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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-12

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

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

Saturday, 12 September 2009 Issue No: 3295

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM attends opening of new school year
  • [02] Papandreou: Education a right for all
  • [03] KKE leader visits school complex in Peristeri
  • [04] Karatzaferis attends new school year ceremony
  • [05] PASOK leader meets HELEXPO, TIF boards
  • [06] Tsipras: All in debate
  • [07] Caretaker interior minister sworn in ahead of elections
  • [08] Simitis declines to run in upcoming election
  • [09] Athens Mayor calls for the release of Greek educator in Pakistan
  • [10] Swedish "Design S" exhibition open for public
  • [11] Favourable climate for Greek-South African trade relations
  • [12] Import prices' index down 6.4 pct in July
  • [13] Car sales up 15.3 pct in Aug.
  • [14] Building activity down 26.5 pct in H1
  • [15] Stocks end up 0.66%
  • [16] ADEX closing report
  • [17] Greek bond market closing report
  • [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [19] Usain Bolt visits school in Thessaloniki
  • [20] Exchange of fire after ELTA robbery
  • [21] Former pro baskeball player detained pending trial
  • [22] 2 defendants in Siemens case freed on bail
  • [23] Armed robberies in Attiki
  • [24] Arrest for the rape of minors
  • [25] Greece beats Germany in Eurobasket game
  • [26] Rainy on Saturday
  • [27] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [28] Spokesman: The G/c side will not accept any kind of arbitration
  • [29] UN spokesperson: Cyprus talks can not be imposed from the outside
  • [30] FM: Consequences for Turkey if it refuses to meet its obligations Politics

  • [01] PM attends opening of new school year

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis visited the 17th high school in the Peristeri municipality of west Athens on Friday morning, where he attended the traditional commencement of the new school year.

    Addressing the pupils, the prime minister stressed that today's youth are a generation familiar with computers, noting that "you are light years ahead of my generation", and referred to the government's new measure for the distribution of laptops to the first-year high school (7th grade) pupils introduced as of this academic year.

    He noted that the 7th grade school books, those for the children who will be receiving coupons for the acquisition of their laptops, have already been uploaded on the Énternet, while 13,000 schools have already created "digital communities".

    Karamanlis added that all secondary schools have at least one information technology lab. The coupons will be distributed to the 7th grade pupils throughout the country beginning in the next few days, while the entire process is slated for completion by Oct. 31.

    The prime minister urged the pupils to make their best effort, adding that "you are rewarded with your effort".

    "School is valuable for another reason as well: it is the staircase of social life.

    The premier also told the pupils that the day was a special day for his own family, too, since his twins were going to first grade for the first time.

    Regarding the new flu, he recommended adherence to the rules of hygiene.

    Turning to the teachers, Karamanlis said their work and contributions are recognised, adding that "we are fully aware of the difficulties you face in the performance of your duties".

    The prime minister later visited the pupils in their separate classrooms.

    Earlier, Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos said that the "major hazard" was not the new flu itself, but fear, panic and insecurity, warning that "all those who invest in those are mistaken".

    [02] Papandreou: Education a right for all

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on the occasion of the opening of the new school year, visited on Friday the school facilities of Sykea in Thessaloniki, northern Greece.

    Addressing the pupils, he stressed "We are here to guarantee that education is a right for all. Quality in and passion for knowledge will translate into strength for Greece in the future".

    In his brief greeting, Papandreou said to the parents and the pupils that "we owe you" the proper infrastructures, the proper schools and an education that will render the learning process a joy and creativity.

    "Combined with the values of respect, honesty and democracy that you must learn, wish to you that you will make a better world than the one we live in," Papandreou told the pupils, adding that "I will be at your side both today and, the people willing, tomorrow as prime minister".

    [03] KKE leader visits school complex in Peristeri

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, speaking in the Chorafa school complex in the Athens district of Peristeri on Friday, called on citizens who will not vote for the mainstream ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK parties to back KKE and not the other opposition parties "which are not opposed to the strategy of the European Union and of capital and which declare that after the elections they shall see the programmes of ND and PASOK and shall discuss whether they shall go with them."

    Papariga added that "we must clip the wings" of the two big parties and "this must not happen with abstention, abstention must be turned into condemnation, at least whatever part of it expressed a political position and not snubbing and indifference."

