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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-09-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

September 9, 2004


  • [01] PM confers with foreign minister ahead of UN General Assembly
  • [02] UK foreign secretary and Molyviatis discuss EU counter-statement to Turkey
  • [03] FM Molyviatis meets Synaspismos representatives
  • [04] PM discusses 'Information Society' with interior and finance ministers
  • [05] Foreign ministry hails assumption of duties by new Albanian government
  • [06] Statute of limitations for ministers role in stock market case has elapsed, gov't says
  • [07] PASOK party leader chairs Political Council meeting
  • [08] Former Parliamentary deputy Costas Kappos buried
  • [09] EU Commissioner Almunia to visit Athens on Oct. 5
  • [10] SYN president to tour TIF; trade unionist criticizes PM's address
  • [11] Two-day informal meeting of NATO defense ministers begins in Berlin on Tuesday
  • [12] US envoy Ries speaks at TIF-related event
  • [13] Orthodox Church representatives discuss Theological Dialogue with Roman Catholic Church
  • [14] U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs discusses Halki School of Theology issue with Archbishop Dimitrios
  • [15] Gov't confirms serious problems facing OA, pledges to protect airline's workforce
  • [16] Gov't defends decision to rule out heating oil subsidy
  • [17] Gov't says most consumer price hikes below inflation
  • [18] Foreign trade board aims to double number of exporters in 2006
  • [19] Intracom to become holding company
  • [20] Business forum set for Thessaloniki International Trade Fair
  • [21] Gov't plans to overhaul bankruptcy law
  • [22] Aegean Airlines to buy eight Airbus A320 aircraft, worth $420 million
  • [23] Stocks dip on profit-taking
  • [24] Karamanlis visits elementary school, kindergarten as academic year begins on Monday
  • [25] Papandreou visits Polish community school of Athens
  • [26] Two earthquakes occur northeast of Thessaloniki
  • [27] Actress and theatre director Lyda Tasopoulou dies
  • [28] Britain and France reach agreement on counterstatement
  • [29] Cyprus says French points for EU counterstatement positive
  • [30] House President criticizes British stance on Cyprus
  • [31] Commerce Minister: We allow Turkish goods; Turkey should do the same

  • [01] PM confers with foreign minister ahead of UN General Assembly

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Monday ahead of their departure on Tuesday for New York City, where the Greek premier will attend the United Nations' general assembly.

    Molyviatis later told reporters that both the Greek prime minister and he himself have scheduled numerous bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UN general assembly, whereas he added that Karamanlis will also attend a reception hosted by US President George W. Bush for visiting heads of state and government.

    [02] UK foreign secretary and Molyviatis discuss EU counter-statement to Turkey

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who heads the EU foreign ministers' council while his country holds the rotating European Union presidency, contacted Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis to discuss the EU's counter-statement to Turkey. The two men conversed over the phone on Sunday afternoon, following a call made by Straw, it was announced on Monday.

    The counter-statement will be made in response to Ankara's unilateral declaration on July 29 that it refused to recognize the Cyprus Republic, an EU member-state, and that its ports and airports would remain closed to Cypriot ships and planes.

    According to Ankara, its signature of the Association Agreement Protocol -- by virtue of which Turkey extended its customs union agreement with the EU to the 10 new member states, including Cyprus -- did not mean recognition of the internationally-recognized Republic of Cyprus.

    An ongoing discussion is currently underway at the EU's Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) in Brussels aimed at formulating a reply.

    [03] FM Molyviatis meets Synaspismos representatives

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis met on Monday with Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) representatives Nikos Constantopoulos and Panos Trigazis, to discuss the topic of the upgrading and restructuring of the United Nations, a few days before the UN Summit in New York at which Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will also participate in.

    The Cyprus issue was also discussed at the meeting, and former Synaspismos leader Constantopoulos said "we briefed on the initiatives and views which the ministry has taken up to now and until October 3." He added that "I believe we will discuss details at the session of the next Foreign Policy National Council."

