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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-09-20

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

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

Thursday, 20 September 2007 Issue No: 2702

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis outlines priorities, rules to newly sworn-in Cabinet
  • [02] Re-elected prime minister Karamanlis' new government sworn in
  • [03] U.S. president congratulates Karamanlis on election victory
  • [04] White House says Karamanlis would be welcome to visit the U.S.
  • [05] FYROM prime minister congratulates PM Karamanlis on re-election
  • [06] Hand-over ceremonies at Greek ministries as new government takes over
  • [07] PM Costas Karamanlis holds talks with ministry leaderships
  • [08] PM's first meeting after swearing-in ceremony with foreign ministry's leadership
  • [09] Land register, climate change and new roads to top environment ministry agenda
  • [10] Pavlopoulos also assumes public order portfolio
  • [11] New minister of merchant marine & island policy
  • [12] Papandreou to chair PASOK Political Council on Thursday
  • [13] More PASOK cadres comment on sweeping developments in party
  • [14] PASOK official calls members to end to TV confrontations
  • [15] KKE's Papariga visits fire-ravaged regions in southern Greece
  • [16] SYRIZA on finmin's statements: 'Gov't didn't get election message'
  • [17] Greek FM, Cyprus president to meet UN SG
  • [18] PASOK condemns Turkish president's visit to Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus
  • [19] FM Bakoyannis condemns terrorist attack in Lebanon
  • [20] Greek govt determined to continue reforms, FinMin says
  • [21] Pension reform this term's priority, employment minister stresses
  • [22] Marfin Popular Bank completes acquisition of Ukrainian bank
  • [23] Greek current accounts deficit up by 1.868 bln euros in July, yr/yr
  • [24] Greek-Moldovan trade soared in 2006, report
  • [25] Kalpinis-Simos expands in Bulgaria
  • [26] Greek stocks jump 1.13% on Wed.
  • [27] Greek bond market closing report
  • [28] ADEX closing report
  • [29] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday
  • [30] Meeting on flood-caused soil erosion risk in fire-ravaged regions
  • [31] Fire in Kastoria partially contained
  • [32] Extracorporeal lithotripsy treatment at Alexandroupolis University Hospital
  • [33] Scattered showers on Thursday
  • [34] Spokesman says Papadopoulos may meet Talat in October
  • [35] July 8 Agreement has yet to be implemented, stresses UNSG
  • [36] G/C and T/C parties reiterate their support to the content of July 8 Agreement
  • [37] British High Commissioner: Cyprus problem a political, not a religious issue Politics

  • [01] PM Karamanlis outlines priorities, rules to newly sworn-in Cabinet

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday told the first meeting of his newly sworn-in Cabinet that he would be closely monitoring the work of all areas of the government and would pay regular visits to the ministries, while he also stressed that deputy ministers were required to act strictly within the guidelines set out by their supervising ministers.

    He also warned that deputy ministers should not make public statements without prior agreement with the ministers.

    "Too much television, too many statements, too much public speaking is seriously harmful. Measure and much caution are necessary," he said.

    Karamanlis noted that Cabinet members had the duty to support and back the government's work in a coordinated and collective manner, warning that "personal strategies" would not be tolerated by him, nor were they acceptable to citizens.

    The premier instructed his ministers that all ministries must be in constant contact with MPs of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and also with the members of standing Parliamentary groups, stressing that this was not "a formality", but rather "substance".

    "I want to make it clear to everyone that all 152 (New Democracy MPs who emerged from Sunday's general elections) function as a solid fist against problems," the premier stressed, adding that this was society's demand "which the government must fully meet".

    Karamanlis wished all Cabinet members a good beginning, urged intense and hard work, stressing that there was no time to lose. "Not a single day, not a single minute, can be lost, because the needs of the times are great, and the citizens demand tangible results".

    But in order to achieve that goal, "absolute coordination, solid steps, and two-way communication with society and the wider social alliances" were necessary, the premier said, adding that "these are principles that apply to everyone".

    Karamanlis further said that, in the framework of the restructuring of the new governmental scheme, changes would be made to the general secretariats and special secretariats in the ministries in order to streamline them, adding that among the fundamental governmental priorities was the creation of a more efficient state that would be at the side of the citizens, particularly in the difficult hours.

    The prime minister also thanked the outgoing ministers and deputy ministers, acknowledging their substantial contribution and adding that they would continue to contribute from new posts.

    Regarding the new Cabinet, Karamanlis said it expressed the collaboration between experience and dynamism, with its new faces and new momentum, aimed at maximum effectiveness.

    He said the foundations had been set during the ND government's first term, and the conditions were ensured for more effective steps, "and now we are in the phase of producing speedier and more tangible results that will be absolutely visible to the citizens".

    "We all function with strict devotion to the goals and timetables, which will be fully abided by. I am categorically absolute. We function with coordination, a team spirit and solidarity. I ask for competition in work, team spirit, collective work and results," Karamanlis said, adding that the governmental priorities created collective and personal responsibilities in each and every sector of governmental authority.

    Concerning the structure of the new government, the premier said that a significant step is being made to restrict the number of ministries and their overlapping authorities aimed at upgrading civil protection.

    He said that the strategy being followed by the government was a "given fact", and that regardless of what the political environment might be, "practices of polarisation and political acrimony are ruled out".

