|Friday, 23 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 21 September 2009 Issue No: 3302
 PM Karamanlis accuses PASOK of 'irresponsible populism'Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressed a rally in Larissa, central Greece, on Sunday evening, emphasising his presence on the New Democracy party's ticket in the Larissa prefecture that, as he said, signals the importance he places on agricultural development.
Karamanlis sharply criticised main opposition PASOK party leader George Papaandreou, accusing him of "unreliability", regarding the latter's proposals on the economy and the national issues.
"The path that we have paved in the past years cannot be intercepted. It will not stop. It cannot stop. We are continuing the struggle together. We are struggling for Greece which is optimistic. Greece that wants and can. Greece of the future," the prime minister said.
"The endurances of the economy are at stake. We want the citizens to know all the truth about the measures that must be taken and serve one aim to enable us to emerge stronger from the crisis," he added.
Referring to the economy, Karamanlis said that he chose "the difficult path and not the easy one of PASOK's populism," without taking political cost into consideration "because I am thinking of our children's future, that is my criterion, the future of our country and the national interest above all."
The prime minister also commented on the energy agreements that his government has signed and that have placed the country, as he said, on the global energy map, referring in particular to the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline, which he termed an agreement of national importance that all are realising, "except for the leading group of PASOK and this is inconceivable" and pointing out that by "placing obstacles for the agreement, national interests are not being served."
Karamanlis accused PASOK of "irresponsible populism", saying that it "is attempting to deceive the citizens and is sharing out promises" and adding that "we are saying come to the elections all of you, vote en masse, your vote is a decision of responsibility, think of the next day."
Criticising Papandreou over national issues, Karamanlis also said "think of our national issues: Remember your experiences from the recent past. The pressures on the Greek Cypriots by the leader of PASOK on the Annan Plan, PASOK's peculiar recent positions on Skopje (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). Our decisive position in Bucharest. A position of national responsibility and pride."
Lastly, Karamanlis stated that "we have a national obligation to dare today, not tomorrow, considerable structural changes to create new structures. With difficult decisions, today, we shall be with the winners on the day after the crisis."
 PM: Victory lies in the hands of ND votersGreece was at the most crucial turning point since the democracy was restored after the fall of the junta in 1974, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed during a pre-election rally in the northwestern Greek city of Ioannina on Saturday night. The New Democracy government had chosen the path of responsibility and clearly informed the Greek people about the difficult decisions that must be taken, he added.
"The citizens must know the truth, they must know everything. There is no room for evasiveness or "rounding" things. There are no pleasant recipes. There are no easy solutions available," Karamanlis noted, to add that the promises being made by main opposition PASOK were "fake".
According to the premier, the programme outlined by PASOK would cost some 20 billion euros and involve massing borrowing at huge cost, which would have to be paid by future generations. He also challenged PASOK leader George Papandreou to clarify his position regarding the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, making it clear whether PASOK intended to respect international agreements, as well as PASOK's plans for privatised Olympic Airways, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and debt-ridden railway operator OSE.
Karamanlis accused Papandreou of failing to address the real dilemmas of the economic crisis and the measures that needed to be taken, cloaking his intentions with pleasant-sounding phrases and "sacrificing everything on the altar of the party".
"He cannot continue talking about everything and not saying anything," Karamanlis pointed out, stressing that ND had a plan for exiting the crisis and was proud to have resisted populism, envisaging and carving out the road to Europe while PASOK was "busy looking for the 'third' way".
The premier referred at length to the significant improvements to economic indices achieved by ND since 2004, especially the reduction in unemployment from 11.3 percent to 7 percent in May 2008, saying that the impact of the economic crisis would have been much worse for Greece if this had not been done. He went on to point to major public works projects now underway that would end the relative isolation of northwestern Greece and Epirus, such as the Egnatia Highway, Agrinion bypass and others.
