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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-08-05

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

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

Wednesday, 5 August 2009 Issue No: 3263

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM confers with European Commissioner for the Environment
  • [02] PM briefed by justice minister
  • [03] Papandreou addresses Fatah con'f
  • [04] Ministry response to PASOK on Euro-election procedural issues
  • [05] Turkish tourist boat checked within Greek territorial waters
  • [06] Minister inaugurates new port in central Greece
  • [07] EU 'Digital Competitiveness' report; figures on Greece
  • [08] Industrial enterprises' profits drop significantly in 2008
  • [09] Prinos oil production triples
  • [10] PPC appointments
  • [11] Slight bourse rise on Tues.
  • [12] ADEX closing report
  • [13] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [14] Authorities probe 2 suspected 'new flu' cases on cruiseship
  • [15] Trio charged in bank robbery, businessman's abduction
  • [16] The magnificent Diros Caves in Laconia
  • [17] Scouts in critical condition after car rams into them
  • [18] Athens eyes green space on lot next to US embassy
  • [19] Queen of Spain visits ancient Olympia
  • [20] ATM and bank robberies in Athens, Patras
  • [21] Drug arrests in N. Greece
  • [22] Two lightly injured by BB guns
  • [23] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [24] UN Envoy on Cyprus cautiously optimistic as talks enter second phase Politics

  • [01] PM confers with European Commissioner for the Environment

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Tuesday in Athens with European Com-missioner Stavros Dimas, who holds the environment portfolio, and discussed the course of negotiations on climate change in view of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

    Dimas stated that the goal is to reach a comprehensive agreement on ways to combat climate change, reduce the temperature on the planet and avert the catastrophic and irreversible consequences of climate change. He also briefed the prime minister on events that will precede the Copenhagen conference focusing on the negotiations scheduled to take place in Bonn in a few days and the meetings of the world leaders on Sept. 22.

    The EU Commissioner expressed hope that the world leaders will work toward an effective agreement and pointed out that the European Union and the European Commission both play a leading role globally, and in cooperation with other international partners, including the United States, "that what science has defined as imperative, namely, an agreement that will reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases" must be achieved.

    The Greek European Commissioner pointed out that the goal set for 2020 is to have a reduction of between 25 pct and 40 pct whereas in 2080 it will be 80 pct for the developed countries and 50 pct globally. He also stressed that supporting the course of the negotiations is very important for the Greek government.

    [02] PM briefed by justice minister

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met Tuesday with Justice Minister Nikos Dendias, a meeting focusing on current legislative initiatives and those scheduled by government, as well as on issues pertaining to the country's correctional system.

    The justice minister stated that he received the prime minister's instruction to speed up the ministry's work.

    Referring to Hellenic Data Protection Authority opinions on the operation of surveillance cameras in urban areas and the establishment of a DNA data bank for convicted felons, Dendias said the government respects the independent watchdog agency but the priority for the government is to more effectively protect the public's security.

    Responding to a press question on an unrelated matter, the justice minister said he had a meeting with the German ambassador to Athens earlier on Tuesday morning and discussed a number of issues, including the extradition of one-time Siemens Hellas chief Mihalis Christoforakos, currently under arrest in Germany in connection with the Siemens bribery and kickbacks investigation in Greece.

    "This is an issue that concerns judicial authorities and not an issue that can become the subject of negotiations or other procedures between central governments," Dendias clarified.

    [03] Papandreou addresses Fatah con'f

    BETHLEHEM (ANA-MPA/C. Drakopoulos)

    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou stressed his party's and the Greek people's solidarity with the "just struggle of the Palestinians", addressing the 6th Fatah conference that opened on Tuesday in Bethlehem.

    The three-day conference is the first to be convened in 20 years. The previous conference took place in Algiers in 1989.

    Papandreou expressed appreciation for the invitation to address the event, and noted the historic bonds between the two peoples, as well as the close ties between his father, PASOK founder and former prime minister Andreas Papandreou, and Yasser Arafat, the late PLO chairman, first president of the Palestinian Authority, and founder of the Fatah movement.