    "We are firmly devoted to the principles of the new political culture that we serve. The problems have no (political) colour. Our rule of thumb is national unanimity. We listen to all the citizens who voted (in the elections). We are the government of all the Greeks. We hold dialogue oriented towards tackling problems," he said, noting that "no one is permanent in any seat, and everyone is judged on the results in their area of responsibility and compliance with the principles and values they serve".

    Karamanlis said that the government's priorities were firm and well-known, noting the guarantee of fiscal adjustment, and calling the drafting of the new budget a critical step. he said the relative preparation has already been carried out, and called for drastic restriction of spending and any wasteful spending, and for optimal use of the public assets and more transparency.

    On the restructuring of the state and the consolidation of a true state of social justice, the prime minister said that the arrangements that have already been tabled in parliament would be voted before the new budget, noting that a basic priority was the establishment of a national Social Cohesion Fund, while he also spoke of reform of the National Health System (ESY), aimed at providing quality health services.

    The premier further placed emphasis on two priority targets: that of increasing jobs, on the basis of training, growth and employment; and that of resolving the social insurance issue, which he said was an issue of major importance that concerns the entire society.

    With respect to the social insurance sector's reform, he said that the government's aspiration was to forge ahead in this endeavour together with the society. "For this purpose, we are opening up a responsible dialogue with all the political forces and all the social partners, without postponements and delays. We have the duty to ensure a modern, just and viable social insurance system," the premier said, and commited himself to the introduction of a minimum national pension, above the poverty level, as of 2009.

    He further said that mergers of ministries and the strengthening of civil protection were part of the effort for a state that will be closer to the citizen, noting that when the citizens spoke of the state, they also meant the wider public sector and decentralisation, local government and the mechanisms of the various ministries, as well as the services in various sectors.

    Karamanlis said that the next step would be the commencement of dialogue on reform of the administrative structure of the country as well, noting that other priorities were the upgrading of public education at all levels, the strategy for a digital Greece, research and technology.

    Regarding the fire-ravaged areas of the country, he said reinforcement of fire-stricken citizens and restructuring of the devastated regions was a personal commitment on his part, adding that a structured plan has been drafted that will be continually improved at an intensive pace.

    "What is needed tomorrow will be done today" was the rule of thumb, Karamanlis said, stressing that "I will personally oversee. I will be there at every step".

    He noted that the results were already tangible for the residents of the fire-stricken regions and that regular assessment would be made. Karamanlis said that during the recent wildfires, the Minister of State (Theodoros Roussopoulos) had re-established the crises management information team that had successfully managed such matters in the run-up to and during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, adding that he considered expedient the continuation of the team's operation under Roussopoulos, with the participation also of representatives of the various ministries, and called on the ministers to designate a trusted and discreet representative, so that the team may begin holding regular meetings as of Monday.

    On the revision of the Constitution, the premier said that the responsibility and authority lay with the entire parliament, and that it was his choice that everything possible would be done in order to achieve the broadest consensus.

    Karamanlis said that he fully felt the responsibility for the government to continuously become better and more effective and to proceed with quicker steps.

    "We are opening up political and social dialogue for a synthesis of views and ideas, but this cannot, however, become a cause of delays," he said.

    [02] Re-elected prime minister Karamanlis' new government sworn in

    The newly-relected government of prime minister Costas Karamanlis was sworn into office on Wednesday morning, during a special ceremony at the Presidential Mansion, in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    The prime minister and his 40-member New Democracy (ND) government -- 17 ministers and 40 deputy ministers -- were sworn in during a ceremony officiated by Metropolitan Prokopios of Nea Krini and Kalamaria, standing in for Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, who is currently in the US for health reasons, where he is due to undergo a liver transplant.

    The new Cabinet afterwards walked to the nearby Maximos Mansion (government headquarters) in downtown Athens, where it will hold its first session, chaired by the prime minister.

    [03] U.S. president congratulates Karamanlis on election victory

    United States President George Bush contacted Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the telephone on Wednesday afternoon and congratulated him on his party's re-election in Sunday's polls, wishing him every success in his work.

    [04] White House says Karamanlis would be welcome to visit the U.S.

    WASHINGTON ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)

    U.S. President George W. Bush "telephoned the Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis this morning to offer his congratulations," for his victory in last Sunday's general elections in Greece, White House Spokeswoman Daina Perino stated on Wednesday evening. She added that "Mr. Bush offered his condolences for those who had lost their lives in the wildfires."

    Asked to comment on the elections and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Perino said, "as I said this morning, the President called on him this morning to offer his congratulations."

    To a question on whether they discussed any other issue, Perino said, "the President said that he offered his condolences for those who had lost their lives in the wildfires."

    Finally, asked whether there was any plan to invite Karamanlis to the United States, Perino replied, "I didn't hear of one, but of course, I'm sure that he would be welcome."

    [05] FYROM prime minister congratulates PM Karamanlis on re-election

    FYROM prime minister Nikola Gruevski on Wednesday sent a letter of congratulations to Greece's newly re-elected prime minister Costas karamanlis on his electoral victory.

    "I take the opportunity to express my deep conviction that, in the future, the message that we will send to the region will reflect the expanding cooperation and understanding between our two neighbouring countries and peoples," Gruevski said in his congratulatory letter to Karamanlis.

