|Wednesday, 22 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-05-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greece-US police cooperation memorandum to be signed soonAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Friday that Greece and the United States will be signing a "memorandum of understanding" soon, namely a police cooperation agreement to which, as he said, he would not attribute the character of an anti-terrorism cooperation agreement.
Reppas said it will not be an inter-state agreement and, consequently, it will not be debated in Parliament, adding that the head of the Greek Police (ELAS) will probably sign on behalf of Greece.
He further said that discussion on the agreement had taken place quite some time ago and long before the State Department's report on terrorism had been publicized.
Reppas said work on the police cooperation agreement is almost completed and is therefore expected to be signed soon, but a specific date has not been set.
Questioned on reports claiming that 90 percent of men in the Greek Police are corrupt, Reppas said this has nothing to do with the agreement between Greece and the US. However, he added that certain methods are used in polls conducted by private bodies.
"Allow me to doubt and to not accept that men of ELAS can be characterized as corrupt to such a high degree, because I do not believe that they are corrupt," Reppas said.
 ND leader attends EPP ceremonies on Schumann proclamation and meets Silvio BerlusconiROME 06-05-2000 (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakos)
Leaders of Europe's Popular Parties gathered in Rome on Friday to honor the 50th anniversary of the Schumann proclamation on the establishment of unified Europe.
The conference started with brief addresses by European Peoples Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens and Italian Commissioner Mario Monti. Addresses by other leaders focused on the issue of "Europe open to the world."
On the occasion of the anniversary, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis made the following statement:
"The ideas and efforts set out by the visionaries of European unification constitute, at present, an event in full-swing. The vision of the few now finds universal acceptance and support. We are proud because we, with Constantine Karamanlis, were protagonists in this effort.
"The EU finds itself today at the first phase of Economic and Monetary Union, while several states in Europe are seeking their accession. The issues raised are many. They concern
both enlargement and the deepening of the EU's ties and institutions. As a matter of fact, the next Intergovernmental Conference will acquire major importance.
"We want Europe to have a common foreign policy and defense policy, with common and jointly-protected borders. Europe should have social cohesion and solidarity. Europe should be effective, democratically-structured and have respect for the national and cultural identity of its members. Europe should be open to the world."
Addressing the conference, Karamanlis said that "after 50 years Europe has taken considerable steps towards its unification, but it should take quite a few more steps. We need to examine and strengthen the EU's international role with a common strategy on foreign policy and defense and we should also see to the strengthening of economic policy. There are opportunities and challenges for us to handle which concern the future of European citizens on health, education, security, environmental and employment issues. Namely, all the issues of the average European citizen's quality of life. The EU will become more stable if we confront and provide solutions to these challenges. Enlargement is one of the greatest challenges."
Referring to enlargement, and to former communist countries in particular, Karamanlis said progress achieved in human rights and democracy should be primarily examined. In the case of Turkey, political, social and economic issues should be examined in particular and if and to what degree they are being handled with realism and progress.
At the end of the conference, Karamanlis had a private 30-minute meeting with Italian Forza Italia party leader Silvio Berlusconi. Views and evaluations were exchanged on results of recent elections in both Greece and Italy, as well as on the election law which the two politicians appear to agree should remain as it is.
They agreed to strengthen ties between the two parties with more meetings, while Berlusconi was invited to visit Greece in the summer. Berlusconi said the meeting was particularly positive in the framework of the celebration of an anniversary on the two parties' European history.
 PM addresses cabinet meeting on regional administrationAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis, addressing the inner cabinet on Friday, said that issues concerning regional structure and the country's organization will preoccupy the government at the appropriate time.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the prime minister mentioned that the relevant officials will be proposing issues to government bodies to enable decisions to be taken. He added that "there is no question of third degree administration being enacted with the introduction of the institution of an elected regional governor since it lies outside PASOK's programme."
Commenting on the issue, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said the positions expressed by the prime minister against the enactment of an elected regional administration constitute "a manifestation of one-party mentality and a desperate reaction to the ascertainment that ND's ideas meet with widespread appeal in society and are even adopted by government ministers".
Similar criticism was also voiced by the Coalition of the Left and Progress which, according to an announcement, supports a sustained and substantive dialogue on the country's regional administration.
