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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-10-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Wednesday, 7 October 2009 Issue No: 3316


  • [01] New prime minister George Papandreou takes office
  • [02] New Papandreou gov't Cabinet announced
  • [03] Court gives green light to ministry mergers
  • [04] Congratulations messages for new PM
  • [05] Ecumenical Patriarch congratulates Papandreou
  • [06] FYROM PM congratulates Papandreou
  • [07] Karamanlis takes up Thessaloniki MP post
  • [08] Thessaloniki prefect announces candidacy for ND leadership
  • [09] SYRIZA on new government
  • [10] SYRIZA to elect Parliamentary group leader on Wed.
  • [11] BoG Governor addresses IMF conference in Istanbul
  • [12] Stocks jump 3.77% on Tues.
  • [13] ADEX closing report
  • [14] Greek bond market closing report
  • [15] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [16] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visits Chania
  • [17] Miro exhibition in Thessaloniki
  • [18] Exhibition of works by Swedish artists
  • [19] Police sergeant sentenced for child porn material
  • [20] Fair on Wednesday
  • [21] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [22] Spokesman: Everyone should act according to mandate
  • [23] Downer: UN focusing on efforts to help reach a Cyprus settlement
  • [24] Russia will not recognise illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, says Lavrov Politics

  • [01] New prime minister George Papandreou takes office

    Greece's new Prime Minister George Papandreou took office on Tuesday morning, after his PASOK party swept the polls in Sunday's elections, giving it a firm 160-seat majority in the 300-member unicameral Parliament.

    Papandreou was sworn in at 11 on Tuesday morning as prime minister by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    The new prime minister immediately afterwards walked to the adjacent Maximos Mansion (government headquarters), where the ceremony for the official handover from outgoing New Democracy (ND) premier Costas Karamanlis took place.

    Papandreou is due on Tuesday evening to announce the composition of his Cabinet, which will be sworn in on Wednesday morning.

    The new Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Papandreou, will hold its first meeting on Wednesday immediately after the swearing-in ceremony.

    In a brief exchange before their in-camera meeting, Papandreou asked Karamanlis about his mother's condition, after she was taken to hospital earlier in the day, while Karamanlis wished his successor strength and good luck.

    [02] New Papandreou gov't Cabinet announced

    Prime Minister and President of the Government:

    George Papandreou

    Vice-president of the government responsible for coordination of the foreign policy & defence committee and Economic & Social Policy Committee:

    Theodoros Pangalos

    Minister of Interior, Decentralisation and e-Governance: Yiannis Ragoussis

    Dep. Minister: Dinos Rovlias

    Dep. Minister based in Thessaloniki: Theodora Tzakri

    Minister of Finance: George Papaconstaninou

    Dep. Minister: Filippos Sahinidis

    Foreign Minister: George Papandreou

    Alternate Foreign Minister: Dimitris Droutsas

    Dep. Minister: Spyros Kouvelis

    Minister of National Defence: Evengelos Venizelos

    Alternate Minister: Panos Beglitis

    Ministry of Economy, Competitiveness & Shipping

    Minister: Louka Katseli

    Dep. Minister: Stavros Arnaoutakis

    Dep. Minister based in Thessaloniki: Markos Bolaris

    Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change

    Minister: Tina Birbili

    Dep. Minister: Yiannis Maniatis

    Dep. Minister: Thanos Moraitis

    Ministry of Education

    Minister: Anna Diamantopoulou

    Dep. Minister: Evi Christofilopoulou

    Dep. Minister: Yiannis Panaretos

    Ministry of Infrastructure, Transports and Networks

    Minister: Dimitris Reppas

    Dep. Minister: Yiannis Magriotis

    Dep. Minister: Nikos Sifounakis

    Ministry of Labour & Social Insurances

    Minister: Andreas Loverdos

    Dep. Minister: Giorgos Koutroumanis

    Ministry of Health & Social Solidarity

    Minister: Mariliza Xenogianakopoulou

    Dep. Minister: Fofi Yennimata

    Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food

    Minister: Katerina Batzeli

    Dep. Minister: Mihalis Karhimakis

    Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights

    Minister: Haris Kastanidis

    Dep. Minister: Apostolos Katsifaras

    Ministry of the Citizen's Protection

    Minister: Mihalis Chrysohoidis

    Dep. Minister: Spyros Vougias

    Ministry of Culture and Tourism:

