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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-01-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Budget record 500 ban drachma surplus in 1999
  • [02] EU committee reacts positively to Greek convergence programme
  • [03] New framework of peace a security shield for Greece - Papandreou
  • [04] Demirel ascertains great progress in Greek-Turkish relations
  • [05] Papandreou, Cem to discuss Cyprus at Davos Forum, sources say
  • [06] Government defends FM against another Pangalos attack
  • [07] Greece signs agreement for 4 military hovercraft with Russia, Ukraine
  • [08] Swedish PM in Athens for official visit
  • [09] German transport ministerdue here for talks
  • [10] Papantoniou tables bill on penalty rates
  • [11] CPI's 1st half 1999 turnover jumps 72 pct
  • [12] Greek stocks remain under pressure, end lower
  • [13] Deutsche Bank raises stake in Ergobank to 9.99 pct
  • [14] Proodos' 1999 profits jump 135 pct
  • [15] Greek-Albanian trade rises in 1999
  • [16] Athens Metro to be inaugurated Friday
  • [17] Missing teenage mountain-climber found
  • [18] Greece joins EU campaign to stamp out domestic violence
  • [19] European Commission delegation visits Cyprus
  • [20] Government welcomes Grossman statements on Cyprus
  • [21] The Athens Dailies at a glance

  • [01] Budget record 500 ban drachma surplus in 1999

    ATHENS 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    Greece's regular budget revenues showed a provisional surplus of 483 billion drachmas in 1999, a figure likely to reach 500 billion due to extended tax revenue collection, Finance Undersecretary George Drys said on Monday. Drys said that the regular budget's revenues rose 10.6 percent last year compared with 1998, easily surpassing a budget goal for a 6.0 percent increase.

    Tax departments' revenues rose 18.1 percent in December for a year-on-year rise of 12.0 percent. Customs revenues fell 1.6 percent in December for a 3.9 percent increase in 1999, while value added tax revenues jumped 39.7 percent in December for a 10.3 percent increase in the year.

    [02] EU committee reacts positively to Greek convergence programme

    BRUSSELS 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    The European Union Economic and Fiscal Committee on Monday reacted positively toward the Greek economy's convergence programme, according to unofficial reports.

    The committee did not issue a press release after the meeting as the Amsterdam Treaty calls for the committee to hold its meetings confidential." Sources, however noted to ANA that the updated Greek convergence programme was viewed in a totally positive light.

    According to the same sources, the committee stressed the need for further structural changes in the Greek economy, the need for continued fiscal discipline in state spending and the need for continuing to employ strict economic policies regarding payrolls both in the private and state sectors.

    The decision on the programme rests with the Council of Finance Ministers, due to convene here next Monday.

    The programme was already discussed by the plenum of the European Commission last Tuesday and comments surrounding the issues were very positive.

    [03] New framework of peace a security shield for Greece - Papandreou

    BRUSSELS 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    The new framework of peace in the region is a security shield for Greece, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou to journalists here on Monday, commenting on the Helsinki summit decisions regarding Greek-Turkish and Euro-Turkish relations.

    "The new peace framework set for the region is a security shield for Greece," Papandreou said regarding his discussions at the European Union Foreign Ministers' Council and his contacts with European Commissioner responsible for the Union's enlargement policies Gunter Verheugen and the Union's High Representative for foreign, defense and security policies, Javier Solana.

    Papandreou stressed Greece's role in contributing to necessary reforms in Turkey, needed in that county's accession process.

    He also discussed the new prospects Helsinki created for Cyprus, regarding the uninterrupted development of negotiations and the "demolition of the wall existing between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots".

    Papandreou also noted the recent marked improvement in Greek-Turkish relations following the Helsinki summit, which, as he said, does not stem any more from the emotional reaction to the respective earthquakes in the two countries, but from the meetings and agreements that followed, consolidating that climate. He spoke of Greece's proposal for the reactivation of the joint Greek-Turkish "experts' committee" and the creation of task forces in both the Greek and Turkish foreign ministries which will exchange views regarding the acquis communautaire.

    The experts' committee was created by Greece and Turkey to propose solutions to bilateral problems stopped functioning following the Luxembourg European Union summit, which denied Turkey's application to become a candidate member-state. He suggested "patience" regarding Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue, which contain problems "that cannot be resolved in a day".

    "Those who believe they can, have their heads in the clouds," he said.