    [04] Karatzaferis attends new school year ceremony

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) party president George Karatzaferis attended the traditional school opening ceremony on Friday, as he visited the a special "bioclimatic school" in the Paleo Faliro district of southern Athens. Addressing the pupils, he noted that "nothing in life is given away whereas everything is won with great effort."

    Responding to a question on the issue of the novel influenza, Karatzaferis stated that "society should move on" and concluded that the number of "the influenza-caused deaths in Greece is smaller than the number of road accident victims recorded in a day."

    Papandreou comments from Thessaloniki

    "Our slogan 'change or sink' totally fits in the case of Thessaloniki," main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou underlined in the city during a brief meeting with local producer sector representatives on Friday. Papandreou arrived in the northern Greece city on the occasion of the 74th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) and his address at the exhibition.

    Papandreou stated that "all major projects are falling behind schedule", while he referred to "cliental settlements" maintaining that this is a "reflection of the country's image as a whole."

    He said that "such practices do not allow the country to move forward creating a widespread crisis - and not just in the sector of the economy - while causing insecurity to business people and wage earners. Thus, new investments are discouraged and Thessaloniki isn't promoted into a strategic place for the country and the Balkans," Papandreou stated.

    Earlier in the day, he attended a school year commencement ceremony in the northern Thessaloniki district of Sykies.

    [05] PASOK leader meets HELEXPO, TIF boards

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou met in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on Friday night with the boards of HELEXPO SA and the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), as well as with the directorates of the corresponding employee unions.

    The PASOK leader listened to problems presented to him and he was requested, if PASOK comes to power, to support the creation of a new exhibition and convention centre.

    Papandreou stressed that Greece's possibilities are many, "but there is always a management issue in the case of HELEXPO and the TIF as well." He added that whatever effort aimed at creating a new convention and exhibition centre must be combined with the overall upgrading of Thessaloniki.

    [06] Tsipras: All in debate

    The Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) grouping's secretariat underlined, in a statement on Friday, that it has been repeatedly made clear that there is "no room for policy convergence, cooperation or a display of tolerance toward the political parties that are responsible for the anti-popular policy, including (main opposition) PASOK."

    The statement also mentions that "the people need a strong opposition" and "not a succession of center-left or center-right management of the crisis", characterising as "hypocritical the threat of lack of governance raised by those who promote a strong majority government or those who want a coalition government formed by the two major political parties."

    Meanwhile, Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) president Alexis Tsipras, who heads the largest bloc in the leftist SYRIZA grouping, stated that "society wants a different policy than the one that led to labor uncertainty and is not interested in the candidates that will be included in the ballots of the two major political parties."

    On the televised debate of the two major political party leaders, he said that his party supports the "French model", adding that such a confrontation will reveal the similarities and convergence of their policies.

    [07] Caretaker interior minister sworn in ahead of elections

    Spyros Flogaitis was sworn in as caretaker interior minister on Friday ahead of the October 4 general elections, in a ceremony attended by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and prime minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Flogaitis, a professor of Public Law at the Athens University's Law School, had again served as caretaker interior minister during the previous general elections in 2007.

    [08] Simitis declines to run in upcoming election

    Former prime minister and PASOK party leader Costas Simitis will not run for Parliament in the Oct. 4 elections, it was announced on Friday, after reportedly declining an offer by party leader George Papandreou to head up the party's ticket in Piraeus' first constituency or Athens' first constituency.

    PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou said that, in replying to Papandreou's proposal, Simitis responded that he has no interest in any other ballot spot except as the first name on PASOK's State MPs ballot.

    Papaconstantinou explained that, in a telephone conversation between the two men, Papandreou's proposal was not accepted by Simitis, Papaconstantinou said.

    A statement issued later by Simitis' office said that "we were unable to reach agreement".

    The 12 State MPs in the 300-deputy Greek Parliament are not elected by voters, with crosses of preference, but instead gain the seat, on a top-down basis, based on the proportion of the overall vote received by each party in the general election. The top slot on the state ticket for either of the two major parties ensures a seat in Parliament, and is also a prestigious and honorary position.

    [09] Athens Mayor calls for the release of Greek educator in Pakistan

    Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis launched a strong protest in response to the abduction of Greek teacher Athanasios Lerounis by a group of unidentified individuals in Pakistan.

