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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-09-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

September 22, 2006


  • [01] FM outlines Greek foreign policy at Foreign Policy Association in New York
  • [02] UNSC begins meeting on Arab-Israeli conflict
  • [03] FM gives press conference on Arab-Israeli conflict
  • [04] FM to meet UN representative for FYROM name issue on Thursday
  • [05] President Papoulias visits Bonn
  • [06] Gov't to exhaust all margins for dialogue, minister says after briefing PM
  • [07] Government again denies that Tsitouridis is under cloud
  • [08] PASOK calls for Sioufas' resignation over Mevgal case
  • [09] 1st Int'l Symposium on 'Society of Citizens, Volunteerism and Economy' begins in Athens
  • [10] Kaklamanis presents his program for the Athens municipality
  • [11] PASOK leader meets local gov't candidates in Halkida; slams government
  • [12] Barroso disappointed with pace of Turkey's EU efforts
  • [13] Culture Minister Voulgarakis departs for Chicago after NY visit
  • [14] Parliamentary delegation lays wreath at Ground Zero
  • [15] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos appeals for strengthened relations with Moslems
  • [16] KKE Parliamentary representative proposes Greek Parliamentary Friendship Group with Lebanon
  • [17] Pavlopoulos adresses event on Amnesty International
  • [18] Development minister sees free trade zone in Mediterranean by 2010
  • [19] Greece second largest EU beneficiary
  • [20] Gov't wants permanent Arab-Greek forum
  • [21] EU energy consumption flat, dependence at 56%
  • [22] Interior minister addresses event on 'Social Economy in Greece'
  • [23] 1st Annual Greek Roadshow in London
  • [24] Petrol in Greece among the cheapest in Europe
  • [25] Carrier signs agreement for future seaplane routes from Lavrio
  • [26] Greek courier industry grows rapidly in 2005, report
  • [27] Izmir Chamber of Commerce creates Internet portal for relations between Greece and Turkey
  • [28] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise
  • [29] Commission report shows better implementation of environmental legislation in 2005
  • [30] Ioannina university hospital introduces screening system for hereditary cancers
  • [31] Vartholomeos to visit to Mt. Athos in October
  • [32] Writer Tassos Athanasiadis dies aged 93
  • [33] Hellenic Olympic Committee chief among main speakers at IOC conference
  • [34] UN pledge commitment in reaching a Cyprus settlement
  • [35] President Papadopoulos concludes contacts in New York

  • [01] FM outlines Greek foreign policy at Foreign Policy Association in New York

    NEW YORK, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis outlined the targets and visions of Greek foreign policy at the Foreign Policy Association here on Thursday, underlining the historic, geographical, cultural, political and economic factors that affect and determine the philosophy of her ministry and of the Greek government in general.

    Bakoyannis said that Greece's mild strength is based on three axes:

    "First of all, the history, culture and the name of the country always exert radiance in east and west. Both the east and west maintain relations with Greece, each for its own reasons.

    "Secondly, the political and economic significance of Greece for its neighboring countries. Our country is the oldest modern democracy in the region, while its GDP is twice as large as that of the six other southeastern European countries that it borders on. In addition, Greek economic influence, particularly in the Balkans and the Black Sea countries, is dominant: 3,500 Greek businesses are present there, having invested over 12 billion euros.

    Greek business presence has created tens of thousands of new jobs, strengthening local economies considerably and also helping in this way the political stability of our neighboring countries.

    "Thirdly, I shall refer to two more factors that strengthen the country's international position: Greek shipping and overseas Greeks. The capacity of the Greek merchant navy is more than 50 percent of the entire capacity of the 25 European Union member-states. It handles almost 30 percent of the world's sea trade. Its presence promotes world trade and can help and differentiate, in periods of crisis, the supplying of the West with energy from various sources. Lastly, overseas Greeks, the Greeks all over the world contribute actively to the societies to which they belong, they are law-abiding citizens of their new homelands but, at the same time, they never forget the country of their origin."

    Referring to the Balkans, Bakoyannis said that "we shall struggle to bring the rest of the Balkan countries into the European family as well. We shall continue to participate in missions for maintaining peace, particularly in Kosovo, until the region is fully stabilized."

    She further said that "in addition, we are investing in the economies of our region, including Turkey. We are playing a leading role at European level for the creation of special programs that are aimed at the modernization of both the economy and infrastructures of our Balkan neighbors. In addition, we are also implementing a national development program for the Balkans, amounting to 550 million euros, for upgrading the institutions and infrastructures of these countries."

    Referring to the western Balkans in particular, the foreign minister said that "the EU requires from Serbia to cooperate more effectively with the ICTY before resuming negotiations between them, while on the accession of Bosnia-Herzegovina, although progress has been achieved since the time of the Dayton Agreements, the country still has ground to cover before acquiring the capacity of a candidate member-state.

    "Montenegro is at the stage of its establishment as a nation and, lastly, we are expecting a successful outcome to negotiations taking place on the future status quo of Kosovo, something that will secure stability in the entire region.

    "A great deal more must be done. We shall struggle to bring the rest of the Balkan countries into the European family."

    In regard to the issue of Cyprus, she said that "the Turkish occupation army, almost 40,000 men, is remaining there, 32 years later (after the 1974 invasion). The repeated calls by the UN for its withdrawal have been ignored. Cyprus is, since 2004, a full member of the European Union. This means that Turkey is in the difficult position today of having occupied territory of the EU and, at the same time, it is a candidate country for accession. Nicosia is the last divided European capital.

