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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 23 September 2009 Issue No: 3304


  • [01] PM covers foreign policy issues, in head-to-head Karamanlis-Papandreou debate
  • [02] PASOK leader sets two options before voters
  • [03] PASOK leader at UN
  • [04] Tsipras stresses need to boost health care system
  • [05] LAOS President Karatzaferis visits OAED offices in Piraeus
  • [06] FM Bakoyannis gives interview to 'Novosti'
  • [07] FM Bakoyannis discharged from hospital
  • [08] EU budget allocates 6.1 bln euros to Greece in 2008
  • [09] Insurance market welcomes decision to close five companies
  • [10] Aspis Bank: Insurance market turmoil has 'only limited impact' on results
  • [11] Greek bank transactions costs high, Commission says
  • [12] Marfin Egnatia Bank issues 300-mln-euro bond loan
  • [13] Building materials' price index down 3.5 pct in August
  • [14] Stocks end 1.47 pct higher
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Greek bond market closing report
  • [17] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [18] Spiliotopoulos on first novel influenza case in a school
  • [19] Ecumenical Patriarch declared University of Peloponnese honorary professor
  • [20] Ecumenical Patriarch completes visit to Tripolis, southern Greece
  • [21] Topkapi director Ortayli tours New Acropolis Museum
  • [22] 'Megaron Plus' programme presented
  • [23] Fair on Wednesday
  • [24] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [25] President Christofias hopes Turkey to change stance on Cyprus problem Politics

  • [01] PM covers foreign policy issues, in head-to-head Karamanlis-Papandreou debate

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday evening detailed his government's actions and policies in the crucial foreign policy sector over the past five and a half years, deflecting criticism by rival main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou over "lax reactions" by Athens vis--vis Turkey.

    "We are dealing with Turkey, on the one hand, within the framework of International Law, and on the other, we back the latter's European prospects, under the condition that it (Turkey) fulfills all of its obligations", Karamanlis said during the one-on-one debate with main opposition PASOK leader and former foreign minister George Papandreou.

    Karamanlis sternly rejected heated PASOK criticism over his government's handling of relations with EU hopeful Turkey by citing two recent developments, namely, the inclusion of the central Aegean isle of Aghios Efstratios in a NATO exercise amid long-standing opposition by Ankara, as well as a reference in an EU summit conclusions that Turkey is obliged to honor and implement a migrant readmission protocol it has signed with Greece.

    Dealing specifically with the neighbouring country's all-important EU accession course, Karamanlis said that not one opportunity was missed by Athens, rather a framework for evaluating Turkey's progress towards European accession became clearer and stricter.

    Turning to the protracted Cyprus issue, the Greek PM reiterated that Athens backs a just and viable solution, while pointing to what he called his government's successful international agreements in the energy field.

    Specifically on this point, Karamanlis characterised as "dangerous and irresponsible" recent comments by Papandreou over a "re-examination" of the trilateral agreement for the construction and operation of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    "I discerned an indirect effort on your part to fault me for compliance. You are not allowed to do this. I have proved that I can make decisions that disappoint some. I refer to the firm stance regarding the Annan (peace) plan, which helped our Cypriot brothers vote freely. Conversely, you publicly pressured them (Greek Cypriots). Moreover, I was not in government either during the Imia and Ocalan affairs".

    Finally, the Greek PM said Athens supports the European volition of all neighbouring states, nevertheless, mentioning that the difference over the "name issue" with fYRoM remains unsolved. "We have imposed our position within NATO and the EU and we have drawn a red line from which we will not retreat."

    In entering the debate, Karamanlis said:

    "Now is the time for a direct dealing with the structural problems and the pathogeneses of the Greek economy," Karamanlis said, reiterating what he called a dilemma of either taking the "difficult high road" proposed by his ruling ND party rather than the path "of worthless and irresponsible promises, as proposed by PASOK".

    The premier explained, during a nationally televised debate, that the public debt ballooned during PASOK's governance and subsequently bestowed by PASOK governments to his, charging that if the current main opposition party's pre-elections were implemented "we would be led down the road to failure".

    In touching on a recurrent criticism of PASOK pre-election positions, he said the rival party has no substantive economic plan, while asking the PASOK leader what he considers as the fairest tax system.

