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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-09-22

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

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

September 22, 2004

CONTENTS

  • [01] President Papoulias receives visiting Serbia and Montenegro president
  • [02] President sends clear message to FYROM over name issue; talks about EU-Turkish relations, Cyprus and the Balkans
  • [03] Region closer to attaining political, social stability, President Papoulias says in interview with Bulgarian newspaper
  • [04] Athens mayor meets Serb President Svetozar Marovic
  • [05] EU approves counterstatement on Turkey's declaration
  • [06] EU counter-declaration to Ankara fully meets targets, diplomatic sources say
  • [07] No question of recognition before solution to Cyprus issue, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman says
  • [08] Deputy FM Valynakis addresses Security Council thematic conference on conflict prevention
  • [09] Deputy FM Valynakis continues meetings on sidelines of UN's 60th General Assembly
  • [10] Minister gives wide-ranging interview to Russian news agency
  • [11] PM to meet Serbia and Montenegro president, depart for Paris on Thursday
  • [12] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos holds talks with PM, former president Stephanopoulos
  • [13] Gov't spokesman denies existence of Paleokrassas 'dossier'
  • [14] Pavlopoulos, Meimarakis detail position on changing local gov't election law
  • [15] PASOK party leader chairs Political Council meeting on local administration
  • [16] ND Secretary on state carrier, public utilities
  • [17] PASOK deputies call for briefing on PPC
  • [18] Draft bill on armed forces recruitment tabled in Parliament
  • [19] Africa's development the focus of Athens conference
  • [20] Memorial service for Bakoyannis held
  • [21] Lawsuit filed by Nation's Great School against Turkish state enters final phase
  • [22] Olympic Airways discussed in meeting between Karamanlis, Alavanos
  • [23] Gov't says more than one party interested in OA
  • [24] PM addresses event organised by National Greek Trade Confederation
  • [25] Dep. finance minister calls for intensified efforts to collect taxes
  • [26] Govt imports fines totalling 672,000 on petrol stations
  • [27] Super Market Federation expresses dissatisfaction over publicity given to fines
  • [28] Gov't again pledges to keep retirement age intact
  • [29] Authorities seek end to informal share purchase credit
  • [30] Audiovisual Media Institute puts out report on radio market in Greece since 1987
  • [31] FTSE Group upgrades Greek capital market
  • [32] Greek stocks down 1% on Wednesday
  • [33] Gov't determined to upgrade services of public transportation
  • [34] Free rides in Athens mass transit systems on Thursday
  • [35] Commissioner Stavros Dimas presents EU strategy on limiting atmospheric pollution
  • [36] Nation's top leadership on hand for event honoring 19th century benefactor Zappas
  • [37] Exhibition on Xenakis begins this week in Athens
  • [38] UNESCO World Heritage exhibit opens in Athens on Thursday
  • [39] Another migrant smuggling incident reported on Samos
  • [40] Cyprus satisfied with EU statement and negotiating framework
  • [41] Foreign minister says EU statement very satisfying

  • [01] President Papoulias receives visiting Serbia and Montenegro president

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday received Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic, who is carrying out an official visit to Greece at his invitation.

    Talks between Papoulias and Marovic covered the Euro-Atlantic prospects of the Balkan countries, the future of Kosovo, bilateral relations and international affairs.

    Replying to questions concerning the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Marovic said the countries involved should resolve the differences between them.

    "The powers come and go. We who remain here must find a viable solution for the good of the region," he noted.

    Papoulias reiterated Greece's position, describing the proposal put forward by special UN mediator Matthew Nimetz as a "proposal that can be discussed, though needing correction".

    He said the leadership of FYROM should consider that it was being given a good opportunity to come to the negotiating table, that would benefit its efforts to approach the EU. "This is something that we know must first pass by Greece," he added.

    Both presidents stressed the efforts being made by Serbia and Montenegro to approach with Euro-Atlantic institutions, with Papoulias emphasising Greece's support for Serbia and Montenegro's course.

    Problems such as that of Kosovo could be solved within the European family, Papoulis said, noting that it was not a Serb problem but a problem for the entire Balkan region.

    "Without stability in the region, we cannot talk about peace," he added.

    Marovic stressed the need for a lasting solution to the Kosovo problem and said that this could only be achieved if it arose from an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, without unilateral decisions or solutions imposed by third parties.

    He also noted that Serbia's leadership was determined to continue cooperating with the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    Regarding bilateral relations with Greece, Marovic said that they were was "model friendship" between the two countries and said that Belgrade's main priority was the start of negotiations in October for the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union.

    [02] President sends clear message to FYROM over name issue; talks about EU-Turkish relations, Cyprus and the Balkans

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias sent a clear message to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Wednesday night, warning Skopje that the country's European prospects will be directly linked to the resolution of a dispute with Greece over the republic's official name.

    Papoulias pointed out that the European Commission is due to make its recommendation concerning FYROM's accession prospects and that this will be examined by the European Council next December, during an official dinner in honour of visiting Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic on Wednesday evening.

    The president stressed Greece's steadfast support for FYROM's European course as contributing decisively to the region's stability and prosperity, but emphasised that its European prospects are directly linked to a resolution of the problem of the neighbouring republic's name.

    Papoulias also noted that the solution depends entirely on the leadership of Skopje, which must rise to the occasion and take into account the consequences for [FYROM's] European course.

    The president also raised the issue of Skopje's rejection of a proposal put forward by UN special mediator Matthew Nimetz last spring, noting that FYROM's intransigency on the name issue has peaked in spite of support from Greece on many levels, and that it undermines the prestige of the United Nations.

    Further, Papoulias said that Greece is concerned by FYROM's "insistence on monopolising the name 'Macedonia'" and indulging in "hostile propaganda against Greece".