    "It is not necessary for us to say that no solution can be imposed, we learnt this in 2004 when the majority of the Greek Cypriots were not convinced and did not support the Annan plan.

    "The will of the people, of the same people who will have to live together on the basis of some solution plan will determine the fate of whatever solution will be proposed.

    "The principles that shall lead us to a just, viable and workable solution are: the full appreciation for all the work being done by the UN, international law and all the relevant Security Council resolutions.

    "Lastly, in no way can the acquis communautaire be ignored. We can no longer ignore the fact that Cyprus is a full member of the European Union and that the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots will live on European territory. Cyprus must, at last and as soon as possible, become a unified EU country in practice.

    "While the seeking of a solution to the Cyprus problem is continuing, Turkey has assumed the commitment of implementing the customs union agreement with the EU and permit free access to Turkish ports and airports for all the ships and aircraft of the 10 new EU member-states."

    Focusing on Turkey's commitments towards the European Union, Bakoyannis stressed that "there are limits. Limits that neither Europe nor Greece, of course, can overcome. Turkey cannot join the EU with a la carte methods. The European Union, and Greece of course being a member-state, cannot accept anything less than Turkey's compliance with the rules and models of the EU."

    "These include the unimpeded functioning of democracy, justice and the society of citizens, the respect of all minorities and religions as well as the right to free expression for all Turkish citizens. Furthermore, Turkey must respect international law, abstain from actions that lead to tension, maintain friendly relations with all its neighbors and implement the protocol for the free access of ships and airplanes of all EU member states, including those of Cyprus, to its ports and airports," she added.

    According to the foreign minister, the three basic pursuits of Greek foreign policy are the maximization of national security and the achievement of the best relations possible with all neighboring countries in the wider region, Greece remaining a force of stability and development in the Balkans, the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean and Greece playing an active and constructive role in the framework of the European Union and the Atlantic alliance.

    The foreign minister's theme was "Not an ordinary case: Greek foreign policy at the dawn of a new century."

    [02] UNSC begins meeting on Arab-Israeli conflict

    NEW YORK, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis opened, here late Thursday night (Greek time), a UN Security Council special meeting on the Arab-Israeli conflict convened at Greece's initiative as presiding country.

    Bakoyannis underlined the "need for a strong message to be sent" to Middle East peoples that "we will work for the prevalence of peace in the region."

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on his part said that it was preferable to pursue solution to the problems rather than to avoid the problems, noting that the Palestinian issue was the "core of the problem".

    Present at the meeting was Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

    [03] FM gives press conference on Arab-Israeli conflict

    NEW YORK, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis termed the UN Security Council's debate on the Arab-Israeli conflict, at the initiative of the Greek Presidency, "a very important event."

    The issue is returning to the Security Council after 16 years, as she said, and this development is due to Greece's "continuous efforts."

    The foreign minister thanked her counterparts at the Security Council and all the sides involved for their cooperation in achieving the debate.

    Bakoyannis said that achieving this target was very difficult and that a "strong message" must be sent to the peoples in the region that the international community is interested and is seeking a solution, as she said, adding that the EU will be "more active" on the problem of the Middle East.

    Speaking at a press conference at the international organization’s headquarters, Bakoyannis replied to many questions by the press on a series of issues concerning the international political stage and Greece in particular, such as the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    She said that Greece and FYROM have "excellent economic relations" and that the process must be continued with the mediation of the UN secretary general's special envoy, Matthew Nimetz, for the finding of a "mutually acceptable solution" to the name issue. Bakoyannis announced that he would be meeting her FYROM counterpart on Friday.

    Replying to a question on Greece's position on the issue of the election of the new UN secretary general, she reiterated that he must come from Asia, adding that the political weight and personality of the candidates must be taken into consideration. She further noted that on September 28 the Security Council will be holding a new secret poll on candidates existing so far.

    Diplomatic sources: It is an "important development", diplomatic circles said earlier at the international organization’s headquarters, because it is the first time after many years that the problem of the Middle East is returning to the Security Council.

    The session will be chaired by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who will present Greece's positions on the specific issue, while organizations and countries involved in the problem of the Arab-Israeli conflict will be represented at the discussion.

    "The aim of the discussion is not for a new process to begin, but for the political will of the international community that it is determined to deal with seriousness and consistency with the crisis in the Middle East, to be registered and promoted," a Greek diplomatic source said , pointing out that "in parallel, we want to encourage the countries and the people handling the problem to continue and intensify their efforts."

    The same source stressed that "following the disastrous summer (war in Lebanon), we could not remain with our hands tied, to talk at the Security Council about anything else and to ignore this serious problem", adding that "the European Union wishes to play a more active role."

    Lastly, it noted that "the aim of the Greek Presidency is for a clear political message to also be sent to the peoples in the region that the international organization, and the Security Council in particular, is not ignoring the problem and will work for the prevalence of peace in the region", while stressing that "a great struggle was made to enable us to reach today's outcome."

    Bakoyannis, who had continuous and intensive contacts with many of her counterparts who are Security Council members and countries immediately involved in the Middle East issue, attended a dinner on Wednesday night with the foreign ministers of the United States, Canada and Australia.

    [04] FM to meet UN representative for FYROM name issue on Thursday

    NEW YORK, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will be meeting the UN secretary general's special envoy for the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Matthew Nimetz, on Thursday, after returning from Washington.

    Nimetz met on Wednesday night with FYROM's President Branko Crvenkovski and Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's 61st session.

