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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-06-10

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

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

June 10, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM Dora Bakoyannis calls on Turkey to respect religious freedoms, Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • [02] Bakoyannis gives interview to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet
  • [03] Gov't on Greek-Turkish relations,
  • [04] No agreement on the EU common position on Turkey's negotiations
  • [05] Government spokesman on the Archbishop of Albania,
  • [06] PASOK leader to address Albania's Socialist Party congress in Tirana
  • [07] Gov't undeterred by student protests, cites public support for university reforms,
  • [08] Heated parliament debate focuses on culture ministry issues
  • [09] President Papoulias receives Deputy Interior Minister Andreoulakos
  • [10] KKE leaders denies discussing election cooperation with Papandreou
  • [11] Leftist group criticizes academic's detention at JFK
  • [12] Ethnic Greek groups meet in D.C. for 17th annual Cyprus Conference
  • [13] Greece, State of Victoria discuss cutting emissions from lignite-fueled power unit
  • [14] Greek merchandise trade deficit widened in April to 2.795 bln euros
  • [15] Greek stocks rebound on Friday
  • [16] Greek beaches get thumbs up in EU's bathing water report BRUSSELS,
  • [17] Greece bids to host EU Galileo program authority BRUSSELS,
  • [18] President Papoulias to visit Meteora and Trikala
  • [19] N17 appeals trial postponed until Tuesday
  • [20] Event organized in Sofia for Greek poet Elytis SOFIA,
  • [21] Interior minister addresses inauguration of 20th Book Exhibition
  • [22] Camp for children with disabilities in Chalkidiki
  • [23] US only recognizes Republic of Cyprus, American official says
  • [24] COREPER agreement in principle is important, says Spokesman

  • [01] FM Dora Bakoyannis calls on Turkey to respect religious freedoms, Ecumenical Patriarchate

    ISTANBUL, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Friday called on Turkey to respect religious freedoms in the country and the existence and functioning of the Ecumenical Patriarchate based in Istanbul.

    "We all support the European prospects of Turkey. We believe that Turkey has a place in the European Union, but this position of ours has as unquestionable precondition the recognition of religious freedoms, the exercising of religious freedoms and the existence and functioning of the Ecumenical Patriarchate," Bakoyannis said during her visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the framework of her three-day visit to Istanbul.

    Bakoyannis will hold talks with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on Saturday and give a joint press conference with him.

    "This means the reopening of the Halki School, which is a steadfast position of ours that we support everywhere. I believe that Turkey as well, in her course towards the EU, will accept this very simple reality. The position of my government, for support for the Patriarchate, is the position of all the EU. It is registered in all European texts," Bakoyannis added.

    Addressing the foreign minister, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos said "why are treaties that I also signed being ignored? Why are things agreed on being violated? Why are rights being infringed? Why are visions being discouraged? Why are wounds being opened?".

    The Patriarch reiterated the position that the Ecumenical Patriarchate encourages the course of Turkey towards the European Union and expressed the wish that "the preconditions for this course will be created."

    He also stressed that Turkey cannot ignore the rights of minorities, the recognition due for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the right of existence for educational foundations, with that of the Halki School of Theology coming first.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch called for the support of the Greek government and, responding to this call, the foreign minister said "the Greek government is by your side and embraces every initiative that you undertake. I would like you to consider the support of the Hellenic state in all your efforts to be a foregone conclusion, both for the fulfillment of the Patriarchate's major mission and for its presence in Istanbul as the guardian of longstanding principles, values and ideals."

    Bakoyannis praised the initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch on inter-religious dialogue and the protection of the environment, "which enjoy international recognition". She also said that it constitutes an expression of the modern role of the Patriarchate's universality and that "your position (for the creation of) a mosque in Athens was heard with great attention. You carry out whatever you believe."

    [02] Bakoyannis gives interview to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet

    ANKARA, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, replying to a question on resorting to the International Court in an interview published on Friday in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, said that "Greece believes the International Court at The Hague to be a useful means, whose jurisdiction it recognizes and which, however, Turkey does not."