    Gruevski also expressed his conviction that the relations of good neighborhood and friendship between the two countries will deepen even further.

    [06] Hand-over ceremonies at Greek ministries as new government takes over

    Hand-over ceremonies were held at nearly all Greek ministry on Wednesday after the new government was sworn in and took over.

    Many ministers found themselves returning to their old offices, but only Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister retained the same team of junior ministers as before.

    At the education ministry, outgoing minister Marietta Yiannakou appeared visibly moved as she welcomed her successor Evripides Stylianidis to the job. After a stormy three and a half years at the head of the ministry that were marked by extended teachers' strike and violent opposition to tertiary education reforms, Yiannakou expressed her confidence in Stylianidis and that he would continue the reforms to education.

    Stylianidis, on his part, said the fact that Yiannakou had not been re-elected was a great loss and praised her contribution, while stressing that he would tackle reforms with determination and daring.

    At the Interior ministry, Prokopis Pavlopoulos once again took over the reins from caretaker minister Spiros Flogaitis and said his focus would remain on battling bureaucracy, improved training for civil servants, decentralisation and major reforms in local government, with issues related to gender equality and immigration policy comprising other major areas of action.

    Regarding the merger with the public order ministry, which will henceforth form part of the interior ministry, Pavlopoulos said this would further strengthen civil protection now that dual authority of the state protection mechanisms was no longer an obstacle.

    During the hand-over of the public order ministry from former minister Vyron Polydoras, whose job will essentially be taken over by former armed forces chief Panagiotis Hinofotis as deputy minister, Pavlopoulos referred to protecting civil liberties so that citizens could exercise their rights under the protection of the rule of law.

    The appointment of Hinofotis as head of public order rather than at the defence ministry was also raised in questions to returning defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis on Wednesday, immediately after the first meeting of the new cabinet.

    Responding, Meimarakis had said that this was a matter for the prime minister but expressed confidence that the former armed forces chief would achieve good results in his new position.

    Taking over the tourism ministry, Aris Spiliotopoulos stressed the highly successful course of his predecessor Fani Palli-Petralia, who will not be in the new government, pointing out the large increase in the number of tourists visiting Greece during her term in office. His arrival was also greeted with a vote of confidence from the Athens Hoteliers Union, which issued an announcement expressing its satisfaction at his appointment.

    At the development ministry, Christos Folias took over with high praise for departing minister Dimitris Sioufas, describing him as a "teacher" that had transformed Greece's handling of the 3rd CSF and introduced developmental legislation that had quadrupled investments.

    The hand-over at the culture ministry, meanwhile, was marked by the announcement in two more successes in Greece's campaign for the return of illegally exported antiquities. Departing minister George Voulgarakis unveiled a child's marble sarcophagus with a carved relief that was given back by an American couple, whose parents had bought it from a Massachussetts antiquities seller in 1938, along with a marble Roman-era lion's head.

    Noting that the return had not received publicity due to the upcoming elections, Voulgarakis also announced that two Greek archaeologists will be visiting Munich next week to arrange for the return of 88 prehistoric statuettes and other times stolen from the Theodoropoulos collection in Larisa in 1985, which had been discovered in the city of Bamburg.

    [07] PM Costas Karamanlis holds talks with ministry leaderships

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis held talks on Wednesday with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and afterwards with Deputy Ministers Athanasios Nakos, Christos Zois and Panayiotis Hinofotis.

    Pavlopoulos said that the prime minister defined priorities at the Cabinet meeting, noting that the government has continuity and stressing that "we are intensifying our efforts with regard to public administration issues and so that reforms which we have scheduled will move faster."

    Karamanlis then held talks with Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis and afterwards with the new Deputy Ministers Costas Tasoulas and Yiannis Plakiotakis.

    Meimarakis said that the citizens' mandate is for us to move ahead with the implementation of commitments and with greater determination and faster, pointing out that the government's policies will not change and the commitments it has assumed still stand.

    Replying to a question on the prime minister's address at the Cabinet meeting and the strict messages he sent, the defence minister said that "this is Karamanlis that we knew, that we want and that we are expecting."

    Asked whether the government is afraid of anything, also on the occasion of the reactivation of the Crisis Group, Meimarakis said that the government fears nothing.

    Lastly, commenting on the possibility of a decrease in military service, the defence minister said that "the conjunctures existing today do not allow for a decrease in military service" and reminded that the government has proceeded in certain categories from 2004 on with decreasing military service to nine months.

    [08] PM's first meeting after swearing-in ceremony with foreign ministry's leadership

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with the foreign ministry's political leadership on Wednesday immediately after he was sworn-in for another term in office, his first official meeting after again assuming the premier's post following a election victory on Sunday.

    Present at the meeting at the premier's office were Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, and deputies minister Yiannis Valinakis, Theodoros Kassimis and Petros Doukas, all of whom were sworn-in immediately after Karamanlis at the presidential mansion.

    Doukas, until last week the deputy economy minister, is the "new face" in the ministry's top echelons.

    On her part, Bakoyannis is set to depart for New York City to attend a United Nations general assembly summit on the environment.

    Finally, asked by a reporter over an illegal visit by new Turkish President Abdullah Gul to the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus this past week, the Greek foreign minister merely referred to Tuesday's statements by the ministry's spokesman.

