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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-11-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

November 21, 2006


  • [01] PM Costas Karamanlis outlines Greece's economic policy at London School of Economics
  • [02] Figures of prominent late Greek politicians unveiled at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum
  • [03] Gov't backs Finnish proposal on timetable for Turkey to meet obligations vis-à-vis Cyprus
  • [04] Gov't reiterates position over German-made submarine
  • [05] Greek prosecutors begin probes into Siemens contract
  • [06] Gov't: No intent to change election law
  • [07] Kassimis visits Boston area over weekend
  • [08] FinMin addresses conference organized by 'Economia Business Tank'
  • [09] EU agriculture and fishery ministers focus on energy plant cultivation
  • [10] Tourism protocol between Greece, Shanghai
  • [11] 'Peak Technologies at the service of Tourism'
  • [12] Development minister attends inauguration of Greek jewellery promotion exhibition
  • [13] Staff Selection Council issues annual report
  • [14] Greek bottled water industry to grow by 6-8 pct in 2006-07, report
  • [15] Expenditure for heating fuel down 10% this winter, study shows
  • [16] Creta Plastics sets up new subsidiary in Turkey
  • [17] U.S. Citadel group announces 100 million euro investment agreement
  • [18] Greek stocks fall 1.01% on Monday
  • [19] China's Xinhua News Agency President Tian Congming visits ANA-MPA
  • [20] Voulgarakis in Brazil for int'l ministerial conference on culture
  • [21] EU-Med ministerial con'f on marine pollution opens in Cairo
  • [22] MEDPOL data released
  • [23] Meeting on 'Anti-crime policy and the rights of people'
  • [24] Film director Costa Gavras addresses 'Masterclass' event by 47th Thessaloniki Film Festival
  • [25] ANA receives commendation for 2005 Sports Review publication
  • [26] EU Presidency: Turkey must fulfill commitments by first week of December
  • [27] Greek Cypriot side conveys positive response to Gambari's letter
  • [28] UN chief urges parties to work closely for a Cyprus settlement
  • [29] President says Cyprus not demanding extremes in Turkey's EU course

  • [01] PM Costas Karamanlis outlines Greece's economic policy at London School of Economics

    LONDON, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, making a speech at the London School of Economics on Monday evening, outlined his economic policy, insisting on re-forms with social consent and describing the hospitable investments environment being created, while highlighting the country's geopolitical role.

    "Greece has created a new business environment, friendly for businesses and private initiative. It has created new opportunities for local and foreign investors, it has created a new employment environment for young educated people. It is a friendly, modern and safe country. A country that knows how to listen to and to interpret the signs of the times and how to adjust to them with changes and reforms, following clear vision and a targeted plan," he said.

    Referring to reforms, Karamanlis said "to this end, the Lisbon strategy is the road map leading our course. With the greatest social consent possible, with effectiveness and social sensitivity we must bring about necessary reforms and changes in our institutions, the economy and society. Greece has entered a period of intense structural reforms to enable it to adjust to international changes and to be sufficiently prepared for the future."

    The prime minister spoke of the challenges and the Lisbon strategy and noted that "all these challenges are crucial today. But the transition from intention to implementation is not always clear. Particularly, if we take into consideration the reaction to reforms and the pressure being exerted by specific groups of interests. Consequently, including society in every step of this path is very important. We must explain clearly the real, long-term benefits of changes, particularly when the benefits will take place in the future, while the cost will be immediate."

    Karamanlis further termed the decrease in the deficit by five percentage points in a short period of time a national success, saying that "in 2006 the fiscal deficit is decreasing below three percent of GDP, as was also confirmed by the European Commission in its recent official predictions. The decrease in the deficit by over five percentage points in such a short period of time is a national success. And, as it is confirmed by the Commission's latest predictions, it will continue in the years to come."

    The prime minister also referred to Greece's geopolitical role and made an indirect appeal for investments and focused on energy policy in particular.

