM added.

    Balkans: Regarding the situation in the Balkans, Fini initially referred to a "cloudy" situation in the region, before however, citing what he termed "significant steps" and initiatives by Rome and Athens towards rapprochement between Balkan countries and Europe.

    "If we want to give an European prospect to these countries we must first provide them with a European vision, as the path (towards Europe) will be long and difficult, but it can only be towards one direction: Europe," he stressed.

    Moreover, the deputy Italian premier said Greek-Italian relations were excellent, while focusing especially on robust trade and economic ties. He added that Rome's interest in upgrading bilateral relations also stems from the outstanding international image conveyed by Athens and the entire country during the successful hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games.

    The Italian minister said that while Olympic expenditures were surely high, the medium- and long-term investment entailed was quite momentous.

    In terms of combating illegal immigration, Fini said both Italy and Greece are "Europeans on the borders", a fact that forces Athens and Rome to turn the EU's attention to the Mediterranean.

    Furthermore, he again praised Greek-Italian cooperation in the fight to curb illegal immigration.

    "...if we want to deal with terrorism, we must absolutely avoid a clash between religions and civilizations," he noted.

    PASOK leader meets visiting U.S. official, Italian foreign minister: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou had successive meetings with visiting US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Matthew Bryza and Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini at his party's offices in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

    No statements were made after the two meetings, which were also attended by the U.S. and Italian ambassadors in Athens, respectively.

    [02] Visiting State Dep't official thanks Greece for offer of assistance to hurricane-devastated region, no Greek victims reported

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    Visiting US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Matthew Bryza on Tuesday expressed the US government's gratitude for Greece's offer of humanitarian assistance to the victims of hurricane-devastated New Orleans, during a meeting with Greece's foreign minister Petros Molyviatis.

    At the same time, deputy foreign minister Evrypides Stylianidis said Tuesday that "no unfortunate incident" involving a member of the Greek community in the stricken area has been reported.

    Bryza, who is on a two-day visit to Athens, told reporters after the meeting that finalization of the technical details remained pending for the dispatch of the assistance.

    US ambassador in Athens Charles Ries, who also attended the meeting, noted that both he and Bryza had once again thanked the Greek government for their immediate response, stressing that "this action proves precisely how deep a relationship of friendship binds the two countries".

    Greece announced on Monday that it would provide emergency humanitarian and food assistance to the wider area of New Orleans in the US, which has suffered heavy damage from the devastating Hurricane Katrina.

    The Greek foreign ministry has undertaken an initiative to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to help ameliorate the repercussions and provide aid to the hurricane victims and for restoration of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the wider area of New Orleans.

    The Greek assistance included emergency humanitarian and food aid via the European Union, the dispatch of a team of the EMAK disaster confrontation team to the area to help in rescue operations and the transportation of the population, and the dispatch of two cruise ships to provide shelter for the coming months to locals left homeless by the hurricane, which would also be equipped with an operating room and a clinic, and would further host patients.

    [03] Greek Communist Party expresses sympathy for victims of Hurricane Katrina

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Tuesday expressed its sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in a letter to the Communist Party of the United States.

    At the same time, KKE said that the tragedy in New Orleans had been a "further revelation of a social system that does not take life and death into account when profits are at stake."

    According to the party, there was no excuse for the world's strongest technological, economic and military capitalist power to be so provocatively indifferent to the repercussions of a natural disaster that had been completely predictable.

    It also noted that socialist Cuba, despite its vastly inferior resources, had managed to weather the same extreme weather system without loss of human life.

    "We join with all those demanding that the federal government finally intervene and mobilize all the necessary financial and human resources, withdraw troops from Iraq and take measures for the relief of the victims and speedy reconstruction in their benefit," the letter concluded.

    [04] Inner Cabinet focuses on public domain draft bill

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    An interior and public administration draft bill laying down the framework for using public domain information -- the subject of a recent EU Directive -- was the focus of Tuesday's inner Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    According to Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, public domain information refers to data compiled and stored by various public entities themselves or their communication with citizens.