    In a letter addressed to the ambassador of Pakistan in Athens, Kaklamanis strongly protested the abduction of the Greek educator from the museum he had created himself to save the culture of the Calash people. Kaklamanis called on the Pakistani ambassador to assume the role of a mediator with his country's government for the immediate release of the abducted teacher.

    Lerounis has been living in Pakistan with his wife since 1995 and is a volunteer teacher. He has founded two primary education schools, three motherhood centers and the Calash Cultural Center in Bumboret Valley.

    Financial News

    [10] Swedish "Design S" exhibition open for public

    The traveling exhibition of Swedish design, "Design S", opened to the public on Friday in Athens. The exhibition is part of a series of events organised by the Swedish Embassy in Athens and the Eugenides Foundation and is titled: "Design S: Quality of life in urban environment - Innovation, high technology and new ideas focusing on humanity and the environment".

    The successor to the Swedish throne, Crown Princess Victoria, inaugurated the exhibition on Thursday evening at the Eugenides Foundation in Paleo Faliro. Entry to the exhibition is free of charge, and it will run until 27 September.

    The exhibition, on a world tour, has already traveled this year to Washington, New York, Hamburg and many other cities.

    The Athens exhibition also coincides with Sweden's EU presidency.

    The Swedish Design S 08/09 travelling exhibition presents all the nominated and winning entries in the Design S/Swedish Design Award. The exhibition includes examples of everything from industrial and furniture design to graphic design, fashion and jewellery. The exhibition is unique in describing the process behind the products and is an inspirational presentation of the broad spectrum of Swedish design today.

    [11] Favourable climate for Greek-South African trade relations

    A current round of talks between the European Union and South Africa, over promoting bilateral relations, preparations for an EU-Africa Summit -to be held in the first half of 2010 in Libya- and seeking an agreement during a World Conference on climate change -to be held in Copenhagen in December- are creating a favourable climate for developing business activities in South Afrida by Greek businessemen.

    According to figures by the Greek Foreign ministry, economic and trade relations between Greece and South Africa are developing on a wide regulatory framework, favouring a much larger progress.

    A number of Greek companies have already invested in the country, such as Frigoglass, Germanos SA, Petzetakis, Palace SA (Filippou Group), ACM Wood Chemicals Plc Chimar Hellas and Enterprise Shipping and Trade SA (Restis Group). Bank of Athens, a bank based in Johanesburg with 12 branches in the country, is owned by National Bank.

    A more recent wave of Greek investments in South Africa are Gidani, a member of Intralot Group, Metalumin, and three wine makers (Gerovasiliou, Tsaktsarlis and Soldatos).

    The bilateral trade balance continues showing a deficit for Greece, mainly due to high transportation costs and high Greek export prices. Greek exports totaled 40,874,822 euros in 2008, while imports from South Africa totaled 94,546,664 euros.

    South Africa is included in priority countries for developing aid, a program by the Greek Foreign ministry (Hellenic Aid).

    [12] Import prices' index down 6.4 pct in July

    Greece's import price index in the industrial sector fell 6.4 pct in July compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 12.4 pct recorded in July 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said the import price index fell 0.5 pct in July from June, after an increase of 1.2 pct in the corresponding period in 2008.

    [13] Car sales up 15.3 pct in Aug.

    The domestic car market grew strongly in August, recording the highest percentage growth rate in the last decade with 22,845 new car registrations in the month, reflecting a government move to cut a special consumption tax on vehicles.

    A report by the Association of Car Importers and Dealers said registrations were up 15.3 pct in August, compared with the same month in 2008 and helped ease losses suffered in the previous months of the year. The Greek car market shrank by 18.3 pct in the eight-month period from January to August (169,429 sales), down from 207,411 in the corresponding period in 2008.

    Opel (2,479) ranked first in August, followed by Suzuki (1,681) and Nissan (1,594).

    Nissan's Qashqai was the most successful vehicle of the month with 1,104 sales.

    [14] Building activity down 26.5 pct in H1

    Building activity fell by 15.6 pct (in permits) and by 26.5 pct (in volume) in the first half of 2009, compared with the corresponding period last year, the National Statistical Service said on Friday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said Ionian islands (-24.7 pct), Attica (-19 pct) and southern Aegean (-21.6 pct) recorded the highest percentage declines, while western Macedonia (-6.1 pct) and eastern Macedonia-Thrace (-7.1 pct) the lowest percentage declines of the month.