    "Our common values lead us to seeking a united and free Palestine that will be able to live in peace," Papandreou said.

    Posing the question of whether there is hope for resolving the Palestinian issue, Papandreou replied that this hope exists, as was proved by the presence of so many delegates from all parts of the world, while he also recalled new US President Barack Obama's recent address in Cairo, noting that the new US administration was discussing a compromise.

    Papandreou stressed that a solution cannot be achieved through force of arms, while adding that the Palestinians need to "speak with one voice".

    Addressing himself to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Papandreou stressed his support while, turning back to the delegates, he said "we were together, we are together, and we will be together", and expressed hope that "we will find ourselves together in an independent, united, free and peaceful Palestinian state".

    Papandreou also had a bilateral meeting with Abbas, with whom he discussed developments in Israel and the wider region, as well as the Obama administration's foreign policy. He also conveyed to Abbas greetings from Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Papandreou further met with the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

    [04] Ministry response to PASOK on Euro-election procedural issues

    "The fundamental rules of parliamentary procedure and government ministry jurisdiction on election procedural issues are being ignored or being intentionally overlooked based on the statement issued by main opposition PASOK political council member Dinos Rovlias," an interior ministry announcement stated on Tuesday.

    The comment was made in response to a comment by Rovlias, who accused the government of refusing to brief Parliament on the absences of returning board members recorded in the last European Parliament elections. Roblias accused the government of "dealing irresponsibly with a very serious problem that is directly linked with holding a flawless election process."

    [05] Turkish tourist boat checked within Greek territorial waters

    The Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy Ministry issued on Tuesday night a statement by Greece's Port Authority Chief Theodoros Rendzeperis regarding a Turkish tourist boat that entered the Greek territorial waters, in the south-eastern Aegean region, earlier in the afternoon.

    "Around 17:35 hours today, a Turkish tourist boat was spotted sailing within Greek territorial waters and precisely in the sea region near the island of Ro," the statement said.

    "The usual police control was made of the boat, named PONY. Four persons, apart the skipper, were found travelling on board, all Turkish nationals who declared themeslves as journalists working for the I.H.A TV Station.

    "After completion of the control and notification for immidiate departure from the Greek territorial watres, the boat sailed around 18:10 hours," the stetement added.

    Financial News

    [06] Minister inaugurates new port in central Greece

    Merchant Marine Minister Anastassios Papaligouras inaugurated on Tuesday the port of Agiokampos in the Larissa prefecture, central Greece.

    "The Karamanlis government transforms the country's port infrastructure aiming at facilitating the local population's and visitors's life as well as reinforcing development," Papaligouras said. With the new port, the minister added, the broader region's needs are satisfied more effectively, while the perspective opens for connecting by sea central Greece with Halkidiki, the Sporades islands and Evia.

    [07] EU 'Digital Competitiveness' report; figures on Greece

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)

    The European Commission on Tuesday unveiled its new "Digital Competitiveness Report", reportedly showing that the continent's digital sector making "strong progress" since 2005.

    Specifically, for Greece, the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) report states:

    "Greece has experienced good progress in the area of broadband over recent years. However, the information society in Greece is still lagging behind in comparison to general developments in the EU. Scores for the eBusiness dimension are around the European average, but for all other indicators, there is a serious gap between Greece and the large majority of other countries. To fill the gap, Greece has been implementing an ambitious 'Digital Strategy 2006-2013' plan, aiming to perform a "Digital Leap to Productivity and Quality of life", by leveraging EU Structural Funds.

    The Digital Strategy comprises two main objectives: enhanced business productivity through the use of ICT; and improved quality of life through ICT. Particular emphasis has been given to increase digital literacy among students and the younger generation through projects to encourage access to broadband ('Diodos'), to subsidise the purchase of laptops of top ranking first year students ('See your life digitally'), an education-focused initiative (starting in 2009) to provide laptops to school pupils aimed at getting them acquainted with new technologies early on

    ('Digital Classroom'), and certified training courses for all students ('e-ducate').