    The interview comes in the wake of Saturday's talks Bakoyannis will have with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Istanbul.

    Asked whether "we can resort to The Hague for a 'package' solution regarding the Aegean", Bakoyannis said: "we have not yet reached this point. We haven't even approached it. Greece, in principle, aims at a peaceful solution to whatever difference on the basis of International Law. We have recognized the jurisdiction of The Hague, which we consider a useful means. Turkey, however, has not recognized the jurisdiction of (the International court at) The Hague until today. In this case, our efforts must continue to find a common point. The only path is resorting to The Hague finding, however, common ground. We have been discussing for three years. We must find ways for a solution."

    [03] Gov't on Greek-Turkish relations,

    10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The government on Friday emphasized that exploratory talks between Athens and Ankara are continuing, as the ongoing procedure aims to fully normalize relations between the two east Mediterranean neighbors.

    Commenting in the wake of increased "brain storming" by the government, parties, and the local media regarding the present and future course of Greek-Turkish relations and Athens' long-term approach vis-Ă -vis EU hopeful Turkey, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros reminded that the difference between the two countries over delineating the Aegean's continental shelf is only a part of Greece's political strategy for relations with Ankara.

    In again commenting on a high-profile proposal earlier this week by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, the former foreign minister, Antonaros merely noted that "let them (PASOK) decide what Mr. Papandreou did not do all of the years he was foreign minister."

    PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanassakis on Friday responded to comments made earlier in the day by alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on the main opposition leader George Papandreou's proposal concerning Greek-Turkish relations.

    "If the government spokesman or somebody else in the government pretends that he has not understood the proposal made by the president of PASOK let him ask for clarifications from Prime Minister (Costas) Karamanlis to whom the proposal was presented analytically by George Papandreou," Athanassakis said.

    PASOK, KKE leaders discuss policy toward Turkey: Foreign policy, specifically the country's relations with Turkey, dominated a meeting on Friday between the leaders of the two largest opposition parties in Greece, the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

    After the meeting, PASOK president George Papandreou said he was convinced that Greece could create the conditions needed to exercise all its sovereign rights while at the same time cultivating a climate of peace and cooperation with Turkey.

    He stressed that PASOK would insist on the need for collaboration for a new foreign policy strategy that would "yield a dividend of peace" in relations between Greece and Turkey.

    KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga, on her part, said that her party was always in favor of dialogue with Turkey but outside the framework imposed by the European Union or NATO, which she said appeared "tolerant" towards Turkey's demands.

    KKE's leader also commented on Papandreou's proposal to extend Greece's territorial waters to the 12-mile limit allowed under international maritime law - instead of the current six miles - before referring the issue of the Aegean continental shelf issue for arbitration to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    Extending its territorial waters was Greece's legal right and the time when this would be done should be examined alongside other factors and preceded by technical and diplomatic preparation that was already delayed, Papariga said.

    She stressed that Greece and Turkey should take measures to reduce tension and avoid dangerous incidents in the Aegean.

    The two party leaders also referred to the problems in higher education and the protests being carried out by students and university staff against the government's proposed reforms.

    Papandreou expressed concern about the government's handling of education issues and said the vote on the education bill should be postponed until after the summer, so that a "national strategy" on education might be achieved through dialogue.

    Papariga expressed her party's support for protesting students and teachers, stressed that education was an issue of universal importance and called for a united popular front against plans to allow private universities, while she also asked that the government's bill should not be tabled in Parliament.

    [04] No agreement on the EU common position on Turkey's negotiations

    BRUSSELS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA/CNA)

    The Chapters of Science and Research during Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU remain open for discussion by the EU Foreign Ministers, that will meet in Luxembourg on Monday.