    "Today, Greece is playing a leading role in southeastern Europe, a region that is developing with great and still unexploited business possibilities, that is attracting strong international interest. Greece has achieved a great deal and it is still halfway. A series of development measures that support the activity of the private sector have been taken successfully to strengthen productivity," he said.

    Karamanlis went on to say that "we are gradually opening important markets such as those of electric power and natural gas, we are promoting a large-scale program of privatization and we are strengthening the capital market's arrangements. The decrease in the tax rate for businesses from 35 percent to 25 percent until 2007, as well as the new investment law have created new investment opportunities. The dynamic development of the new energy policy is one of our basic priorities."

    Speaking earlier at the Travelers club, where he analyzed all aspects of economic and national strategy, Karamanlis underlined the investment opportunities existing and replied to questions put to him. He ascertained the strong investment interest and the positive climate being shaped for developments in the national economy, also based on positive developments regarding economic indicators.

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis also replied to questions.

    PM replies to questions from the audience after LSE speech: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, replying to questions from the audience after making a speech at the London School of Economics (LSE) on Monday, indirectly referred to Turkey's European prospects and stressed that the European Union's principles and values must be respected.

    On the question of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the prime minister said that Greece has taken great goodwill steps and is waiting for corresponding moves from the neighboring country's government, that have not taken place.

    Karamanlis also commented on the issue of Kosovo, stressing that the solution must be acceptable by all sides and must not be imposed, reminding that all standards set must be fulfilled.

    [02] Figures of prominent late Greek politicians unveiled at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum

    LONDON (ANA-MPA/A. Panagopoulos)

    In the presence of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the unveiling of wax figures of the late Greek prime ministers and statesmen Eleftherios Venizelos, Constantine Karamanlis and Andreas Papandreou was held at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London on Monday.

    Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia in a speech stressed that these wax figures "show that Greece knows no borders, is not trapped in small and insignificant matters, is not restricted to ephemeral and temporary things."

    She further noted that "dynamic extrovert and optimistic Greece constantly has its sight turned to the future and works incessantly for this."

    Prime Minister Karamanlis, accompanied by his wife Natasha, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos were given a tour of the museum.

    [03] Gov't backs Finnish proposal on timetable for Turkey to meet obligations vis-à-vis Cyprus

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The government on Monday was again called on to comment on neighboring Turkey's European prospects, with the relevant government spokesman noting that the "Greek government fully agrees with a timetable set out by the (Finnish EU) presidency, within which Turkey is obliged to fulfill its commitments regarding Cyprus".

    Meanwhile, spokesman Evangelos Antonaros also responded to press reports out of Turkey quoting a high-ranking general as threatening to "down" Greek fighter planes in case of another mid-air "incident" in the Aegean region.

    "The Greek government lends particular significance to the promotion of good-neighborly relations with all neighboring countries, and it is well known that countries are judged by their behavior," he said during his regular press briefing.

    [04] Gov't reiterates position over German-made submarine

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The government on Monday reiterated its position to refuse delivery of a new German-made submarine until its operational and technical specifications are satisfied, with the government spokesman merely pointing to his statements last week during a regular press briefing.

    "Our position is quite clear, certain contacts have been made and they will continue," alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said in replied to press questions.

    He also stressed that the issue is not and should not be linked with the operation of a shipyard, west of Athens, owned by the marine defense contractor that built the specific submarine.

    "We have no reason to believe that the operation of the shipyard won't continue as usual. Conversely, contractual obligations for delivering hardware to the Greek state are specific and must be fulfilled," he added.

    When the issue first arose last week, Antonaros stated that "these are orders and contracts made by the previous government, and the current government is, appropriately, checking the absolute fulfillment of conditions in the relevant contracts."

    The submarine in question, the "Papanikolis" (named after a celebrated WWII Greek submarine) was constructed at the HDW shipyards in Kiel, Germany. The latter is part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, which emerged following a merger between ThyssenKrupp Werften and HDW. The marine systems division is a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Technologies.

    Another two submarines in the Papanikolis class (type 214) are being constructed at the Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas (west of Athens), an industrial complex that is part of the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems group.

