|Friday, 19 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-09-28
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 28, 2005
 FM: Greek positions vis-a-vis EU-Turkey talks spelled out in counter-statement; optimistic over Oct. 3 start
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Tuesday confirmed that the government will seek an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament regarding a set of closely watched foreign policy issues, following a same-day inner Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Molyviatis, who briefed the inner Cabinet on several foreign policy fronts, added that the national council for foreign policy will also be convened in the next few days.
Additionally, he reiterated previous statements by high-ranking government officials who noted that the EU's accession talks with Turkey will - barring any unforeseen development -- begin on Oct. 3.
«Greece and Cyprus' positions have been absolutely cemented in both texts, the negotiating framework and the EU's counter-statement,» he told reporters after the meeting.
Moreover, he said the beginning of EU-Turkey accession negotiations will gradually -- a word he emphasised -- open the way for a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, «an era of peace and cooperation for the benefit of both peoples and the region».
«If Turkey, at the conclusion of lengthy negotiations, fulfils all the criteria and conditions then it will deserve full European Union membership,» Molyviatis, a veteran Greek diplomat, stressed.
Additionally, the Greek FM referred to certain pending issues involving the negotiation framework for the upcoming EU-Turkey talks, such as a preamble by the EU Presidency at the start of negotiations, although he clarified that such issues are not related to Greek or Cypriot requests.
Finally, he declined to comment on opposition statements criticising the fact that a timetable for resolving Ankara's differences with Athens has not been implemented, noting that such criticism will be answered in Parliament.
FYROM 'name issue': Regarding the 'name issue' with the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Molyviatis reiterated that Athens' positions are well known in the wake of its acceptance -- as the basis for talks leading to resolution of the difference -- of a proposal set out recently by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz.
Asked whether a new proposal was pending, Molyviatis merely noted that Nimetz told him during a recent meeting that he will continue contacts with representatives of both sides.
PASOK reaction: In response to Molyviatis' statements, a top main opposition PASOK deputy sharply criticised the government for choosing, as he said, "a policy entailing the least amount of effort and of surrender".
MP Christos Papoutsis, a former EU commissioner now heading the party's foreign policy desk, said this attitude caused the ND government to accept the Nimetz proposal, which he said put the country into a weaker position as far as negotiations on the FYROM 'name issue' are concerned.
Regarding Turkey, he first mentioned that PASOK supports Turkey's European orientation and its accession prospects, while reiterating, nevertheless, that a "clear road map" for the neighboring country's course towards Europe is necessary.
Along those lines, he cited "secure guarantees and a timetable with specific obligations (on the part of Ankara)" as comprising a "primary condition for this endeavor".
"It's within such a framework that all issues affecting Greece and its wider national interests must be clearly entrenched," he added.
 EU counter-statement fully satisfactory for Greece and Republic of Cyprus, deputy FM says
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valynakis, speaking in an interview with the Alpha Radio Station on Tuesday, said the European Union's counter-statement on Ankara's unilateral statement concerning the non-recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, is "fully satisfactory for Greece and the Republic of Cyprus."
Valynakis also spoke of "60 days of tough negotiating and very effective work" by the foreign ministry on the issue.
"We have an integrated strategy. We want a Turkey which will proceed towards the European Union and, as it is proceeding in this direction, will be changing. And it will be changing on the basis of a very specific set of terms, criteria and preconditions exposed in these texts," he said, adding that "for us these texts are part of the framework of a unified and integrated strategy and one must see them in an overall fashion."
As regards the issue of Cyprus, the deputy foreign minister said that Greece is interested in "Turkey changing its policy, internally and externally, until it becomes a member of the European Union" and reiterated "the given will, on the Greek and Cypriot side, for a solution to the issue of Cyprus in accordance with UN resolutions and with European principles and values and this must be achieved as soon as possible."
Replying to a question on the outcome of his recent visit to the United States, Valynakis made the assessment that "it is also the wish of the U.S. to contribute" to the effort to change the Balkans into a "European neighbourhood."
 U.S. envoy in Athens refers to Cyprus issue in Washington conference
WASHINGTON, 28/9/2005 (ANA/T.Ellis)The U.S. continue to support a solution to the Cyprus problem that will have the form of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and which will emerge through a new process of talks which, in its turn, should be based to a large extent on the Annan plan, U.S. Ambassador to Athens Charles Ries told a round table discussion in Washington on Tuesday.