    Pavlopoulos added that better management and easier access to public domain aims to combat bureaucracy and "red tape", while emphasizing that build-it guarantees are in place to avoid violations of citizens' personal data as well as access to commercial, business and industrial information.

    Finally, the minister said data related to the public order and national defense sectors will be excluded from the bill.

    [05] Greek gov't seeks ways to support weaker social groups

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek government is seeking ways to offer financial support to low income social groups in the country, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting between both ministries' officials, Alogoskoufis and Kaklamanis said the two ministries would submit a joint recommendation to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis this week.

    Alogoskoufis told reporters that the meeting discussed ways to implement social protection policies, within budget limitations and pledged that the government would make everything possible to support weaker social groups.

    Kaklamanis said the recommendation would be submitted this week ahead of the Prime Minister's speech at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair this weekend.

    Mobile health unit reaches out to residents of remote areas in northern Greece: The Health Care Services Division of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace has launched its outreach program with a mobile health unit that is traveling around the northern Greek region to provide health services to those living in remote areas.

    "For the first time the health care system is paying a visit to citizens not the other way around," Health Care Services Division Chief Themistocles Spyridopoulos said.

    The unit began its week-long journey with a visit to Neo Zygos in Kavala on Monday and Drosero in Xanthi on Tuesday.

    It will visit Rodopi Prefecture on Wednesday, Alexandroupoli on Thursday and Drama on Friday.

    The mobile health unit is part of the "Protection" program.

    Within the context of the program, "we plan to provide high-quality health care to all residents in the region and primarily to vulnerable social groups," Spyridopoulos said.

    Papandreou calls for heating oil subsidy this winter: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday explicitly called on the government to provide a heating oil subsidy to low-income households during the upcoming winter season, saying the state should return a "large portion" of increased VAT taxes it has collected from skyrocketing fuel prices.

    His statement, made during a meeting of PASOK's coordination body, comes after similar statements over the recent period by many high-ranking PASOK cadres.

    The one-time foreign minister also charged that the government bears "huge responsibilities" for the rampant, as he said, inflation rate.

    [06] Gov't on economic policy, fixed odds pool for football matches

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    The government on Tuesday again defended its economic policy, stressing that systematic efforts are underway to support development-based investments and to create more jobs.

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos made the statement in response to a press question referring to an impression that Greek citizens' economic situation is "deteriorating".

    Along the same lines, the spokesman added that the Karamanlis government's pre-election promises will be fulfilled within its four-year term.

    In terms of the ubiquitous "early election" question, Roussopoulos said it was better suited for early 2008.

    "Every government is elected for four years. It's too early for any such question," he said.

    In an unrelated matter, the spokesman was again asked about the government's idea to include Greek football clubs on a popular fixed odds game run by the state-run soccer pools organization, OPAP, in tandem with incompatibility clauses -- such as excluding teams from the fixed odds game whose ownership is linked with OPAP's contractors and suppliers.

    "Incompatibility clauses will be strictly met; there can be no hint of concessions for anyone. This issue, as I have repeatedly stated, is being examined by a special committee established by the sports ministry," Roussopoulos stressed.

    [07] Government condemns reported neo-Nazi event, says rumors unconfirmed

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Tuesday said that reports of a planned neo-Nazi event in Greece had not been confirmed, while stressing that the government condemned "the sort of events that foster racist phenomena".

    He said no official request to hold an event of this sort had been made to Greek authorities.

    The spokesman underlined that such events were clearly prohibited by the Greek Constitution and said that the government would take all the measures allowed under the Constitution and the law to prevent the rumored gathering from taking place.

    Neo-Nazi event 'not welcome', Voulgarakis says: The Greek government does not welcome neo-Nazis who reportedly are planning an event in the Peloponnese, Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis said on Tuesday.

    "No relevant request, nor registered application has been received requesting permission for such an event, which in any case, the Greek government does not want," Voulgarakis said.

    "We have stated in no uncertain terms that the Greek government does not intend to host such an event," he added.

    [08] Cultural ties between Greece and France tighter, Deputy Culture Minister says

    PARIS 7/9/2005 (ANA/O.Tsipira)

    The good relations France and Greece maintain on cultural issues have improved even further, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis noted in statements he made after meeting with French Culture and Communications Minister Reno De Faber here on Tuesday.