    [15] Stocks end up 0.66%

    Greek stocks ended higher during the last trading session at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday. The composite index rose 0.66 pct to end at 2,527.11 points, with turnover a moderate 206.6 million euros, of which 34.2 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Health (6.05 pct), Travel (4.42 pct) and Chemicals (1.59 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Telecommunications (2.52 pct), Financial Services (2.01 pct) and Media (1.55 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.43 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.15 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index eased 0.48 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 109 to 98 with another 54 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +0.65%

    Industrials: +0.21%

    Commercial: -0.26%

    Construction: +0.05%

    Media: -1.55%

    Oil & Gas: +1.18%

    Personal & Household: +1.39%

    Raw Materials: +0.94%

    Travel & Leisure: +4.42%

    Technology: -0.19%

    Telecoms: -2.52%

    Banks: +0.39%

    Food & Beverages: +0.86%

    Health: +6.05%

    Utilities: +0.02%

    Chemicals: +1.59%

    Financial Services: -2.01%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Alapis and Eurobank.

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

    Alpha Bank: 11.65

    ATEbank: 1.54

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.80

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.56

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.35

    National Bank of Greece: 23.00

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.60

    Intralot: 4.65

    OPAP: 18.10

    OTE: 11.20

    Bank of Piraeus: 11.40

    Titan: 21.60

    [16] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.40 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover at 61.705 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,520 contracts worth 43.144 million euros, with 25,549 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 14,906 contracts worth 18.561 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,706), followed by MIG (902), OTE (2,233), OPAP (1,363), Piraeus Bank (1,543), Intracom (623) and Intralot (623).

    [17] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market reached 2.0 billion euros on Friday, with the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remaining unchanged at 136 basis points. The Greek bond yielded 4.56 pct and the German Bund 3.28 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.25 pct, the six-month rate 1.05 pct, the three-month rate 0.77 pct and the one month rate 0.45 pct.

    [18] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.471

    Pound sterling 0.880

    Danish kroner 7.502

    Swedish kroner 10.294

    Japanese yen 133.68

    Swiss franc 1.525

    Norwegian kroner 8.703

    Canadian dollar 1.585

    Australian dollar 1.704

    General News

    [19] Usain Bolt visits school in Thessaloniki

    Ôhe world record holder and Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m dash Usain Bolt, who is currently in Thessaloniki to participate in the IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final (12-13 September 2009), visited a school complex in Thessaloniki on Friday at the start of the new academic year .

    Bolt signed autographs for the pupils and afterwards said to reporters «I am very impressed by the people's reception since I set foot in Thessaloniki".

    "Greece is a fabulous country and Thessaloniki a wonderful city. I was informed that the tickets are sold out and I am very happy about this. I will continue to try to break more records," he added.

    The Jamaican sprinter was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Sports Yannis Ioannidis, Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos and other officials

    [20] Exchange of fire after ELTA robbery

    Two gunmen held up a Hellenic Post (ELTA) branch in Thessaloniki shortly after noon on Friday, and fled after an exchange of fire with a traffic police officer.

    The two men stormed into the ELTA branch and at gunpoint grabbed an unknown amount of money. The robbers were spotted by a passerby as they fled the post office, who in turn alerted a woman traffic police officer conducting checks on parked cars at the time.

    The gunmen opened fire on the policewoman, who returned the shots. The officer too cover behind a traffic police tow truck just before the gunmen opened fire again with an automatic, riddling the two truck with bullets but without injuring the policewoman, and fled.

    The robbers abandoned a sack and a gun at the scene, while police have launched a manhunt for their arrest.

    [21] Former pro baskeball player detained pending trial

    Former Aris basketball player Michail Misounov, 45, charged in connection with a weapons' trafficking and luxury car theft ring, was remanded in custody following his testimony before an examining magistrate in Thessaloniki on Friday.

    In his statement, Misounov repeated that he was given the weapons found in his possession (a rocket and two RPG-8 launchers) by an individual who died recently and who was involved in the extortion of nightclubs in Thessaloniki. The same individual had been convicted of first degree homicide.