 ND Deputy Bakoyianni says Turkey does not cover its true intentionsAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party deputy Dora Bakoyianni, commenting on Friday on developments in Greek-Turkish relations, said that the cordiality between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers in their meeting in New York earlier this week does not cover Turkey's true intentions.
She said that all that Turkey wishes is to negotiate the internationally safeguarded rights of Greece in the Aegean, while Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's recent statements show that Turkey remains unmoving in its refusal to refer the issue of the continental shelf at the Hague and that it is making no moves for a settlement of the Cyprus issue.
Bakoyianni added that Turkey "further maintains its known claims on other issues as well, which Greece does not recognize as differences".
Until Turkey changes its positions on these major issues, this courteous behavior creates an illusion to the international community of a change in Turkey's firm positions, thus facilitating Turkey to appear as a country ready for accession to the European Union, Bakoyianni said.
Bakoyianni said that ND supports a smoothing in Greek-Turkish relations and Turkey's European vocation, but Greece must make clear that Turkey's European vocation passes from the settlement of the Cyprus issue, acceptance of international law and respect of human rights.
 NATO Dynamic Mix exercise to be carried out between May 20 and June 10Athens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
A NATO exercise codenamed DYNAMIC MIX will be carried out between May 20 and June 10 and will involve 15,000 men, 65 ships and 293 aircraft from 12 countries. Canada has withdrawn its participation due to distance, as well as the Netherlands which has invoked economic reasons.
Operations in support of peace will be conducted in northern Italy and the Turkish part of Thrace. In Greece, a landing exercise will be carried out at Kyparissia. It will start on the night of May 31 and be concluded on June 3, as well as the final phase of DYNAMIC MIX in the Askos Profiti region on June 5.
Greece will participate with four frigates, four missile boats, two submarines, two tank carriers, 64 aircraft, the 2nd mechanized infantry division and the 33rd mechanized brigade.
Turkey will have a company of marines (150 men), four jeeps, two trucks, two frigates, two missile boats, two submarines, an oil tanker and a tank carrier. It will also participate with aircraft, 12 of which will arrive at Nea Anchialos on May 19, provided they submit flight plans.
The United States will provide the 2nd marines brigade, numbering 4,645 men, the 24th division, three frigates, two submarines, three landing craft and 62 aircraft.
France will have 550 marines, one frigate, one submarine, two landing craft and six aircraft.
Germany will participate with 1,850 men who will handle four Patriot and three Hawk batteries, as well as seven Roland platoons.
In an announcement on Friday, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) expresses its opposition to the multinational exercise DYNAMIC MIX, as well as to next week's economic forum and the inauguration of the "Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation in southeastern Europe."
KKE said that in the framework of the new world order, Thessaloniki is under siege recently and multinational capital is attacking on all fronts and with every way to secure spheres of influence and to "drain" working people and peoples in the region more effectively.
 Greece will assume command of NATO's Mine Combat ForceAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Greece will assume the command of NATO's Mine Combat Force (MCMFORMED) and Greek Navy Lieutenant Commander Ioannis Grammatikakis will relieve Italian Navy Lieutenant Commander Michele Cassota during a special ceremony at the naval station on Crete on May 8.
MCMFORMED covers mine combat readiness operations on the southern flank and is usually composed of 4-6 minesweepers and a command support ship. The countries contributing to the force are the United States, Germany, Britain, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, the Netherlands and Greece.
 Seminar held in Washington on Greek foreign policyWASHINGTON D.C. 06-05-2000 (ANA - A. Ellis)
A seminar organized in Washington by the Kokkalis Foundation in cooperation with the RAND Corporation focused on Greece's geopolitical position and future prospects for Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue and the wider Balkan region. It was attended by 35 Greek, Turkish and American diplomats, journalists, academics and analysts.
Special emphasis was placed on the policy of rapprochement started by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem, its response on both countries' domestic front, future prospects and the next possible steps. The role of the Cyprus issue was also examined as a problem considerably influencing relations between the two countries.
The emergence of Greece as an important factor in Balkan developments was examined as well as the situation currently prevailing in the Balkans with the irredentism of Albanian nationalism, which strengthens the existing danger of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) being dismembered), uncertainty in Serbia, the international community's failure in Kosovo and the unstable and volatile situation in Montenegro.
