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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-09-05

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

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

September 5, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek, Russian and Bulgarian leaders agree on Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline agreement to be signed by end of year
  • [02] Greek, Russian and Bulgarian leaders meet to work out pipeline deal
  • [03] PM to Putin: Greece considers Russia as a 'strategic partner'
  • [04] Bulgarian president arrives in Athens
  • [05] President Papoulias receives Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin
  • [06] PASOK party comments on tripartite meeting on Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline
  • [07] KKE on Karamanlis, Putin, Purvanov meeting
  • [08] Greece, S. Korea sign cooperation accords in maritime and tourism
  • [09] FM meets with S. Korean counterpart
  • [10] DM: Military attaché position at Greek embassy in Seoul planned; memo signed
  • [11] PASOK leader Papandreou visits Sweden
  • [12] PASOK leader meets members of Stockholm's Greek community
  • [13] Gov't dismisses PASOK criticism; spokesman on PM's itinerary for Tuesday
  • [14] Former ND leader Evert lashes out at Papandreou
  • [15] Finmin eyes Greek, Korean business alliances
  • [16] Med Travel Fair features Greece
  • [17] N. Greece's chambers report increased registrations in 1st half
  • [18] Bank workers resume pay talks next week
  • [19] Cosmote bids for 3G license in Romania
  • [20] Credit Agricole seeks stock in Phoenix
  • [21] Lamda Development in share transfer
  • [22] Greek construction sector flat in 2005, report
  • [23] Culture minister receives piece of Parthenon frieze
  • [24] Crew's suspicions divert plane to Athens; 2 arrests reported
  • [25] Audacious thieves use bulldozer in late night bank robbery
  • [26] Hashish seized in border region
  • [27] Danish Prime Minister arrives in Cyprus for two-day official visit
  • [28] Cyprus makes representations over Talat's Pakistan visit
  • [29] Cyprus assists Lebanon to extinguish huge fire in Bekaa valley

  • [01] Greek, Russian and Bulgarian leaders agree on Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline agreement to be signed by end of year

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and visiting Russian and Bulgarian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Georgi Purvanov on Monday discussed the planned Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline.

    At the end of talks, the three leaders declared their intention to have an inter-state agreement on the implementation of the planned pipeline signed by the end of the year.

    Karamanlis pointed out that every effort possible must be made to safeguard the transfer of energy to enable the needs of the world economy to be met. He also underlined the close cooperation between the three countries for the implementation of the pipeline and the further extension of this cooperation to the sectors of gas and electricity.

    The prime minister also said that the pipeline will be yet another corridor for the transfer of Russian oil from the Black Sea, supplementary to the Bosporus, and its construction will be a strong starting point for the further widening of trade relations between the three countries.

    President Putin said safe access to energy "is a guarantee for the development of our culture," adding that "the interests of the countries of origin must also be taken into consideration, as well as of the transporting countries and of the countries of consumption."

    He pointed out that Greece and Bulgaria are reliable and old partners and referred to the possibility of the creation of big centers for storing, processing and transporting energy and that the energy sphere can become the motive power in relations between the countries.

    President Purvanov said on his part that all realize the strategic character of the project that contributes to the differentiation of energy transfer paths, constitutes a guarantee of security in energy and in a general sense, and is economically competitive.

    All three leaders placed emphasis on the implementation of the project and not on the individual terms set by each side.

    President Putin said that his country "is not setting tough terms" and underlined that Moscow wants the implementation of the pipeline with its traditional partners, such as Bulgaria and Greece, reminding that the Baku-Cheihan pipeline was built, as well as the "Blue stream" pipeline, and warned that if the delay continues the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline will ultimately be sidestepped by other paths.

    Karamanlis, who also held bilateral talks with Putin, said that excellent bilateral relations were confirmed, ways of widening relations further were examined and the closeness of views between the two countries on most regional and international issues was ascertained.

    Asked about the strategic character of relations between Greece and Russia, Putin agreed that they have a strategic character and do not concern energy alone.

    He stressed that there is ground for more balanced and qualitatively better trade and economic relations, military and technical cooperation and coordination between Greece and Russia in the international field, where their views coincide to a great degree.

