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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't on EU talks regarding Turkish Cypriots
  • [02] FinMin addresses Euromoney conference
  • [03] Christodoulos-Borrell meeting in Athens

  • [01] Gov't on EU talks regarding Turkish Cypriots

    The foreign ministry on Wednesday said Greece had not been invited to take part in a meeting currently being set up by the Finnish EU presidency in order to discuss a regulation for direct trade between the EU and the Turkish Cypriot community in occupied Cyprus, with hopes to settle the issue before Nov. 8.

    Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had spoken with her Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja on Tuesday by phone but the issue of Greece attending was not raised, since the talks concerned the regulation.

    "There are interested parties. If the discussion had to be expanded to the member-states, then it would have to take place with all the states. It is carried out only with the interestes parties," he said.

    Regarding Cyprus, meanwhile, Koumoutsakos said that Cyprus had clearly stated its willingness to participate in these talks as a state.

    He said the talks arranged by the Finnish presidency were one in a succession of initiatives by EU presidencies to settle the issue and arrive at some formula.

    The spokesman also disagreed with attempts to draw parallels between the Finnish initiative and the talks for an overall solution of the Cyprus problem at Lucerne in 2004, pointing out that the object of the discussion was much more specific and extremely limited compared with the issues being considered at Lucerne.

    According to Koumoutsakos, the Cyprus Republic had already raised certain issues concerning the direct trade regulation, one of which concerned the port of Famagusta, and signalled its readiness to participate in the discussion as a state.

    Regarding the efforts underway to settle the direct-trade issue, Koumoutsakos said this was a "sensitive issue" and that it would have to be resolved in ways that were in accordance with UN resolutions and international legality with respect to Cyprus.

    "Assisting the Turkish-Cypriot community was always a goal and a prospect acceptable to the Cyprus government, to the Greek government and to the EU member-states. Provided that it is carried out with the terms I have mentioned, in such a way so as not to encourage a division or to discourage efforts to reunite the island, and provided that it is in accordance with UN resolutions, I think that no one can object to its going ahead," he said.

    He also stressed that there was no issue of "isolating" Turkish-Cypriots, while any isolation they suffered was the result of the occupation.

    The spokesman explained that the Cyprus government had officially stated that the effort to settle the direct-trade regulation should take place until November 8, the date when the European Commission's progress report on Turkey was due to be made public.

    Caption: An ANA-MPA file photo of Koumoutsakos.

    [02] FinMin addresses Euromoney conference

    Increasing inflow of foreign investments to Greece is proof that the Greek economy is transforming into an open, competitive and more business-friendly economy, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday.

    Addressing a Euromoney conference in Athens, the Greek minister said the inflow of foreign investments was also proof of the significant role Greece was playing as an economic center in wider Southeastern Europe and proof of the success of economic policies introduced by the government.

    "Today, more than ever, Greece is the entry point for all those willing to invest in the rapidly developing region of Southeastern Europe," he noted.

    He also pointed to an upcoming privatization policy for 2007 - soon to be announced - and actions to make more efficient use of the state's property assets.

    [03] Christodoulos-Borrell meeting in Athens

    Visiting European Parliament President Josep Borrell was received here on Wednesday by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, with the latter praising the high-ranking European official's "exalted political ethos", efforts for a united Europe and his defence of religious freedom.

    Christodoulos also referred directly to the Church of Greece's position in solidly backing references, in European accords, to the continent's Christian heritage. Additionally, the head of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece reiterated that neighboring Turkey, an EU hopeful, must respect religious freedom and adapt to the EU's acquis communautaire.

    On his part, Borrell praised Christodoulos' contributions and the Church of Greece's institutional role, referring to the latter's "supreme importance for Greek society" in defending religious freedom and its campaigns backing respect for human rights.

    Caption: Borrell is shown addressing Greek Parliament's European affairs committee on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2006. ANA-MPA photo / K. Mavrona.

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