|Tuesday, 23 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-05-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 15 May 2012 Issue No: 4071
 New meeting of party leaders on TuesdayA meeting between party leaders for the formation of a new government will be continued at 2 p.m. (12.00 GMT) on Tuesday with an enlarged participation, the president's office announced on Monday.
Earlier, President Karolos Papoulias chaired a meeting with the leaders of New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left parties, which lasted for roughly an hour.
 ND leader Samaras says broad support for new government necessaryNew Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras said on Monday evening that support provided by as many political forces as possible to a government, was absolutely necessary.
Addressing reporters after a joint meeting chaired by the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias aiming at the formation of a government, Samaras added that he asked from the president to consider a proposal by Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos, which, as the ND leader said, leaves margins for providing support.
Samaras also said that the possibility of forming a government composed of political figures should be examined first and then a government of technocrats, but in emergency situations "such as today's one should also examine emergency solutions."
The ND leader reiterated that the people have sent, through its May 6th vote, "not only a message but an explicit mandate. This mandate is that all together, as much as possible, try to form this new government. Each should assume his historic responsibilities."
 PASOK party leader Venizelos supports government of personalitiesPASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, in a statement on Monday evening after a joint meeting of political leaders chaired by president Papoulias, said that "we support a government of personalities as an emergency solution. In democracy the responsibility belongs to the political governments, the political parties, the political figures."
Venizelos added that "it is not natural for governments of technocrats or personalities to be formed, however when we are before such a crisis, such a deadlock, we must accept this as well, it is also important that the Parliamentary support of this government be the widest possible."
The PASOK leader further said that "the participation of New Democracy, the Democratic Left, PASOK as well as of SYRIZA (the Radical Left Coalition) is the minimum base in our opinion. Other forces could also participate, the party of (Independent Greeks party leader Panos) Mr Kammenos could participate, even the KKE (the Communist Party of Greece) must be asked and assume its own responsibilities."
 Democratic Left party leader Kouvelis insisting on creation of ecumenical governmentDemocratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis, in statements following Monday evening's meeting chaired by President Karolos Papoulias, insisted on his proposal on the creation of an ecumenical government with the participation of all the pro-European forces.
Kouvelis expressed his "clear and categorical" opposition to a government of technocrats and personalities that "constitutes proof of the defeat of politics."
He added that in Tuesday's meeting with all the party leaders as well, he will come with the proposal that he has extended on the formation of an ecumenical government for which the participation of SYRIZA (the Radical Left Coalition) also constitutes a precondition.
 SYRIZA head Tsipras to participate in Tuesday's party leaders' meetingRadical Left Coaliton (SYRIZA) head Alexis Tsipras will participate in Tuesday's meeting of party leaders that President Karolos Papoulias has convened.
Sources of SYRIZA stressed that SYRIZA had already stated since Monday morning that it would respond to a relevant request, without this meaning that its political and programme position has been amended in the least.
 President Papoulias to meet Independent Greeks party leader at noon on TuesdayPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will meet Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, it was announced by the presidency on Monday night.
The meeting will take place an hour before the meeting between the party leaders with the aim of discussing the proposal on a government of personalities that was "tabled" during negotiations which President Papoulias held with the leaders of the New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left parties earlier Monday evening.
 KKE party leader Papariga will not participate in Tuesday's party leaders' meetingCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga will not participate in the meeting of party leaders to be convened on Tuesday afternoon by President Karolos Papoulias.
According to a relevant announcemen by the party, "the position of KKE, that was also expressed during the meeting with the President of the Republic and is contained in the minutes of the discussion, is against the formation of a government of personalities, regardless of the name that it will take. Therefore, Aleka Papariga would not contribute to such a discussion, where the preconditions and the composition of this government would be determined."
 SYRIZA clarifies its stance on political leaders' meetings with PresidentA SYRIZA announcement on Monday said that party leader Alexis Tsipras is not willing to participate in selective meetings of political leaders under President of Republic Karolos Papoulias referring, to Tsipras' refusal to take part in Monday's meeting at the presidential mansion with the participation of New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis.