The round table discussion was organised by the School of Higher International Studies of the 'Jons Hopkins' University.
Ries also noted that supporting Turkey's EU incorporation was his country's steady policy for years now, adding that this incorporation would be beneficial for Turkey itself and the EU, including Greece and Cyprus.
 Greek Dep. DM cites reasons for Athens' support of Ankara's EU course
ISTANBUL, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Visiting Greek Deputy Defence Minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos on Tuesday cited Athens' strategic choice for supporting Turkey's European Union accession prospects, during statements at the Greek embassy in Ankara.
"Greece, clearly the strongest country in southeast Europe in terms of economic development and political stability, has for many years implemented an 'open door' policy; a policy backing EU and NATO expansion. It's within this framework that it (Greece) backs Turkey's accession course towards the European Union," he said, while adding:
"Of course, Turkey knows that that in order to achieve its goal (of accession) it must meet the conditions and obligations, as set out by the EU. This course will, naturally, improve relations between the two countries," the Greek deputy minister said, noting that his presence at an international defence fair (IDEF 2005) in the Turkish capital expresses this volition.
Finally, he praised the Greek diplomatic mission here for implementing Athens' policy towards a further rapprochement between the two neighbors.
 Dep. foreign minister meets Calka Greeks in emotionally-charged visit
CALKA, 28/9/2005 (ANA - G. Milionis)Deputy Foreign Minister Panagiotis Skandalakis on Tuesday met the remnants of the ethnic Greek community that had doggedly stayed on in Calka, Georgia, in defiance of difficulties that had driven out nearly 40,000 Greeks and 100,000 Georgians, in an encounter that was charged with emotion.
Stressing that his visit was being carried out by order of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the minister urged members of the local Greek community to contact him personally at his office and seek his help, avoiding "those who lie to you and demand money in order to help you out".
The Calka region in the Caucasus has been virtually depopulated in the past 10 years as local residents abandoned their homes, Greeks and Georgians alike, while their empty houses were taken over by gangs of criminals.
Only 3,000 ethnic Greeks, the majority of them elderly, still remain in the 24 villages that once housed some 40,000. In the early months of 2005, the area's Greek community had also been the target of violence, in which at least one ethnic Greek was killed.
Earlier on, Skandalakis met the governor of the region and was told that there were currently 1,500 occupied houses in the area, while another 200 have been bought with the official consent of their owners, who received compensation from the Georgian government. The governor also declared his desire to resolve the problem.
The Greek minister stressed that the key to persuading ethnic Greeks to stay in the area was to develop infrastructure, especially a road linking the region to the Georgian capital Tbilisi, a distance of about 80 kilometres that currently takes three hours to travel of dirt roads.
Skandalakis said this travelling time must be reduced to a maximum of 40 minutes and also proposed cooperation with the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), whose president Andrew Athens had been involved in discussions to create a dairy industry for the region, which is rich in livestock.
The minister noted that the local consulates and embassy had explicit instructions to process up to 30 applications a day for the special identity card issued to ethnic Greeks, so that the necessary documents were quickly sent to Greece.
Finally, Skandalakis thanked the Georgian government for willingly providing permission for the Greek delegation to visit the area and, after the end of the visit, expressed his confidence in the Georgian government's desire to improve the situation in the region in statements to local television channels.
He also expressed hope that the excellent cooperation between the two countries will quickly yield results, noting that it had already had some positive impact on the safety of ethnic Greeks in Calka, such the change of the police commander and an increase in the local police force.
 Deputy FM Skandalakis visits Orthodox Patriarch of Georgia
TBILISI, 28/9/2005 (ANA/G. Milionis)Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis, currently on an official visit to Georgia, on Tuesday visited the Orthodox Patriarch of Georgia Ilias and conveyed to him greetings and respect from Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.
Patriarch Ilias said that relations between the Patriarchate and the Church of Greece are being strengthened and so are relations between the two countries, expressing his gratitude for aid provided by Greece both for Greek expatriates in Georgia and for Georgian students in Greece.