    Among other things, Tatoulis and De Faber discussed the Greek initiative to bring together the culture ministers of Mediterranean countries, an initiative the French minister strongly supports, according to Tatoulis. The meeting is to take place in late 2005 or early 2006.

    The two officials also discussed the Greek proposal for the creation of a European Museum. The proposal will be a topic of discussion when EU Culture Ministers meet at Delphi in the first quarter of 2006.

    Greece has also proposed the creation of a Greek institute dedicated to researching the existence of ancient Greek ports in southern France.

    De Faber will be considering the proposal before making a decision.

    The Greek deputy minister invited De Faber to attend the exhibit of archaeological schools that will be held at Athens Concert Hall in October, during which the French Archaeological School, the first to open in Greece in 1846, will be honored.

    In closing, Tatoulis said, "We have already established a great working relationship with the Beaubourg Cultural Centre and the Louvre, as well as with other French cultural organizations."

    The Louvre will be hosting a large Greek exhibit, while part of Beaubourg's exhibits will be on display in Greece.

    Tatoulis arrived in the French capital in order to attend the International "Melina Mercouri Awards" ceremony, organized by UNESCO, on Wednesday.

    [09] PASOK President meets with MPs from Central Macedonia, prepares agenda ahead of TIF

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party President George Papandreou met with his party's MPs from Central Macedonia at PASOK's offices in Parliament on Tuesday as part of his preparations for his visit to the International Thessaloniki Trade Fair (TIF).

    During the meeting, Papandreou and the MPs debated whether the main opposition leader should limit himself to issues related to Northern Greece and Thessaloniki during his speech or not.

    According to sources, Papandreou decided to stay on the same wavelength as Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and to address general political issues.

    Papandreou was also advised to visit areas of high unemployment, a technology park and rural areas.

    The PASOK MPs also provided Papandreou with information regarding promises the government has made but has not kept, as well as data indicating a rise in unemployment in the Thessaloniki prefecture, and the number of SMEs that have gone out of business since New Democracy has been in office.

    [10] OA employee groups to rally in Thessaloniki ahead of Commission decision

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    Employee groups representing staff of state-run Olympic Airlines (OA) on Tuesday promised to rally in Thessaloniki during the weekend inauguration of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) as well as during the prime minister's visit there, a day after OA labor unionists threatened to blockade Athens' airport if the ailing national carrier closed.

    The planned mobilizations come amid a pending decision this month by EU Commissioners on whether past Greek governments funneled massive amounts of illegal subsidies to OA, and if so, what amount the company must return.

    A press conference on Tuesday was attended by all of OA's employee unions, as well as representatives from the Civil Aviation Authority's employee groups along with top cadres from main opposition PASOK and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party.

    The press conference was also attended by the head of the country's largest umbrella trade union (GSEE), Christos Polyzogopoulos, who again reiterated the labor movement's support for OA's continued operation.

    Among others, Polyzogopoulos first referred to the "long-standing responsibilities" for the dire condition in which OA finds itself today, while also calling on the government to avoid using the national carrier as a "prime example" in order to "sell-off" other state-run utilities and enterprises.

    On his part, deputy Evangelos Venizelos, a former PASOK minister, charged that the government was "systematically undermining new Olympic Airlines' framework and abandoning it to its fate under the notion that it (OA) is the responsibility of other (past) governments".

    Synaspismos cadre Panayiotis Lafazanis reiterated his party's opposition to either the closure of OA or its sale to private interests.

    Civil servants labor union calls for mass participation in Saturday's rally in Thessaloniki: The Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council's (ADEDY) leadership, addressing a press conference on Tuesday, called for the mass participation of civil servants in Saturday's labor union rally in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. The rally will take place at the statue of Eleftherios Venizelos at 6.30 in the evening.

    ADEDY President Spyros Papaspyros condemned the continuous attacks on the institution of permanent status in the public sector, stable employment and labor relations and spoke of "delirium on the part of representatives of trade and industrial capital" and of "corrosive and continuous intervention in these issues by party and government members."

