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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus President in Athens
  • [02] ASE, ADEX closed due to BoG strike

  • [01] Cyprus President in Athens

    Cyprus' new President, Demetris Christofias, begins a visit to Athens on Tuesday, during which he will meet with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, prime minister Costas Karamanlis and the leaders of the Greek political parties.

    The main purpose of the talks will be coordinating efforts between Athens and Nicosia in upcoming developments linked to the Cyprus issue.

    Christofias will arrive in Athens on Tuesday afternoon, and in the evening he will attend a dinner hosted in his honor by his Greek counterpart at the Presidential Mansion.

    On Wednesday morning Christofias will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    Later, Christofias, who is president of the Cyprus House of Representatives, will visit the Hellenic Parliament, where he will have a meeting with the parliament president Dimitris Sioufas.

    After an interview with the Hellenic Parliament's television station, Christofias have a meeting with Papoulias.

    Christofias will later hold talks with prime minister Karamanlis, followed by statements to the press, before attending a lunch hosted by the premier.

    In the afternoon he will have a meeting at his hotel with Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) President George Papandreou.

    He will also have separate meetings with the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Aleka Papariga, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras, and the parliamentary leader of the SYN-led parliamentary Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alekos Alavanos, as well as with the Federation of Cypriot Organisations in Greece.

    On Thursday morning, Christofias will meet with Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, followed by a press conference at the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Athens.

    Christofias will further visit renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis at the latter's home, before leaving Athens in the afternoon to return to Cyprus.

    Exclusive interview

    In an exclusive interview with ANA-MPA ahead of his visit, Christofias said that the main object of his talks was the coordination of Athens' and Nicosia's efforts during upcoming developments linked to the Cyprus issue.

    Christofias will be meeting President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during his first official visit to Greece after being elected Cyprus' president.

    Question: Apart from the self-evident symbolism of your visit to Athens, what will be the aim of your talks with the Greek government?

    Christofias: "The election of a new president has of itself triggered a new activity. I will meet with Mr. (Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali) Talat. The first meeting will be exploratory. From there on there are issues that are linked to Confidence Building Measures, opening Ledra Street and the road block at Limnitis.

    "There is more generally activity from the United Nations, the Security Council. I want to inform the president of the Republic and the Greek government and to exchange views on imminent developments. There will be a friendly exchange of views and I am sure that Greece will be on our side in the effort to revive a dialogue on implementing the July 8 Agreement.

    "Also before us is the EU Summit, on which we will exchange views. Of course, I am interested in finding out about developments related to Skopje. I am not going to Athens to build relations. There was flawless cooperation with the former president [Tassos Papadopoulos] but I myself, as Cyprus House Speaker, had very good ties with all of Greece's political leadership."

    Question: Will some guidelines be laid down about how Athens and Nicosia will proceed from now on?

    Christofias: "I think guidelines exist. What's needed is coordination and briefing."

    Question: Will your meeting with Mr. Talat take place after your return from Brussels in mid-March?

    Christofias: "Yes."

    Question: What is the obstacle to setting the agreement of July 8, 2006 into operation?

    Christofias: "This is what I will ask Mr. Talat. That is why I said that the first meeting would have an exploratory nature. After all, there is no other agreement that has been adopted by the Security Council. This agreement bears the signatures of Mr. Talat and Mr. Papadopoulos. I honour the signature of Mr. Papadopoulos, let him (Talat) also honour his own signature. I hope that in a climate of good will and mutual understanding we will see what the problems are, where the Turkish-Cypriot side considers there are problems so that this agreement can go ahead."

    Question: "Should the opening of Ledra Street, Limnitis occur before or after the meeting?"

    Christofias: "I shouldn't want to prejudice any outcome."

    Question: Does Mr. Talat's letter to the UN Secretary-General prejudice some matters?

    Christofias: "If everything said about its contents is true, then it is obviously prejudicial concerning some matters. These are issues that I will discuss with Mr. Talat."

    Question: Have you asked to meet the UN Secretary General?

    Christofias: "At the present stage, I don't want to burden the issues with new demands. Of course I want to meet the Secretary General, but priority in the agenda, for the present, goes to the meetings with (the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Cyprus Issue) Moller in view of the meeting with Mr. Talat."

    Question: Given that you have friendly relations with Mr. Talat, could there not be direct dialogue between you without the intervention of mediators for a solution of the Cyprus problem?

    Christofias: "The Cyprus issue is within the sphere of the United Nations. I consider that the UN is a safety valve. There is an occupation. The General Assembly and the Security Council have approved a succession of resolutions. Also, our position is that all five permanent members of the Security Council should take an active interest in a solution of the Cyprus problem. Consequently, it is my view that it would be a grave mistake to take the Cyprus issue outside its base, which is the United Nations."

    Question: You have stressed that the key to a solution lies in Ankara. Will you seek a direct meeting with (Turkish Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

    Christofias: "We will see this in due course. I do not rule it out at all, but Erdogan does rule it out."

    Question: If negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem begin, should Famagusta be handed over by the Turkish side to the UN?

    Christofias: "I think that we are pre-empting several things. I would not like to say anything before the first meeting with Mr. Talat takes place and before the National Council convenes. Consequently, I want to be restrained at this time in order for us to do as well as possible."

    Caption: File photo of new Cyprus President Demetris Christofias. (ANA-MPA/K. Mavrona)

    [02] ASE, ADEX closed due to BoG strike

    The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) and Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX) will remain closed to trading on Tuesday, due to a strike by employees at the Bank of Greece, the country's central bank.

    The Athens stockmarket board of directors announced its decision that trading will not take place on the ASE and ADEX, "aimed at the smooth operation of the stock market, following the problems arising from the employees' strike" at the country's central bank.

    The board of directors said in an announcement that due to the ongoing strike by BoG employees, clearing of the transactions was not possible since the central bank's Target system was not in operation.

    Caption: The new, ultra-modern premises of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), where it relocated in the summer of 2007 from the traditional building on central Sophocleous Street.

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