"We want every educated Georgian to have Greek as his second language," the Patriarch said and expressed his regret for expatriates leaving Georgia, but said he hoped they they will return since they are not selling their property in a powerful Georgia which will not need aid from other countries.
The Patriarch also referred to problems the country is facing with its neighbours and at this point the Greek deputy foreign minister said he hoped for a peaceful solution to the various problems and reminded the Patriarch that the Greeks also had problems in the past with neighbours.
We came here to resolve problems, Deputy FM Panayiotis Skandalakis says in Georgia: Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis, currently on an official visit to Georgia, stressed on Tuesday that the reason for his visit was to resolve problems.
"We came here to resolve problems which we are aware of and to prepare programmes which will produce results and not to waste millions of euros which are in the pockets of certain people," Skandalakis said during a farewell dinner organised by the Greek embassy in Georgia.
Skandalakis's visit ended on Tuesday night and the Greek delegation returns to Athens on Wednesday.
 Athens mayor holds talks with Chinese FM
BEIJING, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Baloyiannis, continuing her official visit to China, on Tuesday met with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, an old and good friend of Greece and admirer of the ancient Greek civilisation.
Asked whether there is a possibility of the UN Security Council examining some new initiative soon regarding a solution to the issue of Cyprus, the Chinese minister said that China, being a permanent Security Council member, always respects its relevant resolutions and "we shall continue to play a constructive role on this issue."
Li added that Cyprus is a good friend of China and expressed the wish that a rational solution to the issue of Cyprus will be found as soon as possible and the people there will have a prospering life. He further said that relations between the two peoples are very good.
The Chinese foreign minister spoke enthusiastically about the successful holding of the Athens Olympic Games, expressing the satisfaction of all the Chinese over this outcome, since relations between the two peoples are "lost in the depths of the centuries".
He also said that the fact that for two continuous times the Olympic Games are being carried out in cities having such friendly feelings for each other is a fortunate conjuncture.
Bakoyiannis stressed the need of a strong cultural presence of Greece in Beijing in the near future, an aim which is made easier by the proclamation of 2008 as "The year of Greece" in China.
Referring to the very good level of bilateral relations between the two countries and to possibilities of further development, Bakoyiannis said that the opening of an air link between Beijing and Athens would be of help, since many businessmen on both sides travel frequently.
The Athens municipality's delegation also visited a part of the Olympic facilities, where the Olympic Stadium under construction and the swimming pool are located, and was informed that projects will be completed at the end of 2007 to allow time for necessary testing.
In her meeting afterwards with the president of the "Beijing 2008" Organising Committee, secretary of the Communist Party of Beijing's Central Committee and former mayor of the city, Liu Qi, Bakoyiannis expressed her conviction that Beijing will organise very successful Olympic Games and placed the municiplaity of Athens at the disposal of organisers for any help they might need.
On Monday evening, the Athens mayor attended a reception given in her honour by Greek Ambassador to Beijing Mikis Kambanis and proclaimed three Chinese Olympic Games gold medallists, during last year's Athens Olympic Games, honourary citizens of the city, adding that the thoughts of all Greeks are focused on Beijing.
Bakoyiannis also noted that cooperation between Greece and China will also continue after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in which Greece will have a strong presence.
 Development Minister Sioufas on US visit this week
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas will head a high-ranking ministry delegation to a conference entitled "Technology and Development in Greece", hosted in Chicago and organised by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE).
Sioufas was due in the United States on Tuesday, and specifically, Washington, where he will hold talks with US administration officials, members of Congress and business representatives. He arrives in Chicago on Wednesday for the conference.
The Greek minister will subsequently travel to New York City on Friday for contacts with members of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, followed the next day by a meeting with Archbishop of America Demetrios as well as ethnic Greek community leaders.
Sioufas returns to Greece on Sunday.
 Dep. foreign minister to meet Belgian counterpart on Wednesday
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valynakis will meet his Belgian counterpart Didier Donfut on Wednesday, a ministry announcement said.
The meeting will focus on the fiscal prospects of the European Union, specifically the Community budget in 2007-2013, the future of Europe and the progress of the European Constitutional Treaty, as well as EU enlargement.
The two men will also exchange views on developments in southeast Europe.
