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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-09-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

September 1, 2006


  • [01] Iran sees EU proposal in positive light, Iranian security aide tells FM Bakoyannis
  • [02] Crux of Greece’s UNSC presidency
  • [03] Athens: FYROM's course towards EU can continue only with a 'mutually acceptable' name
  • [04] Congressional draft resolution against FYROM 'propaganda' signed by 77 US House of Representatives
  • [05] Parliament president to visit New York on September 5
  • [06] PASOK secretary gives press conference on party's anniversary
  • [07] PM hosts dinner for ND deputies
  • [08] SAE's Athens says he will step down from helm
  • [09] Gov't, producer and social groups discuss corruption, tax evasion
  • [10] GSEBEE presents proposals to PM Karamanlis
  • [11] PASOK leader meets leadership of Northern Greece Industries Federation
  • [12] Papandreou meeting with major contractors' association
  • [13] Social, economic changes need consensus, industrialists' president says
  • [14] Trade unionists unveils 'bleak' economic growth report
  • [15] Thessaloniki port improvement project launched
  • [16] Thessaloniki Port in talks with foreign shippers
  • [17] Greek economy grew 4.1 pct in 2nd quarter
  • [18] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks raise
  • [19] Ancient artifacts returned to Greece from Los Angeles Getty Museum
  • [20] Group claims second explosion in two days
  • [21] Public order minister warns of Internet dangers for children
  • [22] Former magistrate Konstantina Bourboulia protests continuation of custody
  • [23] Kozani prefecture sends humanitarian aid to Lebanese people
  • [24] Cyprus FM: we are in line with UN objectives
  • [25] EU supports UN efforts to further Cyprus reunification process
  • [26] Cabinet approves Cyprus' participation in UN Peace Force in Lebanon

  • [01] Iran sees EU proposal in positive light, Iranian security aide tells FM Bakoyannis

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Developments concerning Iran's nuclear program were at the centre of talks held in Athens on Thursday between Greece's foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) deputy secretary Dr. Mohammad Nahavandian, which took place at the initiative of the Iranian side.

    Bakoyannis was briefed in detail on Tehran's positions on the nuclear program issue, in view of Greece's assumption on Friday of the rotating UN Security Council presidency for the month of September.

    The discussion, which lasted for more than an hour, was substantive and concerned the proposal put forward by the European Union aimed at lifting the current impasse.

    After the meeting, Nahavandian told reporters that Iran saw the EU proposal, which gives incentives for Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program, in a positive, and saw it as a basis for commencing negotiations and cooperation in various sectors.

    "Instead of displaying such great sensitivity to strict timetables and deadlines, let us focus on the essence. Very good prospects may arise from a constructive negotiation. Iran is prepared for an immediate commencement of consensus cooperation, anywhere," Nahavandian said, stressing that the discussions could also include Iran's nuclear program.

    Nahavandian also praised the level of bilateral Greece-Iran relations, adding that he also exchanged views with Bakoyannis on regional issues of interest to both countries.

    PASOK party leader holds talks with Iranian official: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou and the deputy secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Nahavandian, on Thursday discussed developments regarding Iran's nuclear program and the situation in the Middle East during a meeting held at the party's offices.

    Nahavandian analyzed Tehran's positions on the uranium enrichment program, as they are presented in the relevant Iranian report that constitutes a reply to the proposal made by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, with which Iran is given incentives to suspend the program and start negotiations with the international community.

    The deadline set by the Security Council for Tehran to announce the discontinuation of uranium enrichment is due to end on Thursday.

    Foreign ministry spokesman comments on Iran: Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos, commenting on Thursday on the issue of Iran, said that Greece supports the full implementation of the treaty for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

    "Greece, being a country that ratified as of 1970 and is part of the treaty for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, believes and supports its full implementation. At the same time, we believe that it is diplomacy that provides solutions to international problems. A proposal has been made to Iran with many positive elements. Iran must evaluate and utilize the positive and attractive elements in the proposal. There has been at least one reply from Iran which, as you know, has not been considered satisfactory and requires further clarifications," he said.

    [02] Crux of Greece’s UNSC presidency

    1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Respect of the central role of the United Nations and International Law, and confidence in the principle that diplomacy is the means for resolving differences, will be the crux of Greece's presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of September, which it formally assumes on Friday, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said Thursday.

    Greece, which holds a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2005-2006, assumes the monthly rotating presidency of the Council on September 1.