    [09] Land register, climate change and new roads to top environment ministry agenda

    Speeding up completion of the land register, policies for climate change but also a series of major road-building projects are to top the agenda at the environment, town planning and public works ministry in the next four years, returning minister George Souflias said on Wednesday.

    Returning to the ministry at the head of the same team of deputy ministers after he was sworn in, the veteran politician repeated his objections to creating a separate ministry for the environment. According to Souflias, the present arrangement provided more effective protection for the environment.

    Outlining his intentions with respect to spatial planning, the minister said that he intended to introduce new legislation for a General Spatial Plan, as well as specialised plans based on this framework, and to draw up regional spatial plans for fire-stricken regions as a priority.

    Regarding the land register, he said the goal was to cover two thirds of all rights by 2010 while at the same time making progress on a forestry register.

    In response to questions about article 24 of the Constitution regarding the protection of forests, Souflias said he did not want the essence of this article to change but insisted that Greece's land and forestry registers could not be based on the aerial photographs taken in 1945. According to the minister, the country could not move forward unless it accepted the reality, which was that the present form of the Greek countryside was essentially created at end of the '60s.

    Another priority was to change legislation for the issue of building permits, he added.

    On measures for the environment, Souflias said he would focus on measures concerning climate change and the management of water resources and on absorbing some 4.3 billion euros in European Union funds available for environmental issues.

    The minister also stressed that there was a "massive" public works agenda to build new infrastructure like roads and ports, with top priority given to the "Development Highways" programme and completion of the Egnatia Highway in 2008.

    Asked about an announcement about the sale of public land in the Zaharo municipality for development, Souflias said that he could not intervene in the decision made by the Public Real Estate Corporation, which was attached to the finance ministry.

    "My job is limited to ensuring that environmental rules are respected and I now declare that I will not allow town planning laws to be flouted in the development of the region," Souflias underlined.

    [10] Pavlopoulos also assumes public order portfolio

    Prokopis Pavlopoulos returned to his post as minister of interior, public administration and decentralisation on Wednesday, taking over from caretaker minister Spyros Flogaitis. Previous deputy minister Athanasios Nakos, along with newcombers Christos Zois and former armed forces and naval chief Panayiotis Hinofotis will also serve under Pavlopoulos as deputies.

    Regarding the merger of the interior ministry with the ministry of public order, Pavlopoulos commented that the objective is to reinforce civil protection.

    Referring to Apostolos Andreoulakos, who held the deputy interior minister post in the previous government and is retiring from politics, Pavlopoulos expressed the wish that he will reconsider.

    [11] New minister of merchant marine & island policy

    New minister of merchant marine & island policy, George Voulgarakis, assumed his duties on Wednesday.

    During the ceremony, Voulgarakis praised the unification of the merchant marine ministry and the Aegean and island policy ministry.

    Manolis Kefaloyiannis was the former merchant marine minister and Aristotelis Pavlidis was the former Aegean and island policy minister.

    Vougarakis was previously culture minister.

    [12] Papandreou to chair PASOK Political Council on Thursday

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandrepou will chair a meeting of the party's Political Council on Thursday, while contacts are continuing in light of procedures concerning the party's leadership.

    Both Papandreou and Evangelos Venizelos are continuing contacts with party cadres, focusing in principle in the shaping of necessary correlations and the procedure to be followed.

    Party member and former minister Costas Laliotis said in a statement that PASOK's course "must be sustained and must bind all and the responsibility for this lies exclusively with George Papandreou, being the party's president, and with its collective, institutional bodies and nobody else."

    [13] More PASOK cadres comment on sweeping developments in party

    Comments by main opposition PASOK cadres in response to the sweeping developments sparked by the party's defeat in Sunday's parliamentary election continued on Wednesday, leading up to the party's political council meeting on Thursday.

    Costas Skandalidis, another top deputy and former minister, said he has always maintained his political autonomy and fought for the party's unity and future, in reference to whether he supports PASOK president George Papandreou or Evangelos Venizelos for the party's top post.

    PASOK political council member Marilena Koppa said the president is the solution and not the problem, rejecting any speedy procedures leading to an election for a new party leader. "The party has a founding charter, bodies and procedures," she stressed. "The election outcome should be assessed, compared to the 2004 vote, while all the malignancies tormenting his party for years should be faced openly."

    "The party should stay true to its values and. therefore, the procedures followed should be political and not election-oriented," stressed political council member and former minister Thanasis Tsouras, who rejected the prospect of a televised debate between PASOK leader George Papandreou and aspiring leader Evangelos Venizelos.

    In a written statement, veteran leftist politician and current PASOK MP Maria Damanaki said unity is a prerequisite for PASOK's future, stressing that the path currently followed is perilous and could lead the party to division.

    Former minister Apostolos Fotiadis backed Venizelos' bid for the PASOK leadership, stressing that everybody should assume their share of responsibility for the painful defeat the party has suffered. Former deputy minister Yannis Anthopoulos also voiced support for Venizelos.

    [14] PASOK official calls members to end to TV confrontations

    Main opposition PASOK party official Anna Diamantopoulou on Wednesday called for an immediate end to daily television confrontations between party cadres.

    "Because daily confrontations between cadres in television windows, as supporters, hurts citizens and is unfair for the party's image, let us stop once and for all and immediately," she said.