    Minister: Pavlos Geroulanos

    Dep. Minister: Angeliki Gerekou

    Minister of State to the Prime Minister:

    Haris Bamboukis

    Dep. Minister to the Prime Minister and government spokesman: Giorgos Petalotis

    The prime minister will also propose:

    For Parliament president, Filippos Petsalnikos

    For the secretariat of PASOK's Parliamentary group, Christos Papoutsis

    For Parliamentary representatives, Christos Papoutsis and Petros Efthymiou are to be appointed

    The Secretary General of the Cabinet will be Sotiris Lytras

    [03] Court gives green light to ministry mergers

    Greece's supreme administrative court, the Council of State, on Tuesday approved three urgent presidential decrees drawn up and signed by Greece's new premier George Papandreou, with which he merges existing ministries to create new ones and makes modifications to others.

    The first of these creates a new 'Ministry for Citizen Protection' into which will be transferred the interior ministry's general secretariat for public order and general secretariat for civil protection, in addition to the merchant marine ministry's department for maritime safety, general secretariat for ports and port policy and the coast guard.

    The merchant marine, Aegean and island policy ministry will be scrapped and its remaining services merged with the economic services of the economy and finance ministry, which will be combined with the entire development ministry to create the new ministry of the Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping.

    In addition to this, there will be an independent Ministry of Finance, comprised of the departments of the former Economy and Finance Ministry dealing with finance issues.

    Another decree merges the ministries of culture and tourism development into a single ministry of culture and tourism, while the Macedonia-Thrace ministry will be converted into a General Secretariat for Macedonia-Thrace and absorbed by the Interior Ministry.

    All three presidential decrees were judged legal by the CoS panel that examined them, with a few observations of a technical nature.

    [04] Congratulations messages for new PM

    Congratulation messages continued to pour in on Tuesday for new prime minister George Papandreou on his election.

    Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi telephoned Papandreou to congratulate him on his electoral victory, and wished him every success in his task.

    The two prime ministers expressed hope that they would soon have the opportunity for an in-person meeting.

    Hungarian prime minister Gordon Bajnai warmly congratulated Papandreou on his "historic election victory", adding that he looked forward to enhancing cooperation between the two governments and peoples.

    "I am confident that our excellent bilateral relations, our continued and successful cooperation on various issues on the agenda of the European Union as well as our traditional cooperation in other international organisations and fora are reliable guarantees thereof," Bajnai said.

    He also wished Papandreou every success in his "highly responsible duty", in a letter conveyed by Hungarian ambassador in Athens Jozsef Toth, who also took the opportunity to express his own heartfelt congratulations and his desire to work very closely with the new government.

    World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) President Stefanos Tamvakis, in a letter, expressed heartfelt congratulations to Papandreou for the landslide victory and the assumption of his duties during a difficult period of time. He also conveyed the wishes of the Greek Diaspora for success in his difficult task.

    Tamvakis expressed optimism for cooperation between the new government in Greece and SAE for the solution of the problems faced by the Greeks living abroad.

    The SAE president stated that "the Diaspora Hellenism is at your side and places all its powers and support at the disposal of Greece to meet our national goals and visions."

    "Your in-depth knowledge of the problems faced by World Hellenism and the excellent and effective cooperation we have shared gives us optimism for the future," Tamvakis stated, adding that "we are certain that our expectations will be met for the benefit of Greece and Hellenism."

    Archbishop Demetrios of America congratulated George Papandreou on his election victory in Greece and the assumption of his duties as the country's new Prime Minister wishing him success in his "manifold work for the benefit of the homeland and the Greeks abroad."

    Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and All Africa also congratulated the newly elected prime minister wishing him success in his work.

    [05] Ecumenical Patriarch congratulates Papandreou

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Tuesday sent a telegram congratulating Greece's new prime minister George Papandreou on his party's election victory.

    "At a difficult time the Greek people have entrusted you with the government. We also wish you, from the holy centre of Orthodoxy, complete success in carrying out your programmes and visions for the progress, prosperity and spiritual growth of our beloved Greece," Bartholomew's message read.

    He ended the message by noting the "friendship and sincere interest" shown by Papandreou in the issues of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek minority in Istanbul.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch was in Greece on Tuesday, on a visit to the island of Crete.

    [06] FYROM PM congratulates Papandreou

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA/N.Frangopoulos)

    Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Tuesday congratulated new Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on his election, noting at the same time his "conviction that the message we will send to the region will reflect the deeper cooperation and understanding between our neighbouring countries and peoples."

    [07] Karamanlis takes up Thessaloniki MP post

    Former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced on Tuesday that he would take up his MP post for the Thessaloniki A' electoral district.

    Karamanlis was also a candidate in Larissa, central Greece, given that the leaders of the political parties may be candidates in two electoral districts.

    His decision means that Christos Zois, who was elected in Larissa, will be in parliament, while Apostolos Tzitzikostas, a candidate in the Thessaloniki A' electoral district of Thessaloniki, is not elected..

    Karamanlis, the outgoing leader of the former ruling New Democracy (ND) party, resigned from the party helm after his government's defeat in Sunday's general elections, and will remain in the post until the party's extraordinary Congress, scheduled for next month under party regulations, elects a new leader.

    [08] Thessaloniki prefect announces candidacy for ND leadership

    Thessaloniki prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis on Tuesday morning announced his intention to contest the leadership of the former ruling New Democracy (ND) party, after party leader Costas Karamanlis's resignation following ND's crushing defeat in Sunday's general elections in Greece.

    Psomiadis, the first to announce candidacy for the post, made the announcement on a morning news magazine program on private television.

    He said he was "taking a front seat" and contesting the ND leadership, but left open the prospect of eventually backing some other "major" candidacy that would convince him it represents "the platform of the broad center-right" wing.

    "I am taking a front seat in this common effort, together with other worthy, capable cadres...I am taking a front seat and declaring myself 'present' for the large, victorious center-right wing. If, however, some other candidacy convinces me that it credibly expresses an ideological platform, the ideological identity of the center-right sphere, then I have no problem of backing it," Psomiadis said.

    He also urged that "we must all work towards a single candidacy".

    [09] SYRIZA on new government

    The press office of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), said in an announcement on Tuesday on the composition of the new government, that the "persons and government formations are of secondary importance before the policy that the new PASOK government will be applying."

    "Before the elections, PASOK tried to conceal itself in vagueness, subterfuge and silencing. The seriousness of the problems that we are facing as a country and as a society at this time only provides a minimum grace period towards the PASOK government," it said.

    "SYRIZA, from positions of Leftist opposition, will stand by the struggles of the working people, the farmers, the self-employed and youth with its proposals and its programme," the announcement concluded.

    [10] SYRIZA to elect Parliamentary group leader on Wed.

    The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) secretariat and Parliamentary group will convene on Wednesday in order to elect a new leader for the party alliance's Parliamentary Group, SYRIZA announced on Tuesday. SYRIZA's largest component member, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party has already proposed its leader Alexis Tsipras as SYRIZA Parliamentary group leader.

    This was announced after a meeting on Tuesday by SYRIZA's Political Bureau, which made a first assessment of the election results and judged that these were satisfactory and "opened the way for SYRIZA's action in the new Parliament".

    The discussion on the election result will be completed at a further meeting set for Thursday.

    Financial News

    [11] BoG Governor addresses IMF conference in Istanbul

    Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos proposed the implementation of a prolonged programme of fiscal restructuring that will contribute to the restriction of the state sector's cost of borrowing and the adoption of bold structural changes, assessing that the widespread support received by the recently elected Greek government will facilitate the implementation of the necessary reforms considerably.