    Finally, the president noted that Greece has exhausted all margins for flexibility and conciliation and has ignored the political cost in making major steps toward finding a mutually acceptable solution on the name issue, as dictated by the interim agreement that he himself had signed as foreign minister in 1995.

    Greece objects to FYROM's use of the name 'Republic of Macedonia', adopted as the small state's name when it broke away from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, on the grounds that it is shared by a northern Greek province of the same name and might give rise to expansionist claims against Greece in the future. Greece also disputes the claim of FYROM's Slav population to be descended from the ancient Macedonian general Alexander the Great, who was born in the Greek province of Macedonia.

    Turkey' EU prospects, Cyprus issue: Papoulias also referred to Greece's support of Turkey's EU aspirations, but noted that Turkey will need to continue reforms until it fully embraces EU principles and values.

    Referring to Turkey's unilateral statement refusing to recognise Cyprus, an EU member state, Papoulias said that following the EU's agreement on a response to Turkey, the latter must realise that accession negotiations require full recognition of all EU member states.

    The president also referred to the Cyprus issue, emphasising that Greece supports the resumption of UN-sponsored talks based on the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan in order to find a functionable and viable solution to the problem.

    He noted, however, that any new initiative must be well prepared in order to ensure the maximum probability of success.

    Balkans: Regarding the referendum that will decide the future of Serbia and Montenegro, Papoulias said that Greece will respect the people's decision that will be voiced under democratic conditions.

    He added that Greece, as well as the EU, believe that a united Serbia and Montenegro is the most effective way for the two peoples to achieve European integration.

    Finally, the president also referred to Kosovo, emphasising the need for ensuring the safety of non-Albanian groups, and particularly Serbs, living in Kosovo.

    He also underlined the need for the adoption of measures that will ensure the safe return of thousands of refugees and displaced people to the region.

    On the other hand, Papoulias added, Serbs in Kosovo must become actively involved in the region's political procedures and must grab the opportunity to have a voice in issues that concern them.

    [03] Region closer to attaining political, social stability, President Papoulias says in interview with Bulgarian newspaper

    BELGRADE, 22/9/2005 (ANA/N. Pelpas)

    Greece's President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias assessed that "our region is coming increasingly closer to attaining political and social stability", in an interview appearing in Wednesday's edition of the Belgrade-based newspaper Politika in light of Serbia-Montenegro president Svetozar Marovic's arrival in Athens on the same day for an official visit.

    "After a series of incessant and painful conflicts and crises along a long and difficult road, I believe that our region is closer to attaining social and political stability and economic growth," Papoulias said.

    He said the anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre on July 11, when the leaders of the former deadly enemies gathered side-by-side and declared their volition that such events would not be repeated, "proved that healing the wounds of the past is possible", but added that "hard work is necessary", noting that the rate of reforms was not always satisfactory.

    Turning to Greece's relations with Serbia and Montenegro, he said that after a common, historic centuries-long course, those relations have become very close and firm, noting that, in the political sector, those contacts were frequent, and the two sides shared similar views.

    Regarding economic relations, Papoulias said there has been a significant development, and it was anticipated that the improvement in the investment climate in Serbia-Montenegro would contribute in that direction.

    [04] Athens mayor meets Serb President Svetozar Marovic

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyiannis met the President of Serbia-Montenegro Svetozar Marovic, who is currently on an official visit to Greece, at the Municipal Mansion on Wednesday and awarded him the Gold Medal of Value of the city of Athens.

    Addressing President Marovic, Bakoyiannis said "we firmly believe that the future of all of the Balkan countries, a future of peace, prosperity and cooperation, lies in Europe. Greece is struggling to enable this to take place as soon as possible and to this end it is contributing with all the means at its disposal, both political and economic."

    She further said "you are a distinguished personality which Athens honours, as well as its relation with the two countries comprising New Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro."

    [05] EU approves counterstatement on Turkey's declaration

    BRUSSELS, 22/9/2005 (ANA/V.Demiris)

    The EU officially approved on Wednesday the countersta-tement of its 25 members to the Turkish unilateral declaration of not recognising the Republic of Cyprus.

    The text was agreed on Tuesday after negotiations between the EU British Presidency and Cyprus, and was presented Wednesday morning to the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), where no member state objected to its content.

    The text was then approved in writing and the EU Presidency will circulate it as an EU statement.

    After the approval of the counterstatement, COREPER looked into the Commission proposal for the framework of accession negotiations with Turkey, scheduled to begin on October 3. Discussions were expected to continue in the next few deys with the purpose of enabling the "25" to reach an agreement before the beginning of accession negotiations with Turkey on October 3.

    Meanwhile, the relevant Commissioner responsible for enlargement Oli Ren expressed his satisfaction over the reaching of an agreement on the EU's response to Turkey over Cyprus, in a written statement here.

    Ren spoke of a "balanced and reasonable result", pointing out that this agreement paves the way for the "smooth" adoption of the negotiating framework and the beginning of accession negotiations with Turkey on October 3.

    The EU Commissioner also stressed that on June 29 the Commission had proposed a strict negotiating framework to member-states, implementing conclusions reached at the European Council in December 2004, adding that this proposal takes into consideration all the concerns and provides a strong basis for fair negotiations with Turkey.

    Lastly, Ren appealed to member-states to proceed with the adoption of the negotiating framework as soon as possible.

    [06] EU counter-declaration to Ankara fully meets targets, diplomatic sources say

    NEW YORK, 22/9/2005 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)

    The content of the EU's counter-declaration to Turkey's unilateral statement that it continues to refuse to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, which is an EU member country, fully meets the targets that had been set out by the Greek government, Greek diplomatic sources said in New York.

    The EU counter-declaration was also welcomed by the Greek government in Athens on Wednesday, with government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos describing it as a "successful conclusion" reached after a long, difficult and painstaking process, which the government saw as particularly significant.