 President Stephanopoulos begins three-day tour of northern GreeceAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
President Stephanopoulos was proclaimed an honorary citizen of Xanthi, northern Greece, on Friday at the start of his three-day tour of Thrace. He arrived in the city by car after arriving at Kavala's Alexander the Great airport in the afternoon.
Asked to comment on the cohabitation of Christians and Moslems, President Stephanopoulos said "I believe the cohabitation of Moslems and Christians in Thrace is absolutely harmonious and safe and constitutes a model of coexistence between people of different religions."
Earlier in the day, President Stephanopoulos was proclaimed an honorary citizen of Aigio, in the Peloponnese, where he attended religious events commemorating the patron saint Panagia Trypiti.
On Saturday morning, President Stephanopoulos will visit the "Triantafyllidis" army camp at Petrohori where the memory of the army's patron saint, Saint George, will be honored.
 Simitis sends wishes to Cyprus president for speedy recoveryNICOSIA 06-05-2000 (ANA - G. Leonidas)
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis sent a message of good wishes to Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on Friday for a speedy recovery after his operation.
Earlier in the day, President Clerides underwent surgery to have a polyp removed from his large intestine.
Simitis, who expressed both his personal wishes and those of his government, expressed certainty that an opportunity will be provided very soon for a new meeting for a joint evaluation of developments at this crucial phase of the Cyprus issue.
Both Simitis and Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos wished to communicate with President Clerides by phone to extend their wishes to him, but were unable to do so since the president was not in a position to speak.
Meanwhile, the President of the Socialdemocrat Movement Vassos Lyssarides visited President Clerides and said he is doing very well.
 Cem holds talks with UN Secretary General in New YorkNEW YORK 06-05-2000 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)
A meeting was held between UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem in New York on Friday.
The meeting lasted half an hour and after the meeting Cem said that he talked with Annan about some issues "of mutual concern, about the upcoming proximity talks on Cyprus. I presented some of our views to His Excellency. I mentioned that as far as we know the 'Turkish Republic of Cyprus' will bring in some new ideas on those talks to be more constructive than ever".
"Then we talked about Iraq which is again of mutual concern, particularly northern Iraq, because what is going on in Iraq hurts Turkey a lot economically. I asked His Excellency how he evaluates the situation and what he foresees as well as what are the chances of probable implementation of the decisions that the Security Council takes," Cem said.
Referring to Kosovo, Cem said that Turkey and Greece should, as NATO and Balkan countries, have more responsibilities in the decision-making process.
Greek journalists asked Cem if he agreed with what his "counterpart and friend" George Papandreou said that if there was no progress on Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations would be in danger. Cem answered "you have to ask my colleague and friend Mr. Papandreou. I didn't say that."
 Greek agriculture minister addresses Sofia conferenceSOFIA 06-05-2000 (ANA - B. Borisov)
Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis addressed the international conference "Agribusiness forum" here on Friday and stressed Greece's disposition to offer its good offices to European Union candidate member-states.
"We always have an extended hand of cooperation and friendship. We offer it steadfastly and with good intention. Although we are a small European Union country, we have the disposition to offer our good offices to the EU candidate member-states to a degree exceeding our capabilities. We can all cooperate for mutual benefit," he said.
Anomeritis, who stressed that Greece will cooperate closely with all the candidate member-states during the pre-accession period and in the years to come, said the EU is in a position to function positively for the progress and prosperity of the peoples of Europe.
 Two main parties spend over Dr 5.5 bln on advertisingAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
The countries' two main political parties - the ruling PASOK party and main opposition New Democracy party - spent more than 5.5 billion drachmas on advertising in January-April, Media Services said.
The period included national elections on April 9.
PASOK spent 3.260 billion drachmas and New Democracy 2.307 billion drachmas for advertising on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, Media Services said in a statement.
Each party spent the largest single chunk of its advertising budget on television, the statement said.
 General Governor of Australia begins visit to Greece on May 11Athens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
The General Governor of Australia, Sir William Deane, accompanied by his wife, will begin an official two-day visit to Greece on May 11 at the invitation of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, the press office of the Presidency of the Republic announced on Friday.