    Papaspyros added that the rally in Thessaloniki will send a "no" message by the majority of working people to the continuing government policy of austerity, the uncontrolled operation of the market and the high cost of living.

    [11] SYN supports local authorities' demands

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) supports the demands that the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) has presented, according to SYN President Alekos Alavanos who met with the union's leadership on Tuesday.

    However, he said that the issue of contract employees working in local government was also touched upon during Tuesday's discussion. Alavanos said that municipal authorities are determined to support the employees.

    On his part, KEDKE President Paris Koukoulopoulos said that "We will fight to the end to vindicate contract employees and to ensure that local government does not collapse."

    Regarding the government's announcement to change the rules in local government elections enabling mayors to be elected with a 42% majority, Koukoulopoulos said that KEDKE will continue to voice its strong opposition to this change.

    Alavanos also expressed his opposition to the government's plan saying that it is being introduced at the last minute and that it will only fuel bipartisanship.

    [12] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos refers to tragic September 1955 events in Istanbul in address to pilgrims

    ISTANBUL 7/9/2005 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, addressing a group of pilgrims from Greece and Cyprus at Saint George Cathedral on Tuesday, commented on the tragic events taking place in Istanbul in September 1955.

    "Like tonight exactly fifty years ago, I was a first year student at Halki at the time, the attack took place against our Churches, our homes, our shops. An unjustified and unprovoked attack," he said.

    "With the issue of Cyprus as an excuse, we had this beginning of the shrinking and uprooting of the Greek community in Istanbul. We were about 100,000 at the time, while today we are 3,000. This shrinking began as from the events in September 1955, like tonight," he added.

    Vartholomeos further said that modern-day Turkey recognizes this great injustice, which was not only done to the Greeks and to the other minorities, but also to Turkey itself, adding that "today, there is no sensible Turk who does not condemn these events."

    Photo exhibit dedicated to events of Sept. 1955 disrupted by a group of Turkish nationalists: A group of Turkish nationalists on Tuesday disrupted the opening of a photo exhibit dedicated to the memory of those who were killed during the massacre of September 6 and 7, 1955 in Istanbul.

    A group of four or five individuals stormed the exhibit and began destroying photographs until they were arrested by police.

    The exhibit is continuing but with a heavy police presence guarding the building.

    Before being taken away by police, the group dropped a hand-written note condemning anyone who offends the Turkish nationality.

    [13] ESR to focus on programming, council president says

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    The National Radio and Television Council (ESR) will be focusing on the quality of programming now that a large share of its work surrounding transparency certificates is complete, ESR President Ioannis Laskaridis told reporters after the council's meeting on Tuesday.

    Regarding the TV station Alpha, Laskaridis said that the station's finances are under scrutiny since the station changed ownership several times since January 1, 2005.

    The audit, which has been under way during the past two months, is being conducted by the accountant Fotis Aggelis. ESR is waiting for Aggelis' report.

    Finally, the council imposed fines on several TV and radio stations.

    [14] Kremlin decorates Mount Athos monk Jeremiah

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    Four days before the unofficial visit to Mount Athos by Russian President Vladimir Putin, reports from Moscow said that the Kremlin has decorated the monk Jeremiah from the Panteleimon Monastery on Mount Athos, where monks of Russian and Ukrainian origin live.

    Jeremiah, to whom the medal of friendship will be given, belongs to the group of Ukrainian monks who are more than those coming from Russia.

    Although no official announcement of President Putin's trip has been made yet, unofficial sources said that he will arrive in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, at noon on Thursday, coming from Berlin, and he will be meeting Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in the evening in the region of Halkidiki.

    The next day, he will be traveling to Mount Athos where he will be visiting Karyes and Panteleimon Monastery.

    [15] Thessaloniki International Fair expects record number of visitors

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    A total of 1,070 exhibitors will participate in this year's Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, due to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday.

    The 70th TIF will cover an area of 44,000 square meters with Helexpo SA, the organizer of the fair, seeking to attract a record-number of visitors through a series of cultural events such as concerts, art exhibitions and fashion shows with an entry fare of five euros.