    Speaking after the meeting, Milososki said that they reiterated their country's position to their interlocutor for the need for negotiations with Greece to continue, with mediation by Nimetz, and with the purpose of finding a solution on the basis of a "double name", as he said.

    [05] President Papoulias visits Bonn

    BONN, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, who is on a five-day official visit to Germany which began on Monday, on Thursday visited Bonn where he concluded his contacts with the German political authorities. He had earlier visited Berlin, Dusseldorf and Cologne.

    Later in the day, he visited the main installations of the radio station Deutsche Welle, for the first time in more than 30 years and was given a tour by the general director as well as by the head of the Greek department, Spyros Moskovos. In a statement to the Greek program, he said:” It is an exceptional moment of my life, after so many years again in Deutsche Welle. A challenge in the historic memories and the struggle for democracy and the fall of the barbaric dictatorship (in Greece from 1967-1974)."

    He later visited the city's Town Hall and met with the mayor and attended a Te Deum officiated by Metropolitan Avgoustinos. He also met with Greeks living in the region.

    The visit ends on Friday, with meetings by President Papoulias and Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis with representatives of the German-Greek Economic Association (DHW) and with a visit to the University of Cologne where Papoulias graduated.

    [06] Gov't to exhaust all margins for dialogue, minister says after briefing PM

    ATHENS, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The government on Thursday emphasized that it "will exhaust all margins for dialogue concerning reforms in the public education sector and has already fielded relevant proposals", as Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou made the statements immediately after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    She added that the ministry's doors are always open, referring to an ongoing five-day strike declared by the union representing elementary school teachers.

    Yiannakou also noted that the government was prepared to make changes to reform proposals, although she warned that dialogue could not serve as pretext or excuse, given that many of the sides involved who were invited to Parliament to state their views refused to do so.

    "We won't stand for discounts on the quality issue," she stressed, adding that many of the institutional demands of the Primary School Teachers' Federation (DOE) have been satisfied.

    Regarding the union's pay demands, Yiannakou said the government had committed itself to the gradual introduction of a 103 euros bonus -- which the ruling New Democracy party (ND) had promised when it was the main opposition party -- beginning on Jan. 1, 2007.

    Nevertheless, she said the rest of the union's pay demands were way beyond the government's fiscal policy.

    Asked to comment on calls for her resignation (issued mostly by the union's leadership and opposition parties) as well as that of Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, following violence during Wednesday's teachers' rally outside the education ministry, Yiannakou said, "I don't doubt that some people want me to resign, but the government functions institutionally and in a uniform way".

    Regarding the reforms in higher education, Yiannakou said all margins for dialogue would be exhausted.

    She noted, however, that some of the proposals put to the government have been accepted, while declining to give a timetable for completion of any such dialogue and the tabling of the relevant draft bill in Parliament.

    Gov’t spokesman: On his part, and in later comments during a regular press briefing, the government spokesman welcomed the possibility of a dialogue with teachers’ representatives, "although the other side has to be responsive as well."

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros underlined that the education minister has issued an invitation for dialogue even when certain union representatives decline to ask for a meeting with the responsible minister.

    [07] Government again denies that Tsitouridis is under cloud

    ATHENS, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Thursday repeated that Employment Minister Savvas Tsitouridis enjoyed the prime minister's full confidence, along with all the other ministers in the government.

    There were no plans for a meeting between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the employment minister, he added in response to questions.

    According to the spokesman, Tsitouridis had provided adequate replies to press reports speculating about possible links between the minister and corrupt state or party officials, which were appearing on a daily basis after the MEVGAL blackmail case was made public.

    The media's preoccupation with the minister was triggered by reports alleging close ties between the three men accused of attempting to blackmail MEVGAL and people close to him, including his brother and a special secretary at the ministry. The allegations were denied as inaccurate and untrue by Tsitouridis.

    In Parliament, meanwhile, 32 main opposition PASOK MPs tabled a question for Tsitouridis regarding the ministry's Special Secretariat for the Coordination of Organizations and Bodies.

    "Your goal was to convert the Directorate for the Supervision of Organizations that was in charge into a blind executor of the decisions that you took with the help of your two offices, your regular office and that of the Special Secretariat, which is answerable directly to you," the MPs claimed in their question.

    They also questioned specific practices of the Special Secretariat, such as setting minimum costs and suggesting specific firms to take on public works contracts.

    Responding to yet more press criticism, the employment ministry on Thursday issued an announcement regarding its decision to award a €172 million contract to a Vocational Training Centre (KEK) without taking into account a score given by the National Certification Centre (EKEPIS).

    The ministry pointed out that removing the EKEPIS score from the evaluation of the KEK's bid was required by two European Union directives incorporated into Greek law in 1998, while the decision to discount the score while noting EKEPIS' certification aimed to increase transparency.

    [08] PASOK calls for Sioufas' resignation over Mevgal case

    ATHENS, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A top main opposition PASOK deputy and former minister on Thursday called for the resignation of Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, as reverberations continued this week from the arrest earlier in the month of the former general director of the Competition Commission on felony extortion charges linked with the Mevgal milk case.

    Specifically, Christos Protopapas charged that the development ministry deleted a customary provision in a tender seeking a new Competition Commission general director, just prior to Panayiotis Adamopoulos' eventual selection. The deleted provision mandated that a successful candidate for the post should have fulfilled his military obligation.

    A PASOK spokesman later said that Sioufas himself bears political responsibility for Adamopoulos' placement and for the changes in the committee's internal structure.

    Communist party tables question in Parliament over MEVGAL

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Thursday tabled a question in Parliament for Agriculture Minister Evangelos Basiakos over the blackmail case involving the dairy industry MEVGAL.

