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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Saturday, 5 September 2009 Issue No: 3289


  • [01] PM chairs ministerial committee on the economy
  • [02] Papandreou meets heads of renewable energy, tourism enterprises federations
  • [03] SYN-SYRIZA fail to agree on who should lead the coalition
  • [04] Inverview: LAOS spokesman
  • [05] Former minister Voulgarakis not a candidate in upcoming elections
  • [06] German high court blocks Christoforakos' extradition
  • [07] Deputy FM meets with S. Africa Heritage Council delegation
  • [08] Minister briefed on security measures for TIF
  • [09] Laptops for high school after Oct. 1 finance ministry announces
  • [10] Stocks end 0.46% up
  • [11] ADEX closing report
  • [12] Greek bond market closing report
  • [13] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [14] ANA-MPA donates relief to unemployed journalists in lieu of TIF pavilion
  • [15] Attica police bust human trafficking ring
  • [16] Fire destroys abandoned building in downtown Athens
  • [17] Arrests for attack on Greek embassy in Belgrade
  • [18] Four arrested in Exarchia violence
  • [19] British tourist killed in hiking accident
  • [20] Greek Consulate in Istanbul provides 'iftar' meal for moslems
  • [21] Fair on Saturday
  • [22] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [23] Downer has constructive meeting with Christofias
  • [24] Spokesman: Turkey has no right to intervene
  • [25] House President: Turkey's moves indicate future stance
  • [26] China to continue supporting efforts for Cyprus solution Politics

  • [01] PM chairs ministerial committee on the economy

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday chaired the Ministerial Committee for the Economy, which discussed economic issues in preparation for the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) and the prime minister traditionally annual address on economic policy.

    Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said that the government had already stated its intention to carry out bold structural changes and reforms that would benefit the country in the long term, adding that Greece could not wait.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias fielded questions regarding the criticism levelled against him for proposing early elections from members of the ruling party. Souflias stressed that the interests of the party must coincide with the interests of the country, while adding that an extended pre-election climate leading up to the presidential elections in March were not likely to benefit ND, given that PASOK intended to force elections by refusing to cooperate in the election of a president in March.

    [02] Papandreou meets heads of renewable energy, tourism enterprises federations

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday held consecutive meetings with the federation of renewable energy sources (RES) companies and the tourism enterprises federation (SETE), two days after a snap election was declared and later scheduled for Oct. 4.

    In the first meeting, Papandreou was briefed by well-known energy sector executive Dimitris Kopelouzos, who heads the RES federation, with the latter stating that he told Papandreou that a significant reduction in red tape is necessary to promote RESs in the country.

    Afterwards, following his meeting with Papandreou, SETE president Nikos Angelopoulos said his group outlined a series of proposals for "structural changes" in the tourism sector.

    [03] SYN-SYRIZA fail to agree on who should lead the coalition

    Despite a marathon session that ended late on Friday evening, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) secretariat failed to reach agreement on who should lead the left-wing alliance to the upcoming elections on October 4.

    The only thing agreed on by the time the meeting wrapped up was the necessity to reach an agreement by Saturday afternoon.

    Both current SYRIZA leader Alekos Alavanos and the head of the main party in the alliance, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) president Alexis Tsipras, were present during a stormy session, in which the deep divisions within SYRIZA were painfully apparent.

    Tsipras had come to the meeting armed with a decision taken by SYN's Political Secretariat the day before, which stated that the leader of SYRIZA must also be SYN's president, or in other words Tsipras himself.

    The other elements in SYRIZA were unanimous in rejecting SYN's proposal, however, and counter-proposed that Alavanos - a former president of SYN that had voluntarily stepped down in favour of Tsipras - should again lead the party coalition, with an organisational conference by SYRIZA six months down the line to decided on its organisational structure.

    SYN's Political Secretariat is carrying out another meeting on Friday evening to take a final decisions.

