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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-04-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM Molyviatis directly points to Turkey's 'European adaptation' in meeting EU commitments
  • [02] Turkish warplanes violate Greek national air space
  • [03] State Department report says Greece has increased its counter-terrorist capacity
  • [04] Easter exodus begins with heightened traffic on national highways

  • [01] FM Molyviatis directly points to Turkey's 'European adaptation' in meeting EU commitments

    Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis this week issued a clear message vis-a-vis neighbouring Turkey's highly touted European ambitions, noting in a published interview that "European adaptation" may be more appropriate for Turkey than the oft-used "European prospect".

    The veteran Greek diplomat was quoted in the Greek edition of the "Economist" magazine, which will be included with the "Kathimerini" daily on Friday.

    "The EU Commission is closely monitoring Turkey's commitments and will submit relevant reports over its European adaptation," he said, pointing out that one particular article in last December's European Council conclusions directly mentions Ankara's commitment for good-neighbourly relations with Greece.

    "Whatever can negatively influence the atmosphere in relations between us or decrease the degree of confidence in our communication must be dealt with as a top-priority issue. From this viewpoint, the fact that two countries - with each facing the difficulties they do in their respective economy -- spend massive sums of money for armaments and (military) activities in the Aegean, ones that add nothing to their already known positions, concerns us a great deal," Molyviatis stressed.

    The Greek minister underlined that improvement in Greek-Turkish relations cannot be separated from "certain military activities in the Aegean", saying the latter negatively affect rapprochement and good-neighbourly relations mandated by the EU.

    Moreover, he said Athens is particularly sensitive over Turkey's curious policy of "threats to use violence" in case Greece exercises its international right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles. He said Athens will not intervened in a recent public dialogue in Turkey focusing on the "casus belli" issue, although he said it was a Turkish policy steeped in the past.

    Finally, Molyviatis said a complete normalisation of Greek-Turkish ties can come only via the achievement of a viable and operational solution to the long-standing Cyprus issue, one also based on UN resolutions and EU principles. "This solution must be found with negotiations based on the Annan peace plan," he added.

    [02] Turkish warplanes violate Greek national air space

    The illegal activity of the Turkish air force in the Aegean continued on Thursday with a big number of aircraft entering the area without submitting flight plans.

    According to sources of the National Defence General Staff, 18 formations of Turkish warplanes made an equal number of infringements of air traffic regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR), which developed into 19 national air space violations in the northern and central Aegean.

    In all cases, the 46 Turkish warplanes were recognised and intercepted by Greek air force jets, while no mock dogfights occurred between Greek and Turkish aircraft.

    Reports said that 13 formations of Turkish aricraft were armed and two were photographic Phantoms.

    [03] State Department report says Greece has increased its counter-terrorist capacity

    WASHINGTON (ANA - A. Ellis) - Greece continued to increase its capacity to combat terrorism, successfully organising the 2004 Olympics and Paralympics without any terrorist strike, according to the U.S. State Department's report on terrorism for this year.

    The report released on Wednesday also notes that Greece has adopted new anti-terrorism legislation that is compatible with EU decisions, approves the European arrest warrant and a fast-track extradition process for suspected terrorists within the EU and for the first time clearly refers to terrorist crimes and terrorist organisations, as well as increasing the statute of limitations for terrorist crimes from 20 to 30 years.

    The State Department refers to the convictions of four people as members of the terrorist group Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA), the appeals of those convicted for the actions of the urban guerrilla group "November 17" and other outstanding court cases involving terror suspects, while noting that the Greek Police are continuing their investigation into "November 17" and do not consider the case closed.

    The report also refers to continued incidents of domestic terrorism and has added the organisation "Revolutionary Struggle" to a list of 40 terrorist organisations around the world.

    This is described as a radical, leftist group acting against the Greek establishment, that is ideologically affiliated to 'N17' but does not yet have a clearcut anti-American stance. According to the State Department, it is currently the most dangerous domestic terror group in Greece, having at least 50 members, and is responsible for the bomb attacks against the Athens courts in September 2003 and the Kallithea police station in May 2004, both of which had the unprecedented target - for Greece - of causing human casualties.

    The majority of terrorist activity in Greece is described as small-scale action by anarchists and domestic terrorists using makeshift explosive devices, targeting establishment and "so-called imperialist" targets, such as banks, American fast-food restaurants, courts and personnel vehicles.

    Among these, the report singles out an attack against two police buses carrying policemen to Korydallos prison, where the jailed N17 members are being held, using a remote-control device in October, during the early-morning rush hour. It notes that no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack and that the investigation is continuing.

    It also makes special mention of the murder of a Greek special guard, who was on watch outside the residence of a British Embassy military attache, noting that it was still unsolved and being treated by Greek police as an incident of domestic terrorism.

    [04] Easter exodus begins with heightened traffic on national highways

    The Easter exodus from Athens and other major cities in Greece began early on Thursday morning, with heightened traffic loads reported between 6:00-8:00 along the Athens-Corinth national highway.

    The flow of traffic evened out from about 8:30 onward, traffic police reported, though remaining steadily higher than usual.

    According to the public order ministry, policing is heaviest at danger spots along the road network, where the accident rate is highest, while all four sections of the national highway traffic police operating at the Maliakos 'horseshoe', Tempe, Kiato in Corinth and Egio have been placed on full alert.

    The measures, which include the deployment of 2626 officers, 904 patrol cars, 81 plain cars, 270 motorcycles and 20 tow-trucks on national highways, will be in place until the Sunday after Easter.

    There will also be fixed and changing police teams to check traffic and catch dangerous traffic violations during peak hours, in order to prevent accidents, in addition to teams within Athens from Thursday afternoon.

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