    Lastly, the Russian president underlined that with the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline and wider energy cooperation the position of the participating countries will be upgraded, given that they do not only have an opinion on the handling of European energy problems but have an influence on them with their policy and, at the same time, with the existence on their territory of storing, processing and transporting infrastructures they benefit from the taxes they receive.

    Government spokesman

    Commenting earlier in the day on the visit to Greece by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Purvanov, Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that "our country is at the centre of world interest."

    "The prime minister's meeting with the two leaders is taking place at the initiative of President Putin and constitutes a milestone for the further widening of trade, economic and, particularly, energy relations between the three countries. The main issue will be the promotion of the implementation of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, a project for which the three governments have been cooperating closely over the past 30 months," Roussopoulos said.

    Asked about possible Greek interest in Russian armaments systems, the government spokesman noted that longstanding cooperation exists on the issue and reserved any comment on whether the issue would be discussed on Monday.

    Joint declaration

    Greece, Bulgaria and Russia have committed themselves to speed up the process for the creation of an international project company and the signing of an Interstate Support Agreement for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline construction project by the end of 2006.

    This was stated in the declaration for cooperation in the energy sector, by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in the meeting they had in Athens on Monday.

    In the declaration "for cooperation in the energy sector", the three leaders also described as necessary the facilitation of the flow of capital in the production of electricity and particularly of new more effective units and the modernization of the existing ones.

    The three countries also gave particular emphasis to the creation of new networks for the transport of natural gas and its underground storage and will continue to examine joint projects for the transportation of natural gas which will contribute to the safe transportation of sufficient quantities.

    [02] Greek, Russian and Bulgarian leaders meet to work out pipeline deal

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    The leaders of Greece, Russia and Bulgaria on Monday commenced a "mini summit" in Athens aimed at overcoming the last nagging obstacles towards the construction of an oil pipeline connecting the Black Sea with the northern Aegean, a project on the drawing boards since the mid 1990s.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis initially received visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin at his Maximos Mansion office for high-level talks on a variety of bilateral issues, with the two leaders subsequently greeting Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov for a meeting focusing directly on the pipeline project.

    In opening the session, the Greek premier referred to the need for the very rapid completion of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, while noting that the long-delayed project is significant for the entire region and the international energy market.

    "I hope that in today's negotiations we will proceed along the path of development, not just for this project, but for in unifying our efforts for the achievement of all the goals we have discussed over the years ... I hope that today's meeting will serve as the key to changing the situation in this trilateral partnership towards the better," Putin emphasized.

    On his part, Bulgarian President Purvanov underlined that Monday's unprecedented and high-level meeting sends a "clear political message" over the significance of the project, and points to the "necessity of its construction as well as the realistic prospect of its implementation".

    He added that beyond the strategic prospects for the pipeline, the emphasis should also be on the positive socio-economic repercussions for the entire region.

    Bulgarian leadership in May reassured the Russian and Greek sides that it was absolutely committed to the project in spite of the unexpected collapse of a consortium of Bulgarian firms participating in the three-nation project. According to top Bulgarian officials at the time, the decision was a practical one, as certain Bulgaria-based firms in the scheme were no longer interested in investing in the project, resulting in the establishment of a new consortium by Sofia.

    The pipeline is designed to run from the western Black Sea port of Burgas to the northeastern Aegean port of Alexandroupolis, thereby bypassing the busy Bosporus strait.

    Earlier, in greeting the Russian president, Karamanlis underlined that Athens views Moscow as a "partner of strategic importance", while citing bilateral issues, regional cooperation and international matters as being on the agenda of talks.

    "Greece places particular emphasis on the further development of relations with Russia in all sectors, as well as in the boosting of relations between the European Union and Russia," Karamanlis stressed.

    On his part, Putin noted that the Athens meeting will allow the two sides to discuss "bilateral, multilateral and international issues, as well as current hitches in our cooperation, while stressing the issue of financial cooperation".

    He also referred to Greece as a "strategic partner", while citing the benefits of cooperation in the energy sector for Europe, in general.

    [03] PM to Putin: Greece considers Russia as a 'strategic partner'

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis received visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin at his Maximos Mansion office in Athens on Monday for high-level talks on a variety of bilateral issues, ahead of a three-party meeting between Karamanlis, Putin and Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov focusing directly on an oil pipeline project jointly being built by the three leaders' countries.

