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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-06-13

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

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

June 13, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] Athens satisfied with compromise in EU-Turkey negotiations after Cyprus deal
  • [02] EU foreign ministers reach compromise solution on Turkish accession negotiations chapter
  • [03] Greek, Turkish FMs discuss confidence-building measures
  • [04] FM Bakoyannis concludes talks, contacts in Istanbul
  • [05] Ecumenical Patriarch comments on Greek FM's visit
  • [06] FMs Bakoyannis and Gul address 4th Greek-Turkish Meeting of Media Representative.
  • [07] Handful of opinion polls gauge public sentiment on ties with Turkey
  • [08] PASOK party leader calls on PM to take initiative for Greek-Turkish issues
  • [09] PASOK and Synaspismos leaders to discuss Greek-Turkish relations
  • [10] PASOK leader addresses 10th Congress of Albania's Socialist Party
  • [11] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos reiterates faith in tackling of problems
  • [12] President Papoulias attends memorial service at Distomo Municipality
  • [13] President Karolos Papoulias visiting Trikala prefecture
  • [14] Makeshift firebomb outside main penitentiary
  • [15] Army General Staff announces death of soldier serving in Samos
  • [16] Body of Dutch tourist recovered
  • [17] Greek truck driver arrested in Italy on drug charges
  • [18] Tanzanian woman arrested at Athens airport for carrying cocaine
  • [19] Samos hosts 5th Greek-Turkish Friendship festival
  • [20] State Dept.'s Fried: US will not recognize any gov't other than Republic of Cyprus on island

  • [01] Athens satisfied with compromise in EU-Turkey negotiations after Cyprus deal

    LUXEMBOURG 6/13/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis expressed satisfaction here over the compromise solution reached by the European Union's foreign ministers on Monday concerning the opening of the first of 35 policy "chapters" foreseen in negotiations with Turkey.

    Bakoyannis said consensus was ultimately achieved with the agreement, while issues raised by the Republic of Cyprus were safeguarded at the same time.

    According to the Greek foreign minister, this is a positive development in extremely complex and difficult negotiations during which, as she added, Athens backed the justified concerns of Cyprus and strived to achieve consensus.

    Bakoyannis further said the twin commitments Turkey has undertaken as a candidate country towards the EU and the Republic of Cyprus have been secured with the temporary closing of this first chapter, which focuses on science and research. The foreign minister also pointed out that the agreed text places particular emphasis on the implementation of the customs union protocol and that the outcome confirms the correctness of the strategic option determined and implemented by Athens.

    Lastly, Bakoyannis said developments were also positive regarding the content of the paragraph referring to Turkey in the text of conclusions for the upcoming European Council, one expected to be endorsed by EU leaders in Brussels on June 16.

    Meanwhile, the compromise agreed to by the European Union’s foreign ministers underlines the importance of Turkey complying with the Association Agreement, including the Additional Protocol and Customs Union, as well as the Partnership Relation, which constitute basic elements of pre-accession strategy. Failure to implement commitments in full will affect the overall progress of negotiations. Taking this into consideration, the EU underlines all the relevant elements of the Declaration of the EU and of member-states of Sept. 21, 2005. According to the above, the EU, if necessary, will return to the specific chapter at the right moment.

    According to European diplomatic sources in Luxembourg, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn indicated that it is the last warning to Ankara regarding the fulfillment of its commitments and that the 25-nation bloc will fully scrutinize Turkey’s progress in October.

    On his part, Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou on Monday evening termed the compromise as "satisfactory".

    Opposition reaction: On their part, the main opposition PASOK and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) parties on Monday commented on the results of the EU foreign ministers’ meeting.

    "The message must be clear: Turkey is obliged to abide and respect the legal and political reality of the European Union. Let us not forget that the customs union protocol does not only concern the Republic of Cyprus but also the 10 new member-states ... and that the operation of the Theological School of Halki is not a Greek-Turkish issue but a European obligation Turkey has for religious freedom," former EU Commissioner and high-ranking PASOK deputy Christos Papoutsis said.

    Meanwhile, a Synaspismos press released noted that "developments of the past four months show that Turkey cannot deviate from the obligations which derive from its accession course, and particularly, implementation of the customs union protocol. The fact that the need for upholding relevant obligations is mentioned does not allow for any complacency, but requires the Greek government to move actively so that the agreement becomes practice."