    Concluding, he said that Greece has agreed with the Portuguese EU presidency that Turkey be included along with the other 12 candidate member-states in the political dialogue initiated by the Union and on a bilateral level with the Union.

    [04] Demirel ascertains great progress in Greek-Turkish relations

    ISTANBUL 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on Monday praised Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, attributing a large measure of recent progress in Greek-Turkish relations to him.

    "Great progress has been achieved in Greek-Turkish relations," said Demirel, adding that "this climate must be maintained and protected from the whirlwind of elections."

    Referring to Papandreou, the Turkish president said that "he is a man with whom you can discuss, he is not arrogant, he respects the other person. When you explain something to him he does not pretend to be hearing while he has other issues on his mind. I found him sincere."

    Sabah daily quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem as describing his Greek counterpart as a "very friendly, very experienced and polite gentleman, highly educated and a man with a sense of humor."

    President Demirel compared Greek-Turkish relations to a plane and said characteristically that "for a plane to fly it needs two wings and the wings of Greek-Turkish relations are Mr. Papandreou and (his Turkish counterpart) Ismail Cem."

    The Turkish president also noted that there can be very good cooperation between Greece and Turkey and referred to the rapprochement between the two peoples following the recent earthquakes in the two countries as well as to the European Soccer Championship and foresees matches in Athens, Thessaloniki, Istanbul and Izmir.

    [05] Papandreou, Cem to discuss Cyprus at Davos Forum, sources say

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    The Cyprus issue will be on the informal agenda of a meeting between Greek and Turkish foreign ministers George Papandreou and Ismail Cem on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss town of Davos, the Cyprus radio/television foundation RIK said Monday, citing sources.

    The Davos Forum, which brings together senior political, business and economic personalities, will this year be held January 27 to February 1 at the Swiss resort town.

    Citing sources, RIK said that although Cem appears unwavering on the Cyprus issue in public, during his private discussions with Papandreou he has hinted that Ankara would be open to future discussion of the Cyprus issue with a more positive approach. The sources said Cem asked for time, citing the internal balances in Turkey and reactions by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who is supported by hard-liners in Ankara.

    Papandreou, who paid a ground-breaking visit to Ankara last week on the first official visit to Turkey by a Greek foreign minister since 1962, spoke by phone Sunday with Cyprus foreign minister Ioannis Kassoulides, briefing him on his talks in Ankara with Cem.

    The sources said Papandreou and Kassoulides would prospectively meet in Zurich on Saturday, in advance of the Greek foreign minister's meeting with Cem.

    [06] Government defends FM against another Pangalos attack

    ATHENS 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    The government on Monday defended Foreign Minister George Papandreou's exercise of foreign policy and said that the current improvement in Greek-Turkish relations was based on "solid ground".

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, responding to reporters' questions about a stinging attack on Papandreou's performance in Turkey last week by his predecessor at the foreign ministry, Theodoros Pangalos, said that Papandreou's visit to Turkey had been a positive development.

    "Foreign policy has been determined by government bodies and is being maintained within the framework of the (EU) Helsinki (summit) decisions," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    He said that it was generally acknowledged that the summit had been a positive development and could provide a good basis for further improvement of relations.

    "The fact that there is Greek-Turkish rapprochement is something completely positive," Reppas said.

    "We must work on the basis of this decision at the summit and to contribute to creating a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, by ensuring national interests and our sovereign rights.

    "Nobody is under the illusion that Turkish has changed its foreign policy...On the other hand, we can not overlook the fact that a different climate has been created between Greece and Turkey, a better one and this, in one sense, constitutes progress because it is a good prerequisite which can be further used to normalize Greek-Turkish relations," he said.

    Pangalos said in an article published in Monday's edition of Athens daily 'Apoyevmatini' that he would immediately demand ruling party PASOK bodies hold a discussion on the course of Greek-Turkish relations.

    If, Pangalos writes, "we have chosen to placate the Turks and to be subject to their plans, we have committed a colossal historical mistake".

    Pangalos claims that in Papandreou's talks with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem in Turkey, "we got nothing. Absolutely nothing".

    He said that Papandreou's lack of comment when Cem reiterated standing Turkish positions on issues of sovereignty in the Aegean could be construed as consent. He also called Turkey's proposal for some form of military cooperation in the Aegean "very dangerous" and that it could lead to "joint administration of air space".