At anothe point in his speech, Karamanlis said that ND had "embraced" the ethnic Greek minority of Albania, or North Epirotes, speeding up procedures for them to acquire Greek nationality and reducing their mandatory national service from 12 months to three.
Underlining that victory lay in the hands of ND's supporters, he urged voters not to "give away their votes," and for everyone to be present at the October 4 elections in order to ensure that ND emerged victorious
 PM Karamanlis visits MessolongiPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing a rally on Saturday in the region where the new marina is being constructed in the city of Messolongi, said that the government is aware of the repercussions of international developments, it has the determination required by the times and a sustainable plan that guarantees a safe exit from the crisis.
"A plan that guarantees that, as of 2011, our country will be among the first countries that will be taking the path of recovery," Karamanlis stressed.
Referring to the international economy and its repercussions in Greece, the prime minister noted that the country is at a crucial turning point, adding that "our economy, although it has showed strong endurance, is unavoidably experiencing the repercussions of the international crisis."
Karamanlis further said that "the economy is lifting the huge weight of the public debt, that the governments of PASOK left behind them," adding that "we want the citizens to know the truth and to know where they are heading."
The prime minister said that "the decisions that we shall be taking in the immediate future will judge the intensity, as well as the duration of the repercussions of the crisis" and that "the times leave no ground for experiments. We do not play games with the future of the country. We do not play games with the future of our children."
Karamanlis accused the main opposition PASOK party that "while ultimately, following months of denial, it is admitting the seriousness and the intensity of the crisis, it is only presenting pleasant recipes."
He underlined that "PASOK is keeping its cards closed and does not dare to reveal any of the difficult measures that it would take if it came to power."
Moreover, he noted that "PASOK admits that it is necessary for the deficit to be curbed, but it does not say how it would curb it, since what it is saying is how it will increase it."
Karamanlis concluded his criticism of PASOK by saying that "one thing is certain. The cheques that it is sharing out are bounced. The path that it is showing is deadlocked. Its announcements lead to adventures that the country cannot stand."
 PM urges ND voters to stand by the partyIn an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Apogevmatini tis Kyriakis", Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis again accused main opposition PASOK of sending "conflicting" messages concerning its plans on major issues, particularly major foreign policy matters.
The premier noted Greece's stance at the NATO Summit in Bucharest concerning the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), pointing out that Greece's NATO allies had adopted Athens' position that the dispute with FYROM over the name issue must be resolved before that country could join the Alliance.
"That was a very major achievement of our foreign policy and that is our final position," he stressed.
Karamanlis also emphasised the major international energy agreements made by ND governments, saying that he counted these among its "great successes".
On economic issues, the premier said that the 500 euros given by the government to lower incomes in 2009, in spite of a general freeze on wage increases, was much more than that promised by PASOK and that the government intended to continue the same policy next year.
He stressed that the key for ND's victory in the upcoming elections was for the party's supporters to stand by its side and for "no vote to be lost".
 ND unveils state deputy ticketThe New Democracy party on Sunday announced its 12 candidates for the deputy of state seats in Parliament, who are not elected directly but based on the percentage share of the vote each party receives nationwide.
At the head of the list is veteran politician and current environment minister George Souflias, followed by Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, interior minister general secretary Evgenia Tsoumani-Spentza, president of the European Institute of Law, Science and Technology and a specialist in climate change issues Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, current government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, professor of constitutional law Ismini Kriari, professor of economics Panagiotis Liargovas, professor of law and education ministry general secretary Niki Gotzopoulou, SAE member Costas Dimitriou, professor of law Ioanna Kalatzakou-Tsatsaroni and general secretary for consumers Ioannis Economou.
The 12th 'honorary' position on the list has been given to former New Democracy president Miltiades Evert, in accordance to the latter's request in a letter to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis that was revealed by sources on Saturday.