    In greeting the Russian president, Karamanlis underlined that Athens views Moscow as a "partner of strategic importance", while citing bilateral issues, regional cooperation and international matters as being on the agenda of talks.

    "Greece places particular emphasis on the further development of relations with Russia in all sectors, as well as in the boosting of relations between the European Union and Russia," Karamanlis said.

    On his part, Putin noted that the Athens meeting will allow the two sides to discuss bilateral, multilateral and international issues, as well as current hitches in our cooperation, while stressing the issue of financial cooperation".

    Bulgarian head of state of Purvanov was expected to arrive at the Maximos Mansion at 4 p.m. (14.00GMT) to join Karamanlis and Putin, with statements expected to follow.

    [04] Bulgarian president arrives in Athens

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Bulgarian president Georgi Purvanov arrived in Athens on Monday for a three-way summit meeting with Greece's Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Russian president Vladimir Putin on advancing the Burgas-Alexandroupolis natural gas pipeline. Putin, who sought the meeting, was due to arrive in the Greek capital in the early afternoon, while the three-way talks are scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. local time.

    Purvanov met with his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias shortly after his arrival.

    "Today may become a historic day if we manage to do a good job," Purvanov said before entering the Presidential Mansion for his meeting with Papoulias.

    He said the political volition existed, but added that "some steps need to be taken by the executive authority".

    Papoulias said today was a momentous day for himself, as well, because the immense effort for construction of the pipeline had commenced during his own term as foreign minister.

    He also expressed hope that the procedures would be completed quickly, by the end of the year, so that materialization of the ambitious project could commence.

    "You are the living history of this plan," Purvanov told Papoulias.

    Earlier, Karamanlis conferred with foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and development minister Dimitris Sioufas ahead of the three-way meeting.

    Sioufas told reporters after the talks that if things developed smoothly, today could be considered a historic day, adding that the goal was to reach an interstate agreement.

    If an interstate agreement is signed, construction of the long-awaited pipeline will begin in end-2006.

    Greece, Bulgaria and Russia signed a political agreement for the cross-border pipeline, budgeted at approximately 700 million euros, on April 13, 2005 in Thessaloniki. The 285-kilometre pipeline to carry Russian oil from Burgas in Bulgaria to Alexandroupolis in northern Greece has an estimated investment cost of 750-800 million US dollars with an annual capacity of 35 million tones of oil. It will supplement a sea route through the Bosporus for transportation of the product in the region. It is anticipated that the pipeline will forge a new outlet for Russian oil and for oil from the Caspian Sea to Europe and America.

    An estimated 35-50 million tons of crude oil would flow through Alexandroupolis in end-2008, while Greece will profit between 30 and 50 million dollars annually from the transportation of oil via the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, according to 2005 estimates.

    [05] President Papoulias receives Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    President Karolos Papoulias received his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Mansion on Monday, immediately after the tripartite meeting between Putin, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov.

    President Papoulias termed the planned Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline a "pipeline of friendship and cooperation."

    He welcomed President Putin "in a friendly country", as he said, adding that "this agreement is sentimentally important for me as well. It is a pipeline of friendship and cooperation that we need."

    Addressing President Papoulias, President Putin said "I remember your last visit to Moscow" and expressed his satisfaction over the way with which Greek-Russian relations are developing.

    "The agreement constitutes a very good foundation for the progress of our relations in the future," the Russian president said.

    [06] PASOK party comments on tripartite meeting on Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said on Monday that Greece's role as an energy centre was planned during the time of the PASOK governments with the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline and the natural gas pipeline from Turkey to Italy.

    He was speaking on the occasion of talks held earlier in the day between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the Presidents of Russia and Bulgaria Vladimir Putin and Georgi Purvanov.

    "We hope today's meetings will provide specific results in practice for the benefit of the economies and the peoples of the region, for the benefit of Greece's cooperation with Russia and Bulgaria," he said.

    "We want energy sources and the energy paths to be a field of cooperation and development and not a field of confrontation and conflicts between countries," Athanasakis added.

    [07] KKE on Karamanlis, Putin, Purvanov meeting

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in an announcement on Monday evening commented on the tripartite meeting in Athens earlier in the day between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov.

