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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-07-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Saturday, 28 July 2007 Issue No: 2656


  • [01] Premier Karamanlis to have talks with French President Sarkozy in Paris on Monday
  • [02] First Russian fire-fighting aircraft arrive on Saturday
  • [03] Environment minister visits fire-ravaged Mt. Parnitha
  • [04] PPC struggling to restore power lines destroyed by fires
  • [05] Papandreou chairs PASOK meeting on forest fires
  • [06] KKE SG Papariga visits fire-ravaged villages of Egialia
  • [07] Papathemelis calls for national consensus on major crises
  • [08] President Papoulias to visit Cyprus
  • [09] Gov't to defend earlier retirement for women at EU, minister says
  • [10] Development minister visits marine research centre
  • [11] Greek producer's price index up 1.8 pct in June, yr/yr
  • [12] SEB pleased with draft law on 'combating of tax evasion'
  • [13] Greek stocks end 1.53 pct lower on Friday
  • [14] Greek bond market closing report
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Foreign Exchange Rates - Saturday-Monday
  • [17] Fires continue to cause devastation
  • [18] Prostitution ring disbanded in Thessaloniki
  • [19] Gorge accidents on Crete involving foreign tourists
  • [20] Modern Greek films to be screened in New York
  • [21] Spain beats Greece 1-0 in European Under-19 Soccer Championship final
  • [22] Political leadership congratulates national soccer team
  • [23] Fairly hot on Saturday
  • [24] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [25] Cyprus solution must come from within, says FM
  • [26] Cyprus solution would serve US interests

  • [01] Premier Karamanlis to have talks with French President Sarkozy in Paris on Monday

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace on Monday, the French Presidency announced on Friday, according to an AFP dispatch from Paris.

    The announcement said that Karamanlis and Sarkozy will also have a working luncheon.

    The talks are expected to focus on the European Union Intergovernmental Conference, economic issues, the issue of environmental changes and immigration policy as well.

    The two leaders will also discuss the plan for a Mediterranean Union and the two countries' cooperation in fighting fires, according to the French Presidency's announcement.

    [02] First Russian fire-fighting aircraft arrive on Saturday

    The defence ministry announced on Friday that the first Russian fire-fighting plane BE-200 is expected to arrive at the Thessaloniki airport in early Saturday afternoon.

    According to an announcement by the prime minister's office on Thursday, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis called Russian President Vladimir Putin on the telephone at 11:30 on Thursday morning and requested Russia's assistance, asking him to send additional fire-fighting aircraft to reinforce Greek fire-fighting means.

    Putin contacted the Greek prime minister after a few minutes and informed him that the Russian government will sent operationally available fire-fighting aircraft.

    On Saturday midnight the two first Russian fire-fighting helicopters MI-8 are also expected to arrive at the same airport.

    After landing at Thessaloniki airport for refuelling, the Russian aircraft will depart for Elefsina airport, near Athens, where the Greek fire-fighting air forces are stationed.

    [03] Environment minister visits fire-ravaged Mt. Parnitha

    Environment, town planning and public works minister George Souflias on Friday called for self-restraint by all sides over the issue of the wildfires, during an inspection of the restoration works on the burnt slopes of Mt. Parnitha, which was ravaged by recent forest fires.

    "There is no room for populism and petty political exploitation in the fires issue," he stressed, adding that "self-restraint and rallying" were necessary. "There is time for criticism. Right now, we must all rally together to tackle this unprecedented event," the minister said, adding that this was demanded by realism and the present circumstances

    He cited the recent floods in England, adding that "but there, the necessary calm exists". He conceded that there were some arrhythmias, but added that this year's fire sitution was "unprecedented".

    Souflias inspected the restoration works that began six days earlier on the burnt slopes of Parnitha, and expressed pain at what he saw.

    "Our country is going through difficult moments. We mourned victims. That which we have witnessed this year is unprecedented, but fires are also plaguing the other Balkan countries as well as Italy," he noted, adding that "we see Italy, which is a larger country than Greece, how much difficulty it is having in confronting the situation".