In the letter, Evert turned down a proposal made by the premier and asked to be placed in the last position on the list, where he is essentially guaranteed not to get elected to Parliament, citing a desire to contribute to the party's renewal after a long career in politics.
The state deputy seats won by each party in the elections are filled according to the order that the candidates appear on the ticket.
 Papandreou: Rekindling economy the main goalPASOK's first goal if elected to government would be to 'rekindle' the economy in order to allow the country to emerge from the economic crisis, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said in an interview printed by the Sunday newspaper "Kathimerini tis Kyriakis".
Outlining the general framework of the economic policy he intends to follow, he stressed that PASOK had not intention of hiding the facts about the economy from voters.
"We will not conceal the truth about the state of the country; not so that we can cast the blame on anyone but so that the Greek people can understand what space we have to manoeuvre," he said.
Papandreou stated that supporing and facilitating enterprise would be one of the top priorities, "so that a business can be founded in as little as a single day" and revealed plans for a separate finance ministry led by a "person capable of making changes that begin with fighting corruption up to the redistribution of wealth".
Regarding policy on utilities and privatisations, Papandreou said he would exhaust every margin in order to restore state control over telecommunications and said that he was in favour of a mixed configuration using public and private capital for Olympic Airways, with a strategic alliance with a foreign air carrier.
In the banking system, he called for an "active" state presence to ensure healthy competition and stability.
"We are not statists but we want to be able to decide national strategies," PASOK's leader underlined.
Papandreou also promised a tougher stance against corruption and promised to pass a new election law that would "cut at the heart" of illegal party funding, with new rules for financing parties and stricter control of means and assets statements.
On foreign policy, Papandreou said that Greece did not belong to either the East, West, North or South but had multilateral relations with all sides.
Regarding the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, he said PASOK would strive to see this carried out but would also negotiate "constructively" in order to secure the best possible terms for Greece.
Papandreou ended by promising to run a "tight ship" if elected, with a strong premier's office coordinating the government's work and fast decision-making. He also warned that he would not tolerate people pursuing personal strategies within his party.
"PASOK will never become a federation of semi-independent fiefdoms. All those thinking in terms of personal strategy and planning to grab some small part of power in order to turn this into an autonomous barony have got the wrong address," he emphasised.
 Papandreou meets environment agenciesMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou met on Saturday with 12 agencies concerning the environment and disclosed that PASOK has prepared a bill on the Attica prefecture.
Some of the main points contained in the bill are suspending the issuing of building licences and prohibiting the carrying out of works until relevant forest maps are ratified, as well as the operation of a telescopic system for detecting new buildings and the urgent completion of the process for ratifying forest maps.
"The latest disasters in forests showed once again the failure of the state to protect the country's forest wealth, while the country's fire and environmental protection system collapsed," the PASOK leader said.
Papandreou underlined that the wildfires in 2009 should constitute the red line for the state and the citizens and the end of a model of growth whose inescapable conclusion is that whatever does not become cement must become ashes.
The PASOK leader spoke of a National Action Plan for the best possible protection of greenery remaining in Greece and the restoration of forests that have been lost and promised that "in government, we shall ratify the draft bill that we tabled in 2007 for the Peloponnese."
 PASOK announces state ticket candidatesMain opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papacon-stantinou announced the 12 names of the party's state ticket candidates on Sunday, that is headed by PASOK's Natioanl Council Secretary Yiannis Ragoussis.
Papacontantinou said that it is a ticket "with its gaze focused on society and the country's future," adding that it is a ticket comprised of active citizens that will enrich the party's Parliamentary Group.
Ragoussis is followed on the state ticket by Elena Panariti, university professor of economics, Ilias Mosialos, professor at the London School of Economics (LSE), Mayia Tsokli, sociologist and journalist, Pavlos Geroulanos, with post graduate studies at the Harvard University and MIT and current PASOK communication secretary, Stavroula Saloufakou, trade unionist, Tatiana Karapanayioti, TV producer, Dimitris Lalas, Ph.D and ecology specialist, Costas Theos, civil engineer, Ali Mohamet Hag, cardiologist, Anna Kafetsi, art critic and Emmanouil Kriaras, professor of Greek philology.