    During the Greek presidency, several major issues of international concern are slated to be discussed by the Security Council, including the situation in Kosovo, the Middle East crisis, and the situation in Lebanon, while a discussion, at foreign ministers' level, will also take place on September 20 concerning UN cooperation with regional organizations aimed at preserving international peace and security.

    An exhibition titled "Encomium to the Olive" will also be organized at the UN building in the course of the Greek Security Council presidency, to be inaugurated on September 19 by UN secretary general Kofi Annan, Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, and Greek culture minister George Voulgarakis. The exhibition is organized by the Athens Academy's Archive Centre for Folklore.

    Foreign minister Bakoyannis is due to arrive in New York on September 15, and will address the UN General Assembly on September 22.

    Afterwards, she will visit Washington on September 26-27, where she will have meetings with US National Security advisor Stephen Hadley and energy secretary Samuel Bodman.

    [03] Athens: FYROM's course towards EU can continue only with a 'mutually acceptable' name

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The foreign ministry on Thursday echoed comments by top Greek leadership this past week regarding the "name issue" still plaguing Athens' relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), with the relevant ministry spokesman reiterating that UN-backed negotiations deal with the "international dimension" of the difference, and not the mere bilateral aspect.

    The statement by spokesman George Koumoutsakos comes a day after Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis reminded that a solution to the 16-year-old dispute does not revolve around the name that Greece will use in bilateral relations -- a leitmotif of previous FYROM governments repeatedly cited by the Skopje over the past few days.

    On his part, Koumoutsakos reiterated that relations between the two SE Europe neighbors are absolutely friendly, while adding that "good friends also keep good accounts", in paraphrasing a well-known Greek adage. Additionally, he again noted that Athens will not consent to the landlocked former Yugoslav republic's continued EU course with a name that is not "mutually acceptable to both sides".

    Moreover, vis-à-vis a related development, he emphasized that the only minority in Greece is that of the Muslim minority in the northeastern Thrace region, a response to a particularly irksome, for Athens, statement by Skopje this past week alleging the existence of a Slavic-speaking minority in the northern Greek province of Macedonia.

    A day earlier, Valinakis had stressed that "if the stated goal was to decide how Greece will refer to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) then UN Security Council resolutions would not be necessary, nor would negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations secretary general be necessary."

    Although Athens and Skopje have achieved remarkable progress in bilateral relations, especially in trade and investments, since signing an UN-mediated "interim agreement" in 1995, the "name issue" continues to block the full normalization of ties.

    Athens strenuously opposes FYROM's use of the name "Macedonia", as in "Republic of Macedonia", citing historical and political reasons. Moreover, Greece's largest province, which shares borders with FYROM, is called Macedonia, the same geographical region that more-or-less corresponds with the ancient kingdom of Macedonia.

    [04] Congressional draft resolution against FYROM 'propaganda' signed by 77 US House of Representatives

    WASHINGTON, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A draft resolution by US Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) tabled in the House of Representatives outlines a Congressional position that FYROM cease the distribution of "negative and nationalistic propaganda" and to cooperate with the United Nations and Greece for a "mutually acceptable" international name for FYROM has been signed by 77 Representatives of both parties.

    Maloney, along with Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), the founders and co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic (Greek) Issues, along with 21 other Representatives sent letters to US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in July 2005 urging the US administration to play "active roles" in the UN-sponsored negotiations between Athens and Skopje, and specifically to address a compromise proposal made by United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz.

    [05] Parliament president to visit New York on September 5

    NEW YORK, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda will visit New York on September 5. On the next day, she will be participating in an event concerning the establishment of a Democracy faculty at the University of New York titled "Hellenic Parliament Global Distinguished Professorship."

    During the event, she will be attending a speech by professor Paul Cartledge on the reconsideration of Democracy and modern changes in the ancient Greek issue.

    The Parliament president will also be meeting the Archbishop of America Demetrios and members of the Greek American community.

    Lastly, she will be giving a press conference at the Greek Press and Communication Office in Manhattan.

    [06] PASOK secretary gives press conference on party's anniversary

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition PASOK party National Council secretary Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou, speaking at a press conference in Patra, western Greece, on Thursday referred to events organized by the party in the city on the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of the party's founding in 1974.

    "It is not a question of decentralization of events. Patra, Achaia are at the centre of the democratic party. The heart of the democratic party has always palpitated lively here, the democratic and social struggles, all these years," she said.