    Asked whether there had been a delay in Greece's request for firefighting assistance from Russia, Souflias said that "no matter what one does in Greece, he is always the accused".

    "I consider it very positive that we asked for help from the Russians. It was a very positive action on the part of the prime minister to telephone (Russian president Vladimir) Mr. Putin. No one expected that we would have fires of such a large extent," he said.

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis called Russian President Putin on the telephone on Thursday morning and requested Russia's assistance, asking him to send additional firefighting aircraft to reinforce Greek fire-fighting means, and Putin returned the call just a few minutes later to inform the Greek prime minister that the Russian government will send operationally available firefighting aircraft on Friday.

    Souflias also said that Greece had requested assistance from other countries, but they were unable to respond to the request due to the fires in those countries as well.

    The minister said that 260 specialised personnel from throughout the country, divided into 10 crews, were currently working on the Parnitha slopes, on anti-flooding and anti-erosion projects, while another 100-150 specialists were expected over the next few days, adding that the crews had already shored up several of the slopes. He said the bulk of the work involved setting up log barriers at points where torrents formed in order to hold back water and soil.

    He explained that the works were proceeding rapidly, adding that similar works would be carried out in other burnt areas.

    "Good work is being done. A great effort is being made, and we are moving along at a very good pace," he said, noting that the route of the waters that will descend from Parnitha passed through heavily populated areas, and this necessitated speedy progress in the works being carried out on the mountain and at the torrent spots.

    Souflias also said that 6th and 7th category contractors were due to brief him next week on the anti-flooding and anti-erosion works they could undertake, while he himself was examining the prospect of construction of a dam at the site where the Yannoulis torrent forms, which passes through the Fylis area near Kleiston Monastery.

    In addition 120 million euro have been made available for the construction of a five-by-five piping system at the Eschatia torrent which runs through Menidi, Ano Liosia and Kamatero, while a Presidential Decree has already been published in the Government Gazette tripling the boundaries of the national park, he said.

    Souflias further announced that reforestation would begin with the first autumn rains.

    [04] PPC struggling to restore power lines destroyed by fires

    The Public Power Corporation (PPC) on Friday said it was working to quickly repair damage to the power grid inflicted by the forest fires that have ravaged the country, which have brought down several kilometres of power lines.

    Several areas have been left without electricity, mainly around Egio and Kalavryta in the prefecture of Achaia, in the Peloponnese. Crews of PPC technicians and contractors from Tripolis, Corinth, Patras and Aitoloakarnania have been brought in to repair the extensive damage and restore power to these areas.

    Electricity was restored to Kalavryta and five surrounding municipal sections on Thursday, while efforts to restore power to another 25 municipal sections are continuing on Friday, as soon as the all-clear is given by the fire brigade.

    A PPC announcement stressed that its crews have to contend with very difficult conditions and the risks from fire remain high, noting that one team at the village Kounina near Egio found itself surrounded by flames and only just managed to escape, while the PPC vehicle they were using was destroyed in the fire.

    Work has also begun on Friday on restoring power to the historic area of Maniaki, which is expected to be completed by Friday night.

    Since Thursday, power is also back to most areas on the island of Hydra, where roughly one third of the island had been without electricity because of the fires. Power was also restored on Thursday to Galatas in Argolida, again in the Peloponnese, with television transmitters expected to be back up on Friday, and in the southern regions of the Ionian island of Kefallonia, while the island's mountain villages are expected to get power back on Friday.

    [05] Papandreou chairs PASOK meeting on forest fires

    Main opposition PASOK's leader George Papandreou on Friday chaired a party meeting on the forest fires ravaging the country, again stressing that these were a "national, ecological crisis".

    In the meeting at the party's headquarters at Harilaou Trikoupi street in Athens, the discussion focused on what action PASOK can take to provide the greatest possible assistance to the forces for preventing and fighting fires and to help its victims.

    The party decided to set up two committees. The first will be headed by PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos and will be in charge of monitoring developments where fires are underway and proposing specific positions to be adopted by PASOK and specific initiatives that may be undertaken by PASOK's leader and the party in general.

    Also taking part in this committee will be Fofi Gennimata, Costas Skandalidis, Andreas Loverdos, Alekos Papadopoulos, Christos Polyzogopoulos and Nikos Salagiannis.