    [04] PM discusses 'Information Society' with interior and finance ministers

    Athens, 13/9/2005 Athens, 13/9/2005

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis discussed the "Information Society" with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis during a meeting held at the Maximos Mansion on Monday afternoon. Pavlopoulos said that Karamanlis places great importance on the issue, particularly on the computerization of public services. He indicated that the aim is to crack down on bureaucracy, which will not be possible without the speedy computerization of public services, and for this reason all of the government's activities to this end are scheduled to end as soon as possible.

    Pavlopoulos further said that the special "Information Society" program, which is his ministry's responsibility, had been abandoned for over two years and that "rates have increased more than six fold over the year and a half that we have had the responsibility of managing this program. This alone shows the progress which has been achieved. But on such major issues nobody can ever be satisfied. We must forge ahead with a speedier and better pace."

    Alogoskoufis said that a general inspection was made of the course of the program, which is satisfactory, adding that the government believes that all the major risks that existed when it assumed the governance of the country are slowly disappearing, but the effort must be continued and must be very intensive.

    The finance minister reminded that tackling tax evasion becomes much more effective through electronic crosschecking and noted that "what is of great importance is that the finance and economy ministry and the Information Committee have also given the plan on the country's digital strategy for consideration."

    Lastly, Alogoskoufis stressed that citizens will have much easier access to public services and data without having the inconvenience they have been facing for decades.

    [05] Foreign ministry hails assumption of duties by new Albanian government

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    The foreign ministry on Monday hailed the assumption of its duties by Albania's new government, following elections recently held in the neighboring country.

    "We hail the assumption of duties by the new government of Albania, resulting from the Parliamentary elections held on July 3 and the official announcement of their final results," the foreign ministry's announcement said.

    "We believe that with the efforts of the two governments, Greece and Albania, being neighboring and friendly countries will develop their cooperation even more for the mutual benefit of their peoples, contributing at the same time to the stability of the wider region," it added.

    The foreign ministry's announcement concluded by saying "we believe that this cooperation will produce even more in the framework of Albania's European prospects which, as it is known, Greece supports. Respect for the rights and the progress of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania, which constitutes a bridge of friendship and a strong factor for the even greater development of the relations of the two neighboring and friendly countries, is part of this wider framework."

    [06] Statute of limitations for ministers role in stock market case has elapsed, gov't says

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Monday said that former minister's could no longer be prosecuted for their suspected role in the stock market scandal of the years 1999-2000, since the statute of limitations for such offences had elapsed.

    "In a democracy there are laws and in Greece, based on a law passed several years ago by a PASOK government, this is now statute-barred. The government spoke of the crime of the stock market and has not changed its mind on this issue but, nevertheless, there cannot legally be any new sort of approach to the issue of statute limitations," Roussopoulos said.

    At the same time, he underlined that the political responsibility for the meddling in the stock market fell fully on PASOK's shoulders, since it was also responsible for the law that allowed political figures to get away with it.

    [07] PASOK party leader chairs Political Council meeting

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou chaired a meeting of the party's Political Council on Monday and criticized Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis afterwards, saying that he has convinced no one that he has a plan for the country.

    Papandreou went on to say that the imperial attitude, arrogance and social insensibility of the prime minister cannot conceal the lack of a plan for the country or the citizen's problems.

    The PASOK party's leader added that the citizen wants a government close to him, which will understand him, have sensitivity and know where to lead the country.

    [08] Former Parliamentary deputy Costas Kappos buried

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Former deputy, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee member and its Parliamentary representative until 1989 Costas Kappos was buried at Kesariani cemetery on Monday.

    Kappos, who died on Saturday night at the age of 68, had joined the United Democratic Left (EDA) party before the dictatorship imposed in the country in 1967 and later on the Communist Party of Greece.

    ND condolences over death of KKE cadre Kappos: Ruling New Democracy party's press office on Sunday evening issued an announcement expressing its condolences over the death of veteran leftist politician Costas Kappos, who passed away over the weekend.

    Kappos was a long-time cadre with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

    [09] EU Commissioner Almunia to visit Athens on Oct. 5

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    EU Commissioner for economic and monetary issues, Joaquin Almunia, will visit Athens on October 5, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday.

