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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-07-07

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

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

Saturday, 7 July 2007 Issue No: 2638

CONTENTS

  • [01] Wide social alliance of changes and reforms government's strength, PM tells ND congress
  • [02] Former prime minister Mitsotakis addresses ND congress
  • [03] Ruling New Democracy Secretary Zagoritis declares works of party congress open
  • [04] EPP President Martens says ND dominant force in Greece, Balkans
  • [05] KKE criticises PM's address at ND congress
  • [06] PM visits Archbishop in hospital
  • [07] Protection of journalists in war zones of exceptional importance, FM spokesman says
  • [08] Foreign minister to meet Archbishop Demetrios next week
  • [09] Greece, Azerbaijan to sign energy cooperation agreement
  • [10] Deputy FM Stylianidis and Azeri economic development minister sign cooperation protocol
  • [11] President Papoulias awards medal to Susan Mubarak
  • [12] Deputy FM Valynakis reiterates Greece's position on Turkish EU accession
  • [13] GEN chief concludes visit to Bulgaria
  • [14] PASOK leader George Papandreou holds talks with Portuguese PM
  • [15] Land policy responsible for fires, KKE leader stresses
  • [16] Communist leader addresses rally in Elefsina
  • [17] Alavanos lashes PM over his absence from Parliament
  • [18] Prosecutor orders probe into TEO losses under PASOK
  • [19] Justices request access to Kedikoglou bank account information
  • [20] President revieves Europarliament 1st vice-president Kratsa
  • [21] FM spokesman on head of Greek liaison office in FYROM
  • [22] U.S. embassy holds July 4th reception
  • [23] Govt steadily promotes reform program, FinMin says
  • [24] Greek-Chinese photovoltaic joint venture in Drama
  • [25] Balkan central bankers to cooperate closer on banking supervision
  • [26] Bank of Piraeus announces 1.35-bln-euro share capital increase plan
  • [27] Greek mutual funds' assets up 1.1 pct in June
  • [28] ASE ends above 5,000 level
  • [29] ADEX closing report
  • [30] Foreign Exchange Rates - Saturday - Monday
  • [31] Acropolis and other archaeological sites closed over weekend
  • [32] Police officer accused of torturing prisoner remanded in custody
  • [33] Trial of suspect in Athens armed robbery begins
  • [34] Children from strife-torn Middle East at SAE summer camp
  • [35] Arrests in two incidents of people trafficking
  • [36] Forest fire reported in Messinia
  • [37] Major fire at Praktiker near Thessaloniki, prefecture's full firefighting force on the spot
  • [38] Greek Olympic Committee delivers Flame for 9th Olympic European Youth Festival
  • [39] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [40] Hot on Saturday
  • [41] UN SG calls for ''real engagement'' in July 8 agreement
  • [42] Cyprus has no indication that Turkish side is ready for dialogue
  • [43] Over 80 houses demolished in Turkish occupied Rizokarpaso

  • [01] Wide social alliance of changes and reforms government's strength, PM tells ND congress

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking on Friday on the first day of his ruling New Democracy party's 7th Regular Congress at Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus, said that his government's strength lies in the wide social alliance of changes and reforms.

    "We are the party that unites. A party that composes ideas and views for the collective, social and national interest. We are the strength of citizens who meet at the centre of politics. At the centre where courageous changes, bold reforms are determined and promoted. We are the party of the modern social centre. Of free thought and social responsibility. Of measure and moderation. Our strength is the relation of trust with citizens. It is the wide social alliance of changes and reforms. It is the strong majority of progress," the prime minister said.

    "Greece has great potential. It has a better future before it. This prospect appears clearly from what we have already achieved. Yes, pathogenies still exist. Problems still exist. We are struggling against them. We are overcoming them one by one. We can overcome everything and we shall overcome them. Only one thing the country cannot stand:resorting to polarisation, abuse, practices that poison public life, dividing confrontations. The country has paid dearly for all this with two great national dissensions," he added.

    The prime minister then focused on the situation prevailing on the international scene and on national options, saying that ND "is the party of great and absolutely vindicated national options."

    He further said that "we are continuing the strategy of changes and of reforms. It is our commitment and our imperative duty, it is a process that produces a benefit for all. It is the firm bridge between today and tomorrow. It is our non-negotiable option. An option for a more optimistic and a fairer future, for a cohesive and just society."

    Karamanlis stressed that "Greece will not return to the past, we will not turn back, we refuse the discriminations of Greeks, we reject attempts at political tension, polarisation and fanaticism," adding that "we are in the middle of a difficult and uphill path for a better Greece."

    Outlining the government's foreign policy, the prime minister said "we are pursuing the improvement and full normalisation of our relations with neighbouring Turkey on the basis of International Law and International Treaties, we are working for a solution to the issue of Cyprus, the aim is an end to occupation and the reunification of the Republic of Cyprus based on Security Council resolutions and the European acquis communautaire."

    He further stressed that the government vigorously defends national positions and that "all on the international stage must know and do know that there are issues on which we will not take even one step backwards."

    Referring in turn to the economy, Karamanlis said that "we have shaped a mixture of policy that encourages entrepreneurship, leaving for the state the controlling, regulating and distributing role that suits it."

    The prime minister referred at length to the government's economic achievements, such as the country's departure from the excessive deficit procedure, the attainment of high growth rates and the new economic and development momentum.

    "On March 7, 2004, the citizens chose a political change, they chose changes instead of stagnation, reforms instead of decline, progress instead of conservatism," he went on to say, adding that the citizens want the political leadership to turn its words into deeds and that changes and reforms are a commitment and an imperative duty.

    Karamanlis said that the government had to choose between two paths. On the one hand, the easy and downhill path leading to deadlock and, on the other, the difficult and uphill path leading to the future.

    "On the one hand lie populism, abuse and barren reaction and, on the other, seriousness, responsibility and creation. On the one hand, submission to the interests of the well-off and, on the other, the struggle for the collective benefit, the clash with corruption, the clash with problems. On the one hand, stagnation and decline and, on the other, changes and reforms," he further stressed.