    Diplomats in New York said that it was an "important development" both with respect to the gradual monitoring of Turkey in its European aspirations, and to the efforts for achieving a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the European principles.

    The diplomatic source was referring to a tentative agreement reached by the EU committee of permanent representatives (COREPER) in Brussels during an urgent meeting on Tuesday on the text of the EU's counter-declaration, which was expected to be adopted on Wednesday.

    The key points in the counter-declaration text include EU rejection of Turkey's unilateral declaration that it does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus; Turkey is clearly required to fully implement the extended Customs Union agreement with all 10 new EU member states, including Cyprus; and that Turkey's failure to fulfill its obligations vis-a-vis the Customs Union agreement will negatively impact its accession talks with the European Union.

    On July 29, Ankara signed 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. In tandem, Ankara also submitted a separate, unilateral declaration stating that it refused to recognise the Cyprus Republic and that its ports and airports would remain closed to Cypriot ships and planes.

    The same diplomatic source said that all the points/targets set out by Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos during a radio interview on September 1, vis-a-vis the EU Council of Foreign Ministers' informal meeting and the COREPER meeting, for inclusion in the counter-declaration have been attained.

    The targets set out by Koumoutsakos at the time included explicit deploration of the Turkish declaration itself and of Ankara's volition to make such a declaration, namely that it does not recognise an EU member country; explicit statement of the fact that such actions do not produce legitimate results; clear mention of the need for implementation of the Protocol; and a clear-cut message to Turkey that only the Republic of Cyprus and its elected (Greek Cypriot) government were recognised by the EU and the international community in general as subjects of international law.

    In Athens, main opposition PASOK party press officer Nikos Athanassakis said that the text of the counter-declaration "fell short of the circustances, expectations and prospects", and accused the government of celebrating whereas it had not succeeded in taking advantage of the "advantages our country had secured up until 18 months ago" when the ruling New Democracy party took over the government from PASOK.

    He said the outcome of the negotiations, over which the government was celebrating, in essence constituted a "disorderly retreat" on the part of the Greek government, and was a direct consequence of prime minister Costas Karamanlis' public statement in New York on the non-use of its right of veto "which in essence put an end to the negotiation" (on the text of the counter-declaration), and a statement with which the premier "surrendered his arms".

    PASOK, SYN criticise gov't acceptance of EU counter-declaration to Turkey: The European Union's counter-declaration to Turkey's statement that it does not recognise EU member Cyprus was described as a "disorderly retreat" for the Greek government by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday. The EU counter-declaration was also criticised in an announcement by the left-wing Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party, which said the British EU presidency's "improper and unacceptable stance" had prevented the formulation of a strong statement.

    Speaking after a meeting of PASOK's Political Council, Papandreou said the government was "once more waxing triumphant over a disorderly retreat on Euro-Turkish issues" and that, instead of fighting to the end, had given up in New York before the final battle.

    The announcement by SYN political bureau member Panos Trigazis said that "the counter-declaration agreed by the 25 EU member-states in response to Turkey's provocative statement that it refused to recognise the Cyprus Republic effectively postponed the requirement for Turkey to meet its obligations to the EU".

    "The Greek government behaves as though Turkey's [EU] accession course will act as an 'automatic pilot' for a solution to the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish problems. The next year will be especially crucial. No complacency is permissible, nor the absence of initiatives by the governments of Greece and Cyprus," Trigazis added.

    [07] No question of recognition before solution to Cyprus issue, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman says

    ANKARA, 22/9/2005 (ANA/A. Ambatzis)

    Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Namik Tan said on Wednesday there was no question of recognition before a comprehensive solution is given to the issue of Cyprus.

    "There is no question of recognition for Turkey, before a comprehensive solution is given to the issue of Cyprus in the framework of the UN," the spokesman said, commenting on statements made by his Greek counterpart George Koumou-tsakos on the content of the European Union's counter-statement.

    Speaking to the Turkish television channel CNN Turk, Tan said that Ankara "will communicate its reactions on the content of the counter-statement very soon and after relevant assessments have been completed."

    [08] Deputy FM Valynakis addresses Security Council thematic conference on conflict prevention

    NEW YORK, 22/9/2005 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)

    Lasting peace can be achieved only if the needs of the peoples are adequately provided for and their views and voices are heard, Greece's deputy foreign minister Yannis Valyniakis told a special session of the UN Security Council, representing Greece as a non-permament member of the Council for the two-year 2005-2006 term.

    Addressing a thematic session on the role of the society of citizens in the preventin of conflicts and the peaceful settlement of differences, Valynakis paid tribute to the role played by the UN in averting conflicts worldwide.

    "The prevention of violent conflicts is at the crux of the UN's mandate, in order to save the coming generations from theplague of war," Valynakis said, noting that "in recent years may efforts have been made to improve the UN's effectiveness in this area, so that we can move from the policy of 'reaction to conflicts' to a policy of 'prevention of conflicts'," he said.

    Valynakis stressed that prevention of conflicts was a difficult and complex effort that required the participation of many sides.

    Today, he added, that duty fell not only on the national governments and the United Nations, but also on the society of citizens, which could play a vital role in conflict prevention through an independent analysis of all the facts of a specific situation, tackling the root causes of a conflict in its initial stages, and informing and building awareness of the peoples on the horrors of war, so that there can be political volition and action for prevention.

    The deputy minister emphasised the importance of the local and regional organisations to such an effort, noting that the UN should take their views into account in the forging its policy on conflict prevention. The Security Council, in particular, needed to keep itself informed on those views.

    Valynakis stressed that Greece fully supported the UN efforts.

    [09] Deputy FM Valynakis continues meetings on sidelines of UN's 60th General Assembly

    NEW YORK, 22/9/2005 (ANA/P.Panagiotou)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis is continuing his meetings in New York on the sidelines of the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly held at the organisation's headquarters.