    Helexpo's president Aristotelis Thomopoulos, speaking to reporters during a news conference, said the company's new strategic planning would ensure its profitability and announced that the new strategy focused on the business field with the organizing of the 1st International Business Conference (September 14-16), the Global Exchange, the Expopartenariat and the BOSS program.

    This year's fair will take place at Helexpo's recently renovated centre with 833 direct and 237 indirect exhibitors from 28 countries around the world (up from 20 last year).

    Official national participations rose to 21 this year from 13 in 2004 and include Egypt, Armenia, Bulgaria, Brazil, France, Germany, US, Japan, Italy, Israel, India, Indonesia, Cyprus, Hungary, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro, Slovakia, Syria and Turkey.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is expected to deliver his traditional inauguration speech on Friday presenting the government's economic policy directions and to visit TIF's facilities on Saturday. Other political party leaders are expected to visit TIF next week with George Papandreou, main opposition PASOK party leader, to hold a news conference on Sunday, 18 September.

    Speaking to reporters, Dimitris Bakatselos, Thessaloniki International Trade Fair president, said he would present to the Prime Minister a program of rebuilding the trade centre and said that TIF's telecommunications tower would be delivered to the public at the end of October after completing a renovation project worth 1.35 billion euro.

    [16] No decision taken on objective real estate values, finance ministry announcement says

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    No decision has been taken concerning objective real estate values, according to an announcement by the finance and economy ministry on Tuesday in reply to a television channel report on increases in the objective value of real estate.

    "There has been no decision on this issue and, of course, nor any relevant announcement. All that was heard in the report was data from 'sources' close to PASOK which has not been communicated to the ministry's civil leadership and whose aim is confusion and misinforming public opinion," the announcement said.

    It added that an administrative enquiry will be carried out to reveal those who are playing partisan games at the citizens' expense.

    [17] Greece named featured country at Cairo's 2006 tourism trade fair

    CAIRO 7/9/2005 (ANA/F Dalabekos)

    Greece has been named featured country at Cairo's international tourism trade fair in 2006, Egyptian Tourism Minister Mohamed Al Magrabi said on Tuesday.

    Al Magrabi was speaking to reporters after in a meeting in the Egyptian capital with the visiting head of the Greek National Tourism Organization, Aristidis Kaloyeropoulos.

    The minister congratulated his counterpart, Dimitris Avramopoulos, for a rise in Greek tourism this year, and noted that Cairo was interested in learning from a dynamic Greek state publicity campaign to help its own endeavor.

    Al Magrabi and Kaloyeropoulos, who invited the Egyptian minister to Greece, discussed a joint business forum that will be held by the two countries to showcase investment opportunities.

    Also discussed at a meeting with the president of Cyprus Tourism Organization, Fotis Fotiou, was tripartite cooperation with the island republic that is being established to attract visitors from the US, India and China.

    Finally, the Greek and Egyptian officials debated concrete plans to reopen a Greek tourism school in Cairo that closed down in 1988.

    The school is likely to open in 2006 for three-year courses. Eligible will be members of the Greek community and students from the Middle East, according to sources.

    Under a pact signed by Avramopoulos and Al Magrabi, the school, which had closed due to a cash shortage, will operate under the aegis of the two countries' governments. In the past, the Melachrinio School produced mostly Greek graduates, who excelled professionally in hotels around the world.

    Avramopoulos said during a visit to Cairo that the current revitalization of ties with Egypt was long overdue; and that shipping routes should be established between the two countries.

    Greece is seeking closer business ties with Egypt, following a visit to the Arab country last year by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Signaling the impetus for a new chapter in economic links was Avramopoulos' follow-up visit this year.

    Corporate investments in Egypt by Greek firms top 500 million US dollars, led by Titan Cement Co., Zeritis, the Vardinoyiannis group and Chipita snacks.

    According to the Greek embassy's counselor for trade and economic affairs, Dimitris Nikas, business ties between the two countries have been further reinforced by an agreement allowing mutual protection of investments; and a pact on avoidance of double taxation that is in the final stage of formulation.

    Twinning arrangements are in place between corresponding Greek and Egyptian trade groups, including stock market authorities and national tourism organizations.