    Karamanlis said the government was "never in a dilemma and had no second thought.

    "We chose the difficult path of responsibilityt and of struggle without negotiating our principles and values, without being trapped in phobias that lead to inertia," the prime minister concluded.

    [02] Former prime minister Mitsotakis addresses ND congress

    Former prime minister and Honourary President of the ruling New Democracy (ND) Constantine Mitsotakis addressed the party's 7th congress which began at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus on Friday.

    "Our congress today signals the beginning of the great political battle for the ND's second four-year term in power," he declared.

    "On the next day of general elections the battle begins for pushing forward big reforms which the country needs in order to advance dynamically and competitively in the difficult but full of opportunities modern world," Mitsotakis said, noting that the ruling party "has a very important work to display. ND put an end to the downhill course of the country, has inaugurated the difficult work of fiscal adjustement and promoted, on a correct basis, the economic reforms which, after a long delay, had become imperative for the country."

    He said that social policy cannot be carried out with borrowed money, adding that the forthcoming election campaign should not be waged on the basis of handouts without relevant possibilities.

    [03] Ruling New Democracy Secretary Zagoritis declares works of party congress open

    The ruling New Democracy (ND) party will again form a strong government, after elections due in March 2008, and Costas Karamanlis will again be prime minister, Lefteris Zagoritis said on Friday while declaring the works of the 7th Congress open.

    In a stinging attack against the main opposition PASOK party, Zagoritis said: "We will be the winners despite practices of tension and polarisation employed by our opponents of PASOK in order to cover their weaknesses and political impasses." He also accused the main opposition party of "populism which reveals the inexistence of positions, proposals, arguments, orientation and reliability."

    "We are a modern, open, democratic party, with positions, an organised operational framework, an indisputable leader and very capable militants. A party which, while maintaining its distinctive role vis-a-vis the government, on the one hand intervenes in a positive manner and supports it (the government) in its great effort for reforms and changes, and on the other, points to possible errors and omissions," Zagoritis noted.

    He also welcomed the President of the European People's Party (EPP) Wilfried Martens's presence in the congress' works.

    [04] EPP President Martens says ND dominant force in Greece, Balkans

    The ruling New Democracy's (ND) popular support remains strong for it to be the dominant political force in Greece, President of the European People's Party (EPP) Wilfried Martens told delegates at the ND's 7th congress which got underway at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus on Friday.

    "ND is also a dominant political factor in the broader region of the Balkans as a force of peace and stability," Martens added, while expressing his certainty that "Greeks will show their confidence for the second time in Costas Karamanlis."

    Martens noted that the ND party "is at the forefront, assuming leadership initiatives on issues of major political importance and cooperates with its European partners."

    "On March 7, 2004 (when ND won the general elections in the country), Greece has embarked on an important political and economic change," Martens said, adding that Greece has entered the road of economic stability and a safe course of reforms and adjustments.

    "The results of ND government policies have proved that Greece is fastly distancing itself from a fruitless past and moving towards a safe future," he said.

    Referring to the Balkans, Martens said that his "ambition is to have all countries of the region as part of the broader European family."

    Speaking of the prime minister, the EPP president remarked that Costas Karamanlis "is a leader who combines modern realism with a visionary policy. He is moderate and fair. He believes in synthetical processes, in practical solutions and he is a true European."

    [05] KKE criticises PM's address at ND congress

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), referring on Friday to the address made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at his ruling New Democracy party's 7th Regular Congress, said that his claims that his "government has brought down dividing lines, has served all the Greeks and that its reforms serve progress are in full contrast with reality."

    KKE said that the dividing line in society between working people and capital was widened and deepened even more for the benefit of plutocracy and against the working class and the popular sections of the population.

    It further said that the New Democracy party government "is continuing the same anti-popular policy of the PASOK party in all sectors. It is in the same trench with PASOK. They are both struggling for the profit-making of capital."

    Lastly, KKE's announcement stressed that "the big difference between ND and PASOK lies in who will be in government. Working people have no other path than to vote against them."

    [06] PM visits Archbishop in hospital

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis and his wife Natassa on Friday visited Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece at the Aretaio Hospital in central Athens.

    [07] Protection of journalists in war zones of exceptional importance, FM spokesman says

    "Greece considers the guarantee of the safety of journalists who have undertaken, under adverse conditions, the important task of informing the world public opinion, as being of exceptional importance" Greece's foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said Friday, following the release of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday by his kidnappers after 114 days in captivity.

    He said this position had been "proven in action, as well, with Greece's initiative last December that led to the adoption of a relevant resolution by the United Nations Security Council on protection of journalists in war zones and areas of conflict".

    Koumoutsakos expressed "particular satisfaction" over the fact that the British journalist was returning home "safe and sound" after 114 days of captivity, and stressed that "such incidents underscore the exigent need for protection and respect of the journalists and media staffers who are called on to carry out their duties in war zones or crisis zones".

    The UNSC in December, 2006 unanimously adopted Resolution 1738, which emanated from a Greek initiative during its UNSC presidency in the month of September and backed by France. Greece held a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in the period 2005-2006.

    [08] Foreign minister to meet Archbishop Demetrios next week

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is scheduled to meet Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America Demetrios next Tuesday at 14:00 in the afternoon, the foreign ministry announced on Friday.

    Immediately afterwards, she is to meet the chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while earlier the same day she will take part in a presentation of activity by the International Developmental Cooperation Service with Deputy Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis.

    [09] Greece, Azerbaijan to sign energy cooperation agreement

    "We want to reach European markets and Greece is a gate to Europe," Heyder Babayev , Azerbaijan 's Economic Development Minister said on Friday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas in Athens , the Azeri minister underlined Greece 's constructive position towards energy co-operation.

    The Greek minister suggested the signing of a bilateral agreement with Azerbaijan to cover bilateral cooperation on oil and natural gas and he handed over to his Azeri counterpart a draft deal, which Mr Babayev said he expected to be signed during the Greek minister's visit to Baku .