SYRIZA underlined that Tsipras is at the President's disposal for a meeting in private or a meeting with the participation of all the parliamentary parties except the ultra right Chryssi Avghi.
Moreover, SYRIZA demands the immediate publication of the minutes of Sunday's meeting between the three political leaders and the President, noting that it is the evident duty of the Presidency in order for the Greek people to be informed and to stop media speculation on SYRIZA's positions and the other parties' intentions.
SYRIZA's decision was sharply criticised by PASOK, whose press spokesman Fofi Gennimata said that his refusal to attend the meeting was an insult to the president and the voters that had supported SYRIZA in the hope of a better prospect for the country.
Gennimata accused Tsipras of being "afraid" to take responsibility for government and emphasised that repeat elections would be "disastrous" since government revenues were already collapsing, so that by the end of the month Greece would be in a worse financial position and with no guarantee that elections would not lead to another inconclusive result.
 SYRIZA's Tsipras: they want SYRIZA to lend legitimacy to policy rejected by votersExplaining his refusal to support a broad coalition government as demanded by other party leaders, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday told AMNA Web TV in an exclusive interview that the pro-bailout parties wanted SYRIZA to lend a facade of legitimacy to policies already 'delegitimised' by voters in the elections.
According to Tsipras, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias could evaluate whether New Democracy, PASOK and the Democratic Left party agreed and give them a mandate to form a coalition government.
He said the three parties appeared to have reached a policy outline for a two-year government, since they were asking for a government last as long as the envisaged term of the bailout agreements.
Asked whether he can guarantee that Greece will remain in the euro, SYRIZA's leader underlined the party's position was firmly in favour of remaining in the Eurozone but he "cannot guarantee that the eurozone will exist".
"What has to stop is the experiment [using] Greece and a solution must be found on a European level. Therefore, the issue is to convince our partners and creditors that it is in our common interest to change the austerity policy and have it proceed step by step for Greece and Europe".
Questioned about the position of former SYRIZA party leader Alekos Alavanos, who equated rejection of bailout terms with an exit from the euro, Tsipras only said that this was Alavanos' opinion and not shared by the party.
 Tsipras announces 'refounding' of SYRIZA as major democratic Leftist partyCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday announced the 'refounding' of SYRIZA and its evolution to become a major democratic leftist party, saying that this was the 'mandate' of the electorate and that the SYRIZA of May 5 "no longer exists".
Speaking during an exclusive interview with AMNA Web TV, he said this process had already begun, with 70 open meetings held throughout the country.
 Independent Greeks denies speculations of secret talks with NDIndependent Greeks party denied on Monday speculations that the party is holding talks with New Democracy (ND) behind the scenes.
The party's spokesman Terence Quick, in a statement, noted that the party has proved that it always speaks openly and in public and never secretly or behind the scenes.
"The dirty games refer to the traitors that attempt desperately to cling to something after their total failure in the general elections," he said.
 Ind'p Greeks party displeased with Papoulias' decisionIndependent Greeks cadres and MPs expressed resentment and discontent in response to the fact that their party was not invited in the meeting under Republic President Karolos Papoulias to take place on Monday evening.
"We do not understand why we had to be excluded from the meeting considering that our leader had tabled specific proposals designed to lead the country out of the crisis," a close associate of party leader Panos Kammenos told AMNA.
MP and former minister Costas Markopoulos said that the Republic President's decision is "inexplicable", while MP Pavlos Haikalis said that "there was no reason to invite (Democratic Left - DIM.AR. leader Fotis) Kouvelis unless New Democracy (ND), PASOK and DIM.AR. agree to form a government."
 Dem Left leader says no to cooperation with SYRIZA, even after electionsDemocratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis on Monday said Greece was being led to repeat elections in June after SYRIZA (acronym for Coalition of the Radical Left) refused to support a broad coalition government in this round. He also stressed in statements to the local radio station Real FM that he will not support SYRIZA even after the elections.
He insisted that SYRIZA's presence in such a broad coalition was vital, even though a government with New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left would have a comfortable majority in Parliament without it, "so the formation would not be exceedingly fragile and at risk of collapsing on the next day after it is formed".