    The events got underway on Thursday night with the inauguration of the exhibition on PASOK's founder, Andreas Papandreou, at the "Esperos" cinema in Georgiou Square.

    The events will heighten on Sunday with an address by PASOK leader George Papandreou at an outdoor political rally in Georgiou Square at 7.30 in the evening.

    [07] PM hosts dinner for ND deputies

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis hosted a dinner for New Democracy (ND) party deputies at Nea Makri on Thursday night.

    Referring to his presence at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair which begins on September 8, Karamanlis said that the Greek economy will offer what its potential allows it, adding that the government will do what it must, without there being destabilization and deviation.

    In his discussion with the deputies, the prime minister also referred to education and said that the changes which have been planned will proceed because the government wants to upgrade the quality of studies.

    [08] SAE's Athens says he will step down from helm

    1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The veteran president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Andrew Athens, on Wednesday told reporters during a reception in Athens that he will resign from post to assume the position of honorary president of SAE’s international personalities’ committee, which was approved during the organization’s last session.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas also attended the reception.

    [09] Gov't, producer and social groups discuss corruption, tax evasion

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    All producer and social groups are responsible for dealing with the twin scourges of corruption and tax-evasion facing the country, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and representatives of producer classes and the civil servants' union ADEDY, the minister said the problem was equally important for business groups and civil servants, urging both sides to mobilize their members.

    Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said a draft legislation recently tabled in parliament would contribute more to efforts at combating corruption, while he reiterated the government's position to show no tolerance to corruption. He stressed that a new civil servants code was promoting meritocracy and that a new office hours schedule would better facilitate citizens' transactions with the public sector.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said the government has introduced more than 30 measures to support small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    ADEDY, civil servants' union, presented its demands to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters, ADEDY president Spyros Papaspyros said the union's demands reflected the needs of ordinary people.

    Papaspyros asked for a minimum monthly income of 800 euros and for the introduction of a minimum salary of 1,250 for new employees in the public sector. He also said the two sides disagreed on education and healthcare issues and on issues related with a review of the Constitution.

    [10] GSEBEE presents proposals to PM Karamanlis

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Representatives of the General Confederation of Light Industry and Commerce of Greece (GSEBEE), headed by confederation president Dimitris Assimakopoulos, on Thursday submitted GSEBEE's proposals for small and medium size enterprises during a meeting with prime minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Assimakopoulos told reporters after the meeting that the GSEBEE delegation had briefed the prime minister on the confederation's proposals with respect to issues of financing and subsidization of the SMEs and combating unemployment.

    He said that GSEBEE was not opposed to reforms and changes, but only to "reforms that create benefits for only a few interests".

    Assimakopoulos said that the country had no general strategic framework for SMEs, and called on the prime minister to take part in a meeting of the GSEBEE board of directors.

    Replying to questions, Assimakopoulos said that the issue of corruption in the public sector had only been briefly touched on, in passing, adding that much discussion had taken place on this matter in the past, but it was not being confronted.

    Assimakopoulos said that the prime minister told the GSEBEE delegation that this was an immense problem, and that great efforts were being made to tackle it.

    [11] PASOK leader meets leadership of Northern Greece Industries Federation

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou held hour-long talks on Thursday with the leadership of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece and the Federation's president George Mylonas in the framework of his contacts in light of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    Asked about the proposal he made on widening the status of apprenticeship without pay in businesses, the Federation's president said he suggested the widening of the apprenticeship status to technical institute (TEI) graduates, who will be hired by businesses without pay but enjoy social security benefits.

    [12] Papandreou meeting with major contractors' association

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou on Thursday continued his meetings with representatives of producer and social groups ahead of next month's Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), the venue from where the country's political leaders detail their political and economic policies for the coming year.

    On Thursday, Papandreou met with the leadership of the Association of Technical Companies (contractors) of the Highest Classes (STEAT), a closely watched meeting following a verbal exchange between Papandreou and Public Works Minister George Souflias earlier this week, with the latter at one point calling the PASOK leader's statement regarding the reformed procedures awarding major public works contracts "foolish".

    In a reaction a couple of days later, PASOK's shadow head for public works, Yiannis Tsaklidis, used the same language, saying that the issue at hand revolves around the inordinately excessive discounts now being submitted for contracts, leading to bids below the real costs for a given project, which means either unfinished projects or shoddy quality, as he claimed.