    Sioufas also recommended the signing of a four-party agreement with Turkey and Italy clearing all details over the supply and distribution of natural gas through a Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline. The Greek-Turkish pipeline is expected to be inaugurated in the next few weeks, while the Greek-Italian end of the pipeline will enter construction in 2008. Sioufas noted that also pending is the signing of a Turkey-Greece-Italy agreement.

    The Greek minister noted that the government's energy policy was moving within the framework of a European policy to diversify sources, routes and forms of energy and noted that supplies of natural gas from Azerbaijan was a priority for the Greek-Italian pipeline.

    [10] Deputy FM Stylianidis and Azeri economic development minister sign cooperation protocol

    Close energy cooperation between Greece and Azerbaijan, that constitutes an incentive to strengthen wider economic and trade relations between the two countries, was confirmed at the 2nd Joint Interministerial Committee that was concluded in Athens at noon on Friday with the signing of a cooperation protocol by Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis and Azeri Economic Development Minister Heyder Babayev.

    The deputy foreign minister referred to the Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline that will be provided with Azeri gas and will be inaugurated in the coming months by the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey.

    "This pipeline constitutes a tangible implementation of the basic energy policy of the European Union, that also constitutes a policy of Greece," Stylianidis said.

    Referring to future cooperation as well, Stylianidis said Azerbaijan can become a reliable supplier of oil and possibly, if the necessary quantities are secured, of natural gas as well.

    [11] President Papoulias awards medal to Susan Mubarak

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Friday awarded the Medal of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix to Susan Mubarak, president of the International Women's Movement for Peace.

    She arrived at the presidential mansion accompanied by Marianna Vardinogiannis, president of the Foundation for the Child and Family, while the ceremony was also attended by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Culture Minister George Voulgarakis.

    Ambassador Tassos Kriekoukis,in remarks during the ceremony, praised Susan Mubarak's role in reviving the idea of a Library of Alexandria, noting that this was linked with the Hellenistic spirit but also with modern Greece, and her work with children and in the international women's movement for peace.

    The president also congratulated Mubarak on her activities, while she thanked him for the honour extended to her and said that it was also shared by her associates and the thousands of young people that helped her carry out her work.

    She was also presented with the Culture Ministry's Prize in recognition of her work on a global level by the culture minister.

    [12] Deputy FM Valynakis reiterates Greece's position on Turkish EU accession

    PORTOROZ (ANA-MPA/N.Melissova)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valynakis on Friday reiterated Greece's steadfast position on Turkey's European course, according to which "full compliance means full accession."

    Valynakis was speaking after the end of the informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union's Mediterranean countries in Slovenia, where the French proposal on Mediterranean Union was the focal point of discussions.

    "We exchanged views on a proposal made by the Foreign Minister of France, Bernard Kouchner, developing the main French vision on the creation of a Mediterranean Union that will mainly have an economic character and will show the historic continuation, as well as the practical interest that we have for this region as Mediterranean countries," the deputy foreign minister said.

    Valynakis conceded that "the proposal by France has the positive element that it brings the two sides of the Mediterranean closer together so that we can work more intensively on a series of new sectors to enable us to promote this cooperation."

    Lastly, Valynakis pointed out that "we want Turkey to move on and this prospect of full accession to exist. Only this functions as an incentive for a country such as Turkey, so that it can adjust to the European acquis communautaire and to European preconditions."

    [13] GEN chief concludes visit to Bulgaria

    SOFIA (ANA-MPA/B. Borishov)

    Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff (GEN), Vice Admiral Dimitrios Gousis, on Friday expressed satisfaction over the warm reception he recieved and his "fruitful" dialogue with the Chief of the Bulgarian Navy, Rear Admiral Minko Kavaldzhiev, the chief of the Bulgarian Armed Forces General Staff, General Zlatan Stoykov, and the country's deputy defence minister Sonia Yankoulova, in statement sto ANA-MPA following the completion of his visit to Sofia and Varna.

    Gousis also expressed the GEN's willingness to contribute to the speedier adaptation of the Bulgarian navy to the models and requirements of NATO, and also to the advancement of the necessary reforms outlined in the treaty for Bulgaria's accession to the European Union (EU).

    In that framework, the two men also discussed the prospects of holding joint exercises and for the training of Bulgarian navy officials at the specialised academies in Greece, in addition to other measures.

    Two Greek tank carriers are due to arrive in the port of Varna in early August, with crews from the Naval Officer Cadets School, for joint manoevres with the Bulgarian Navy. Additional exercises will also take place following relevant planning, while the drafting of various training programmes in specialised academies is also foreseen, according to Gousis.

    "We are two neighbouring countries and have much in common. From there onwards, it is a pleasure for us Greeks to work together with our Bulgarian colleagues in NATO and the European Union," Gousis said, replying to a question on the prospects of cooperation between the two navies and two countries, which are both EU partners and NATO allies.

    [14] PASOK leader George Papandreou holds talks with Portuguese PM

    LISBON (ANA-MPA/V. Mourtis)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou held hour-long talks with Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates here on Friday afternoon, focusing on the new European Treaty, Kosovo, the problem with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Turkey's course towards the European Union.

    Speaking after the meeting, Papandreou said that both of them maintained that the new European Treaty is necessary for the appropriate and democratic functioning of the EU but, as the PASOK leader said, it is also in the interest of Greece.

    The EU Portuguese Presidency and the Socialist International have set the environment and the promotion of the green economy as a top priority and for which there will be close cooperation.

    It was agreed that the Socialist International's environment committee, that was created during the recent meeting of the International's Council in Geneva and which is presided over by former Swedish prime minister Goran Persson and former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, will have close cooperation with the European Commission.

    Papandreou briefed Socrates on the situation in Turkey and his visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and urged him to take an initiative on the restoration of the Patriarchate's rights which, in any case, is also an obligation of Turkey in the framework of its European course.