    Greece launches dynamic presence in tourism fair in Cairo: Egypt's Prime Minister Ahmed Najif on Tuesday expressed his admiration over Greece's upgraded presence at this year's International Tourism Fair, which officially opened its gates to the public on Tuesday in Cairo.

    The Egyptian PM congratulated the president of Greece's National Tourism Organization Aristides Kalogeropoulos for Greece's dynamic participation in the tourism fair which brings together 190 countries around the world.

    In his reply, Kalogeropoulos stressed that Egypt always was a priority country for tourism development in the region together with Greece.

    The two countries have developed a closer tourism cooperation in the last few months after an official visit by Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos to Cairo at the end of May. The visit helped laying the foundations for a new era in bilateral relations.

    Cyprus also participates in the Cairo Tourism Fair. The Island Republic is represented by Tourism Minister George Lillikas.

    National Tourism Organization's president also met with Turkey's Tourism Minister Attila Koc in the sidelines of the international fair in Cairo.

    Tunis is the honored country in this year's fair.

    [18] Gov't tables bill adopting revised European Patent Convention

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    The development ministry on Tuesday tabled a bill in Parliament that will ratify the adoption of the revised European Patent Convention (EPC) by Greece.

    Greece had signed the act for the revision of the European Patents Convention on November 29, 2000 but this had not been ratified by Parliament.

    The bill tabled by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Research and Technology General Secretary Ioannis Tsoukalas on Tuesday was drawn up in collaboration with the Industrial Property Organization (OBI).

    The revised version of the 1973 convention for the grant of European patent certificates, designed to keep pace with the latest legal developments concerning patents internationally, has been signed by all countries that are members of the European Patent Office, but so far only ratified by 13.

    [19] Greek tourism needs more improvement, tourist enterprises say

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) on Tuesday urged the government to seek a better harmonization of actions, under a strategic plan drafted by the Tourism ministry, aimed to solve chronic problems facing the country's tourism sector.

    In an announcement to the press, SETE said the government should not rely on an increase in tourist arrivals this year since the country's general infrastructure (airports, road networks, ports) and offered services remained below tourists' expectations, while Greek tourism continued suffering from a declining competitiveness, a problem needing bold actions.

    The Association said creating a favorable business environment was essential while it noted that the current situation was positive for Greek tourism on the precondition that authorities introduced the necessary policies.

    [20] Gov't approves private commercial use of tourism facilities

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    The ministerial privatization committee on Tuesday approved private commercial use for tourism facilities around the country.

    The facilities are the Corfu Casino, Afandos Golf Course (Rhodes), SEF Marina, hotels in the Xenia chain in Vytina, Skiathos, Thassos and Tsagarada, and a former salt works in Anavissos (Attica) ; all held by the state's Tourism Development Company.

    The criteria for ventures are a long-term growth angle, evolution of specialized forms of tourism and creation of tourism infrastructure as part of a policy of boosting tourism and regional development.

    The committee comprises the ministers of finance, development and employment.

    [21] Greek-Turkish trade continues to grow, Turkish envoy notes

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    Greek-Turkish trade ties continued to blossom over the first seven-month period of 2005, according to Turkey's ambassador in Athens on Tuesday, with Greek exports to Turkey increasing by 21 percent in tandem with a decrease in the bilateral trade deficit by 23 percent.

    The figures were announced following a meeting here between Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis and Turkish envoy Tahsin Burcuoglu, with the latter quoting statistics from Turkey's relevant service.

    Additionally, implementation of various decisions taken by a recently convened Greek-Turkish inter-ministerial meeting (June 2005) -- the third such meeting -- were also discussed.

    A second bridge and border post connecting the two countries at the Evros River (northeast Greece) is among the most significant decisions from the inter-ministerial meeting.

    [22] Greek bourse recovers on blue chip buying

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended Tuesday's session slightly higher reflecting renewed buying in blue chip stocks in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The composite index rose 0.34 percent to end at 3,299.43 points with turnover a moderate 195.9 million euros.