 Gov't spokesman defends Regouzas over controversial 'smaller bribes' message
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Tuesday said that the speech by Deputy Finance Minister Adam Regouzas, in which he allegedly asked customs officials to 'lower' the amount they requested in bribes to expedite the release of goods, had made it clear that the government would not tolerate graft and corruption as a whole.
"At five points it states clearly and categorically the spirit of the government's policy - in other words that we will not accept any discounts on issues of ethical conduct. In the sixth point it was incomplete in the way it was expressed, allowing a double interpretation, but the rest of the text was clear," Roussopoulos said.
The spokesman also fielded questions concerning a series of incidents that indicated possible corruption by members of the government and ruling party, such as a dinner costing tens of thousands of euros for a New Democracy party member in Patras, allegations that a government minister was receiving bribes, a suspicious case in Rhodes involving ND officials and others, including the Regouzas statement.
Roussopoulos stressed that in each case, the government had taken appropriate action or the statements concerned had been retracted or denied.
 PASOK party spokesman criticises government on current political situation
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanasakis on Tuesday criticised the government over the current political situation prevailing in the country. He referred to the issue of statements made by Deputy Finance Minister Adam Rengouzas, matters concerning hirings, the collapse of a shelter at the archaeological site at Santorini, the foreign ministry's spokesman and the National Radio and Television corporation (ERT).
Referring to the address made by Rengouzas to customs officials on issues of graft, Athanasakis said that from the moment Rengouzas remains at his post the issue concerns the government in its entirety and the prime minister personally.
The PASOK spokesman added that the meaning of Rengouzas' references was to urge customs officials to receive smaller commissions and wondered what is preventing the prime minister from removing Rengouzas from his position.
Commenting on ERT, Athanasakis said that they must understand that PASOK wants reliable and strong public television, adding that it will support every such effort provided that it does its job. He further said that ERT cannot function in its present way with the money of the Greek people and that it is obliged to provide citizens with full and accurate information.
 Gov't to seek off-the-agenda debate on foreign policy in Parliament, spokesman says
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Tuesday said the government intended to ask for an off-the-agenda debate on foreign policy issues in Parliament. He also said that foreign policy issues had dominated Tuesday's meeting of the cabinet, with a presentation by Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis.
 Finmin says EU's Greek debt figure due to accounting change
NEW YORK, 28/9/2005 (ANA/P Panayiotou)Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday that a higher than anticipated fiscal debt figure for Greece given by the European Union was due to the impact of a fiscal audit of state books and a change in the bloc's accounting procedures.
"This does not herald a new fiscal audit. The fiscal audit cycle is ending. There are still a few details that involve the past," Alogoskoufis replied to a reporter's question during a visit to New York.
A revision of figures covering 2001-2004 state finances stemmed from the change in EU accounting practices that affected inflows of funding from the bloc. Deposits were no longer entered in the year of receipt, but in almost all years involving the Community Support Framework, he noted.
"This had a major impact on the 2001 deficit, which is above 6.0%, and this also applies to each year until 2004. This does not affect adjustment or targets of the growth and stability programme," the minister told a news conference.
 Gov't to proceed with privatisation as planned
NEW YORK, 28/9/2005 (ANA/P Panayiotou)Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday that the government would proceed with its privatisation plan, as announced.
"We have stated along general lines what the programme is, that the aim is entry of the Post Office Savings Bank into the (Athens) bourse in 2006, and, after negotiations we are conducting with the Germans, entry of Athens International Airport into the market," Alogoskoufis replied to a reporter's question during a trip to the USA.
"In addition, emphasis wil be given to the banking sector. We are committed to reducing the state's holding in Agricultural Bank of Greece, although not below 51%," the minister told a news conference.
He repeated that the state would also retain its 51% holding in Athens-quoted Public Power Corporation, as stated in the government's 2004 election platform.
 Finmin reports US investor interest in Greece
NEW YORK, 28/9/2005 (ANA/P Panayiotou)Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday that US investors had shown interest in placing their funds in Greece, especially as a gateway to southeastern Europe.
"Opportunities in our region are clearly of interest to very many, including the USA, as Greece has ceased to be a small market of 10 million people with an annual income of 180 billion euros, instead becoming a much wider market with great growth potential," the minister told a news conference.
"The message that Greece can be a gateway to businesses that want to invest in the wider region is a message that met with a great response," he said.