    At 2 p.m. local time on Wednesday, Valynakis will meet with the UN special envoy Kai Eide for an overall assessment of the implementation of the UN criteria in Kosovo.

    He will then attend the conference on Implementation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and will then meet with Montenegro's Foreign Minister Miodrag Vlahovic.

    On Thursday, Valynakis will meet with CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth and will later address the CTBT conference.

    Later on Thursday, Valynakis will depart for Washington DC where he will meet with US officials to discuss EU-US relations and the situation in Southeast Europe.

    He will meet with Judith Ansley, Special Advisor to the President on European Affairs on Thursday, while on Friday he will meet with Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State - European Affairs; and Matthew Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

    [10] Minister gives wide-ranging interview to Russian news agency

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis has given a wide-ranging interview to Russia's RIA-Novosti news agency before a meeting on September 27-30 in Moscow of a ministerial committee from the two countries.

    The minister also spoke of a business delegation that Greece is sending to Russia, timed to coincide with the meeting, and the largest Athens has ever sent abroad.

    Stylianidis outlined contacts he is to make in the Russian capital, and meetings set for Agricultural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos and Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias.

    In addition, the minister welcomed progress in a project involving Greece, Russia and Bulgaria to build a pipeline that will carry Russian oil to Greece via Burgas in Bulgaria.

    He also noted the increasing frequency of contact between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Russian President Vladimir Putin; and Greek aid sent to Beslan to help school reconstruction.

    [11] PM to meet Serbia and Montenegro president, depart for Paris on Thursday

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is due to meet visiting Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic at his offices on Thursday morning at 10:30, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos announced.

    The premier is scheduled to leave for Paris at 16:30 on Thursday.

    [12] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos holds talks with PM, former president Stephanopoulos

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis received Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Maximos Mansion on Wednesday who, according to reports, expressed his satisfaction over the government's moves which resulted in the crisis at the Jerusalem Patriarchate being resolved.

    However, the reports said that the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed dissatisfaction over developments concerning the Pope's scheduled visit to the Phanar in Istanbul.

    Vartholomeos also held talks with former president Kostis Stephanopoulos, who said that it is always a pleasure for him to hold talks with the Ecumenical Patriarch and reminded of a promise they had given to each other, when he was still president, that they will continue to meet.

    At noon, Vartholomeos attended a luncheon given by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and the Synod in the presence of Education Minister Marieta Yiannakou and Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis.

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos given honourary doctorate by Pantios University: Visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos was given an honourary doctorate by the Athens Pantios University's Psychology Faculty during a ceremony held on Wednesday night.

    Speaking during the event, psychology professor Fotini Tsalikoglou said Vartholomeos is the father of Orthodoxy all over the world and the spiritual leader who is resisting the nationalisation of religion.

    Accepting the honour bestowed upon the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Vartholomeos said that the flame of tradition and faith is kept alight at the Phanar.

    The ceremony was attended by former prime minister Costas Simitis, many Parliamentary deputies, former ministers and the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.

    [13] Gov't spokesman denies existence of Paleokrassas 'dossier'

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Wednesday denied that Public Power Corporation (PPC) chief Yiannis Paleokrassas had produced dossier of evidence implicating PPC board members of graft during his meeting with the premier on Tuesday.

    Responding to questions concerning the alleged information, Roussopoulos answered "There is no such dossier. Certain cases having been referred by Mr. Paleokrassas directly to the public prosecutor."

    "Taking this opportunity, I want to categorically state that the prime minister has not issued any invitation of plea to anyone claiming to have evidence to submit this to justice - this is a standing order of the prime minister toward any member of the government or the wider governmental structure," he added.

    [14] Pavlopoulos, Meimarakis detail position on changing local gov't election law

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    The government's intent to change the election law for next year's local government ballots, especially the provision allowing mayoral and prefectural candidates' election in the first round with less than 50 percent, was outlined during a high-profile event here Wednesday evening -- sponsored by the Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy.

    Both Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos as well ruling New Democracy (ND) Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis, the most outspoken proponent of the change, reiterated that the position is well-known pre-election pledge by the party that will be implemented.

    Meimarakis, in fact, countered recent sharp criticism by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, who termed the proposal an old-style political "trick" that serves ND's partisan strategy for the 2006 local government elections.

    In a terse reply, the ND secretary said Papandreou's grandfather and namesake, when the latter served as prime minister, changed the local government election laws to suit his party's needs only months (May) before such a ballot in 1964, while, in fact, setting the limit for election in the first round at 40 percent.

    "George Papandreou didn't know what his grandfather did. Either he agrees that what happened then (1964) was injurious to democracy, or he should take back his criticism of ND," Meimarakis told an audience of mostly party cadres, especially local government officials, at a downtown Athens hotel. Beyond ND cadres, a notable attendee was local governments association (KEDKE) president and Kozani Mayor Paris Koukoulopoulos.

    Pavlopoulos, a constitutional law expert, also emphasised that a mayoral or prefectural candidate's election with less than 50 percent during the first Sunday -- most reports have unofficially put the government's target at 42 percent -- precludes second round "backroom political dealings" or a "dilution" of a subsequent office-holder's policy programmes. He called the current system "opportunistic", dismissing similarly worded opposition criticism.

    Finally, the minister said it's inconceivable for the country's prime minister to exercise far-reaching executive power within a stable government by garnering 41 percent of the electorate, while local office-holders must scurry to a second round with anything less than 50 percent.

    [15] PASOK party leader chairs Political Council meeting on local administration

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou chaired a meeting of his party's Political Council on Wednesday, during which PASOK's policy in the local administration sector was discussed, and said afterwards that with local administration being the first issue PASOK is beginning to unravel its proposals on a series of major issues concerning the Greek citizen.