    Karamanlis emphasised the need for difficult decisions to be taken to tackle the country's structural economic problem, primarily the huge public debt, and added that this is the legacy of PASOK governments.

    "We are experiencing a very serious economic crisis that had and has serious repercussions for all the economies and which is dealing a blow at Europe as well," the prime minister said but added that "we are experiencing it to a lesser degree than other countries. And our growth rate will be around zero but our unemployment has no relation with what is taking place in other countries."

    Karamanlis went on to say that a programme exists to support the unemployed and the weaker classes, but if the economy is not restructured and investments are not attracted unemployment will not be able to be handled.

    He also spoke of the need to amend university asylum so that it "will not harbour uncontrolled violence and the catastrophic mania of extremist groups."

    He also made special reference to non-state controlled universities, accusing Papandreou of "tragic palinodies" since "out of political opportunism or partisan expediencies he sabotaged constitutional reform."

    [02] PASOK leader sets two options before voters

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, speaking during a televised debate with Prime Minister and ruling New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday evening, placed voters before the dilemma of whether the six-year Karamanlis tenure will continue or whether there shall be a change in course.

    "If you want to continue the course of the six-year governance by New Democracy, vote for Mr. Karamanlis," he said and added that a different course "is not easy but it is feasible" and called for the confidence and the Parliamentary majority vote of the Greek people.

    Papandreou stressed that the country "is experiencing crucial moments and noted that two different options exist for Greece. The one is the continuation of the policy of decline, untransparency, the serving of clientele interests that places burdens on the average Greek family and the other is to have a government with determination and strength that will go ahead with the necessary changes and give hope to citizens and the country."

    The PASOK leader further said that with ND's policy, "Greece fell 40 points in competitiveness" and recalled a statement by former economy minister George Alogoskoufis who had said before the international crisis broke out that "we reached the bottom."

    Referring to the two mainstream parties' philosophy, he said that ND considers the social state "as a tip for the family and promotes the compression of salaries and benefits."

    He added that the other "invests in the country's human potential, provides security and confidence for the citizen and defends the rights of working people, while subsidising the contributions of young people to find work."

    Papandreou also said that, if elected prime minister, he would request a meeting of party leaders with the President of the Republic to discuss transparency issues and put an end to "the squandering" of the Greek people's money.

    Turning to environmental issues, the PASOK leader focused on green development to enable the country to move to a different production basis with a different technology and for new jobs to be created.

    On the question of national issues, Papandreou said that he "backed" Karamanlis on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), setting a national red line and will be moving along it as prime minister.

    The PASOK leader expressed disagreement with the government's handling of issues concerning Greek-Turkish relations, saying that Karamanlis lost historic opportunities to have the neighbouring country's stance towards Greece evaluated and he did this twice.

    Papandreou further stressed that he considers Turkey's stance unacceptable with continuous violations of national airspace, pointing out that he will not tolerate this stance as prime minister.

    Regarding the issue of Cyprus, Papandreou underlined that the Annan plan "is dead" and added that he will struggle with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias for a solution that will be based on UN resolutions and the acquis communautaire.

    Papandreou also said that "we have a 100-day plan to enable the Greek economy to get moving again."

    The PASOK leader mentioned that the citizens have to choose between a government that "is continuing to waste on clientele favours and which failed in the economy and a government that is committed to tidying up the economy and that will provide a breather for the market and hope and prosperity for the average family."

    Papandreou stressed that a PASOK government will find funds for its programme, that he roughly assessed at 2.5 to 3 billion euros, in the part of taxes that have not been collected, the utilisation of ESPA funds and the utilisation of the public sector's real estate.

    He further pointed out that the people are aware of dangers, following 6 years of New Democracy governance, while on the other hand there is the proposal by PASOK on tidying up, the serious redistribution of wealth and the toning up of the economy. "This is the difference between PASOK and ND," he concluded.

    [03] PASOK leader at UN

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    PASOK party leader George Papandreou is expected to arrive in New York late on Wednesday afternoon (Greek time).

    Immediately afterwards he will visit the headquarters of the United Nations, where presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and representatives of the Organisation's 192 member-states will be present, participating in the sessions of the General Assembly's 64th conference.

    Papandreou will address and preside over a meeting of the Socialist International's directorate. During his presence at the international organisation's headquarters, the PASOK leader is expected to hold talks with foreign leaders and the heads of delegations.