    [04] Inverview: LAOS spokesman

    The Greek people are at the end of their tolerance, Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) spokesman Costas Aivaliotis said in an exclusive interview with ANA-MPA, adding that what was important was not a strong mandate, but who the mandate goes to.

    Aivaliotis added that he did not believe a self-sufficient government will emerge from the October 4 early general elections.

    He further said that ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK cadres were "parading through the LAOS headquarters", adding that 'surprises' should be expected.

    Asked whether LAOS would collaborate in the formation of a coalition government, Aivaliotis rplied that "in a democracy, there are no impasses".

    [05] Former minister Voulgarakis not a candidate in upcoming elections

    Former minister and Athens A' constituency deputy of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party George Voulgarakis has addressed a letter to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, announcing his withdrawal from the upcoming elections on October 4.

    "At this historic conjuncture in particular when the party is waging a crucial struggle for national interest and the future of our homeland, all of us Neodemocrats must join our forces and struggle for victory," he said in his letter.

    "I shall not be a candidate in these elections, saying a big no to the cannibalism of political life, the rewarding of cynicism and of political maneating," Voulgarakis also said in his letter.

    [06] German high court blocks Christoforakos' extradition

    A Supreme Court prosecutor on Friday briefed Justice Minister Nikos Dendias over a decision by Germany's constitutional court to overrule a lower appeals court's judgment to extradite former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos to Greece, who is wanted by Greek judicial authorities over his alleged involvement in the Siemens bribery and kickbacks probe.

    [07] Deputy FM meets with S. Africa Heritage Council delegation

    Deputy foreign minister Theodoros Kassimis on Friday met with a visiting three-member delegation of South Africa's Heritage Council, which is in Athens to discuss practical steps aimed at promoting bilateral cultural relations.

    The delegation members expressed their utmost satisfaction with the scheduled contacts arranged by the Foreign Ministry in association with the South African Embassy in Athens.

    On his part, Kassimis assured them of Greece's readiness to respond to their proposals, underlining the importance attributed by both countries to the return of major cultural items located outside of Greece's borders

    Financial News

    [08] Minister briefed on security measures for TIF

    Alternate Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis on Friday underlined that Greek authorities were making coordinated efforts to bring terrorist groups to justice, while pointing out the serious difficulties that hampered the task. The minister made the statements in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, where the Northern Greece Police leadership had earlier briefed him on the security measures for the 74th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) beginning on Saturday.

    "A very great and coordinated effort is being made to uncover the terrorists and bring them to Justice. You understand that you are not dealing with people that commit their crimes in the light. They act in the dark and without a cause: blind hits. This hampers the work of the authorities," Markoyiannakis said.

    He pointd out that various terrorist groups had appeared since November 17 was dismantled but expressed confidence that the culprits would be caught and made to answer for their actions.

    Regarding planned rallies organised by trade unions to coincide with TIF, the minister said he was certain that trade unions would have the maturity to keep any demonstration within bounds, adding that the Greek Police (ELAS) were prepared to take measures to prevent excesses that would mar the image of the trade fair and the country.

    According to the Northern Greece Police General Inspector Stergios Apostolidis, more than 2,500 police officers will be deployed in the city and the streets around TIF during the next two days, with four public prosecutors on standby. Police will also bar entry to the grounds of Thessaloniki University, where rules of asylum apply.

    Apostolidis appealed to the organisers and participants in the weekend demonstrations and rallies to help avert incidents of violence.

    [09] Laptops for high school after Oct. 1 finance ministry announces

    The finance ministry on Friday announced that parents will be able to obtain state-subsidised lap-tops for children beginning highschool from the shop of their choice after October 1. The ministry noted that the "Digital Class" programme, under which lap-tops will be distributed to 126,000 pupils entering the first year of high school, will go ahead as planned and without any changes to its content or scheduling.

    The ministry announcement said that letters and coupons for buying the computers will be distributed to parents when high schools open for classes in September.