    [13] Social, economic changes need consensus, industrialists' president says

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    All necessary changes in education, social insurance, constitution and the economy need consensus and under-standing by all political parties and above all the society itself, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, the president of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) said on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, Daskalopoulos expressed a hope that the forthcoming Thessaloniki International Trade Fair (TIF) will not turn into a venue for whatever pre-election rivalry, but into the beginning of a fundamental dialogue for the country's future.

    "Our position is that a strong economy means a safe society, that's why promoting necessary changes is a most fundamental social benefit. These changes will mean more money and better social protection for citizens," Daskalopoulos said.

    He underlined that changes are needed in the sector of education, constitutional revision, and in the social insurance system, while he added that government policies were moving towards the right direction, but more speed is needed.

    [14] Trade unionists unveils 'bleak' economic growth report

    1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    GSEE - Greece's largest trade union umbrella - on Thursday urged wage-earners, pensioners and young people to "massively" participate in its mobilizations on Sept. 9 in Thessaloniki, all under the sports-influenced slogan of "red card to unemployment, price hikes and austerity policies".

    GSEE president Yiannis Panagopoulos, meanwhile, on Thursday presented a report on the Greek economy drafted by professor Savvas Robolis, the head of GSEE-ADEDY's research institute.

    The union's report said Greek economic growth was slowing down because of shrinking domestic demand - the driving force behind strong economic growth in the last decade. The real convergence index, GDP per capita in purchasing power units, is expected to reach 79.5 pct of the EU average in 2007, up from 75.5 pct in 2004, but the impact of a possible slowdown could be serious, as in the case of Portugal, where GDP per capita fell to 66 percent of the EU average in 2005 from 73 pct.

    Average monthly earnings totaled 1,441 euros in 2005, down from 2,110 in the EU-15 average, with the monthly labor cost in Greece at 68 percent of the EU average and productivity at 91 pct of the EU average.

    According to the union's report, Greece suffers from high financial imbalances, with the income of 20 percent of wealthiest Greeks totaling six times the income of the 20 percent less wealthy citizens. Wage earners and pensioners paid 44.5 pct of tax proceeds to the state budget last year, up from 39.7 pct in 2004, with enterprises covering 42.1 pct, down from 45.9 pct in 2004.

    GSEE's president also urged the government to doll out a heating oil subsidy to low-income citizens and for a 40-percent hike in unemployment benefits this year and another 20 percent rise next year.

    [15] Thessaloniki port improvement project launched

    1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Authorities on Thursday launched a project to improve the international port of Thessaloniki in a project part-financed by the European Investment Bank.

    Signed was a financing contract between the EIB and state owned Thessaloniki Port Authority, which will allow work to begin on expanding pier 6 at the western end of the facility.

    The expansion project and accompanying equipment is budgeted at 200 million euros with a completion deadline of three months. The EIB will finance half of the cost in a loan with a 20-year repayment deadline and five-year grace period.

    Overall works are to improve the northern port's operational efficiency by increasing capacity and optimizing use of the port area, including construction of a 500m seawall and adjacent yard extension to expand pier 6, investment in new equipment and machinery and additional storage space added for the movement and stacking of containers and new cranes, according to an EIB project brief.

    Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis attended the signing ceremony.

    [16] Thessaloniki Port in talks with foreign shippers

    1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Thessaloniki Port Authority is negotiating with major foreign shippers for the supply of services, especially in the cargo sector, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said on Thursday.

    The minister added that the talks, which are at an advanced stage, did not include any sale of stock in the port operator.

    Kefaloyiannis was attending signature of a financing contract between the EIB and the state owned port authority, which will allow work to begin on expanding pier 6 at the western end of the facility.

    [17] Greek economy grew 4.1 pct in 2nd quarter

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greek economic growth was unchanged at 4.1 percent in the second quarter of 2006, according to provisional figures released by the National Statistics Service on Monday, compared with early estimates made two weeks ago.

    NSS, in a report, said minor changes were made only in export and import figures and in final consumption figures. Final consumption in the second quarter of the year rose by 3.9 pct, up from a first estimate of 3.5 pct and a 3.6 pct growth rate in the corresponding period in 2005.

    Greek exports rose by 2.5 percent in the April-June period, up from 2.2 percent in the same quarter last year and a 0.7 percent growth estimate, while imports grew by 10.2 pct in the second quarter, after a 5.8 pct decline in the same period last year and a first estimate for an increase of 6.6 pct.