Kouvelis further criticised SYRIZA's proposal for a leftist government, saying that he had failed to use the support offered by PASOK and the Democratic Left and the 'tolerance' of ND, accusing the party of resorting to 'communication gimmicks'.
 KKE leader calls on people to change May 6th voteCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Monday evening called on citizens to "change their (last Sunday's) vote if elections are to be held, and give strength to the KKE for the enhancement of the popular struggle."
Addressing a rally of supporters at the Pedion tou Areos square in central Athens, Papariga also called on KKE members and supporters to "rally and stay vigilant" as well as all those who have not voted for her party, "because they have believed that a Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) government, together with other forces, can relieve the people from its burdens."
Nevertheless, the KKE leader said, in case a government is formed in the coming days, such a government would be "by definition, anti-popular, and the people should go to war."
"If, however, we go to elections, then rallying and vigilance is needed, because a second ballot must show that workers, the weaker social strata, understand what a strong KKE means the day after," Papariga added.
"Change your vote, this is our slogan if elections take place," the KKE leader concluded.
 Gov't spokesman sharply condemns ultra-right leader statements over HolocaustGovernment spokesman Pantelis Kapsis on Monday strongly condemned statements regarding the WWII Holocaust, made on Sunday night by ultra-right Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) leader Nikos Mihaloliakos to a news programme.
Kapsis categorically condemned the statements, stressing that they constitute "misrepresentation of history and blatant insult to the memory of millions of Holocaust victims".
"The Greek people do not forget that they have mourned hundreds of thousands of victims of the Nazis, amongst them, tens of thousands of Greek Jews. We honor their memory and we resist any attempt to bring oblivion, or to falsify actual events and to revive intolerance."
 NATO Sec-Gen: no change in Alliance position for FYROMSKOPJE (AMNA - N. Frangopoulos)
There has been no change in NATO's position concerning the accession of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) ahead of the Chicago summit, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday in statements to the radio station Radio Free Europe.
Rasmussen said that the Alliance's position was still based on the decision taken at the Bucharest summit in 2008, which called for the start of accession negotiations after Greece and FYROM had agreed to a mutually acceptable solution to the name dispute.
"Unfortunately, there has not been progress in this direction. Nevertheless, the decision we took four years ago continues to apply," Rasmussen stressed.
 Three cruise ships in Souda Bay this weekThree cruise ships with more than 10,000 passengers aboard are scheduled to sail into the port of Souda, near Hania, on Crete between Tuesday and Saturday, port authorities announced on Monday.
The "Celebrity Silhouette", which visits Souda for the first time, is scheduled to arrive at on Tuesday morning and dock for a few hours. It will return as a visitor another three times before the end of 2012.
"Navigator of the Seas" will arrive on Friday, while "Mariner of the Seas" is expected to sail into port on Saturday and depart later in the afternoon.
 Belgian FinMin says Greece's possible exit from euro would have disastrous consequencesBRUSSELS (AMNA/V. Demiris)
Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders, arriving at the Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Monday, said that "a possible exit of Greece from the euro would have disastrous consequences, at social level, primarily for the country itself and for the eurozone, that would be faced with the risk of the spreading of the crisis."
Reynders, after expressing his concern over the political situation in Greece, stressed that the country itself is the one that must decide on what it desires. He pointed out that every effort must be made, for Greece to remain in the euro.
He also said that Greece must make supplementary efforts regarding the decrease of expenditures and the collection of taxes, while, as he said, on its part, the EU could strengthen its solidarity with the provision of loans of a bigger duration, 10-15 years.
 Changes in labor relations gradually implemented as of May 15, ministry saysThe Labor and Social Insurance ministry on Monday said a new framework envisaging changes collective labor agreements in the country would be valid from May 15.
In a statement, the ministry noted that changes in labor relations would be implemented gradually and stressed that the end of a three-month period for abolishing the after-affect on collective agreements does not constitute an automatic reduction of wages in the private sector.
The ministry said that a new legal framework will have direct effects on 10 collective labor agreements, from 151 currently valid in the country. These are agreements which terminated in the period from Aug. 14, 2011 to Feb. 14, 2012.
