|Friday, 17 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-05-02
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greek government rejects accusations by the US against Greece on handling of terrorism
Athens, 02/05/2000 (ANA)The Greek government on Monday rejected accusations leveled against Greece for its position against terrorism, which were contained in the US State Department's annual report publicized the same day.
"The Greek government believes that direct or indirect accusations on our country's policy (on the issue of terrorism) cannot be accepted," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, adding that Athens remains steadfastly bent on the target of confronting the phenomenon of terrorism.
"Greece is standing in the front line in combatting terrorism and is participating actively in all international efforts, on an equal basis, with the criterion of domestic law and order and respect for democratic institutions and rights," he said.
Reppas further said that "Greece is a country struggling for peace and stability and has achieved a high level of security and order for all citizens living in it. Our country, compared to other countries, is entitled to claim that it has achieved a permanent and effective handling of this phenomenon to a satisfactory degree, safeguarding social calm and cohesion and the functioning of institutions."
"The report in question overlooks these efforts and their results. It overlooks cooperation with other countries and with the United States on joint coordinated action, as well as that Greece plays a leading role in corresponding initiatives in the framework of the UN, the EU, the Council of Europe and other international organizations. It overlooks comparative data which shows that Greece is in a better position compared to other countries in the European and American continent," he said.
According to a ANA dispatch from Washington, this year's State Department report says that "Greece remained one of the weakest links in Europe's efforts against terrorism", adding that most anti-American terrorist attacks in Europe in 1999 took place in Greece which was second only to Colombia.
The chapter on Greece says: "Greek terrorists committed 20 acts of violence against US Government and private interests in Greece and dramatically increased their attacks against Greek and third-country targets. The absence of a strong public government leadership and initiatives to improve police capabilities and morale, contributed to the lack of breakthroughs against terrorists. Popular opinion makers generally downplayed terrorism as a threat to public order, even as terrorists continued to act with virtual impunity."
 State Department report on terrorism "is quite clear" US official says:
WASHINGTON, 02/05/2000 (ANA/T.Ellis)The coordinator of the US Secretary of State's anti-terrorism service told a press conference on Monday that this year's State Department report on terrorism on Greece "is quite clear." He said there were 20 cases in Greece last year, which targeted the US, as well as government and other targets.
Referring to statements by members of the Greek government by which cracking down on terrorism is a priority for the Greek government, the US official said: "These statements are a good first step but we really need them to take clear action regarding arrests, trials, prosecutions, some of the restructuring of the police organizations that we had suggested that they do."
 Political leadership visits military units on Easter Sunday
Athens, 02/05/2000 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Easter Sunday expressed his warmest wishes to the Greek people in light of the Easter holiday, during his visit at hospital in the town of Rio, the Peloponnese.
Later in the day he departed by helicopter to visit military units on the island of Skyros. He later visited the military training center at Thebes for the traditional well wishing to the servicemen of the country.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis spent his Easter holiday on the island of Corfu where he visited the Greek Naval Station.
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader visited the Armored Corps Training Center (KETTH) in Avlona, Attica. Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) Nikos Constantopoulos also visited KETTH.
Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos spent Easter Sunday with the Greek brigade in Kosovo, part of the NATO forces there.
 Albright, Papandreou and Cem to meet in New York on Tuesday
Athens, 02/05/2000 (ANA)US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will meet with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem in New York on Tuesday for talks on Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue.
The Greek and Turkish foreign ministers will also be awarded the East-West Institute's "Statesman of the Year Award" in a ceremony in New York on the same day.
The institute decided to award Papandreou and Cem for their efforts towards Greek-Turkish rapprochement, since last year's August 17 earthquake in Istanbul and the September 7 earthquake in Athens.
The award ceremony will take place during the investment conference "Moving towards an integrated Europe: Investment opportunities in Southeastern Europe," organized by the institute.
Along with the two foreign ministers, Greece's EKAM and Turkey's AKUT, search and rescue units, will also be awarded for their efforts to rescue survivors from the devastating earthquakes in both the neighboring countries.
Papandreou and Cem had a friendly meeting Monday night in New York. No statements were made.
 Greek defense minister says Turkey must adapt to EU principles
Athens, 02/05/2000 (ANA)Greece's National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Easter Sunday expressed the hope that Turkey's adaptation to the principles of the European Union would lead to an end to Ankara's claims and to the illegal occupation of northern Cyprus. He underlined that the materialization of these factors (Cyprus issue-claims) constitute an effort for the smoothing of Greek-Turkish relations. At the same time, he reiterated that the memorandum between Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem constitutes a firm basis towards this direction.
Tsohatzopoulos made the statements in Thessaloniki on Sunday where he went to celebrate Easter with the armed forces.
The defense minister also visited the Greek peacekeeping force in Kosovo from where he sent a message of peace, stability and cooperation between the peoples of the region.