    He will be leaving on the night of the same day, returning to Greece.

    [04] Tsipras stresses need to boost health care system

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday said that Greece's National Health System (ESY) was "one step before bankruptcy and collapse" while visiting an event at the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens.

    He stressed that reforming and upgrading the state health system would be at the centre of the programme proposals presented by SYRIZA, the leftwing party alliance that has SYN as its largest component member.

    Tsipras said these reforms would aim to set up a reliable network for primary health care and a reliable overall health system that would give every person living and working in Greece access to quality health services.

    SYN's leader noted the lack of staff in hospitals and the need for proper management, saying that nursing staff and doctors were fighting a battle to keep hospitals open and prevent their collapse.

    [05] LAOS President Karatzaferis visits OAED offices in Piraeus

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) President George Karatzaferis visited the Greek Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) office in Piraeus on Tuesday and met with management and employees.

    Karatzaferis suggested that all unemployed in border regions should be given the option of a five-year paid military service by the State.

    On the televised debate, he stated that main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou cannot pose a threat to ruling New Democracy (ND) President Costas Karamanlis.

    [06] FM Bakoyannis gives interview to 'Novosti'

    BELGRADE (ANA-MPA/N. Pelpas)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, speaking in an interview with the Serb newspaper "Novosti" in Brussels on the sidelines of the General Affairs Council last week, expressed support for Serbia's European perspective.

    In the interview published on Tuesday, Bakoyannis said that the European Union must not forget Serbia and the Western Balkans and backed the proposal by the Swedish presidency for the holding of a conference between the EU and the Western Balkans.

    The foreign minister also said that in discussions with the Dutch side an effort is being made to make clear the significance of Serbia's rapprochement with the EU and the need for the activation of the Interim Agreement, while expressing the hope that the Dutch Parliament will change its stance on the issue.

    [07] FM Bakoyannis discharged from hospital

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis was on Tuesday discharged from the Henri Dunant (Errikos Dynan) Hospital in Athens, after being hospitalised for five days for atypical (walking) pneumonia.

    Bakoyannis will continue treatment at home, and is expected to resume her duties in the next few days.

    Financial News

    [08] EU budget allocates 6.1 bln euros to Greece in 2008


    Greece and Poland appear as the European Union member-states with the greatest benefits in terms of EU budget outlays in 2008, the European Commission reported here on Tuesday.

    Specifically, in 2008 Greece received 6.187 bln euros from the EU budget, a figure equalling 2.65 percent of GDP, while Poland received 4.3 bln euros, or 1.4 percent of GDP.

    [09] Insurance market welcomes decision to close five companies

    The Association of Insurance Companies-Greece on Tuesday welcomed a decision by the insurance market watchdog on Monday to revoke the operating licenses of five insurance companies of Aspis Group, saying the decision was a clear message to the market that the watchdog would strictly seek the implementation of market rules and legislation to the benefit of consumers.

    The Association, in a statement, said this decision -although sad- was necessary to ensure credibility and reliability in the market and said its members would make every effort to absorb workers from the five insurance companies that closed.

    Meanwhile, PASOK main opposition political party deputies Luca Katseli, responsible for economic affairs, and Mihalis Chrisohoidis, responsible for development affairs, strongly criticised the decision to close the five insurance companies. The two deputies said the government -which failed to supervise the insurance market for the past five years despite receiving negative messages from the market- took this decision amidst a pre-election period. "The government ought to have taken the necessary restructuring measures and not to close these companies two weeks ahead of the general elections, to the frustration of so many consumers and workers," they said.

    Greece's insurance market watchdog on Monday announced it was revoking the operating license of five insurance companies of Aspis Group, after these companies failed to cover their capital requirements.

    [10] Aspis Bank: Insurance market turmoil has 'only limited impact' on results

    Athens-based Aspis Bank on Tuesday said its management was totally independent from the insurance companies included in Aspis Group, adding that its activities were not fundamentally affected by recent developments in the insurance sector.

    In a statement, the bank said the percentage of direct participation of Aspis Life and Aspis General Insurance companies in Aspis Bank's equity capital totaled 19.71 pct, while the bank's equity participation in Aspis Insurance totaled 9.97 pct. Aspis Bank said it was offered secured loans and letters of guarantee to the two companies worth 4.9 million euros.