    The second committee will be headed by Andreas Loverdos and will propose ways of mobilising the party's organised forces to help state forces in their work. The proposals of the committee are expected very soon, since they will take the form of instructions that will be sent to PASOK organisations throughout the country.

    Both committees will operate under the higher supervision of PASOK Secretary Nikos Athanassakis.

    After the meeting, PASOK MP in charge of public order and justice issues for the party, Alekos Papadopoulos, commented on reports that the mobile phone-tapping case had been shelved and stressed that it had not closed, neither politically nor in essence.

    He said that those leaking this information had committed a serious disciplinary and legal offence, since they had violated a fundamental principle of democracy, which was the secrecy of an examining magistrate's acts.

    "The case will only close when it is sent to the competent judicial council, which will judge," he added.

    He accused the government of trying to cover up the issue from the start and said that it had found "willing state functionaries" to assist in this effort, so that vital evidence never came forward or disappeared. When PASOK was government, it would ensure that those who "through action or omission contributed to obstructing the revelation of the truth" were held responsible, he added.

    Papadopoulos also disparaged a move by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday to call Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to ask for additional fire-fighting aircraft, saying that when he was minister in 1998 an ordinary ministry employee had done the same thing without requiring the prime minister's intervention.

    [06] KKE SG Papariga visits fire-ravaged villages of Egialia

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Friday visited the fire-ravaged villages of Egialia, in the Peloponnese.

    At a press conference she gave at the Labour Centre of Egio city, Papariga called for the "full compensation of the fire-affected farmers of Egialia, the freezing of the loans which they have already received, the granting of new ones with low interest rates and their long-term paying off."

    Speaking on the damages which the fires caused to agricultural production, she noted that "weight must be given to the restoration of the olive tree groves and of raisin production because until the trees become productive, many years pass."

    She stressed that "particular attention should be given to the revival of the cultivations," noting that the region is threatened with desertion.

    "We are ringing the bell of the problem," Papariga noted, concluding that "the major matter is the restoration of the farmers."

    [07] Papathemelis calls for national consensus on major crises

    Dimokratiki Anagennisi (Democratic Rebirth) party President Stelios Papathemelis on Friday referred to the major problems faced by the country during his visit to Chania, Crete.

    The major problems tormenting the country have to be faced through national consensus, stressed Papathemelis. Referring to the problem of the devastating wildfires, he said that the situation can only be described as a nightmare and pointed out that the State cannot measure up to the circumstances.

    Papathemelis stated that the people had to be mobilized and actively participate in the firefighting efforts under the direction of the Fire Brigade, contributing to fire prevention and the arrest of arsonists.

    He suggested that the armed forces should be involved in the firefighting efforts, adding that a meeting of the political party leaders could help in reaching a national consensus.

    Papathemelis stressed the need for a national policy to deal with major problems leaving aside political rivalry when it comes to problems concerning education, healthcare, social insurance and unemployment among the young.

    [08] President Papoulias to visit Cyprus

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will leave Saturday for Cyprus to attend three-day events commemorating Archbishop Makarios.

    Papoulias is scheduled to meet on Saturday afternoon with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, after which the two Presidents will attend a concert by the Symphony Orchestra of Cyprus.

    On Sunday morning, Papoulias will visit the Kykkos Monastery and attend a memorial service for Archbishop Makarios, marking 30 years since the death of the first President of the Republic of Cyprus, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at Throni.

    In the afternoon, he will have separate meetings with House of Representatives speaker Demetris Christophias and former foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides.

    Presidents Papoulias and Papadopoulos will deliver greetings at the memorial service, while it will also be addressed by Greece's interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

    Papoulias returns to Athens on Monday night.

    Financial News

    [09] Gov't to defend earlier retirement for women at EU, minister says

    Employment and Social Protection Minister Vassilis Magginas on Friday said that the government intends to defend earlier retirement for women at the European Union, in response to questions put by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga.