    [02] EU foreign ministers reach compromise solution on Turkish accession negotiations chapter

    BRUSSELS 6/13/2006 (ANA-MPA - M. Aroni)

    European Union foreign ministers on Monday reached a compromise solution on the text concerning the opening and temporary closure of the first chapter of accession negotiations with Turkey concerning research and technology.

    The text includes a paragraph that indicates the following:

    The European Union underlines the importance of Turkey complying with the Association Agreement, including the Additional Protocol and Customs Union, as well as the Partnership Relation, which constitute a basic element of pre-accession strategy. Failure to implement commitments in full will affect the overall progress of negotiations. Taking this into consideration, the EU underlines all the relevant elements of the Declaration of the EU and of member-states of September 21, 2005. According to the above, the EU, if necessary, will return to the specific chapter at the right moment.

    According to European diplomatic sources in Luxembourg, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn indicated that it is the last warning to Turkey regarding the fulfillment of its commitments and that the EU will be very tough with Turkey in October.

    [03] Greek, Turkish FMs discuss confidence-building measures

    ISTANBUL 6/13/2006 (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)

    The foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, Dora Bakoyannis and Abdullah Gul, agreed in a meeting they had in Istanbul on Saturday on specific measures for further strengthening relations between the two countries and for easing tension.

    "We confirmed the political will for initiatives which will strengthen the climate of confidence and will restrict tension to the greatest possible degree," Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stated in the joint press conference which followed the talks.

    Specifically, an agreement was signed for the building of a second bridge in the region of Evros, the establishment of ad hoc committees for the taking of measures for the confrontation of problems from floods in the region, the setting up of a direct line of communication between the chiefs of the Armed Forces General Staff of the two countries, as well as the setting up of a direct phone line between the NATO sub-headquarters based in Larissa, central Greece and a military base in Eskisehir, Turkey.

    They also agreed that within the framework of a memorandum in 1988, for there to be a moratorium in the Aegean from June 15 to September 15, that is, it will be valid for three months instead of the previous two months. Agreement was also reached for the planning of exercises between the two countries' rescue and search squads for the confrontation of natural disasters, and the exchange of visits between the chiefs of the Port Authority of the two countries. The chief of Turkey's Armed Forces General Staff also invited his Greek counterpart to visit Turkey.

    The two foreign ministers also agreed that cooperation should continue between the two countries in the energy, economic and banking sectors, in which, according to Bakoyannis, "important steps have been made."

    Bakoyannis noted that "in the open, sincere and constructive meeting" she had with her Turkish counterpart Gul, "we created the framework in order for there to be results to the mutual interest of the two countries." She added that "the target is for us to utilize the impetus so as to consolidate a climate of confidence in our bilateral relations."

    Bakoyannis said "our meeting today is yet another step in the right direction," adding that "we shall continue to meet and have substantial discussions."

    Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul described the discussion he had with his Greek counterpart "on all our issues" as "extremely beneficial with very much courage and cordiality." He noted the political will of neighboring Turkey "for Greek-Turkish bilateral relations to be strengthened even more."

    Gul said characteristically that "the glass of water in Greek-Turkish relations is more than half full and we will try to fill it."

    [04] FM Bakoyannis concludes talks, contacts in Istanbul

    ISTANBUL 6/13/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis concluded a visit here on Sunday and meetings with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, as both foreign ministers participated in a conference of media representatives from both countries and discussed various confidence-building measures.

    Earlier on Sunday, Bakoyannis observed a church service at the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Aghios (Saint) Georgios Cathedral -- officiated by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos -- and following her tour of the Bosporus a day earlier.

    She was expected back in Athens by the early afternoon before departing again for Luxembourg to participate at an EU General Affairs Council meeting.

    [05] Ecumenical Patriarch comments on Greek FM's visit

    ISTANBUL 6/13/2006 (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Monday referred here to Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis' meeting with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Istanbul on Saturday, noting that "we derived strength from her persistence to the ideals of Greek-Turkish friendship and cooperation."

    "We hope that there will also be a response from the other side so that the two neighboring peoples advance together in peace and stability in our region, with mutual respect and fairness," he added.

    [06] FMs Bakoyannis and Gul address 4th Greek-Turkish Meeting of Media Representative.