    In the question signed by KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga, the party accuses both the government and main opposition PASOK of "trying to divert attention from and cover up policies aimed against the people, which are to strengthen the role of monopolies".

    KKE said that these policies were responsible for allowing four to five large private dairy industries to monopolize the sector and determine milk prices for producers and consumers according to their own interests.

    [09] 1st Int'l Symposium on 'Society of Citizens, Volunteerism and Economy' begins in Athens

    ATHENS, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The 1st International Symposium on the theme "Society of Citizens, Volunteerism and Economy" began at the Zappion Hall in Athens on Thursday night. It is organized by the first state organization "Work of Citizens" which was founded about 11 months ago with a legislative initiative by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    The symposium aims at the coordinated strengthening of volunteerism and of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Greece and the further activation of citizens in the protection of social values.

    "The active participation of the citizen in the public sphere is a prerequisite of modern parliamentary democracy," stressed premier Karamanlis in a greeting which was read out by the president of the organization, Stelios Syrmoglou, in the presence of National Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou and other representatives of the political leadership as well as a large number of representatives of volunteer organizations and NGOs.

    "The truth emerging all the more clearly by the society of citizens is that the social values and the ideals equally influence, if not more, the action of people," Karamanlis noted in his message, explaining that "these values, solidarity, justice and ecology, among other things, can, with the suitable institutional support and encouragement, operate as a lever for the activation of the citizen."

    Karamanlis added that "I hope that the 1st International Symposium for the Society of Citizens, Volunteerism and Economy which is held by the organization 'Work of Citizens' to contribute to the aim of this activation."

    [10] Kaklamanis presents his program for the Athens municipality

    ATHENS, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A 24-hour service to assist Athenians with their day-to-day problems was among the planned actions presented on Thursday by New Democracy-backed candidate for Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, who outlined his program for the city at a hotel in the city centre.

    Kaklamanis, who was a highly popular health and welfare minister in the first years of the present government and now heads the election ticket "Athens, City of our Lives", said that this service would be provided by a newly created Organization for the Handling of Daily Problems.

    Other changes planned by Kaklamanis included establishing a post of Vice-Mayor for Daily Life that will be in charge of coordinating all those that intervene in the process of implementing certain issues, making daily life in Athens more difficult.

    In addition, there will be an assessment and support unit for the implementation of the program, to alert the municipality to both its positive and negative repercussions.

    The program also includes pledges to improve the Athens landscape and care for the city's parks and green spaces.

    [11] PASOK leader meets local gov't candidates in Halkida; slams government

    22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou on Thursday visited Halkida, eastern Greece, where he visited the electoral centers of candidate prefect Thanassis Bourantas and of mayoral candidate Dimitris Anagnostakis.

    "We believe in local government, in the strengthening of the institutions of popular participation and transparency, in the strengthening of democratic institutions which create a just society and a society of values," he told his audience.

    "Unfortunately, the present government, instead of building institutions, it destroys institutions, instead of strengthening democratic functioning, it undermines them. Instead of strengthening meritocracy and equality for every citizen, it creates inequalities and new divisions," said Papandreou, adding that "we see around us corruption, a high cost of living and unemployment, with the responsibility of this government."

    Earlier, in talks with citizens, Papandreou said, referring to the New Democracy (ND) government, that "they entered the state, the power, and saw it as a booty for those affiliated to them, their own people and their company."

    Papandreou said that PASOK "has again put forward the importance of a just society, in order for us to be able to create a country with security and certainty for every citizen."

    The local government elections will be held on October 15.

    [12] Barroso disappointed with pace of Turkey's EU efforts

    BRUSSELS, 22/9/2006 (ANA-MPA//CNA)

    European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso expressed on Thursday disappointment at Turkey's progress in its efforts to join the EU.

    Speaking in an interview with EuroNews, he called upon Turkey ''to understand that it must respect its obligations and commitments,'' pointing out an EU progress report on Turkey's accession course is due out next November.

    ''At the moment, we are not particularly encouraged by the news we are getting,'' Barroso said in the interview.

    Referring to these obligations, he noted that amongst them are obligations deriving from the Ankara protocol, which guarantees ''the access of Cypriot ships into Turkish ports,'' and stressed that ''these are vessels of a member state.''

    ''At the start of November, we are going to bring out our report on the state of progress in negotiations with Turkey. What I can guarantee is that it will be an objective, honest and rigorous report,'' he noted.

    Turkey, an EU candidate country, refuses to implement a Protocol extending the Ankara Agreement (Customs Union) to the ten new EU member states, which among others provides for the opening of Turkish ports and airports to Cypriot ships and airplanes.

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

    [13] Culture Minister Voulgarakis departs for Chicago after NY visit

    NEW YORK, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis, following his visit to New York, on Thursday departed for Chicago where he will have a series of contacts with representatives of the political and cultural life of the city, as well as with officials of the Greek-American community.

    Voulgarakis, who on Tuesday inaugurated the "Olive Tree" exhibition at the headquarters of the United Nations, along with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, visited Archbishop of America Demetrios.

    During his stay in New York, the Cretan Union of America hosted a dinner in his honor, while he also visited Yale University and met with Greek students as well as with the heads of the Greek Program.

    On Wednesday night, Voulgarakis watched the Greek National Theatre's performance of "The Persians", of ancient Greek dramatist Aeschylus, at New York's "City Center".

    In Chicago, which is a twin city with Athens and will bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, he will meet with Mayor Richard J. Daley.