    PASOK's leader said that an initiative in this direction by the Portuguese Presidency could produce positive results, not only for the Patriarchate but for Turkey's European course as well.

    The two socialist leaders discussed the situation in the Balkans and the problem of Kosovo in particular. Papandreou referred to the course of the Western Balkans towards the EU since, as he said, the aim is for the door to Europe to open and, through this course, some problems to be resolved, such as human rights problems, good neighbourliness, etc. Socrates requested Papandreou's view on how the situation in the region stands, as well as his contribution to the effort of finding a solution.

    Papandreou also raised the issue of FYROM's intransigence and the need to solve the problem of the name through a mutually acceptable and satisfactory solution in the framework of dialogue taking place under the auspices of the UN, while the PASOK leader pointed out that intransigence does not help a solution to the problem.

    The two men also discussed the issue of Cyprus, for which Papandreou said it was a problem of Turkish invasion and occupation. Also discussed was the issue of the reactivation of the EU on the question of Cyprus, "an initiative that is always timely and necessary."

    [15] Land policy responsible for fires, KKE leader stresses

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Friday stressed that land policy rather than heatwaves were to blame for the systematic torching of Greece's forests.

    "Once again we will stress that the arsonist is not the heat wave. The arsonist is the policy for land that is followed in Greece and especially the deliberate conversion of forests and forested areas into property lots," she said during a meeting with the Panhellenic Union of Civil Servant Foresters.

    She stressed the need to create a single body for forest protection as well as measures to ensure that land in forests and surrounding forests could not be used for development and profit, so as to discourage arson designed to allow such schemes to progress.

    At another point, she called for an abolition of ownership of forest land by the Church, property cooperatives and other bodies, saying that these areas should belong to the public and be for public use.

    The cost of reforestation should burden the state, Papariga added. "We doubt whether this can be served by non-governmental organisations, banks and other sponsors," she said.

    [16] Communist leader addresses rally in Elefsina

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) will not let itself be dragged into any confrontation on who has committed the greatest number of scandals "that is why is calling on the people to leave aside the two mainstream parties," the party's Secretary General Aleka Papariga told a rally of supporters in Elefsina, Western Attica on Friday evening.

    Papariga further noted that her party will not "wear a mask, hide its positions from the people in order to gain some votes."

    Referring to ecological problems, the KKE SG said that "declaring one's self ecologist does not necessarily mean that one wages a consistent struggle for the protection of the environment or that one is irreprochable. On the contrary, in these past years industrialists and banks, in the name of social pertnership responsibility, have been managing special funds for financing a so-called protection of the environment in exchange for special rights in land use."

    [17] Alavanos lashes PM over his absence from Parliament

    In some of the most strongly worded criticism heard within the Greek Parliament this year, the leader of the Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYN) party Alekos Alavanos on Friday accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of employing "mafia" tactics and acting like "a godfather".

    He also accused the government of being responsible for a "political game for eliminating executives, in which wives and children are protagonists."

    The opposition leader had been incensed at Karamanlis failure to appear in Parliament in order to answer a question that SYN's leader had tabled regarding the recent spate of forest fires that swept the country - including one on Mount Parnitha, a designated National Park, that devastating Attica's sole remaining forest.

    His remarks drew a sharp response from Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who said that they represented a "comedown" for political life and Parliament.

    "I am saddened by the tone and content of what was heard here. These insults are unprecedented and have never before been heard about an MP that also happens to be an elected prime minister of the country," he said, adding that Alavanos should ask the members of his own party whether they were proud with the figure he had cut in Parliament that day.

    The prime minister's absence had earlier also been criticised by former Parliament president under PASOK, Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    Commenting on the incident, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that Alavanos had "received the answer that he deserved".

    [18] Prosecutor orders probe into TEO losses under PASOK

    The chief prosecutor of the Athens appeals courts on Friday ordered a preliminary inquiry into the activity of former National Road Fund (TEO) president Ioannis Papaconstantinou, until Thursday the current general director of the main opposition PASOK party, following recent press revelations that the fund lost substantial sums through questionable bond purchases during his tenure.

    Papaconstantinou's name was brought up in Parliament earlier in the week by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, as proof of covered-up mismanagement and graft during PASOK's years in power.

    The case has been assigned to appeals court prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos, while the evidence includes documents supplied by the TEO SA company and press articles claiming that the fund carried out loss-making transactions in government bonds through the brokerage Artion AXEPEY in 2003-2004, when Papaconstantinou was at its head.

    The TEO documents show that the fund incurred losses of 620,000 euros during that period, while the prosecutor has been asked to determine whether any acts liable for prosecution were carried out.

    In comments on the affair on Friday, one day after Papaconstantinou submitted his resignation to main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros again stressed Papandreou's continue silence over the revelations about Papaconstantinou and the contrast with the main opposition's leader intense criticism over similar phenomena under New Democracy.

    Regarding Papaconstantinou's resignation - and whether this showed faster reflexes by PASOK - Antonaros said that the important difference was that the present government had itself handed over the evidence of wrongdoing in the bond affair to justice, where as PASOK kept quiet and was continuing to keep quiet.

    [19] Justices request access to Kedikoglou bank account information

    A Supreme Court committee charged with inspecting the means and assets statements now submitted by nearly all public officials in Greece - including all judges - on Friday requested access to information about the bank accounts of former Supreme Court president Romylos Kedikoglou and his wife Eleni since the year 2000.

    The five-member judicial committee also asked to be informed of any stocks or bonds owned by the couple.

    [20] President revieves Europarliament 1st vice-president Kratsa

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Friday received European Parliament first vice president Rodi Kratsa, who is a Europarliament deputy from the ruling New Democracy party (ND).

    [21] FM spokesman on head of Greek liaison office in FYROM

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Friday that the head of the Greek Liaison Office in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has been summoned to Athens by order of Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis for necessary explanations and clarifications to be given in a meeting with the foreign ministry's service leadership.