    [05] Greek prosecutors begin probes into Siemens contract

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The head of the Athens first instance prosecutor's office on Monday ordered a supplementary investigation into international press reports alleging, among others, bribes by German multinational Siemens to sell and install an ultimately problematic C4I system in Greece ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics Games.

    A related investigation is already underway by another Athens prosecutor, Panayiotis Athanasiou, into the system itself, which cost the Greek taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros but reportedly never operated properly based on prescribed specifications.

    According to press reports out of Germany on Monday, a dozen former and current Siemens executives are being investigated on charges of funneling bribes and embezzling millions of euros in order to win contracts.

    Moreover, the German weekly magazine "Focus" reported over the weekend -- on its online edition -- that investigators had detected 40 million euros in the bank account of a Siemens executive in Greece and another 40 million euros in Austria.

    The C4I system was ordered by the previous Simitis government from the California-based SAIC Corporation and Germany's Siemens.

    Gov't spokesman: Meanwhile, asked about the developments on Monday, the alternate government spokesman merely said that "relevant evidence, either in the form of allegations or information, has not been received as yet."

    [06] Gov't: No intent to change election law

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The government on Monday reiterated that it is not considering the possibility of changing the current election law, with the alternate government spokesman merely pointing to the most recent statements to that effect by government officials and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros also said that whatever comments about the issue by individual MPs "shouldn't attract greater significance than what they truly warrant."

    [07] Kassimis visits Boston area over weekend

    BOSTON, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis continued his tour of US cities this month by visiting the Boston area over the weekend, his sixth and last stop in America.

    Kassimis, who holds the expatriate Greeks portfolio, has held several meetings with representatives of ethnic Greek communities throughout the United States, with historic Lowell township on his itinerary over the weekend.

    Among others, he attended a church service at the Holy Trinity (Aghia Triada) Cathedral in Lowell -- the fourth largest municipality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts -- which is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year.

    [08] FinMin addresses conference organized by 'Economia Business Tank'

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis addressed a conference organized on Monday night by the "Economia Business Tank" at the Athens Stock Exchange on the theme of "How we shall rebuild the state in the new economic environment."

    The minister's address was a recorded message as he is currently out of Greece.

    Alogoskoufis said that the cycle of reforms of the present four-year tenure is being completed, and for which the government had committed itself before the elections, while it is preparing the reforms that will follow in the next four years.

    "We are at the phase of analyzing and specializing the reforms that must follow in the second four-year period, because for a government to complete a wide reformist program one four-year period is certainly not enough," the minister said.

    Alogoskoufis outlined the reforms promoted by the government in the present four-year period and stressed that when the New Democracy party assumed the country's governance it had to change in essence the model of development and of social organizing, as well as to have fiscal problems tackled which, as he said, the citizens were unaware of in many cases.

    [09] EU agriculture and fishery ministers focus on energy plant cultivation

    BRUSSELS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The cultivation of energy generating plants with the purpose of promoting alternative energy sources in the European Union and support for the production of bananas were the two main issues examined on Monday by the Council of EU Agriculture and Fishery Ministers. Greece was represented at the meeting by Agricultural Development and Food Minister Evangelos Basiakos and the General Secretary of Agricultural Policy and International Relations Christos Avgoulas.

    On the question of the cultivation of energy plants in Greece, Basiakos called on the Council to increase subsidization immediately and the simplification of the system's implementation to facilitate the expansion of energy plant cultivation.

    As regards banana production, the Greek minister requested from the Council to have it included in the status of the new Common Agricultural Policy and increased subsidies to be provided for producers.

    [10] Tourism protocol between Greece, Shanghai

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Greece's National Tourism Organization (GNTO) has finalized a draft tourism cooperation protocol with the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administrative Commission, the former announced here on Monday, with the goal being to attract more tourists from the prosperous greater Shanghai district to the east Mediterranean country.

    The development comes ahead of Greece's official presence at the upcoming (Nov. 16-19) CITM 2006 tourism exhibition in the Chinese metropolis.