    "On the question of ages of retirement for women, the government has restored a common line of support with the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and the civil servants' union ADEDY, that these fall under the framework of social insurance and not professional insurance - and this is the view that it will do its utmost to promote at the EU," Magginas said.

    Papariga claimed that the government, as much as the main opposition PASOK party, was falling in line with the primary choices of the EU and not longer talking about "equal rights" between men and women but of "equal opportunities".

    "There have always been opportunities for women. They may have been in a narrower range of issues but in this sense, there are opportunities for everyone. We are talking about rights crystallized in law and chiefly, taking on existence in life. The great majority of women in the popular classes do not have rights - and as a result, they cannot take advantage of the so-called opportunities that exist," Papariga said.

    KKE's leader also pointed to a recent EU announcement that, while recognising that there was a discrepancy in salaries earned by men and women, in some sectors as high as 35 percent, while admitting that it lacked the legal tools to correct this problem and impose equal pay.

    She said that Greece, who had been referred to the European Court of Justice on this issue, should not give in and raise the retirement age for women to 65.

    [10] Development minister visits marine research centre

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Friday carried out an official visit to the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) in Anavyssos, accomanied by the General Secretary for Research and Technology Ioannis Tsoukalas.

    After talks with the centre's management and staff, Sioufas said that the HCMR was "at the forefront of research and technology in our country and makes us proud with the important work it has carried out up until today and its programmed planning for the following period."

    The government and the development ministry will continue to support the centre's activities and its plans to acquire a state-of-the-art ship to replace the "Aigaio" and will provide further funds for the infrastructure and institutes operating at the centre, Souflias added.

    Among the development ministry's plans is the creation of a Seaworld near Athens, similar to those already in operation of the islands of Rhodes and on Crete, that will present marine life in the Mediterranean area.

    [11] Greek producer's price index up 1.8 pct in June, yr/yr

    Greece's producer's price composite index (measuring both the domestic and foreign markets) rose by 1.8 percent in June, compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service, in a monthly report, said the producer's price index rose 0.2 pct in June from May 2007. NSS attributed the 1.8 percent increase of the index to a 2.0 pct increase in the domestic index and an 1.1 percent rise in the foreign market index. The intermediate goods price index rose 4.8 pct in June, the capital goods index was up 4.0 pct, the durable goods index rose 3.0 pct and the energy goods index was up 2.3 percent.

    [12] SEB pleased with draft law on 'combating of tax evasion'

    The Economy and Finance Ministry's draft law constitutes a first step in the right direction and creates prerequisites on a level of mobilisation of society and the taking of legislative and organisational measures by the state, the Federation of Businesses and Industries (SEB) said on Friday.

    SEB was referring to the Finance Ministry's draft law on the "Combating of Tax Evasion".

    The federation believes that permanent measures will be secured by the implementation of an integrated programme which will have as a nucleus preventive and suppressive actions, as well as actions for the creation of the necessary infrastructure.

    According to SEB, "the battle against tax evasion must be incorporated in an integrated programme with a multi-year horizon. Tax evasion must be confronted as a national issue and at the same time for there to be a long-term campaign for the briefing of the public, with objective its awareness as to the negative repercussions of tax evasion on the social whole."

    [13] Greek stocks end 1.53 pct lower on Friday

    Greek stocks remained under heavy pressure for the second consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday. The composite index fell 1.53 percent to end at 4,901.27 points, finding support at the 4,900 level. Turnover was a strong 593.13 million euros.

    Sector indices ended lower with the Commerce (3.40 pct), Financial Services (3.0 pct) and Healthcare (2.88 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while the Insurance sector was the only one to score gains (0.52 pct).

    The Big Cap index dropped 1.64 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.04 pct down and the Small Cap index fell 1.0 pct.