    It also clarified that retailers are obliged to ensure that the required software, a total of 16 educational programmes, are pre-installed and that the lap-tops are accompanied by the set books for all classes of high school. The lap-tops are envisaged to be immediately usable as an educational tool at home and at school, without the parents or pupils having to take any additional technical action.

    Information regarding the programme is also available at the website

    [10] Stocks end 0.46% up

    Greek stocks ended higher on the last trading session of a negative week in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday. The composite index ended 2.425.23 points, down 0.46 pct, but off the day's lows. Turnover was a moderate 195.8 million euros, of which 11.7 million euros were block trades.

    Sector indices ended mixed, with the Media (21.90 pct), Technology (5.80 pct) and Telecommunications (4.36 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Health (2.73 pct), Personal/Home Products (1.66 pct) and Insurance (1.33 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.29 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.12 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 1.99 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 154 to 63 with another 37 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.33%

    Industrials: +2.11%

    Commercial: +1.26%

    Construction: +1.68%

    Media: +21.90%

    Oil & Gas: +1.11%

    Personal & Household: -1.66%

    Raw Materials: +0.88%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.20%

    Technology: +5.80%

    Telecoms: +4.36%

    Banks: -0.79%

    Food & Beverages: -0.24%

    Health: -2.73%

    Utilities: +1.00%

    Chemicals: +1.50%

    Financial Services: +1.55%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Public Power Corporation (DEH) and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

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

    Alpha Bank: 11.50

    ATEbank: 1.53

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.25

    HBC Coca Cola: 15.60

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.33

    National Bank of Greece: 21.81

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.64

    Intralot: 4.36

    OPAP: 16.80

    OTE: 11.00

    Bank of Piraeus: 10.49

    Titan: 20.80

    [11] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.35 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover shrinking to 53.218 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,835 contracts worth 37.187 million euros, with 23,452 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 19,595 contracts, worth 16.031 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Intracom's contracts (3,871), followed by OTE (3,635), OPAP (1,443), National Bank (1,780), GEK (1,162), Marfin Popular Bank (1,619), Intralot (879), Piraeus Bank (712), Hellenic Postbank (653), Eurobank (573) and PPC (623).

    [12] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened further to 142 basis points, the highest level in the last six weeks, in the Greek electronic secondary bond market. Turnover in the market was 2.128 billion euros, of which 1.133 billion euros were buy orders and the remaining 995 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.3 billion euros. The Greek bond was yielding 4.65 pct and the German Bund 3.223 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were slightly lower. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.29 pct, the six-month rate 1.07 pct, the three-month rate 0.80 pct and the one-month rate 0.47 pct.

    [13] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.437

    Pound sterling 0.878

    Danish kroner 7.503

    Swedish kroner 10.366

    Japanese yen 133.51

    Swiss franc 1.527

    Norwegian kroner 8.676

    Canadian dollar 1.570

    Australian dollar 1.705

    General News

    [14] ANA-MPA donates relief to unemployed journalists in lieu of TIF pavilion

    ANA-MPA, Greece's national news agency, has decided not to host a pavilion at this year's 74th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) and to donate the money instead to unemployed journalists.

    A check for 10,000 euros from ANA-MPA was on Friday presented to the board of the Macedonia-Thrace Union of Journalists (ESIEM-TH) by deputy interior minister for media issues Constantine Gioulekas,.

    "I am pleased that my term in office is ending with this symbolic but also substantive gesture, boosting the media sector which has not remained untouched by the (global) financial crisis," Gioulekas said.

    ESIEM-TH president Makis Voitsidis thanked both Gioulekas and ANA-MPA director general George Tambakopoulos, who accompanied the deputy minister to the ESIEM-TH offices.

    [15] Attica police bust human trafficking ring

    The Attica Aliens department on Friday announced the bust of a ring of human traffickers that had kept nine illegal immigrants imprisoned in an underground garage in Menidi for five months in order to force their families to pay additional money for bringing them to Greece.