    Speaking in Istanbul on Tuesday during the annual session of the International Monetary Fund, the Governor appeared reservedly optimistic over the recovery of the international economy. He said that the recovery of the international economy is still at its initial stage. Consequently, he stressed, it is still very early for the gradual lifting of measures to boost the economy to begin.

    Provopoulos further said that the economic recession was less intense in Greece, compared to many other European countries. However, as he said, the factors that restrained the drop in economic activitiy constitute, at the same time, a stumbling block for its recovery.

    Moreoever, he said that the performances of the Greek economy during the crisis reflect its relatively low level of extroversion and the worsening of public finances which, before the crisis broke out, were in an alarming condition.

    Provopoulos also reassured the health of the banking system, adding that it constituted one of the factors that supported the Greek economy.

    [12] Stocks jump 3.77% on Tues.

    Greek stocks ended sharply higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with the composite index of the market rising 3.77 pct to end at 2,678.50 points. Turnover was an improved 308.2 million euros, of which 23.8 million euros were block trades.

    All sector indices ended higher with the exception of the Insurance index which ended 0.60 pct. Banks (5.57 pct), Travel (5.04 pct), Health (4.78 pct), Raw Materials (4.22 pct) and Industrial Products (3.73 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index jumped 4.52 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 2.58 pct and the FTSE 80 index ended 3.3 pct higher. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 181 to 37 with another 37 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -0.60%

    Industrials: +3.73%

    Commercial: +2.94%

    Construction: +2.98%

    Media: +0.61%

    Oil & Gas: +1.09%

    Personal & Household: +1.31%

    Raw Materials: +1.31%

    Travel & Leisure: +5.04%

    Technology: +3.24%

    Telecoms: +1.30%

    Banks: +5.57%

    Food & Beverages: +1.66%

    Health: +4.78%

    Utilities: +0.88%

    Chemicals: +0.70%

    Financial Services: +3.50%

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

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

    Alpha Bank: 12.51

    ATEbank: 1.65

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.35

    HBC Coca Cola: 17.32

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.93

    National Bank of Greece: 24.50

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.90

    Intralot: 4.81

    OPAP: 18.18

    OTE: 11.65

    Bank of Piraeus: 12.25

    Titan: 23.72

    [13] ADEX closing report

    The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a small discount 0.45 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 97.980 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,887 contracts, worth 76.064 million euros with 25,347 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,552 contracts worth 21.916 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (2,646), followed by Marfin Popular Bank (1,751), Intralot (1,477), Hellenic Postbank (1,196), MIG (1,180), Piraeus Bank (1,063), Bank of Cyprus (1,062) and OTE (896).

    [14] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market remained a strong 2.129 billion euros on Tuesday, of which 1.119 billion euros were buy orders and the remaining 1.010 billion euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.719 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose to 133 basis points with the Greek bond yielding 4.47 pct and the German Bund 3.14 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.23 pct, the six-monthr ate 1.02 pct, the three-month rate 0.74 pct and the one-month rate 0.43 pct.

    [15] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

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

    U.S. dollar 1.484

    Pound sterling 0.933

    Danish kroner 7.503

    Swedish kroner 10.339

    Japanese yen 132.26

    Swiss franc 1.523

    Norwegian kroner 8.452

    Canadian dollar 1.577

    Australian dollar 1.670

    General News

    [16] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visits Chania

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on a three-day visit to the Holy Metropolises of Kidonia-Apokoronos and Kisamos-Selinos on the southern Aegean island of Crete, was received on Tuesday in Chania with honors reserved for heads of state.

    Addressing the local authorities and the crowd of faithful gathered, Bartholomew referred to the special ties between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the autocephalous Church of Crete. As regards Sunday's elections in Greece, he stressed that the government and the opposition constitute integral elements of democracy and congratulated them both stressing that Greece deserves a great future.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch laid the foundation stones of a shelter for children with disabilities and of the Church of St Vartholomeos located in the yard of the facility under construction.