Potential direct investors had noted that bureaucracy remained a stumbling block to investment in Greece.
"Many, however, view very favourably the pro-investor measures we have taken, such as the new investment law," Alogoskoufis reported.
 Record Greek business delegation in Russia arrives in Moscow
MOSCOW, 28/9/2005 (ANA/N. Melissova)A large Greek delegation composed of Agricultural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos, Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Christos Folias, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis and a large number of businessmen arrived at Vnukovo airport in Moscow on Tuesday night, beginning a visit to the Russian capital.
The sessions of the 5th Joint Interministerial Committee will begin on Wednesday with addresses by the two presiding delegates, Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordiev and Stylianidis. Addresses by Basiakos and Folias will follow.
A business conference will take place at Moscow's Chamber of Commerce shortly afterwards and statements by the President of the Russian Federation's Chamber of Commerce and Industry Yevgeni Primakov and the Greek deputy foreign minister will follow.
 Tourist arrivals steadily rising, Greek minister says
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Tourist arrivals in Greece are steadily rising, Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos told a meeting of a National Tourism Council on Tuesday.
Citing figures released by the Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos", the Greek minister said foreign passenger arrivals were up 12 percent so far this year, while charter flights doubled compared with the same period last year.
Addressing the council, Avramopoulos said tourist arrivals continued rising in September and October, particular for quality hotels. The minister said that gross revenues from travel services rose 6.1 percent so far this year, compared with 2004, while he announced that Greece would organise an annual forum for World Tourism on February 18, 2006.
The forum is expected to agree on a proposal to create a permanent base of World Tourism Counci's observatory in Greece to cover the region of southeaster Europe and the Mediterranean.
 Papandreou says unemployment the foremost problem for Greek society
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday reiterated that unemployment and jobs are the foremost problem currently plaguing Greek society, an issue he said will be the focus of his party's upcoming initiative.
He made the statement during an opening address at a coordination council of PASOK's Parliamentary group.
Moreover, the PASOK leader and former foreign minister, referred to "bad news" out of Brussels for the Greek economy -- i.e. revised budget deficit projections for 2004 reaching the 6.6-percent mark -- a development he blamed on the government's mistakes. He also charged that the ND is manipulating unemployment figures.
Finally, Papandreou pointed to his recent proposals for "investing in quality" and better exploiting 3rd Community Support Framework funds as ideas for jumpstarting the economy.
 Merchant marine minister holds talks with Greek Shipowners Union board
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Tuesday held talks with the boards of the Greek Shipowners Union and London's Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee.
According to an announcement by the merchant marine ministry, the meeting was held in an excellent climate and all shipping issues were examined, as well as their course so far.
The leading role played by shipping, both at European Union and international level, was stressed and its contribution to the national economy with the continuing increase in the influx of shipping exchange.
 Greek business mission to Japan
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the Export Promotion Organisation are organizing a business visit to Japan, from Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, 2005.
The business visit will include businesses from the food-beverage, building materials, jewelry, women clothing and accessories sectors.
The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry will hold a seminar on Oct. 4, aimed to inform Greek business people on prospects and opportunities offered by the Japanese market.
 Greek trade deficit fell to 14.7 bln euros in Jan-June, Eurostat
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Greece's trade deficit fell by 500 million euros to total 14.7 billion euros in the first six months of 2005 compared with the same period last year, Eurostat said on Tuesday.
The EU executive's statistics agency said Greek exports totalled 6.4 billion euros in the January-June period, while imports totalled 21.1 billion euros over the same period. Compared with the same period in 2004, Greek exports rose 7.0 percent (from 5.9 bln to 6.4 bln euros), while imports were stable at 21.1 billion euros.
Eurostat said Germany recorded the biggest trade surplus in the EU-25 with 83.5 billion euros, followed by Holland (19.5 bln) and Ireland (17 bln euros). The UK (47.5 bln euros), Spain (34.7 bln), Greece (14.7 bln) and France (13.9 bln euros) recorded the biggest trade deficits in the first half of 2005.
Eurozone recoded a trade surplus of 7.2 billion euros with the rest of the world in the January-June period, while the EU-25 a trade deficit of 3.2 billion euros.
 BSEC science and technology ministers to meet in Athens on Wednesday
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Ministers of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact member-states who are responsible for science and technology issues will be meeting in Athens on Wednesday.