    On Saturday, Culture Minister Voulgarakis will inaugurate the Greek-American Education Centre.

    [14] Parliamentary delegation lays wreath at Ground Zero

    NEW YORK, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A 15-member delegation of the Hellenic Parliament is in the US to back the initiatives Greece is taking as president of the UN Security Council for the month of September, and in light of the ongoing 61st UN General Assembly in New York.

    The members of parliament's standing committee on national defense and foreign affairs, headed by committee chairman Panos Kammenos, on Wednesday laid a wreath at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Centre's twin towers that were razed to the ground in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, in a tribute to the victims.

    Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Kammenos (ruling New Democracy MP for Athens B' electoral district) said that the delegation had unanimously decided to lay a wreath at the site in tribute to the some 3,000 people, including 24 Greeks, "who died in this condemnable terrorist attack", and expressed hope that they would be the last victims of terrorism in the world.

    Andreas Loverdos (main opposition PASOK MP for Athens B' district) said he united his voice, also expressing the PASOK parliamentary group, against global violence, and against violence from wherever it originated.

    Similar statements were made by the other delegation members, who were accompanied by New York/New Jersey Port Authority official Ioannis Kassimatis, who had been a member of the massive rescue team at the Twin Towers following the airplane attack.

    [15] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos appeals for strengthened relations with Moslems

    ISTANBUL, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christians, appealed for strengthened relations with the Moslems, in a message publicised on Thursday on the occasion of the upcoming beginning of the Ramadan, according to an AFP agency dispatch from Istanbul.

    "In the name of the Orthodox community, I hail our Moslem brothers on the occasion of the Ramadan and I hope we will maintain and deepen the brotherly relations we have had for a long time," the Ecumenical Patriarch said in an announcement reported by the Turkish news agency Anadolu.

    "I pray to God that the Ramadan will bring calmness to the Moslems all over the world and I send them my wishes, my love and my greetings," the message added.

    This year's arrival of the Ramadan, that will begin on Sunday, coincides with the stir caused in the Moslem world by the statements of Pope Benedict XVI who linked Islam with violence, statements that in Ankara's view deal a serious blow to efforts for a rapprochement between the two religions, the AFP noted.

    [16] KKE Parliamentary representative proposes Greek Parliamentary Friendship Group with Lebanon

    22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Parliamentary representative Orestis Kolozov has addressed a letter to Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, proposing the establishment of a Greek Parliamentary Friendship Group with the corresponding one of Lebanon and the immediate sending of an inter-party Parliamentary Committee to Lebanon.

    "The drama the people of Lebanon experienced and are continuing to experience due to the recent bombings and the blockade imposed have caused the justified sympathy of the people of our country, given the concern as well from developments in the wider region of the Middle East. We are of the opinion that the Parliament of our country, responding to these feelings by our people, must take initiatives that will contribute to the further strengthening of relations between the two peoples," Kolozov said in his letter.

    [17] Pavlopoulos adresses event on Amnesty International

    ATHENS, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Thursday praised the "precious contribution and priceless work" by Amnesty International in protecting human rights, during a short address at an event organized by the Athens Bar Association.

    "Today, in the era of globalization, the democratic civilization and the level of justice attained by societies are measured by whether and to what degree the laws respect and protect the rights of their members," Pavlopoulos said, noting that democracy "as a political system, which is inherent in human beings and human values, cannot function selectively."

    [18] Development minister sees free trade zone in Mediterranean by 2010

    22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A free trade zone in the Mediterranean by 2010 will be the ultimate result of the 6th Euro-Mediterranean ministerial on industry that began on the island of Rhodes on Thursday, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas told a press conference held on the island.

    "The Mediterranean unites, it doesn't divide its peoples," the minister added, while stressing that the holding of the conference on Rhodes proved that the government was making great efforts for the development of regional areas.

    The 6th Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Industry is taking place on Rhodes on Thursday and Friday, in the presence of European Commission Vice-President Guenter Verheugen.

    The meeting was opened by Verheugen, Finnish Minister of Trade and Industry Mauri Pekkarinen as the chair of the European Council of Trade and Industry ministers, Sioufas and Jordanian Trade and Industry Minister Sharif Ali Zuabi.

    Participants include ministers and delegations from 37 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

    The ministerial is taking place in Rhodes instead of Finland, following a proposal put forward by Sioufas in consultation with Pekkarinen, who heads the EU industry ministers' council.

    The aim of the meeting is to give a new impetus to Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in industry, in a climate of peace, stability and development. Among its targets are to extract a commitment from the various sides that they will establish new incentives for investment in the region in order to create more jobs and that they will harmonize their legislation in order to contribute to the creation of a free trade zone in the area by 2010.

    Minister on Competition Commission: The minister also used the opportunity of the press conference to reply to criticism from main opposition PASOK concerning the development ministry and the operation of the Competition Commission.

    "We will devote these two days to the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in order to further cement our cooperation and the development of the people of the Mediterranean and Europe in order to establish peace. To PASOK MPs and its development sector we will give all the answers they want in Parliament, as has already been scheduled for this coming Wednesday. I expect them in any case, even at the last minute, to come to Rhodes where they have been invited for this great event for Greece, Europe and the countries of the Mediterranean," he said.

    [19] Greece second largest EU beneficiary

    BRUSSELS, 22/9/2006 (ANA-MPA//CNA)

    Greece was the European Union's second largest beneficiary of funds from the 25-country bloc's social budget in 2005, following Lithuania, the EU's executive Commission said on Thursday.

    In the EU-15 group of older members, Greece ranked as top beneficiary, the Commission said in a report on the bloc's 2005 spending allocation for each country.