    Aspis Bank said it enjoyed high liquidity, fully complying with rules over capital requirements. The bank said its participation in Aspis Insurance will burden the bank's results by 13 million euros, while equity capital will be burdened by around 5.0 million euros. The bank said an equity capital increase plan, worth 120 million euros, would proceed as planned.

    Greece's insurance market watchdog on Monday to revoke the operating licenses of five insurance companies within the Aspis Group.

    [11] Greek bank transactions costs high, Commission says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/Mary Aroni)

    Greece is the 10th most expensive EU member-state in banking transactions, mainly because of high money transfer costs (commissions), the European Commission said on Tuesday.

    The EU's executive, in a report on consumer banking products in the EU, based on figures from 224 banks around the European Union (81 pct of the European market), concluded that banks' charges to consumers were not clear, while information was difficult to understand and incomplete.

    Particularly, for Greece, the Commission stressed that the cost of maintaining a current bank account was 54 euros on average, with Italy (253 euros) recording the highest cost and Bulgaria (27 euros) the lowest. The European Commission said that banking transactions in Greece were below the European average on price transparency, with 41 pct of Greek consumers finding it difficult to compare offers on current accounts.

    Commenting on the report, Meglena Kuneva, EU Commissioner, said there were signs that basic consumer principles were violated by European banks.

    [12] Marfin Egnatia Bank issues 300-mln-euro bond loan

    Marfin Egnatia Bank on Tuesday announced it has issued a indefinite bond loan, worth 300,000,000 euros, which was fully covered by Marfin Popular Bank Public Co. Ltd.

    The Lower Tier 1 Capital issue, carries a fixed annual interest rate of 7.0 pct.

    [13] Building materials' price index down 3.5 pct in August

    Greece's building materials' cost index fell 3.5 pct in August compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 0.2 pct recorded in August 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Tuesday.

    The statistics agency, in a report, said the new home building materials' price index was up 0.4 pct in August from July 2009, after a decline of 0.4 pct in the corresponding period last year.

    [14] Stocks end 1.47 pct higher

    Greek stocks recovered in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, after a three-day correction, with the composite index rising 1.47 pct to end at 2,565.05 points. Turnover was an improved 226.2 million euros, of which 16.9 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Constructions (3.26 pct), Banks (3.04 pct) and Financial Services (2.76 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Telecommunications (2.71 pct), Utilities (1.28 pct) and Travel (1.18 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 1.95 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.40 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.47 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 137 to 72 with another 52 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +0.61%

    Industrials: +1.34%

    Commercial: -0.20%

    Construction: +3.25%

    Media: -0.93%

    Oil & Gas: +1.98%

    Personal & Household: +1.94%

    Raw Materials: +1.79%

    Travel & Leisure: -1.18%

    Technology: +1.97%

    Telecoms: -2.71%

    Banks: +3.04%

    Food & Beverages: +1.19%

    Health: +0.22%

    Utilities: -1.28%

    Chemicals: -0.61%

    Financial Services: +2.76%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 11.70

    ATEbank: 1.61

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 14.60

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.61

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.68

    National Bank of Greece: 22.65

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.02

    Intralot: 4.92

    OPAP: 17.01

    OTE: 11.14

    Bank of Piraeus: 11.52

    Titan: 23.70

    [15] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.86 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover a low 40.311 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,633 contracts worth 30.809 million euros, with 20,055 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 9,751 contracts worth 9.502 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (1,664), followed by MIG (969), OTE (1,281), PPC (444), OPAP (422), Piraeus Bank (363), Intracom (509), Marfin Popular Bank (1,418) and Cyprus Bank (532).

    [16] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 2.351 billion euros on Tuesday, of which 1.276 billion euros were buy orders and the remaining 1.075 billion euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.915 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was 115 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 4.54 pct and the German Bund 3.39 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.25 pct, the six-month rate 1.03 pct, the three-month rate 0.75 pct and the one-month rate 0.44 pct.