    ISTANBUL 6/13/2006 (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul addressed the opening session of the 4th Greek-Turkish Meeting of Media Representatives in Istanbul on Saturday morning.

    They appealed to the mass media of Greece and Turkey and to their representatives to contribute in the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

    "The role of politicians, and you will agree with me Mr. Gul, is for them to find solutions to problems," said Bakoyannis, who is in Istanbul since Friday and will remain there until Sunday.

    "You journalists with your cooperation, as well as with my cooperation and Mr. Gul's, we can make even a small step forward. I am certain that many more and more important things will follow," the Greek foreign minister said.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul called on the Greek and Turkish journalists "to have a constructive and objective stance and not a populist one."

    "You can, better and more easily than politicians, direct public opinion. I ask of you to use the pencil to bring the two nations closer," Gul added.

    Bakoyannis also referred to the air collision between a Greek and Turkish fighter jet in the Aegean on May 23 above the island of Karpathos, resulting in the death of Greek pilot Costas Iliakis. She said that "the Greek people are deeply affected psychologically from the loss of a grand young man," adding that "there is an effusive disappointment which is mainly due to the widespread feeling that neighboring Turkey is not proceeding in substantial moves of friendship towards Greece."

    She also noted: “The Greek people want to live in friendship and brotherhood with Turkey, with the prerequisite that they believe that they are not being wronged and that the neighboring country is not claiming anything from Greece’s territory."

    She referred for the second time in her speech that "the role of politicians is to solve problems," stressing, at the same time, that "we should see the solution of our problems as a situation of 'mutual benefit'."

    When there are problems, "it is the obligation of the mass media not to burden their solution," she said.

    "I firmly believe in the great role, positive and negative, which the mass media can play," said Bakoyannis, noting that "the mass media have power and responsibility, which they must handle accordingly."

    Turkish Foreign Minister Gul noted from the beginning of his speech that "we will discuss with Mrs. Bakoyannis all the problems of the two countries," stating that "the stage in which relations between Greece and Turkey are in, gives the possibility for their solution through dialogue and cooperation."

    Gul also said the development of cooperation between the two countries "will contribute to the regional stability of the Balkans, of the Black Sea and of the Mediterranean." The Turkish foreign minister added that "the Aegean will definitely become a sea of peace, which will unite the two peoples."

    Referring to Cyprus, Gul said that "our anticipation is, given that a comprehensive solution will be secured, is for Cyprus to become a symbol of peace, cooperation and development."

    Concluding, Gul underlined the steps for confidence-building measures between the two neighboring countries, namely, mobility in tourism, the high bulk of bilateral trade and cooperation in the energy sector, steps, which he said, "also contribute to regional stability."

    [07] Handful of opinion polls gauge public sentiment on ties with Turkey

    ATHENS 6/13/2006 (ANA)

    A handful of local opinion poll results regarding Greek-Turkish relations were unveiled on Sunday, in light of a recent surge in public opinion interest in the state of bilateral relations with the neighboring country and across-the-board political deliberations over Athens' long-term policy vis-a-vis Turkey's European aspirations and Turkish leadership's continuing claims in the Aegean.

    In one particularly interesting opinion poll, sampling residents of four eastern Aegean islands, 77 percent of respondents said they did not believe Ankara truly desires a full normalization of Greek-Turkish relations. Moreover, 44.8 percent said they favored extending Greece's territorial waters to 12 nautical miles despite whatever protestations by Turkey, including threats of wars (casus belli).

    Results from the same poll showed that 74.9 percent of respondents -- from the islands of Lesvos, Hios, Samos and Rhodes -- rejected a recent proposal by former president Kostis Stephanopoulos to refer differences to the International Court at The Hague as far as it concerns the prospect of Greek isles' demilitarization, with 76.3 percent saying they would feel insecure following such a development.

    Furthermore, 78.4 percent of the islands' respondents said national affairs are of great concern to them.

    The opinion poll results, collected by the firm Rass, were published in the weekly "Paron" newspaper.

    Meanwhile, 48 percent of respondents in an opinion poll published in the Athens daily "Kathimerini" said they believe relations with Ankara have worsened; 42 percent said relations have remained the same and 6 percent said ties have improved.

    Conversely, 72 percent of respondents said the possibility of an armed conflict with Turkey is unlikely in the next few years. A majority, however, said Turkey's possible accession to the European Union will have negative repercussions for the Union.