    Greece received funds representing 3.15% of gross domestic product against 3.29% for Lithuania.

    Ranking top nominally was Luxembourg at 4.5%, but 4.0% of the total was earmarked for spending on EU institutions in the country, the report added.

    [20] Gov't wants permanent Arab-Greek forum

    22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said on Thursday that she wanted to see the country's first Arab-Greek business forum turned into a permanent institution.

    "I want the forum to evolve into a permanent institution of friendship, creativity and growth, an endeavor in which Greece will assist," Bakoyannis said in a message to a follow-up meeting after the forum earlier this month.

    Outlining conclusions of the forum, was the foreign ministry's secretary general for international relations, Theodoros Skylakakis, before ambassadors, corporate executives, and leaders of the Arab-Greek Chamber of Commerce.

    [21] EU energy consumption flat, dependence at 56%

    BRUSSELS, 22/9/2006 (ANA-MPA//CNA)

    The total amount of energy required to meet the demand of the EU25 in 2005 remained stable versus 2004 at 1637 million tons of oil equivalent (toe), Eurostat, the European Union's statistical service, said on Thursday.

    EU25 production of all sources of energy fell by 4.2% in 2005, resulting in an increase in net imports of 4.5%, Eurostat said in market data.

    As a consequence, the first estimate for 2005 shows that the EU25 depended on imports for 56% of its energy needs, up from 54% in 2004.

    Energy imports were dominated by oil and gas, accounting for around 60% and 25% respectively of the EU25's net imports. Net imports of crude oil and oil products to the EU25 rose by 2.9% in 2005 compared to 2004, while net imports of gas rose by 9.2%.

    The data for Greece was as follows:

    Gross inland energy consumption

    Mio. toe: 30.2

    % change 2005/2004: 1.1

    toe/capita: 2.7

    Net imports

    mio. toe: 23.5

    % change 2005/2004: -4.9

    Energy dependence rate (%): 70.8 vs an EU25 average of 56.2

    Energy production 2005 (mio. toe)

    Total:: 9.3

    Crude oil: 0.1

    Gas: 0.0

    Coal -

    Nuclear -

    Change 2005/2004 (%)

    Total: -3.6

    Crude oil: -24.8

    Gas: -30.8

    Coal -

    Nuclear "

    [22] Interior minister addresses event on 'Social Economy in Greece'

    ATHENS, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos addressed in Athens on Thursday an event organized by the development joint venture Support Network for Social economy and enterprises (DYEKO) on the theme "Social Economy in Greece: Innovation and European Dimension".

    In his address, the interior minister said that "the invigoration of competitiveness and the strengthening of entrepreneurship constitute a basic priority for the government, which promotes structural reforms."

    Pavlopoulos referred in particular on the measures being taken by the interior ministry, whose efforts "centre on the combating of bureaucracy and the lifting of managerial obstacles," so as to "facilitate entrepreneurship and restore transparency."

    He also noted the contribution of women in economic and social development, and consequently, in the strengthening of competitiveness.

    [23] 1st Annual Greek Roadshow in London

    22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The 1st Annual Greek Roadshow in London will be completed on Thursday with one to one meetings between Greek-listed enterprises with each foreign institutional investor.

    The roadshow was organized by the Athens Stock Exchange and Bloomberg.

    ASE president Spyros Kapralos on Wednesday inaugurated the meeting and stressed "we are here because we believe we must promote dynamic enterprises listed in ASE and to offer them the opportunity to be promoted in international investment community. In a strongly competitive environment, we are making every effort to make ASE a growth tool both for listed companies and Greek economy in general."

    A total of 31 listed enterprises of large capitalization, not included in the FTSE/ATHEX 20 index, took part in the roadshow. The organizers have scheduled a total of 500 presentations to around 80 international funds, with capital under management exceeding 2.0 trillion euros.

    [24] Petrol in Greece among the cheapest in Europe

    22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    September's European Fuel Prices Bulletin, issued by the Greek motorists' and tour club EL.PA, shows a decline in fuel prices across Europe due to a decrease in the price of crude oil on international markets, according to figures provided by EU and American institutions.

    According to EL.PA, the average crude oil price is down to 63 US dollars a barrel from 78.64 in early August, and 75 in July -- resulting in notable price cuts in the majority of member-states in the Union and the United States.

    Based on price samples taken on Sept. 18, Greece has the second lowest petrol price in the EU with an average of 0.97 euro per liter (down from 1.10 euros in August and 1.04 in July) compared to Spain's 0.94 euro per liter.

    Greece also has the third lowest diesel price, with an average price of 0.99 euro per liter (down from 1.01 euros in August and 0.93 euros in July), compared to Spain's 0.91 and Luxemburg's 0.92 euro per liter.

    Ecocity event on "the end of the era of cheap oil': The Greek Society for the Protection of the Environment (EEPP) and Ecocity, gave a press conference in Athens on Thursday on the theme "The end of the era of cheap oil", stressing that the continuous increase in world demand for oil leads to the need for production, until 2030, of so much oil as that consumed since the start of the era of the "black gold" to the present.

    Engineer and mechanic M. Tsoskounoglou noted that there will be an unavoidable drop in world production of crude oil, which is estimated to start in the coming 15 years.

    Yiannis Peleokrassas, former minister, Commissioner and president of the Public Power Corporation, stressed that the pending exhaustion of oil and the need of a new energy policy was foreseen decades ago.