    Misounov's 50-year-old accountant, who denied all charges against him, was also detained awaiting trial. Police had found in his possession two pistols and a number of cartridges as well as 29 stamps that belonged to various state agencies, authorities and private companies.

    [22] 2 defendants in Siemens case freed on bail

    An Athens misdemeanor courts' council on Friday ordered the release on bail of two defendants in the ongoing high-profile Siemens investigation, namely, former Hellenic Telecoms (OTE) executive Georgios Skarpellis and former Siemens Hellas executive Ilias Georgiou.

    A 300,000-bond was set for each of the men, with restrictions against traveling abroad.

    [23] Armed robberies in Attiki

    Five armed men opened the safe at a company warehouse in Aspropyrgos, greater Athens region, at dawn Friday after immobilizing its security guard and made off with jewelry worth approximately 100,000 euros, two portable computers and 20 air conditioning units.

    The loot was loaded on a company truck which was later found abandoned in the Ano Liosia landfill.

    In a separate incident on Friday morning, a PROTON Bank in Halandri became the target of an armed robber wearing a motorcycle helmet who took off with an undetermined amount of money after threatening bank employees and customers at gunpoint.

    [24] Arrest for the rape of minors

    A 32-year-old Albanian national was arrested on Thursday in Athens accused of allegedly raping two mentally retarded minors, a 17-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, also Albanian nationals.

    The suspect is a relative of the two youngsters and according to their parents, who reported him to police, he was visiting them at their home regularly and began raping his victims five years ago.

    Basketball

    [25] Greece beats Germany in Eurobasket game

    BINGTOSS (ANA-MPA)

    The Greek national basketball team beat Germany 84-76 in a Eurobasket Group E match played in Poland on Friday evening. The Greek team heads the group and has secured participation in the quarter finals. Its next match will be against Russia on Sunday.

    The 10-minute intervals had the following scores: 19-25, 33-41, 50-61 and 76-84.

    Weather Forecast

    [26] Rainy on Saturday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 14C and 29C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 26C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 18C to 24C.

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

    The parties' preparations for the October 4 general elections and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' televised interview in which he ruled out the possibility of post-electoral cooperate with another party, dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Karamanlis' interview: No cooperation with any other party, optimism for victory in elections".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou undermines Burgas-Alexadroupolis oil pipeline".

    AVGHI: "The Left is the political force of today and tomorrow".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Papandreou beheads the 'renovators' starting with their leader, former PASOK leader and prime minister Costas Simitis".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Karamanlis says 'no' to cooperation with PASOK or Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS)".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Papandreou excluded from his party's ballots (candidate lists) cadres implicated in scandals".

    ESTIA: "The tax policy of both mainstream parties (ND and PASOK) is wrong".

    ETHNOS: "Papandreou puts a stop to paenomena of arrogance in his party".

    KATHIMERINI: "Opinion poll: PASOK leads, Karamanlis and Papandreou even in prime minister suitability".

    LOGOS: "Karamanlis pre-announced surprises in candidate lists".

    NIKI: "Papandreou will undertakes commitments in his TIF address".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The People must disengage themselves from the myth of lack of governance".

    TA NEA: "Karamanlis lied about taxation on homes".

    TO VIMA: "Karamanlis' Waterloo! The 'new governance' collapsed and in his televised interview".

    VRADYNI: "Papandreou 'annuls' Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline contract".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [28] Spokesman: The G/c side will not accept any kind of arbitration

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Only the two communities in Cyprus are entitled to negotiate in the current phase of the direct talks, and there is no room for anything else, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has stressed, clarifying that the Greek Cypriot side will not accept any kind of arbitration.

    Asked here Friday to comment on Greek Cypriot press reports, suggesting that the UN wish to submit proposals and ideas in the process, Stephanou said that there is no official proposal for UN ideas.

    "What we know and follow, is what was agreed between the two communities in 1977, 1979, and it has been reaffirmed between the two leaders in the preliminary period, prior to the beginning of the negotiations, namely that the solution of the Cyprus problem should be based on the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with political equality, as defined by the UN relevant resolutions, and will provide for one state with single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality", he said.

    "On that basis, the two communities in Cyprus, we try through the direct negotiations, to define the content of the solution, based on the principles of the International and European Law, and the UN resolutions, which should guide everybody, the UN included", he said.