    The KKE said: "The apparent importance of the creation of alternative solutions for the transportation of oil and natural gas to an energy-dependent country such as Greece, cannot conceal the basic question: who will mainly benefit from the construction and operation of the specific transportation pipelines?"

    The KKE claimed: "Above all, those who will gain will be the business groups, both from the construction and of the management of the project. The jobs, about which so much talk is made, for the sake of impression, will be 500 for the construction and 300 for the operation, while the state will receive the commission."

    [08] Greece, S. Korea sign cooperation accords in maritime and tourism

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday met with his visiting South Korean counterpart Roh Moo-Hyun, who is on the first visit by a S. Korean head of state to Greece since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1961, while the two countries also signed two cooperation accords in the maritime and tourism sectors.

    The South Korea President arrived in Athens on Sunday afternoon for a three-day official visit at Papoulias' invitation, heading a large delegation of Korean officials and businesspeople.

    Upon arrival at the Presidential Mansion, the two Presidents inspected an honor guard, in the presence of foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, merchant marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyannis, and tourism development minister Fani Palli-Petralia.

    The meeting between the two Presidents, which was also attended by Bakoyannis and S. Korean foreign and trade minister Ban Ki-moon, was sealed with the signing of two agreements.

    An agreement on seaborne transports was signed by Kefaloyannis and S. Korean minister of maritime and fisheries Kim Sung-jin, while the second agreement, on tourism cooperation, was signed by Palli-Petralia and Ban.

    Papoulias said that the signing of these two important agreements would strengthen the already board institutional framework for the further development of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, adding that the relations between Greece and S. Korea were "excellent".

    "The accords we signed help in the establishment of a model of mutually beneficial cooperation in sectors of high importance in both countries, the S. Korean president told reporters after the meeting, expressing expectations for the development of cooperation in the sector of technology as well.

    The two Presidents discussed the "major regional issues", and Papoulias briefed Roh on the situation in the Balkans, Greece's relations with its neighboring countries, and developments in the Cyprus issue.

    Roh, in turn, briefed Papoulias on the situation in the Korean peninsula, and the two Presidents agreed that the problem with North Korea must be resolved with peaceful means, and within the six-part framework that has been agreed.

    Roh expressed admiration for the role played by Greece in favor of stability in the Balkans, and underlined the common goals of the two countries regarding the preservation of peace and regional cooperation. Goals, he said, which were of particular significance due to Greece's membership in NATO and its seat on the UN Security Council.

    The S. Korean president further thanked the Greek people for their contribution in the Korean War with the dispatch of a military corps, noting that the Greeks "shared in our effort".

    Roh also invited Papoulias to visit S. Korea, aimed at the further reinforcement of bilateral relations and the friendly ties between the two countries.

    Papoulias expressed hope that Greece's economic, political and geographical advantages will attract investments from S. Korea, and wished Roh "every success", while he also wished "peace and prosperity" for the Korean people.

    [09] FM meets with S. Korean counterpart

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis met Monday at noon with visiting S. Korean foreign and trade minister Ban Ki-moon, who is accompanying S. Korean president Roh Moo-Hyun on a state visit to Greece.

    No statements were made after the meeting.

    Earlier Bakoyannis and Ban attended a meeting between Roh and Greece's President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, during which two cooperation agreements were signed in the maritime and tourism sectors.

    [10] DM: Military attaché position at Greek embassy in Seoul planned; memo signed

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Greece's hydrographical service on Monday signed a memorandum of cooperation with the relevant institution of South Korea, following a meeting in Athens between Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis and South Korean Minister for Maritime and Fisheries Kim Sung-jin.

    The latter is accompanying Korean President Roh Moo-hyun on an official visit to Greece.

    The agreement refers to joint cooperation in the fields of oceanography, among others.

    In other matters, Meimarakis noted that Greece's embassy in Seoul will be staffed in the very near future by a military attaché, "demonstrating in practice the importance our country assigns on the development of relations with the Republic of Korea and in the defense industry sector".

    [11] PASOK leader Papandreou visits Sweden

    STOCKHOLM, 05/09/2006 (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou arrived in Stockholm on Monday and participated at a meeting of the Scandinavian countries' Foreign Policy and Security Group which discussed developments in the Middle East.

    He met with the socialist foreign ministers of Sweden, Norway and Finland. Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja is currently chairing the European Union's six-month rotating presidency.