Under the new legislation, unless new collective labor agreements have been reached, employers have the right to reduce workers' wages without workers' consent to the level of the basic salary of the sectoral contract, plus four social benefits.
 Registered unemployment up 10.44 pct in AprilThe number of registered unemployment rose 10.44 pct in April, compared with the same month last year, the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) announced on Monday.
OAED, in a monthly report, said the number of unemployed people totaled 778,399 in April, down 0.87 pct from March, while the number of unemployed people receiving unemployment benefits also fell by 16.32 pct over the same period.
Long-term unemployment rose by 1.12 pct in April, with the Western Macedonia region recording the biggest percentage increase (2.13 pct compared with March and 25.83 pct up compared with April 2011).
Unemployment mostly hit women (439,787 or 56.50 pct of total registered unemployment). The 30-54 age group accounted for 63.08 pct of registered unemployment, the below-30 age group accounted for 27.12 pct and the above-55 age group accounted for 9.80 pct. Greek citizens accounted for 91.52 pct of registered unemployment, third-country citizens were 6.7 pct and EU-citizens 1.78 pct.
The number of unemployed people receiving unemployment benefits totaled 252,998 in April, down 16.32 pct from March.
Hiring announcements totaled 65,306 in April, up 40.57 pct form March, but down 8.86 pct from April 2011, while dismissals totaled 33,623, down 5.57 pct from March and down 4.78 pct from April 2011.
 Industrial import price index up 6.6% in MarchGreece's import price index in the industrial sector rose 6.6 pct in March this year, compared with the same month in 2011, after an 8.6 pct increase recorded in March 2011, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development in the so-called imported inflation to a 0.8 pct increase in the import price index from Eurozone countries and an 11.5 pct jump in the index outside Eurozone. The industrial import price index rose 1.3 pct in March from February, after a 2.4 pct increase recorded in the same period last year.
 Piracy, passenger ship safety to be discussed in IMO sessionThe International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) will meet in its London headquarters from May 16 to May 25 focusing on the piracy problem faced by oceangoing vessels and "passenger ship safety" in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident in January, it was announced on Monday.
The MSC 90th session will provide an opportunity for a full policy debate among member governments on how the international community should deal with issues related with the deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships and carrying arms on board.
Following a recently passed relevant legislation in Greece, a total of four private security companies have filed applications to the citizen protection ministry requesting special licensing.
In 2011, a total of 439 piracies were recorded against ships across the planet, 237 of which targeted ships off Somalia and the Gulf of Guinea. According to the US-based Oceans Beyond Piracy, the sea piracy recorded off Somalia in 2011 has cost seven billion US dollars on global level, while more than two billion US dollars were spent on military operations and armaments.
 Hydrofoils to link Samos with Dodecanese isles; Turkish coastAs of Tuesday the eastern Aegean island of Samos will be linked with the Dodecanese islands to its south through hydrofoils.
Samos' port of Pythagorio will be linked with Kos every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with stopovers on the islands of Patmos, Leros and Kalymnos, while hydrofoils will also service the islet of Agathonissi twice a week. After June 16, the route will be serviced more frequently.
Local entrepreneurs have also begun contacts with Turkish counterparts ahead of the new coastal shipping route linking Seferihisar, near Izmir on the Turkish coast, and Carlovassi on Samos. A catamaran will make the two-hour voyage between Samos and Seferihisar, linking the eastern Aegean island with the five-million-people-strong tourist market in the greater Izmir region.
 Business Briefs-- Hellenic Exchanges Group on Monday reported a 48-pct drop in its consolidated net profits, after tax, to 4.8 million euros in the first three months of 2012, from 9.2 million euros in the corresponding period in 2011. Net earnings per share fell to 0.09 euros in the January-March period this year, from 0.14 euros in 2011, while turnover fell by 33 pct to 10.4 million euros from 15.5 million euros, respectively. Operating income fell 23 pct to 10 million euros in the first quarter of 2012.
 Stocks plunge 4.56% on political worriesStocks plunged to new 20-year lows pushing the composite index of the market below the 600 level in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, hit by market uncertainty over political developments in the country.
