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Athens News Agency: News in English, 04-01-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Weather Forecast: Rain or sleet, snow on Monday
  • [02] Foreign Exchange Rates: Monday
  • [03] Papandreou confers by phone with Solona on Cyprus issue
  • [04] FM spokesman on Athens' positions vis-a-vis latest Cyprus developments
  • [05] Castro attends ceremony at Orthodox church in Cuba; Patriarch

  • [01] Weather Forecast: Rain or sleet, snow on Monday

    26/01/2004 09:47:09

    Cloud with rain or sleet in the south of the country and snow in central Greece is forecast for Monday. Winds northerly, moderate, turning strong in the Aegean. Temperatures in Athens -1C to 8C and in Thessaloniki -3C to 4C.

    [02] Foreign Exchange Rates: Monday

    26/01/2004 09:47:02

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.279

    Pound sterling 0.694

    Danish kroner 7.509

    Swedish kroner 9.216

    Japanese yen 135.5

    Swiss franc 1.578

    Norwegian kroner 8.661

    Cyprus pound 0.591

    Canadian dollar 1.680

    Australian dollar 1.648

    [03] Papandreou confers by phone with Solona on Cyprus issue

    25/01/2004 23:52:20

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou held a telephone conversation on Sunday with EU High Representative for Security and Defence Policy Javier Solanaand talked about the Cyprus issue ahead of Monday's meeting of the EU's General Affairs Council.

    The Cyprus issue is not on the agenda of the meeting but Papandreou told reporters it may be raised during the luncheon.

    Papandreou further said that the Turks are indicating that they want to promote the issue. However, the Greek side is expressing reservations because similar statements have been made in the past. The Greek reservations are expressed despite the recognition by the Greek side that the present Turkish government has indicated its intentions to proceed in making reforms in a positive spirit in Turkey, but Greece is also awaiting to see action in this direction.

    As stated by the Greek foreign minister, the difficulties for a solution to the Cyprus issue by May 1, when Cyprus formally becomes a full member of the European Union, is due to the stance which Turkey is maintaining and to the role which Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is continuing to play. Papandreou also noted that the decision taken by Turkey's National Security Council moves outside of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan.

    To a question whether Annan accepts the EU's acquis communautaire, Papandreou replied affirmatively and said that if Turkey tables a proposal outside UN chief's plan, it will not be accepted.

    The assessment of the Greek side is that the margins until May 1 are very tight and that it will be very difficult for a solution to the Cyprus problem to be reached by May 1.

    Papandreou will attendMonday's meeting of the General Affairs Council to bid farewell to his european counterparts with whom he had a long and constructive cooperation during his term as foreign minister of Greece.

    [04] FM spokesman on Athens' positions vis-a-vis latest Cyprus developments

    25/01/2004 23:51:09

    A foreign ministry spokesman on Sunday said US Secretary of State Colin Powell requested Athens mediation with Cyprus aiming at necessary flexibility in order to jump-start negotiations between the two communities on the divided east Mediterranean island republic.

    Spokesman Panos Beglitis said Powell spoke with Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Saturday by phone, with the latter stressing that Greek Cypriot leadership has done nothing but demonstrate its flexibility over the recent period in order to begin talks based on Annan peace plan.

    Beglitis said the Greek FM underlined that Athens and Nicosia are ready to start substantive negotiations even tomorrow if such contacts are based on the Annan peace plan. ?What we dont agree with is to commit ourselves a priori to a timetable and conditions set by the UN general secretary ? and I am referring specifically to the issue of a referendum.?

    ?What we are saying, and what Mr. Papandreou told Mr. Powell, is to allow negotiations to begin, even tomorrow; the Cyprus government is ready to begin substantive negotiations based on the Annan plan ? and in the course (of negotiations), well see how these negotiations are developing, and if we have achieved significant results and are ahead of a positive development, then the two communities can agree over dates for the timetable,? he said.

    Finally, he termed the fact that Ankara now considers that the Cyprus problem is not solved as opposed to its previous standing position -- as a ?positive development?.

    [05] Castro attends ceremony at Orthodox church in Cuba; Patriarch officiates -RECAST

    25/01/2004 23:49:36

    HAVANA (ANA/M. Papoutsaki) - Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos continued his unprecedented visit to Cuba on Sunday, with the consecration of the countrys first Orthodox Christian church which took place here in the presence of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and members of the Cuban government.

    The Cuban justice minister presented to the Patriarch the certificate of legality of Saint Nicholas Church, while the Patriarch gave a gold cross to Castro who in turn presented him with the key of the church.

    The Patriarch in his sermon noted in particular the need for the freedom of religious expression, stressing that human rights should be respected by all and not violated.

    He also spoke for the lifting of the embargo against Cuba, saying that ''Orthodoxy did not come here to use its strength, but came pure and without cunning to share the pain of this country and of its people'' and concluded:''It is wrong for peoples to be excluded from the rest of the world. A historic mistake.''

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