    Papandreou said the discussion at the Political Council was about support for local administration as an implement in the change in relations between the state and the citizen.

    The PASOK leader also said that "at a time when PASOK is proposing local administration free of centralisation and partisan embrace, the New Democracy party is wanting to lead local societies to unchecked partisanship with changes in the electoral system".

    [16] ND Secretary on state carrier, public utilities

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Secretary of ruling New Democracy's Central Committee Vangelis Meimarakis told reporters on Wednesday that all ministries are in line with the general guideline set by the Inner Cabinet, denying allegations that there is a divergence of views within the administration.

    Meimarakis' comments were made as he exited Maximos Mansion after a lengthy meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Referring to the sale of ailing state carrier Olympic Airlines (OA), Meimarakis said that no announcements can be made while the government is in the middle of negotiations with interested buyers.

    He said that Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis and other responsible ministers are handling the issue "successfully, responsibly and wisely".

    Asked about the state-run water company EYDAP, Meimarakis said that neither privatisation nor voluntary retirement schemes are being discussed.

    He added that each public utility constitutes an individual case, but they are all in need of restructuring and 'cleaning up.'

    Finally, Meimarakis clarified that when speaking of 'instituti-onal changes' he is referring to changes as they apply to newly-hired employees.

    [17] PASOK deputies call for briefing on PPC

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Ten main opposition PASOK deputies on Wednesday tabled a letter requesting a briefing on the situation at the Public Power Corp. by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas.

    [18] Draft bill on armed forces recruitment tabled in Parliament

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    A draft bill on the recruitment of Greeks into the Armed Forces for mandatory national service and related articles was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday by the national defence ministry.

    Among others, the bill provides for the reduction of the length of army service for members of large families - defined as those with three or more children - and the abolition of exemption from army service for clergy and monks.

    It also allows those who have not reported for national service and live abroad to obtain a five-year passport.

    [19] Africa's development the focus of Athens conference

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    A conference co-organised by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and the British and African embassies in Greece on Wednesday focused on the challenges Africa faces in terms of its development.

    "Greece succeeded in increasing its development aid towards Africa and we hope that this upward trend will continue in 2005," Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis told conference attendees.

    In the past year, Greece donated 1.8 million in humanitarian aid and 1.1 million in development aid to Africa.

    Stylianidis acknowledged that the international community's efforts to fight poverty in Africa have fallen short of expectations.

    But he referred to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' pledge to the United Nations Security Council and the UN's plenary session that Greece is more than willing to contribute to the fight against poverty worldwide and to support Africa's struggles for a better future.

    According to Stylianidis, Greece gave 1 million to regions affected by the tsunami in 2004, with a major portion going to Somalia, Republic of Niger and west Africa.

    "We do not want charity from the developed world; we want investment and development," Dapo Oiwule, head of the London-based Centre for African Policy and Peace Strategy (CAPPS) said.

    He asked that Africa be represented on the UN Security Council in light of the organisation's reforms.

    ELIAMEP Director General Theodore Couloumbis said that Africa's problems can be witnessed everywhere.

    "Africa is in New Orleans, it's in the Balkans. Africa is all around us," he said, emphasising the extent to which Africa is in need of aid from the rest of the world.

    Other speakers at the conference included ELIAMEP Research Director Thanos Dokos and Sotiris Moussouris, former assistant to the UN Secretary General.

    [20] Memorial service for Bakoyannis held

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    A memorial service was held on Wednesday in a Plaka district cathedral, central Athens, for assassinated New Democracy deputy Pavlos Bakoyannis, who was slain by the notorious "November 17" terrorist group 16 years ago to the day.

    Besides the Bakoyannis and Mitsotakis families -- Bakoyannis was the husband of Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyanni and the son-in-law of former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis -- others in attendance included Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis and ND secretary Vangelis Meimarakis, among others.

    [21] Lawsuit filed by Nation's Great School against Turkish state enters final phase

    ISTANBUL, 22/9/2005 (ANA/A. Kourkoulas)

    The lawsuit filed by the Nation's Great School against the Turkish state at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has entered its final phase. The School is requesting from the court to order the return of property confiscated with procedures based on a decision taken in 1974, which annuled all asset transfers to minority charitable foundations after 1936.

    The Great School's lawsuit is being jointly considered with a similar one lodged by the Armenian Surp Pirgic Hospital.

    Both foundations claim that the Turkish administration's act is contrary to the clause of the European Human Rights Pact which consolidates the right of property ownership.

    Both sides presented supplementary views during the ECHR's session and the possibility of a "friendly settlement" was examined.

    [22] Olympic Airways discussed in meeting between Karamanlis, Alavanos

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday received Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) president Alekos Alavanos at his office for a meeting focusing directly on ailing national carrier Olympic Airway's (OA) future, an issue that shot to the political forefront over the past week.

    The meeting came exactly one week after the European Commission approved a recommendation by Commissioner Jacques Barrot demanding that OA return several hundreds of millions of euros in illegal subsidies -- the exact amount has not been determined -- back to the Greek state.

    Afterwards, Alavanos told reporters that he asked the prime minister to establish a committee of inquiry vis-a-vis OA, before again stressing the need for a "national carrier with high standards of quality" -- a standing proposal by his party. He added that Karamanlis did not dispute the reasoning for setting up such a body, although the premier did express reservations on whether such a development is possible, and when.

    The Synaspismos leader also cited two reasons for keeping debt-laden OA as Greece's flag carrier, namely, flight safety and a combination of economic, development, tourism and national security concerns.

    "We do not want, under any circumstances, for OA to wind up in the hands of companies such as the one that has a pre-agreement to purchase it (OA); ones (companies) that are in the service of Israeli and American capital," he said.