 Papariga: vote for KKE empowers popular movementCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Sunday renewed her appeal to voters to strengthen the "popular movement" by casting their vote for KKE during the October 4 general elections.
"KKE is not the unknown 'X' factor, nor an unpredictable factor in developments and support for its election ticket will on the day after the elections be converted to a strengthening of the popular struggle, a unifying, radical and popular trend of struggle and political opposition," she said in statements to the press from KKE's headquarters in Perissos.
Papariga said that a vote for KKE would ensure that October 4 brought the emergence of a "trend that does not submit to extortionist dilemmas, that has steadfast positions on issues of post-electoral cooperation, that has a clear and specific policy and adapts to the new without changing course."
She addressed her message to labouring classes that had voted for New Democracy in the previous elections and PASOK voters, especially "left-wing, progressive and radical voters that had found themselves fighting alongside KKE in the 70s and 80s but later parted ways".
KKE's leader also warned against the 'trap' of absention, saying that this essentiall supported conservative policies.
"Though the opening of the ballot box lasts only a minute, its consequences last several years, since the goal of plutocracy and the parties that serve it (ND and PASOK) is a recovery from the crisis by intensifying the degree of exploitation of the workers," she stressed.
 KKE leader gives interview on social security systemCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, speaking at a press conference on social security on Saturday, said that a "timebomb" will explode in the social security system in the coming months, in accordance with what the European Union and the Federation of Greek Industries want.
Papariga stressed that the mainstream New Democracy and PASOK parties are preparing the ground for a blow to be dealt at the social security system, with their allegations that the funds have no money. She also called on working people to back KKE, stressing that this option is a "one-way path."
The KKE leader further said that "KKE proposes the abolition of working people's contributions for health, equal grants for all, whether they are employed or unemployed, subsidisation for the unemployed by 80 percent, full social security for them, the abolition of business activity in the health and welfare sectors and a minimum pension of 1,120 euros."
Papariga further noted that "the businessmen are giving the keys to PASOK (the main opposition party) now, due to its socialdemocrat ability to deceive the people" and added that both the New Democracy and PASOK parties are deceiving the people when they do not clarify what they mean with structural changes in the social security sector.
 Papariga: youth vote for KKECommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga appealed to young people to turn out in force to vote in the October 4 elections, while addressing a rally of KKE's youth group on Saturday night.
"You must vote with your head held high, not looking down with your backs against the wall as New Democracy and PASOK want," she stressed.
"The first vote of young people must be genuinely revolutionary, against the trend and in mass for KKE. Young people must not vote for the parties that plutocracy alternates in trusting," KKE's leader underlined.
According to Papariga, the results of the October 4 vote would not bring about the revolution but determine the ability of the popular and youth movements for resist and counter-attack. Unlike the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), her party did not harbour illusions of gaining power in the present system.
"We ask young people and the popular classes to support us and we are ready for the counter-attack on October 5. We have no headaches and existential problems about our profile, we do not harbour dreams of co-governmental or governmental 'suits'. We will be in the opposition, but what counts is whether the two main parties on October 5 will tremble because KKE is high and in the third position, a fact that will have great importance for the vigour and determination of the popular movement," she said.
 Tsipras on environment of Attica prefectureCoalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) President Alexis Tsipras toured Mount Pikilo, west of Athens, on Saturday and said that "in these election all the political forces are speaking of protection for the environment and of sustainable growth. However, those alone who are really seeking quality of life and protection of the environment are the active citizens."
Referring to the Attica prefecture in particular, Tsipras said that there are dozens of environmental wounds and Mount Pikilo is one of them, where an irrational delineation has turned 8 stremmas of forest into a dry landscape and into concrete.