    He was replying to a question on whether Mrs. N. Grosomanidou is in Athens to give explanations or if she is being recalled due to statements that she reportedly made to a special four-page supplement of the Financial Times newspaper on FYROM on Thursday.

    [22] U.S. embassy holds July 4th reception

    A reception was held at the U.S. embassy in Athens on Friday night, on the occasion of the July 4th American national independence anniversary, by the Charge d'Affaires Thomas Countryman.

    The government was represented by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and the main opposition PASOK party by MP Theodoros Pangalos. The Patriarch of Jerusalem Theofilos also attended the reception.

    Countryman conveyed a message by U.S. President George W. Bush on the anniversary and said he was extremely pleased to be celebrating this day "in the cradle of democracy" and referred to the struggles of the Greeks for freedom.

    Financial News

    [23] Govt steadily promotes reform program, FinMin says

    The government is steadily promoting its reform program, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Friday.

    Addressing the third meeting on implementation progress of a national reforms program ( Lisbon strategy), the Greek minister said the country has made significant progress in adopting Lisbon strategy directions, while he noted that a dialogue has begun over reforming the social security system and the education system. Alogoskoufis noted that the introduction of a new law on public sector enterprises strengthened the efficiency of public enterprises, while measures were taken to speed up the use of new technologies.

    Greece's mutual funds' assets totaled 26.4 billion euros in June, from 26.1 billion in May, for an increase of 277 million euros or 1.1 percent, official figures showed on Friday.

    A monthly report by the Association of Institutional Investors said most mutual funds' categories recorded an increase in assets in June, mainly in foreign money management (7.0 pct), foreign capital markets (3.2 pct), foreign combined (1.8 pct) and equity funds of funds (1.7 pct), while domestic bonds (3.0 pct and foreign bonds (2.5 pct) recorded declines in their assets.

    Foreign money management, foreign combined, foreign capital markets and domestic combined funds recorded capital inflows in June.

    The average return of the 61 domestic equity funds was 13.37 pct at the end of June, exceeding a 10.23 percent return of the composite index in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    A total of 41 domestic equity funds exceeded the return of the composite index with returns ranging from 10.25 pct to 26.08 pct in June.

    [24] Greek-Chinese photovoltaic joint venture in Drama

    A photovoltaic (solar electric) panel manufacturing unit, with a capacity of producing 40 MW annually and an initial capital outlay of 20 million euro will be set up in Drama in a joint venture by the Chinese state company "Niscat Manufacturing" and the Greek-based ITA group of companies, it was announced on Friday in Thessaloniki. The joint venture, in which the two companies will hold a 50 percent stake each, is called "Sky Global SA".

    Niscat is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and recently has turned its investment interest to Europe, aimed at promoting Chinese photovoltaic technology on the continent.

    The capacity of the unit, which could begin operation as early as this year, "will perhaps be the largest in the Balkans," ITA group president Antonis Gerasimou told ANA-MPA, adding that the plant would be housed at an existing former tobacco storage building owned by the prefecture of Drama, which would be rented by the joint venture.

    The investment could feasibly exceed 400 million euro over the next few years, given that the investors' targets include a gradual verticalisation of production (so that the panels are fully manufactured at the Drama plant, without needing to import parts).

    The Greek-chinese company will undertake the entire endeavour, with a 50:50 stake in Sky Global SA, which has already been set up. The plant's equipment was already on order, and the investors were now awaiting the "go ahead" from the Drama prefectural council for the rental of the building, so that the required licencing process could proceed.

    "At the initial stage, the plant will emplly approximately 50 local employees from Drama, who will be trained by Niscat on photovoltaic technology, inter alia, in traiing visits to the Niscat facilities in China," Gerasimou said, adding that the new company was awaiting the prefectural council's approval for concession of the building, which could possibly be expected within the month, in order to begin.

    The photovoltaics produced at the plant, "which will be sold directly to the end user, are cutting-edge technology and may be fitted even on window panes," he said.

    Gerasimou further said that the goal to begin operation of the plant in 2007 was "ambitious, but not unattainable", if the prefectural council gave its approval before the end of the summer.

    He also expressed satisfaction with Drama prefect Constantine Evmiridis' backing for the investors.

    The Glyfada-based ITA, which has also made another investment in Drama through its subsidiary Drama Greenhouses S.A., was interested in general in the northern Greek market, he said.

    Gerasimou further said that his company was also currently in negotiations with a Russian state company for a new investment, possibly again in northern Greece, but declined to reveal the name of the Russian company or the nature of the investment, saying it was still at a very early stage.

    [25] Balkan central bankers to cooperate closer on banking supervision

    Central banks in the Balkan region on Friday accepted an initiative by the Bank of Greece to sign a multi-party memorandum of cooperation between them aimed to strengthen banking supervision in the area and to reduce administrative charges on banks with activities in the region.

    The agreement was reached during a meeting by the central bankers from Albania , Bulgaria , Cyprus , FYROM, Serbia and an official from the National Bank of Romania in Athens , hosted by Bank of Greece governor Nikos Garganas. The signing of the memorandum will create a new framework of enhanced regional cooperation, similar to the one existing between Scandinavian countries, on banking cooperation.

    Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Garganas said the new cooperation framework will facilitate efforts to ensuring a better-structured form of cooperation and allow banking supervision authorities to deal more effectively with the complexity of financial institutions. The central banker said the agreement would contribute to financial stability in the region and reduce administrative burdens of banks.

    The central bankers also agreed to expand a policy of exchanging information on banking supervision, to establish communications networks between supervisory boards and set up working groups to examine the possibilities of converging regulatory and supervisory practices on combating money laundering and terror funding.

    The next meeting of the central bankers will be held in the first half of 2008 in Thessaloniki .

    [26] Bank of Piraeus announces 1.35-bln-euro share capital increase plan

    The Bank of Piraeus on Friday announced a share capital increase plan, worth 1.35 billion euros, envisaging the issuance of 67,548,758 new common nominal shares of a nominal price of 4.77 euros per share and an offering price of 20 euros each. The new share will also have dividend rights for 2007.