    "The key is for the environmental cost to be incorporated in prices, so that we can have a viable model of consumption and production, with expected repercussion, the reduction of consumption by 30 per cent. In the long-term, this will lead to the development of renewable sources of energy," Paleokrassas said.

    [25] Carrier signs agreement for future seaplane routes from Lavrio

    22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The operator of the Greece's first seaplane service on Thursday signed an agreement with the Lavrio port authority to commence routes from the small coastal town's harbor -- southeast of the greater Athens area and near the Sounion archaeological site -- to islands in the Cyclades chain and in the northern Aegean.

    Currently, the Airsea Lines carrier operates flights from the western port city of Patras to the Ionian holiday island of Corfu, the small Ionian island of Paxoi and to the mainland lakeside city of Ioannina, in northwest Greece.

    Actual seaplane flights from Lavrio to island destinations are expected in a matter of months, following approval by a handful of ministries, although the prospect of numerous mainland-island seaplane routes has received a distinctly warm backing by the merchant marine ministry's leadership.

    [26] Greek courier industry grows rapidly in 2005, report

    ATHENS, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The courier industry grew rapidly in Greece last year, with the value of the market rising 7.4 pct to 260 million euros, a report by Hellastat said on Thursday.

    The report said the main characteristic of the industry was intensifying competition and rising demands by customers in the cost-quality category, pressuring courier companies' balance sheets. The sector's gross profit margin fell to 21.6 pct in 2005, from 24.4 pct in 2004 and 26.3 pct in 2003.

    Hellastat said the main body of the sector, eight companies with revenues exceeding 3.0 million euros, operated with an average gross margin of 17.7 pct last year (down from 18.1 pct in 2004 and 26.9 pct in 2003).

    The report said, however, that courier companies improved their efficiency, with administration expenses easing to 25.2 pct in 2005 from 28.6 pct in 2004.

    The gross profit margin was unchanged at 1.8 pct, while the sector also reported a stable capital structure with the ratio of foreign to total capital at 81.8 pct.

    The short-term bank borrowing was 25 pct of total debt, the report said.

    [27] Izmir Chamber of Commerce creates Internet portal for relations between Greece and Turkey

    ANKARA, 22/9/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The Izmir Chamber of Commerce on Thursday placed in operation the website, an Internet portal so as to contribute in the further development of commercial relations between Greece and Turkey, as stated by the president of the Chamber, Ekrem Dermitas.

    [28] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise

    ATHENS, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Athens share index closed at 3,953.41 points, showing a rise of 0.68%. Turnover was 420.0 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.77% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks 0.85% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.12% up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 148 to 103 with 57 remaining unchanged.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): National Bank (993)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 123.4 million euros

    Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 4.07 pct

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2016): 4.07 pct yield

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

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.2 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates

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

    U.S. dollar 1.283

    [29] Commission report shows better implementation of environmental legislation in 2005

    BRUSSELS, 22/9/2006 (ANA-MPA//CNA)

    A new report by the European Union Commission shows that the number of infringement cases opened by the European Commission for breaches of EU environmental legislation went down significantly in 2005.

    This is due to a more efficient way of handling complaints and infringement proceedings on the part of the Commission, together with swifter action by member states to comply with their obligations.

    According to the report, the Commission has adopted a more strategic approach, grouping together cases which concern the same issue and focusing on general cases which cut across several policy areas. It has also stepped up its assistance to the Member States, meeting the national authorities more often and providing them with guidance documents. By the end of 2005, the Commission had 489 infringement cases open in the environment field as compared to 570 at the end of 2004. This represents a reduction of 14%.

    Commenting on the report, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: "Proper implementation of EU environmental laws by Member States is crucial to ensure a clean environment. This is also what citizens want. 90% of Europeans believe that policy-makers should pay as much attention to environmental issues as to economic and social factors. The reduction in the number of open cases against Member states is good news. However, Member States must increase their overall effort to comply fully with our laws." In 2005 the number of open infringements cases (i.e. in which a first written warning has been sent) went down by 14% from 570 in 2004 to 489. If also cases where an investigation has been launched but no warning has been sent off are counted in the figures are 798 investigations open, as compared to 1220 at the end of 2004. This represents a reduction of almost 35%.

    As for Greece, the number of open infringements cases went down from 41 to 36.

    22.4% of the cases opened by the Commission as a whole concerned environmental policy, compared to 27% in 2004.

    [30] Ioannina university hospital introduces screening system for hereditary cancers

    22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Ioannina University Hospital in northwestern Greece has introduced the country's first special surgery that screens for certain types of hereditary cancer via genetic testing and preventative measures.

    The surgery specializes in preventing breast and ovarian cancer caused by the genetic mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which creates a very high risk of developing cancer in young women.

    The screening process is carried out in accordance with an algorithm that was developed by Prof. Dimitris Roukos through the analysis and combination all the findings of basic and clinical research.

    Each step in the algorithm is in accordance with international standards and starts with the selection of women that need to receive genetic counseling and undergo DNA analysis.

    This is followed by an interpretation of the results and, in the second stage, an individualized assessment of the risk of developing cancer and choice of the best prevention method.

    The criteria used by the algorithm allow doctors to predict the clinical probability of a positive result and to spare women who do not need the test from undergoing the process, limiting both the cost and psychological repercussions on the population.

    The genetic test is carried out at the hospital's biochemistry laboratory, while full analysis of the two cancer-causing genes is carried out at the Democritus research institute in Athens.

    Testing positive for a cancer-linked gene does not mean the patient is certain to develop cancer but the possibility is increased to between 50-85 percent for breast cancer and 10-55% for ovarian cancer. Taking into account personal and environmental parameters, as well as family history, allows a more precise prediction of risk and the right treatment strategy to recommend to the patient involved.