    The unlucky victims, eight from Pakistan and one from Bangladesh, were subjected to daily beatings, sexual abuse and threats that they would be killed unless their families paid at least 2,000-4,000 euros more than the original sum of 7,000 euros that had been agreed on.

    The case was uncovered on Thursday afternoon when Attica police arrested five members of the ring, while another four are still being sought.

    The suspects placed under arrest include four Greek nationals, two men aged 57 and 36 years old, respectively, and two women aged 55 and 33 years old, and a 28-year-old Iraqi. Along with the four now sought by police, the ring picked up illegal immigrants arriving by boat from Turkey and shut them up in various houses around Attica, demanding money for their release.

    The nine people imprisoned in the garage had arrived five months earlier in a private truck and were arrested for illegally entering Greece. All the parties arrested were led before a public prosecutor on Friday.

    [16] Fire destroys abandoned building in downtown Athens

    An abandoned three-storey building went up in flames at dawn Friday off Omonia Square in central Athens, attributed to negligence possibly by drug users.

    According to fire department officials, the fire that erupted quickly assumed immense proportions and totally destroyed the building, while it also spread to a shop in an adjacent building.

    More than 30 firefighters with 10 fire engines battled the blaze, and rescued three drug users who had taken shelter in the abandoned building. The three were taken to hospital with respiratory problems.

    Also, two firemen were injured during the operation, and were taken to a nearby military hospital.

    The blaze was finally contained at 8:45 a.m., while the causes of the fire were being investigated.

    [17] Arrests for attack on Greek embassy in Belgrade

    The Serb police have arrested four young men and a 19-year-old woman as suspects in the arson attack on the building housing the Greek embassy in Belgrade on August 25, the Serb interior ministry announced, according to a Tanjung agency dispatch from Belgrade.

    The five are suspects in international terrorism together with another person who is still at large, the announcement added.

    The announcement also mentions that on August 25 the suspects wrote slogans on the wall of the Greek embassy's building in Belgrade and then hurled two firebombs.

    [18] Four arrested in Exarchia violence

    Four people were arrested at dawn Friday in the Exarchia district of downtown Athens, for involvement in an attack on police officers.

    The four, aged between 21 and 29, were part of a group of some 50 individuals who made repeated attacks on a MAT riot police team near the former headquarters of main opposition PASOK party on Harilou Trikoupi street that started at 1:40 a.m..

    The group made repeated attacks with home-made firebombs (molotov cocktails), bottles, rocks and other objects against the MAT team, injuring three police officers and causing damage to two police cars.

    The police responded with tear gas, after which the group of attackers set fire to garbage dumpsters they had piled up as road blocks on surrounding streets.

    Two of the detainees, who were taken in for questioning at security police headquarters, claimed they had been injured during the disturbances and were taken to hospital. One of the two was hospitalised while the second detainee was returned to the police lock-up facility after medical examinations were conducted.

    [19] British tourist killed in hiking accident

    A 22-year-old Briton died as a result of a fall onto rocks while hiking on Mount Olympus in Greece, after sustaining severe injuries to his head and other parts of his body. The young student had been attempting a 700-metre climb up the mountain with a 21-year-old fellow student from Greece.

    The young man died in the ambulance that was taking him to hospital at dawn on Friday, following an all-night rescue operation by teams sent from the Litohoro fire brigade and the Thessaloniki 2nd Hellenic Rescue Team (EMAK), as well as members of the Litohoro Mountain Climbing Society and volunteer rescue workers.

    The police are conducting an inquiry into the causes of the accident.

    [20] Greek Consulate in Istanbul provides 'iftar' meal for moslems

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    The Greek General Consulate hosted the leadership of Western Thrace moslems living in Turkey, at an event held at the Sismanoglio Mansion.

    Greek Consul Vassilis Bornovas provided the traditional "iftar" meal that signals the end of the day's fasting during the Ramadan month. This tradition is very important for every moslem community.

    More than 10,000 citizens of Western Thrace origin currently live in Turkey and they are mainly established in Istanbul.