    Sector indices were mixed with the IT Solutions, Telecommunications, Textiles and Bank indices scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day (1.28 pct, 0.97 pct, 0.95 pct and 0.60 pct, respectively), while the Insurance (-1.01 pct), Mineral-Cement (-0.69 pct), Industrials (-0.52 pct) and Retail (-0.35 pct) indices suffering the heaviest percentage losses.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.54 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.29 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.89 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 135 to 120 with another 74 issues unchanged

    [23] Archangelos 2005 international air show in mid-September

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    The first international air show to be organized in Greece, called Archangelos 2005, will be held at the airport of the 114th Battle Wing at Tanagra, in Viotia prefecture, from September 16 to 18.

    The events will kick off on September 6 over Faliron, with precision flights, while throughout the three days of the air show, a wide variety of aircraft will be on display on the ground and will perform air-borne maneuvers, including simulations by Greek pilots of operational flights encompassing different threat scenarios, in a display of the Greek Air Forces' preparedness and abilities. The foreign crews will perform acrobatic maneuvers, individually and in formations.

    Aircraft and helicopters from the Air Forces of 20 friendly countries and 12 aerospace companies will also be taking part in the Air show, in reciprocity of similar participations by Greek Air Force aircraft in similar events abroad.

    A squadron of Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) Red Arrows that will be participating in the international air show "Archangelos 2005" arrived in Elefsina on Monday afternoon, giving the public a taste of what they are likely to see on those days by flying in formation above the Acropolis.

    [24] 19th century church in Halkidiki burns down

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    The church of Aghios Stephanos in Arnaia, Halkidiki, northern Greece was totally destroyed in a fire late Monday.

    The fire broke out, due to reasons as yet unknown, earlier Monday and 15 fire trucks with a strong team of 48 firefighters battled the blaze for several hours, and managed to contain it before it spread to nearby houses.

    The church of Aghios Stephanos was built in 1812, and was nearly demolished in a fire during the 1821 Revolution against the Turkish yolk when the Turks set the entire village on fire, which was then deserted. Only the walls of the church remaining standing.

    The church was later rebuilt, while its renowned bell-tower was built in 1889.

    The village of Arnaia stands on the site of the ancient towns of Avgi and Arnai, whose inhabitants were renowned as great metal workers.

    [25] WWF Hellas and EFG Eurobank present program for the conservation of Parnitha's forest

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Hellas and the EFG Eurobank Ergasias on Tuesday presented a program for the conservation of forest on Mount Parnitha entitled "Knowing, participating, protecting - Parnitha National Forest".

    Speakers at the press conference said the program aimed to inform, sensitize and mobilize the public to protect the forest on the slopes of Mount Parnitha, just 30 kilometers from the Greek capital, which was the largest and most important in Attica.

    The program's pilot phase will begin the voluntary participation of the bank's staff and the support of WWF, they said.

    According to information presented at the press conference, there is a population of 400 deer living on Parnitha and up to 42 species of mammals, of which 35 are protected and 25 are rare. There are also a recorded 1,100 species of plants, eight caves, 50 springs, in additional to archaeological sites and medieval castles within its bounds.

    A series of tours of the forests for adults and families have already begun as part of the program, in additional to environmental education programs for school groups and teachers.

    Representatives of EFG Eurobank said the bank had adopted an official environmental policy that included the promotion of "green" products and loans of favorable terms for businesses or entrepreneurs engaged in environmentally-friendly activities.

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias has been certified as an ISO 14001 environmental management standards company for its products and services in Attica.

    [26] CEDEFOP to hold seminar to mark 30th anniversary since its foundation

    Athens, 7/9/2005 (ANA)

    The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) is to hold a seminar entitled "The Future Begins in the Past" on Thursday to mark the 30th anniversary since its foundation and the 10th anniversary since it transferred its headquarters to Thessaloniki.

    The seminar will be attended by Greek Employment Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos and the head of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Education and Culture.

    At the end of the seminar, there will also be a ceremony for the handover of CEDEFOP to its new head Aviana Maria Bulgarelli, whose appointment has already been announced by the European Commission.

