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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-02-25
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Regarding the Zahopoulos ScandalMarathon Deposition
25 Feb 2008 21:25:00 (Last updated: 25 Feb 2008 23:06:20)
Evi Tsekou, the 35-year-old former Culture Ministry employee involved in the Zahopoulos scandal, was testifying Monday for almost ten hours. Although she submitted a really lengthy memo, the examiner thought several issues had been left unanswered and asked for more clarifications. The accused allegedly denied extorting Christos Zahopoulos, former Culture Ministry top official, yet she admitted taping her intimate moments with him and claimed that the material had been intercepted. Tsekou, who has been detained since December, is accused of attempted extortion and violation of the personal data Act.
 Delicate Diplomatic HandlingsCrucial Talks on FYROM Name Row
25 Feb 2008 19:41:00 (Last updated: 25 Feb 2008 20:37:58)
Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ANA
The talks on the FYROM name dispute are entering their most crucial point in the days to come. After FYROMs decision to not walk out of the negotiations on Matthew Nimetzs proposals, the US envoy is now waiting for the two sides to announce in a forthcoming meeting in New York which parts of the proposal they object to and what changes they suggest. Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis claimed that Greece is after a realistic and decent solution, however, if FYROM insists on being intransigent, Greece will block its NATO bid. The Greek opposition parties spoke of wrong handlings.
Deliberations Are Intensified
The ambassadors of Greece and FYROM, Adamantios Vassilakis and Nikola Dimitrov respectively, will convey to Matthew Nimetz the two sides comments on his proposal. As per information, Greece is after: -A UN Security Council resolution that would seal the deal.
-The international use of the name to be agreed in international bodies, cooperation deals and passports.
-The cinstitutional and legal ratification of the international name to be agreed. In the meantime, FYRO President Branko Crvenkovski will be visiting Tuesday and Wednesday Brussels, as planned. An announcement released by his office read that Crvenkovski will hold talks with Olli Rehn, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Javier Solana, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, the NATO Secretary General.
Reactions by Greek Opposition Parties
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos underlined that the Governments policy on the FYROM dispute is single and its stance is crystal clear, branding press reports speaking of different opinions within the Government as groundless.
"It is too bad that a mediocre government is called on to handle major cases, including the FYROM issue, for Greece and the Greek nation," commented PASOK press representative Giannis Ragoussis.
The Government lacks the courage to exercise its veto right, argued Aleka Papariga, the secretary general of the Greek Communist Party. She further added that a geographically-determined name is the only acceptable solution.
A composite name determined in terms of geography is the only realistic solution, underscored Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left. Finally, George Karatzaferis, President of the Popular Orthodox Rally, called for a referendum.
Skopje Deliberations Heighten
 After Christofias Was Elected PresidentCyprus Issue Comes to the Fore
25 Feb 2008 19:36:00
By Katerina Ioannidou
Sources: ANA-MPA-ΝΕΤ 105.8-ΝΕΤ
Demetris Christofias, the new President of the Cypriot Republic, pledged to commit himself to collective action so that Cyprus can be reunited. The new Cypriot President, who is to be sworn in on Wednesday, sought a UN brokered meeting with the Turkish Cypriot side. As soon as he assumes office, Christofias will visit Athens in the week to come. He himself announced that, shortly after his meeting with Greeces ambassador to Cyprus Demetrios Rallis.
In the meantime, Christofias said he had a phone contact with Turkish-Cypriot leader Talat, with whom he agreed to have an exploratory meeting, which will be held as soon as he returns to Cyprus. As Christofias said, apart from Greece, he will also visit Brussels for the spring EU Summit. Asked to comment on the British ambassadors statements, whereby neither his country nor the international community wants to impose a solution, Christofias argued that the British ambassador could not have said something different, because Christofias had repeatedly claimed that a viable, operational and fair solution could only stem from the people of Cyprus. "I am glad if the international community has realized that," he said.
"It Is Time for Actions"
Speaking on Cypriot radio station ASTRA, Demetris Christofias said, "It is time for actions," further adding that the burden he is to undertake is really heavy, as the obstacles are ahead. Christofias vowed to do his best to overcome the obstacles and called for friendship and cooperation with the Turkish-Cypriot side. He clarified that in his contact with Talat, they did not set a date, yet they agreed to hold an exploratory meeting as soon as possible to see how the two sides can sidestep the problems and take a step forward. Touching on his Cabinet composition, the new Cypriot President said no names have been released, therefore no one can cite exclusive information. He added that he will discuss the matter with his associates and will name the new ministers in due time.
Christofias' Moves and Stance on Cyprus Issue
Shortly after he officially takes over his duties as new president on 28 February, Demetris Christofias will have to commit himself to a really busy agenda. Apart from visiting Athens and Brussels, he will have meetings with the Turkish-Cypriot leader and the UN Secretary General and will see to the re-composition of the islands National Council.
In the meantime, the UN, Washington, London and Brussels will soon send their envoys to Nicosia to see up to what extent the new Cypriot President and the Turkish-Cypriot leader have the will to agree on a solution within 2009.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso called on Christofias to embark on talks with the Turkish-Cypriot side without fail, so that a UN-sponsored solution can be found. "I would strongly encourage you to grasp this chance and without delay start negotiations under United Nations auspices with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community on a comprehensive settlement," Barroso said.
UN Undersecretary General Lynn Pascoe is due in Nicosia in the second fortnight of March. Christofias pledged to reject any drive to have the Anan plan or a similar one restored. He also claimed that his policy can avert partition and promote a solution capable of reuniting Cyprus. "The objective has been and still is to help the Turkish-Cypriot community to break free from Ankaras embrace, to feel that its future lies with the coexistence with the Greek-Cypriots," stressed Christofias.
London Appears Optimistic
Demetris Christofias win at the Cypriot presidential elections "generated a renewed sense of hope, among both communities on the island, that progress towards a comprehensive settlement can be achieved during 2008," commented British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
New Cyprus President to be Sworn-in Wednesday
 In WashingtonMeeting on Iran's Nuke Aspirations
25 Feb 2008 21:30:00
Representatives from six major powers began talks in Washington Monday to consider new sanctions aimed at convincing Iran to halt sensitive uranium enrichment work, a State Department spokesman said. Spokesman Tom Casey said foreign ministry officials of the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany began talks mid-morning and were adjourn their talks later in the day. State Department number three diplomat Nicholas Burns was chairing the meeting, after which no formal declaration was expected to be issued. "It is an opportunity for the political directors ... to talk about the current resolution which has been put forward at the UN and we hoped to see passed very shortly, as well as looking at additional steps that may be taken beyond this," Casey said.
 Sioufas' Visits the Phanar25 Feb 2008 20:58:00
By Katerina Ioannidou
Greek Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas visited Monday the Phanar, the cradle of Greek-Orthodox faith, escorted by the Parliament secretary general, Nikos Stefanou, and Greeces consul in Istanbul Alexis Alexandris and Greeces ambassador to Ankara Fotis Xydas. It is the first meeting Dimitris Sioufas held with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew after he assumed his duties as Parliament Speaker. "We are here to get strength from the leader of the Greek-Orthodox faith," commented Sioufas. The Greek Parliament Speaker invited Bartholomew to address the Greek Parliament on matters pertaining to environment, the interreligious dialogue and the Patriarchates drive for peaceful coexistence. Sioufas is in Istanbul to attend the meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation. On Tuesday, he will hold talks with his Turkish counterpart and address the board of the Organisation prior to his departure for Athens.
Translated by Areti Christou