    [17] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.489

    Pound sterling 0.911

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 10.174

    Japanese yen 136.17

    Swiss franc 1.527

    Norwegian kroner 8.697

    Canadian dollar 1.591

    Australian dollar 1.705

    General News

    [18] Spiliotopoulos on first novel influenza case in a school

    Schools in Greece are adequately prepared to deal with cases of novel influenza, Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos said on Tuesday. Questioned about an incident of swine flu in a pupil in Thessaloniki while visiting the Sivitanidio School, Spiliotopoulos stressed that fear and panic were the worst allies in the fight against the new disease, which had to be combated with knowledge.

    The minister said that schools had received instructions to promptly isolate potential cases of the novel influenza and allow schools to continue running normally. This set of procedures had been promptly and properly followed in the case in Thessaloniki, which had been dealt with in "an absolute way," Spiliotopoulos said.

    "On no account should we panic because our country is at this time not only prepared but also, as you have seen, the number of incidents in much lower than in the other countries of the European Union," he added.

    [19] Ecumenical Patriarch declared University of Peloponnese honorary professor

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, currently on a two-day visit to Tripolis, southern Greece, was declared honorary professor at the University of the Peloponnese in a special ceremony held on Tuesday.

    Addressing the academic community, the Ecumenical Patriarch stated that a homogenization of humans and peoples is in progress and underlined that the environmental threat points to problematic anthropology . He spoke of ecological crisis and stressed that the looting of the planet, the burning of the forests and the pollution of the air and water mean that humans have lost their original humanity. People never knew as much as they know today but never before were so catastrophic toward their fellow human beings and nature."

    He also stated that the future cannot be entrusted to "extremist technocrats" who see humans as machines and underlined the need for the mobilization of the young generation.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch, accompanied by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece and Deputy Education Minister Andreas Lykourentzos, visited a local high school and addressed the pupils.

    [20] Ecumenical Patriarch completes visit to Tripolis, southern Greece

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew wrapped up his two-day visit to the southern Greek city of Tripolis on Tuesday with the inauguration of the new wing of the Dekazio home for the elderly. Earlier, he was declared honorary citizen of the fire ravaged community of Kato Asea in the municipality of Valtetsi and inaugurated the recently constructed village square named after him. The Ecumenical Patriarch completed his visit to the region that was devastated by wildfires with a symbolic gesture by planting two trees, a sycamore and a fir, characterizing as "criminals targeting humanity" all those who deliberately set fires and destroy the "house of God, the natural environment which is our home."

    [21] Topkapi director Ortayli tours New Acropolis Museum

    The director of the famed Topkapi Museum of Istanbul, Ilber Ortayli, was given a grand tour of the New Acropolis Museum on Tuesday by the latter's director, Prof. Dimitris Pantermalis.

    Ortayli arrived in Greece within the framework of an international science conference that will be organised in Istanbul by the NGO "Aegean State" late next month, where Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who will be the keynote speaker.

    "From my visit to the Acropolis Museum, above all, I was impressed by its architecture for which I had been previously informed of. The style and technique of the museum are very close to the Enlightenment movement and highlight the recent findings of the Athenian Agora and the settlements around the museum in the best way possible ... Due to comparison of the treasures found here and the treasures found in the British Museum, the so-called 'Elgin Marbles', one obtains a clear picture of what should be returned to Athens.

    There is no reason for the sculptures to remain in the British Museum and this is why you must continue your effort for their return," the noted Turkish scholar said.

    After the tour of the museum, Athens Deputy Mayor Sophie Mytilinaiou-Daskalaki noted that the conference will be held annually, one year in Athens and one year in Istanbul, to promote the principles of civilisation and communication channels "between two civilisations through a common culture".

    [22] 'Megaron Plus' programme presented

    The Athens Concert Hall or 'Megaron' on Tuesday presented the "Megaron Plus" programme for October-December 2009, which will include an exhibition on the crucial issue of water management, an open discussion on the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and various other events and seminars.

    The interactive exhibition "L'eau pour tous" set up by the French Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie La Villette begins at the Megaron on October 21. This aims to raise awareness and inform the public about the increasing scarcity of clean fresh water, which will be one of the major and vital challenges humanity will face in the 21st century.

    This will be augmented by a two-day international symposium on October 22-23 on "Sustainable Development and Water: an international challenge for local action", while further aspects of the same problem will be explored in the seminar "Water in the era of Climate Change" on December 9.

    Other notable events in the programme will be the open debate on November 16 about the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, where the speakers will include the president of the Berlin state Parliament Walter Momper and former Rheinland-Palatinate premier Bernhard Vogel.