    The protocol is expected to be signed in Shanghai by GNTO president Dimitris Lambadarios and the chairman of the city's Tourism Administrative Commission, Dao Shu Ming.

    Amongst the priorities in official contacts between Greek and Chinese officials of late has been the establishment of a direct air route between the two countries, with the destination in China being either Beijing or Shanghai.

    [11] 'Peak Technologies at the service of Tourism'

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Tourism enterprises have been subsidized with the sum of 720 million euros through the action program "Competitiveness," while the number of absorption funds, from 7.9 per cent which they were in March 2004, have reached 52.1 per cent and more than 5,500 business plans have totally been approved, Deputy Development Minister Anastasios Nerantzis said on Monday.

    He was addressing a forum entitled "Peak Technologies at the service of Tourism", which was held within the context of the 38th XENIA Exhibition.

    [12] Development minister attends inauguration of Greek jewellery promotion exhibition

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, addressing the inauguration of an exhibition on the promotion of Greek jewellery organized by the Greek Silver and Gold Jewellery Centre at the Syntagma Metro Station's auditorium, referred on Monday to the considerable prospects for the sector of silver and gold jewellery in Greece and abroad.

    According to Sioufas, the fact that 2,300 businesses are involved in silver and gold jewellery, 7,500 businesses are selling silver and gold jewellery and 40,000 people are involved either directly or indirectly shows the dynamism of the sector and its prospects.

    "The jewel is identified with Greek civilization. Its 5,000 years of history are indicative in highlighting the skill and the desire, a well as the survival and the prospects this sector has though the centuries. I believe that with a strong program it can have even greater prospects for the future," he said.

    [13] Staff Selection Council issues annual report

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The Supreme Staff Selection Council (ASEP) issued its annual report on Monday, placing responsibility on mayors "for falsified contracts with which they hire people, circumventing the hiring system, although very often these people serve steadfast and permanent needs".

    The report refers at length to the problem of contract employees, whose state it terms "chaotic." This is due, according to the report, to the fact that it is not clear which court has the jurisdiction to try the cases of contract employees who are seeking permanent status for themselves.

    ASEP proposes the taking of immediate measures from the ministry and calls on regional authority chiefs to limit the number of approvals for work contracts. ASEP also considers a legislative arrangement necessary so that work contract employees can be subject to its own control.

    [14] Greek bottled water industry to grow by 6-8 pct in 2006-07, report

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The Greek bottled water industry grew an annual average rate of 10 percent (in volume) in the period 1996-2005, a report by ICAP said on Monday.

    ICAP said the bottled water industry grew 8.9 pct in 2005 from the previous year, with the natural mineral water category accounting for 70.6 pct of the domestic market, followed by table water (24.9 pct) and sparkle water (4.5 pct).

    The report said it expected the market to continue growing in the future, forecasting a 6-8 pct average annual growth rate in the period 2006-07. Consumers' interest for a more healthy food diet, combined with a modern way of life increasingly favors the consumption of bottled water, the report added.

    ICAP said the sector was high consolidated with a handful of enterprises controlling the market.

    [15] Expenditure for heating fuel down 10% this winter, study shows

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The average family expenditure for diesel heating fuel for the winter 2006-2007, on the basis of the present price levels, appears reduced by 10 per cent, compared to last year's 2005-2006, according to a study by Stat Bank which was made public on Monday.

    Stat Bank said that this year's need for heating fuel by Greek households but also of public buildings, is estimated at five million tons of fuel. Therefore, it is estimated that Greek households will spend about 3.15 billion euros for the purchase of diesel heating fuel.

    [16] Creta Plastics sets up new subsidiary in Turkey

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Creta Plastics on Monday announced the establishment of a new subsidiary in Turkey with an aim to promote its products in the Turkish market.

    The new company, Ege-Dost, will be based in Antalya and will distribute plastic leaves for farm applications. Creta Plastics already operates another subsidiary in Turkey, Senkroma AS in Istanbul, active in the masterbatches industry.