    [27] Britain must stick to EU principles, says Cyprus Spokesman

    NICOSIA 7/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus government will not accept any maneuverings that aim to promote British policies that have no relation with the wider European policy, said here Tuesday Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides.

    He was referring to Wednesday's COREPER meeting in Brussels, which will discuss the EU counter-statement to Turkey's declaration that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.

    Chrysostomides reiterated that the government is pursuing an improvement of the last draft of the EU counterstatement, adding that it is clear that the new document will reflect the positions of member states, their general discontent over Turkey's declaration as well as a series of other measures which are necessary to be included in the counterstatement.

    The Spokesman further underlined that Britain, which chairs the EU rotating presidency, has an obligation to act objectively according to the demands and expectations of other EU member states and within the framework of EU principles.

    "Any maneuverings that aim at promoting her policies, which have nothing to do with the wider European policy, should not be considered as acceptable," the Spokesman added.

    "We are ready to contribute to a unanimous clear yet categorical decision" regarding the counterstatement, Chrysostomides added.

    Asked to comment on statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat that it is important the counterstatement not to include any element calling on Turkey to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, Chrysostomides said that it is Turkey's obligation to recognize the Republic of Cyprus if it wants to become involved in negotiations for accession to the EU.

    He noted that its refusal to recognize Cyprus is a provocation against the EU, the international community and reassures the illegality of the continued occupation.

    "The issue of recognition cannot be avoided by Turkey," Chrysostomides said, adding that the sooner this is done, the better.

    Furthermore, he said all EU member states and the Commission have said that the signing of the protocol constitutes de facto recognition of Cyprus.

    Asked if the compromise, which is being pursued in the counterstatement, will reflect the timeframe whereby Turkey must proceed with recognition, the Spokesman said that this is what is pursued.

    "What is pursued is a specific course, a specific road map, which will determine the future progress and Turkey's attitude against the EU in general," he concluded.

    Britain hopeful about consensus on counter-declaration: British High Commissioner here Peter Millett appeared hopeful that an EU ambassadors meeting in Brussels on Wednesday will reach consensus on a counter-declaration in response to a unilateral declaration Turkey, made last month that it does not recognize one of its members, the Republic of Cyprus.

    ''I am reasonably confident that we can get a deal, we are very close to reaching an agreement on the counter-declaration. Our job now is to bridge the gaps between the many different views on the counter-declaration, ensure that the EU sticks to its commitments and that we reach our objective of starting the negotiations with Turkey on October 3,'' he said.

    Speaking to journalists, he said once a deal is struck on this, the EU can move on to the negotiating framework for Turkey's accession talks.

    ''The EU counter-declaration is a political statement of what we expect Turkey to do,'' he said, and explained that Britain had told Turkey, prior to the signing of the protocol adapting the Ankara

    Agreement, to make its unilateral statement short and simple, to ensure that it does not break new ground and that it does not undermine the implementation of the protocol.

    He stressed that the EU is not negotiating the text of the counter-declaration with Turkey and said that the points of principles had been resolved by the foreign ministers and now the details remain to be settled.

    Responding to questions, he said the EU cannot require recognition by Turkey of Cyprus as a precondition for opening accession negotiations as this is not set out in the December 2004 conclusions.

    Asked if Turkish threats to abandon its accession negotiations are real, he said that ''Ankara has a process of managing public opinion and parliamentary opinion which is very real, which is an issue which we have to take seriously.''

    ''The stability of the area and the ability of Turkey to contribute positively to any future UN process on Cyprus is something which must be to the benefit of Cyprus as well,'' he said.

    The High Commissioner dismissed press reports that the debate on the counter-declaration among the 25 is actually a question of Britain against Cyprus.

    ''This is simply not the case, this is not a question of opposing camps. This has been the presidency playing the classic role of trying to find consensus,'' he said, noting that there is a

    collective EU agenda from last December's Council and Britain as the current presidency has a mandate to carry this through.

    Commenting on statements by the Cyprus Government Spokesman that Nicosia would not tolerate Britain pushing its own policies, Millett replied ''I would like to see some evidence that we have been doing that as we have not been doing that.''

    He said he had a ''very useful discussion'' this morning with Foreign Minister George Iacovou.

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