    EU sources said that during the meeting of the Permanent Representatives of EU member states (COREPER) here Friday, Cyprus Permanent Representative Nicos Emiliou did not give the required consent of the Republic of Cyprus to achieve an agreement on the common position of the '25'.

    Emiliou presented the position of the Cyprus government and underlined that the text of the common position should include an explicit reference to the context of the EU 25 counterstatement of September 21, 2005, issued after the unilateral declaration by Ankara that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.

    The Cypriot Representative expressed the government's reservations as regards the automatic opening and closing of negotiating chapters.

    For these reasons, Emiliou did not give the consent of the Cyprus Republic for the approval of the common EU position and the issue will now be referred to the General Affairs and External Relations Council to be held Monday in Luxembourg.

    The EU counterstatement says that Turkey's declaration has no legal effect on its obligations, calls on Ankara to fully implement the protocol, creates a mechanism to monitor its implementation in 2006, notes that Turkey will have consequences if it does not fully implement it, makes clear that the EU recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus, and points out the importance of Turkey recognizing the Republic of Cyprus and the necessity to normalize Turkey's relations with all EU member states the soonest possible.

    In the counterstatement, ''the European Community and its member states acknowledge the signature by Turkey of the Additional Protocol to the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States on the one part and Turkey on the other, in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council of December 2004'' but ''regret that Turkey felt it necessary to make a declaration regarding the Republic of Cyprus at the time of signature.''

    They also ''make clear that this declaration is unilateral, does not form part of the Protocol and has no legal effect on Turkey's obligations.''

    [05] Government spokesman on the Archbishop of Albania,

    10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Archbishop of Albania is a hierarch, a spiritual man with international recognition and prestige, stated alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Friday, responding to a question by a reporter on the attacks targeting Archbishop Anastasios in part of the Albanian press.

    Antonaros added that Archbishop Anastasios enjoys not just the recognition of his congregation in Albania but of all Christians in the world.

    [06] PASOK leader to address Albania's Socialist Party congress in Tirana

    TIRANA, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou will visit Tirana on Saturday to participate and to address the congress of Albania's Socialist Party, at the invitation of Socialist Party Chairman and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama.

    According to a PASOK press release on Friday, Papandreou will also meet Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios at the Tirana Archbishopric.

    [07] Gov't undeterred by student protests, cites public support for university reforms,

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The government on Friday appeared undeterred in the face of student protests aimed at derailing what are expected to be major reforms in the country's higher education system, most notably, the lifting of a ban on private non-profit universities and an evaluation process for individual faculties at state schools.

    "The government, with a sense of responsibility and without surprises, but with dialogue and determination, is moving ahead with the citizens along a course they have opened, namely, a course towards change and reform," alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros told reporters during a regular press briefing.

    Asked to comment over the violence-plagued protests a day earlier, which included clashes between demonstrators and riot police as well as widespread vandalism along the protest rally's route, Antonaros said authorities had undertaken a difficult mission to "safeguard social order and protect private property," while stressing that their role is to protect and defend.

    Moreover, he again dismissed opposition criticism over a lack of dialogue regarding proposed changes, saying the government has carried out a wide-ranging discussion on education issues with all interested parties and therefore, "questions are raised regarding the motives of certain, smaller groups, that are engaging in these mobilizations."

    Additionally, he pointed to support for higher education reforms by the majority of the public and noted that funding for the sector has risen 10 percent since the government took office two years.

    Finally, he said the pre-eminent goal is to field good state-run universities of equally high standards with the best institutions abroad.

    [08] Heated parliament debate focuses on culture ministry issues

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A Parliament debate on Friday focusing on culture ministry issues expanded into charges and counter-charges dealing with Thursday's student protests through downtown Athens and even the current minister's previous tenure as the public order minister.

    Most opposition deputies sharply decried the violence-plagued protests a day earlier in downtown Athens and put the blame squarely on riot police, and by extension, the government.