    Greek citizenship is valued since it provides considerable advantages, particularly towards the European Union.

    The representatives of the Western Thrace moslems from Bursa invited the General Consul to visit their societies and he promised to respond immediately after the "bayram" to their appeal.

    Weather Forecast

    [21] Fair on Saturday

    Fair weather and variable winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 2-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 15C and 36C. Fair in Athens, with variable 2-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 21C to 36C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 20C to 33C.

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

    The political parties' preparations for the snap general elections that have been set for October 4 dominated the front-page headlines in Friday's newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "All together in the (elections) battle - The picture at (Thursday's) Cabinet meeting was encouraging".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Why Karamanlis (should be re-elected) - Editorial".

    AVGHI: "Outlet to the Left - Karamanlis and Papandreou (main opposition PASOK leader) hiding their 'morning after' agendas and rigging pre-electoral 'theater' on TV".

    AVRIANI: "Government of broad acceptance in order to avert bankruptcy - Cry of despair from the commerce sector".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "A PASOK return to power is a nightmare for the (ruling ND) rank and file) - The only hope for ND is rallying of its voters".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Civil strife in ND over the elections, as Karamanlis asks that no one loses their nerve".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Heavy climate in ND - 'United' in the Waterloo".

    ESTIA: "The danger of the country being left ungoverned - Limited possibilities of self-sufficient majority".

    ETHNOS: "Resounding withdrawal by Liapis (ND minister and MP, and a cousin of Karamanlis, who announced he would not run for parliament in the Oct. 4 elections), with warning of crushing defeat".

    KATHIMERINI: "Quandaries and low profiles - Karamanlis' and Papandreou's strategies for the elections - New internal front in ND with Liapis".

    LOGOS: "The proclamation of early elections with the national interest as the criterion".

    NIKI: "Voice of the people (referring to PASOK's rally at the Thissio in Athens on Thursday night)".

    PARASKEVI+13 (weekly): "Responsible decision, with high risk - Elections on October 4 - Test for the entire political system".

    PARASKINIO (weekly): "He did not abide by any of the recommendations (from his cadres) - Karamanlis took the entire burden upon himself and decided (early) elections".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Action for a stronger KKE".

    SFINA (weekly): "Who he's cutting from the candidate lists - Karamanlis' personal wager and the 'morning after' for ND".

    TA NEA: "Cousin 'fratricide' and dissolution in ND - Campaign premiere with backstabbings".

    TO VIMA: "Bits and pieces - Wave of defeatism dissolving ND - Unrest in the party organisations, disappointment with MPs and cadres".

    VRADYNI: "He (Karamanlis) cast off the weights - On to the battle, with self-confidence and 'clean' candidate tickets".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [23] Downer has constructive meeting with Christofias


    The top UN envoy on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, has said that next week's meeting between the leaders of the island's two communities will take place, reiterating the UN commitment to provide help to the two sides in the negotiating process.

    In statements after being received Friday by President Demetris Christofias following the postponement of the Thursday's meeting with Turkish

    Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus indicated that the UN SG might visit the island, hopefully before the end of the year.

    Downer said he was very pleased that President Christofias has had a constructive telephone discussion with Talat, pointing out that this was a "very wise and very constructive thing for them to do. The meeting is going to go ahead next Thursday, so there has been a bump in the road here, but it will be back to get to the talks during the course of next week".

    On Thursday, Christofias and Talat had a telephone conversation where they exchanged views on the cancellation of a pilgrimage of Greek Cypriots to the church of Saint Mamas in the Turkish occupied areas, via the Limnitis crossing point on Wednesday morning.

    The cancellation prompted President Christofias to postpone the scheduled start of the talks on 3 September, saying that the agreement reached with regard to the pilgrimage had been breached.

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

    Downer said he and Christofias had a "very long, a very constructive and a very amiable meeting", noting "obviously we are disappointed with the events that occurred over the past couple of days, I have made that clear".