    The commissioner's program includes meetings with members of the government's economic staff and with main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, while he will also speak on the European Union's economic situation and its prospects.

    [10] SYN president to tour TIF; trade unionist criticizes PM's address

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos is scheduled to tour the 70th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Tuesday at the head of a party delegation. He will also tour a local hospital, refinery and meet with affiliated municipal councilors during the two-day visit.

    Meanwhile, in a related development, the head of the country's largest trade umbrella group (GSEE), Christos Polyzogopoulos, on Monday sharply criticized the prime minister for his address over the weekend at TIF.

    The trade unionist referred to "generalized approaches", while criticizing the government for what he called a "tax-collecting policy that does not redistribute wealth but merely exacerbates tax inequities."

    [11] Two-day informal meeting of NATO defense ministers begins in Berlin on Tuesday

    Berlin, 13/9/2005

    A two-day informal meeting of NATO defense ministers will begin in Berlin on Tuesday where issues linked to the reform the Atlantic Alliance will be discussed.

    Furthermore, the defense ministers will deal with the security situation in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Iraq and on NATO-Russia relations.

    On the Greek side, present will be the National Defense Minister who on the sidelines of the sessions will have meetings with his counterparts from France, Great Britain and Bulgaria.

    [12] US envoy Ries speaks at TIF-related event

    Thessaloniki, 13/9/2005

    US ambassador to Greece Charles Ries on Sunday was the keynote speaker at a dinner organized in Thessaloniki by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce on the occasion of "US Day" during the first weekend of the 70th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    Speaking on the fourth anniversary of the dastardly 9/11 terrorist attacks, Ries first emphasized Washington's determination to stop both the free movement and funding of terror cells, while stressing that "we will continue to travel even after the attacks on London and in Egypt, just as we continued to enjoy free trade after the 9/11 attacks".

    A minute of silence was, in fact, held for the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes.

    In an unrelated development linked to the ongoing trade exhibition in Thessaloniki, Greece's largest such event, Ries appeared confident that the east Mediterranean country could become even more attractive for foreign investors.

    [13] Orthodox Church representatives discuss Theological Dialogue with Roman Catholic Church

    ISTANBUL, 13/9/2005 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Representatives of all the Orthodox Churches convened under the chairmanship of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Monday to determine the main points of the Theological Dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.

    The Metropolitan of Pergamos Ioannis, a member of the Athens Academy, was unanimously elected joint president of the Committee, while the initiative by the Church of Serbia to host the dialogue's session next year was praised.

    "All the representatives of the Orthodox Churches agreed that the need for the continuation of the theological dialogue emanates from the duty of all to obey the mandate of the Lord on the promotion of the unity of the Church and that the results of the dialogue are not always visible immediately, since the outcome of our efforts is up to God," said an announcement issued at the Phanar.

    The theological dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, which began during the days of Patriarch Athinagoras, came to an end in the '90s.

    [14] U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs discusses Halki School of Theology issue with Archbishop Dimitrios

    NEW YORK, 13/9/2005 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)

    U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns met with the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of America Dimitrios at the offices of the Archdiocese in Manhattan on Monday and stressed that the United States supports the operation of the Halki School of Theology and will continue its efforts to have the issue settled by the Turkish government.

    Speaking after the meeting, Burns said they discussed "to what degree the United States can help the Orthodox Church reopen the Halki School of Theology", adding that it is a problem that can be resolved by Ankara's leadership.

    The American diplomat further said that they also discussed the situation in the Balkans, the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and relations between the governments of Skopje and Athens.

    He pointed out that the United States is trying to be a mediator on this issue "in good faith", reiterating that his country supports the efforts of the UN and of the mediator Matthew Nimetz.

    Financial News

    [15] Gov't confirms serious problems facing OA, pledges to protect airline's workforce

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Monday confirmed that the European Commission's imminent decision concerning the national carrier Olympic Airlines would make the airline's position "exceptionally difficult" and stressed that the government was not prepared to put further burden's on Greek taxpayers "when there is no hope for OA".

    At the same time, he pledged that the government would find a solution for OA's many thousand employees.