    It is estimated that, under ideal conditions, the system will save the lives of about 350 young Greek women that fall victim to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer each year, out of a total of 4,500-5,000 cases of breast cancer each year throughout the country.

    [31] Vartholomeos to visit to Mt. Athos in October

    ISTANBUL, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will begin a three-day pilgrimage to the all-male monastic community of Mt. Athos in Halkidiki, northern Greece, on Oct. 21-23 as part of his visit to Greece.

    Meanwhile, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece will informally visit the monastic community on Saturday.

    Anastasios elected honorary president of World Conference of Religions for Peace

    Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania was elected as an honorary president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace during the organization’s 8th World Assembly in Kyoto, Japan.

    The assembly convened in late August with the participation of an estimated 800 religious leaders from more than 100 countries in order to boost cooperation on issues such as ending conflicts, assistance to the poor and environmental protection.

    The New York-based organization was founded in 1970 and includes more than 70 national and regional inter-faith councils.

    [32] Writer Tassos Athanasiadis dies aged 93

    ATHENS, 22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Renowned writer Tassos Athanasiadis died on Thursday at the age of 93. He was born in Salihli in Asia Minor in 1913 and his father Mihalis had banking and commercial businesses.

    Some of his works were titled "Panthei" and "Guards of Achaia", while he was also a Greek and foreign literary critic.

    The Athanasiadis family moved to Athens in 1922 after the disaster in Asia Minor and Tassos studied law at the Athens University and worked as a lawyer for a few years.

    In 1945 he was appointed director of the National Theatre, but the awards and distinctions he received in his life were many and heightened in 1986 when he was elected an academic.

    [33] Hellenic Olympic Committee chief among main speakers at IOC conference

    22/9/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Hellenic Olympic Committee (EOE) president Minos Kyriakou is among the main speakers at the first international conference on "Autonomy of the Olympic and Sports Movement" that was due to open Thursday at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in cooperation with the Association of National Olympic Committees.

    Kyriakou will be representing the Association of National Olympic Committees, which has 213 members, and in his address will speak on the theme "Relations with the Public Authorities and Governmental Agencies - Assessment and analysis of the issues and dangers of interventions".

    The seminar will be chaired by IOC president Jacques Rogge.

    Other speakers include the president of the international football federation (FIFA) Josef Blatter, the president of the Association of Olympic Committees of Africa, the president of the British Olympic Committee Lord Colin Moynihan, and several IOC members.

    [34] UN pledge commitment in reaching a Cyprus settlement

    NICOSIA, 22/9/2006 (CNA/ANA/MPA)

    The United Nations remain committed to a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, awaiting the leaders' response and the people's determination, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Cyprus Michael Moller said here Thursday.

    Addressing the people who gathered in the UN Nicosia buffer zone to celebrate the International Day of Peace, Moller reminded that UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari had said it is hard to envision a lasting and sustainable settlement on this island in the absence of ''a shared commitment to tearing down the barriers and barbed wire.''

    ''That means moving forward, and it calls for a show of political will and determination by all Cypriots, to address what is, after all, a Cypriot problem with a Cypriot solution,'' Moller noted.

    He added that ''the United Nations remain committed to a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, awaiting the leaders' response and the people's determination.''

    In his speech, Moller said that only last year world military expenditure reached 1.1 trillion US dollars, 20 times more than annual spending on UN peacekeeping of only five billion.

    ''The lesson is clear: peace costs less than war,'' he added, urging world leaders to take stock of the destruction their actions cause.

    ''Twenty-four hours may not be a long time but it is sufficient for combatants and political leaders to take stock of the casualties and destruction caused by their actions and to consider the alternatives,'' Moller continued.

    Present at the ceremony were officers of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Ambassadors of foreign countries in Nicosia, the Cyprus World War II Veterans' Association, including its member former President of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides, and many people.

    They all lit candles and observed a minute's silence in the name of peace and remembrance of the victims of war.

    Moller also talked about the UN efforts to bring about peace in the world and in Cyprus as well.

    Referring to the war in Lebanon, he said that during that month-long conflict, over one million were displaced, of whom nearly a quarter sought shelter and safety elsewhere.

    ''As we well know, during that time, thousands passed through Cyprus on the arduous and perilous journey from conflict to safety,'' he said, adding that up to 90% of those displaced during the hostilities returned to their homes or nearby within days of the ceasefire.

    After the speeches, children from Cyprus sent their own message of peace, by writing letters to children in war zones, lighting candles and letting balloons of peace float into the sky.

    [35] President Papadopoulos concludes contacts in New York

    NICOSIA, 22/9/2006 (CNA/ANA/MPA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos returns to Cyprus Friday after his visit to New York, where he addressed the UN General Assembly.

    On Wednesday the President met with his Croatian counterpart Stjepan Mesic with whom he discussed Croatia's EU perspective and reviewed bilateral relations.

    The president informed Mesic on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue.

    Papadopoulos also met British Minister for Europe Geoff Hoon who said after the meeting that the two had "a very good conversation. We have a great deal of good common interest particularly about the future of Cyprus. We had an extremely constructive and helpful discussion".

    Foreign Minister George Lillikas, who was accompanying the president on his trip, met his Syrian counterpart Walid Al-Moualem where they discussed the Middle East issue and reviewed bilateral relations.

    He also met his Maltese counterpart Dr. Michael Frendo and discussed EU issues.

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