    Asked how the Limnitis issue will affect the talks, Downer replied "there will be good days and bad days as there always are in this sort of negotiations. There's a lot at stake here, there's the future of Cyprus at stake here, so this is not a small matter, this is a very big issue, and a very serious issue. So you could not ever imagine the talks could go smoothly every single day. There was a bump in the road, and there will be more bumps in the road ahead, you can be sure of that. There will be problems that will arise from time to time", he remarked.

    The important thing for everybody, he added, "is to focus on what they are trying to achieve here, and to build a bizonal, bicommunal federation and to do so, in a way it brings Cypriots together and the leaders are committed to this, are working towards it and issues will arise from time to time on the way through, but always remember, they are not the central question. The central question is how to build the bizonal, bicommunal federation. That's the central question and it is important that people do not get too distracted on the way through".

    Asked if the issue has been resolved or the leaders will discuss it at their upcoming meeting, Downer said "it is up to them what they talk about, of course they have the tete-a-tete component and then a meeting where we the UN are presiding over, so what they say is a matter entirely for them. I couldn't predict what they will say, the meeting is in six days, a lot of water will flow under the bridge between now and then".

    Downer said the important thing is to keep the process going, the process needs momentum.

    Asked if he will step up his role to smooth things out, Downer said the UN team in Cyprus has been doing a good job, coming from far and wide to help the people of Cyprus resolve this problem and are working very hard at it and "we can be helpful and we are helpful here and will continue to endeavour to be helpful".

    On further UN involvement in the peace process, Downer said "I don't know about that, more or less involved, that's a matter for the leaders. We take our guidance from essentially two sources, one UN Security Council resolutions and secondly from the leaders who are conducting the negotiations".

    Invited to comment on a possible visit to Cyprus by the UN Secretary-General, Downer said "I am not sure that it's very soon because you realize, the UN General Assembly is having its debate which begins in just over two weeks time, so the SG needs to be in New York for that. We will see how his programme goes and how things go here. I would like to feel the SG was able to come here before too long but we don't have any particular time for it at the moment".

    Asked whether this will happen before the end of the year, Downer replied "I would certainly hope it will be before the end of the year but according to my current planning, I expect to be in New York the week after next to see the SG then and that's the sort of thing we can talk about".

    Replying to questions about the second round of talks, Downer said "I am not going to go into any of the details of what we have been discussing with the two sides, but I think they are developing their visions now on how they want the second round of the negotiations to progress. So I think it is perhaps judicious not to say too much about that".

    Asked if there will be many changes in the way the negotiations are being conducted, Downer said "the second round is different, of course than the first round. There was a read through of all the issues and then sifting out of points of convergence and divergence; now of course they have some points of convergence, they have quite a lot of convergence and they need to focus again on the areas of divergence and see how they can couple together agreements there and see how it goes."

    [24] Spokesman: Turkey has no right to intervene


    Turkey has to lift the embargo on Cypriot ships and airplanes and open its ports and airports to the Republic of Cyprus, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou stressed on Friday, pointing out that this obligation is not linked with any other commitment either by the European Union or Cyprus towards Turkey.

    "Turkey has no right to intervene," the spokesman said in response to allegations by Egemen Bagis, Turkey's chief negotiator with the EU, that the Greek Cypriot side is responsible for the cancellation of a meeting between the leaders of the island's two communities, following a breach of an agreement to allow access to Greek Cypriot pilgrims to a church service in the Turkish occupied church of Agios Mamas.

    Speaking after Friday's meeting between President Christofias and Alexander Downer, UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus,

    Stephanou said that Turkey's attempts are part of its communication tactics to relieve itself of its responsibilities and to lay them on the shoulders of the President and the Greek Cypriot side.

    Bagis tries to link Turkey's obligation to open its ports and airports to Cypriot-flagged vessels and aircraft with lifting the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, the spokesman added.