    Elviemek (9.69 pct), Tria Alpha (9.26 pct) were top gainers while PC Systems (19.0 pct), Ideal Group (9.88 pct) and Euroholdings (8.47 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 224 to 49 with another 29 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +0.52%

    Industrials: -0.75%

    Commercial: -3.40%

    Construction: -2.58%

    Media: -0.04%

    Oil & Gas: -1.64%

    Personal & Household: -2.34%

    Raw Materials: -2.08%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.98%

    Technology: -0.43%

    Telecoms: -0.56%

    Banks: -1.90%

    Food & Beverages: -0.13%

    Health: -2.88%

    Utilities: -1.62%

    Chemicals: -1.53%

    Financial Services: -1.62%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, OTE and Eurobank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 24.16

    ATEbank: 3.84

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 22.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 34.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 10.94

    Emporiki Bank: 20.70

    National Bank of Greece: 43.90

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 26.32

    Intralot: 24.38

    Cosmote: 22.04

    OPAP: 25.58

    OTE: 21.80

    Titan Cement Company: 39.00

    [14] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 1.941 billion euros on Friday, of which 847 million euros were buy orders and 1.094 billion euros were sell orders.

    The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 675 million euros. The Greek bond yielded 4.66 percent.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved lower. National Bank's overnight rate eased to 4.07 pct, the two-day rate was 4.07 pct, the one week rate 4.08 pct, the one-month rate 4.10 pct, the three-month rate 4.24 pct, the six-month rate 4.36 pct and the 12-month rate 4.53 pct.

    [15] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices maintained their discount in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover rising to 254.273 million euros.

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 0.78 pct and the August contract on the FTSE 40 index at a discount of 0.10 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 14,233 contracts worth 184.482 million euros, with 40,326 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 995 contracts worth 32.369 million euros, with 1,495 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 22,848 contracts worth 37.421 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (8,022), followed by OTE (439), PPC (2,271), OPAP (491), Piraeus Bank (656), National Bank (1,665), Alpha Bank (861), Intracom (2,505) and ATEbank (1,432).

    [16] Foreign Exchange Rates - Saturday-Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.376

    Pound sterling 0.677

    Danish kroner 7.500

    Swedish kroner 9.301

    Japanese yen 163.42

    Swiss franc 1.665

    Norwegian kroner 8.104

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.457

    Australian dollar 1.596

    General News

    [17] Fires continue to cause devastation

    Wildfires continued to burn across the country on Friday, causing devastation.

    A major fire that broke out on Thursday evening in Kalentzi, Corinth prefecture, Peloponnese southern Greece, is in progress destroying pinewood.

    A wildfire continued to burn in Metaxada, Messinia Peloponnese in spite of the strong firefighting force operating in the region, the fire on the island of Hydra raged on for a third day, while the blaze on Mt. Aderes has been partially contained.

    The rest of the fires in the region of the Peloponnese were reported under control.

    Meanwhile, firefighting efforts continued overnight in Assiros, Thessaloniki with the participation of 30 fire engines, 70 firemen and 17 firefighters on foot.

    The wildfire that crossed the Greek borders from FYROM continued to burn in the prefecture of Kilkis, northern Greece. A total of 8 fire engines operated by 20 firemen, were participating in the efforts to put the blaze under control.

    The fire in Fteri, Pieria prefecture, continued to rage after burning its way to the region from Velventos, Kozani prefecture. Sixteen fire engines, 40 firemen and 21 firemen on foot battled the flames overnight.

    The wildfires in the municipalities of Nestorio and Akrites and in the communities of Arenes, Grammos and Kastrakio in Kastoria prefecture were also still in progress, and the regions engulfed by the flames have been declared in a state of emergency. Meanwhile, another fire broke out at dawn in a refuse dumpsite in the prefecture of Kastoria.

    In the prefecture of Florina, efforts continued to put out the fires raging in the regions of Smardesi, Kristalopigi and Varba-Sfika, Prespes. No populated areas were threatened by the blaze. The entire Fire Brigade force stationed in the prefecture was taking part in the firefighting effort.

    The forest fire in Lagadi, Nigrita in the prefecture of Serres, has been extinguished but firefighting forces remained in the region for precautionary reasons.

    [18] Prostitution ring disbanded in Thessaloniki

    An international prostitution ring was disbanded by the Thessaloniki Police with the arrest of two men, aged 45 and 48, and two women aged 31 and 33.

    Two of the suspects, the 48-year-old man and the 33-year-old woman, lured two 24-year-old foreign women to Greece with the promise of employment. The two women suffered physical and psychological abuse and were forced into prostitution in a brothel run by the 45-year-old man and the 31-year-old woman, who are in police custody.

    A police investigation is underway to determine if more people were involved in the ring and the extent of its activities.

    [19] Gorge accidents on Crete involving foreign tourists

    The search for two Polish tourists, a brother and a sister aged 37 and 40, who went missing at Samaria Gorge on the island of Crete last Saturday while on a trekking trip, had a tragic conclusion.

    The 37-year-old male tourist was found alive by a member of the Chania Mountain Climbing Association on Thursday evening but did not survive the ordeal, given the bad state of his health. The man died en route to the Chania Hospital while a major rescue operation was underway.

    Rescue crews found the body of his 40-year-old sister in the same region on Friday morning.

    Meanwhile, a 22-year-old French tourist is being treated at the Heraklion University Hospital for head injuries she suffered when she fell in a four-meter-deep ravine while crossing the Zaros Gorge on the island of Crete.

    The young female tourist was discovered unconscious on Thursday by a German couple on a trekking trip in the region and the rescue operation was successfully undertaken by the EMAK Fire Brigade rescue force.

    [20] Modern Greek films to be screened in New York

    The Greek Cultural Centre of New York is presenting a dedication to modern Greek cinema from Saturday to August 25.

    The films will be screened every Saturday at the Centre's theatre in Astoria.

    For further information interested parties can visit the Centre's website<


    [21] Spain beats Greece 1-0 in European Under-19 Soccer Championship final

    Spain beat Greece 1-0 in the final of the European Under-19 Soccer Championship which was played in Austria on Friday evening.

    [22] Political leadership congratulates national soccer team

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Costas Karamnlis, Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, Sports Minister George Orfanos and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday sent telegrams of congratulations to the Greek team for winning second place in the European Under-19 Soccer Championship.

    Weather Forecast

    [23] Fairly hot on Saturday

    Fairly hot weather and northerly, northeasterly winds are forecast throughout the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 6-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 18C and 37C. Sunny weather in Athens, with winds reaching 4-5 beaufort and temperatures ranging from 23C to 36C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 20C to 35C.

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

    The tens of wildfires raging across the country and the devastation caused dominated the front-pages of Friday's dailies.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Firefighting aircraft expected from Russia - Fires devour everything - The prime minister praised the work of the firemen".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Airborne firefighting assistance, from Russia with love - It took 10 minutes and a telephone call by PM Karamanlis to Russian President Putin".

    AVGHI: "Coalition of the Left visits the charred forests and villages in Achaia prefecture".

    AVRIANI: "Putin sends giant aircraft to put out the fires in Greece - The Russian President responds immediately to Karamanlis' appeal".

    CHORA: "Putin sends help - Fire domino effect causes biblical disaster - People and livestock burned".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Grill-house named Greece - Everything is barbecued".

    ELEFTHEROS: "No to 'sofa' criticism - Costas Karamanlis lashes out at those engaging in criticism with the charred land as background".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Desperation - 300,000 stremma (five times more than in Parnitha) were burned in 48 hours in Achaia - A total of 650,000 stremma of forestland turned to ashes in Greece since June 1".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Rage and Grief - The inferno death toll rises to 10 - Desperation in the charred land".

    ESTIA: "The State is incapable of protecting the forests - Politicians hide the truth from the people".

    ETHNOS: "Fire and rage over the lasting crime - People lash out at (Public Order Minister Vyron) Polydoras - (Fire Brigade Chief Andreas) Kois in Achaia - Cries of desperation in northern Greece".

    KATHIMERINI: "The country has surrendered to fire-caused devastation - Political side-effects - Ecological disaster".

    LOGOS: "Greece turned to ashes - Villages evacuated in Messinia".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Research for the people and not for the businessmen - (Greek Communist Party) KKE General Secretary visits National Centre of Scientific Research-Demokritos".

    TA NEA: "Inefficiency causes rage - Polydoras-Kois targeted - Fires rage out of control in Achaia, Kastoria, Chios, Messinia, Cephallonia".

    TO VIMA: "Waiting for the Russians to put out the fires while the blazes rage on".