    Stephanou also stated that the second phase of the negotiations has just begun, and all should show patience, as regards the results of that phase.

    "The second round begun yesterday (Thursday), and according to what Mr. (Special Adviser of UN Secretary-General Alexander) Downer has said, the two sides made some proposals in an effort to bridge some gaps. So, now we are in a crucial stage of the negotiations and nobody, home and abroad, should draw the conclusion that we are heading into a new deadlock and as a result someone should push the process forward", he said.

    The spokesman noted that the UN and the international community have admitted that the process followed in 2004 with the arbitration that brought the Anan Plan, failed, and that it was an ineffective process. He also stressed that the position of the UN and the international community on the ongoing direct negotiations is that this process is a Cypriot owned process. This means that the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides will decide on how they proceed in the talks in order to find a mutually accepted solution in the Cyprus problem, Stephanou said.

    He also pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side is very careful on what has been proposed, because of the bad experiences in 2004.

    Replying to a question on the issue of Limnitis, the spokesman said that by saying that they would leave it behind, President Christofias meant that this issue should not causes any problems to the negotiations.

    "Of course we are interested in that issue as we are interested in all the confidence building measures in the way that those measures really build confidence and not deconstruct", he concluded.

    President Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat began direct talks on September 3rd 2008 with an aim to reach a negotiated settlement that would reunite the country under a federal roof.

    During the 40 meetings of the first round of talks, the leaders have discussed six chapters: governance and power sharing, EU matters, security and guarantees, territory, property and economic matters, writing down the agreed and disagreed issues.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    [29] UN spokesperson: Cyprus talks can not be imposed from the outside

    UNITED NATIONS (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The Cyprus talks process cannot be imposed from the outside, it must be a Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led process to succeed, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary General of the UN, Marie Okabe, has stressed.

    During her daily briefing, Okabe, said Friday that the Secretary-General is expected to meet with each of the leaders, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the coming weeks.

    Okabe was invited to say whether the UNSG shares the same views as Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe, outlined in a UN paper published in the Cypriot press.

    "I am aware of the press report and don't have a direct comment on that", she said, but added that "as to our general approach on Cyprus, the UN is working very closely with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to help them find a negotiated settlement, all the while respecting -- as we have said repeatedly -- that for this process to succeed it cannot be imposed from the outside, it must be a Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led process".

    The UN spokesperson said that the UN message to both sides and to everyone else is that "the leaders have a critical opportunity before them to arrive at a settlement and we encourage them strongly to seize that opportunity while it exists".

    She said that the Secretary-General is expected to meet with each of the leaders in the coming weeks "and will reinforce that same message with both".

    [30] FM: Consequences for Turkey if it refuses to meet its obligations

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou has said that if Turkey does not fulfill its EU obligations there will be consequences for Ankara.

    Replying to questions, Kyprianou said that the Foreign Ministry has begun a campaign to inform Cyprus' EU partners on its positions regarding Turkey's EU accession course ahead of its assessment coming December.

    ''Our position is clear, there must be consequences for Turkey if it does not comply with its EU obligations", he underlined.

    Kyprianou's statements were made after a meeting he held Friday at the Ministry with representatives of parliamentary parties and the Cypriot Members of the European Parliament for coordination purposes ahead of Turkey's assessment and issues to be discussed at the EP of Cypriot interest.

    He said that the Foreign Ministry is examining all possible scenarios regarding Turkey's moves ahead of its assessment by the EU and said that the government of Cyprus will finalise its position depending on the developments.

    Regarding the European Commission's report on Turkey's negotiating process, Kyprianou said that Nicosia "expects and demands that the report is objective and describes facts".

    But he noted that the final decision will be made by the EU Council of Ministers and if needed by the European Council.

    Cyprus, an EU member-state since 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. After Cyprus' accession to the EU, Turkey refused to extent its Customs Union to Cyprus, a commitment known as the Ankara Protocol, to open its ports and airports to vessel and aircraft bearing the Cypriot flag and to normalise its relations with the Republic of Cyprus.

    In 2006 the EU decided to freeze eight of the 35 EU-Turkey negotiating chapters due to Ankara's refusal to comply with its EU obligations. The rest of the chapters continue to go ahead, but the eight shall not be concluded until Turkey fulfills its obligations. The EU will assess progress in December.

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