The meeting will be chaired by Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou, who is standing in for Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas during the latter's trip to the United States.
The meeting was organised by the development ministry in collaboration with the Black Sea International Studies Centre and will be attended by ministers from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro and Turkey, as well as representatives of the European Union and non-governmental organisations.
The meeting is expected to adopt an action plan and a joint declaration that aims to promote cooperation between states on science and technology issues, as a lever for development in the Black Sea region.
 Greek, Israeli Capital Markets' Commissions sign cooperation protocol
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)The Greek and Israeli Capital Markets' Commissions on Tuesday signed a bilateral protocol of cooperation aimed to establish and introduce procedures for a bilateral exhange of information and help between the two supervisory bodies.
Under the protocol, signed in Athens, confidential information could be exchanged between the two Capital Markets' Commission to improve supervision in domestic markets.
The protocol will facilitate international cooperation between stock markets, companies and capital markets' agencies and is considered the first step in establishing and further improving bilateral relations in the capital markets.
The protocol was signed by Israel's Capital Markets Commission president Moshe Tery. Israel's ambassador to Greece, Ram Aviram, also attended the signing ceremony.
 Greek stocks continue moving up
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Greek stocks continued moving higher on Tuesday, although at a slower pace compared with Monday's sharp advance in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The composite index rose 0.35 percent to end at 3,310.22 points with turnover a heavy 233.7 million euros.
Sector indices ended higher with the Insurance (3.65 pct), Industrials (1.66 pct), Mineral-Cement (1.55 pct) and Metals (1.12 pct), scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day. The IT Solutions (0.91 pct), Constructions (0.52 pct), Wholesale (0.48 pct) and Banks (0.44 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.16 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 0.16 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.49 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 147 to 113 with another 72 issues unchanged.
Foreign Exchange Rates: Wednesday
Reference buying rates per euro released
by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.210
 President, PM receive Eurobasket champions Greece
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received Greece's victorious national men's basketball team, which trounced Germany in a tense final to win the European basketball championship on Sunday.
Papoulias thanked the athletes for their outstanding performance, pointing to the generous accolades in the foreign press, and said that they had given great joy to all Greeks and "filled our hearts with pride".
Accompanied by Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos, the president thanked each of the players individually, as well as congratulating their coach Panagiotis Yiannakis and the leadership of the Greek basketball federation for their efforts to bring about this result.
He also presented the athletes and other sports officials with silver discs and commemorative plaques bearing his signature and the national emblem.
In return, Yiannakis presented the president with a basketball and a shirt bearing the signatures of the team members.
The players were next received by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, along with his wife Natasha Karamanlis, Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia and Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos, who greeted them warmly and thanked them for their victory on behalf of all Greeks.
"After the great success of the Olympic Games and that of our national tema in football, this last success shows not only what we can do but also the power and value that sports can have as a means to promote our country and to earn success," he said.
The premier also presented the players and coach with gifts, receiving another signed basketball and shirt in return.
 Onassis Foundation organising international conference on Greek studies
NEW YORK, 28/9/2005 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)The Alexandros Onassis Foundation is organising an international conference on Greek studies, chaired by Greek linguist George Babiniotis, that will be held at the Onassion Cultural Centre in Manhattan next Saturday.
It will be attended by top scholars of Greek studies in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico.
The conference is organised as part of the foundation's mission to promote Greek letters and Greek culture on the American continent and is designed to enhance the operation and cooperation between centres offering Greek studies at several American universities.
The conference will disuss issues concerning the teaching of Greek studies courses and the infrastructure needed for teaching the Greek language at American educational institutes.
 International conference on poet Yannis Ritsos
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)The Benaki Museum is organising an international conference on the work of internationally acclaimed Greek poet Yannis Ritsos from Wednesday to October 1. Greek and foreign specialists on Ritsos' poetry will be taking part in the conference, including readings of his poems.
Ritsos was born in Monemvassia, in the south-eastern Peloponnese, in 1909 and died in Athens in 1990. One of modern Greece's most widely translated poets, Ritsos moved from an early concern with classical themes and style to a more deeply personal lyricism. His writing reflects family tragedies, a stay in a tuberculosis ward, and his political activities with the Greek communist movement that earned him periods of deportation and house arrest.