The composite index of the market ended at 584.04 points, losing 4.56 pct, but off the day's lows of 575.65 points. Turnover, however, remained a low 38.882 million euros.
The Big Cap index dropped 4.72 pct, the Mid Cap index fell 5.05 pct and the Small Cap index ended 3.04 pct lower. All sectors ended lower with the Commerce (11.55 pct), Travel (11.34 pct) and Industrial Products (9.31 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Eurobank (3.18 pct), Alpha Bank (2.34 pct) and Hellenic Postbank (1.49 pct) were the only gainers among blue chip stocks, while OPAP (11.79 pct), Folli Follie (11.66 pct), Viohalco (10.59 pct) and PPC (7.94 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 88 to 27 with another 23 issues unchanged. PC Systems (19.48 pct), Axon Holdings (19.15 pct) and HOL (17.5 pct) were top gainers, while Kekrops (21.5 pct), Paperpack (19.49 pct) and Pegasus (18.52 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.38%
Personal & Household: -5.12%
Raw Materials: -1.92%
Travel & Leisure: -11.34%
Food & Beverages: -4.12%
Financial Services: -1.79%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, National Bank, HBC Coca Cola and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.79
Public Power Corp (PPC): 1.74
HBC Coca Cola: 12.49
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.19
National Bank of Greece: 1.46
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.52
Bank of Piraeus: 0.22
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened sharply to 25.45 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 22.87 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 27.90 pct and the German Bund to 1.45 pct (a historic low). Turnover in the market totaled 10 million euros, all sell orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.27 pct, the six-month rate 0.97 pct, the three-month 0.69 pct and the one-month rate 0.39 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 3.06 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 12.110 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,257 contracts worth 7.944 million euros, with 19,687 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 38,670 contracts worth 4.166 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (17,230), followed by National Bank (10,581), Cyprus Bank (5,346), MIG (570), OTE (540), PPC (1,838), OPAP (779), Piraeus Bank (545), Mytilineos (209) and Hellenic Postbank (163).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.305
Pound sterling 0.812
Danish kroner 7.544
Swedish kroner 9.137
Japanese yen 104.18
Swiss franc 1.219
Norwegian kroner 7.705
Canadian dollar 1.310
Australian dollar 1.307
 Two Greek museums candidates for European Museum Year AwardTwo Greek museums, the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum and the Ioannina Archaeological museum are among the 47 European museums that are candidates for the European Museum Year Award.
The official announcement of the candidacies will be presented at the European Museum Forum that will be held 16-19 May at the Municipal Museum of Penafiel in Portugal.
The "European Museum Award' was established in 1977 under the auspices of the European Council.
Only one Greek museum, the Peloponnesian Laographic Institute in Nafplio in 1981 has received the specific award in the past.
 Two incendiary devices explode at Maroussi tax bureau building, causing extensive damage but no injuriesTwo home-made incendiary devices exploded in the early hours on Monday on the ground floor and first floor of the Tax Bureau office in the Maroussi suburb of Athens, causing extensive damage but no injuries.
The perpetrators broke into the building and planted the devices -- together comprised of 25 small propane canisters -- on the ground floor and first floor, and detonated them at 3:08 a.m.
The explosions caused fires on both floors, but a team of 10 firefighters and four fire engines that rushed to the spot managed to extinguish the flames before the spread to the rest of the building.
Police are investigating the attack.
 Police destroy cannabis plantation near HaniaA cannabis plantation was destroyed in the region of Kapokiana on Crete, Hania police said on Monday.
Acting on a tip-off, authorities found the plantation in the municipality of Apokoronou and uprooted a total of 620 cannabis plants, up to 30 cm tall. Authorities also found an automatic watering system and a temporary tenement.
An investigation is underway for the arrest of the plantation owners.
 Metro, ISAP trains work stoppage 10-3 on TuesdayThe Athens Metro and ISAP trains will not be running from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday due to a four-hour work stoppage by their employees to attend general assemblies of their unions.
The general assemblies will be held to decide further action given the developments affecting public transport, according to a joint announcement of the two unions.
