|Monday, 18 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-11-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 17 November 2008 Issue No: 3048
 PM Karamanlis announces measures for farmers during Kozani visitPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced measures supporting farmers to enable them to cope with the consequences of the international economic crisis, during his visit to the city of Kozani, in northern Greece, on Saturday.
The measures concern the payment of equating compensation for entitled farmers at an earlier stage and the interest-free funding of farmers unions that gather cereals to ensure that producers can be given an advance payment now and their products can be sold later with more satisfactory terms.
Karamanlis was accompanied on his visits in the region by Agricultural Development Minister Alexandros Kontos, Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Margaritis Tzimas, ruling New Democracy party Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis and by local ND deputies and officials.
 Greece showing greater endurance with crisis than EU partners, PM saysPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with representatives of local production agencies at the Kozani Chamber of Commerce on Saturday and stressed afterwards that it is not by chance that Greece has been showing greater endurance with the crisis so far, compared to its partners in the European Union.
"The perspective of our economy is far better. And this is not by chance. It is due to the reformist strategy that we are following. To mild fiscal adjustment. The development policy that brought big investments. Our exports policy. The promotion of big public projects all over the country and to international energy agreements that are paving the way for new investments and new jobs," the prime minister said.
Karamanlis further said that "our aim is not only to safeguard all, all women and all men together, that we have achieved with sacrifices, but to widen our achievements."
He also expressed certainty that "all of us together, placing first the major issues that unite us, placing above all the interests of the country and of the citizens, can do it."
 Government responding to real needs of financially weaker, PM saysPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking after meeting local officials in the city of Kozani on Saturday, said that the government is responding to the real needs of the financially weaker citizens with social sensitivity, seriousness and responsibility.
Karamanlis presented the measures taken by the government to tackle the international economic crisis and that concern the national economy, as well as each household separately. The aim is to decrease inter-bank interest rates and, consequently, to decrease interest rates for the loans and subsidies of businessmen.
"We have exercised, we are exercising and we shall exercise every necessary intervention to achieve low interest rates and for the exclusion of abusive terms by banks," the prime minister said.
As regards measures being taken by the government, he said that they will not burden Greek citizens but will secure 500 million euros for the Social Cohesion Fund and public investments.
Karamanlis acknowledged that problems do exist that are being intensified by the economic crisis and said that the greatest one is unemployment. He pointed out at this point that through Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) programmes 50,000 new jobs will be created by the end of the year and another 140,000 new jobs in 2009.
The prime minister also referred to issues concerning Western Macedonia, and the prefecture of Kozani in particular, and spoke analytically of projects that are already under way and of others that are being scheduled.
 FM: Karamanlis is an important assetPrime minister and ruling New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis is an important asset for ND, foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed in an interview with Apogevmatini news-paper appearing in the paper's Sunday edition.
Referring to the present conjuncture, Bakoyannis said that grumbling introversion and personal strategies were not what was needed. What was necessary was unity, selflessness and creative exit forwards.
That, she said, was the message of the party's rank and file, adding that she felt it was positive that this was comprehended by the total of the ND cadres.
Asked to comment on the recent ousting of MP Petros Tatoulis from the party and ND parliamentary group, Bakoyannis opined that Karamanlis had exjuasted all his margins of tolerance.
On the prospect of a government reshuffle, Bakoyannis stressed that such a move cannot, and should not, be made for the sake of impressions.
 Greece denounces Turkish Cypriot UDIThe Greek foreign ministry on Saturday described as "illegal and provocative" the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) by the Turkish Cypriots, in November 1983, noting that "it violates the fundamental rules and principles of international law".
According to a ministry statement, "the Cyprus question remains an international issue of illegal foreign occupation of the territory of an independent state-member of the international community and the European Union".
"The 15hth of November 1983 is a black anniversary, not only for Cyprus and Greece, but for all those who believe in and respect international legitimacy", it is pointed out.
It also emphasises that "this unacceptable situation must come to an end", adding that "that is the aim of the ongoing negotiations taking place at this period".