    "Our first concern will be that the thousands of people working with OA and Olympic Airlines don't find themselves out on the street - we pledge to protect their rights. The prime minister's express statement is a guarantee for all the workforce," Roussopoulos said.

    The spokesman also blamed the current impasse squarely on previous PASOK governments, saying that its current serious problems were due to mistaken handling over many years, which reached a peak with the two restructuring programs - which cost Greek citizens two billion euros and failed - and the four attempts to privatize the airline that also failed.

    "The net result was that OA now costs Greek citizens 1.5 million a day," Roussopoulos added.

    He said the processes now underway for the airline's sale or liquidation while in operation were time-consuming and that OA would continue to fly in the meantime.

    According to Roussopoulos, the various efforts to restore OA's financial health from 1981 until 2003 - including the latest attempt to break up the previous national carrier Olympic Airways and set up the present flight company Olympic Airlines - had amassed accumulated losses of 1 billion, which meant that OA had actually cost Greek taxpayers more than 3 billion in total.

    He also slammed previous PASOK governments for systematically ignoring the country's obligations toward the European Union and for flouting Community law and European Commission decisions, pointing out that this had led the Commission to take the matter to the European Court of Justice in 2003 and the ruling ordering OA to pay back financial support given illegally by Greek governments from 1994 until 2004 in order to keep it afloat.

    "In this case, we now await the decision of the College of Commissioners in two days. It is clear that OA's case in total concerns political actions and omissions that occurred under PASOK governments. New Democracy, as soon as it came into power, declared the tender then in progress null and void and immediately organized a serious effort to privatize Olympic Airlines and the company's activities. The Commission was kept fully up to date on this process," Roussopoulos said.

    He also asserted that significant progress had been made in the privatization process so far and that the European Commission had been sent a memorandum of the joint position signed by prospective buyers of Olympic Airlines.

    "The decision expected from the Commission makes OA's position exceptionally difficult. The government is not prepared to allow Greek citizens to be burdened further, without there being any hope for OA. We have already examined alternative solutions for the day after," he said.

    He also stressed that, regardless of the outcome, the government would ensure that the flight services to outlying and less busy Greek islands would continue.

    [16] Gov't defends decision to rule out heating oil subsidy

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    The government on Monday sternly defended its decision, announced by the prime minister over the weekend during his across-the-board press conference in Thessaloniki, to rule out a heating oil subsidy for the coming winter season because of the strain it would inflict on the state's coffers.

    Moreover, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos clearly laid the blame for the tight economic policy in force on what he called the miscalculations of previous PASOK governments, especially in terms of budget deficits.

    "The government's social sensitivity is continuous; a country's future is, however, absolutely linked with the decisions of today, decisions which are defined by past ones. If decisions taken in the past raised the (budget) deficit over 6 percent, forcing the current government to take measures to deal with a problem it inherited from our predecessors, then you can understand that the country's problems preclude the granting of a heating oil subsidy," Roussopoulos said, in response to a bevy of reporters' questions during his regular press briefing.

    [17] Gov't says most consumer price hikes below inflation

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Most consumer price rises are below inflation despite global record highs for oil, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Monday.

    "This month's consumer basket of goods has shown further improvement in comparison with previous years," Sioufas told a news conference.

    In August, 22 out of 30 goods, or 73% of price rises fell below the consumer inflation rate against eight items in the same month of 2004, or 27%; and 12 goods, or 40%, in August 2003, Sioufas said.

    Among services, 60% of price increases were below inflation, or 17 out of 31; against 20% and 16% in 2004 and 2003 respectively, the minister added.

    The development ministry's daily fuel monitor showed an average price of 1.058 euros per liter for unleaded gas on September 9, up 4.24% from September 2; and up 44.73% since the start of 2004, against a hike in Brent oil of 102.89%.

    [18] Foreign trade board aims to double number of exporters in 2006

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) said on Monday that it aimed to double the number of domestic exporting companies in 2006.

    Announcing an action place on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, HEPO general secretary Anastasia Garyfallou said that 13 markets abroad had been targeted for more Greek exports: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Russia, Turkey, the USA, Canada, Australia, China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

    Economic policy already was beginning to bear fruit with exports showing an increase of almost 7.5% in the first half of 2005, Garyfallou told a news conference.