    Conversely, ruling New Democracy party's Parliament spokesman, Vassilis Magginas, responded:

    "When there is slackness and leniency that results in the destruction of property you have the criticism of 'what are police doing?' handy. When police attempt to intervene when incidents get out of control, you again have the critique ready," he said.

    In deflecting criticism of the government's performance in managing the cultural portfolio, Minister George Voulgarakis cited massive fiscal problems, as he said, inherited by his ministry from previous PASOK governments.

    "We don't even know how many museums we have in the country. Therefore, we don't know how to fund them, or what we want from them. We have an incredible number of collections all of whom are requesting funding. First of all, we need to better organize the ministry, so we know what organizations exist ... and, what we want for Greece and what we want to do abroad," Voulgarakis said.

    [09] President Papoulias receives Deputy Interior Minister Andreoulakos

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Friday received Deputy Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos who briefed the president "on the new technologies which are dynamically entering local government."

    On his departure from the Presidential Mansion, Andreoulakos told reporters that "at this moment, with the 'e-kep', the biggest project of new technologies is being implemented." He also expressed the conviction that "local government will dynamically enter a new phase to the benefit of the citizen."

    President Papoulias also received on Friday, Public Administration Inspector General Leandros Rakidzis, who presented to the president the Annual Report for 2005, with the results of inspections he had made in public administration and local government. The Inspector General told Papoulias "we are doing well" and that "we are on a good road."

    [10] KKE leaders denies discussing election cooperation with Papandreou

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Friday strenuously denied discussing the possibility of cooperation in the upcoming municipal elections between KKE and the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) during a meeting with PASOK leader George Papandreou earlier the same day.

    "There is no ground and neither did Mr. Papandreou open any such discussion, because he knows very well that our main front in the local elections is against ruling New Democracy and PASOK and our main target is the decisive reduction of their seats in the institution of local government. He did not broach the subject, nor did we," she stressed in response to questions.

    [11] Leftist group criticizes academic's detention at JFK

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A leftist grouping within the Parliament-represented Coalition of the Left (Synaspsimos) party on Friday issued a statement sharply criticizing the recent five-hour detention and questioning of a Greek university professor and member of the its secretariat upon his attempted entry into the United States.

    Leftist activist and polytechnic professor Yiannis Milios was barred from entering the United States after being detained at JFK airport, according to the SY.RI.ZA group, which added that his treatment was completely unjustified, as the academic was headed to a university conference in upstate New York as an invited guest, a conference he had repeatedly attended in the past.

    PASOK, KKE denounce Greek professor's detention: The main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in an announcement on Friday evening denounced the recent five-hour detention and questioning of a Greek university professor of a leftist grouping within the Parliament-represented Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party and member of the SY.RI.ZA group secretariat upon his attempted entry into the United States.

    The SY.RI.ZA group said earlier in the day that Leftist activist and professor Yiannis Milios was barred from entering the United States after being detained at New York's JFK airport.

    PASOK said: "The interrogation by New York's FBI at New York's JFK airport and the prohibition of entry to the United States that followed, to Polytechnic professor Yiannis Milios and member of the Secretariat of SY.RI.ZA, is an unacceptable action and undemocratic from every view. More so, when Yiannis Milios was invited at a conference of the State University of New York."

    "The political convictions and the political activity of every citizen throughout the world, cannot constitute a criterion for entry for any country," the PASOK announcement added.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in an announcement on Friday night also denounced the detention of the Greek professor.

    "We denounce the obstruction of entry to the United States of professor Yiannis Milios. The obstruction stems from the so-called anti-terrorism measures of imperialism, which are directed against the fundamental rights of peoples. The struggle for the abolition of these laws constitutes an obligation of the popular movement in every country," the KKE announcement said.

    [12] Ethnic Greek groups meet in D.C. for 17th annual Cyprus Conference

    WASHINGTON, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greek-American leaders from across the United States and ethnic Greek representatives from around the world met here over the past week during the 17th annual Cyprus Conference in the US capital (June 7-9), as the conference was hosted by the International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) group along with the SAE, UHAC and CEH organizations.