    Under the plan, announced by the bank's board, the rights issue envisages an exchange ratio of one new share for four existing ones. Goldman Sachs International and Morgan Stanley will act as international coordinators and consultants to the issue.

    The Bank of Piraeus said the money to be raised from the share capital increase plan will be used to improve the bank's capital adequacy as part of a organic expansion of its activities.

    The bank's board will ask a regular general shareholders' meeting next year to annul 10.4 million shares (3.8 pct of its equity capital) owned by the bank, worth 230 million euros.

    "We intend to use the money to be raised from the share capital increase plan to support our organic growth and to exploit any opportunity arises with consistency towards our shareholders," Mihalis Sallas, the bank's chairman said.

    The share capital increase plan is expected to begin in the second half of August.

    [27] Greek mutual funds' assets up 1.1 pct in June

    Greece's mutual funds' assets totaled 26.4 billion euros in June, from 26.1 billion in May, for an increase of 277 million euros or 1.1 percent, official figures showed on Friday.

    A monthly report by the Association of Institutional Investors said most mutual funds' categories recorded an increase in assets in June, mainly in foreign money management (7.0 pct), foreign capital markets (3.2 pct), foreign combined (1.8 pct) and equity funds of funds (1.7 pct), while domestic bonds (3.0 pct and foreign bonds (2.5 pct) recorded declines in their assets.

    Foreign money management, foreign combined, foreign capital markets and domestic combined funds recorded capital inflows in June.

    The average return of the 61 domestic equity funds was 13.37 pct at the end of June, exceeding a 10.23 percent return of the composite index in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    A total of 41 domestic equity funds exceeded the return of the composite index with returns ranging from 10.25 pct to 26.08 pct in June.

    [28] ASE ends above 5,000 level

    Greek stocks extended their rally for the seventh consecutive session on Friday pushing the composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange above the 5,000 level. The index rose 0.95 pct to end at 5,001.26 points with turnover a heavy 611.9 million euros.

    Most sectors moved higher with the Financial Services (3.46 pct), Insurance (2.86 pct) and Media (2.47 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while the Personal/Home Products (0.69 pct), Food/Beverage (0.68 pct) and Travel (0.33 pct) suffered losses.

    The Big Cap index rose 0.99 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.68 pct higher and the Small Cap index was up 0.13 percent.

    Boutaris (11.90 pct), Euroholdings (11.27 pct) were top gainers, while Viosol (7.14 pct) and Koumbas (3.89 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 164 to 104 with another 38 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.86%

    Industrials: +1.66%

    Commercial: +1.19%

    Construction: +0.45%

    Media: +2.47%

    Oil & Gas: +0.40%

    Personal & Household: -0.69%

    Raw Materials: +0.12%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.33%

    Technology: +0.44%

    Telecoms: +0.06%

    Banks: +1.36%

    Food & Beverages: -0.68%

    Health: +0.25%

    Utilities: +2.45%

    Chemicals: +0.98%

    Financial Services: +3.46%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, Marfin Popular Bank, National Bank and OPAP.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 24.04

    ATEbank: 3.94

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 21.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 33.92

    Hellenic Petroleum: 12.00

    Emporiki Bank: 21.06

    National Bank of Greece: 43.88

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 26.46

    Intralot: 24.98

    Cosmote: 23.20

    OPAP: 26.52

    OTE: 22.60

    Titan Cement Company: 43.50

    [29] ADEX closing report

    Turnover in the Athens Derivatives Exchange shrank to 99.438 million euros on Friday, while futures contract prices maintained their discount.

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.80 pct, while on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.06 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 5,523 contracts worth 72.603 million euros, with 39,846 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 203 contracts worth 6.609 million euros with 1,348 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 13,412 contracts worth 20.224 million euros with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (2,439), followed by Eurobank (527), OTE (448), PPC (1,050), OPAP (491), Piraeus Bank (1,632), National Bank (372), Alpha Bank (391), Intracom (1,572) and ATEbank (2,158).

    [30] Foreign Exchange Rates - Saturday - Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.370

    Pound sterling 0.681

    Danish kroner 7.500

    Swedish kroner 9.231

    Japanese yen 168.91

    Swiss franc 1.672

    Norwegian kroner 7.975

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.441

    Australian dollar 1.600

    General News

    [31] Acropolis and other archaeological sites closed over weekend

    The Athens Acropolis, Olympia, ancient Corinth, Sounion, Lindos and the Castle of the Knights on Rhodes and Thessaloniki's Byzantine and Archaeological Museums will be closed this weekend because of a 48-hour strike decided by the Panhellenic Union of Staff for the Guarding of Antiquities. The union said the culture ministry had failed to address a series of demands it had raised.

    [32] Police officer accused of torturing prisoner remanded in custody

    A police officer that has been accused of torturing a prisoner was remanded in custody after appearing before an examining magistrate in Athens on Friday. According to his lawyer, the officer in question had repented his actions and asked forgiveness.

    The accused denied planning to torture prisoners in advance, while he also denied that his actions constituted torture and claimed that he had acted under psychological stress due to the earlier beating of a colleague and had been provoked by the prisoner insulting his family.

    He also claimed that a portion of a video of the incident shown by the media was doctored and asked that it be examined more closely.

    [33] Trial of suspect in Athens armed robbery begins

    The trial of Ioannis Dimitrakis for a series of bank robberies conducted between 2002 and 2006 began before an Athens Three-member Appeals Court on Friday.

    Dimitrakis was arrested on January 16, 2006 after a bloody shootout with police in the centre of Athens that followed a robbery targeting a branch of the National Bank in Solonos. Three special guards and Dimitrakis himself were shot during the exchange of gunfire.

    Also accused in connection with the case are the brothers Simeon and Marios Seisidis and Grigoris Tsironis, all three of whom are still wanted and at large.

    The four are charged with involvement in seven robberies with a total loot of 700,000 euros, four attempted homicides and forming a gang. Dimitrakis also faces charges of money laundering after 43,000 euros were found in a bank safe deposit box in his name.