    [07] Greece signs agreement for 4 military hovercraft with Russia, Ukraine

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    The Greek government proceeded with a "Solomon-like" decision on Monday, signing two separate agreements for the purchase of four military hovercraft - two from Ukrainian arms exporter Ukrspetsexport and two from Russia's well-known Rosvoorouzhenie.

    The total deal with the Ukrainian side reaches 32 billion drachmas, as opposed to 33 billion with the Russian contractor. (One US dollar equals roughly 325 drachmas)

    The two Ukrainian-built hovercraft are scheduled for delivery between 12 to 14 months, whereas 12 to 18 are foreseen for the vessels built in Russia.

    According to specifications, the four "Zurb"-type hovercraft can transport three medium-sized tanks or eight to 10 personnel carriers or 10 armored vehicles. Otherwise, they can transport -- at speeds reaching up to 60 knots -- some 500 fully equipped soldiers, 60 to 70 mines or any combination of the two. As most hovercraft, these vessels can move onto land and overcome obstacles some 1.5 metros in height.

    Off-set benefits agreed to in the signed contracts include the transfer of know-how and equipment from Ukrspetsexport to Hellenic Aerospace Industries (EAB) for the hovercrafts' maintenance as well as allocation of a floating dock to the Greek navy for maintenance on the vessels and training in Greece for prospective crews. On its part, Rosvoorouzhenie will construct, in collaboration with a Greek firm, on-land facilities in the country for the vessels' docking and maintenance.

    In commenting on the purchase, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the four hovercraft will cover several inter-branch needs of Greece's armed forces, "strengthening our direct reaction in whatever point in the Aegean, something that comprises the heart of our national defense and our strategic goal."

    In a related development, Tsohatzopoulos also announced the purchase of an undisclosed number of smaller hovercraft, "M-10s", from British shipyards and with EAB cooperation envisioned. The national defense ministry's leadership is expected to brief a relevant Parliament committee on other arms procurement programs next week.

    [08] Swedish PM in Athens for official visit

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson begins an official visit to Greece next Monday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Monday.

    Talks are expected to focus on both bilateral and EU matters.

    Persson will be in Athens on Saturday to take part in the Conference of European Union Socialist and Labor Parties.

    The conference will begin at 11 a.m. at Athens' Caravel Hotel. Persson and Prime Minister Costas Simitis will both address the conference.

    [09] German transport ministerdue here for talks

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    German Transport, Public Works and Housing minister Reinhard Klimmt arrives in Athens on Wednesday for a two-day official visit and talks with his Greek counterparts on various issues and a visit to the German-built new Athens international airport which is nearing completion.

    Klimmt will hold talks with his Greek counterpart Athanassios Mandelis, and the Ministers of Merchant Marine Stavros Soumakis and Environment, Town planning and Public Works Costas Laliotis.

    A German embassy announcement said the talks would focus on public transport issues, transport safety and transport of hazardous cargos.

    Klimmt will inspect the new Athens airport at Spata, near Athens, and take a brief ride on the new metro line in central Syntagma square. He will also make a brief inspection of harbor installations in the port of Piraeus.

    [10] Papantoniou tables bill on penalty rates

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Monday tabled a controversial bill in Parliament envisaging the settlement of penalty interest rates on overdue loan debts.

    The bill included an annex expanding measures to past settlement of debts in the agricultural sector.

    Papantoniou said the substance of the new bill was the introduction of a new settlement totally consistent with initial government proposals aimed to drastically cut Greek citizens' debts to the country's commercial banks.

    He said that debtors totaled around 400,000, of which 150,000 owed in general to commercial banks, another 50,000 owed to the Workers' Housing Organization and another 200,000 were farmers with debts to the Agricultural Bank of Greece.

    Papantoniou noted that farmers were not obliged to adopt the new settlement but to choose from the existing and the new settlement deals.

    The bill also envisages that total debt from penalty interest rates on overdue loans could not be four times more than the original sum for loans until Dec. 31, 1985; three times more for loans between the period from Jan. 1, 1986 to Dec. 31, 1990 and double for loans between the period from Jan. 1, 1991 to April 15, 1998.

    Papantoniou said the bill was fully compatible with European Union's legislation.

    He said that the government's proposals would drastically cut penalty rate debts, an unprecedented moved in the EU, but also cut banks' incomes as well and would help in lowering domestic interest rates.