    He also officiated at a doxology at the Chania Cathedral and visited the Monastery of Chryssopigi.

    The minting of coins in antiquity - 'Make your own coin' educational activity at Numismatic Museum

    Alpha Bank and the National Numismatic Museum are jointly organising, for the first time, an educational activity addressed to children but also adults titled "The minting of coins in antiquity - Make your own coin".

    Archaeologists and conservators will be on hand on Saturday to acquaint the public with the techniqueof ancient coin minting, and help visitors mint and paint their own coins, using die replicas, inspired by ancient coins, but also to design an iconographic theme for a coin inspired by ancient as well as modern representations.

    The event will take place at the Numismatic Museum in the Iliou Melathron building on 12 Panepistimou street in downtown Athens.

    Alpha Bank, as part of its cultural itinerary, has a small but impressive Numismatic Collection of its own, housed in an exhibition room in the bank's central Athens headquarters.

    The primary aim of the Collection is to highlight the widespread extent and influence of the Greek civilisation on the ancient world. Besides the wide range of coinage of cities, kings, confederacies and tribes of the strictly Greek region, the Bank collection also accommodates coins of Celtes originating from today's Britain, France and the Danube region, which are mainly imitations of the pieces issued by Philip II and Alexander III (the Great) of Macedonia.

    There are also numismatic issues from Ethiopia by the kings Ezana and Aphilas, who, in the 4th century AD, inscribe on their coins their name and title in Greek. Even from the distant Bactria and India, the farthest point in the east that a Greek army has ever advanced, the collection displays a nearly complete range of all the kings: from the extremely rare didrachm of Sophytes and coins issued by Euthydemos, Eucratides and Heliocles to coins by Menander, Hermaios, Razouvoulas and many more.

    These issues clearly show the long-lasting and deep influence that Greek culture exerted in distant lands, even though they had very little direct contact with the Greeks.

    [17] Miro exhibition in Thessaloniki

    An exhibition of more than 400 works by the noted Catalan artist Joan Miro (1893-1983), the largest ever hosted in Greece, was formally inaugurated on Tuesday at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki's (AUTH) Teloglio Foundation of Art in the presence of Spain's Queen Sofia.

    The exhibition, "Miro of Majorca", a collaboration between the Teloglion Foundation and the Foundation Pilar i Joan Miro of Majorca, presents one of the artist's greatest exhibitions in the country that includes a significant number of his works and documents featuring paintings, sculptures, etchings, drawings, sketches etc.

    The works date back to 1908 (his only salvaged early landscape painting) until his death in 1983. However, the exhibition mainly presents mature Miro in Majorca and the works he created in the workshop designed by his architect friend Josep Lluis Sert in 1956.

    The exhibition, that opened for the public on Sept. 6, 2009, has already been visited by roughly 2,000 people, art lovers and pupils, and will run until Feb. 5, 2010. It is held under the auspices of the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and the Spanish embassy in Athens.

    The Queen of Spain arrived in Thessaloniki from Athens where she was on a private visit since Monday. After visiting the exhibition she will return to Athens and on Wednesday she will tour the New Acropolis Museum.

    [18] Exhibition of works by Swedish artists

    The works of Swedish artists will be on display at the cultural center of the Municipality of Polichni, Thessaloniki, on Oct. 8-Nov. 6.

    The exhibition titled "5+1 Swedish artists" features creations on paper and canvas by Misha Bjotkoos, Chun Lee Wang Grut, Peter Hellsing, Gunnat Lundqvist, Margarete Rostin and Greek expatriate Nikos Terzis. Artistic photographs and electronic printings will also be on display.

    [19] Police sergeant sentenced for child porn material

    A police sergeant was handed down a three-year suspended sentence and a 50,000-euro fine by a court in Thessaloniki after being found guilty of possession and trafficking of hard-core pornographic material involving minors.