    In comparison to the situation five years ago, Greece's performance in broadband has improved significantly thanks to the implementation of the electronic communications regulatory framework and of the "Broadband Action Plan" that used Structural Funds to stimulate broadband investments and extend coverage in Greek regions. Total DSL coverage increased from 9% (in 2004) to 88% in 2008, DSL coverage in rural areas rose from 0% to 55%, and take up reaches 13.4% of the population, up from 0.5%. Despite good progress over 2007, households' connectivity remains low and stands at only half of the European average. Connectivity of enterprises is somewhat better, but still significantly lower than for most EU Member States.

    Mobile broadband is emerging."

    Internet usage

    "In Greece, a third of the population uses the internet regularly, 23% are frequent users and 56% have never used the internet. The country also consistently ranks as one of those with the lowest use of various internet services. Most internet users are active in sending emails and looking for information on goods and services. Looking up information for the purpose of learning, reading online news papers and downloading/listening to/watching music and/or films are also popular activities among Greek internet users.

    "The availability of eGovernment services, for citizens and enterprises, in Greece is below the EU average, though it has grown substantially in recent years. Take up of eGovernment services by citizens is very low and has not shown much improvement. By contrast, at 78%, take up by enterprises is high, 10 p.p. above the EU average."

    ICTs in the economy

    "No significant progress has been made over the years in terms of eCommerce. The situation is far more positive for eBusiness, where scores are in line with the European average. Only the use of e-invoices is significantly behind.

    Information on the impact of ICTs on the Greek economy is limited with no information available on size and growth of the ICT sector. Indicators on ICT exports and eSkills have stabilised over time and remain among the lowest in Europe."

    The entire country-by-country report can be accessed at http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/docs/annual_report/2009/sec_2009_1060_vol_2.pdf

    [08] Industrial enterprises' profits drop significantly in 2008

    Greek industrial enterprises' profits dropped 56 pct in 2008, according to a Stat Bank survey released on Tuesday. The study was based on a sample of 1,725 of the most important production enterprises in the country (based on sales) who had published financial results by Aug. 3, 2009.

    Profits plummeted as a result of a considerable increase in costs, borrowing costs in particular, that had a major impact on industry's finances, while the overall sales of companies in question increased by 10.4 pct.

    The significant drop in profits corresponds to three months of global crisis (the last quarter of 2008) and will be greater in the current year as result of the ongoing global crisis, according to the Stat Bank.

    [09] Prinos oil production triples

    Aegean Energy S.A, the major stockholder of Kavala Oil, on Tuesday announced that oil production rose to 3,000 barrels a day following the successful completion of drilling for a new well at the Prinos North Field, the longest well ever drilled in Greek waters.

    The well, an investment of more than 38 million euros, was drilled by the Jack-up Rig Energy Exerter of Northern Offshore to a total measured depth of 4,370 meters over the course of 135 days.

    Aegean Energy also announced that it planning the first drilling on the Epsilon field. The first drilling will have a total depth of 5,500 metres and is scheduled to begin production in September 2009.

    The company employs 280 people and the new oil reservoirs, Prinos North Field and Epsilon, are located in Kavala Bay, 4.3 nautical miles west of the island of Thassos.

    [10] PPC appointments

    The Public Power Corp. S.A. (PPC S.A.) on Tuesday announced that Dimitris Lappas, general manager of the power utility's west Macedonia district since May 1, 2008, was appointed general manager of mining operations, and will assume his post on Sept. 1. Additionally, Yiannis Kopanakis will take over as general manager of power generation on Sept. 1, 2009.

    [11] Slight bourse rise on Tues.

    Stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday at the Athens Stock Exchange with the composite index of the market gaining 0.42 pct to end at 2,434.02 points. Turnover was a low 215.1 million euros, of which 11.8 million were block trades.

    Sector indices moved mostly upward with Financials (2.49 pct), Constructions (2.09 pct) and Health (1.22 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day. Telecoms (2 pct) and Mass Media (1.22 pct) recorded the biggest losses.

    The FTSE 20 index ended 0.84 pct up, the FTSE 40 index 0.44 pct down and the FTSE 80 rose 0.60 percent.