"Greece supports with all its strength the strenuous efforts by President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias to restore law and order and to reunite Cyprus so that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can enjoy security and prosperity stemming from Cyprus' participation in the European Union," the statement concluded.
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot Leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in direct talks, began in early September, with the objective to find a mutually agreed solution to the Cyprus problem to reunite the island, divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
The UN has described as "legally invalid" the Turkish Cypriots UDI and called on all states not to recognise or facilitate it.
Turkey is the only state that recognises the self-styled regime in occupied Cyprus.
 Norwegian research ship stopping operations off Kastelorizo, FM spokesman saysThe Norwegian research ship Malene Ostervold has sent a message informing that it has stopped its research operations in the sea region southeast of the island of Kastelorizo, according to an announcement by Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Saturday.
Koumoutsakos said that as of Friday, November 14, the Norwegian research ship "Malene Ostervold" had entered the region of the southeastern Mediterranean and more specifically, to the south and to the east of Kastelorizo to carry out, outside Greek territorial waters, geophysical research for Turkish interests, accompanied by the Turkish frigate "Gediz."
"Given that according to the relevant provisions of the International Agreement on Sea Law, a large part of this region includes the Greek continental shelf, the Foreign Ministry, in constant contact and coordination with the Defence Ministry, has made demarches as of yesterday to the Norwegian ambassador and to the Turkish ambassador in Athens, as well as to the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Ankara, at the level of Assistant Deputy Foreign Minister," Koumoutsakos said.
The spokesman further said that "at noon today, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis communicated with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Stere" and that "apart from this and following relevant instructions by the minister, the Greek ambassador in Oslo communicated with the shipping company owning the Norwegian research ship to notify it of Greece's relevant positions."
Koumoutsakos also said that a short while ago "the Norwegian research ship informed with a relevant message that it is stopping research activities in the specific region."
The National Defence General Staff also announced that the Norwegian ship "Malene Ostervold" informed the gunboat "Polemistis" that it was stopping its research operations.
 Kassimis attends Int'l Meeting for Peace in CyprusNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A.Viketos)
Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis is representing the Greek government at the International Meeting for Peace "The Civilisation of Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue", organised by the Church of Cyprus in cooperation with the Saint Egidio Community, which began here on Sunday.
The meeting that will last until November 18, is being attended by religious leaders, heads of state and representatives of different cultures and faiths, as well as intellectuals, secular scholars and journalists.
Speaking to the ANA-MPA, Kassimis termed the meeting "very important" and underlined the significance of holding such a meeting in Cyprus.
Kassimis, who will address the conderence on Monday, will be received by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.
 Papandreou makes statement on world's 20 economic powersNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International President George Papandreou, shortly before making an address on the "economy for peace and security" at a conference being held here on Friday night, called on the world's 20 economic powers to follow rules.
"The Socialist International's message to the 20 economic powers of the world that will be meeting in Washington tomorrow is very simple. We want rules," he said.
"We demand that growth and the economy must focus on man. The crisis cannot be shouldered by the citizen, while others are given blank cheques and huge amounts of money," Papandreou added.
 Papandreou on economic crisisMain opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International President George Papandreou said on Friday, speaking at a conference on the economic crisis, security and prospects appearing at global level in a hall of New York's New School university, that a solution to the economic crisis is surely not a technical issue, despite the fact that one should view technical aspects.
Papandreou said that basically it is a political issue and concerns the most basic global values and options.
"It is essential for us to resolve the current crisis in a way that strengthens citizens, peoples, our societies so that we will be able to handle effectively, fairly and in a sustainable way the terrifying planetary changes," he said.
The PASOK leader went on to say that globalisation must be for people and from people, adding that "we need a democratic change for a democratic global governance that will safeguard the participation of the weak, the poor, the middle class, the small and medium-size enterprises and the productive forces of the world."
Papandreou further said that "what do we see? Instead of global solutions our problems are worsening with the economic crisis that has revealed a big problem, the amazing accumulation of money by the few and that is only paralleled, of course, by the accumulation of the strength of the mass media that has led in turn to the concentration of political power and, at the same time, to the corruption of our democratic institutions."