    He also stressed that the measures would not hurt Agricultural Bank's balance sheet as the bank was not yet listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Papantoniou urged Greek banks to adopt the new settlement to avoid "the mad situations" of the past regarding overdue debts.

    Greek debtors could benefit from debt cuts of up to 60-80 percent, he said.

    A press release issued by the Hellenic Bank Association (EET) later noted that the banks have begun working on resolving the problem according to the 1998 relevant law, in such a way as to write off citizens' debts incurred by compound interest rates without the clients' prior agreement.

    The release also noted that Greek banks will continue to work in applying the recent regulations set forth by the state.

    [11] CPI's 1st half 1999 turnover jumps 72 pct

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    CPI, a Greek computer peripherals distribution company, reported a spectacular 72 percent jump in its turnover for the first half of 1999 to 3.1 billion drachmas, from 1.8 percent in the previous year.

    Pre-tax profits in the same period totaled 409 million drachmas from 169 million in the first six months of 1998, an increase of 140 percent.

    OKI, a Japanese group, holds a 10 percent stake in CPI.

    The company expects to list its shares in the Athens bourse in the first half of the year. Telesis Securities and Ergobank will act as underwriters to its initial public offering.

    [12] Greek stocks remain under pressure, end lower

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    Equity prices lost ground on Monday pushing the market below the 5,100 level once again on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended 0.40 percent lower at 5,081.95 points, sharply off the day's highs of 5,167.31 points as investors preferred to take early profits.

    Smaller capitalization stocks were particularly hit with the relative index ending at 1,580.51 points, off 2.39 percent.

    Turnover was a low 200 billion drachmas, excluding an Ergobank's block share trade worth 70 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.51 percent to 2,650.02 points, while the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 1.10 percent to 938.0 points.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 228 to 90 with another nine issues unchanged.

    GEK, Olympic Catering, Remek, Cardico, ETANE scored the biggest percentage gains, while Katselis (c), ATEMKE, Korfil, Constantinidis, Athinea, Imperio, Alysida (c) and Pantechniki ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit down.

    Ergobank and Hellenic Telecoms were the most heavily traded stocks.

    [13] Deutsche Bank raises stake in Ergobank to 9.99 pct

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    Deutsche Bank on Monday raised its stake in Ergobank to 9.99 percent through the purchase of a 4.99 percent of its shares, worth 203 million euros, from EFG Consolidated Holdings through a block transaction on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The German bank had initially acquired a 5.0 percent stake in Ergobank last June.

    A Deutsche Bank's statement said that the move was aimed to strengthen its presence in the Greek financial market.

    Deutsche Bank has signed a strategic cooperation with EFG Eurobank and holds 9.97 percent of its equity capital.

    Ergobank is one of the biggest banks in Greece with total assets of 6.456 billion euros at the end of 1999. The bank's workforce totals 2,830 and operates a network of 135 branches.

    Its main activities focus in retail banking and customer asset management.

    [14] Proodos' 1999 profits jump 135 pct

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    Proodos-Greek Investments SA, a listed investment company, announced a spectacular 135 percent increase in its 1999 profits to 17.5 billion drachmas, from 7.4 billion the same period in 1998, reflecting a 140 percent capital gains' rise.

    Portfolio capitalization totaled 20.7 billion drachmas while its after-tax net distributed profits totaled 17.3 billion drachmas, or 2,166.5 drachmas per share.

    The company's board decided to pay a dividend of 1,000 drachmas per share to shareholders, or a total dividend payout of 8.08 billion drachmas. The remaining 9.2 billion will be added to its reserves raising its equity capital to 30.5 billion drachmas.

    Proodos will proceed with a cut in its nominal share price from 2,000 to 1,000 drachmas and an one-to-one share offering.

    The two moves are included in a share capital increase plan, worth 20 billion drachmas, envisaging a two-for-one rights' issue at a nominal price of 1,250 drachmas per share.

    [15] Greek-Albanian trade rises in 1999

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    Trade between Greece and Albania increased by 6 per cent in 1999, reaching 400 million dollars, according to figures released on Monday by Albania's Commercial Bank.

    Imports from Greece increased fivefold compared to 1998. In the second half of 1999 Greek exports to Albania reached 30 per cent of that country's needs in foodstuffs, 75 per cent of bottled water, 65 per cent of beer and 94 per cent of fruit, leaving behind Italy and Germany.