    NSS said investment growth rate was unchanged from early estimates, at 13.9 pct in the second quarter, after a 4.2 pct decline last year.

    [18] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks raise

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Athens share index closed at 3,868.62 points, showing a rise of 1.35%. Turnover was 363.0 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.57% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks 1.23% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.17% up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 142 to 111 with 63 remaining unchanged.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): National Bank (2646)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 111.2 million euros

    Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 4.08%

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2016): 4.08% yield

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-year bond, expiring 20.7.2016 (1.4 bin euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.3 bin euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates

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

    U.S. dollar 1.295

    [19] Ancient artifacts returned to Greece from Los Angeles Getty Museum

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Two ancient artifacts arrived in Greece from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles on Thursday and were taken to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The artifacts were presented to Greek and foreign journalists by Culture Minister George Vulgarities.

    The minister revealed that negotiations with the Getty Museum are continuing for two more ancient artifacts, while a high-ranking delegation from the Getty Museum will be arriving in Athens around the end of September to continue talks.

    [20] Group claims second explosion in two days

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Revolutionary Brigade group on Wednesday night assumed responsibility for a makeshift bomb explosion on the sidewalk outside the state-run Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) offices in Keratin, near Piraeus, just two days after a similar attack outside a recently-closed lingerie plant in Ilion.

    An anonymous caller telephoned the Athens daily Eleftherotypia newspaper and weekly Pontiki newspaper (which appears on Thursdays) on Wednesday night, approximately a half-hour before the home-made bomb, comprising three one-liter propane canisters and a canister of flammable liquid, exploded at 9:48 p.m.

    The explosion caused minor material damage but no injuries, as police, alerted by the newspapers, quickly cordoned the area off, so there were no passersby at the time of the explosion.

    Police bomb-disposal experts collected remnants of the explosive device for laboratory examination.

    The same group assumed responsibility Tuesday morning for a home-made bomb that exploded outside a lingerie plant late Monday night in the Ilio district of Athens, causing damage to a trash bin, in telephone calls to three private television stations and an Athens daily newspaper.

    A makeshift bomb comprising two large propane canisters and a can of flammable liquid placed outside the SEX FORM lingerie plant, on the sidewalk between the factory's fence and a trash bin, exploded at 10:04 Monday night.

    Police said only one of the two propane canisters exploded, while the explosion deformed the trash bin and the second propane canister which, however, did not explode.

    Police bomb-disposal experts were carrying out a laboratory examination on the remnants of the homemade bomb.

    Police said they found several flyers at the scene, containing anarchist material, but which were nearly illegible.

    An anonymous caller or callers telephoned the Mega, Star and Alter private television stations and Eleftherotypia daily at about 9:50 a.m. the following morning and claimed responsibility for the explosion on behalf of the Revolutionary Brigade group, saying it was an act of support for the dismissed workers.

    Some 170 people were made redundant at Athens-quoted Sex Form after the recent closure its Ilio plant.

    The Revolutionary Brigade has also in the past claimed responsibility for similar propane canister attacks at an Emporiki Bank branch on central Korai street in July, the Tax Bureau office at Peristeri, at a canteen outside the military conscription office at Rouf, on the fence wall at the Korydallos prison in June shortly after the escape by helicopter of convict Vassilis Paleokostas and Albanian inmate Alket Rizai, a police van outside the police station in Kolonos in April, and a US-based McDonald's multinational fast-food chain outlet in the Holargos suburb of Athens.

    [21] Public order minister warns of Internet dangers for children

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, speaking in an interview on Thursday, underlined the serious dangers existing for children as a result of porn and child porn on the Internet, adding that tackling it is a top priority.

    The minister said that the problem cannot be confronted without close cooperation with parents as well, who must be constantly vigilant. He further pointed out that the Greek electronic crime prosecution service is, according to the European Council, one of the best in Europe.

    Polydoras also stressed that the levels of juvenile crime in Greek society are not alarming.

    Lastly, the minister praised the character of Greek society as being the main factor making Greece one of the countries with the lowest crime rate in Europe.

    [22] Former magistrate Konstantina Bourboulia protests continuation of custody

    ATHENS, 1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Former magistrate Konstantina Bourboulia is expressing objections over the continuation of her custody to the Council of Appeals Court Judges, that will be convening in the next few days.

    Bourboulia terms her staying in prison "illegal" and claims that her detention time began last January, when she was arrested and held in a French prison. She also believes that a relevant decree should have been issued for the extension of her custody, after the six-month period expired, that did not happen.