 LAOS party leader at inauguration of new officesPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, speaking during the inauguration of his party's new Corinthia Prefectural Committee offices on Friday, stressed the need for a change of scene on the political stage and added that the party can give hope to the Greeks.
"The time is approaching when the people will entrust us with government duties, to change the country, to bring national dignity again, here in Greece, our country," he said.
Karatzaferis further stressed the need for "changing the country to give hope to the exhausted Greek. They must realise at last that Greece does not belong to those who have, it belongs to those who can stand no more."
 PASOK posts lead in opinion pollMain opposition PASOK was leading by 3.5 percentage points over ruling New Democracy (ND), according to the results of an opnion poll conducted by ALCO on behalf of the weekly newspaper Proto Thema appearing on Sunday.
With respect to voter intent (which party the respondents would vote for if elections were held tomorrow), ND was preferred by 26.8 percent of the respondents, falling behind PASOK which was preferred by 30.3 and follwed by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance with 8.0 percent, the Communist Party of Greece with 7.0 percent and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party with 4.0 percent, while 15.4 percent of the respondents sayd they were undecided, 4.9 percent opted for blank ballots, 2.3 percent said they would vote for some other party, and 1.3 percent said they would vote for the Ecologists.
The poll was conducted by telephone from November 11 to 13 on a nationwide sampling of 1,000 people.
In a previous poll conducted by ALCO for Proto Thema in October, PASOK was leading by 1.9 percentage points, with 29.1 percent, over 27.2 percent for ND among the respondents.
 Athens Polytechnic's 35th uprising anniversary events beginThe Athens Polytechnic opened its gates on Saturday morning for events commemorating the student uprising in November, 1973, against the military dictatorship ruling Greece at the time.
The three-day events on the 35th anniversary of the uprising will heighten at noon on Monday with the established march to the U.S. Embassy in Athens. Thousands of police have been placed on standby and, as is the case every year, the Polytechnic premises will be guarded by students and university professors.
The Polytechnic's administration is taking all the necessary measures to ensure that all the events scheduled to take place in the main building will develop smoothly.
 PASOK students and anarchists clash in Exarchia overnightFour people were injured and damage was caused to shops and other buildings after students of the PASOK-affiliated PASP student group clashed with anarchists in the Athens district of Exarchia shortly after midnight on Friday.
According to the police, about 120 pro-PASOK party students gathered outside PASP's offices in Koletti street in Athens to guard it in light of the Polytechnic uprising anniversary events that were getting under way on Saturday, were attacked by groups of anarchists and scuffling involving stones, sticks and other objects followed.
Four students were injured during the clashes and were taken to hospital for treatment, but they stressed that they would not be pressing any charges and so the police made no arrests.
 Conference on int'l credit crisis and its impact on GreeceThe Hellenic Association of Banks (EET) and the Economia Business Tank are organizing a conference in Athens on Tuesday on the international credit crisis and its impact on Greece.
The main speaker at the event will be economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis, while addresses will also be delivered by main opposition PASOK officer for economy matters Louka Katseli, Eurobank Group financial consultant Gikas Hardouvelis, Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) former president Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, and EET secretary general Christos Gortsos.
Official guests include Charles Zyplosz, professor of international economy at Geneva University's Graduate Institute of International Studies
 Foreign Exchange Rates: MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.277
Pound sterling 0.866
Danish kroner 7.507
Swedish kroner 10.074
Japanese yen 123.15
Swiss franc 1.522
Norwegian kroner 8.822
Canadian dollar 1.562
Australian dollar 1.945
 Death of journalist injured in AfghanistanJournalist George Kiliaris, who had been seriously injured while on a mission in Afghanistan last month succumbed to his wounds on Saturday at the age of 53.
Kiliaris, a journalist for state ERT television, had been injured in the neck on October 9 while covering the events in Afghanistan.
He was initially rushed to hospital in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the intiative of the Greek foreign and defence ministries, and from there by C-130 military hospital to Athens, where he was hospitalised in the Intensive Care Unit at KAT hospital.
Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, upon hearing of Kiliaris' death, said that the deceased had sought the truth with devotion throughout his career, and was characterised by sensitivity and attention to detail, and genuinely cared about people, as proved by his last, fatal trip to Afghanistan.