    Dimitrakis has denied the charges against him, apart from his role in the Solonos robbery.

    [34] Children from strife-torn Middle East at SAE summer camp

    Sixty-four children aged 12-14 from Palestine, Israel, Egypt and Jordan on Friday concluded 20 days of living side by side at the summer camps run by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) this year, as part of an initiative launched in 2007 by the SAE and the Greek foreign ministry.

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said the ministry had dubbed the project "Building the future" and that its aim was to try to bring together children from regions where there was tension in order to foster peaceful coexistence.

    He said the children all had different religions and that the connecting link were the children of ethnic Greek origin, of which there were five from each country.

    A ceremony marking the end of the summer camp was attended by embassy officials from each of the four countries, while the children carried out performances and recounted their experiences from their stay in Greece.

    [35] Arrests in two incidents of people trafficking

    Two foreign nationals were arrested Friday on charges of people trafficking, while 38 illegals were also detained, in two separate incidents on the island of Samos and in Xanthi, police said.

    A Turkish immigrant smuggler was arrested early Friday on board a speedboat on Friday by a Coastguard patrol as he was attempting to approach the island's coast and disembark 17 Somali and Afghani nationals, who were also detained.

    The Turkish national was due to appear before a public prosecutor on Saturday, while the 17 illegal immigrants were initially taken for medical tests and then to the island's immigrant reception centre.

    In Xanthi, a 30-year-old Iraqi national and resident of Germany was arrested on the Xanthi-Kavala national highway by border guards for illegally transporting 8 Iraqi nationals and 13 Afghani nationals who lacked travel documents.

    The people trafficker had picked up the 21 illegal immigrants from an unidentified point along the Greek-Turkish border. He was arrested, and the illegal immigrants were found in his vehicle, follwoing a chase by border guards after he disreguarded instructions to pull aside.

    The man's vehicle, two mobile phones and 290 euro in cash were confiscated by the border guards.

    [36] Forest fire reported in Messinia

    A forest fire broke out at 9:30 on Friday in Kokla in the Messinia prefecture and had burned about 5 hectares according to the latest reports, while strong winds are blowing in the area.

    Eight fire-fighting aircraft and two helicopters are being used to put out the blaze. A fire that broke out in Kiato, Corinth is under partial control.

    [37] Major fire at Praktiker near Thessaloniki, prefecture's full firefighting force on the spot

    A major fire broke out at a German hypermarket on the outskirts of Thessaloniki in the early hours of Friday, and the prefecture's entire firefighting force was battling the blaze, which spread quickly due to the inflammable materials in the hypermarket.

    The fire at the Praktiker home-improvement hypermarket in Pylaia broke out at 2:55 a.m., in an outdoor storage area, and was still raging at 10:00 a.m. despite non-stop efforts by more than 80 firefighters with 30 fire engines.

    Fire Brigade regional director for Central Macedonia, Dimitris Fafoutis, told ANA-MPA that the fire broke out just before 3:00 a.m, for reasons as yet unknown, in the hypermarket's outdoor storage area containing wood and garden fixtures, and spread to the hypermarket's two stories, covering a total expans of 12,000 square metres.

    He said the area is sparsely populated and no neighbouring buildings or storage facilities were threatened by the Praktiker blaze.

    Black smoke clouds formed above the site of the fire, while firefighters are unable to approach the blazing building up close due to explosions of propane canisters, scorching heat and emissions from the burning varnishes, paints and other inflammable products.

    Reinforcements have also been sent from the neighbouring prefectures.

    The hypermarket in Pylaia employees some 200 people, most of whom rushed to the site after learning about the fire.

    Sports

    [38] Greek Olympic Committee delivers Flame for 9th Olympic European Youth Festival

    The Greek Olympic Committee, with its Vice President Isidoros Kouvelos, delivered the Flame for the Games of the 9th Olympic European Youth Festival, that will be held in Belgrade, during a ceremony held at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens on Friday.

    The Flame was delivered to the leaders of the "Belgrade 2007" Organising Committee and the leadership of the Olympic Committee of Serbia.

    The delivery of the Flame was preceded by the Lighting Ceremony, whose artistic preparation and choreography was carried out by Maria Hors, while the delivery itself was the duty of High Priestess Theodora Siarkou.

    The 9th Olympic European Youth Festival will be held in Belgrade between July 22-27, 2007.

    [39] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The resignation of main opposition PASOK party general director Yannis Papaconstantinou on Thursday -- which came as an Athens chief prosecutor was poised to order a preliminary investigation into Papaconstantinou's activity during his tenure as president of the National Road Fund (responsible for management and exploitation of the country's toll stations and maintenance of the national highways) under the previous PASOK governments (he was relieved of the post in late 2004 after New Democracy took over the government) -- following a barrage of press articles alleging questionable transactions by the Fund during his tenure and charges by prime minister Costas Karamanlis himself, during a recent debate in parliament, who presented data on the mismanagement of the assets of two social security funds during the PASOK governance and accusing Papaconstantinou of non-transparent selling and buying of bonds; the 7th Congress of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party that opens Friday afternoon; and a case of doctored grades in the nationwide end-of-year lyceum examinations, were the main front-page items in Friday's dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Restructuring Congress - 4,500 ND members at the Peace and Friendship Stadium (venue of the Congress) - Government and party preparing new beginning".

    APOGEVMATINI: "The bonds affair boomerangs against PASOK - By resigning, the PASOK general director admitted his responsibility in the Road Fund scandal".

    AVGHI: "Scene of ND triumph over the embers of the forest - Congress of pre-electoral slogans today, with Karamanlis speech".

    AVRIANI: "The lover of an American diplomat (who was recently recalled from Greece) was the spy who stole secret documents concerning 'hot' national issues (from a key ministry to which she had access, at all levels)"

    CHORA: " 'Together, we achieved alot, together, we are creating the future' - What Karamanlis will say at the ND 7th Congress".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "The Archbishop (Christodoulos) now in the hands of the two top German doctors (specialists who arrived in Athens)".