    On his part, Transport Minister Mihalis Liapis, who also attended the meeting, warned against a polarisation of views regarding OA's fate during what he called the "sensitive period" ahead of the tender's completion.

    [23] Gov't says more than one party interested in OA

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    The government on Wednesday was again called on to comment on the ongoing developments with state-owned Olympic Airways (OA), as the government spokesman noted that more than one party is interested in the national carrier.

    Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the government has an ongoing relationship with its international privatisation consultant, Lazard, whereas the US-based York Capital remains a "preferential interlocutor", given that a memorandum of cooperation exists between the government and the investment scheme.

    "Therefore, we first talk with them (York/Olympic Investors), with discussions possibly continuing with other potential (OA) buyers," he said.

    In unrelated development, Roussopoulos again pointed to recent comments by Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias regarding the state-run water and sewerage utility for greater Athens and Piraeus (EYDAP), namely, that the utility's public sector structure will not be altered, and also, that there is no issue of an early retirement plan being proposed.

    Nevertheless, the spokesman added that every major state-run enterprise "is a separate case".

    Greek Communist party underlines opposition to OA privatization: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called for a stop to all efforts for the privatisation of the national carrier Olympic Airlines, formerly Olympic Airways, and said that no part of the airline should be sold or closed down, in an announcement on Wednesday.

    KKE slammed both the government and main opposition PASOK for presenting privatisation as the only possible solution, urging OA's workforce to "close their ears to extortionist dilemmas and struggle with determination for their rights".

    [24] PM addresses event organised by National Greek Trade Confederation

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing an event organised by the National Greek Trade Confederation (ESEE) on Wednesday on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, said that the strategy of reforms to put an end to disarray in the market will continue and the government aims at proceeding along this "path" with dialogue, understanding and a composition of views together with social partners.

    Karamanlis said our era is one of great opportunities, as well as of pressures, and for this reason interventions made so far are not enough. He added that many problems do not suit the country and its society and the goal is for longstanding claims by the commercial world to become a tangible reality soon.

    Speaking during the event, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas sent a message to those standing in the way of the creation of a new framework for trade, saying that "the implementation of the laws concerns all."

    He outlined changes and reforms to strengthen and support trade and business, referring to institutional interventions which modernise trade and to policies on taxation, incentives for development and the access of small and very small businesses to financing.

    [25] Dep. finance minister calls for intensified efforts to collect taxes

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Deputy Finance Minister Adam Regouzas on Wednesday urged tax bureau directors to intensify efforts for collecting taxes and money owed by taxpayers, especially with a focus on enterprises.

    In a meeting with bureau from the greater Athens region, Regouzas pressed for stepped up efforts to audit enterprises and to seek a faster collection of money owed by taxpayers. The Greek minister also called for a more efficient use of staff in tax bureaus and to prepare their departments for the introduction of electronic transactions with enterprises. Regouzas also said tax agencies should improve services offered to citizens.

    The Greek government is suffering from slower than expected tax revenues during 2005 with revenue rates lower than budget forecasts.

    [26] Govt imports fines totalling 672,000 on petrol stations

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Development ministry on Wednesday imposed fines totalling 671,999 euros on a number of petrol stations around the country for violating existing fuel quality standards set by the government.

    Speaking to reporters, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said the ministry has imposed a total of 2,540,984 euros in fines to petrol stations this year and stressed that "protecting consumers is the main axis of ministry policy. We support legal trade, encourage healthy business activity, but we intensify inspections to combat fuel adultarion".

    [27] Super Market Federation expresses dissatisfaction over publicity given to fines

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Federation of Super Markets of Greece (SESME) expressed its dissatisfaction on Wednesday over publicity given to fines imposed by prefectures or other auditing agencies, due to differences in prices of commodities listed on the shelves of super markets and prices charged by cash registers.

    An announcement by SESME said that as a result "the naive thought is created that some retail market businessmen are deceiving the consumer and, indeed, deliberately."

    SESME added that super markets are businesses having many outlets and goods, which often exceed 30,000 code numbers. Therefore, the possibility of the price of a commodity being registered mistakenly is attributed to a statistical mistake and does not concern the lack of business ethics.

    [28] Gov't again pledges to keep retirement age intact

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Employment and Social Protection Minister Panos Panayioto-poulos said on Wednesday that the government would not raise the pensionable age, as promised.

    Needed was revitalisation of the social insurance system, including pensions, the minister said.

    Underway are long-term talks between the economic and social committee and interested groups that will last beyond the government's four-year term in office, he added.

    [29] Authorities seek end to informal share purchase credit

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    The capital market commission is to begin talks with stock brokerages and other market players on ending an unofficial system of credit for share transactions known as "T+3".

    "T+3 is informal and illegal, and must be eliminated in order to protect the investing public," the commission's head, Alexis Pilavios, told a news conference on Wednesday.

    Under current unofficial practice, an investor may purchase stock and sell them within three or four days without making payment. Pilavios said T+3 deals represent 5-10 percent of daily turnover.

    Abolishing T+3 trade would reinforce margin trading, where capital is borrowed to buy stocks on credit, he added.

    [30] Audiovisual Media Institute puts out report on radio market in Greece since 1987

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Institute of Audiovisual Media (IOM) on Wednesday published a report on the course of radio in Greece since 1987, providing data and information on the development of radio in the country, shifts in audience preferences, trends in the radio market and technological innovations and challenges in the digital era.

    The report also contains extensive data on radio's share of the advertising market since 1987, with comparative figures for state and private radio stations, as well as emerging trends concerning the advertising share of radio stations with differing content.

    [31] FTSE Group upgrades Greek capital market

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    FTSE Group upgraded the Greek capital market citing improving liquidity conditions in the Greek market this year and the successful introduction of a new service "fail trade" in May.