He also expressed deepest condolences to Kiliaris' family.
In a similar message, main opposition PASOK press officer George Papaconstantinou said that Kiliaris was a fighter, and a reporter in all sense of the word, with a devotion to the human being and his values, and that was why he did not hesitate or back down in fear and went ahead on his last mission.
"He lost the battle, but not the war. We will remember him always," Papaconstantinou said, and expressed deep condolences to the deceased's family.
The Athens Union of Journalists (ESIEA) also issued an annoncement expressing grief at the loss of George Kiliaris and its condolences to his family.
The announcement noted that Kiliaris had been consistent in his devotion to the values of life, and went to many places around the world, helping the weak and the persecuted thorugh his journalistic missions and through humaniatarian aid programs and medical missions.
A noble, dynaimc and well-loved collegue, Kiliaris was known for his ethos and conscienciousness, the ESIA statement said, adding that in his short life he left behind him the best of memories to all who knew him.
Kiliaris was born in Athens in August 1955, and studied History of Modern Art in Britain, but was won over by journalism. He worked for the newspapers Ta Nea, Sunday Eleftherotypia, Eleftheros Typos, Proti, Vradyni, Alitheia and Niki, the readio stations Flash and Skai, and for state television stations ET-1 and ET-2, and most recently NET.
He was known for his revealing reports from war zones and interviews with prominent personalities, and also for his coverage of significant events in the Balkans and the Middle East.
Kiliaris was seriously injured in the neck and spine on October 8 while taking part in a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan, and succumbed to his wounds on November 15.
His funeral will take place3 at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday at the Zografou Cemetery.
 Greece 'honored country' at Terra di Libri book fair in SienaROME (ANA-MPA/Th. Andreadis)
Greece is the honored country at this year's Terra di Libri international book fair currently being held in Siena, central Italy.
The publishing activity and writers of Greece are in the spotlight in this year's book exhibition, which features exhibits by 50 Italian publishers and is held under the aegis of the Presidency of the Republic of Italy.
In tandem with the fair, an exhibition of photographs by Mario Vitti is being staged at the Palazzo Squarcialupi in Siena, including photographs of Nobel laureate poet Odysseas Olytis on visits to Paris and Rome, composers Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hatzidakis in Rome, and many other celebrities.
 49th Film Festival inaugurated in ThessalonikiMinister of Macedonia and Thrace Margaritis Tzimas inaugurated the 49th Film Festival in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Friday night and referred to subsidisation amounting to 140,000 euros that his ministry will be providing for four films that are being made in cities in northern Greece.
Tzimas praised the event, particularly the dedication it will be making this year to Greek film maker Manos Zaharias.
The Film Festival's events will last until November 23 and will be presented in the Olympion, Pavlos Zannas, John Cassavettes and Manolis Andronikos halls, among others.
 Arson attack on sentry box outside Turkish ConsulateA firebomb was hurled by unidentified assailants at a sentry box outside the Turkish Consulate in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Friday night, causing only slight material damage and without injuring anyone.
The assailants also caused damage to cars parked in the area before fleeing the scene.
 Super League soccer resultsOlympiakos Piraeus retained its lead in the Super League after beating ambitious PAOK Thessaloniki 2-0 at Karaiskaki Stadium over the weekend. Panathinaikos Athens 1-1 drew away with Larissa and AEK Athens was held to a goalless draw at home by Super League newcomer Panseraikos, both losing ground in the championship title race. PAOK and Xanthi are together in second place, four points behind Olympiakos.