    From the stocks moved, 124 ended up, 107 declined and 41 remained unchanged

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +0.64%

    Industrials: -0.39%

    Commercial: +0.02%

    Construction: +2.09%

    Media: -1.22%

    Oil & Gas: +0.91%

    Personal & Household: -0.53%

    Raw Materials: -1.07%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.42%

    Technology: +0.92%

    Telecoms: -2.00%

    Banks: +1.20%

    Food & Beverages: +0.68%

    Health: +1.22%

    Utilities: -0.84%

    Chemicals: unchanged

    Financial Services: +2.49%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Singularlogic, Alpha Bank and Marfin Popular Bank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 10.08

    ATEbank: 1.69

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.74

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.35

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.35

    National Bank of Greece: 21.00

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.95

    Intralot: 4.53

    OPAP: 17.13

    OTE: 10.78

    Bank of Piraeus: 8.84

    Titan: 22.08

    [12] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a small premium 0.17% in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover falling to 44.701 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,133 contracts worth 32.145 million euros, with 24,389 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 18,357 contracts worth 12.556 million euros, with investment interest focusing on MIG's contracts (4,198) followed by Marfin Popular Bank (3,947), Piraeus Bank (1,402), Alpha Bank (1,250), National Bank (1,237) and OTE (1,222).

    [13] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.449

    Pound sterling 0.855

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 10.386

    Japanese yen 137.31

    Swiss franc 1.540

    Norwegian kroner 8.773

    Canadian dollar 1.549

    Australian dollar 1.725

    General News

    [14] Authorities probe 2 suspected 'new flu' cases on cruiseship

    Two cruiseship passengers remained in quarantine in their quarters on Tuesday aboard the Malta-flagged vessel, after exhibiting symptoms resembling those of novel influenza, Greek authorities announced.

    The vessel, identified as the "Celebrity Solstice", docked at the port of Piraeus early Monday morning after arriving from a port in Turkey and was scheduled to depart on Tuesday for Italy. Port authorities and health officials were notified of the two cases some time on Monday, the first involving an eight-year-old girl from the Netherlands and the other a 23-year-old Chinese crewmember.

    Individuals that roomed with the two ailing persons were also requested to remain in quarantine.

    The cruiseship carries 3,057 guests and 1,253 crewmembers.

    In a later development, relevant Piraeus prefecture health authorities allowed the disembarking of passengers wishing to go sightseeing in the greater Athens-Piraeus area on Tuesday afternoon, following assurances by the cruiseship's captain and the vessel's chief physician that no other suspected instances of "new flu", the former "swine flu", were reported on board the multi-storey ship.

    [15] Trio charged in bank robbery, businessman's abduction

    Three accused kidnappers were led before a judicial magistrate in Thessaloniki on Tuesday on banker robbery and abduction for ransom charges.

    The trio was arrested after one of the men reported his motorcycle as stolen, the same two-wheeler left behind by a bank robber during a getaway on July 31 in the moments just after a robbery of a post office in the Oreokastro district outside Thessaloniki, northern Greece.

    The three suspects, 28, 31 and 34, are also implicated in the kidnapping of a businessman on July 8, 2009 from the Melissohori district. The 33-year-old victim was later released after relatives paid a ransom, reportedly some 20,000 euros.

    [16] The magnificent Diros Caves in Laconia

    The magnificent Diros Caves in the Mani, Laconia prefecture, are a system of three imposing caverns formed by an underground river located just 4 kilometers from the village of Diros.

    Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts found in the caves indicate that they were one of the earliest inhabited places in Greece, and many of the artifacts are on display in the Diros Neolithic Museum situated at the entrance of the cave. in the village of Diros just 4 kilometers away.

    The caves feature beautiful formations of glistening stalagmites and stalactites of varying shapes and sizes, while the incredible colors and textures that have naturally developed over thousands of years by rain water penetrating the calcium carbonate in the rock are artfully highlighted by halogen lights.