 Int'l symposium focusing on Greater Prespa Lake set for next summer
Greater Prespa, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Trilateral cooperation eying scientific research and conservation of Lake Megali Prespa (Greater Prespa) -- on the borders of Greece, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) -- will be the subject of an international symposium next summer in the three-country district, University of Thessaloniki officials said here on Tuesday.
According to Thessaloniki professor Yiannis Mylopoulos, the EU programme "Traborema" will fund cooperation by the northern Greece university with Albania's Institute of Geological and Metallurgical Studies as well as the Skopje Polytechnic (FYROM) aimed at collecting and analysing unified data and readings regarding the lake, an important natural landmark in the southern Balkans.
He also said an agreement signed by all three countries is still not on the horizon, whereas research so far has been sporadic and unilateral.
 European Cinema Panorama to open on September 29
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)The Athens newspaper "Eleftherotypia" will dedicate this year's European Cinema Panorama to events which left their mark on the world, to people who created original film products and to anniversaries sealing its operation.
The Panorama will open this year on September 29, at the "Apollon" and "Asty" cinemas, with a 10-day programme of screenings dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the newspaper's founding, the 100th anniversary of the death of Jules Vern and the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The special "Panorama" award for their contribution to the Greek cinema will be given to Eleni Karaindrou and Cypriot-born film director Michael Cacoyiannis, while his film "The last lie" will be screened in his honour.
The Ambassador of Cyprus to Greece George Georgis attended a press conference on Tuesday on the occasion of the award and said that the struggles of Cyprus and the island of Cyprus itself are honoured in the person of Cacoyiannis.
 Sixteen illegal immigrants caught near Samos
SAMOS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Sixteen Egyptian and Lebanese illegal immigrants, all of them men, were caught while sailing in waters off Akrotiri Praso near Samos on Tuesday, as they tried to find a place to come ashore.
The boat was taking on water and the illegal immigrants were forced to fall into the water and swim ashore. They were soon spotted by coast guard officers, who took them to the reception centre for illegal immigrants on the island.
The Turkish immigrant-trafficker escaped arrest.
 Building facade overhaul programme to be extended to all Greece in 2006
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)A funding programme for the overhaul of building facades will be extended to all municipalities in Greece from the start of 2006, it was announced on Tuesday.
The programme, which already operates in the City of Athens municipality and has financed improvements to more than 3,000 building facades in the last two years, has been inducted into the Regional Operational Programmes and is expected to help significantly improve the aspect of several Greek towns and cities.
 Hellenic-American Union workshop, seminars this month
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)The Hellenic-American Union (HAU) in October will organise one workshop as well as two seminars -- one in Greek, the other in English.
Specifically, the workshop "Speed reading and memory skills" begins on Oct. 15 (five hours), followed by a seminar on creating and effectively following performance targets (16 hours), Oct. 17-18. The seminar "Work Smarter, Not Longer" (12 hours), will be held over the two-day period Oct. 21-22.
 Panathinaikos Athens beats Werder Bremen 2-1 in Champions League match
ATHENS, 28/9/2005 (ANA)Panathinaikos Athens beat Werder Bremen of Germany 2-1 in a Champions League Group C match played at the Athens Olympic stadium on Tuesday night.
Panathinaikos went into the lead in the 6th minute with a penalty by Ezequiel Gonzalez and Vaggelis Mantzios scored a second goal two minutes later, while Miroslav Klose scored for Werder in the 41st minute.
 Cyprus wants an objective declaration by British Presidency
NICOSIA, 28/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government would like an objective declaration by the British Presidency of the European Union to be presented to Turkey on 3 October.
Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said Tuesday ''we would like the declaration to be objective and to respond to the principles in which the EU is based and the EU Council decisions".
He said the government is ready for all eventualities and has all the answers as far as what the opening statement should contain.
Asked if the statement should be based on the EU counterstatement to Turkey's declaration that it does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, the spokesman said it is already a binding document for the EU.
Chrysostomides reminded "Turkey is obliged to implement the protocol, the customs union agreement, beginning with the start of accession negotiations. This is clear in the declaration".
He added that in the event Turkey refuses to fulfill its obligations, then there will be adverse repercussions that will negatively affect Turkey's negotiations.