    "This attempt is outside the letter and the spirit of Ankara's commitments to the EU and its member states, including Cyprus. Unfortunately, Turkey has not taken even a single step forward in the direction of fulfilling its obligations, which inter alia include normalizing its relations with Cyprus and the official recognition, by Turkey, of the Republic of Cyprus", he added.

    Turkey, whose troops occupy since 1974 Cyprus‘ northern third, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member since May 2004.

    "The Republic of Cyprus does not threaten anyone", he said. "It is Turkey which threatens and refuses to respect and fulfill its obligations", he added.

    Stephanou also pointed out that Turkey can help itself in its EU accession course by meeting its EU obligations and cooperating with the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN resolutions, the principles of international and European law, and the High Level Agreements of '77 and '79 between the two communities in Cyprus, which provide for a bicommunal bizonal federation.

    The international community, Stephanou said, knows very well which country works towards the direction of a solution that will benefit the people of Cyprus, and which country hinders the progress.

    [25] House President: Turkey's moves indicate future stance


    President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian said on Friday that Turkey is sending out messages regarding its stance in the coming period, noting that Ankara does not honour agreements it signs.

    ''In the context of the National Council, there should be an in depth analysis of all developments and perhaps, through our experience from the first round of the current talks, we should revise our strategy,'' he said, in statements at the House after a meeting with a delegation from China.

    The National Council, the top advisory body on the handling of the Cyprus problem to the president, will meet next week to discuss the latest developments in the Cyprus peace effort.

    Turkey, he said, wishes to have a leading role in the broader region and aims at upgrading the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.

    He added that the Greek Cypriot side should be very careful and that it was clear that Turkey was trying to avoid a federal solution and promote a confederation. The House president said efforts to address Turkey's intentions must be collective.

    Referring to the cancellation of a pilgrimage of Greek Cypriots to the church of Saint Mamas in the Turkish occupied areas, Garoyian said the fact that the occupation authorities did not permit the pilgrims to cross into the occupied areas indicated that the Turkish aims were to upgrade the illegal regime before the commencement of the second round of talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Garoyian pointed out that Turkey must pay the price for its behaviour and noted that Turkey could not be left to meet its aims undisturbed, as long as it insults and ignores international law.

    To a question about the European Commission's draft progress report on Turkey, Garoyian said it appears Turkey has not fulfilled any of its obligations.

    The Commission is set to assess Turkey's progress towards accession later this year.

    [26] China to continue supporting efforts for Cyprus solution


    Vice-President of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China Hua Jianmin assured on Friday that China would continue, along with the international community, to play a constructive role in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking after a meeting in Nicosia with President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian, the Chinese official said ''we especially appreciate the efforts made'' for a Cyprus settlement, and expressed hope that, ''on the basis of UN resolutions, the Cyprus problem will at last be solved.''

    Garoyian and Hua Jianmin exchanged views on relations between the two parliaments, as well as bilateral and legislative relations between the two countries, along with the Cyprus problem and issues of mutual interest.

    Speaking through an interpreter, the Chinese official said the Congress attributes great importance to exchanges with the House of Representatives, noting that exchanges, talks and cooperation will continue in international and regional organisations.

    He noted that bilateral relations were progressing very well and that China would like to make a joint effort with Cyprus to strengthen mutual political confidence and cooperation in all sectors.

    Garoyian briefed the Chinese official on developments in the Cyprus problem and expressed the disappointment of the Greek Cypriot side for results so far in talks for a settlement due to the policy of the Turkish side.

    He also said the Greek Cypriot side's positions are based on international law, the values and principles of the EU, and UN resolutions, while the Turkish side is promoting a confederation solution.

    Garoyian expressed gratitude to China for its support to the struggle of the people of Cyprus, and noted that China has supported Cyprus and its people and that Cyprus has supported the policies and principles of China.

    He added that they exchanged views on the broader international system and said he was happy that China has made so much progress, not only regarding its economy and the new technologies, but also its records in many sectors.

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