    An investigation by police's electronic crimes office had revealed electronic traces on his office computer of regular visits to child porn internet sites. In a subsequent search of his house, police confiscated hard drives and CD photos with sexually explicit material involving minors.

    The 43-year-old defendant did not appear in court where he was represented by his attorney.

    Weather Forecast

    [20] Fair on Wednesday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 29C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 15C to 26C. Fair in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15C to 25C.

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

    Developments in New Democracy after the elections result, former Ministers George Alogoskoufis' and George Souflias' retirement from politics and speculations on the composition of the PASOK government, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "George Souflias resigned following the people's rage against him".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Souflias and Alogoskoufis retire from politics".

    AVGHI: "The party's over ...The names that will make up the new government to be announced on Tuesday".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Souflias could not withstand the pressure and the accusations for the crushing defeat".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Karamanlis resigned but the guilty remain in their positions".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "After Karamanlis' resignation, Souflias abandons politics for good".

    ESTIA: "The 'morning after' in New Democracy - Selection criteria for the new leader".

    ETHNOS: "10 steps to changing the country's course - PASOK leader (and prime minister elect) first initiatives and proposals".

    KATHIMERINI: "ND in introversion period".

    LOGOS: "Smaller cabinet and new names - First priorities after the victory".

    NIKI: "Cheaper money for all".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Stronger and more experienced in the organisation of the popular counter-attack".

    TA NEA: "Reversals with younger members and more women - George's government will be small and flexible".

    TO VIMA: "First vote of confidence - Positive reaction from Federation of Greek Industries, markets and international media".

    VRADYNI: "Time for (former Interior Minister) Prokopis Pavlopoulos to resign".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [22] Spokesman: Everyone should act according to mandate


    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that it goes without saying that everyone should act based on the role they have assumed, noting that President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, during a meeting on Tuesday with the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer, discussed current issues.

    Replying to questions, Stephanou said President Christofias presented his positions and views and much of the meeting was taken up by the process in talks to solve the Cyprus problem and developments, with an aim ''to reach a mutually agreed solution to the Cyprus problem, in the framework of the agreed basis, the basis of UN resolutions, and the principles of international and European law.''

    ''It goes without saying that everyone dealing with the Cyprus problem is engaged on the basis of either their mandate or their aims, and I mean the aims of the two communities for a solution of the Cyprus problem. So, it goes without saying that, in our view, everyone should act based on the role they have assumed. This is what we want,'' he added.

    Asked if Downer showed understanding, Stephanou said the discussion was very good and that views and positions were expressed with sincerity.

    To a question what would be discussed during Wednesday's meeting between President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, in the context of direct talks, Stephanou said they would probably discuss governance, adding that there is also the issue of properties.

    Asked about a document attributed to one of Downer's associates, according to which the Greek Cypriot side had submitted proposals, in the context of a solution, for the election of president and vice president, which would allow the monopoly of leftwing political parties, Stephanou said this document was not a proposal but merely an exchange of views with the advisers of the president.

    He reiterated that the position the Greek Cypriot side submitted had been given to the members of the National Council, the top advisory body to the president on the handling of the Cyprus problem, and noted that proposals and positions were submitted by the negotiator.

    ''What we want is, through the proposal we have submitted, to overcome the dividing element contained in the 1960 Constitution, and later proposals that the Greek Cypriots should vote for a Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriots for a Turkish Cypriot,'' he added.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008, with an aim to reunite the island.

    [23] Downer: UN focusing on efforts to help reach a Cyprus settlement


    The UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said on Tuesday that the UN and he personally were focusing on their effort to help reach a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, Downer said that ''we need to get back to the talks, which is going to happen tomorrow (Wednesday), and I met with Mr. Talat and Mr. Christofias today (Tuesday) and they are preparing for the resumption of the talks.''

    ''They are going to be over two days and then there are two meetings the following week. So it is good to see the process getting some momentum back and we need to really concentrate on that because that is the main issue and if they can succeed in these talks it is going to be a great thing for Cyprus and so as usually we do what we can to help them,'' he said.