 Cypriot spokesman rejects Talat's statements
NICOSIA, 28/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides has said that statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to a Turkish news agency clearly indicate that he is following the same policy of his predecessor, Rauf Denktash.
Chrysostomides rejected Talat's accusations that the Greek Cypriot side does not want a solution.
On the contrary, "an enormous effort has been made to prove to all directions that we want a solution, want an immediate start of procedures and that what Mr. Talat does not want is reunification to benefit Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots."
"We want a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution, that was always the greatest concession on our part for a solution", the spokesman added.
 Government respects right to education for T/C
NICOSIA, 28/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides, in a written statement on the opening of a Turkish Cypriot elementary
school in the southern coastal town of Limassol, said Tuesday that the government has introduced special measures from the school year
2004-2005 aiming to upgrade the elementary education of Turkish Cypriots, Roma and other Turkish language people who live in the town.
The spokesman said that these measures included the appointment of two Turkish Cypriot teachers at the 18th Elementary school to allow
Turkish-speaking students to be taught in their mother tongue, their culture, religion and literature.
It also decided to provide free food (breakfast and lunch) and school equipment.
Furthermore, he said, the government has decided to set up a Turkish Cypriot elementary school in Limassol to provide Turkish speaking families in Limassol the ability to choose the way they think the educational needs of their children are best met.
The spokesman said the cabinet took the relevant decision on August 25, 2005 and all necessary actions were taken to allow the school open in the school year 2005-2006.
Chrysostomides said all parents were informed on time to choose where they wanted to send their children this year and all informed the government that they wanted to register their children at the 18th elementary school like last year.
Chrysostomides said that the government informed the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces on its intention and proposed that the force and the Cypriot government conduct a common survey to ascertain the wishes of the families. However, UNFICYP said that this was not necessary and that it preferred the families of the Turkish-speaking people in Limassol have the option to register their children at the Turkish Cypriot school if they wished so.
The government's policy on the issue, the spokesman said, was based and continues to be based and led on the principle of respect of the right to education, according to the Republic's constitution and the relevant international conventions.
For this reason, it has taken all necessary measures to cover the educational needs of Turkish Cypriots and other Turkish-speaking people in Limassol, in such a way that it will fully respond to their wishes. A total of 53 children of Turkish speaking families are attending classes at the 18th Elementary School in Limassol, of which 31 are attending all day lessons.
The spokesman said that independent of the families' wishes to register their children at the 18th elementary school, the Turkish Cypriot school will be available in the event some families wish to register their children at it.
 IMO General Secretary: Cyprus is a great maritime power worldwide
NICOSIA, 28/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)The Republic of Cyprus is a great maritime power worldwide, General Secretary of the International Maritime Organisation Efthimios Mitropoulos stressed here Tuesday, adding that Cyprus has an excellent record of adopting and implementing international conventions that are drafted under the IMO auspices.
Mitropoulos, who is attending the ''Maritime Cyprus 2005'' Conference, noted that the Conference ''has established Cyprus as a big shipping power, which it is'', adding that ''Maritime Cyprus holds a leader position in the world shipping''.
IMO General Secretary was speaking after a meeting here with Cypriot Minister of Communication and Works Haris Thrasou. Later on Mitropoulos was received by Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.
Referring to Turkey's denial to fully implement the Customs Union Protocol as far as Cypriot ships and airplanes are concerned, Mitropoulos said that the issue has not yet been discussed by the IMO.
''The issue has not been discussed yet, so the Organisation has not taken any position on the matter. I would wish, since Cyprus and Turkey are IMO members, that the issue is resolved as soon as possible, so that both sides can secure their own interests'', Mitropoulos said.
In his statements, the Cypriot minister noted that the meeting was very useful and that they discussed relevant issues in the light of the IMO Meeting due to take place this November in London.
IMO General Secretary also noted that Cyprus has ''an excellent record of adopting international conventions that are drafted under the IMO auspices'', adding that Cyprus holds the presidency of one of the most important Committees of the Organisation, the one regarding the protection of sea environment, and also holds a high position in the Organi-sation's Secretariat, at the Directory of maritime safety.
Mitropoulos also thanked Cyprus for its support as regards the drafting and implementation of new international conventions on maritime safety and environment protection.