 Olympic Flame to arrive in Piraeus on Wed.The Olympic Flame will arrive at Piraeus' Korais Square at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, where it will be formally received by Mayor Vassilis Mihaloliakos, it was announced on Monday.
Among the torchbearers in Piraeus are athletes, actors, shipowners and its mayor.
The Olympic Torch Relay will be completed on Thursday with the arrival of the Olympic Flame at Athens' Panathinaiko Stadium to be handed over to the London 2012 Olympic Games organising committee.
Roughly 500 torchbearers carried the Olympic Flame in its 3,000-kilometers-long journey through more than 43 cities across Greece before being flown to the UK for the London Olympic Games, commencing on July 27.
 Olympiakos wins Euroleague basketball championshipOlympiakos Piraeus won the Euroleague basketball championship on Sunday, beating favorites CSKA Moscow with 62-61 in the finals at Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul.
Olympiakos, which was trailing CSKA 53-34 midway through the third quarter, staged a spectacular comeback in the fourth quarter to win its second title in Europe's premier club basketball competition, the first being in 1997.
Power forward Costas Papanicolaou was Olympiakos' top scorer with 18 points, while Vassilis Spanoulis, named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, scored 15 points and George Printezis scored 12 points.
 Cloudy on TuesdayCloudy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 3-7 beauforte. Temperatures between 11C and 27C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens with westerly 4-6 beauforte winds and temperatures between 16C and 26C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 13C and 22C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe possibility of new elections after President of Republic Karolos Papoulias' fruitless meeting with the political leaders on the formation of a coalition government as well as the pressures from Europe, mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "16 percent (SYRIZA) holds the Greeks' future in its hands!".
AVRIANI: The parties of the memorandum and the foreign loansharks terrified of the people's verdict".
DIMOKRATIA: "What took place in the political leaders' meeting a drama".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Greeks' feat (refers to Olympiacos victory in Euroleague Basketball final) against the political decadence".
ESTIA: "The drachma nightmare".
ETHNOS: "SYRIZA in elections of high risk".
IMERISSIA: "Country up in the air".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Governmental impasse and European threats".
TA NEA: "At the edge of the cliff! - Full speed ahead towards new elections".
 President Christofias says he will not seek re-electionNICOSIA (CNA/AMNA)
President of the Republic Demetris Christofias announced on Monday his decision not to seek re-election in the presidential elections of 2013.
During a 15-minute televised address to the people of Cyprus, the president said that "given the fact that the Cyprus problem has not been solved and it does not seem possible to achieve decisive progress during the next months, I have definitely decided that I will honour my pre-election commitment" and not seek re-election.
Christofias recalled that during the previous pre-election period one of his commitments towards the people of Cyprus was his decision to be President for a single term in office. The only exception, he noted, would be a possible settlement of the Cyprus problem that would require the presence of the leader of the Greek Cypriot side and President of the Republic of Cyprus or the possibility of the two sides being very close to a settlement. "In this case certainly it would be impossible to abandon this effort," he noted.
Christofias said that this commitment was a result of his desire to see his country free and reunited, without occupation troops and illegal settlers. He stressed that the settlement of the Cyprus problem is a purpose of life for him and recalled that his was the main reason for which he ran for presidency.
He referred to the efforts made by the Greek Cypriot side since 2008 when he assumed the presidency, noting that the Cyprus problem was at a very difficult junction then as regards the Greek Cypriot side.
"The international community had the wrong impression that our side was not really pursuing a settlement", he said, adding that ''punitive approaches for the decision of the Cypriot people at the referenda continued.''
In April 2004, a solution plan presented by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was put to simultaneous referenda. The Turkish Cypriot community voted in favour, while the Greek Cypriot community rejected it as unacceptable due to the fact that it did not meet its main concerns.
"In this framework we started a huge effort to reverse the situation," Christofias said, adding that "we used the 8 July Agreement and began direct negotiations on an agreed basis and with an agreed process."
He said that according to the agreed basis "we pursue a settlement providing for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with one and single sovereignty, a single citizenship and an international personality."