 Greece's EMU membership will proceed smoothly, Papantoniou saysAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
"Greece's entry procedure into the euro zone will progress smoothly despite voices of reservations, because all countries and all political forces are welcoming us," National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Friday. He told an interview with an Athens radio station that all official assessment reports on the Greek economy were positive and repeated that there were no terms, preconditions or recommendations included in these reports.
Papantoniou attributed some German officials' reservations to domestic policy reasons and as part of efforts to convince the German public over the benefits of exchanging the DMark with the euro currency. He stressed that the euro's weakness has started almost six months ago and that it had nothing to do with Greece's EMU membership.
Papantoniou also announced that next year's budget - to be tabled in Parliament next fall - would include a cut in the tax ceiling rate from 45 to 40 percent and the abolition of a special tax on banking services.
He said that interest rates would be drastically cut in the second half of the year to almost half of their current level. "Following our entry in the euro zone, interest rates will be around 4.0 percent," he said.
Commenting on the government's privatization policy, Papantoniou reiterated that the government was planning another 15 flotations and privatizations, including the Agricultural Bank of Greece, the Public Power Corp., Hellenic Telecoms (OTE), port authorities and defense-related industries.
He also defended plans for the liberalization of certain professional trades, such as notaries, taxi-drivers and car mechanics, saying that such a move could free all "creative powers" in the economy and that society that want to contribute in recovery and growth.
He noted, however, that the government would talk with all interested parties before taking any decisions and said he hoped that the majority of the Greek people would support such an initiative.
Papantoniou confirmed reports of a privatization in Olympic Airways. "We will proceed initially with an option to sell a 20 percent stake to British Airways and then decide on our next move. Selling a 49 percent stake in OA's equity is among our policy choices, but the first stage envisages only the 20 percent," he noted.
Papantoniou said the government supported the national carrier's current British management team and noted that there had not been any formal proposals submitted by Greek businessmen expressing interest to participate in Olympic Airways' equity capital.
ECOFIN council to meet on Monday, Papantoniou to attend
The European Union's ECOFIN council, comprised of member-states' finance and national economy ministers, is set to meet on Monday in Brussels.
Issues expected to be discussed include member-states' general economic direction, priorities for the Community's 2001 budget as well as improving the VAT system and economic assistance towards Montenegro, among others.
Greece will be represented by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
 Greek, Turkish firms show joint interest in wind powerISTANBUL 06-05-2000 (ANA-A. Kourkoulas)
Rokas of Greece and Gucbirligi Holding of Turkey have signed a memorandum of understanding on possible exploitation of wind energy, the Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.
Senior officials of the two firms signed the memorandum in Izmir.
Under the terms of the arrangement, the two firms will sound out joint investments involving construction of a wind power network in the Greek Aegean islands and a peninsula in western Turkey.
"These initiatives are very important in further promoting rapprochement between Greece and Turkey," Christina Alexopoulou, Greece's consul in Izmir, told the Athens News Agency.
"Greek and Turkish businesses are playing a particularly significant role in relations between the two countries," Alexopoulou said.
 Greek stocks end substantially higher on ASEAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Equity prices ended substantially higher on the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday reflecting renewed buying interest in small and medium capitalization stocks and an improvement in turnover.
The general index finally surpassed the 4,400 level, following three unsuccessful attempts in the week, to end at 4,416.60 points, up 1.34 percent. Turnover was 120 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,466.87 points, up 0.98 percent and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 3.78 percent to 601.71 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 738.32 points, up 5.97 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 329 to 16 with only one issue unchanged.
Alpha Credit Bank, Themeliodomi, Exelixi and Hellenic Telecoms were the most heavily traded stocks.
 Derivatives prices rebound on ADEXAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Derivatives prices rebounded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange to end higher on Friday following gains in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.
Turnover, however, was a low six billion drachmas in volume of 2,183 contracts.
A total of 526 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 2.4 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 2,439 points, the June at 2,453.75 and the September contract at 2,460 points.
A total of 1,657 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 3.6 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 583.25 points, the June at 580.50 and the September contract at 582.50 points.
 Bonds end flat in moderate tradeAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Bond prices in the domestic secondary market finished unchanged in rangebound trading on Friday with turnover edging down slightly.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.31 percent from 6.35 percent a day earlier and 6.21 percent on Wednesday.