    The international stock market index services company, last week, published its annual report on national stock markets for the year 2006. The Share Index Commission of FTSE based its report to the results of a close cooperation between FTSE Group and stock markets around the world, including a detailed examination of market structures.

    The Athens Stock Exchange and the Capital Markets Commission are fully cooperating on issues noted by the FTSE Commission needing further improvement. These issues cover the delivery of shares, simplifying the use of collective registration accounts, harmonising procedures on principal trading and out-of-market transactions. The Greek Capital Markets Commission is expected to deliver its decisions on the issue soon, the report said.

    ASE president Spyros Kapralos commenting on the report said: "We are satisfied with FTSE's report as it reflects the significant progress made to improving investment environment in Greece. We have done a significant infrastructure job and all parties should help in an effort to fulfil the remaining criteria."

    FTSE Group's head, Mark Makepeace, said:"FTSE acknowledges that during the last 12 months the Athens Stock Exchange has made steps to improve market conditions for foreign investors. We look forward to a further creative discussion and we will continue monitoring progress."

    [32] Greek stocks down 1% on Wednesday

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Greek stocks lost substantial ground on Wednesday as investors liquidated positions in the market following a similar trend in other European markets.

    The composite index fell 1.0 percent to end at 3,211.04 points, with turnover an improved 222.6 million euros.

    Most sector indices ended lower, with the exception of the IT-Solutions and Mineral-Cement indices (up 0.32 percent and 0.03 percent, respectively).

    The Insurance (3.04 pct), Textiles (2.61 pct), Holdings (1.81 pct) and Costructions (1.78 pct) indices suffered the heaviest percentage losses.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.02 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 1.34 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 1.24 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 218 to 60 with another 53 issues unchanged.

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 118.1 million euros

    Bond Market Close: Turnover

    at 3.8 bln euros

  • Spread between Greek and German benchmark 10-year bonds at 20 basis points

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 3.8 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates: Thursday

    Reference buying rates per euro released

    by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.232

    [33] Gov't determined to upgrade services of public transportation

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Greek government is determined to introduce all necessary measures to upgrade public transports so that they become more attractive and safe to passengers, Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, on the occasion of European cities without cars, the Greek minister said the event offered an exceptional opportunity to promote a message in favour of using public transports with the aim to reduce traffic and air pollution in cities. Liapis said passengers would be able to use public transit systems free of charge from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday.

    Liapis said a goal of achieving 50 percent of all transportation with public transports means 2007 was a realistic and feasible plan, since Athens enjoyed an advanced, integrated network of urban transportation offering cheap, fast and safe transporta-tion, friendly to the environment.

    Commenting on the Olympic Airlines issue, Liapis said: "Too much talk is damaging and often creates confusion".

    [34] Free rides in Athens mass transit systems on Thursday

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Mass transit systems in the greater Athens area - buses, trolleys, metro, suburban rail and tram - will offer free rides all day Thursday as part of a weeklong series of events for European Motility Week.

    [35] Commissioner Stavros Dimas presents EU strategy on limiting atmospheric pollution

    BRUSSELS, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Atmospheric pollution causes about 350,000 premature deaths annually, according to an announcement issued by the European Commission on Wednesday on the European Union's strategy to limit atmospheric pollution. The strategy was presented here by the relevant Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

    The announcement said that the strategy in question will reduce the number of premature deaths due to causes related to atmospheric pollution to 230,000 annually by the year 2020.

    Moreover, the strategy is accompanied by a legislative proposal by the Commission which links existing legislations concerning the quality of air to a joint "directive on atmospheric quality."

    The new directive abolishes 50 percent of the previous legislative texts and simplifies control processes. The directive, for the first time, will require from every member-state to limit specific atmospheric pollutants inhaled daily and will set a maximum level of pollutant density permissible.

    [36] Nation's top leadership on hand for event honoring 19th century benefactor Zappas

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Greece's top political, academic and church leadership gathered at the Zappeion Hall near Parliament in downtown Athens on Tuesday evening for an event honoring noted 19th Greek benefactor Evangelis Zappas on the 140th anniversary of his death.

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias led the dignitaries along with visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos. Also in attendance were Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos as well as Economy Minister George Alogo-skoufis.

    Among the many endowments established by Zappas, who hailed from mountainous Epirus, was one to construct the very neo-classical building in which Tuesday's event was held.

    [37] Exhibition on Xenakis begins this week in Athens

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    A three-day exhibition and series of events focusing on the life and works of celebrated composer, mathematician and architect Iannis Xenakis begins on Friday at the Benaki Museum's Pireos Street annex.

    The exhibition is organised under the auspices of the culture ministry.

    [38] UNESCO World Heritage exhibit opens in Athens on Thursday

    Athens, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis and Ambas-sador of the Czech Republic to Greece Gianna Bulenova will be inaugurating the exhibit titled "UNESCO World Heritage - Czech Monuments", at the ministry on Thursday.

    Major historical and natural Czech monuments will be presented during the exhibit, which will run from September 22 through October 6.

    The exhibit is being co-organised by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Athens and UNESCO's Greek branch.

    [39] Another migrant smuggling incident reported on Samos

    SAMOS, 22/9/2005 (ANA)

    Another eight illegal immigrants were intercepted on the eastern Aegean island of Samos early Wednesday morning, the third such incident involving migrant smuggling on the specific island in roughly a week.

    According to reports, all eight are Afghan nationals. The group was spotted on a beach in the Vlamari district of Samos.

    In a related development, a Turkish man was sentenced to 10 years in prison and slapped with a 61,000 fine after a court here convicted him on migrant smuggling charges. The 31-year-old was arrested for ferrying 29 migrants onto the island last Monday.

    Samos remains a favourite "destination" for migrant smugglers moving mostly Third World would-be migrants across a narrow strait separating the island from the Turkish coast.