Tsipras also stressed the need for whatever greenery has been left in the Attica prefecture to remain so and the mountain masses around the urban areas should be protected in particular.
The Coalition leader further said that the public and forest nature of mountain masses, especially of Mount Pikilo, must be consolidated.
 Tsipras visits Villa DrakopoulosCoalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Sunday paid a visit to the Drakopoulos Villa in the inner Athens district of Patissia, which local residents are campaigning to have converted to a public recreational area. During the visit, Tsipras stressed the importance of local movements by active citizens in efforts to protect the environment.
Accompanied by a group of candidates running on the ticket of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) alliance, Tsipras said the Greek capital had dozens of "environmental wounds" but also dozens of local movements actively campaigning for a better quality of life and fighting to save remaining green spaces from the diggers and bulldozers.
SYN's leader accused the main parties of overlooking the struggles of ordinary people as they fought over power.
"In PASOK they are busy cutting out ministerial suits for the day after and at ND they are jostling for the best position on the day after. No one is thinking about the day after for a society that is forgotten, that is suffocating, a society that demands and will demand," he said.
 LAOS leader in KateriniPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis addressed a rally in the northern Greek city of Katerini on Saturday, and gave press conferences in both Katerini and Larisa, central Greece.
During his speech, he said his party wanted to elect at least 15 MPs to Parliament and noted that major foreign policy issues were essentially absent from the policy platforms presented by both the main parties, ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK.
Karatzaferis was particularly critical of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the fact that he spurned the offer for cooperation with LAOS, saying that this had created a "single faction with two parties, one of them rising and the other collapsing". He also accused Karamanlis of essentially handing power over to PASOK through his choices.
"Karamanlis is making George Papandreou prime minister, given that Papandreou does not have the strength on his own to lead his party to a majority government. The question in these elections is who will mount the strongest opposition to PASOK the following day? ND or Karatzaferis?" he said.
During the press conference in Larisa, Karatzaferis said that he had reservations about the format decided for the debate between the party leaders and was not sure whether he would take part. He claimed that the set up of two debates was unfair to the smaller parties, since the public's interest would naturally be dominated by the debate between the two main party leaders the following night.
 LAOS party leader in KilkisPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis criticised both the ruling New Democracy party and the main opposition PASOK party, speaking at a press conference and in an address in the city of Kilkis on Friday night.
Asked about the possibility of his party cooperating with others after the October 4 general elections, the LAOS leader said "it will depend, of course, on the number of deputies that the parties will get. I, however, will discuss and listen. I shall not say the barren 'no' of others."
He criticised both ND and PASOK over their economic policies, as well as PASOK leader George Papandreou and Foreign Minister Dora Bakaoyannis for mistakes in foreign policy issues.
Karatzaferis will be touring the cities of Katerini and Larissa on Saturday.
 Ecologist-Greens present state deputy ticketThe Ecologists-Greens party on Sunday presented its deputy of state ticket for the upcoming elections on October 4.
The list is headed by Maria Piniou-Kalli, founder of the Athens Medical Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims, followed by Ilias Katsoulis (director of the Greek magazine Science and Society), actress Lydia Koniordou, biologist and environmentalist George Katsadorakis, enviromentalist Georgia Valaora, mechanical engineer Yiannis Tziolas, Ecologists-Greens executive secretariat member Yiannis Paraskevopoulos, Iraklio Ecological Intervention founder-member Aristidis Papadakis, director Sofia Papachristou, teacher of illiterate gypsy populations Vasiliki Tsakiri, and civil engineer Thanassis Kokkinos.
The final and 'honorary' position on the list is occupied by the Eco-Greens MEP Michalis Tremopoulos.
In a statement after the presentation of the list, Piniou-Kalli noted that "the presence of the Ecologists-Greens in Parliament is absolutely essential for democracy, the protection of human rights and the environment".