    Diamantopoulou added that "tomorrow all the procedures at the Political Council will begin and all political issues will open."

    Meanwhile, Piraeus Prefect Yiannis Mihas said that PASOK has a President, George Papandreou and pointed out that "what is necessary is for us to determine the policies that society showed with its vote. We must turn to the Left today, now."

    A discussion concerning a change in the main opposition party's leadership has began on Sunday night, soon after the announcement of the general elections results who showed an important defeat for PASOK.

    High ranking party official Evangelos Venizelos has already announced his intends to challenge George Papandreou for the party's leadership.

    [15] KKE's Papariga visits fire-ravaged regions in southern Greece

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga, heading up a party delegation, toured the fire-ravaged regions of Ilia Prefecture, and specifically the villages of Artemida and Makistos, all in the Peloponnese province of southern Greece.

    Papariga said offers for the Artemida's reconstruction constitute a positive development, referring to an offer to rebuild the village -- made by the Cypriot government -- and to be implemented by a private construction firm.

    However, the absence of an overall planning, touching on farm production, housing and the local economy, is obvious, Papariga warned, adding that there is only "fragmented planning" that eventually will not solve any of the existing problems.

    She also clarified that houses will, undoubtedly, be rebuilt and anti-flood projects will be constructed, "but there is a lack of complete planning and private companies cannot fill the void."

    [16] SYRIZA on finmin's statements: 'Gov't didn't get election message'

    Responding to the announcements made by Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) said the government had failed to grasp the electorate's message in last Sunday's polls.

    "On the contrary, it is planning to step up its anti-working class policies under the fake label of so-called 'reforms'. Its plans will not be allowed to pass. They will be cancelled in practice by the resistance of the radical Left and popular reaction," SYRIZA MP Panagiotis Lafazanis said.

    According to the MP, the announcement showed that the government intended to impose new and harsher austerity measures for wages and pensions, demolish social insurance privileges and impose more taxes through a generalised real estate property tax, as well as further privatisations.

    [17] Greek FM, Cyprus president to meet UN SG

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Cyprus President Tassos Padadopoulos will meet separately with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the sessions of the 62nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations here next week.

    The UN SG made a brief reference to the Cyprus issue in his annual report on the organization's work, on the occasion of the start of the new General Assembly session, which he will address next Tuesday. On the same day, U.S. President George W. Bush will address the General Assembly.

    Ban, on the chaper "Peace and Security", noted that "on the Cyprus issue, despite the multiple meetings of the envoys of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leader, the Agreement of July 8, 2006 has not yet been implemented."

    [18] PASOK condemns Turkish president's visit to Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Yiannis Raggousis on Wednesday condemned the visit to Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus by Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

    "This visit constitutes a continuation of violations of International Law and of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey," he said.

    "It constitutes a violation of the commitments of Turkey, as a candidate country, towards the European Union and its member-states, particularly with regard to support for the efforts of the UN for a solution to the issue of Cyprus, as well as to the normalisation of its relations with the Republic of Cyprus," he added.

    The spokesman further said that "such attitudes do not help the efforts of the international community for a solution to the issue of Cyprus, but undermine them. Particularly during this period when the speedy implementation of the Agreement reached on July 8, 2006, is required."

    Lastly, Raggousis said that "the just, workable and viable solution to the issue of Cyprus, in accordance with the resolutions of the UN, the Treaties and principles of the European Union and with full respect for the acquis communautaire constitutes a steadfast strategic goal for PASOK."

    [19] FM Bakoyannis condemns terrorist attack in Lebanon

    Greece, through a statement by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, on Wednesday evening condemned the new terrorist attack in Beirut which cost the life of the deputy of the government majority in Lebanon, Antoine Ghanem.

    In her statement, the foreign minister said that "In this critical moment for Lebanon, Greece expresses the undivided solidarity and support to the Government and the people of Lebanon and supports with all its forces the national sovereignty and the functioning of the democratic institutions of the friend county. We stand by the people of Lebanon in their effort to safeguard peace, stability, their national unity and unanimity."

    Financial News

    [20] Greek govt determined to continue reforms, FinMin says

    The Greek government will continue its reform program with determination, aiming to boost growth, employment and social cohesion, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister said the government's economic policy priorities will be:

    -completion of the second phase of a fiscal consolidation aiming to present balanced or slightly surplus budgets by 2010,

    -reforming the social state with the creation of a Social Cohesion National Fund to combatting poverty in the country and introducing a national minimum pension,

    -completion of a tax reform including lower tax factors by 2009, simplier taxation on property, abolishing all inheritance taxes,

    -combatting tax evasion,

    -reforming the pension system through a dialogue,

    -promoting joint ventures between public and private sector enterprises,

    -deregulating domestic markets,

    -supporting private investments,

    -boost exports,

    -making a more efficient management of Third Community Support Framework funds and promoting the Fourth CSF,

    -speeding up procedures to implement a digital strategy for the period 2006-2013.

    [21] Pension reform this term's priority, employment minister stresses

    The ministry's target for the next four-year term would be a restructuring of the social insurance system, as well as the ongoing goal of reducing unemployment, Employment Minister Vassilis Magginas said as he returned to the employment ministry on Wednesday.

    The minister said that pension reform was an "issue with national dimensions" that the prime minister considered to be a top priority.