    Conference participants again met with high-ranking US administration officials overseeing policy toward Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, as well as with US lawmakers who serve on pertinent Congressional committees and sub-committees.

    Brief addresses were also made by Greek ambassador in the United States Alexandros Mallias Cyprus' ambassador Euripides Evriviades.

    [13] Greece, State of Victoria discuss cutting emissions from lignite-fueled power unit

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Cooperation between the development ministry and the Public Power Corp. (PPC) with the State of Victoria in Australia for the exchange of know-how in cutting emissions from the use of lignite in power production was discussed here on Friday by Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Victoria Energy Industries and Resources Minister Theo Theophanous, who is of Greek Cypriot origin.

    Friday's meeting followed earlier talks the two men had in Athens last July.

    Cooperation in the specific sector revolves around the fact that power generation in Victoria is mostly fueled by lignite, similar to the methods used by PPC in Greece, Sioufas said.

    On his part, Theophanous noted that the State of Victoria uses about the same percentage of electrical power as does Greece, approximately 11,000MW, which is mostly produced from lignite, an inferior form of coal.

    He said efforts are focusing on new technology that will curb emissions.

    [14] Greek merchandise trade deficit widened in April to 2.795 bln euros

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greece's merchandise trade deficit widened to 2.795 billion euros in April, from 2.429 billion euros in the same month last year, the National Statistics Service.

    NSS, in a report, said the value of import-arrivals totaled 3.969 billion euros in April, from 3.588 billion euros in the same month in 2005, for an increase of 10.6 pct, while the value of export-deliveries totaled 1.175 billion euros frp, 1.159 billion in April 2005, for an increase of 1.3 pct.

    [15] Greek stocks rebound on Friday

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greek stocks rebounded on Friday after suffering heavy losses in the previous four sessions in the Athens Stock Exchange. The composite index ended 1.55 percent higher at 3,529.24 points, following a similar trend in other European markets.

    Turnover was a low 272 million euros. Sector indices ended higher, with the Personal and Home Products rising 2.55 pct, Raw Materials up 2.49 pct, Industrial Products 2.14 pct, Telecommunications 2.14 pct and Travel 2.07 pct.

    The Big Cap index rose 1.29 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.45 pct and the Small Cap index ended 1.61 pct higher.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 217 to 45 with another 51 issues unchanged.

    Foreign Exchange Rates: Until Tuesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.276

    [16] Greek beaches get thumbs up in EU's bathing water report BRUSSELS,

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greece's beaches once again passed European Union water quality tests with flying colors, according to the EU commission's annual report on bathing water standards released on Friday.

    The Commission found that 100% of the 2006 coastal areas sampled in Greece last year were suitable for swimming and complied with mandatory standards, while 98.1% complied with the EU's more stringent 'guide' values, an improvement over 97.6% compliance rates in 2004.

    Bathing water standards were even better on Cyprus, where 100% of beaches sampled complied with the stricter 'guide' values.

    Water quality values on a European-wide basis fell slightly from 96.7% in 2004 to 96.1% in 2005 for coastal areas. The drop was more significant for inland bathing sites, such as lakes and rivers, with just 85.6% meeting mandatory standards from 89.4% in 2004 and just 63.1% meeting non-binding guide values.

    According to the Commission, however, the drop in compliance was mainly due to insufficient sampling, particular in Hungary, Latvia, Malta and Poland that submitted figures for the first time, which significantly influenced non-compliance figures for the EU as a whole.

    European Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas said that it was "very encouraging that the water continues to be clean for bathers at well over 95% of Europe's coastal waters".

    At the same time, he expressed concern over the worsening compliance rate at inland bathing sites and urged public authorities to step up required testing and clean-up efforts.

    [17] Greece bids to host EU Galileo program authority BRUSSELS,

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greece on Friday made an initial bid to host the headquarters of the GNSS supervisory authority for the European Union's satellite radio navigation program Galileo, during a meeting of EU Transport and Communications ministers held in Luxembourg.