    [17] U.S. Citadel group announces 100 million euro investment agreement

    21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The U.S. Citadel group announced an investments agreement amounting to 100 million euros with the Egnatia and Le Monde insurance companies on Monday.

    Speaking at a press conference, the group's president said that the agreement has already been signed, while Citadel and US Realty have earmarked five billion dollars for investments in selected and specialized infrastructure projects in Greece.

    [18] Greek stocks fall 1.01% on Monday

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Greek stocks ended sharply lower on Monday as investors took profits in the Athens Stock Exchange, pushing the composite index 1.01 percent lower to 4,271.36 points. Turnover was a strong 302.9 million euros.

    Sector indices ended lower with the Telecoms (2.59 pct), Technology (2.23 pct) and Oil (2.01 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while the Food-Beverage (1.01 pct), Travel (0.95 pct) and Utilities (0.10 pct) scored the biggest gains.

    The Big Cap index fell 1.12 pct, the Mid-Cap index ended 0.51 pct lower and the Small Cap index ended 0.38 pct lower.

    Mermeren (9.88 pct), Keramia Allatini (9.68 pct), Elviemek (8.67 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day while Galis (9.09 pct), Karelias (8.13 pct) and Maxim-Pertsinidis (7.89 pct) suffered the biggest losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 181 to 82 with another 45 issues unchanged.

    Turnover in the Athens Derivatives Exchange totaled 144.679 million euros on Monday with contract prices ending with a small discount.

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.35 pct and on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.03 pct.

    Volume on futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index was 9,154 contracts worth 107.6 million euros with 25,497 open positions, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 354 contracts worth 8.47 million euros with 1,385 open positions.

    Volume on futures contracts in equities totaled 3,883 contracts, worth 8.4 million euros, with Intracom the most heavily traded contract (745 contracts), followed by Eurobank (179), Hellenic Telecoms (233), PPC (252), OPAP (148), Piraeus Bank (325), Cosmote (38), National Bank (538), Alpha Bank (493) and Mytilineos (73).

    Volume in stock repos was 86 contracts and in reverse stock repos was 4,990 contracts.

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 3.686 billion euros on Monday, of which 1.655 billion euros were bid orders and the remaining 2.031 billion euros were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2016) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 2.0 billion euros, followed by the 10-year bond (July 20, 2015) with 330 million euros.

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was 26 basis points.

    In the domestic interbank market, rates were largely un-changed. National Bank’s overnight rate was 3.33 pct, the two-day rate was 3.34 pct, the one-month rate was 3.42 pct and the 12-month rate was 3.86 pct.

    Foreign Exchange Rates " Tuesday: Reference buying rates per euro released

    by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.284

    [19] China's Xinhua News Agency President Tian Congming visits ANA-MPA

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    China's XINHUA News Agency President Tian Congming on Monday visited the Athens News Agency-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) and met with President-Director General George Tabakopoulos.

    Also present at the meeting were Managing Director Nikolas Voulelis and Special Adviser Andreas Christodoulides.

    The XINHUA president, accompanied by senior staff of the Chinese news agency, as well as its former and current correspondent in Athens, was briefed on the operation of ANA-MPA and exchanged views on the strengthening of cooperation between the two news agencies, particularly in light of the hosting by China of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

    During the meeting, the good cooperation between the two agencies and the will for the renewal of their bilateral agreement for cooperation in various sectors was confirmed.

    [20] Voulgarakis in Brazil for int'l ministerial conference on culture

    21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis will attend the sessions of the 9th Ministerial Conference of the International Network on Cultural Policy to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 22-25.

    The network comprises ministers from 68 countries and functions as a platform for the exchange of views on matters of international cultural policy. Brasil holds this year's rotating presidency.

    Greece has played an important role in the Network having also organized the 3rd ministerial meeting on the Aegean island of Santorini in 2000.

    The conference's theme chosen by the Brazilian presidency is "Access to Culture: intellectual property rights and new technologies, continuous challenges for cultural pluralism".