 FM Bakoyannis in stage of recoveryForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was reported as being in the stage of recovery at the Errikos Dynan hospital in Athens on Saturday. Bakoyannis, who was admitted to the hospital on Friday with symptoms of pneumonia, has no fever and is responding positively to antiobiotics being provided for her, according to a statement by the hospital's president.
The foreign minister received some visits and held telephone conversations with politicians and friends who wished her a speedy recovery.
Bakoyannis is expected to leave the hospital at the beginning of the week.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.482
Pound sterling 0.907
Danish kroner 7.500
Swedish kroner 10.193
Japanese yen 135.24
Swiss franc 1.526
Norwegian kroner 8.710
Canadian dollar 1.587
Australian dollar 1.706
 PM Karamanlis sends message to Audiovisual Archives conferenceCommunication and Information Secretary General Maria Papada conveyed a message by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at the inauguration of the 40th Annual Conference of the International Union of Sound and Audiovisual Archives at the Zappion Mansion on Sunday in which he stressed that "in a country with history and culture, the preservation and dissemination of memory is of special importance. Equally great is the importance of creating structures and infrastructures that will facilitate this development, as well as the provision and utilisation of resources in this direction."
The premier further said in his message that "all the above are at risk, however, if they remain at the level of simple intentions and relevant know-how is not deepened and the culture of archives behaviour is not 'established' in the minds of users and creators."
He also said that "we place politics at the service of utilising your results and we declare that the addition of value to knowledge and content, as you submit it, constitutes a gift of God for our country."
 Shepherd rescued on Mount OlympusA 42-year-old shepherd, who had fallen down a 500-metre ravine on Mount Olympus on Friday, was hauled to safety at dawn on Saturday and taken to a hospital in the city of Katerini for his injuries to be treated.
The accident had happened when the shepherd was grazing sheep on the mountain, together with the flock's owner who alerted the authorities for his rescue.
 Super League resultsPanathinaikos Athens edged tough Aris Thessaloniki 2-1 at home on Sunday to remain atop the Greek Super League standings, while reigning champion Olympiakos Piraeus clinched a dramatic 2-1 victory away over ambitious PAOK Thessaloniki and AEK Athens was held to a 1-1 draw away by Super League newcomer PAS Yiannina.
In other action:
Kavala-Atromitos Athens 2-1
Panionios Athens-Asteras Tripoli 1-3
Iraklis Thessaloniki-Larissa 2-1
Levadiakos Livadia-Ergotelis Crete 2-2
Xanthi-Panthrakikos Komotini 1-0
Standings after four weeks of play:
1. Panathinaikos 12 points
2. Asteras 8
3. Aris 7
4. Kavala 7
5. Iraklis 7
6. AEK 7*
7. Olympiakos 7*
8. PAS Yiannina 5
9. Ergotelis 5
10. PAOK 4*
11. Levadiakos 4
12. Xanthi 4
13. Larissa 2
14. Panionios 1*
15. Atromitos 1
16. Panthrakikos 0
Note: AEK, Olympiakos, Panionios and PAOK each have a game less.
 President Papoulias congratulates national basketball teamPresident Karolos Papoulias, in a message on Sunday evening after the Greek national basketball team beat Slovenia 57-56 and won third place and the bronze medal in the Eurobasket championship held in Poland, expressed his warm congratulations to them and a very big thank from the Greek people.
 Cloudy on MondayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 12C and 28C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 17C to 26C. Cloudy with possible showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 16C to 23C.