    Another seminar on November 11 will focus on the issue of libraries in the 21st century, while a round-table discussion on October 12 will feature professor Helene Ahrweiler coordinating a talk on "Byzantium and ancient Greek thought" that focuses on renaissance elements of the Middle Ages in the East and West.

    A lecture on October 19 will look at the issue of conscious and unconscious factors that influence our choice or marriage partner, as well as the different types of marriage, while on December 12, 2004 Israeli Nobel laureate in chemistry Aaron Ciechanover will talk on the directions being taken by medicine in the 21st century.

    The 'Megaron Plus' programme is a series of cultural events of various kinds organised by the concert hall, alongside its programme of music and dance events.

    Weather Forecast

    [23] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 13C and 28C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 26C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 16C to 25C.

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

    The political party leaders' televised debate on Monday evening mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Taxes in real estate will skyrocket with (main opposition) PASOK's measures".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis won the first battle".

    AVGHI: "Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) makes impressive comeback".

    CHORA: "Gone with the wind - Endless debate with parties reiterating their familiar positions".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "You watched the show: The debate of the "6".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Karamanlis exercised opposition in the debate".

    ESTIA: "Viewers disappointed - The debate lacked substance".

    ETHNOS: "Karamanlis shipwrecked on the 'debate reef'."

    KATHIMERINI: "All quiet on the debate front - The six leaders simply reiterated their known positions".

    LOGOS: "Debate: Gone with the wind ".

    NIKI: "Papandreou won the impressions and gave hope to the Greeks".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "We call on the working class from ND and PASOK to vote for the Communist Party (KKE)".

    TA NEA: "Debate: The first round completed without a knock-out".

    TO VIMA: "Recession domino threatens Greece a few days before general elections".

    VRADYNI: "Responsibility vs. populism - Karamanlis was clear and responsible, PASOK leader George Papandreou was vague".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [25] President Christofias hopes Turkey to change stance on Cyprus problem


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has expressed hope that Turkey will change its stance on the Cyprus problem so that a settlement could be achieved.

    President Christofias, accompanied by his spouse, Elsie, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou and associates, arrived in New York on Monday night to participate in the works of the UN General Assembly.

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcos Kyprianou is already in New York since Saturday.

    ''Yet another UN General Assembly and we are obliged to present our problem once again, which unfortunately has not been solved,'' President Christofias said in statements to the press.

    President Christofias said ''we will note the relative progress that has been made but we will clearly stress that so far progress in the talks does not give us the potential to be especially optimistic for a solution soon.''

    ''The differences existing in core issues, such as the issues of property, security, restoration of human rights, and I mean the rights of the refugees and the fundamental freedoms, are great,'' he pointed out.

    He expressed hope that ''the Turkish side will change its stance, will change its philosophy, so that we can move quickly to a solution of the various aspects of the Cyprus problem.''

    ''I will raise with the General Assembly the question of the paradox that a country, which is now a non permanent member of the Security Council, is violating dozens of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, is maintaining occupation troops in a UN member state. The same applies to Turkey's obligations concerning its European course,'' he added.

    To questions regarding the issue of the fenced off town of Famagusta, President Christofias said efforts were being made to rebuild the town so that its lawful residents could return to their homes.

    He added that there were UN resolutions calling on Turkey to hand over the town to the UN and that efforts were continuing, in cooperation with the town's Mayor.

    Replying to other questions, President Christofias said ''Turkey is following a communication policy, which is unfortunately imbued with arrogance.''

    He pointed out that, instead of implementing Security Council resolutions, Turkey has created a pseudostate in the occupied areas of Cyprus, which only Turkey recognises, and is struggling to gain recognition from other countries.

    Furthermore, he said, Turkey is trying to lift the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and has never spoken of a federation solution to the Cyprus problem but refers to a confederation.

    ''The answer is simple. The strong party wants to impose its will.

    The weaker party is refusing to accept the force of power from the strong party and is turning to the international community for support, for justice,'' he added.

    President Christofias expressed certainty that ''Cyprus will be justified.''

    Replying to questions regarding the talks for a settlement, President Christofias said neither arbitration nor deadlines are acceptable, and noted that the UN are aware of these positions.

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

    President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008, with an aim to reunite the island.

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

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