    Following the meeting, Papandreou said: "With the socialists of the northern countries, we had an in-depth discussion on the Middle East. Sweden in particular, has taken many significant initiatives for the restoration and reconstruction of Lebanon, and on the Palestinian problem."

    "We socialists are closely cooperating to see how we can put on the track of peace this region," Papandreou also said, adding that "international Socialist forces put forward their identity shaping an international policy which underlines solidarity, peace and the handling of international humanitarian problems, and is what makes the difference between us and the conservative forces of the world."

    Papandreou is scheduled to meet Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson on Tuesday morning.

    [12] PASOK leader meets members of Stockholm's Greek community

    STOCKHOLM, 05/09/2006 (ANA-MPA/G. Milionis)

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou, who is here since Monday morning, met later in the day with members of Stockholm's Greek community.

    "From Stockholm started the PAK resistance group (headed by late Prime Minister Andrea Papandreou during the 1967-1974 dictatorship in Greece) and we had the support of the Swedish society," Papandreou told them.

    Speaking about Sweden, he said that "it has shown worldwide a different model, it is a society which places first the welfare of the individual, it is a just society."

    He added: "We (Greece) will never become Sweden, we will be a different model. However, we can create a society where the citizen will have the same dignity which the Swedish citizen has. We can learn a lot from this country."

    "All people are not the same, options exist," said Papandreou who criticized the New Democracy (ND) government for its overall policy.

    Kassimis continues visit to Australia, received by S. Australia PM Rann

    ADELAIDE, 05/09/2006 (ANA-MPA / S. Aravopoulou)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis on Monday continued his tour of Australia by arriving here for talks with the South Australia leadership and representatives of ethnic Greek communities, part of the Greek government official's emphasis on Greek-language education throughout the island continent nation.

    Kassimis was greeted by South Australia Premier Mike Rann, a noted philhellene of Australia well known for his support of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens and the Cyprus cause, among others.

    Regarding the former issue, Rann addressed a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair advocating the repatriation of the Marbles.

    [13] Gov't dismisses PASOK criticism; spokesman on PM's itinerary for Tuesday

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    The government on Monday again dismissed high-pitched criticism by main opposition leader George Papandreou, especially following an appearance at a party rally a day earlier, with the relevant spokesman deriding the latter over alleged statements referring to "mafia-style" politics.

    Moreover, Roussopoulos took umbrage with Papandreou's comments over "delays" in broadcast licenses, pointing instead to PASOK's performance over the past two decades in the specific sector.

    In response to the latest opinion poll results, which again showed a more than 2-percentage point lead for ruling New Democracy, Roussopoulos said "Greek citizens, in difficult periods, show their trust in the process of reforms and continue to trust the New Democracy government," Roussopoulos said.

    In other matters, the spokesman said Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will receive the deputy prime minister of Thailand, before chairing an Inner Cabinet meeting focusing on exports.

    Afterwards, the Greek premier will receive visiting Korean President Roh Moo-hyun before hosting a reception in his honor.

    [14] Former ND leader Evert lashes out at Papandreou

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    The latest sharp criticism by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou over the weekend generated the first reaction by a ruling New Democracy cadre on Monday, with high-ranking ND deputy and former party leader Miltiades Evert referring to a "harmful radicalism" in the domestic political landscape.

    Evert added that Papandreou's recent speeches and statements "demonstrate an effort by PASOK to make the political climate in the country's more divisive".

    [15] Finmin eyes Greek, Korean business alliances

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday that a healthy outlook for Greece's economy opened new channels of cooperation between Greek and South Korean firms.

    "Korean companies can benefit to a high degree from operations in Greece, as the country's strategic geo-political position and its central role in the development of southeastern Europe stand as major advantages," Alogoskoufis told a business forum for the two countries.

    "Greece is no longer an isolated economy of 10 million inhabitants, but lies at the heart of a rapidly emerging region of 140 million inhabitants...Many major foreign enterprises have opted for Greece as their headquarters for business in southeastern Europe and the Middle East," the minister noted.

    He added that Greek direct investment of 12 billion euros in less than a decade had contributed to progress and development in the Balkan economies.