    Greek Transport Minister Mihalis Liapis on Friday outlined the role that peripheral countries can play in developing the market for the satellite system and presented arguments for basing the Galileo supervisory authority in Athens.

    During the meeting on Friday, EU ministers discussed the criteria for selecting a base for the Galileo program's supervisory authority, while a final decision will be made at the end of the year, during Finland's EU presidency.

    The Galileo radionavigation system is envisioned as an alternative to the United States' GPS and the Russian Glonass systems but, unlike them, will be under civilian instead of military control. It is an initiative launched by the European Commission and the European Space Agency that seeks to ensure that Europe has reliable access and control over one of the most important advanced technologies that will revolutionize several sectors of the economy, particularly transport.

    During the meeting, Liapis also signed on behalf of Greece an agreement setting up a common European air market between the EU and southeast European countries, including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania and the temporary UN command in Kosovo, as well as Iceland and Norway.

    [18] President Papoulias to visit Meteora and Trikala

    10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    President of the Republic President Karolos Papoulias will visit Meteora in the prefecture of Trikala on Monday, while on Tuesday he will attend the regular army sergeants’ class of 2006 graduation ceremony at the Regular Army Non-commissioned Officers Academy in the city of Trikala.

    President Papoulias is scheduled to arrive at the monastic community of Meteora, central Greece, at noon on Monday where he will be welcomed by Metropolitan Bishop Seraphim and monastery representatives.

    [19] N17 appeals trial postponed until Tuesday

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    An Athens appeals court trying nearly a score of "November 17" defendants on Friday decided to adjourn until Tuesday, as two of the highest-profile defendants, convicted N17 members Dimitris Koufodinas and Christodoulos Xiros, announced that they would boycott Friday's proceedings because their attorneys could not attend the specific session.

    [20] Event organized in Sofia for Greek poet Elytis SOFIA,

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The decisive role of culture in reinforcing European integration but also in the development of Greek-Bulgarian relations was underlined on Friday by Greece's Ambassador Danae-Magdalini Koumanakou during an event dedicated to Greek poet and Nobel prize winner Odysseus Elytis (1911-1996).

    The event was organized on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the poet's death.

    Elytis' words that the "ideal of the unification of European peoples is not possible to materialize and last unless its spiritual foundation is clearly depicted", were still valid, Koumanakou told her audience.

    The event was also dedicated to Bulgarian author Stephan Yetsev, who also translated many works of modern Greek literature in Bulgarian.

    Bulgaria's Culture Minister Stephan Danailov also addressed the event.

    [21] Interior minister addresses inauguration of 20th Book Exhibition

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, addressing the inauguration of the 20th Book Exhibition at the Zappion Hall on Friday, said that "strengthening the equal and unobstructed access of all people to books constitutes a basic priority of ours which is linked to the formation of active citizens and the promotion of the society of information and knowledge."

    Pavlopoulos expressed the "undivided support" of the state for all book enthusiasts which, as he said, "must be repeated with every opportunity". He also pointed out that "events such as today's are opportunities for the promotion of this effort and of the initiatives which have been undertaken in the direction of promoting the prospects of books."

    [22] Camp for children with disabilities in Chalkidiki

    ATHENS, 10/6/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A camp for children and youngsters with disabilities will be built near Olympiada in Chalkidiki, northern Greece, at the decision of Central Macedonia Region general secretary Giorgos Tsiotras, it was announced on Friday.

    The 1.1-million-euros project will include a small building complex and semi-outdoor spaces spreading over an area of 592 square meters. The camp will also have an indoor restaurant, an open-air amphitheater and a tent area while it will provide all necessary accommodations to people with special needs.

    [23] US only recognizes Republic of Cyprus, American official says

    WASHINGTON, 10/6/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The US will not recognize any government other than the Republic of Cyprus on the island, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried has stressed.