    ELEFTHEROS: "ND's hour - Karamanlis the leader (of the political scene) - The 7th Congress opens today".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The bonds a boomerang for George (PASOK leader Papandreou) - Dismissal 'thriller' of Papaconstantinou".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Resignation, and 'war' to follow - Move to facilitate George - MPs also wanted it".

    ESTIA: "The political life being poisoned - Heavy characterisations now being cast".

    ETHNOS: "Unprecedented charge of violation of the secrecy of the examinations (content)".

    KATHIMERINI: "Resignation in PASOK under the weight of the revelations".

    LOGOS: "Resignation under the weight of the charges - Yannis Papaconstantinou out of PASOK".

    NIKI: "Polydoras (public order minister) chrsitened the (forest fire) destruction a success, in parliament".

    TO PARASKINIO (weekly): "2 percentage point lead for ND - Nationwide opinion poll by INTERVIEW".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "It will be a victory of the people of the two-party system loses and the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) is strengthened - Aleka Papariga's (KKE leader) address to industrial workers".

    TA NEA: "Doctoring of grades in the nationwide exams - Shock accusations by graders".

    TO VIMA: "Prosecutor orders express demolition of unlicenced homes built in the forests - And penal procedures against forestry employees who are remiss in the exercise of their duties".

    VRADYNI: "Seal of credibility - The three-day Congress begins today with the participation of 4,469 delegates".

    Weather forecast

    [40] Hot on Saturday

    Hot weather is expected throughout the country, as well as very strong winds. Temperatures in Athens ranging between 22C and 34C and in Thessaloniki from 21C to 31C.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [41] UN SG calls for ''real engagement'' in July 8 agreement

    UNITED NATIONS (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Friday the two leaders in Cyprus to build on progress achieved to date, by showing the necessary imagination and political courage to move from talks about procedures to real engagement in substance.

    Ban's statement, read out by his spokeswoman Marie Okabe, comes two days before the first anniversary of the July 8 2006 agreement, signed by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Nicosia, in the presence of the then UN Undersecretary for political affairs, Ibrahim Gambari.

    The agreement provides for 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 of the Cyprus problem.

    ''Although the two sides continue to be engaged in regular discussions under the auspices of the United Nations and both leaders expressed their commitment to a solution leading to a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, it is regrettable that one year has passed without any start to the agreed process,'' Okabe said.

    She added that ''the Secretary General takes this opportunity, therefore, to urge the two leaders to build on a progress achieved to date, by showing the necessary imagination and political courage to move from talks about procedures to real engagement on substance.''

    ''We are emphasizing once again that the responsibility for a solution to the Cypriot problem lies with the Cypriots themselves,'' Okabe noted, saying that Moon ''also reiterates that the United Nations stands ready to assisting the two communities' inner search for a solution to this protracted problem.''

    The July agreement aimed at preparing the ground for substantive negotiations with a view to reaching a political settlement, agreed by the island's two communities, that would reunited the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    [42] Cyprus has no indication that Turkish side is ready for dialogue

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas said on Friday that the Greek Cypriot side has no indication that Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot side has any will to begin a dialogue to solve the Cyprus problem, noting that if Turkey believed that ''at this or any future stage there should be no movement, then things will be difficult.''

    Palmas said if there was ''any political will on behalf of Turkey to create the conditions to move forward regarding the Cyprus problem, then there is a possibility to make progress through the 8 July 2006 agreement.''

    Replying to questions, Palmas said ''we have repeatedly proven our intention and will to create circumstances and conditions for progress regarding the July 8 agreement.''

    ''From thereon, in order to create the conditions for improvement and progress regarding an agreement reached between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side and the United Nations, the positive will of both sides is necessary,'' he pointed out.

    Asked about the July 8 agreement in relation to the forthcoming elections in Turkey, Palmas said that ''due to the fluid political situation in Turkey there is immobility regarding the July 8 agreement.''

    ''We, the government, have said many times that the key (of a solution) is in Ankara and in Turkey,'' the spokesman added.

    He noted, however, that ''we do not have an indication from Ankara or Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot side that there is a will for a dialogue at this moment.''

    Asked if the government would welcome an initiative, Palmas said it would and that ''any initiative concerning the creation of positive circumstances for progress in the Cyprus problem is welcome.''

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

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on 8 July 2006, during a meeting in Nicosia in the presence of UN official 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 of the Cyprus problem.

    [43] Over 80 houses demolished in Turkish occupied Rizokarpaso

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    President of the Karpass Coordinating Committee Nicos Falas said on Friday that over 80 houses belonging to Greek Cypriots have been demolished in the Turkish occupied village of Rizokarpaso, while another 27 houses have been earmarked for the same purpose and very soon demolitions will begin in the village of Ayia Triada in the occupied areas.

    Speaking after a meeting with British High Commissioner to Cyprus Peter Millet, Falas said that maybe, after the reaction of foreign governments, the demolition of the 27 other houses in Rizokarpaso will be put on hold.

    He said Millet has requested from Rasit Pertev, advisor to the Turkish Cypriot leader, to cease the demolitions and that Pertev appeared to be in a difficult position, since the demolitions were being carried out by the Turkish army.

    Falas said the meeting was ''very useful and constructive'' and focused on the demolitions and in general the problems faced by the Greek Cypriots enclaved in the Karpass peninsula, as well as the restoration of the Saint Andreas monastery.

    ''The British High Commissioner was very positive and clear in his remarks. He informed us on his impressions and the results of his visit to Rizokarpaso, Ayia Triada and Saint Andreas. He told us that he has already informed the Ambassadors of the permanent members of the Security Council, with whom he meets every month,'' Falas said.

    He added that Millet has already been in contact with Pertev on the issue of the demolitions and the destruction of the cultural heritage in the occupied areas, and will soon be meeting Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and so-called prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer.

    ''We expect that there will be, even now, some results, that finally there will be an end to this destruction,'' he said.

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