    [21] EU-Med ministerial con'f on marine pollution opens in Cairo

    21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Deputy Environment and Town Planning Minister Stavros Kaloyannis represents Athens at the 3rd Euro-Med ministerial conference focusing on the protection of the Mediterranean, which opened here on Monday -- cited as the first such official meeting to take place outside the Union.

    This high-profile Euro-Med forum is co-chaired by EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas, who holds the environment portfolio, Finnish Environment & Nordic Cooperation Minister Jan-Erik Enestam, who chairs the EU environment ministers' council, as well as Egyptian Minister of State for Environ-mental Affairs Maged George.

    Representatives of 20 countries bordering on the Mediterranean are taking part in the conference, including Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, as well as representatives of other international organizations, NGOs, business and local government authorities.

    [22] MEDPOL data released

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    On Monday, the conference's participants were briefed on the latest data compiled by MEDPOL, the de-pollution program of the UN's Environmental Program (UNEP/MAP), as the organization’s report, among others, pointed to major sources of pollution emanating from "oil refineries, (the) metal industry, industrial farming, fertilizer manufacturing, chemical and paper industry, as well as sewage treatment plants..."

    The MEDPOL report recorded data taken from 9,400 coastal industrial plants in the Mediterranean Basin "that discharge their polluted waste waters directly into the marine environment", according to the Rome-based Regional Activity Centre for Information and Communication of the Barcelona Convention (INFO/RAC).

    The figures were provided by the 21 Mediterranean states adhering to the Barcelona Convention.

    "Making this data public will help to sensitize national governments about the problem so that action will be taken to reduce and eliminate pollution from land-based sources. It will also alert public opinion, which can influence national authorities to live up to their obligations under international conventions and protocols," Athens-based UNEP/MAP coordinator Paul Mifsud said here during a press conference on Monday.

    [23] Meeting on 'Anti-crime policy and the rights of people'

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras addressed a two-day meeting in Athens on Monday on the theme "Anti-crime policy and the rights of people".

    The meeting is organized by the International Society for Criminology, the Marangopoulou Foundation for the Rights of People and the Greek Society for Criminology.

    "A disturbing increase of the heaviest forms of crime is being observed on an international level these past years. Maybe, never before has organized crime been so widespread, harming not only individuals but also the principles on which a liberal and democratic state is based," Papaligouras noted.

    [24] Film director Costa Gavras addresses 'Masterclass' event by 47th Thessaloniki Film Festival

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Renowned film director Costa Gavras on Monday addressed the "Masterclass" event organized by the 47th Thessaloniki Film Festival.

    "We live in the complete society of image. The issue is for us to manage to see behind this image. The image of advertisement, poster, of people, of politics, of television, of cinema. The issue is for us to manage to find the relation which any image given to us has with ourselves. To become conscious spectators. Politics is society itself and the way with which we live through this. The way we resist. Our way of life," Gavras said.

    Gavras described to his audience his own way of resistance to the politics of others through his films.

    His latest film "My General", was screened on Sunday at the 47th Film Festival in Thessaloniki, Macedonia. The film refers to Algeria's war of liberation and Gavras signs it in his capacity as script writer and producer. The film was watched by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    The 73 year-old film director of "Z" and of a series of other films on international politics and social reality of recent years, refused the characterization of the "political" film director in the narrow sense of the term.

    [25] ANA receives commendation for 2005 Sports Review publication

    ATHENS, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    The Panhellenic Federation of Sports Editors (PSAT) held its annual awards ceremony for journalists at the Athens Journalists Union's (ESHEA) auditorium on Monday, while commendations given also included the ANA's sports department director Dimitris Efstathiou for the 2005 Sports Review published by the ANA-MPA.

    The ceremony was attended, among others, by Deputy Culture Minister for sport George Orfanos, Super League President Petros Kokkalis, Panhellenic Professional Soccer Players Federation (PSAP) President Antonis Antoniadis and ESHEA President Panos Sombolos.

    [26] EU Presidency: Turkey must fulfill commitments by first week of December

    BRUSSELS, 21/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The EU Finnish Presidency has given Turkey until the first week of December to open its ports and airports to Cyprus vessels and aircrafts or risk consequences for its membership process.