    Speaking at the official dinner of the 17th annual Cyprus Conference, organized by the International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and the World Council of Hellenes (SAE), he also stressed that the American policy on Cyprus ''has been, is now, and shall remain clear and consistent'' in supporting ''a settlement establishing a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation which will reunify Cyprus and its two communities into one country.''

    ''We support and will continue to help energies and guide the UN process to reconcile differences and find common ground leading to a final settlement,'' he said.

    ''And let me stress to you unequivocally: We do not and will not recognize any government other than the Republic of Cyprus on the island of Cyprus. We are clear about this - none of our policies are aimed at or imply 'creeping recognition' of any other political entity. Cyprus is one country. We have, and will have, only one Embassy, one Ambassador,'' he said.

    As regards the current situation in Cyprus, he said that both the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots set forth essentially the same goal, namely a common identity and future as Cypriots in one country. ''We must not let this moment pass. The Republic of Cyprus has an opportunity now that, if lost, may not recur - to join its people together again as Cypriots in a united nation, not as opponents, but as partners. We would like both sides to consider the end state to which they aspire - a bi-zonal, bi-communal, federation - and work backwards on how to get there,'' he said.

    ''Reaching out to each other as Cypriots with a common goal is an important element in reunification. In this context, we strongly support and encourage the decision of the Republic of Cyprus to work with the Turkish Cypriots and the UN Secretary General's representative on the island to engage in technical talks, which will address important daily life issues while laying the groundwork for broader negotiations when settlement talks resume. The next step forward is to agree on an agenda for these talks. We urge both sides to look creatively at how to start these technical talks. We also hope that President Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Talat will be able to meet on the margins of the installation of the new third member of the Committee on Missing Persons in July,'' he said.

    Regarding Turkey's European course, the US official noted that Turkey must fulfill its obligations to extend its Customs Union agreement with the EU to the Republic of Cyprus by opening its ports to Cypriot-registered ships and planes. ''Let me be clear: This is an obligation that Turkey has freely undertaken with the EU, and which it must fulfill if Ankara is to keep its EU accession process on track,'' he noted.

    Referring to the Greek-American community, he thanked Senator Sarbanes, Congressman Bilirakis and Congressman Lantos, for the substantial contributions to US foreign policy, which are ''both recognized and appreciated by all of us.''

    [24] COREPER agreement in principle is important, says Spokesman

    NICOSIA, 10/6/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Outgoing Government Spokesman George Lillikas said here Friday it is important that the EU counterstatement of the 21st September 2005 is repeated in the agreement in principle, reached at COREPER on Thursday, in view of the Association Council meeting with Turkey.

    The EU counterstatement was issued in response to the Turkish unilateral declaration of not recognizing the Republic of Cyprus.

    Commenting on a remark that the Cyprus government was expecting to see in the common position of the '25' the latest Cyprus development, namely the Paris agreement, but instead there is only a repetition of the counterstatement he said that nothing is final yet and that on Monday, final decisions will be reached, which will be examined.

    Asked if the government plans to make further efforts to have the Paris agreement included, he said that consultations in the EU continue.

    The EU counterstatement says that Turkey's declaration has no legal effect on its obligations, calls on Ankara to fully implement the protocol, creates a mechanism to monitor its implementation in 2006, notes that Turkey will have consequences if it does not fully implement it, makes clear that the EU recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus, and points out the importance of Turkey recognizing the Republic of Cyprus and the necessity to normalize Turkey's relations with all EU member states the soonest possible.

    In the counterstatement, ''the European Community and its member states acknowledge the signature by Turkey of the Additional Protocol to the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States on the one part and Turkey on the other, in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council of December 2004'' but ''regret that Turkey felt it necessary to make a declaration regarding the Republic of Cyprus at the time of signature.''

    They also ''make clear that this declaration is unilateral, does not form part of the Protocol and has no legal effect on Turkey's obligations.''


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