    The forum was arranged by the Federation of Greek Industry (SEB) to coincide with a visit to Greece by South Korea's president, Roh Moo-Hyun. Taking part are the Korea International Trade Centre and Federation of Korea Industries.

    "Korea is an example of a country demonstrating that in economic competition, success does not depend on size but on dynamism. Our view of Korea is that it does not stand as a political threat but as an economic blessing," the head of SEB, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, told the forum.

    Greek exports to Korea totaled 90 million US dollars in 2005, dominated by unprocessed tobacco, olive oil and marble.

    [16] Med Travel Fair features Greece

    CAIRO, 05/09/2006 (ANA-MPA/N Katsikas)

    Greece is the featured country at the Mediterranean Travel Fair (MTF) 2006 to be held in Cairo, Egypt on 5-7 September as part of its drive to make use of international events that will market its hospitality industry.

    The country was selected as featured country due to an intensive publicity campaign undertaken before the Athens 2004 Olympics and since to market the country as a premier tourist destination, MTF organizers said.

    Greece has participated in the Mediterranean Travel Fair, arranged by Reed Travel Exhibitions, since its inception in 2000.

    Taking part in the event this year are 33 countries from Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Arab lands.

    Heading the national delegation is the head of the Greek National Tourism Organization, Dimitris Lampardarios, who is hosting a Greek evening on the first day of the exhibition that will showcase traditional dance and cuisine.

    During MTF 2005, Egypt and Greece signed an agreement aimed at broadening the spectrum of tourism cooperation between the two countries.

    Earlier this year, Egypt's minister of tourism, Zoheir Garana, and his Greek counterpart, Fani Palli Petralia, met in Cairo to finalize the agreement with concrete initiatives, especially in the field of training.

    [17] N. Greece's chambers report increased registrations in 1st half

    THESSALONIKI, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Around 1,000 enterprises were removed from all Commerce and Industry Chambers' records in the regions of Thessaloniki, Xanthi, Rodopi and Evros in the first half of the year, according to figures released by the Bank of Greece.

    The number of enterprises removed from chambers' records totaled 990 in the January-June period, down compared with a total of 1,152 in the corresponding period last year.

    The central bank, in its report, said however that new registrations rose in the first half compared with the same period in 2005, 1,452 to 1,337, respectively.

    The Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry reported that new registrations totaled 746 in the first six months of 2005, up from 677 in the same period last year, while another 106 registrations were recorded in July.

    New registrations in Xanthi totaled 310 in the first half, up from 302 last year, while in the regions of Rodopi and Evros, new registrations fell to 38 from 53 in 2005 and rose from 305 to 358, respectively.

    [18] Bank workers resume pay talks next week

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Bank unions and management are to resume talks for a sector labor pact on September 12.

    The nationwide OTOE bank workers' umbrella union and the Union of Greek Banks met on Monday to air their differences.

    Employers have offered a pay rise of 3.5%, also seeking the operation of 20% of their branch networks in the afternoon and on Saturdays, which would total 650-700 branches nationwide. They also want to change working hours for administrators and staff working in special services.

    Unions, which are seeking a 10% pay rise, are willing to discuss a change in working hours for special services but not a mass change in branch operations for afternoons and Saturdays.

    [19] Cosmote bids for 3G license in Romania

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Cosmote Romania, a member of Cosmote Group, on Monday officially submitted an application to acquire a 3G mobile telephony license in the country.

    Results of an international tender are expected to be announced by October 15.

    The cost of acquiring a 3G mobile telephony license in Romania was set at around 35 million US dollars, with Cosmote Romania including all capital spending to further expand its network in Romania in its financial planning.

    Cosmote Romania plans to use the 3G license to further enhance its services in the country. Cosmote offers 3G services to Greek customers since 2004.

    [20] Credit Agricole seeks stock in Phoenix

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Credit Agricole of France, which recently bought Athens-quoted Emporiki Bank in a privatization sale, will call a public offer to wholly acquire Phoenix-Metrolife SA, a subsidiary of the Greek bank.

    Through its acquisition of Emporiki, Credit Agricole holds 89.84% of voting rights in Phoenix.

    It is offering 2.18 euros per share for 9,306,847 shares, or the remaining 10.16% of the Athens-listed insurer, management said in a statement on Monday.