    The complex comprises three caves: Vlychada (or Glyphada, from the river of the same name that flows into the cave, which widens in some parts and becomes a lake) and the only one of the caves open to the public, with tours on small boats; Alepotripa, 200 m. east of Glyphada; and Kataphygi, 500 m. on the left side of the road leading to the first two caves. Archaeological exploration of the caves has turned up important findings dating to the Paleolithic and Neolithic times.

    Regarded as one of the most beautiful lake caves in the world, Glyphada Cave's existence has been known since 1900, but it was first explored in 1949 by Ioannis and Anna Petrohilos. Fossils have been discovered in its interior of animals that existed 2 million years ago, including prehistoric ox and hippopotamus bones. The extent of the case is 33,400 sq. meters, while just 5,000 meters of its passages have been explored. The boat ride takes visitors on an unforgettable journey through a series of chambers and arches with such names as First Room, Dead City, the Crossroad of the Nereids, the Lake of Ocean Nymphs, the Pink and White Room, and the Big Ocean.

    Alepotripa was accidentally discovered in 1958 and subsequently explored by the Petrohilos couple. The finds unearthed give evidence of life in the cave 6,000 years ago. The cave extends over 6,500 sq. meters, of which 600 sq. meters are land and the rest is covered by the waters of the underground river connecting the three caves. Bone and rock tools, human bones, primitive weapons and vessels have been discovered there, and are on display in the Diros Neolithic Museum and in the Museum of nearby Sparta.

    Kataphygi has an area of 2,700 sq. meters, with passages extending over 700 meters. Prehistoric human bones have also been found here, while in more recent history the cave was used by locals as a hideaway during the Ottoman rule.

    The caves served as places of worship in the Paleolithic and Neolithic times, and were thought to be one of the entrances to the Underworld.

    [17] Scouts in critical condition after car rams into them

    Two boy scouts and one girl scout, aged 11-13, were in critical condition in a hospital on Crete on Tuesday after a car rammed into a group of 15 scouts and their two adult escorts who were waiting at a bus stop the previous afternoon.

    The incident occurred in Makry Gyalo, Ierapetra prefecture, when a car, driven by a 20-year-old foreign national, attempted to overtake a motorcycle. The car crashed into the motorcycle, and both vehicles in turn smashed into the bus stop outside the Koutsoura woods, injuring 11 of the scouts and their two escorts.

    The group of scouts was waiting for the bus to return home to the town of Ierapetra.

    The rest of the children were lightly injured and released after receiving first aid at the Heraklion University Hospital, but the three critically injured children are hospitalised in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

    The young girl was said by doctors to be in extremely critical condition, with extensive head wounds, while the two boys have multiple fractures. All three are under heavy sedation.

    The driver of the car was arrested.

    [18] Athens eyes green space on lot next to US embassy

    The city of Athens on Tuesday commenced work to create a new "green space" on the tract of land bordering the west side of the US embassy compound, located on Gelonos street.

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis toured the 5,500-sq.m lot on Tuesday, which belongs to the Civil Servants Fund.

    Municipal landscaping and greenery department crews planted a total of 55 trees and began preparations for the installation of an underground automatic watering system, according to a municipality press release.

    The planting programme will re-commence in September with the placement of bushes and various other plants.

    [19] Queen of Spain visits ancient Olympia

    Queen Sophia of Spain, accompanied by members of the royal family, visited on Tuesday ancient Olympia.

    Queen Sophia, currently in Greece for holidays, was met at the site by Western Greece Secretary General Spyros Spyridon and Ancient Olympia Mayor George Aidonis. A guided tour was offered to the queen by archeologist Georgia Hatzi.

    [20] ATM and bank robberies in Athens, Patras

    Three armed men robbed a security company employee on Tuesday as the latter was supplying with cash a National Bank of Greece ATM in the region of Palea Fokia, in Anavyssos, greater Athens region.

    The unidentified gunmen took the money destined for the cash machine and sped off on two motorcycles.

    In a separate incident, a man was arrested in Patras, southern Greece, as a suspect in a robbery earlier on Tuesday at an Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATEBank) branch.