    In another development, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has said that a European Commission meeting on December 6 would be ''a logical moment to make a recommendation on the Commission's part if Turkey has not fulfilled its obligations''.

    Prime Minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen has said ''if there is no agreement and Turkey does not honor its commitments, the EU will need to consider the implications for the accession process''.

    ''As for deciding on an appropriate EU response... we expect the (European) Commission to come forward with recommendations during the first week of December,'' he said in a speech in Helsinki.

    Vanhanen said he wanted the Commission, to quickly make a recommendation on Turkey's compliance with the customs agreement so the bloc's foreign ministers can weigh their response at a meeting on December 11.

    ''I want to make one thing very clear. The presidency has no intention of raising the Turkey issue at the December European Council,'' -- the EU summit on December 14-15 -- he said, adding: ''Decisions will be made before that.''

    Commissioner Rehn stressed that the Turkey-Cyprus issue should not be allowed to dominate the mid-December EU summit.

    [27] Greek Cypriot side conveys positive response to Gambari's letter

    NICOSIA, 21/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The Greek Cypriot side has sent its positive response to the UN Under Secretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari's letter regarding the acceleration of efforts to promote the implementation of the July 8, 2006, agreement "without any remarks or comments" Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes has said on Monday.

    Pashiardes expressed hope that the concerns the Turkish Cypriot side has regarding incomprehensible remarks in the letter do not constitute efforts to delay the process.

    He stressed that the regeneration of the 8th July agreement and the continuation of the efforts of the EU Finnish Presidency, less than a month before the EU Summit, cannot in any way mean linking the Cyprus question with Turkey's European obligations.

    Pashiardes said that these obligations and engagements of Turkey are irrelevant to the Cyprus question and are not linked with any developments to the problem.

    "Whoever tries to link these European obligations of Turkey with the Cyprus question, does not help efforts to solve the Cyprus question, and does not exonerate Turkey from the responsibilities it has undertaken towards the EU and towards the Republic of Cyprus," he underlined.

    Furthermore he noted that even if the Cyprus question was solved right now, Turkey would have been obliged to fulfill all the obligations it has undertaken towards the EU.

    Invited to say if the Cyprus government could have been tolerant as far as Turkey's obligations are concerned, if Turkey appeared to be constructive at the technical committees, Pashiardes replied negatively noting "there is no way we will be tolerant because this is not an issue that concerns solely us."

    "The issue of Turkey's obligations is an issue concerning all EU member states, and of course any possible constructive stance by the Turkish side as regards the implementation of the July 8 agreement, can be considered constructive, but in no way can retract and undermine Turkey's obligations," he added.

    Responding to a question, the spokesman said that "our effort is and continues to be the full, unconditional and without prerequisites implementation of the July 8 agreement."

    Asked if his reference to "no preconditions" includes the meetings between the two leaders, Pashiardes said "including the meetings, as provided in the July 8 agreement."

    Replying to another question, he said that the Greek Cypriot side considers Gambari's letter to be clear "and we want to hope that allegations (by the Turkish Cypriot side) that in some aspects it is incomprehensible is not just a disguise by the Turkish side to cause a delay" adding that "our side only sees a clear intention (in the Gambari letter) of the UN to promote the implementation of the July 8 agreement. And this is the sincere intention of our side."

    [28] UN chief urges parties to work closely for a Cyprus settlement

    GENEVA, 21/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Monday he has urged both parties in Cyprus to work very closely with his Special Representative in Nicosia, Michael Moller, and to prove in action that they are ready to reengage to the talks aiming in reaching a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    "I have urged that both parties work very closely with my representative on the island and that what is important is not declaration of intent, but I would want to see actions from both sides that narrows the gap between words and action and that indicates to me and my successor, that the parties are ready to resume and move ahead in earnest", Annan said.

    In statements during a joint press conference he held with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, Annan said that his meeting with Talat had been a very constructive one and that they discussed the status of the progress on the Cyprus talks.