    Greece also tops the list of Albanian imports of aluminum and steel, accounting for 51 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

    Greek investments in the industrial sector are also significant, accounting for 12 per cent of the total.

    Albania's imports of technology and equipment from Greece amounts to 14 per cent.

    Greek investment in Albania is projected to 55.3 million dollars over the next five years, in the framework of the plan for the reconstruction of the Balkans.

    [16] Athens Metro to be inaugurated Friday

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    The Athens Metro, the Greek capital's biggest transportation project, will be formally inaugurated shortly after noon Friday by premier Costas Simitis, with President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos and political party leaders attending.

    After the 1: 00 inauguration, the Metro line from Sepolia to the Pentagon (national defense ministry), via Syntagma Square, will begin normal operation, while cultural events will be staged at several of the new stations. The second Metro line from Syntagma square to Daphni will open to the public in a few months. The Sepolia-Syntagma and Syntagma-Pentagon sections of the new line will take nine minutes each.

    In tandem, the Urban Transport Organization (OAS) has prepared an integrated plan for the operation of urban buses.

    An estimated 300,000 commuters will use the Metro on a daily basis, and the number is to rise to 450,000 daily when the Syntagma-Daphni line opens, according to transport ministry sources.

    The sources also said that parking areas have been designed near the main stations.

    The new state-of-the-art trains will run every four minutes during peak hours.

    The sources said the new Metro complies with the latest anti-earthquake technology, while the entire network has a double fire-safety system.

    They said that the Metro network would soon be extended to the residential suburbs of Peristeri and Ilioupolis.

    [17] Missing teenage mountain-climber found

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    A teenage mountain-climber who went missing on Mt. Kaimaktsalan in northern Greece's Pella prefecture found his way down the mountain to a village on Monday, as a search for the teen wound into a second day.

    Nikos Tripsianis, a 17-year-old high school junior, managed to reach the village of Skopos at the foot of Mt. Kaimaktsalan some 24 hours after separating from his group and losing his way on the mountain's trails.

    He was taken to nearby hospital for a check-up and first aid, while his condition was reported as good.

    Rescue teams on Sunday mounted a search for the teenager near a ski resort on Mt. Kaimaktsalan. Tripsianis was on an excursion with a group of 10 other teenagers, members of the "Friends of the Mountain" hikers' club.

    He left the group around noon Sunday, when the rest of the group decided to go skiing, before renting a snow scooter and setting off for a remote area of the resort to continue mountain-climbing.

    An emergency rescue unit (EMAK) rushed to the scene and launched a massive search, working throughout the night.

    Meanwhile, three skiers taking part in the search, who were also believed missing, were found safe. Searchers said the three had inadvertently passed into FYROM territory while searching for the teenager.

    [18] Greece joins EU campaign to stamp out domestic violence

    ATHENS, 25/01/2000 (ANA)

    Greece's Equality Secretariat on Monday presented its contribution to the EU-sponsored campaign to stamp out violence against women at home, saying it would sensitizes both public and police services.

    "Breaking the silence" is the slogan of the European campaign to combat the incidence of domestic violence. It is generally acknowledged that the incidence of domestic violence is more prevalent than apparent, with European Union studies showing that one in five women has been physically abused at least once by her partner.

    "Tolerance perpetuates violence," Equality Secretary General Effie Bekou told reporters at a news conference. She stressed that women in domestic violence situations could seek information and support for themselves and their children at refuges set up in Athens and Piraeus. A hostel catering to battered women also exists in Athens.

    Although no official figures were presented, a recent high-profile case has highlighted the extent of the problem in Greece: 20-year-old Yiannis Kolovis was earlier this month allowed out on bail pending an appeal to overturn his eight-year conviction for killing his father.

    In 1998, then 17-year-old Kolovis used a hammer to kill his father when a domestic dispute between his parents turned violent. Kolovis told the court that it was not the first time that his mother had been physically attacked by her husband.

    European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou, in a message read out at today's news conference, said that physical abuse of women was common but rarely reported, just like most other forms of domestic violence.

    Bekou told reporters that the agency had drafted a range of activities, in cooperation with the Centre for Research into Equality Issues. These activities, co-financed by the European Union, aimed at informing the public and combating the phenomenon.

    Also highlighted was the recent establishment by the interior ministry of an inter-ministerial committee to tackles the issues of domestic violence and coordinate activities, particularly between ministries and agencies.