    She noted that the number of domestic firms taking part in international trade fairs this year had doubled, with a 50% rise for companies taking part in exhibitions abroad in which HEPO took part.

    [19] Intracom to become holding company

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Athens-quoted Intracom SA is to become a holding company, dividing its business into three subsidiaries to handle telecom solutions, electronic defense systems, and IT services & telecom operations, CEO George Deligiannis said on Monday.

    "As a holding company we will become more flexible in order to succeed in our development plans for each of the different markets we are active in. We will further improve our corporate governance as is our duty towards our customers, investors and partners," Deligiannis told a corporate presentation for the Association of Greek Institutional Investors.

    The chairman of the Intracom Group, Socrates Kokkalis, detailed the company's recent acquisitions in the telecommunication services market as part of a broader strategy focusing on technology services.

    The acquisitions are part of a 5-year business plan that will be outlined in January 2006, the two executives said.

    "Our goal is to become a key player in the fixed telephony and Internet market, focusing on broadband services and integrated IT & communications services for businesses. As a multinational group, headquartered in Greece, our next steps will be to develop relevant activities in our wider geographic region," Kokkalis said.

    "We have always been looking into the future, aiming to play a key role in the international business arena. We recognize emerging business opportunities and work hard to succeed in our mission to become a technology leader amongst the most powerful players in the wider geographical region," he added.

    Intracom, which is included in the FTSE/ASE-20 large capitalization index, has 5,450 employees and sells its products and services in 60 countries, focusing on the European Union, North Africa, the Middle East and the USA. The Greece-based firm has subsidiaries in 16 countries.

    [20] Business forum set for Thessaloniki International Trade Fair

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Global Exchange, a business forum, is to be held on September 14-16 as part of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, organizers said on Monday.

    As part of the trade fair's goal of acting as a launching pad for business cooperation, the forum will allow company executives from Greece and abroad to get to know each other and forge alliances.

    Global Exchange aims to attract all countries, with special emphasis on emerging markets in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe, the Black Sea area, the Middle East and northern Africa.

    Arranged by Helexpo, the state trade fair organizer, and HEPO, the export promotion board, the forum is held under the auspices of the Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, who will speak on the first day of the meeting.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas is to address the conference's second day.

    [21] Gov't plans to overhaul bankruptcy law

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    The government plans to overhaul the country's bankruptcy law as part of a strategy of modernizing and improving the country's business climate.

    A committee is due to propose a bill for the reform within six months, officials said after a meeting on Monday.

    Among those taking part were Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras.

    [22] Aegean Airlines to buy eight Airbus A320 aircraft, worth $420 million

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    The Greek private airline company Aegean Airlines on Monday announced that it has ordered eight Airbus A320 aircraft to add to its fleet, worth a total of $420 million. The move is expected to increase the number of passenger seats the airline can offer and reduce its operating costs.

    It has also reserved the option to increase the order by 12 more aircraft of the same type (A319, A320 and A321), bringing the order up to 20 in total. These will gradually replace the Boeing 737s currently used by the company, with the planes delivery to be staggered over 2007-2009.

    A company announcement said Aegean Airlines had average annual growth of about 20 per cent over the past five years, while its share of the domestic markets exceeded 50 per cent. According to figures released by Aegean, it expected to carry more than four million passengers in 2005.

    [23] Stocks dip on profit-taking

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Stocks finished lower on Monday as investors cashed in on last week's gains in hi-cap paper, especially banks, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 3,247.60 points, marking a dip of 0.36%. Turnover was 180.7 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.73% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.11% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.81% up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 162 to 94 with 77 remaining unchanged.

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: -0.73%

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At premium

  • Underlying Index: +0.43%

    Foreign Exchange Rates: Tuesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released

    by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.241

    [24] Karamanlis visits elementary school, kindergarten as academic year begins on Monday

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis visited an elementary school and a kindergarten in the Aghios Dimitrios district of east-central Athens on Monday morning, the first day of the 2005-06 academic year.