    The suspect managed to flee with an undetermined amount of money after threatening bank employees and customers with a gun. One of the employees called the police and shortly afterwards an individual was arrested as a suspect in the robbery.

    [21] Drug arrests in N. Greece

    Two foreign nationals, aged 35 and 36, were arrested on Monday along the Florina-Edessa national highway and in Kozani, northern Greece for possessing 16.2 kilos of hashish, which they intended to sell.

    [22] Two lightly injured by BB guns

    Two men were lightly injured by BB guns in separate incidents in the early hours of Tuesday in downtown Thessaloniki.

    The victims, aged 43 and 18, were shot by the air gun as they were crossing the Egnatia Odos motorway in the center of Thessaloniki, at different hours.

    Both men received first aid treatment in hospital, after which they informed the police authorities of the incidents.

    [23] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The economy and speculation on early elections, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The 'gay' dominate the Greek TV series' and personnel".

    APOGEVMATINI: "PASOK leader George Papandreou is unfair on the economy, early elections and Presidential election".

    AVGHI: "Labour accidents' virus".

    AVRIANI: "Head-on collision over economy and elections".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Panic at the extremes over the new flu virus".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Government-PASOK clash on the economy".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Government states that it will not impose an extraordinary contribution on business enterprises".

    ESTIA: "No one pays attention to the international reports on the Greek economy".

    ETHNOS: "The base passing grade for university entry skyrocketed".

    KATHIMERINI: "Worry over the state revenues - Government, PASOK clash".

    NIKI: "The country facing the danger of bankruptcy".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Two workers died on the altar of profit - Capital's new crime against the working class".

    TA NEA: "Major re-evaluations together with ridiculous 'decreases' in food prices".

    TO VIMA: "Economy's striptease - How the public deficit doubled".

    VRADYNI: "Think of the consequences - Market sternly opposed to prospective new taxes".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [24] UN Envoy on Cyprus cautiously optimistic as talks enter second phase

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer reiterated on Tuesday that he is cautiously optimistic the negotiation process aiming to a Cyprus solution can succeed, as talks enter the second phase of the process, on September 3, 2009, one year after the commencement of UN-led direct talks.

    In statements after meeting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias at the Presidential Palace, Downer said ''we are coming to the end of what it is sometimes called the first reading of the chapters of the negotiations.''

    ''It depends above all on the leaders, the good will and support of the leaders and the people. If the leaders and the people want a solution then anything can be achieved, if people don't want a solution it won't happen,'' Downer said, adding ''but the leaders have good will and they want a solution so we look forward to the next meeting on Thursday.''

    Asked when the talks will enter the second reading, Downer said that the second reading will begin ''almost certainly'' on September 3.

    Asked whether this phase will be shorter, Downer said the second reading ''doesn't have a defined finishing date,'' adding ''I always say we need in this process momentum.''

    He noted that ''when the leaders get to the second reading we will see how they go and how the issues are handled and what problems will arise, I suppose we can anticipate a lot of that, a lot of questions that will have to be debated.''

    ''I have no illusions that it will be easy, this isn't an easy process but in any case the important thing is they maintain the momentum,'' he pointed out.

    Replying to a question whether the second reading will be tougher, Downer said noted that some issues have been dealt with and that there is a degree of convergence on a number of matters, noting that ''as you move on you are dealing with more and more with the issues of divergence and the challenge is to reach convergence on all issues across the board.''

    ''So presumably logic tells you that the leaders will leave the hardest issues to resolve to last, logic tells you that. That is inevitable, I suppose, in any international or national negotiation,'' he noted.

    Replying to a question on the tender on Limnitis road, Downer said that the UN is working on the issue and holds talks with the two sides about how the tender will work, adding none of that is being concluded yet.

    So far, President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat had 39 meetings under the auspices of the UN covering all six chapters of the process, namely, Governance and power-sharing, EU matters, territory, property, Security and economic matters. On Thursday, Christofias and Talat will have their 40th meeting, expected to be the last of the first reading phase. Leaders will resume talks on September 3 after the summer break.

    Cyprus, an EU member-state since May 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

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


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