The paper's yield spread over German bunds was 87 basis points from 88-90 basis points on Thursday and 82 basis points on Wednesday.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 82 billion drachmas from 98.4 billion drachmas a day earlier and 98 billion drachmas on Wednesday.
Of Friday's total, buy orders accounted for 54 billion drachmas of turnover.
 Drachma noses down vs euro, rises vs dollarAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
The drachma on Friday edged down against the euro and gained on the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.
The Bank of Greece stepped into the market, selling around 115 million euros. In the last 10 days, the central bank has sold more than one billion euros.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 336.190 drachmas from 336.150 drachmas a day earlier and 336.030 drachmas on Wednesday.
Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 373.770 drachmas from 376.200 drachmas on Thursday and 373.830 drachmas on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the rampant dollar had gained 14.54 percent on the drachma since the beginning of the year.
 Greek stocks end the week with gainsAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
The general index ended the week under review with gains on the Athens Stock Exchange, reversing a three-week declining trend.
The Greek bourse showed signs of stabilization during the last few sessions, finding new support levels and with share prices moving within a narrower range following weeks of high volatility.
Several analysts expect the market to move within the 4,000-5,000 levels in the short-term, while others warned that reduced turnover would put a lid on the market.
Investors, however, remain cautious awaiting the government's moves on privatization and the next move on interest rates by the US Federal Reserve.
Dealers said that investors were reluctant to sell their stock holdings on the hope of a recovery in the market.
The general index ended the week 167.15 points, or 3.93 percent higher.
The week's turnover totaled 497.7 billion drachmas to a daily average of 124.425 billion, sharply up from 92.5 billion drachmas the previous week.
 Minoan Flying Dolphins to schedule up to 30 percent more sailings this summerAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
The Minoan Flying Dolphins (MFD) company has scheduled up to 30 percent more sailings for the summer period, compared to last year.
"Our company is proud because during the Easter holidays it transported the main bulk of traffic on the Cyclades routes with its renovated ships, in the best possible way and with absolute safety, in the framework set by the Merchant Marine Ministry," an announcement by MFD said on Friday.
 Greek footwear trade fair begins on SaturdayAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
A Greek footwear trade fair begins in Athens on Saturday with 235 sector companies due to exhibit their collections for autumn and winter 2000-2001.
The fair, which ends on May 8, is organized by the Greek Association of Footwear Light Industries and Exporters.
It will be held at the Mediterranean Exhibition Centre.
 158 illegals stranded on islet rescuedAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Greek coast guard units completed the rescue of 158 illegal immigrants stranded on an uninhabited islet off Crete early Friday afternoon.
The illegals, reportedly all Kurds, were loaded aboard inflatable craft and transferred off the rocky islet. A search for more individuals is reportedly underway amid rough seas, while debris from the wreckage of a wooden vessel believed to have transported the group was spotted nearby, authorities said.
 Prince Charles ends visit to GreeceAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Prince Charles departed for London on Friday after bad weather and strong winds did not allow him to continue his scheduled cruise of the Aegean islands.
From the autonomous monastic community of Mount Athos, where he stayed for three days, he departed on a luxury yacht for the island of Limnos from where he left for London on a Lear jet.
The plane took off from Limnos' Myrina airport at 5:30 p.m.
 Ecumenical Patriarch to conduct service in CappadociaISTANBUL 06-05-2000(ANA - A. Kourkoulas)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will conduct a service at Avanos, Cappadocia on May 7, in a move of historic significance for Greek-Turkish relations.
Cappadocia, in central Turkey, is a historic center of Greek Orthodox tradition and was evacuated by the Greek Orthodox population in 1923 following the Greek-Turkish agreement for an exchange of populations.
Through the Patriarch's service at Avanos, the Church of Cappadocia gradually finds its historic continuity.
 Margaret Papandreou arrives in Ankara to attend film festivalANKARA 06-05-2000 (ANA - A. Abatzis)
Former Greek first lady Margaret Papandreou arrived in the Turkish capital on Thursday to attend an international film festival here.
Saying she is in Ankara as a representative of the women's peace movement for Greek-Turkish rapprochement "Winpeace",
Papandreou said "friendship and peace between Greece and Turkey has always been one of Greek women's visions" for the future.