    He promised a very broad dialogue with all the political parties and social partners on this issue, in order to achieve the maximum possible consensus.

    Magginas also expressed his sorrow that his collaboration with Deputy Employment Minister Gerassimos Giakoumatos was coming at an end and welcomed newly-appointed deputy minister Sofia Kalantzakou, who took over Giakoumatos' post.

    [22] Marfin Popular Bank completes acquisition of Ukrainian bank

    Greek stocks extended their previous two-days rally at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, supported by a strong recovery of share prices in international markets after the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percentage point on Tuesday. The composite index jumped 1.13 percent to end at 4,978.57 points, with turnover a huge 634.6 million euros.

    All sector indices moved higher with the exception of the Telecommunications index which fell by 0.96 percent. Financial Services (4.28 pct), Industrial Products (3.15 percent) and Constructions (2.93 percent) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The Big Cap index rose 1.10 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.55 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 1.79 percent.

    Progressive (15.29 pct), ANEK (10.0 pct) and Karamolegos (9.40 pct) were top gainers, while Paperpack-Tsoukaridis (9.58 pct), Ippotour (5.48 pct) and Hellenic Fishfarming (3.93 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 233 to 39 with another 28 issues unchanged.

    [23] Greek current accounts deficit up by 1.868 bln euros in July, yr/yr

    Greece's current accounts deficit widened to 2.349 billion euros in July, up 1.868 billion euros from the same month last year, reflecting a significant worsening of the country's trade and incomes balances, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday.

    In its monthly report, the central bank said the trade deficit widened by 1.765 billion euros in July, reflecting a higher deficit of goods excluding fuels and vessels by 832 million euros, net payments for ship purchase by 522 million euros and net payments for fuel purchase by 412 million euros.

    The country's services surplus rose by 36 million euros in July, supported by strong increases in net payments from transport services and a small increase in travel services' revenues. A significant increase in the incomes deficit by 384 million euros reflected higher payments on interest, dividends and profits.

    The country's current transfers surplus more than doubled in July, reflecting higher transfers from the EU to the Greek government.

    The current accounts deficit totalled 19.021 billion euros in the seven-month period from January to July, up 4.196 billion euros from the corresponding period last year. The trade deficit widened by 3.069 billion euros in the same period, with proceeds from exports rising 5.9 pct and import payments rising 11.5 percent in the same period.

    The services surplus grew by 590 million euros, with gross proceeds from travel services up 2.5 percent in the January-July period. The incomes deficit grew by 1.290 billion euros in the same period, reflecting higher net payments for interest, dividends and profits.

    The current transfers surplus fell by 428 million euros, with transfer from the EU to the Greek government rising by 52 million euros and Greek payments to the EU growing by 222 million euros in the seven month period.

    The capital transfers balance showed a surplus of 153 million euros in July, from a surplus of 495 million in July 2006, the current capital transfers balance showed a surplus of 2.490 billion euros in the January-July period, up from 488 million euros last year.

    The Bank of Greece said the Greek direct investments abroad 155 million euros (the purchase of United Milk Company Bulgaria by Vivartia ABEE and the purchase of Krommydakis Hotel by Louis Hotel Ltd. Foreign direct investments to Greece 345 million euros in July (Endesa Europe-Endesa Hellas, Wind-Tellas SA).

    Portfolio investments recorded a net inflow of 2.222 billion euros. The other investments category recorded a net outflow of 447 million euros.

    In the seven-month period from January to July, foreign direct investments 892 million euros, while capital outflows 2.895 billion over the same period. In the portfolio investment category, a net inflow of 15.433 billion euros was recorded. The other investments category recorded a net inflow of 3.073 billion euros in the January-July period.

    [24] Greek-Moldovan trade soared in 2006, report

    Moldova is an "undiscovered" market, with great dynamism, for Greek commerce despite the fact that the volume of bilateral trade jumped 137 percent to 26.43 million euros last year, from 11.15 million euros in 2005, official figures showed on Wednesday.

    A report by the Economic and Trade Affairs bureau, said that direct Greek investments to Moldova accounted for only 1.2 percent of total foreign investments, although three Greek enterprises -Loteria Moldova, Cardico and Michailides Tobacco Moldova- were included in the list of the country's 70 largest foreign companies.

    The report said that Greek exports grew 114 pct to 14.23 million euros, while Moldovan exports to Greece totaled 12.2 million euros.

    Vehicles (from bicycles to elevators and parts) recorded the biggest percentage increase (707 pct) in the next value of Greek exports to the country, followed by fresh or dried fruit (317 pct), engines-appliances (103 pct) and tobacco (22 pct).

    According to figures released by the Moldovan Export and Investments Promotion Organisation, a total of 39 Greek enterprises had activities in the country by January 1, 2007.

    Greek enterprises could seek joint ventures with Moldovan companies in the sectors of farm produce processing, food and dairies, textiles, packaging material, banks, constructions, glass, energy, footwear, furniture, pharmaceuticals and information technology.

    [25] Kalpinis-Simos expands in Bulgaria

    Kalpinis-Simos AEBE, a Greek-listed company, on Wednesday announced the establishment of a subsidiary in Bulgaria under the name Kalpinis-Simos Bulgaria Food.

    The new company will be based in Sofia and will have an initial capital of 10,000 euros. The move is part of the company's strategy to expand in the Balkans.

    [26] Greek stocks jump 1.13% on Wed.

    Greek stocks extended their previous two-days rally at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, supported by a strong recovery of share prices in international markets after the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percentage point on Tuesday. The composite index jumped 1.13 percent to end at 4,978.57 points, with turnover a huge 634.6 million euros.

    All sector indices moved higher with the exception of the Telecommunications index which fell by 0.96 percent. Financial Services (4.28 pct), Industrial Products (3.15 percent) and Constructions (2.93 percent) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The Big Cap index rose 1.10 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 2.55 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 1.79 percent.

    Progressive (15.29 pct), ANEK (10.0 pct) and Karamolegos (9.40 pct) were top gainers, while Paperpack-Tsoukaridis (9.58 pct), Ippotour (5.48 pct) and Hellenic Fishfarming (3.93 pct) were top losers.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 233 to 39 with another 28 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.33%

    Industrials: +3.15%

    Commercial: +2.41%

    Construction: +2.93%

    Media: +2.53%

    Oil & Gas: +1.76%

    Personal & Household: +2.44%

    Raw Materials: +2.69%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.34%

    Technology: +2.10%

    Telecoms: -0.96%

    Banks: +1.30%

    Food & Beverages: +0.01%

    Health: +1.79%

    Utilities: +1.75%

    Chemicals: +2.39%

    Financial Services: +4.28%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 24.30

    ATEbank: 3.86

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 24.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 38.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 10.70

    Emporiki Bank: 20.58

    National Bank of Greece: 45.00

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 24.52

    Intralot: 26.62

    Cosmote: 23.12

    OPAP: 26.50

    OTE: 24.32

    Titan Cement Company: 34.88

    [27] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.806 billion euros on Wednesday, of which 1.171 billion were buy orders and the remaining 635 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was again the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 445 million euros.

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was unchanged at 0.34 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.57 percent and the German Bund 4.22 percent.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates were largely unchanged. National Bank's overnight rate rose to 4.10 percent from 3.60 pct on Tuesday, the two-day rate was 4.20 percent, the one-month rate 4.45 percent and the 12-month rate 4.70 percent from 4.72 percent.

    [28] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices traded at a premium in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover a heavy 732.623 million euros as investors continued a massive roll-over of positions in the market.

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a premium of 0.11 percent and the August contract on the FTSE 40 index at a premium of 1.01 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the FTSE 20 index totaled 44,953 contracts worth 596.135 million euros, with 43,526 open positions in the market, while on the FTSE 40 index volume was 808 contracts worth 25.776 million euros, with 1,241 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 60,738 contracts worth 110.710 million euros, with investment interest focusing on PPC's contracts (29,011), followed by Marfin Investment Group (1,597), Marfin Popular Bank (1,670), OPAP (930), Piraeus Bank (987), National Bank (1,468), Alpha Bank (1,030), Intracom (8,080), Emporiki Bank (1,070), Moto Oil (1,121), Post Savings Bank (2,431) and ATEbank (4,058).

    [29] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.408

    Pound sterling 0.704

    Danish kroner 7.510

    Swedish kroner 9.330

    Japanese yen 163.09

    Swiss franc 1.662

    Norwegian kroner 7.839

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.426

    Australian dollar 1.653

    General News

    [30] Meeting on flood-caused soil erosion risk in fire-ravaged regions

    Prefectural and local government officials held a meeting at the Peloponnese Region offices in Tripolis, southern Greece, on Wednesday to monitor interventions aimed at reducing the risk of flood-caused soil erosion in the fire-ravaged regions.

    A special emphasis was placed on the intensification of the erosion prevention projects currently underway in forest regions, in order to shield local villages against landslides.

    [31] Fire in Kastoria partially contained

    A fire that broke out Tuesday evening in a forest expanse in Akriton municipality, Kastoria prefecture, was reported as having been partially contained on Wednesday morning.

    A strong team of 24 firefighters with 9 fire engines were battling the blaze, assisted by a 16-strong team on foot.

    [32] Extracorporeal lithotripsy treatment at Alexandroupolis University Hospital

    Patients at the Alexandroupolis University Hospital's Urological Clinic may now be treated with the help of the Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL) high-tech medical equipment, the only one in operation in northern Greece.

    The 600,000-euro state-of-the-art equipment has been in operation for the past three months within the framework of the Interreg III programm,e and has already been used on roughly 100 urinary tract stone disease patients.

    Weather Forecast

    [33] Scattered showers on Thursday

    Scattered showers with variable winds are forecast throughout the country on Thursday with wind velocity reaching 6-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 9C and 30C. Rain in the afternonn in Athens, with moderate, notherly, northeasterly winds and temperatures ranging from 18C to 27C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 22C.

    [34] Spokesman says Papadopoulos may meet Talat in October

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Government Spokesman Vassilis Palmas said on Wednesday that there was a possibility for a new meeting between President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in October, with the implementation of the 8 July 2006 agreement on the agenda.

    Commenting on remarks by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in his annual report to the General Assembly that the July 8 agreement had not yet been implemented, Palmas said ''there is a reserved approach on behalf of the UN.''

    ''I understand that the UN Secretary General will wait for his meeting with the President of the Republic and possibly with Mr. Talat, so that he has a spherical and clear picture with regards the situation concerning developments in the Cyprus problem, and I think that after the picture he perceives, he will be a bit more specific and clear in his approaches,'' Palmas pointed out.

    Replying to questions, he said the Greek Cypriot side's efforts were focusing on creating the conditions for the implementation of the procedure agreed upon on July 8, which could lead to progress in the Cyprus problem.

    He added that the effort right now was for a meeting between President Papadopoulos and Talat, in an effort to promote the implementation of the agreement.

    ''Pressure will be exerted on Turkey and representations will be made to the UN and the EU, in an effort to bring the Turkish Cypriot side, of course with the permission of Turkey, to a discussion aimed at creating conditions for progress,'' Palmas noted.

    Replying to questions, he said ''we never claimed that Mr. Papadopoulos and Mr. Talat are in a position to solve the Cyprus problem, what we are saying is that any contact can contribute in a positive direction.''

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

    President Papadopoulos and 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.

    They met again on 5 September 2007 in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Michael Moller.

    [35] July 8 Agreement has yet to be implemented, stresses UNSG

    The Agreement of 8 July 2006 has yet to be implemented, stressed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his annual report on the work of the UN before the General Assembly which opened Tuesday in New York.

    In the third chapter of the report on peace and security, Ban wrote that "in Cyprus, despite numerous meetings held by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General with envoys of the Greek Cypriot leader and the Turkish Cypriot leader, the Agreement of 8 July 2006 has yet to be implemented".

    Ban will meet Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos at the UN headquarters on Sunday at 21:40 Cyprus time. A close associate of the

    Secretary General told CNA that Ban has decided to wait and take action only if he has sufficient evidence that indicates progress can be achieved.

    The same source said that despite public recommendations by US Undersecretary at the State Department Nicholas Burns for the Secretary General to appoint a personal envoy for Cyprus, these duties are still being exercised by UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Michael Moller.

    President Papadopoulos arrives in New York on Saturday, 22 September, and will remain there until 27 September.

    On Monday, the president will address the High-level meeting on climate change, entitled ''The future in our hands: addressing the leadership's challenge of climate change" and on Wednesday, 26 September, will address the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly.

    After that he will give a press conference. On Thursday, the Cypriot President will attend a working lunch with the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council.

    The president will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Marcoullis who will remain in New York City until 29 September.

    President Papadopoulos met Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat at the residency of Moller on 5 September. The two agreed on the need for the earliest start of the process and discussed other issues leading to a comprehensive settlement.''

    The meeting came 14 months after the two agreed on July 8 last year, in the presence of senior UN official Imbrahim Gambarri, to set up technical committees and working groups to discuss issues that affect the day to day life of the people and substantive issues of the question of Cyprus.

    [36] G/C and T/C parties reiterate their support to the content of July 8 Agreement

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Leaders and representatives of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties reiterated Wednesday their support of the content of 8 July Agreement and to the efforts of the UN and the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus for progress in the procedure aiming at the earliest possible commencement of negotiations for a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem.

    A joint communique, issued after the meeting, held in the framework of the regular meetings between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties, under the auspices of the Embassy of Slovakia in Cyprus, said the leaders and representatives of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties exchanged views about the issue how Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties can contribute to the implementation of the 8th of July Agreement.

    "They have discussed the process of implementation of the 8th of July Agreement and reiterated their support to the content of the Agreement and to the efforts of the UN and the two leaders for a progress in the procedure in order to have the earliest possible negotiations for a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem", the joint communique added.

    The next meeting of the leaders and the representatives of the political parties will be held on the 17th of October 2007.

    [37] British High Commissioner: Cyprus problem a political, not a religious issue

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    British High Commissioner to Nicosia, Peter Millet dismissed statements made by Turkish President Abdullah Gul that in Cyprus there are "two states and two religions".

    "The UK considers the Cyprus question a political issue, which can not be turned into a religious difference", stressed Millet.

    The British High Commissioner to Nicosia noted that his country can not accept the division of Cyprus and it supports efforts to implement the July 8th Agreement, that is to prepare the ground for substantive talks aiming at reaching a Cyprus solution.

    President Gul's illegal visit to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, which was due to conclude Wednesday, has provoked the reaction of the government of Cyprus, which issued a statement, stressing that Gul's visit is "another illegal action by Turkey and a serious provocation which is against a member of the European Union and at large, against the EU itself and the international community in its entirety".

    "Britain, being a guarantor power to the Republic of Cyprus, can not accept the division of the island. We support a solution based on the model of a bizonal, bicommunal federation and political equality", the British High Commissioner said.

    He also reiterated his country's support towards the implementation of the July 8th Agreement, saying that for Britain, the Agreement constitutes a flexible framework towards the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    "We support efforts made by UNSG's Special Representative to Nicosia, Michal Moller for the immediate implementation of the Agreement", he concluded.

    Millet's statements were made after a meeting with Chairman of the ruling Democratic Party, Marios Karoyian, who also condemned the statements made by the President Gul.

    "Our party, as well as the British High Commissioner explicitly condemn Gul's statements. This is the first time that Gul raises religious issues, integrating them into the Cyprus question. Such issues should not be raised since they have nothing to do with the Cyprus problem", he said.

    The Cyprus question is a political issue and a problem of invasion and continuous occupation of 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkish troops, Karoyian concluded.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana-mpa.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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