He assessed that the crisis in Kosovo was easing and that the economic restructuring of the region was beginning to unfold a procedure however, which would still take some time.
Attack on bus carrying relatives of Greek soldiers in Kosovo leaves no casualties: A bus carrying relatives of Greek soldiers belonging to the Greek peacekeeping force in Kosovo came under fire outside Pristina on Monday, with no casualties.
The incident occurred at 14.30 local time when the bus was travelling about 60-70 kilometers west of Pristina and shots were fired from a car passing with great speed. The relatives, who returned to Greece safely, had gone to Kosovo to spend the Easter holiday with their kin.
 ND leader proclaims May Day a starting point of action against unemployment
Athens, 02/05/2000 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday proclaimed May Day as a starting point of action against unemployment.
In a statement on the occasion of May Day, Karamanlis said the present day once again found the country "in the turmoil of continuing enlargement of regional and social inequalities, since Greece ranked first to last among the 15 European Union states regarding the widening of the gap between rich and poor, while having the lowest salaries and lowest pensions in the EU".
Karamanlis also said that Greece "is the sole European country where unemployment is continuing to increase to the highest percentage over the past 50 years, which amounts to 11.6 percent according to government data and approaches 14 percent according to the European Employment Watch".
In a similar message, the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) said "the Coalition supported and supports the struggles of working people who confront the unilaterally unfair government policy."
It added that the "strengthening of forces rejecting the present economically and socially unfair one-way paths creates prospects for an alternative policy of a progressive direction in Greece and for an autonomous, united, social and democratic Europe".
Communist Party calls on working people, the unemployed and pensioners to resist anti-labor policy: In a May Day proclamation on Monday, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called on working people, the unemployed and pensioners to "resist and not become accomplices of the anti-labor storm policy which was coming to sweep away the rights of workers and employees in their entirety".
The proclamation called on "the working class to raise a wall of struggle to prevent the worse, by creating a labor and popular front for the right to work, social insurance, public and free education, health and welfare".
"Peoples are those who pay dearly for capitalistic barbarism, while the relative and absolute impoverishment of large parts of the working class is increasing with new zones of poverty," it added.
The proclamation added that "the forces in power, the front of the forces of capital, are not omnipotent" and that "these forces are able to exploit peoples at present, finding support in the ranks of the working class, such as in the compromising leaderships of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY)."
Archbishop Christodoulos stresses solidarity with working people: In a May Day message on Monday, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos said the Church turns with true interest to the man of our post-ideological era with the tremendous existential dilemmas, social deadlocks and financial problems which deprive hundreds of households of the possibility of facing the needs of life with dignity.
"The Church never hesitated to protect the working man from social injustice. Generally speaking, the Church appeals to all of the people, promoting social solidarity and social consensus, stigmatizes racism, xenophobia, criticizes the speculative mania of those who are indifferent to the real problems of working people and protests the alarming increase in unemployment which is a scourge for young people in particular," he said.
The Archbishop said the duty of society is to give top priority to the issue of employment and handle seriously the daily problems of working people and the nightmarish deadlocks of the unemployed and of pensioners.
"The Church, treating every person as a person of incalculable value, prays for him to live with God's blessing in a climate of love and solidarity in a prosperous and just society," he added.
 Easter traffic death toll climbs to 32
Athens, 02/05/2000 (ANA)Thirty two people lost their lives and 359 were injured in 267 traffic accidents throughout Greece between Thursday and Monday afternoon, in light of the mass exodus of city dwellers to the countryside over the Easter period.
 Greek film director Angelopoulos honored by International Cinema Festival in Istanbul
ISTANBUL, 02/05/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Greek film director Theodoros Angelopoulos was on Monday honored by the International Cinema Festival in Istanbul during an official ceremony at a hotel in the city's center.
"Praise to love and poetry are what are left for me to do as a film director," he told a press conference, adding that "my next film will be about the feelings of a 14-year-old boy who falls in love for the first time and thinks that this love will last forever."
Angelopoulos said he was moved by the reception of his films by the Turkish public and said he would be willing to make a film with Turkish colleagues.
 Prince Charles and Camilla Parker arrive on the island of Limnos
Athens, 02/05/2000 (ANA)Prince Charles arrived at Limnos airport from Switzerland on Monday, accompanied by Camilla Parker and bodyguards. He was met at the airport by members of the British diplomatic mission in Athens and local police who had been notified of his arrival on the island.
Immediately after, Prince Charles and his entourage boarded a blue Mercedes car and headed for the port of Moudros from where a rubber dinghy ferried them to a yacht waiting for them in the Gulf of Moudros. According to reports, Prince Charles will sail round Limnos, while visits to other Greek islands in the northern Aegean cannot be ruled out.