    The premier, who was accompanied by Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou, was briefed by teachers and staff on issues affecting the schools, and especially the pupils.

    In his brief comments, Karamanlis underlined that the day was the "beginning of a brilliant voyage" on the path of learning for thousands of youngsters. He also noted that Greek citizens have placed education and culture at the top of their list of priorities, with a deep-seated conviction that the latter comprise the best possible investments for the younger generations.

    [25] Papandreou visits Polish community school of Athens

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday visited the Polish community's school in the Holargos district of east Athens, as Monday marked the first day of the 2005-6 academic years.

    In a brief statement, Papandreou, a former education and foreign affairs minister, referred to book shortages for the new school year as well as problems, while noting that PASOK cadres will meet with teachers in the coming period to detail whatever problems plague the public system.

    [26] Two earthquakes occur northeast of Thessaloniki

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Two earthquakes registering 4.5 and 4.2 on the Richter scale occurred at 21:54 and 22.26, respectively, on Monday, with the epicenter 30 kilometers northeast of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, in the lake of Volvi, according to the Geophysical Laboratory of Thessaloniki University.

    The quakes were particularly felt in the city of Thessaloniki but also in other regions of Central Macedonia.

    [27] Actress and theatre director Lyda Tasopoulou dies

    Athens, 13/9/2005

    Actress and theatre director Lyda Tasopoulou died at noon on Monday. She was a founder member of the "Amphitheatro" theatrical group and its alternate art director from its founding until today.

    Tasopoulou studied music and dancing and attended the National Theatre's Drama School, while in 1982 she was invited to teach monologues from ancient texts at universities in the United States.

    Her last appearance on the stage was in 2004 when she played the role of "Andromachi" at the ancient theatre in Epidavros and she had also played various roles at the Epidavros Festival for 30 years.

    [28] Britain and France reach agreement on counterstatement

    BRUSSELS, 13/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Prior recognition of all EU member countries is a necessary component of accession to the European Union, the Union's draft counterstatement to Turkey's unilateral declaration that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus will stress, according to diplomatic sources in Brussels.

    According to the same sources, the Union's British Presidency reached an agreement on Monday with France, regarding the wording of paragraph 5 of the draft counterstatement.|

    The draft text of the counterstatement will be presented by the British Presidency at the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) this Wednesday.

    According to the same diplomatic sources the draft text that has been so far agreed upon by Britain and France also states that ''the EU and its member states agree on the need to support the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General to bring about a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem and that just and lasting settlement will contribute to peace stability and harmonious relations in the region''.

    ''Prior recognition of all member states is a necessary component of accession. Accordingly, the EU underlines the importance it attaches to the normalization of relation between Turkey and all EU member states as soon as possible," the text adds.

    The text of the Union's response to Turkey's unilateral declaration had been discussed last Wednesday at COREPER level, but the 25 Permanent Representatives had not reached an agreement on its wording.

    [29] Cyprus says French points for EU counterstatement positive

    NICOSIA, 13/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides confirmed on Monday that the EU British Presidency and France held consultations on the content of a counterstatement to be issued by the EU as a response to Turkey's declaration of not recognizing the Republic of Cyprus, noting that the French government immediately briefed the Republic of Cyprus on these consultations.

    ''We have been briefed on the points on which France has insisted,'' he said, adding that Cyprus thinks that these are positive.

    ''Whether they are enough or not is something to be examined,'' he noted, recalling that this issue will be discussed on Wednesday at the Committee of the EU member states' Permanent Representatives (COREPER).

    The Spokesman noted that Cyprus' diplomatic services aim at achieving the best possible result to protect the interests of the Republic of Cyprus and expressed hope that the content of the counterstatement will make possible its unanimous adoption by the EU ''without offending the rights of the EU in general, or of an EU member state or of the Republic of Cyprus.''

    To a remark that the British Presidency chose to hold bilateral consultations with certain member states but not with the Republic of Cyprus which is directly affected by this issue, the Spokesman said that ''it is fortunately or unfortunately a privilege of the Presidency to consult with any member state it wants to,'' noting that ''there was nothing implying that the Republic of Cyprus was ignored.''