    Downer did not comment on allegations from documents that have leaked to the press. ''I have made it perfectly clear, and it is important to understand this, that the UN is not going to comment on allegations of leaked documents and so on. We are simply not going to get into that game and we are going to concentrate ourselves on continuing to make the contribution we make to trying to achieve a successful outcome to these negotiations,'' he said.

    Asked about reports around his name, Downer said that ''first of all naturally enough we would never comment on any alleged leaked documents or anything like that, we would not get into any discussion about that.''

    ''Secondly, this process is not about me. This process is about Cyprus and it is about the Cypriots and it is about the two leaders trying to negotiate a solution. And I think the piece of advice I would give to Cypriots is to concentrate 100% both sides in doing what they can to achieve a satisfactory outcome to these negotiations,'' he added.

    Downer noted that ''this is a very difficult negotiation'' and that he is ''cautiously optimistic about it but it is a difficult negotiation and it is a very important time this in the history of Cyprus.''

    To remarks that political party leaders have said that he has overstepped the boundaries with his mandate, Downer said ''it is not about me, this is about these negotiations.''

    Asked if there were any reports on the profiling of Turkish Cypriot parties, Downer said he would not get into ''any of this discussion because this is a discussion about an allegation of a leaked document.''

    Asked if he discussed this issue with President Christofias, Downer said ''we had a very good discussion about all issues.''

    To a question regarding remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Davudoglu about two states in Cyprus, and asked how these statements help the efforts for a solution, Downer said that ''for the UN our guide is the Security Council and the Security Council resolutions and what the Security Council has said is that it wants to see a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, a single international personality, and that is basically where we stand.''

    ''I mean, our job is to operate within that framework. So that is the basis on which these negotiations are taking place and, if these are successful, then Cyprus will end up with a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality,'' he added.

    To a question regarding the hard positions in the negotiations about property and guarantees, and if Turkey was ready to stand back on these issues, Downer said ''you can only solve the Cyprus problem if there are compromises, and how these compromises will play out is a matter, really, for the leaders.''

    ''Of course, people have outlined positions and you know, this is no secret; positions are inconsistent so that means something has to be done to reconcile the positions so that there is agreement. Now, how that is done is really a matter for the leaders,'' he added.

    Asked if the UN was planning to get more involved during the second round of talks, Downer said that ''the UN is only here to help and we help to the extent that the leaders want us to help.''

    Invited to say if it was time for the EU to get involved in the negotiations, Downer said that ''obviously the EU has discussions with the leaders, in fact with both leaders and representatives and officials from time to time, and I think that is obviously helpful as well but in the end this is not going to be a negotiation that is decided by the EU or the UN, this is going to be decided by Cypriots.''

    Asked if there was anything new about a possible visit of the UN Secretary General to Cyprus, Downer said there was not. ''There has been no decision made about that. I can absolutely assure you there has been no decision about whether the Secretary General will visit or whether he will not,'' he said.

    To a question whether the negotiations will be intensified, Downer said ''they are being intensified because they are going to meet now twice this week and twice the next week and we will see beyond that whether they will continue to meet twice a week and we will have to wait,'' adding that this was ''a matter for the leaders.''

    [24] Russia will not recognise illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, says Lavrov


    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has ruled out any notion of recognising a state in Cyprus' northern Turkish occupied areas, in exchange of the recognition by Turkey of Abkhazia, which has seceded from Georgia.

    "Russia does not bargain the recognition of "Northern Cyprus" from Moscow, in exchange of the recognition of Abkhazia from Ankara," Lavrov said during a lecture at the state university of Abkhazia.

    "We are not liable to any exchange in the sense of give and take. These are completely different cases. They are different situations from historical, moral and human perspective and any kind of bargain is out of place," he added.

    "Each situation must be addressed taking into consideration the historic events," that surround it Lavrov said.

    Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. The island's northern part remains under Turkish occupation. The illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, in occupied Cyprus, is not recognized by any state except Turkey. The UN has branded the regime "legally invalid" and called on all states not to recognise of facilitate it.

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