 The Sunday editions of Athens' dailies at a glanceADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Karamanlis' Greece"
APOGEVMATINI: "I believe in victory. Exclusive interview with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis"
AVGI: "SYRIZA. The Left is a necessity"
AVRIANI: "Humiliating handover of power by New Democracy through a mass desertion from the election battle"
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Suits and weeping veils. On a trajectory for the day after. Rehearsals for ministerial posts in PASOK. Preparedness for the post-Karamanlis era in ND"
ETHNOS: "The first 8 reforms in the state, economy, environment. George [Papandreou's] staff finalise the 100-day programme"
EPOCHI (weekly): "The strong presence of the Radical Left of vital importance for society. SYRIZA. In and out of Parliament"
FREE SUNDAY (weekly): "Battle for the following day"
KATHIMERINI: "George Papandreou: "I won't put up with fiefdoms"
LOGOS: "Karamanlis plays his last 'cards'. He's pinning his hopes on the debates and a last-minute rallying of ND voters"
NIKI: "Muzzle for the Cassandras. 'No' to the complacency of opinion poll pundits and 'blue parrots'"
PARON (weekly): "While PASOK presses full-speed ahead for a Parliament majority, they're in a hurry to give up".
PROTO THEMA (weekly): "PASOK 'writes off' debts to banks".
REAL NEWS (weekly):"The music has begun! Behind-the-scenes jostling for succession in ND on the eve of the elections".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Interview with the General Secretary of KKE's Central Committee. Torpedo to social insurance after the elections, either with ND or with PASOK".
VIMA: "Secret war within ND for Karamanlis' successor. With guns at the ready the 'heirs' await the defeat".
VRADYNI: "Karamanlis reversing the climate in the debate. He's banking on his responsible profile and credibility".
 Turkey remains the key factor for Cyprus solution, President stressesNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The key factor in efforts to find a negotiated settlement in Cyprus is Ankara who, in spite of public pronouncements, is not helpful towards this direction, President Demetris Christofias has stressed.
Pointing out that his most pressing priority is to establish peace and reconciliation in Cyprus, he warned that the continuation of the island's division, as a result of the continuing Turkish occupation of its northern part, is a certain recipe leading to permanent division, a prospect he described as "certain catastrophe for the people of Cyprus."
The president, acknowledging that he had expected more progress at the ongoing UN-led peace talks for a solution, stressed that negotiations must continue until there is a settlement as there is no other option to achieve this goal.
"It is necessary for Turkey to fully realize that the illegal occupation of EU territory in Cyprus is not in accordance with its European aspirations and the goal for full accession," he said in a speech to mark the 30th anniversary of the Cypriot Community Centre in Haringey, in London over the weekend.
President Christofias said that from the very first day of assuming his duties as President, in February 2008, he had taken steps towards the objective of ending the division of the country and achieving the peaceful re-unification of Cyprus.
He added that "those steps concern the creation of the prerequisites for the commencement of the dialogue with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community and the promotion of good-will measures which act as a catalyst in the efforts to find a solution to the problem."
A solution, he continued, of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality as described in United Nation resolutions, noting at the same time that "the United Federal Republic of Cyprus will be a state with an undivided sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship".
A solution, he said, "that will lead to the withdrawal of occupation troops, terminate the illegal colonisation, reunify society, the institutions and the economy and will, finally, restore human rights for all Cypriots".
The president said in his speech that "our efforts have borne fruit and after an agreement with Mr. (Mehmet Ali) Talat (leader of the Turkish Cypriot community) on the basis of the solution of the problem we began, last September, a process of direct talks", noting that "we were under no illusions concerning the difficulty of this effort".
He went on to say that "progress has been achieved. However, we had expected greater progress than the progress that has been achieved so far. In fact, important differences still exist on a number of fundamental issues".
Nevertheless, he added, "we are not discouraged and we will not abandon our effort. We have the necessary patience and the good will to continue until we achieve the desired result. There is simply no alternative".
President Christofias pointed out that "the key factor for a solution remains Turkey, who despite her public pronounce-ments of support to the process of direct talks, is not helpful".
He underlined that "there is a clear contradiction in Ankara: Turkish officials reassure the international community that they are in favour of the process to resolve the Cyprus question under the auspices of the United Nations while simultaneously they work towards promoting the policy of confederation between two equal states".