 V. Papandreou leaves hospitalAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Interior Minister, Mrs. Vasso Papandreou left hospital on Friday after undergoing a gall bladder operation to remove gall-stones.
Mrs. Papandreou underwent successful surgery at Evangelismos hospital.
She is expected to return to her office in the next few days, after a brief recuperation, hospital doctors said.
 OTE announces automation of international calls to East TimorAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) announced on Friday that from May 8, 2000 international calls to East Timor and more specifically to the capital Dili will be automated. The country code for East Timor will be +670 and the area code for Dili +390.
Calls to the above country will cost 650 drachmas per minute and 600 drachmas per minute during reduced tariff hours i.e. between 20:00-05:00.
 Gov't says no changes to 2004 Olympics boardAthens, 06-05-2000 (ANA)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis received Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos on Friday at his office for talks on preparations for the 2004 Olympics.
The meeting followed a request by the Athens mayor immediately after stinging criticism leveled at Greek 2004 organizers late last month by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.
Avramopoulos said discussions revolved around more direct participation on the part of the municipality in 2004 preparations and the accompanying organization of the Games. "I can now say that I'm convinced that everything will go as planned in the future," he told reporters afterwards.
Asked by reporters if he will assume a more high-profile position in the 2004 organizing committee, Avramopoulos said simply that regardless of recent press speculation and rumors the Athens mayor has an institutional role to carry out within the organization, adding that a new standing would be incompatible with the signed accords.
The powerful IOC chief tersely said on April 20 that the Athens 2004 summer games would be in "danger" unless Greek organizers made "drastic" changes by the end of the year. However, Samaranch later qualified his warning at a press conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC's headquarters, by saying: "I cannot imagine the games will not be held in Athens... We hope after this warning all things will be in the right way."
In a related development, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Friday said Simitis told participants at a lengthy government council meeting that no changes in top personnel or the 2004 organizing committee's structure were envisioned.
The spokesman also said a special "Olympics ministry" would not be formed to oversee the games.
Finally, former New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert has called for the creation of a three-member coordinating committee to supervise preparations for the 2004 Games, comprising the government minister retaining the highest degree of responsibility for the event, the mayor of Athens and the president of Greece's Olympic Committee.
 The Athens dailies at a glanceADESMEFTOS TYPOS(Rizos): "They deceived judges in order to 'cover up' a criminal offence; the dead man is....alive", a reference to a scam concerning the Consultative Committee of the Cyprus Foundation".
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS(Mitsis): "Everybody plays crazy...; abolition of the 'closed' professions; those concerned (taxi drivers, pharmacists, gas station dealers and notary publics say the matter does not concern us".
APOGEVMATINI: "Six files with strong illegal offences; an Apogevmatini disclosure with monstrosities regarding pre-electoral job appointments".
ATHINAIKI: "Everything upside down in the country's administrative structure; a new 'Kapodistria' plan; a government game in the light of the new electoral law".
AVGHI: "Euro's political weakness; its plummeting continues and is below 90 U.S. cents".
AVRIANI: "Daring decisions by Simitis; strict instructions to the ministers in today's crucial inner cabinet meeting".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Greek Police under the helmet of the C.I.A. and F.B.I.; the State Department's report on terrorism has found its target..".
ELEFTHEROS: "(Athens mayor Dimitris) Avramopoulos has changed the country's image", a reference to his meeting with IOC chief Antonio Samaranch.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Deserted islets and state land on sale".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "60 years later and through a draft bill to be tabled in parliament this month, a new law concerning the country's coasts; it paves the road for demolitions of illegal buildings".
ESTIA: "Camouflaged structural changes; Mr. Simitis' big mistake".
ETHNOS: " 'Kapodistria plan-2' begins; the (country's) map changes".
EXOUSIA: "Gianna's (a reference to Mrs. Gianna Angelopoulou - Daskalaki, who played a key role in helping Greece get the 2004 Olympics) match-making; changes in the organization of the Olympiad is a matter of days".
KATHIMERINI: Greece 'pays' for euro's poverty and grumbling; German objections despite Brussels' decision for Greece's E.M.U. admission".
LOGOS: "Shattering changes in 10 months time in professions, social security issue and public utilities...".
NIKI: "Repeated meetings on the 'Athens 2004' (Olympics), but... difficulties in taking decisions".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Everybody to the Workers' May Day rally on Sunday".