    VRADYNI: "Disaster of biblical proportions - The charred Achaia reminiscent of visions of the Apocalypse".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [25] Cyprus solution must come from within, says FM


    Cyprus Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Markoulli has stressed that the solution in Cyprus must emerge from negotiations between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, and not be imposed from the outside.

    Speaking to chief editors of local media on Friday, she warned about the danger of seeing the question of Cyprus being turned into a Kosovo type of issue, if a UN-brokered agreement between the island's two communities is sidelined.

    At present, the only available prospect to resume a substantive dialogue leading to a solution is to implement the July agreement, clinched last year between Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat, in the presence of a senior UN official.

    She explained that the solution being sought for Kosovo is not one that the people of Kosovo will decide but one that will be imposed on them.

    The July agreement provides for a process leading to a solution, which will be agreed by the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, she added.

    The foreign minister recalled that a UN-proposed solution plan in 2004, rejected by the vast majority of the Greek Cypriots and approved by the Turkish Cypriots, was essentially drafted by outside factors and in fact served foreign interests, in particular those of Turkey, which continues to occupy Cyprus' northern areas since its troops invaded in July 1974.

    The government, she noted, insists on the procedures provided by the July agreement and points out the risk of having to face a Kosovo type of problem, if the agreement is abandoned.

    Markoulli said that about 50 meetings have taken place since the July agreement of last year was announced and Papadopoulos' senior aide, who conducts the meetings with the representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Tasos Tzionis, Director of the President‘s Diplomatic Office, is waiting for a call from his Turkish Cypriot interlocutor to begin substantive talks.

    "The responsibility for the break up of this process lies entirely with the Turkish side," the minister said.

    Questioned on the outcome of Turkey's parliamentary elections, she said that it will take Ankara many years before the country rids itself of the influence of the military.

    Cyprus, she reiterated, supports Turkey's accession course to join the European Union as a pressure lever to bring about reforms within the country and wiser behaviour towards its European partners, including Cyprus, which Turkey does not recognize.

    Turkey, which has begun membership talks, refuses to comply with its EU obligations emanating from the additional protocol to the Ankara

    Agreement, that calls for the opening of Turkish ports and airport to Cypriot flagged vessels and aircraft.

    [26] Cyprus solution would serve US interests

    Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Markoulli believes that the Cypriot government could do more to convince the US that it would be in their own interests to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem, which must be based on the needs of the Cypriot people and not on the interests of foreign countries.

    "On the question of Cyprus, I believe that there is still a lot of work to be done to convince the US that it would be to their own benefit to reach a settlement, which would secure stability on the island and in the region. Of course, this solution should satisfy the interests and meet the expectations of the Cypriot people and not the interests of any other country," she said.

    In statements Friday after a meeting with the Cyprus Ecologists and Environmentalists Movement, the minister expressed the view that the US should start dealing with Cyprus independently of its interests in the region.

    "I believe that there is a lot of room to enhance further our relations with the US, which are excellent in areas such as commerce or education. But we should insist that the US start viewing Cyprus independently and regardless of any interests they may have in Turkey or the Middle East," she said.

    She said she would work towards this direction, applying the experience she has gained in the US. She would also work during the upcoming visit to Cyprus of US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns.

    The new Cypriot FM expressed the view that there are many areas in which Cyprus and the US could follow a common strategy.

    Regarding the Turkish elections, Markoulli said that the government is monitoring developments but at the same time she expressed concern over the role of the Turkish military.

    "We follow developments very closely. But I believe that what actually matters is the role of the Turkish army. The absence of statements on behalf of the army is causing concern," she noted.

    On Turkey's EU bid, she said that the government of Cyprus would continue following "a strict policy".

    "I assure you that we are very strict regarding Turkey's accession negotiations. Only one EU-Turkey negotiating chapter opened and closed and this is due to the fact that the particular chapter was in no way connected with any Cypriot issue, such as the Cyprus problem or the normalisation of the Cyprus-Turkey relations," she added.

    Concluding, the Cypriot minister said that the government would demand the implementation of the EU criteria which are valid for all candidate countries.

    The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, is divided sine 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

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