In addition, he continued, "Turkish officials, among them the Foreign Minister Mr Davutoglu, threaten the Republic of Cyprus, a behaviour not in the least compatible with Turkey's declarations that she wants a solution. This behaviour is contradictory and harmful".
He stressed that "it is necessary for Turkey to fully realize that the illegal occupation of EU territory in Cyprus is not in accordance with her European aspirations and her goal for full accession".
Despite the difficulties, the president said, "I continue to believe, as always, in our just and common struggle. We will continue to work diligently towards reaching a solution by the Cypriots for the Cypriots, a solution that will truly reunify our homeland and that will safeguard the human rights of all Cypriots".
He noted that "let there be no doubt of my commitment to this peaceful vision. A solution based on principles. On the relevant UN resolutions, on the principles of international and European law, on the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979 between the leaders of the two communities".
Moreover, he said that "there are many references by Mr Talat to the 'body of work' of the United Nations, referring to previous plans to resolve the Cyprus question or to ideas and documents that from time to time were submitted and were accepted by the two communities as a basis for negotiation but were finally rejected either by one or the other community".
The president stressed that "these do not constitute the so-called 'body of work' of the United Nations for the simple reason that they were rejected by the communities".
What constitutes the "body of work", he explained, "are the resolutions and decisions of the international organization which determine the basis and the framework for the solution of the Cyprus problem."
It is the resolutions and the decisions of the UN which define that the solution must provide for the withdrawal of the foreign troops as for example resolution 3212 of the General Assembly of the UN, but also Resolutions 353, 360, 789, 1251 and other resolutions of the Security Council.
It is the resolutions that provide for the reunification of Cyprus on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federal state which will have one sovereignty, one citizenship and one international personality as set out in resolutions 750, 774, 939 and in subsequent resolutions.
Those are resolutions 541, 550 of the UN which unanimously condemn as an illegal and secessionist action the declaration of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus and explicitly state that only one state exists in Cyprus, the state of the Republic of Cyprus, which is internationally regognised.
It is resolution 186 of 1964 that clearly states that the Republic of Cyprus continues to exist, irrespective of any domestic problems.
"It is resolution 550 of the Security Council, resolution 37/253 and other resolutions of the UN General Assembly which refer to the occupation of a part of the Republic of Cyprus", President Christofias underlined.
He, also, said that "the Court of Justice of the European Communities has recently vindicated our positions which are based on the principles and values of united Europe towards the restoration of the human rights of the entire people of Cyprus".
Referring to the Cypriot Community Centre, he said that it has proved to be very successful, adding that "most important, for many reasons, is the fact that the Cypriot Community Centre has become a living symbol of peaceful and harmonious unity between all the sections and religious denominations among us Cypriots: Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites, Latins".
He continued saying that "the Centre proves conclusively every day, and has been doing so for many years, that the values and norms that bring us together as Cypriots most definitely far outweigh the very few that may divide us".
In addition, he said that "this self-evident lesson taught by the Centre for our common benefit is truly inspiring", noting that "it is incumbent upon all of us, politicians and citizens alike, and it is of crucial significance that we draw the unmistakable lessons from this experience and apply them always in our daily lives".
He underlined that "the example of this peaceful and harmonious spirit enjoyed by all of you here at the Centre is nowhere more in need of emulation than in our common home, the ancestral land of your forefathers and yourselves".
"It is precisely this spirit that I have always felt bound by in my political and personal life and I would like to reassure you, once again, that I am 100% committed to fighting consistently for the good of all Cypriots without any exception", he added.
He stressed that "peace, reconciliation and harmony must prevail in Cyprus for the common good. As I have repeatedly stated, this is my most pressing priority as President".
"To allow the continuation of the brutal division of our homeland is the surest recipe for permanent division, which is a certain catastrophe for our country and our people," the President warned as he concluded his speech.
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