In other action:
Aris Thessaloniki-Asteras Tripoli 1-1
Ergotelis Crete-Thrasyvoulos Athens 1-2
Levadiakos Livadia-OFI Crete 2-1
Panthrakikos Komotini-Xanthi 0-0
Panionios Athens-Iraklis Thessaloniki 0-2
Standings after 10 weeks of play:
1. Olympiakos 23 points
2. PAOK 19
3. Xanthi 19
4. Panathinaikos 16
5. AEK 15
6. Ergotelis 15
7. Aris 14
8. Larissa 13
9. Levadiakos 12
10. Panthrakikos 12
11. Iraklis 11
12. Panionios 11
13. Asteras 9
14. Panseraikos 9
15. Thrasyvoulos 7
16. OFI 7
 Rain, storms on MondayRainy and stormy weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 2-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 8C and 20C. Rain and local storms in Athens, with variable 2-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 12C to 19C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 11C to 17C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' newspapers at a glanceThe Vatopedi monastery scandal, the global financial crisis, the G-20 summit, the decline in turnover on the market, and the Obama-Medvedev meeting dominated the headlines in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: " 'Rambos' for checks on excessive profits - Folias (development minister) opens up 'front' with the supermarkets".
APOGEVMATINI: "Karamanlis is 'capital' - Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis interview".
AVGHI: "They're demanding the self-evident: Dignity - The biggest mobilisation ever in the Greek jails", referring to the ongoing hunger strike by inmates.
AVRIANI: "The blackmailers and perjurors used by PASOK to rig charges, with the prime minister as the target, were caught in the act".
CHORA: "Defeat and division of the party established by Constantine Karamanlis on the horizon".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Obama-Medvedev to meet at Greek initiative - Deliberations, on Karamanlis' orders, for US-Russia summit meeting", adding that the Greek government was advancing an ambitious plan to host an Obama-Medvedev meeting in the framework of an OSCE Summit in the spring, under the Greek OSCE presidency.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The iniquitous documents - Vatopedi affair".
ETHNOS: "Revelation: Vatopedi Monastery carrying on with its 'business' unabashed - It's selling villas and continuing to rake in millions of euros".
KATHIMERINI: "The powerful of the world lack daring - G-20 summit in Washington of low expectations for the financial crisis".
LOGOS: "Governmental operation for exit from the quagmire - Benefits and reshuffle at the center - Resuffle after December 22".
NIKI: "ND has lost the game - It has nothing more to offer - Intense behind-the-scenes for replacement of Karamanlis - The personal strategies of the wannabe leaders".
PROTO THEMA: "The big challenge of the 45 "golden boys" (managers) of the banks".
RIZOSPASTIS: "90 years of KKE - Pioneer theory, pioneer action".
TO VIMA: "Elections (early general) a nightmare for the government and the economy - Karamanlis to decide in January".
VRADYNI: "We've run dry - Cry of agony from the market to the banks".
 President: Turkey not working towards a federal solutionNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias believes that Turkey is not working for a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution in Cyprus but for a two state solution and a confederation of two states.
President Christofias was speaking during an event organised during the weekend by ruling leftwing AKEL party to condemn the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) by the Turkish Cypriots, in the Turkish occupied areas of the island, on 15 November 1983.
"At the end of the day, it seems that Turkey is not working for a bizonal bicommunal federation in Cyprus but for the establishment of two states and a confederation of two states," the president said.
He described as "devious" attempts by the Turkish side to persuade the international community that there are "two peoples in Cyprus instead of two communities", explaining that "peoples have the right to self-determination and the right to establish their own state."
"They created this secessionist regime and they also want to create the entity to justify the existence of supposedly a second state, in Cyprus, that of the self-styled regime", he pointed out.
Christofias expressed regret over statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat that the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime was proof that the Turkish Cypriots back a solution of a bizonal bicommunal federation.
"I wonder whether general Evren and Turkey's dictatorship in 1983 had no other concern but to see to it that Cyprus becomes a bizonal bicommunal federation," the president said.
The UDI, declared on 15 November 1983 by the Turkish Cypriots, was branded "legally invalid" by the UN Security Council, which called on all states not to recognise or facilitate it in any way. None but Turkey does.
Referring to the ongoing talks on Cyprus between him and Talat, he reiterated his determination to work for a solution which will rid the country of Turkey's occupation.
"The objective is not simply to put Turkey in the corner but to liberate our people from the Turkish occupation through a Cyprus solution, a just solution under the circumstances, functional and viable", he underlined.