    On the contrary, the relevant judicial council considers last March as being the beginning of her detention time, when she was brought to Greece from France and placed in custody. Consequently, her six-month period in custody ends, according to the Appeals Court, on September 10.

    [23] Kozani prefecture sends humanitarian aid to Lebanese people

    1/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The prefecture of Kozani, in northern Greece, responding to an appeal from the Lebanese embassy in Athens, has sent quantities of pharmaceuticals, at the initiative of Kozani prefect Iordanis Andreadis, to contribute to the relief of the Lebanese people from the consequences of the disastrous war.

    "The contribution of our prefecture in the past as well, in similar acts of support for suffering peoples, was valuable and immediate. Consequently, with the sending of humanitarian aid to the victims and refugees of the war in Lebanon now, we are proving our social sensitivity and solidarity for the problems of survival of the inhabitants of this country," the Kozani prefect said.

    [24] Cyprus FM: we are in line with UN objectives

    LARNACA, 1/9/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus government objectives and assessment with regard to efforts to resume substantive negotiations are consistent with those of the UN Security Council, Foreign Minister George Lillikas said here on Thursday, adding that Nicosia insists on strict implementation of the July agreement to begin talks on day to day issues and concurrently on substantive issues.

    "The government is pleased with the assessment, the opinion and the final position adopted by the UN Security Council which has expressed support for the implementation of the July 8 agreement between President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat," the minister said, on his way to Finland to participate in a European Union informal ministerial Council.

    He said the government believes that the said agreement is the only available route to help make headway towards substantive negotiations and fully backs the "strict and faithful" implementation of the agreement.

    "We are pleased to see the UN Security Council continues to believe that the only way to create conditions for a new initiative on a Cyprus settlement is progress on the basis of the framework prescribed in the agreement," Lillikas added.

    Replying to questions, he said a positive disposition and good will from both sides is necessary to move forward with this process.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    In Finland, he said discussions will focus on the situation in the Middle East, but talks will also cover Russia-EU relations and Iran's nuclear program.

    [25] EU supports UN efforts to further Cyprus reunification process

    NICOSIA, 1/9/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The European Commission fully supports UN efforts to further the reunification process in Cyprus, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has said, stressing that progress "is in the interest of the wider international community."

    Following the UN Security Council consultations on Cyprus Tuesday, the EU Commissioner said that positive results of the UN latest effort "will benefit both communities directly and will help prepare the ground of the resumption of talks on a comprehensive settlement using the good offices of the UN Secretary-General."

    Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Erkki Tuomioja, has also expressed the full support of the Finnish Presidency of the EU to the UN efforts for Cyprus, aiming at reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    "We welcome the results of the July 8 meeting as an encouraging step forward," Tuomioja said, adding it is important that the positive momentum created by the July 8 agreement will be maintained to enable its full implementation without further delay."

    President of the UN Security Council, called, Tuesday, for the full implementation of the July 8 agreement between Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the presence of Assistant UN SG Ibrahim Gambari, without further delay for bi-communal meetings on a technical level on day-to-day issues and concurrently substantive ones.

    "By the end of July, as foreseen, representatives of the two communities had exchanged lists of issues to be discussed. The list must now be finalized without further delay to allow substantive discussions begin quickly," Rehn added.

    [26] Cabinet approves Cyprus' participation in UN Peace Force in Lebanon

    NICOSIA, 1/9/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The Council of Ministers approved on Thursday the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in the United Nations Peace Force in Lebanon with two officers of its National Guard.

    The Cabinet decided to place at the disposal of all European forces that will participate in the UN Peace Force in Lebanon, the "Andreas Papandreou" military air base in the western coastal town of Paphos, as well as the National Guard Recruits Training Center and other installations of the Guard.

    Cyprus will also offer Lebanon financial aid reaching 100,000 US dollars to be used to deal with the destruction in the country, after the recent Israeli offensive.

    Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes said that "besides of this symbolic amount, the Republic of Cyprus will offer Lebanon material assistance."

    He described Cyprus' participation in the UN Force with two officers as symbolic and expressed the Republic's readiness to offer facilities to all those countries that will request them.

    Invited to refer to the number of countries that have asked for facilities, Pashiardes said ''the number of the countries is not important, but some have already asked for our facilities."

    ''The Republic of Cyprus remains committed to offer and be ready to give the above facilities to any country that asks so," he concluded.

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