    Some activities planned include the holding of seminars for police force social services to inform and sensitize them to the issues involved. Also planned is the establishment of a hotline to provide immediate support and assistance to women in distress.

    [19] European Commission delegation visits Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 25/01/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus' efforts to implement the acquis communautaire in its bid to join the European Union (EU) will come under scrutiny this week by a 12-member delegation of the European Commission's Accession Negotiations Team for Cyprus, led by negotiator Leopold Maurer.

    The Austrian EU official was due to arrive here on Monday with a view to prepare the chapters to be opened for negotiation under the current Portuguese presidency and record the progress achieved to date towards harmonization with the EU.

    The chapters to be addressed include competition, employment and social affairs, economic and financial affairs, fisheries, information society, justice and home affairs and regional policy.

    The Commission's team will have meetings with the Law Office of the Republic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Planning Bureau as well as specialized meetings with individual government departments.

    EU officers will also meet the House Committee for External and European Affairs and will debrief EU ambassadors residing in Cyprus.

    Vassiliou and Maurer will give a joint press conference on Friday.

    [20] Government welcomes Grossman statements on Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 25/01/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus government on Monday welcomed statements by US Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman reaffirming his country's support to a Cyprus settlement based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with a single sovereignty.

    Speaking at the daily briefing of the press government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said there have been no signs of change in the position held by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on the Cyprus problem but pointed out that decisions arfe taken in Ankara and that the third round of UN-led proximity talks would be the most crucial one.

    Commenting on Grossman's interview to Greek newspaper "Kathimerini", Papapetrou said statements like these "lay the ground for true coexistence" of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in a federal Cyprus Republic where both will be able to build a common future".

    Asked to comment on the visit of Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou to Turkey, Papapetrou said there was no sign in regards to the position Denktash will hold during the second round of proximity talks due to resume at the end of January in Geneva.

    Denktash has been insisting on recognition of the illegal regime unilaterally set up in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus and for a confederation of two states on the island. His proposals run contrary to UN resolutions calling for a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation.

    Papapetrou said the government considers the third round of talks as "the most crucial" and expressed the view that international community influence through the UN and other countries involved in the process will be ""more decisive and more intense""

    Regarding Ankara's role in efforts to reach a Cyprus settlement Papapetrou said," that is where the key for the solution is" noting however, that Denktash's important role should not be ignored.

    Concluding Papapetrou repeated the government's willingness to discuss measures that would promote confidence between the two communities, stressing however, that in no way would they replace talks for a Cyprus settlement.

    [21] The Athens Dailies at a glance

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS (Rizos): "Elections lead to immediate job hirings -- 51,000 appointments in the public sector".

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS (Mitsis): In a front-page article dealt with what it described the "major political differences and positions" in the recent New Democracy and PASOK congresses.

    APOGEVMATINI: Front paged an interview with former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos who says that he will raise the issue of concessions made by foreign minister George Papandreou in Greek-Turkish affairs.

    ATHINAIKI: Front-paged a statement by Greece's primate Archbishop Christodoulos under the title: " Yes to love... but ....on February 13 and not on Valentine's Day.

    AVRIANI: "A crucial meeting between Karamanlis and Stephanopoulos -- Simitis has decided -- elections on March 26".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "The (Athens) mayor did not go to the (New Democracy) preliminary congress despite the vows and prayers...."

    ELEFTHEROS: "An incision in Karamanlis' political system -- a bomb in PASOK's image".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "New taxation scales for small and medium size businesses".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New working schedule at the Athens Bourse -- 10.30 am. (instead of 10.45 am.) to 2.15 p.m. (instead of 1.30 p.m.)

    ESTIA: "The prime minister should not give in to pressures for early elections".

    ETHNOS: "Self-employed professionals win taxes -- they will be the first to submit their income tax statements".

    EXOUSIA: Published an exclusive story under the headline: "Ministries will open also in the afternoons -- new measure to be introduced in February".

    STO KARFI: Carried an exclusive story under the headline: "PASOK (electoral) lists -- names of 500 candidates".

    TA NEA: Published a guide with 13 maps on the schedules and stations of the new subway lines and the trolley busses.

    TO VIMA: "Political parties have already begun pre-election activities -- everyone's ready for elections -- the election date is a spring riddle".

    VRADYNI: "Penalty interest rates and army conscription in the election game"

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