    The poll was conducted by the firm VPRC.

    Finally, results of an opinion poll published in the "Vima" newspaper show that only one out of four respondents believes Turkey should enter the EU, while 43 percent said they believe the neighboring country's accession course will at some point be interrupted.

    A large majority, 85 percent, of respondents said Ankara held expansionist designs against Greece, whereas 79.5 percent of respondents emphasized that Athens must block EU-Turkey accession negotiations in case Turkey does not fulfill the Union's conditions and prerequisites for membership.

    The poll was conducted by the Kappa Research firm.

    George Papandreou: In a related development, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou was quoted by the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" on Sunday as calling on the government to assume a new and immediate initiative for Greek-Turkey relations.

    Papandreou, the country's foreign minister for just more than five years in successive PASOK governments (1999-2004), again outlined his proposal for expanding territorial waters in tandem with mutually referring the Aegean continental shelf issue to The Hague Court, followed by the signing of a peace and security pact with Turkey, and mutually slashing defense expenditures, among others.

    [08] PASOK party leader calls on PM to take initiative for Greek-Turkish issues

    ATHENS 6/13/2006 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, speaking in an interview with the Sunday newspaper" Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia", called on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to take an initiative "here and now" for Greek-Turkish issues.

    Papandreou also reiterated his proposal for a new strategy to be determined in foreign policy, a proposal that he has already presented to President Karolos Papoulias, the prime minister and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga and will also be presenting on Tuesday to Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party leader Alekos Alavanos.

    The PASOK party leader further urges Karamanlis to make a move because, as he said, the interests of Greece cannot be left to the logic of inertia and immobility, while tension leads to an escalation of armaments and to concessions and the country is currently in a more unfavorable position compared to 2004.

    [09] PASOK and Synaspismos leaders to discuss Greek-Turkish relations

    ATHENS 6/13/2006 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos will meet on Tuesday with main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, in the context of the latter's initiative for the paving of a new strategy in Greek-Turkish relations.

    Meanwhile, Synaspismos Secretary Nikos Hountis, referring to Saturday's meeting in Istanbul between Greek and Turkish foreign ministers Dora Bakoyannis and Abdullah Gul, stated that his party "firmly claims that the improvement in Greek-Turkish relations must be sought through dialogue between the two countries on the basis of international law and of international treaties."

    Hountis added that "such a dialogue is facilitated from the lifting of the casus beli on the part of Turkey and the balanced reduction of the excessive armaments between the two countries."

    Hountis further noted that the Greek government "is obliged to remind that Turkey's (EU) accession course must be linked with respect on the part of Turkey, of the acquis communautaire and the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus and the shaping of relations of good neighborliness with Greece."

    The Synaspismos Secretary said that it was imperative "for there to be a full briefing on the content of the up to now talks between Greece and Turkey," adding that "we believe that this time there will be a full briefing."

    [10] PASOK leader addresses 10th Congress of Albania's Socialist Party

    TIRANA 6/13/2006 (ANA-MPA/ I. Patso)

    Main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou addressed the 10th Congress of Albania's Socialist Party in Tirana on Saturday. Papandreou was invited to the congress by Socialist Party Chairman and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama.

    Papandreou referred to the relations between the two parties and to the initiatives undertaken by PASOK for the securing of the rights of immigrants in Greece. He also spoke in particular about the Greek minority in Albania, noting that it constitutes "wealth" for the neighboring country.

    Furthermore, the PASOK leader referred to the "positive work" of Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios, under-lining his contribution "to the improvement and strengthening of relations between Greece and Albania."

    The purpose of the 10th Congress of Albania's Socialist Party was, among other things, changes to its charter.

    Papandreou was due to meet Archbishop Anastasios later in the day.

    [11] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos reiterates faith in tackling of problems

    ISTANBUL 6/13/2006 (ANA-MPA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos reiterated his faith on Sunday that all problems harassing the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be tackled.

    The Patriarch was speaking during a reception organized on the occasion of his name day after the Pentecost church service was held at the Fanar.

    "The Apostolical throne of Istanbul is continuing with steadfast hope to carry out a good struggle for the Church," he said, adding that "it is doing this despite obstacles, denials, humiliations and threats."