    He said the positions of the Republic of Cyprus were explicitly outlined during COREPER's meeting and the recent General Affairs Council in Newport.

    ''Our positions continue to be on the table and of course there will be further consultations and discussions during the next COREPER meeting,'' he added.

    He noted that ''efforts are continuing, deliberations are going on and the government, our diplomatic services, pursue the best possible result to protect the interests of the Republic of Cyprus.''

    Chrysostomides expressed appreciation for the efforts by many states, including France, ''for its insistence to have a counterstatement that will respond to the principles and goals of the EU in general.''

    Invited to comment on reports about deliberations between the British Presidency and France, he said that it is a fact that there are consultations between the Presidency and member states.

    He also noted that the French government tried to have some points included in the statement, adding however that the final text will be concluded during the COREPER meeting.

    ''If there is unanimity this will be the best development, if there is no unanimity then probably an extraordinary General Affairs Council will take place on September 25 or 26,'' he added.

    Asked if there has been an agreement between Britain and France, the Spokesman said that there is no reason for a special agreement between the two countries, as deliberations will take place amongst the EU 25.

    He said that France outlined some points that it deems necessary to be included in the counterstatement, adding that it seems that these points will be included.

    Chrysostomides said that it is of no interest whether Britain and France have reached an agreement.

    ''What is expected is to have an agreement and unanimity at COREPER,'' he added.

    [30] House President criticizes British stance on Cyprus

    London, 13/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot House of Representatives President and General Secretary of leftwing AKEL political party Demetris Christofias has criticized the stance of the United Kingdom regarding the Cyprus problem and called on the Greek community in Britain to step up efforts towards changing this stance.

    Furthermore, he called on the people of Cyprus to make a joint and collective effort to defend the Republic of Cyprus and create the preconditions for a settlement of the political problem the soonest possible.

    Addressing a political gathering in London on Sunday, organized by the AKEL division in Britain, Christofias referred to the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and pointed out the need for collective action of the political forces.

    He added that Britain ''has always been behind moves against Cyprus,'' noting that ''this role has become a leading one with Britain taking on the EU presidency.''

    Christofias said ''London is now in bilateral contact with France with a view to weaken the French position with the argument that the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus will be tabled on the eve of Turkey's accession.''

    In July, Ankara signed the protocol extending its customs union to the ten new EU member states, including Cyprus, but accompanied the signature with a statement saying it did not recognize the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey has been occupying the island's northern third since it invaded it in 1974.

    France has said that Turkey should recognize Cyprus before the start of its accession negotiations, scheduled for October 3.

    Replying to questions, Christofias said ''the general desire is for Turkey to proceed towards the EU,'' noting that ''this course could act as a catalyst for a viable, functional and as just as possible solution.''

    ''However, if Turkey continues Cyprus' occupation undisturbed, things will be entirely different,'' Christofias pointed out.

    He added that ''we must collectively analyze the whole situation and measure our potential,'' noting that ''although our aim is not to veto Turkey, we must not rule out any option, if that is deemed necessary.''

    [31] Commerce Minister: We allow Turkish goods; Turkey should do the same

    NICOSIA, 13/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Turkish products are being imported to Cyprus via third countries for many years now, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism George Lillikas said on Monday, invited to comment on Turkish Cypriot press information, that trade transactions between Cyprus and Turkey have reached the amount of three million Cyprus pounds in the first five months of 2005.

    ''For many years now Turkish products have been coming to Cyprus mainly via third countries as well as via Greece. This is nothing new," Lillikas said, stressing that Turkey should lift its embargoes against Cypriot goods, ships and airplanes and thus fully implement the Customs Union Protocol it has already signed.

    ''We will insist, on our part, on the full implementation of the Customs Union Protocol that Turkey has signed. This would mean that Cypriots would also be able to export directly their goods to the Turkish market. We insist that the Cypriot ships should be able to reach Turkish ports, and Cypriot airplanes to land to Turkish airports," he said.

    He added that the Republic of Cyprus has never raised an issue for a non recognition of Turkey, whereas Turkey still refuses to recognize Cyprus.

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