    The French bank's adviser in the offer is Morgan Stanley & Co. Limited, the statement added.

    [21] Lamda Development in share transfer

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Athens-quoted Lamda Development S.A. on Monday signed an agreement with Privatsea M.S. Holding Ltd, a member of the Latsis Group, for the transfer of total shares held in Lamda Shipyards S.A., which represents 75% of its share capital.

    The total price of the transaction is euro 10.9 million, Lamda Development SA said in a statement.

    The price is up euro 1.4 million on a valuation report citing euro 9.5 million that was performed by Alpha Bank, the statement said.

    According to management, the move is part of Lamda's strategy of focusing on real estate and further strengthening its operational profitability. The transaction is expected to improve consolidated results of Lamda Development by euro1.1 million,

    Lamda Shipyards SA showed operational losses in fiscal 2004 of euro 0.8 million; in fiscal 2005 of euro 2.3 million; and in January-August 2006 of euro 4 million, representing cumulative operational losses for the last three years of approx euro 7.1 million, the statement noted.

    [22] Greek construction sector flat in 2005, report

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    The Greek construction sector entered into a stalemate last year after a strong business activity ahead of the Olympic Games, according to figures released by the 396 enterprises in the sector last year, a Hellastat report said on Monday.

    The report said the sector's turnover fell 10.2 pct to 3.96 billion euros last year, from 4.41 billion in 2004, with smaller construction enterprises reporting a 15.6 pct decline in average sales, losing almost four percentage points in market share.

    Pre-tax profits dropped 37 percent to 234.4 million euros in 2005 from 370 million in 2004, with the average profit margin easing to 6.4 percent from 8.0 percent, over the same periods, respectively.

    Although the majority of enterprises (87 pct or 344 enterprises) reported positive results, most companies (43.4 pct or 172) reported an inability in boosting their profits while only 148 (37.4 pct) reported higher profits compared with 2004. From a total of 52 loss-making companies, 34 had reported profits in 2004.

    Profits by the 20 largest enterprises fell to 61.05 million euros from 133.27 mln in 2004.

    The report said that prospects of participating in six major road projects in the country, budgeted at 7.0 billion euros, offered hope of recovery to the construction sector.

    [23] Culture minister receives piece of Parthenon frieze

    HEIDELBERG, 05/09/2006 (ANA/MPA - M. Arvanitopoulou)

    A precious part of the northern frieze of the Parthenon will be brought back to Greece on Tuesday. Culture Minister George Voulgarakis traveled to this German city on Monday, accompanied by ministry officials, to attend the delivery ceremony for this part of the Parthenon sculptures.

    The culture minister said the day was "historic" and referred to the duty for restoring the Parthenon marbles which, as he said, constitutes the duty of humanity towards culture.

    "We are ready to respond to the request for the loaning of ancient works of art and their periodical exhibiting in major museums abroad. We wish to open a responsible dialogue with the foreign museums. We believe in the optimistic prospects of the future of the European concept," he added.

    [24] Crew's suspicions divert plane to Athens; 2 arrests reported

    ATHENS, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    A French airliner of the Flypost company headed from the Cyclades holiday island of Mykonos to Paris made an emergency landing at Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport on Monday morning after two passengers reportedly raised crew-members' suspicions, resulting in the pilot's request for the stopover.

    Two men, identified as Pakistani nationals, aged 18 and 20, were later arrested by police on charges of traveling with fraudulent travel documents and led before a local prosecutor. No other information was released.

    [25] Audacious thieves use bulldozer in late night bank robbery

    RETHYMNO, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Thieves used none other than a stolen ... bulldozer to break into a bank on the large island of Crete in the early morning hours Monday before scooping up and making off with a 500-kilo safe. In a scene reminiscent of a Hollywood action film, the robbers also shot off the tires of a police cruiser rushing to the scene and abandoned two cement mixers and other stolen vehicles along a major roadway to prevent a chase.

    Police sweeps, aided by a helicopter, were continuing in the Apokorana district of the Rethymno prefecture hours after the robbery of an Agricultural Bank branch in the village of Kalyves, Hania prefecture.

    Eyewitnesses counted four masked gunmen, although authorities suspect that more individuals are involved.

    Initial reports cite a figure of 200,000 euros in the safe as well as 130,000 euros taken from an ATM that the robbers smashed open with the bulldozer.