    [12] President Papoulias attends memorial service at Distomo Municipality

    ATHENS 6/13/2006 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias visited Distomo Municipality in central Greece on Saturday and attended a memorial service at Saint Nicholas Church for the town's inhabitants who were slaughtered 62 years ago by the German occupation troops in World War Two.

    Papoulias later visited the city's Town Hall and afterwards the Mausoleum, where a Te Deum was held, and laid a wreath.

    Prior to his departure for Athens, the president unveiled a sculpture at the entrance of the town which was created by School of Fine Arts professor George Kalakalas and entitled "World Kiss".

    Also present at the events was Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos and all the prefecture's deputies.

    [13] President Karolos Papoulias visiting Trikala prefecture

    ATHENS 6/13/2006 (ANA)

    President Karolos Papoulias will be visiting the prefecture of Trikala, central Greece, on Monday to visit Meteora, while on Tuesday he will also be visiting the School of Non-Commissioned Officers in the city of Trikala.

    President Papoulias will be attending a luncheon at noon on Monday and in the afternoon he will go to the Agios Vissarion-Dousikos monastery.

    On Saturday, President Papoulias unveiled an impressive sculpture at the entrance of the city of Distomo and laid a wreath at the mausoleum built in memory of local inhabitants killed by German occupation forces 62 years ago.

    [14] Makeshift firebomb outside main penitentiary

    ATHENS 6/13/2006 (ANA)

    A makeshift explosive device went off outside the front gate of the women's section at the main Korydallos penitentiary Saturday evening (10:30 p.m. local time) southwest of central Athens, with a warning given roughly 10 minutes before the blast was recorded to an Athens daily newspaper and a handful of private local television stations.

    A caller said the group "revolutionary brigades" assumed responsibility for the bombing. The same shadowy band has claimed responsibility for other attacks, using the same method, namely, camping gas canisters, outside tax bureaus and a multinational fast food outlet in the greater Athens area.

    [15] Army General Staff announces death of soldier serving in Samos

    ATHENS 6/13/2006 (ANA)

    A soldier serving with a unit on the island of Samos has lost his life, according to an announcement by the Army General Staff.

    The announcement said that the body of soldier A.K., 27, who had been serving with a unit on this Aegean island, was found on Monday at a depth of five meters in the sea region near the village of Karkinagri on the nearby island of Ikaria.

    Relevant authorities are investigating the causes of death and the conditions under which the soldier lost his life.

    [16] Body of Dutch tourist recovered

    ATHENS 6/13/2006 (ANA)

    The body of a Dutch tourist that fell into Edessa's water falls in northern Greece on Saturday morning was discovered later in the afternoon, authorities said.

    No information as to the identity of the woman or the circumstances surrounding the incident.

    [17] Greek truck driver arrested in Italy on drug charges

    ROME 6/13/2006 (ANA-MPA - L. Hatjikyriakos)

    A Greek truck driver was arrested on drug charges near Italy's borders with France on Monday morning.

    The arrest was carried out by police from Bari in the town of Ventimiglia, where they were probably "waiting" for the drugs, 32 kilos of cocaine.

    The cocaine had been prepared in one-kilo packages and had been placed among the goods he was carrying.

    [18] Tanzanian woman arrested at Athens airport for carrying cocaine

    ATHENS 6/13/2006 (ANA)

    A 43-year-old Tanzanian woman, believed to be a member of a drug-trafficking ring from Latin America, was arrested at Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens at noon on Saturday.

    The woman had come to Athens from Brazil and was found to have 65 small packages in her stomach that contained a total of 889 grams of cocaine.

    The woman had swallowed the drugs in Sao Paulo in an effort to pass through Athens airport and deliver them to unknown drug dealers.

    [19] Samos hosts 5th Greek-Turkish Friendship festival

    ATHENS 6/13/2006 (ANA)

    The 5th Greek-Turkish Friendship Festival took place on the eastern Aegean island of Samos on Sunday, focusing on the environment, education and peace initiatives.

    The event was organized by various non-government organizations (NGOs) and the Samos prefecture.

    [20] State Dept.'s Fried: US will not recognize any gov't other than Republic of Cyprus on island

    WASHINGTON 6/13/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The United States 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 stressed here late last week.

    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 US 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 energize and guide the UN process to reconcile differences and find common ground leading to a final settlement ... 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 essentially eye 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.

    Foreign Exchange Rates

    Reference buying rates per euro released

    by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.276


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