    "We discussed the measures that both parties are to take with my representative, Michael Moller, on the island, to ensure that the parties prepare effectively, not only as confidence building measures but as a step towards full resumption of negotiations aimed at settling the Cyprus issue", he said.

    Outgoing UN chief said that in the meantime, "all must be done to assist the Turkish north in their development aspirations".

    He reminded that in his report to the UN Security Council following the failure of the Annan plan he had indicated "that the isolation of the north must be lifted, and by lifting the isolation of the north and promoting development of the north future unification becomes easier so that the gap between the two sides will not be as wide as it would otherwise be".

    "And so I would hope that efforts will be made to assist them and to help with their developmental aspirations", Annan added.

    Noting that the Turkish Cypriots had approved the UN envisaged plan for a Cyprus settlement, which the Greek Cypriots had rejected, he said that the reunification could not be moved ahead, but he added that everyone agrees that a divided Cyprus is a problem, not just for the island, but also for the European Union and the wider world.

    "And we need to take all steps in the near future, I hope, to resolve this issue", he said.

    In his statements, Talat said that the Cyprus problem can only be resolved under the UN umbrella, saying ''we brought UN comprehensive settlement plan, i.e. the Annan plan, back onto the agenda during our meeting, which continues to be the basis of any future settlement of the Cyprus issue''.

    Talat expressed the view that the EU is "not capable of dealing with or solving this problem'' and described the current EU Presidency's proposals for avoiding a Euro-Turkey crisis, as unbalanced.

    "The Finnish proposals give everything to the Greek Cypriots", he said.

    EU member state Cyprus, has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. In April 2004 a UN envisaged plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem had been approved by the Turkish Cypriot community but rejected by the Greek Cypriots who deemed that it did not lead to the real reunification of the island.

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Talat agreed on July 8th 2006, during a meeting 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.

    Turkey, a country aspiring to enter the EU refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus and to open its ports and airports to Cyprus (Customs Union Protocol), a precondition for EU membership.

    The Finnish EU presidency has given Turkey time until the sixth of December to implement the Customs Union Protocol or face sanctions during the EU Council in December.

    [29] President says Cyprus not demanding extremes in Turkey's EU course

    NICOSIA, 21/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos outlined on Sunday the stance the Republic of Cyprus will be taking in December at the EU summit regarding Turkey's EU accession course, noting that ''we are not demanding the extremes but we will not be satisfied with anything negligible.''

    ''We are pursuing that which is reasonable and we are demanding the implicit, even if in our case we will have to fight even for that which is self-evident, with solid positions and insistence on our rights,'' he said, adding that ''this will be our answer in December at the EU.''

    In a speech during a ceremony to present a monument in honor of those who were killed or went missing from an infantry battalion during the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island, President Papadopoulos referred to the ''tough and intensive'' processes within Europe that are of concern to Cyprus, assuring that ''we are participating in these processes and we are handling these developments cautiously and responsibly, as well as with determination.''

    ''Tough days are ahead. Tough trials are coming. They will try our will and our unity and the faith towards our rights. This is the most appropriate time for the European partners to defend the principles on which the EU was founded and to show the trustworthiness of European consolidation,'' he pointed out.

    The president noted that ''it is not possible to tolerate Turkey's refusal to comply with its European obligations, which impose the recognition of all EU member states, the withdrawal of occupation troops, the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.''

    He added that the government is willing to participate in substantive negotiations for a peaceful, functional and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    ''It is up to the Turkish side to justify its European prospect with actions and to prove with deeds its will for a mutually acceptable solution,'' President Papadopoulos said.

    In remarks after the ceremony, President Papadopoulos confirmed reports that the British were trying to link the Cyprus problem with Turkey's EU accession course in the EU summit conclusions, noting that it would be a big mistake if the Greek Cypriot side did this.

    Replying to questions, President Papadopoulos said this effort has been going on for some time and pointed out that ''it would be a huge mistake for us to reverse the policy the EU has maintained so far, which is also ours, that Turkey's obligations are autonomous and independent from what is going on in Cyprus.''

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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