STO KARFI: "It's the state's obligation to cover the social cost; a stormy incision: 1,800 closed professions open".
TA NEA: "For whom the bell tolls; the opening of the closed professions triggers explosions".
TO VIMA: "Most of the Greek Police (EL.AS.) medium class cadres are corrupt; the Public Order Minister examined the private files of the police officers and ascertained that only 10 percent of them are not corrupt.....".
VRADYNI: "The newspaper (Vradyni) uncovers PASOK's big conspiracy; data on the (electoral) fraud; the orgy of naturalizations".
 Foreign envoys concerned over possible change of date for Cyprus proximity talksNICOSIA 06-05-2000(CNA/ANA)
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Friday that foreign government envoys are concerned over a possible change of dates for the third round of proximity talks aimed at paving the way for a settlement in Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the island.
He said that the international community is concerned over the situation created by the state of President Glafcos Clerides' health, who underwent surgery on Friday to remove a polyp from his large intestine.
Speaking at the "Evangelistria" private clinic, where the president is being treated, Kasoulides said he was not certain about a possible change of the talks' venue.
The third round of proximity talks on the Cyprus problem (separate meetings of the leaders of the two communities on the island with the United Nations) was scheduled to begin May 23 in New York. The talks aim at preparing the ground for substantive negotiations, leading to a comprehensive settlement.
Kasoulides said that the venue and other issues related to the talks would be discussed next week and noted it is important that both sides take part in the talks with the necessary political will.
The Greek Cypriot side has shown good will to negotiate a settlement based on UN resolutions.
 UN has no plans at this stage to change date of peace talksNICOSIA 06-05-200 (CNA/ANA)
The UN has no plans at this stage to change the resumption date of peace talks on Cyprus, scheduled to begin on 23 May in New York, a spokesperson for the UN told CNA on Thursday, adding that UN Secretary General's Special Advisor for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto has already informed Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides about this.
The comments come amid increasing speculation that the president is unlikely to be fit to travel to New York for the talks later this month because of his operation.
"There are no plans as of now to make any changes in the schedule for the talks, which are supposed to begin on 23 May," the spokesperson said, adding that Alvaro de Soto "yesterday spoke by telephone with Mr. Clerides and expressed best wishes on the part of the Secretary General."
De Soto said that under the current circumstances he is not going to make a visit he had planned in a few days to Cyprus as well as to Greece and Turkey, she added.
"The visit is postponed, however the plans for the talks to begin here in New York on May 23 are unchanged," she stressed.
Asked if the UN is likely to review their plans about the resumption of the talks next week, after the president's operation, the spokesperson said "if there is any further developments, we might consider something but we will have to wait and see what those developments are."
"We cannot speculate what is going to happen in a week's or two weeks' time, for now the schedule is unchanged," she pointed out, noting that this was communicated to the president during Wednesday's telephone conversation.
 Kyprianou takes on duties as Acting PresidentNICOSIA 06-05-2000 (CNA/ANA)
Cyprus House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou has taken on duties as Acting President of the Republic until Sunday, due to the operation President Glafcos Clerides has undergone.
President Clerides will be able to return to his duties on Monday from his room at the "Evangelistria" private clinic, in the capital Nicosia, where he is being treated after a polyp was removed from his large intestine.
Attorney General, Alecos Markides, announced that the decision was taken after talks with the president's doctors, adding that Kyprianou took on Acting President duties from the moment President Clerides was drugged for his operation.
Markides said this was the orthodox solution, according to the Constitution, adding that he would discuss any extension of the period with the president's doctors.
 Commonwealth regional meeting adopts resolution on CyprusNICOSIA 06-05-2000 (CNA/ANA)
The members of the British Isles and the Mediterranean region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution on Thursday on Cyprus, stressing their concern over the situation created by the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern third of the island.
During the 31st regional meeting of the Assembly held on the Isle of Man, the Jersey delegation submitted a draft resolution on Cyprus, which was unanimously adopted, while many MPs participating in the meeting expressed their support for Cyprus.
The delegates committed themselves to pass on the resolution to the governments of their respective countries.
The resolution states that the delegates "express our concern on the violation of democratic principles from the continuing illegal occupation of part of Cyprus by Turkish military forces".