    A stolen truck used to transport the safe was later found burned by the side of a roadway, according to reports.

    [26] Hashish seized in border region

    KASTORIA, 05/09/2006 (ANA)

    Border guards located and seized a quantity of 130 kilos of hashish in the Papades forest region, near the community of Arrenon in Kastoria on Sunday night, police said on Monday.

    The narcotic substance was being transported in sacks by six Albanians on foot, while a seventh Albanian was serving as an advance guard. As soon as they detected the presence of the border guards, the seven Albanians dropped the sacks and fled under the cover of the dark.

    Police and border guards were scouring the area, assisted by police dogs, but the Albanians had not been found as at Monday morning.

    [27] Danish Prime Minister arrives in Cyprus for two-day official visit

    LARNACA, 05/09/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrived in Cyprus Monday for a two-day official visit, during which he will hold talks with President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos.

    Rasmussen arrived at Larnaca International Airport and was welcomed by Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas. No statements were made to the press.

    The Danish Premier would attend Monday evening a private dinner hosted by President Papadopoulos at the latter's residence.

    On Tuesday after an official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace, the Danish Prime Minister and the Cypriot President will hold talks with delegations from the two sides.

    Statements to the press will follow and later Rasmussen will meet House President Demetris Christofias.

    He will also visit the headquarters of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), where he will meet with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Chief of Mission Michael Moller. The meeting will be followed by a guided tour in the buffer zone.

    The Danish Prime Minister departs on a special flight scheduled for 16:00 local time.

    [28] Cyprus makes representations over Talat's Pakistan visit

    NICOSIA, 05/09/2006 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus government has already made representations concerning the visit of Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to Pakistan, announced here Monday Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis.

    He said the government has assurances from Pakistan "that their policy on the issue of non-recognition of the pseudostate has not changed".

    "We have no reason to doubt Pakistan's assurances, but we have no reason to doubt the organized effort of the Turkish side for political upgrading of the illegal regime", the spokesman added.

    He said that "if Talat rejoices with such visits and is moved when he is called "president", the fact remains that he is merely the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, just as the fact is that Ankara fully controls the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus and Mr. Talat's role is being determined under the circumstances created by the invasion and continued military presence of Turkey in the occupied Cypriot territories".

    "I want once more to point out the huge contradiction between the effort to politically upgrade the illegal regime and attempts underway to implement the 8th of July agreement. The attempt undermines the effort", Pashiardis said, adding that bearing the fact that "the political upgrading of the illegal regime is today the main aim of the Turkish side, it is natural for someone to conclude that the Turkish side is not interested in implementing the 8th July agreement".

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Talat agreed on July 8th 2006, during a meeting here in the presence of UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari, to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day to day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    The spokesman described Talat's visit as a "development which concerns us", noting that the government is also concerned with every effort to politically upgrade the illegal regime, violating the relevant Security Council resolution calling on all UN member states not to ease in any way the secessionist entity.

    "Such actions which aim to politically upgrade, either the indirect recognition of the pseudostate, surely do not contribute to efforts for a functional, viable and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem. And only those who are not interested in a solution to the Cyprus problem is possible to resort to such actions", he concluded.

    [29] Cyprus assists Lebanon to extinguish huge fire in Bekaa valley

    NICOSIA, 05/09/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus has sent two helicopters to contribute to efforts of the Lebanese authorities to extinguish a huge fire, which bursted out Sunday in Bekaa valley in southern Lebanon.

    Cyprus, after a request of the Lebanese government, sent early Monday morning its two Russian fire-fighting helicopters Kamov 32 to southern Lebanon.

    The request was submitted Saturday to Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which contacted Cyprus Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Fotis Fotiou, who decided to send the two helicopters.

    ''It is a humanitarian issue and we responded immediately to the request of the Lebanese government, just as we did during the war,'' in Lebanon, Fotiou told CNA.

    Speaking to CNA, Lebanese Ambassador to Cyprus Michel El Khoury said that Cyprus' response to his country's request was immediate.

    During the 34-day Israeli war in Lebanon, Cyprus provided its infrastructure to assist efforts to evacuate foreign nationals from Lebanon. Cyprus also contributed to the dispatch of humanitarian aid to the neighboring country.


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