"It was the first time that the Turkish Cypriot side was committed on the issue of sovereignty. At the same time we agreed on a 'Cypriot-owned' process, without arbitration, without artificial deadlines and mediation. This process not only protected us from the dangerous paths of the past but at the same time it served as a safety net for us at crucial phases of the negotiations," he said.
Christofias said that despite what is being said in the domestic front "we have been and we will remain attached to the principles for a settlement of the Cyprus problem and the agreed process, something which causes the intense reaction of the occupying Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leader." He noted that the unanimous decision of the National Council on September 18, 2009, "was taken at our initiative during our governance."
Christofias said it is obvious that "despite the substantial difficulties between the two negotiations of the Turkish Cypriot side Eroglou and Talat, Turkey did not help to efforts for a settlement. On the contrary, it undermined them."
He said that despite Turkey's negative stance "we achieved to revive the substantial interest of the international community. We were able to have a strong support from important countries of the Security Council on crucial issues. We achieved a strong support by European countries and the European Union itself on crucial issues for the country, as our explorations for hydrocarbons and the Cypriot Presidency of the Council of the EU."
Furthermore he noted that "we enhanced our relations with neighbouring states and we created the prospects for a hopeful future for the whole region. Cyprus is today more powerful worldwide. We have regained the support of progressive Turkish Cypriots to efforts for a settlement providing for a federation," he added.
Referring to the talks on the Cyprus problem, Christofias said that "we have come up with the most numerous and most important convergences achieved in direct negotiations between the two communities since the Turkish invasion. The convergences that have been achieved constitute substantial improvements compared to what has been proposed until now to the people of Cyprus as a settlement."
Christofias said that all convergences are based on the fundamental principles for a Cyprus settlement, adding that "if we had the necessary unity and adherence to goals in the domestic front it would have been better."
President Christofias noted that "our goal is a solution but this unfortunately does not only depend on us. It also depends on Turkey's stance which has been disappointing," he said, adding that "the situation in the negotiations is not unfortunately encouraging today. We expect to jointly decide how we will proceed with the negotiations, if the process will move on, while Turkey and Eroglu are drafting B' plans and culminate their intransigence and provocative stance," he said, adding that "there are no well-founded hopes for a settlement of the Cyprus problem or further substantial progress during the remaining months of our Presidency."
"Given the fact that the Cyprus problem has not been solved and it does not seem possible to achieve decisive progress during the next months, I have definitely decided that I will honour my pre-election commitment. I will not run for election at the highest post of the President of the Republic of Cyprus," Christofias said.
The president also noted that today he informed formally the Central Committee of his party, left-wing AKEL. for his decision. He added that he also informed the members of the government during the latest meeting of the Cabinet.
Christofias assured that "we remain at the forefront" of our struggle, adding that "we did our outmost'' to achieve a settlement and terminate occupation and division.
"We are not overwhelmed with disappointment. The liberation and reunification of our country and our people is the only way out for the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriots," he noted.
Referring to Cyprus' economy Christofias said that "we prevented the situation from worsening, showing particular social sensitivity, especially in comparison with what peoples in many other European countries are experiencing."
"We continue to strive with a view to address the problems deriving from the excessive exposure of Cyprus banks to Greek bonds and to the Greek economy, which constitutes today the main problem of the Cypriot economy," he added.
With regard to explorations for hydrocarbons in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone, Christofias said that "the expressed interest in the second licensing round proves how our sovereignty, our state entity and security of the region are being reinforced through this process. It proves the immense prospects in the financial and political field," he noted.
He assured that "we are ready to exercise a successful Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will reinforce the country's prestige" and will prove to be beneficial for the future.
Christofias also said that he always tried to serve the people with honesty, collegiality, fighting spirit, and passion and assured that he will continue to struggle for a settlement, the reunification of the country and its people.
He expressed hope that the next President and the new government which the people will elect, will continue efforts for a more just society and a proper settlement of the Cyprus problem.
The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have been engaged in UN-led peace talks since September 2008 to find a negotiated settlement that would reunite Cyprus, divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.
UN Secretary General Special Representative for Cyprus Alexander Downer announced last month that the UN would engage in shuttle diplomacy between the two sides to negotiate the way forward and the precise way in which matters should be handled concerning Cyprus talks.
36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS