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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-01-29

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

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

Thursday, 29 January 2009 Issue No: 3108

CONTENTS

  • [01] Agriculture minister on 500 million euros package
  • [02] EU Agricultural Development Commissioner on Greek farmers compensation
  • [03] PASOK spokesman on farmers, economy
  • [04] SYN leader on gov't aid package to farmers
  • [05] Corinth Canal intersection open
  • [06] PM briefed by parliament chief, meets with Iraqi FM
  • [07] FM to pay visits to western Balkan countries as OSCE chairperson
  • [08] FM spokesman on FYROM provocations, name talks
  • [09] FM spokesman on Greek aid to Gaza
  • [10] Foreign ministry on Turkish actor's testimony
  • [11] Papandreou meets head of Germany's SPD
  • [12] Alavanos on dialogue for educational reforms
  • [13] Souflias on election talk, farmers
  • [14] Controversy in Parliament over heating benefit
  • [15] European Commission assessment of national reforms programme
  • [16] BoG warns Greek banks of credit risks in Balkans
  • [17] CEOs expect gradual recovery in next three years, PwC
  • [18] Energy and broadband infrastructures
  • [19] Govt fines 17 banks with 10.2 million euros
  • [20] Greek authorities fine Piraeus Port, MSC with 2.5 mln euros
  • [21] Granting of Special Social Cohesion Bonus being extended
  • [22] Intrakat signs 6.3-mln-euro contract in France
  • [23] Proton Bank approves 80-mln-euro share capital increase plan
  • [24] LAOS' Karatzaferis meets with Skaramangas Shipyard workers' trade unionists
  • [25] Visa reports strong growth in Greece
  • [26] Air traffic controllers strike called off, flights to take place on schedule
  • [27] Public sector employees hold work stoppage, demonstrations
  • [28] Shipping exchange increases between January-November 2008
  • [29] Babis-Vovos appeals against order to stop Votanikos construction
  • [30] Greek stocks jumped 2.21 pct on Wednesday
  • [31] ADEX closing report
  • [32] Greek bond market closing report
  • [33] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [34] EU Commissioner unveils proposals for tackling climate change
  • [35] President Papoulias briefed on actions in fire-ravaged regions
  • [36] EU's eMPOWER program partners hold first meeting in Athens
  • [37] No metro service to airport for six months from mid-February
  • [38] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew congratulates new Patriarch of Moscow Kirill
  • [39] ADAE calls for more funding, staff
  • [40] Memorial service for the late Archbishop Christodoulos
  • [41] Greek Shipowners Union donates fire-fighting vehicles, mobile medical units
  • [42] Bilingual collection of contemporary Greek poetry
  • [43] Cloudy, rainy on Thursday
  • [44] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [45] Christofias: We support international law principles on property issue
  • [46] Christofias: There is a pending issue for us after Olgac's confession
  • [47] Olli Rehn:Turkey obliged to cooperate on Missing Persons in Cyprus Politics

  • [01] Agriculture minister on 500 million euros package

    Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis clarified on Wednesday that no problem exists with the European Union regarding the package of 500 million euros, since it concerns compensation for farmers through the ELGA fund and not subsidies for them.

    "I had stated from the very beginning that all the money that will be given to the farmers will be given on the basis of the acquis communautaire," the minister said.

    He also invoked an announcement by the Commission dated January 22, 2009, on the temporary EU framework "on the taking of state support measures with the aim of supporting access to funding during the current monetary and economic crisis" and that "under certain circumstances it is judged that there is the need for providing new temporary state subsidies."

    Hatzigakis will be travelling to Brussels next week to meet relevant Agriculture Commissioner Fischer Boel to explain Greece's positions.

    Farmers divided

    The government on Wednesday insisted that its proposed measures for agriculture were legitimate, following reports that the European Commission was investigating the Greek announcement of an aid package of 500 million euros for Greek farmers whose incomes had been slashed by falling produce prices.

    Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that the compensation to farmers will be paid via the agricultural compensation agency ELGA and that an announcement on the issue will be issued by the agriculture ministry within the day.

    He reiterated that the aid package offered by the government exhausted the margins given by the country's economy, while stressing that the free movements of goods and people was one of the fundamental principles of democracy.

    The spokesman criticised opposition parties, also, for "not finding the necessary political courage to clearly condemn, without equivocating, the closure of roads".

    Meanwhile, following the dispersion of farmers at the Corinth Canal roadblock earlier on Wednesday, the large road block on the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway at Tempi was opened after dissension broke out among the farmers there, with some in favour of disbanding the road block and others determined to stay.

    A large number eventually departed before the meeting ended, while some tractors remained on hand without blocking the road. Those remaining will hold another meeting on Thursday to elect a new coordinating committee, since members of the old committee left with the farmers that wanted the roadblock disbanded.

    The highway remained closed at the Nikaia intersection in Larisa, however, where farmers were adamant in their rejection of the government package and called on other sectors to show solidarity with their struggle by shutting shops and public buildings.

    Protesting farmers in northern Greece have already decided to open the Egnatia highway and the old Kavala-Xanthi national highway by Thursday afternoon, while several intersections along the Egnatia remained closed on Wednesday.

    Also closed were border crossings in Evros at Ormenio and the Doirani customs post, while the Evzones customs post will be opened temporarily after 16:00. The Kipoi customs post also opened temporarily on Wednesday, while that in Exohi will remain open between 15:00-17:00.

    In nearby Serres, farmers were continuing road blocks - including one at the Promahonas border crossing with Bulgaria that has caused considerable disruption in the neighbouring country, with farmers allowing only trucks carrying perishable goods to come through. They pledged to stay where they were until the government promised that the money given to farmers would be equally distributed in each prefecture.

    [02] EU Agricultural Development Commissioner on Greek farmers compensation

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)

    A spokesman for Agricultural Development Commissioner, Marion Fischer Boel, said on Wednesday that the Greek and EU services have had informal contacts over the past period concerning the issue of compensation that the Greek government intends to give to Greek farmers. The spokesman reassured that Agricultural Development Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis will be meeting the Danish Commissioner in Brussels next Wednesday.

    The spokesman further said that Greece, apart from the informal contacts, must inform the European Commission officially as well on the details of the compensation package for Greek farmers, that will then decide on their compatibility with EU legislation.

    [03] PASOK spokesman on farmers, economy

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou called on the government on Wednesday "to decide and to become serious and negotiate with the European Commission," referring to agricultural issues and invoking the remark by the Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis that "the money (500 million euros) concerns compensation and not subsidies."

    Papaconstantinou expressed the wish that the government's decisions will be in line with European law.

    Referring to the Agricultural Policy Council, PASOK's spokesman said that it has convened only once since 2004, compared to 11 times when it had been convened during the previous eight-year period, which shows the "government's unreliability on this issue as well."

    Papaconstantinou further said that the only thing being heard from the government are funds for armaments programmes, which exceed 5.6 billion euros, and wondered "whether the government is winking at some people in light of elections."

    [04] SYN leader on gov't aid package to farmers

    During a two-day tour of the Evros prefecture, meanwhile, the head of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party Alexis Tsipras said the 500-million-euros aid package offered to farmers by the government was "small" and criticised the present New Democracy government and past PASOK governments for the current state of Greek agriculture, promising to stand by farmers in their struggle.

    [05] Corinth Canal intersection open

    Protesting farmers on Wednesday opened the Corinth Canal after several days of blockade and traffic returned to normal out on the Athens - Patras national highway.

    Blockades on the Tripoli - Kalamata highway and two blockades in Messinia perfecture have also been cleared.

    The only remaining blockade in the Peloponese is at the Kalo Nero juncture in Messinia perfecture.

    [06] PM briefed by parliament chief, meets with Iraqi FM

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met on Wednesday with parliament president Dimitris Sioufas, who briefed the premier on progress in the House's legislative work and on its international activities in the framework of Parliamentary Diplomacy.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Sioufas said he also briefed the premier on a series of matters related to parliament's more efficient operation.

    The two men further exchanged views on the global financial crisis and on the recent off-the-agenda discussion in parliament, at political party leaders level, on the dialogue on the education sector.

    Earlier, Karamanlis had a meeting with visiting Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari, which was also attended by Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    [07] FM to pay visits to western Balkan countries as OSCE chairperson

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, as Chairperson of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), will embark on Tuesday, February 2, on a series of visits over the next two weeks to the Western Balkan countries, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos announced on Wednesday.

    On Tuesday, Bakoyannis will visit Belgrade, where she will have meetings with the Yugslav leadership, followed the following day by a visit to Pristina, where the largest of the OSCE's 19 missions is headquartered and where she will hold talks with representatives of international organizations headquartered there.

    The following week, on February 9, Bakoyannis is scheduled to visit Tirana, while on February 11 she will go to Tiflis, for talks with governmenet officials in both countries.

    In between, on February 4, Bakoyannis will inaugurate an international conference on the theme "Profiles of states in an internationalized environment - Possibilities and prospects for Greece" that is being organised in Athens by the Greek Politics Specialist Group under the aegis of the foreign ministry.

    Later that same day, Bakoyannis will meet with Rabbi Andrew Baker, the OSCE's Personal Representative for Combating Anti-Semitism.

    Koumoutsakos also announced that deputy foreign minister Yiannis Valyankis will be representing Greece ath the informal meeting of the Balkan Cooperation foreign ministers to be held on Friday in Moldova.

    Further, Koumoutsakos said that deputy foreign minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis will go to Prague on Thursday for an informal meeting of the EU's Council of Developmental Cooperation ministers.

    He also said that Varvitsiotis met on Wednesday with visiting Metropolitan Amvrosios of Korea, and later with visiting Iranian deputy foreign minister for European Affairs Mehdi Safari.

    Bakoyannis was also due to have separate meetings on Wednesday with Safari and with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims, Ambassador Vyacheslav Gizzatov.

    [08] FM spokesman on FYROM provocations, name talks

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Wednesday that since last summer and with a frequency of about every two weeks, Skopje was engaging in statements and actions of a similar content, in reply to a press question on FYROM's recently announced intention of renaming of the pan-European "Corridor X" road axis.

    He was referring to Skopje's planned renaming as "Alexander of Macedon" the country's main highway that runs from Serbia in the north to the Greek border on the south as part of the pan-European Corridor X (or Corridor 10, of a total length of 27.75 kilometers in FYROM), which was recently announced by FYROM prime minister Nikola Gruevski.

    "The recent decisions (by FYROM) lack seriousness, without this meaning that they are less provocative or less in violation of the provisions of the Interim Agreement," Koumoutsakis added, and noted the "international annoyance" that FYROM's stance has caused.

    Greece recently warned FYROM that so long as the neighboring country's leadership continued to cultivate an atomsphere of provocations, nationalism and intolerance, not a single euro would be forthcoming from Greece in the framework of its participation in the financing of the construction of the pan-European "Corridor X" road axis, "the renaming of which the neighboring country provocatively proceeded to", as prime minister Costas Karamanlis stated in mid-January. The premier, speaking during the Hour of the Prime Minister in parliament, was referring to Skopje's renaming as "Alexander of Macedon" the country's main highway that runs from Serbia in the north to the Greek border on the south as part of the pan-European Corridor X (or Corridor 10, of a total length of 27.75 kilometers in FYROM), for which 152 million euros have been earmarked in the Hellenic Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans (HiPERB).

    To a question on the upcoming round of UN-brokered talks between the Greek and FYROM negotiators in New York on February 11, Ambassadors Adamatios Vassilakis and Zoran Jolevski respectively, Koumoutsakos noted that "the facts thus far and the atmosphere created by the provicative actions and statements by the Gruevski government...lead to the estimation that there will be 'nothing of note' at this meeting"

    [09] FM spokesman on Greek aid to Gaza

    The major bulk of Greek humanitarian aid that has been dispatched to date to Gaza via international organizations active on the spot has alrady reached its destination, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Wednesday, in reply to questions during a regular press briefing.

    Koumoutsakos added that Athens' proposal to host children from Gaza who required medical care was still pending, and clarified that this was due to the problem in normalization of the flow of movement through the crossings into and out of Gaza, which was "a problem that was discussed at the recent EU Council of Ministers" meeting.

    In a later, more detailed statement on the humanitarian aid shipments, Koumoutsakos clarified that the Greek humanitarian aid dispatched to Gaza by air has reached its destination through the international organizations active there, namely the World Health Organization (WHO).

    The aid that has been dispatched by sea (food and medicine) reached port Ahsdodo in Israel on Wednesday, and was currently going through Customs clearance, after which it would be conveyed to Gaza again via the international organizations active there.

    [10] Foreign ministry on Turkish actor's testimony

    "The shocking confession of Attila Olgac brings again to the surface shameful acts," foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos stated on Wednesday. He was responding to a question on the statements made by the Turkish actor, who recently revealed that he killed 10 Greek Cypriots during Turkey's invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Asked whether Greece will appeal to the European Court for Human Rights (for likely Greek victims during the invasion), the spokesman said that Athens was still in the process of carefully examining the specific confession.

    Koumoutsakos pointed out that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had discussed the issue with her Cypriot counterpart on the margins of the Council of Ministers in Brussels, adding that a relative discussion will be held in Parliament on Friday in response to a question tabled by a party of the opposition.

    The degree of Turkey's compliance with its obligation to normalize relations with the Republic of Cyprus, especially its implementation of the additional protocol to the Ankara Agreement, "has affected Turkey's European course", the foreign minister noted, adding that there is "no change of policy" on the issue.

    [11] Papandreou meets head of Germany's SPD

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA - V. Mourtis)

    Meeting the leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) Frank Muntefering in Berlin for a working dinner on Wednesday, main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International President George Papandreou stressed that social democratic ideas and values were as relevant today as ever before.

    Both party leaders stressed that the current conditions of financial crisis proved the worth of these values, which Papandreou summarised as a triple policy of protecting and boosting low and middle incomes, extending and creating new infrastructure and green growth.

    Their talks also covered political developments in Greece and Germany, while Munterfering stated that they had both made it their goal to bring social democratic governments to Greece and Germany by the end of 2009.

    PASOK's leader, on his part, did not rule out the possibility of early elections in Greece.

    The SPD party leader heaped praise on Papandreou as SI president, saying that he was giving a new boost to social democrats and continuing in the tradition of Willy Brandt. He also promised that the SPD will support Papandreou in his work.

    Papandreou had earlier met German Finance Minister Peer Steinbruck, also a member of the SPD, and discussed issues related to the financial crisis and the efforts being made to address this.

    They both noted the need to support the real economy and to find ways to persuade banks to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

    Developments in the Middle East and the SI initiatives to shore up the truce in Gaza and allow humanitarian aid to come through were discussed during both meetings held here by Papandreou.

    The SPD also agreed to assume the chair of a special SI committee on issues of disarmament, both for conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

    [12] Alavanos on dialogue for educational reforms

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos on Wednesday said that SYRIZA will only participate in dialogue proposed by the government on reforming education if the government first "adhered to the Constitution" and stopped a procedure allowing Liberal Studies Centres to become franchises of foreign universities - something that essentially gave permission for private-sector higher education that is banned under the Greek Constitution.

    He made the statement during a press conference to outline the Parliamentary group's positions on educational reform, in view of the dialogue proposed by the government.

    [13] Souflias on election talk, farmers

    "The government did nothing less than what was appropriate to ensure social justice and this is not linked with elections," Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias stated in response to a question by a reporter on whether the announced farmer benefits, heating allowance and subsidies for less frequented sea routes constitute election campaign benefits.

    "The economic policy should focus on three directions, economic stability, development and social justice," he said, adding that the government proceeded with the specific benefits after serious consideration.

    Souflias also stated that the budget includes increased expenditures for public investments that could be increased more in case of high absorption rate.

    On the PAO FC football stadium project, Souflias expressed the hope that the issue will be settled by March 6 when a relative Council of State ruling will be issued. He also stated that all giant billboards along Mesogion Avenue in Athens will be removed following a decision reached in the presence of local mayors to improve safety conditions for motorists.

    [14] Controversy in Parliament over heating benefit

    Wednesday's debate in Parliament on a heating bill benefit and measures for the unemployed sparked a row between the government and opposition parties, who claimed the measures were converting the unemployed into 'beggars'.

    Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia stressed that the measures protected vulnerable social groups and 'spreading a social protection net', while main opposition PASOK MPs dismissed them as a "cheap, pre-electoral propaganda" and asked for a roll-call vote on article 74 of the bill concerning measures for the unemployed.

    Financial News

    [15] European Commission assessment of national reforms programme

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    Greece has achieved progress in such sectors as transferring European Union legislation on the internal market to national law and utilising structural funds in support of the Lisbon Strategy.

    However, certain weaknesses exist that concern the need to speed up structural reforms and speed up the reshaping of the pensioning system, as has been ascertained by the European Commission in its assessment on Greece's national reforms programme.

    The Commission publicised its assessment on Wednesday on the national reforms programmes of the EU's 27 member-states, concerning progress achieved with the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty.

    The Commission calls on Greece to continue the implementation of structural reforms, referring in particular to four basic points:

    -The continuation of efforts aimed at medium-term monetary stability with the improvement of the effectiveness of first stage expenditures, the speeding up of reforms in taxation administration and in processes regarding the budget, the decrease in the debt related to the GDP and speeding up the implementation of reshaping the pensioning system.

    -The taking of measures to increase competition in professional services, the implementation of reforms on increasing investments in research and technology and the more effective use of structural funds on speeding up investments programmes concerning growth.

    -The implementation of reforms in public administration with effective regulatory and auditing apparatuses with emphasis on simplifying the regulatory environment for businesses by cutting down on bureaucracy.

    -The modernisation, in the framework of an overall approach for flexibility and security, of legislation on the protection of employment, the decrease in the non-salaried cost of labour for low wage earners, strengthening policies in the labour market, changing undeclared labour into legal employment, speeding up the implementation of reforms in education and training and increasing participation in longterm training while facilitating access to employment, particularly for young people.

    [16] BoG warns Greek banks of credit risks in Balkans

    Bank of Greece's governor George Provopoulos on Wednesday warned Greek banks not to transfer part of a 28-bln-euro government-sponsored plan to boost liquidity in the economy to their subsidiaries in the Balkans because of growing concern over the impact of an international crisis on these countries.

    Speaking to Financial Times, the Greek banker said he was worried over the impact of an international crisis on Balkan economies -Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia- countries that have recorded a boom in loans in foreign currency (70 pct of total loans in Serbia, 60 pct in Hungary, and more than 50 pct in Romania and Bulgaria).

    Provopoulos told FT that he has recommended Greek banks to be more careful in approving loans and to taking more seriously economic conditions in these countries. "If economic conditions worsened significantly, Greek banks could become exposed not only to credit risks, but to risks related with foreign exchange rates," he noted.

    [17] CEOs expect gradual recovery in next three years, PwC

    Corporate managers around the world expect a slow and gradual recovery in the next three years, following an economic crisis, a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said on Wednesday.

    The survey was based on forecasts made by chief executive officers from 50 countries around the world, including Greece. CEOs said corporate outlook has fallen to the lowest level since 2003, when PwC began the survey. Only 21 percent of respondent CEOs said their revenues would rise in the next 12 months, sharply down from a 50 pct reading last year, while more than 25 pct of CEOs said they were pessimistic over their prospects in the next year.

    A 34 pct of respondents forecast economic growth in the next three years, down from a 42 pct reading in 2008. Only 15 pct of CEOs in North America and Western Europe sounded optimistic over growth prospects in the next 12 months, compared with 21 pct in Central and Eastern Europe, 21 pct in Latin America and 31 pct in Asia-Pacific.

    [18] Energy and broadband infrastructures

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)

    The European Commission proposed here on Wednesday additional investments amounting to 5 billion euros in the energy and broadband internet infrastructures sectors, from which all member-states will benefit over the 2009-2010 period.

    In this framework, as the Commission announced, the programmes of special Greek concern which are proposed to receive European Union funding concern in particular an EU contribution amounting to 100 million euros regarding Greece and Italy for the construction of the ITGI-Poseidon natural gas pipeline, an EU contribution amounting to 20 million euros concerning Greece and Bulgaria for the construction of the natural gas transportation system to Slovenia, between the Austrian borders and Ljubljana, and an EU contribution amounting to 20 million euros for all member-states to extend the possibility of storing natural gas at the Czech intersection.

    [19] Govt fines 17 banks with 10.2 million euros

    The Greek govenment on Wednesday announced fines totaling 10,200,000 euros against 17 banks operating in the country for overcharging consumers in various bank transactions.

    Development Deputy Ministery George Vlahos said the fines were imposed after an inspection on several basic banking products and services offered by 17 commercial banks.

    Alpha Bank, Aspis Bank, Citibank, Eurobank, Marfin Egnatia Bank, Millennium Bank, Proton Bank, ATEbank, Geniki Bank, National Bank, Hellenic Bank, Emporiki Bank, Panhellenic Bank, Hellenic Postbank, Attica Bank, Cyprus Bank and Piraeus Bank will have to pay 600,000 in fines each.

    [20] Greek authorities fine Piraeus Port, MSC with 2.5 mln euros

    Greece's Competition Commission on Wednesday announced fines totaling more than 2.5 million euros to the Piraeus Port Authority and MSC for adopting anti-competition practices in the country's largest port.

    The Greek competition watchdog said it was fining Piraeus Port Authority with 1,280,197 euros and MSC with 1,283,871 euros for breaching of competition rules and regulations in the country, after examining a complaint filed by Sarlis Container Services SA and Sarlis & Aggelopoulos Agencies Ltd against policy practices adopted by Piraeus Port Authority and Mediterranen Shipping Co. SA.

    [21] Granting of Special Social Cohesion Bonus being extended

    The granting of the Special Social Cohesion Bonus will be extended to groups of citizens having special financial or other problems, who are in need of state aid, according to an amendment tabled in Parliament by Finance and Economy Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou and concerning the draft bill on the "deposits and investments guarantee fund."

    According to the amendment, a special lumpsum financial benefit will be provided for all types of pensioners to whom the EKAS benefit is given, to OGA pensioners, to people with chronic renal inadequacy in a final stage, who are receiving a food benefit, as well as to people with a disability, insured indirectly or uninsured, provided they receive welfare benefits as well as for unemployed registered with the Manpower Employment Organisation OAED.

    The amount of the special lumpsum financial benefit will be determined in regions and ranges between 100-200 euros.

    [22] Intrakat signs 6.3-mln-euro contract in France

    Intrakat on Wednesday signed a 6.3 million euros contract with Vinci for the construction of a metal roof to be placed at Le Mans' football stadium. Vinci, a French engineering company, has signed a 35-year contract for the stadium. The metal roof of the stadium will cover an area of 24,000 sq.m. integrating all innovating material and construction method applications. Completion of the project is expected in 2010.

    [23] Proton Bank approves 80-mln-euro share capital increase plan

    Proton Bank on Wednesday said an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting approved a board plan for a share capital increase worth 79,999,995 euros. Under the plan, the bank will issue 17,817,371 new prefere stocks, worth 4.49 euros each, which will be fully covered by the Greek state in the framework of a government plan to boost liquidity in the economy and to deal with the impact of an international financial crisis.

    [24] LAOS' Karatzaferis meets with Skaramangas Shipyard workers' trade unionists

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) President George Karatzaferis met Wednesday at his office in Athens with the Skaramangas Shipyard workers' trade union leaders.

    Karatzaferis stressed afterwards that a change of policy is necessary on the part of the government to deal with the sector's problems.

    [25] Visa reports strong growth in Greece

    Visa credit card transactions in Greece grew strongly in 2008, Visa Europe said on Wednesday. The credit card company said debit cards grew 23.6 pct to 4.4 million, while consumption spending paid with debit cards totaled 553.9 million euros, up 38.7 pct from the previous year, evidence that Greece, following the example of European consumers, acknowledged the advantages of debit cards in their everyday transactions.

    Visa cards (debit, credit and corporate) issued last year totaled 8.2 million cards, up 11.4 pct from 2007, with transactions totaling 5.4 billion euros. Corporate cards totaled 49,000, up 12.1 pct in the Greek market.

    Presenting the results, Nikos Kampanopoulos, Visa's vice-president and general manager in Greece, said that 65 pct of total Visa cards in Greece were debit cards.

    [26] Air traffic controllers strike called off, flights to take place on schedule

    A 24-hour air strike by air traffic controllers on Wednesday was called off in the early morning hours after an Athens court late Tuesday declared it illegal and abusive on the grounds that the procedures set out by law for declaring the strike were not followed.

    Air traffic controllers had initially called a strike for Wednesday, joining in a 24-hour strike called by the civil servants unions' umbrella federation ADEDY, that would have grounded all domestic and international flights.

    An Athens First Instance court however, following legal proceedings initiated by the Civil Aviation Authority (YPA), in a ruling late Tuesday night declared the traffic controllers' strike "illegal and abusive" since the relevant procedures set out by law were not adhered to in calling the strike.

    Problems, however, were expected mainly with Wednesday's morning flights since the court ruling was issued late at night and several airlines did not have sufficient time to reorganize their itineraries, whereas passengers had already been informed of the strike either by the airlines themselves or in media broadcasts.

    Several Olympic Airways domestic flights and one flight to Bucharest had to be cancelled after all because of poor weather conditions but also because of a three-hour work stoppage by civil aviation service staff.

    [27] Public sector employees hold work stoppage, demonstrations

    Public sector employees held a work stoppage at noon until the end of the shift on Wednesday in protest to the problems faced by their social insurance fund. They also held a demonstration in downtown Athens demanding immediate payment of pensions and lump sums and the financial support of their pension fund.

    Tension was created briefly between police and protesters outside the finance ministry building when a delegation of trade unionists from the civil servants' union ADEDY attempted to cross the police line.

    In Thessaloniki, a protest demonstration was held during the three-hour stoppage called by the local union of public-sector employees' organizations.

    [28] Shipping exchange increases between January-November 2008

    Exchange received from shipping increased during the January-November 2008 period, compared to the corresponding period in 2007, but decreased in the month of November 2008 in relation to November 2007.

    According to an announcement by the Merchant Marine Ministry, temporary data of the Bank of Greece showed that shipping exchange flowing into the country during the above 11-month period amounted to 17,822.9 million euros as against 15,387.8 million euros in the corresponding period in 2007, increasing by 15.8 percent (2,435.1 million euros).

    In the month of November 2008, however, shipping exchange flowing in amounted to 1,282.5 million euros compared to 1,631.3 million euros in the corresponding month of November 2007

    [29] Babis-Vovos appeals against order to stop Votanikos construction

    The firm Babis-Vovos on Wednesday filed an appeal against a decision of the Council of State that has blocked construction of a shopping centre in Votanikos, attached to the planned Panathinaikos football club stadium.

    [30] Greek stocks jumped 2.21 pct on Wednesday

    Greek stocks rose strongly in the Athens Stock Exchange, following a sharp advance of prices in other European markets. The composite index jumped 2.21 pct to end at 1,748.61 points, with turnover rising to 162.1 million euros, of which 10.6 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the Insurance (7.02 pct), Industrial Products (4.37 pct) and Banks (3.96 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Food/Beverage (2.15 pct), Media (2.01 pct) and Financial Services (0.21 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index jumped 2.59 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 2.10 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 1.28 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 148 to 58 with another 49 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +7.02%

    Industrials: +4.37%

    Commercial: +1.46%

    Construction: +2.22%

    Media: -2.01%

    Oil & Gas: +0.15%

    Personal & Household: +3.42%

    Raw Materials: +2.59%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.36%

    Technology: +0.82%

    Telecoms: +2.68%

    Banks: +3.96%

    Food & Beverages: -2.15%

    Health: +2.20%

    Utilities: +3.07%

    Chemicals: +1.75%

    Financial Services: -0.21%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Bank of Cyprus, OPAP and Piraeus Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 6.16

    ATEbank: 1.24

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 13.26

    HBC Coca Cola: 11.12

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.54

    National Bank of Greece: 12.84

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 4.86

    Intralot: 3.00

    OPAP: 21.80

    OTE: 11.50

    Bank of Piraeus: 5.34

    Titan Cement Company: 13.14

    [31] ADEX closing report

    Greek futures contract prices saw their discount widen in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 43.914 million euros. The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a discount of 1.34 pct, with volume of 7,578 contracts worth 33.644 million euros.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,294 contracts worth 9.922 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,393), followed by Eurobank (1,371), OTE (1,690), Piraeus Bank (1,213), GEK (1,206), Alpha Bank (1,916) and Cyprus Bank (1,151).

    [32] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 268 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, with volume also rising to 1.136 billion euros of which 761 million were buy orders and the remaining 375 million were sell orders.

    The 10-year Greek bond (July 20, 2018) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 275 million euros, yielding 5.86 pct, while the 10-year German Bund yielded 3.18 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 2.31 pct, the six-month rate 2.21 pct, the three-month rate 2.11 pct and the one-month rate 1.77 pct.

    [33] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.336

    Pound sterling 0.934

    Danish kroner 7.512

    Swedish kroner 10.699

    Japanese yen 119.52

    Swiss franc 1.528

    Norwegian kroner 8.958

    Canadian dollar 1.629

    Australian dollar 1.997

    General News

    [34] EU Commissioner unveils proposals for tackling climate change

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)

    European Commissioner for the environment Stavros Dimas on Wednesday presented the European Commission's proposals regarding the need for a comprehensive agreement to deal with climate change.

    The new agreement for protecting the environment is expected to be drawn up at the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will take place in Copenhagen next December. The Commission pointed out that, in order for temperature increases not to exceed 2 degrees celsius, funding from developed countries and organisations to developing countries will have to increase to cover their participation in dealing with climate change.

    The Commission's proposals include the creation of a carbon emissions market that will extend to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, until 2015, and innovative sources of international funding based on countries' emissions and their capacity to spend.

    "Dealing with the causes and repercussions of climate change will demand significant private and public investments over the next decades but the cost of the above investments will be far less than to allow climate change to continue its destructive course. The European plan for the recovery of the economy and the measures taken worldwide for dealing with the financial crisis offer an opportunity to promote the necessary investments for reducing carbon emissions and, at the same time, to boost economic growth, innovation and the creation of jobs. In order, however, to achieve agreement in Copenhagen, it is of vital importance to find other funding solutions. Today's announcement will contribute decisively to this purpose by outlining a comprehensive series of proposals for increase financial means and investments," Dimas said.

    The Commission said that the Copenhagen agreement must set global targets for reducing emissions, on the one hand, and act as a basis for boosting countries' ability to adapt to climate change, on the other hand.

    In order to contain the increase in temperatures to 2 degrees celsius, worldwide emissions must have peaked before 2020 and then be reduced by at least 50 percent relative to levels in 1990 by 2050. Achieving this will require action by both developed and by developing countries.

    Developed countries must take the lead in this, reducing their collective emissions by 2020. In this framework, the EU has pledged to reduce its own emissions by 30 percent if other developing countries also promise comparable reductions, while it has already taken measures to reduce emissions by 20 percent.

    Developing countries, with the exception of the poorest, must restrict the increase of their emissions and maintain these, by 2020, to levels that are 15-30 percent lower than those provided for under a plan for preserving the existing situation. This effort must include the rapid reduction in emissions resulting from the decimation of tropical forests.

    These countries must promise to adopt, by the year 2011, developmental strategies for low-level carbon emissions. These strategies will be assessed via a new international mechanism that will combine the proposed actions with the right external support.

    The Commission noted that in order to reduce emissions, global net additional investments must increase in 2020 to about 175 billion euros a year, according to independent estimates. Over half that amount will need to be made available to developing countries. Until 2020, actions in these countries will have a mostly low cost - and may even bring profits - and must be funded by domestic funds. International financial support of actions that exceed the capability of a country must come from sources such as public funds and international mechanisms for carbon dioxide credits.

    [35] President Papoulias briefed on actions in fire-ravaged regions

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was briefed Wednesday on the action plan of the Observatory for the Reconstruction of areas in Greece ravaged by wildfires in a meeting he had with the presidents of the Technical Chamber of Greece, the Athens Bar Association, the Geotechnical Chamber of Greece and observatory members.

    President Papoulias received them at the Presidential Mansion and congratulated them on their efforts, stressing that the goals they have set are difficult but feasible, pointing out that they will have his unreserved support.

    [36] EU's eMPOWER program partners hold first meeting in Athens

    The first meeting of partners in the EU's 'eMPOWER' program for "empowering citizens to influence the decision-making and policy formulation on environmental issues" was held at the Citivel Hotel in the Athens suburb of Maroussi.

    The eMPOWER program meets the need for expanding how and to what degree informatics and the Internet can contribute to the creation of a more participational system of governance by supporting two-way information and mutual-influencing of citiziens and MPs/MEPs on environmental matters.

    This pilot program will run to end-2010 and is being held simultaneously in four EU member states: Greece, Italy, Portugal and Belgium. it is co-funded by the European Commission in the framework of the European thematic eParticipation initiative.

    The partners from Greece are the Athens Technological Center informatics company, the Athens News Agency (ANA-MPA), the National Technical University (Metsovion Polytechnic) of Athens, and the NGO MedSOS.

    The project eMPOWER aims to motivate and strengthen the involvement of NGOs and citizens in the decision-making process on environmental issues at a National and European level by providing methods and tools for supporting citizens' participation to promote relevant public initiatives and demands of civil society.

    The project brings together three environmental organizations (MedSOS, Circolo Festambiente, Liga para a Proteccao da Natureza) and three News Agencies {Athens News Agency (ANA), Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) & Agencia de Noticias de Portugal (LUSA)} from Greece, Italy, and Portugal, respectively, as well as the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and the not-for-profit POLITECH Institute of Belgium which specializes in research in e-governance issues.

    The project is coordinated by Athens Technology Center S.A (http:www.atc.gr), an IT company based in Athens, Greece. The project began on Jan. 1, 2009 and will run for 2 years.

    The program's partners, as a group, possess the required knowhow to apply technologically innovative ideas and proposals on the environment that will arise from society and NGOs, and through the three national news agencies will contribute to their greater dissemination to the wider public.

    [37] No metro service to airport for six months from mid-February

    Athens metro services from Ethniki Amina Station to Athens airport will be temporarily suspended for six months after February 14, while the construction of a new station at Aghia Paraskevi is underway. During that time, line 3 trains will terminate at Ethniki Amyna station.

    According to Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias, who visited the Metro worksite on Wednesday, commuters will be offered alternative means of transportation in cooperation with the transport and communications ministry during that period.

    "The 6-month interruption of the Metro's operation surely causes various problems to passengers, due to the tragic mistake of having constructed the tunnel without any provision regarding Aghia Paraskevi Station, which is expected to be ready in the summer of 2010," Souflias stated.

    Nomismatokopio Station and Holargos Station are also under construction and will be ready before the end of the year.

    An underground parking area at Nomismatokopio Station, which is being constructed, will be capable of accommodating 630 cars, while a Bus Transfer Station will be created at street level.

    A parking facility with 500 spaces will be constructed at Aghia Paraskevi station as well.

    The construction of Peristeri and Anthoupoli Stations has been completed, meanwhile, as well as the 5.5 km-long extension to Elliniko.

    The construction of Elliniko and Argyroupoli Stations is now in the final stages, while the construction of Ilioupoli and Alimos Stations is proceeding at an intensive pace. The Metro station in Haidari will be ready by the end of the year.

    Souflias stated that a tender for the supply of 17 new Metro trains, amounting to 155 million euros, is currently in progress and the contractor of the new Metro trains is expected to be appointed by April.

    The tender for the Metro extension to the western suburbs, terminating at Piraeus, is also in progress and on Friday, Feb. 13 the companies participating will submit their bids. The 7.6 km-long extension will feature 6 modern stations.

    Meanwhile, studies are rapidly advancing as regards the 20-station Line U (Line 4), in the shape of a horseshoe, which is set to begin from Galatsi, going via Panepistimio Station and the Pangrati area to end up at Maroussi.

    Regarding the Thessaloniki Metro, Souflias stated that problems caused by archaeological findings were being overcome and boring was underway, adding that a tender for the extension to Kalamaria, in the eastern part of the city, will be announced soon.

    [38] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew congratulates new Patriarch of Moscow Kirill

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on Wednesday sent a letter of congratulations to the newly elected Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, expressing certainty that they will have a harmonious cooperation and inviting him to visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    Bartholomew will be represented at the enthronement of the new Patriarch by a three-member delegation comprising Archbishop Irinaios of Crete, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Myra and Metropolitan Ambrose of Korea.

    [39] ADAE calls for more funding, staff

    The head of the country's communications privacy watchdog, the Hellenic Authority for the Information and Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE), on Wednesday complained to Parliament's Institutions and Transparency committee that his agency was both under-funded and under-staffed and that it lacked the resources needed to function effectively.

    ADAE President Andreas Lambrinopoulos said his authority would need at least double its present budget and more than twice the amount of staff in order to do a proper job, while it was also hampered by a complex, inflexible bureaucracy that prevented it from taking prompt action.

    He was also critical of the latest EU regulations on communications privacy, noting that these curtailed human rights.

    [40] Memorial service for the late Archbishop Christodoulos

    Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece officiated at a brief memorial service at the burial site of his predecessor Christodoulos on the first anniversary of the latter's death on Jan. 28, 2008.

    The annual memorial service will be held at the Athens Cathedral on Sunday.

    After the service, the Archbishop Ieronymos praised the work of the late Archbishop. In attendance were both clerics and laity.

    [41] Greek Shipowners Union donates fire-fighting vehicles, mobile medical units

    The Greek Shipowners Union has donated six modern fire-fighting vehicles and 107 mobile medical units to the Fire Brigade and the EKAB medical centre.

    The vehicles were delivered by the Union's president, Nikos Efthymiou, to Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos during a ceremony held at the Zappion Mansion in Athens on Wednesday. The two ministers thanked the Union for its considerable contribution in brief addresses.

    The fire-fighting vehicles and seven mobile medical units were delivered to the Fire Brigade and the remaining 100 mobile medical units to EKAB.

    The ceremony was attended, among others, by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis and Merchant Marine Minister Anastasis Papaligouras.

    [42] Bilingual collection of contemporary Greek poetry

    The presentation of a bilingual collection of contemporary Greek poetry titled Eight Greek poets put together by Ksenija Maricki Gadjanski was held at the Serb news agency Tanjug's International Press Center in Belgrade.

    The collection includes poems by Cavafy, Seferis, Ritsos, Elytis, Engonopoulos, Sahtouris, Anagnostakis and Patrikios.

    The publication is expected to contribute to the further strengthening of the already close cooperation between Greece and the Republic of Serbia taking under consideration that Greece is the honored country in this year's International Belgrade Book Fair, according to the speakers who addressed the event on Tuesday.

    Weather Forecast

    [43] Cloudy, rainy on Thursday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 1C and 15C. Cloudy in Athens with local showers in the afternoon, with northeasterly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 10C to 15C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 4C to 13C.

    [44] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Farmers' mobilisations and the first signs easing off, and the dismantling of a major child pornography ring involving persons above suspicion dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Bargaining with the blockades - After being satisfied with the profits".

    APOGEVMATINI: " 25,000 hirings in public sector - Permanent and seasonal jobs".

    AVGHI: "Shield of social solidarity - Synaspismos party programme on the financial crisis".

    AVRIANI: "All parties in array for general elections battle - Government planning foresees ballots a week before Easter."

    CHORA: "Boiling pot - The country on the verge of a nervous breakdown".