Christofias and Talat have been engaged in direct talks, began in early September, with the objective to find a mutually agreed solution to the Cyprus problem to reunite the island, divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 Government condemns Turkish Cypriot UDINICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The government has assured that it remains committed to a solution of the Cyprus problem which will be consistent with the principles of international law and the European Union.
The solution, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, will be based on one state with a single sovereignty, one international personality and one citizenship, with its independence and its territorial integrity safeguarded, comprising two, politically equal communities, in a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.
"Only such a solution, which serves the interests of all Cypriots, restores human rights and can reverse the fait accompli created by the illegal Turkish invasion and occupation, be functional and viable," the statement stresses.
The statement was issued to denounce the unilateral declaration of independence by the Turkish Cypriots, on November 15, 1983.
"This illegal act caused the immediate reaction of the international community, which, through the UN Security Council resolutions 541 and 550 condemned this unilateral act of Turkey, describing it as legally invalid, and calling for its immediate withdrawal," the ministry statement said, which notes also that since 1983, no other country than Turkey has recognised this illegal entity.
"At a time when direct negotiations are underway to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, statements made by Turkish officials and the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community, unfortunately, confirm that the aim of the Turkish side is to upgrade the illegal entity in the occupied areas of Cyprus and undermine efforts for reunification," it added.
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are engaged in direct talks to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country.
Political parties have also issued statements denouncing the UDI and reiterating their will to work towards a negotiated settlement.
 President outlines vision for world peaceNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias outlined here Sunday his vision for world peace, as he addressed eminent religious and political leaders, attending the International Meeting for Peace "The Civilisation of Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue".
The meeting, organised by the Church of Cyprus in cooperation with the Saint Egidio Community, brings together religious leaders from all denominations and provides a forum for the exchange of views on global concerns of mutual interest aiming at contributing to world peace.
In his address, President Christofias said that everybody feels proud of his culture and tradition but also has the obligation to respect and tolerate other religious faiths to help secure peace beyond the boundaries of religion and cultures.
In Cyprus, he pointed out, different religions and cultures are respected and the country is working for the reconciliation of its communities that make up the people of Cyprus.
The president referred to initiatives he and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have undertaken to press on with peace talks leading to a political settlement that will secure the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops and illegal settlers and reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
Christofias welcomed warmly the initiative of the primate of the Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II to host this inter-faith meeting, saying the venue of the conference is significant.
He paid tribute to foreign delegates, including heads of state, saying also that religious leaders must exhaust their efforts to minimize differences between the many denominations and who work hard to highlight those elements that complement the different beliefs.
"This meeting is one more link in the chain of events to carry on the dialogue for peace which started in 1986 and it is no coincidence that it is taking place at today's historic juncture," he pointed out.
The president referred to the current financial crisis, facing the developed and the developing world, and said that wealth and goods are amassed by few individuals and certain states.
The absence of any hopeful prospect for the future and the daily tragic deadlocks, in conjunction with poverty and deprivation, leads the masses to desperate actions, he noted.
"Cyprus, in the heart of Eastern Mediterranean and at the crossroads of three continents, is an ideal bridge of communication between peoples from various countries. We are proud that our country will be a symbol of dialogue between different faiths and cultures. Our vision is to secure world peace, over and beyond religious boundaries and cultures," he stressed.
The president pointed out that everybody has a duty to ensure that religious and cultural differences are not allowed to turn into conflict and war but instead they should herald the start of creative dialogue for concerted action.
"There is room on our small planet for all civilizations and all different religious denominations to the benefit of mankind and his happiness," he said.
Cyprus, he continued, over the centuries has had influences from the West and the East and thus shaped its own identify.
"Here in Cyprus we are working for peace and reconciliation of the communities of our island and in this spirit I have undertaken initiatives to begin a dialogue to reunite the country," he told delegates.
He said the solution must be based on UN resolution and the principles on which the EU has been founded, it must provide for one federal state, with a single sovereignty, a single international personality and one citizenship.
"We are determined to continue the dialogue in good faith and we expect that the other side will show the same good will to secure peace on our island," he said.
Concluding his remarks, he wished every success to the meeting and said: "there can be nothing better in life than serving people and their happiness in a peaceful world."
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