    [40] Cyprus satisfied with EU statement and negotiating framework

    NICOSIA, 22/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cypriot government on Wednesday expressed its satisfaction with the agreement achieved in Brussels both on the content of the EU counterstatement to the Turkish unilateral declaration of not recognising the Republic of Cyprus and on the negotiating framework for Turkey.

    Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the importance of the counterstatement must not be underestimated, noting that the need to issue this statement emerged from the unacceptable declaration of Turkey.

    He also noted that it has been a common belief of all EU member states that there should be an explicit counterstatement ''and not merely restricted to the first reaction of the British Presidency.''

    Underlining the importance of the counterstatement, the spokesman said that this is a unanimous, political EU decision, taken by all 25 member states ''and has equal importance as the other decisions of the European Councils, taken unanimously'' so the effort to undermine it is not justified.

    ''After a hard, composed and painful political and diplomatic task it seems that we have a conclusion today (Wednesday) in Brussels, in a satisfying way, both as regards the counterstatement to Turkey's declaration, when it signed the adjustment protocol of the Ankara Agreement, and the negotiating framework,'' he added.

    He said the Cypriot government cooperated closely with the Greek government, its diplomatic services, as well as all other EU countries, some more than others, which expressed their views during COREPER meetings, and noted especially the contribution of France.

    Chrysostomides said that counterstatement contains commitments of the 25 EU member states amongst themselves, as well as commitments undertaken with their decision as regards Turkey and ''completes and coexists with the negotiating framework and will determine from now on Turkey's EU accession negotiations course and its anticipated position towards Cyprus.''

    He noted that everyone agrees that linking Turkey with European standards, in the framework of its EU course, would be a catalyst for promoting efforts for a Cyprus settlement and added that Ankara is obliged gradually to adopt EU principles and values and must meet the preconditions outlined by the EU in general, both with the counterstatement and the negotiating framework.

    ''It is hoped that Turkey will fully implement the acquis communautaire and it is obvious what this means for Cyprus,'' he added, noting that there are security valves which some EU states promoted as regards the course of accession negotiations.

    The spokesman said that the content of Ankara's statement has been turned over, as it is a unilateral statement with no legal effect and no consequence on Turkey's obligations deriving from the protocol.

    He noted that is has been secured that Turkey's statement does not give Ankara the right not to fully implement the customs union protocol for Cyprus, and that relevant chapters will not open if there is not full implementation and compliance by Turkey, which will have repercussions on the negotiating process.

    As regards the status of the Republic of Cyprus, there is a full reference that the EU recognises only the Republic of Cyprus, which means that any effort of secession or violence is overturned and reaffirms the illegality of occupation, he added.

    ''In addition, with the views expressed by France, Turkey's obligation to recognise all EU member states is indicated,'' he said, and underlined the phrase regarding the need to normalise relations, ''which means the termination of every abnormality in the relations between Cyprus and Turkey.''

    As regards the Cyprus problem, the spokesman said there is reference to the UN Security Council resolutions and EU principles, while the EU commitment to enhance the UN Secretary General's good offices is expressed.

    Responding to questions, the spokesman said the essence of the Cyprus questions has been included in the negotiating framework, in the

    sense that the EU indicates to Turkey that it must support efforts for a solution.

    Asked if there could have been a better counterstatement, the spokesman said that many things could have been better but what is important is that after hard work there is a result that meets the basic expectations of Cyprus.

    Invited to comment on press reports that Britain had tried to include a provision in the counterstatement by which Cyprus would be committed that certain issues would not open in the framework of Turkey's negotiations, the spokesman said ''there has been such an effort and after our insistence it was excluded and there is no such phrase anywhere now.''

    [41] Foreign minister says EU statement very satisfying

    LARNACA, 22/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou has said the EU counterstatement to the Turkish unilateral declaration of not recognising the Republic of Cyprus was very satisfying.

    Iacovou noted that if Turkey does not implement the Ankara Agreement, then ''we will try to convince our partners that some measures are required to convince Turkey to implement the Agreement for Cyprus as well''.

    Speaking at Larnaca Airport upon his arrival from New York, via London, where he attended the UN World Summit and the 60th Session of the General Assembly, Iacovou said ''we were constantly, regularly and unfailingly in contact with the Permanent Representative'' of the Republic of Cyprus in Brussels, where the issue of the counterstatement was discussed, which wrapped up ''in a very satisfying way, as well as the content of the EU-Turkey negotiating framework.''

    Asked how this counterstatement helps efforts for a Cyprus settlement, Iacovou said that ''we must look into this issue in the broader framework,'' adding that this issue did not start with the Turkish statement.

    He said that both at the Copenhagen and Helsinki European Councils the arguments outlined were that ''Turkey has been approved as a candidate state and it was not possible for anyone to put additional conditions for the commencement of the negotiations with Turkey.''

    Iacovou described as ''a very important step'' the beginning of Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU 25, including the Republic of Cyprus, because, as he explained, ''Turkey has already understood that the Republic of Cyprus will play an important and substantive role in its own negotiations and this will certainly help any talks for a Cyprus settlement.''

    Invited to say when the Ankara Agreement is expected to be implemented, the minister said ''no deadline has been given,'' adding that the Legal Counselor of the EU Council ''has given the opinion that Turkey is obliged to implement the Ankara Agreement in the fields of maritime and aviation as well.''

    He said that it is usual when an agreement is signed to provide a logical period for its implementation and in the EU statement there is a sort of a vague reference to 2006, which begins in three months time.

    Iacovou expressed the belief that if the Agreement is not implemented during the first six months of 2006, then questions will be addressed to Turkey on why it did not implement it for Cyprus.

    Asked how the Republic of Cyprus will react in the case that Turkey does not implement the protocol, Iacovou said ''the Commission will submit a report to the Council and will ask for explanations both from the Commission and the Council.''


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