    ELEFTHEROS: "The government, after the benefits without substance to farmers, opened the door of the madhouse".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Deserted country - International isolation, shortage in markets - The closing of borders and ports brings financial suffocation".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "EU intervenes on the 500 million euros: You haven't informed us so as to examine whether the decision is legal."

    ESTIA: "Real estate taxation".

    ETHNOS: "Complications with the farmers support package - The state's Agriculture Insurance Fund (ELGA) objects".

    KATHIMERINI: "First signs of de-escalation - The blockade at Thessaloniki opened and others will follow - EU examining the 500 million euros support package".

    LOGOS: "Government-farmers relations at the extremes ".

    NIKI: "The government is pampering the society - They're leading the country to multiple crisis - Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his Ministers have been ruling for five years from the 'couch'."

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Roads shut to open the farmers' houses".

    TA NEA: "Blue (ruling New Democracy party colour) cracks and non-stop blockades - Farmers in a 'civil war' of statements

    TO VIMA: "Bargaining at the blockades - 48-hour deadline and threats ".

    VRADYNI: "Archimandrite a member of a child pornography ring".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [45] Christofias: We support international law principles on property issue

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has said that during Wednesday's meeting in the framework of direct talks held between him and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, the Greek Cypriot side defended the principles on the property issue supported by the international law, the European Court of Human Rights and that the Turkish Cypriot side outlined its own position.

    Invited to say how the first meeting went, the President said: "as expected".

    Christofias said that each side outlined its positions on how the discussion must take place, the principles on which it considers that the discussion must take place and each side will comment the other one's positions during the next meeting.

    "From there on we will discuss more specifically and we will try to agree the principles on which the problem could be solved," he added.

    Responding to another question, Christofias said that the right to ownership has been accepted by the working groups of both sides and the question now is how this right can be exercised.

    Christofias and Talat have been engaged in direct talks since September last year with a view to reach a settlement to the problem of Cyprus divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

    In a related development, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Taye Brook Zerihoun said on Wednesday, after the meeting between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, that the leaders exchanged papers, which put down the principles that will guide their discussions on property.

    He added that the leaders will meet again on the 4th of February and will present initial reactions to each other's papers.

    [46] Christofias: There is a pending issue for us after Olgac's confession

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    There is a pending issue for the Republic of Cyprus after Turkish actor Attila Olgac's confession that he killed ten Greek Cypriots during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has said.

    Invited to comment statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that his government will not do anything about Olgac's statements since he retracted his confession, claiming he was actually talking about a film scenario, Christofias said that "there is a pending issue for us".

    Asked whether he discussed the issue during the meeting he had on Wednesday with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, in the framework of direct talks for the Cyprus question, Christofias said "this is not an issue between me and Talat. This is an issue between us and Turkey."

    "We did not discuss such an issue and I don't want to involve Talat to these discussions. He is not part of this matter. Here we have an invasion, occupation and crimes which took place during the invasion," he noted and wondered why he should involve Talat to this.

    "Is this an issue between the two communities or an issue of the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey," he wondered.

    The Cypriot government has already decided to raise before the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers Olgac's confession as well as to lodge an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

    Olgac told a live TV show in Turkey that during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus he killed ten Greek Cypriots, one of them a 19-year-old soldier, taken prisoner of war, who was killed in cold blood. Olgac subsequently retracted his confession, claiming he was actually talking about a film scenario.

    On his part, Cyprus Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou has said that the Turkish actor Attila Olgac's confession should be investigated, noting that the fact that he retracted his confession, raises questions.

    Speaking here Wednesday, Kyprianou pointed out that Turkey has to comply with the European Court of Human Rights decision on the 4th inter-state application of the Republic of Cyprus against Turkey, and to contribute and act with a view to shed lights on the circumstances under which the missing persons have disappeared or killed.

    "This is a humanitarian, and not a political issue, and the effort must not be restrained only on the role of the UN Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), which is to identify the remains", he said.

    As regards, Olgac's decision to retract his confession, Kyprianou said that it raises questions on whether "he did it because he was not saying the truth at first place or because he was afraid of the pressure and realised the seriousness of his confession".

    "Whatever is the case, the confession should be investigated", he concluded.

    [47] Olli Rehn:Turkey obliged to cooperate on Missing Persons in Cyprus

    Olli Rehn, EU Enlargement Commissioner has considered the video with the Turkish actor Attila Orgac's confession, "a tragic and shameful story in clear breach of the Geneva Convention", and has pointed out that "Turkey is obliged to ensure effective investigation aimed at clarifying the whereabouts and fate of Greek-Cypriot missing persons who disappeared in life-threatening circumstances".

    In a written statement, Rehn referred to the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights, on the 4th inter-state application of the Republic of Cyprus against Turkey. "It is urgent for Turkey to rapidly follow-up to this judgment in full", he stressed.

    Rehn also noted that "the Commission is aware of the urgency of the issue of missing persons in Cyprus. For the families concerned it is crucial to determine the fate of their beloved ones", he added.

    In the statement, Commissioner Rehn noted that he had an e-mail exchange with the Cypriot Member of the European Parliament Yiannakis Matsis, in which he commented the video of the actor Attila Orgac's confession that he killed in cold blood ten Greek Cypriots during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Rehn considered the video "a tragic and shameful story in clear breach of the Geneva Convention".

    "The facts of the case now need to be established. If confirmed, the story as represented on You Tube would be a breach of the Geneva Convention. In the meantime the Commission continues to support fully the work of the Commission on Missing Persons in Cyprus", Rehn noted.

    The Commissioner also pointed out that the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in Cyprus working under the auspices of the United Nations has done very important work with this regard, in particular through the exhumation and identification programme.

    "The EU has made a substantial financial contribution of 1.5 million Euro to support the work of the Committee," Rehn 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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