|Sunday, 26 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-05-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Stephanopoulos starts four-day official visit to Israel on Monday
JERUSALEM, 15/05/2000 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)President Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived in Jerusalem late on Sunday afternoon to start a four-day official visit to Israel and the autonomous Palestinian territory on Monday.
Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi, Deputy National Economy Minister Yiannis Zaphiropoulos and a group of Greek businessmen accompany President Stephanopoulos.
Monday morning, President Stephanopoulos will meet Israeli President Ezer Weizman, visit the Knesset later and afterwards participate in an economic forum of Greek and Israeli businessmen. Monday's program also includes meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the mayor of Jerusalem.
The official visit to Israel will continue on Tuesday, while on Wednesday President Stephanopoulos will visit Bethlehem, cathedrals and monasteries and then the Palestinian territory where he will meet the President of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat.
President Stephanopoulos' visit to Israel is aimed at building mutual trust and closer relations between Greece and Israel, both sides stressed.
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, President Stephanopoulos said a "climate of mutual confidence" should exist and that relations with Israel constitute an "essential element of our policy in the region."
He appealed for "the building of structures of collective security and development" which "should be based on respect for international law, peaceful means of resolving differences and respect for human rights and the environment."
The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that "the visit, which constitutes the heightening of a process for closer relations between Greece and Israel, should constitute the cornerstone for the continuation of the development of a dense network of ties."
 Rogge welcomes government's measures for 2004 Olympiad
Athens, 15/05/2000 (ANA)The president of the coordinating body of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge on Saturday said he was happy with the measures adopted by the Greek government last week to speed up preparations for the Olympic Games of 2004.
"The government adopted the right decisions. We were particularly happy to hear that Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki has taken over as president of the Organizing Committee ... The government has consented to amend existing legislation to facilitate more flexible schemes and speedier decision making ... The legal framework was an impediment to the work of the Organizing Committee," he said during a press briefing at an Athens seaside hotel.
Rogge said the IOC had set a 100-day deadline for the Greek government to tackle certain pending issues and implement basic programs.
"In these 100 days of 'absolution of sins' two prominent issues must necessarily close; the agreement with hotel owners and that of radio-television coverage," he said.
Rogge denied that IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch's recent reference to a crisis in the organization of the event reflected an intention to withdraw the body's approval for the Olympiad to be held in Athens.
"We simply expressed our concern. Greece of course is able to organize the Olympic Games".
Regarding construction of the Olympic Village, he said there were no delays but the time schedule had to be strictly adhered to, and called for speeding up of the construction of infrastructure projects.
The budget of 2004 Olympics would amount to $1.76 billion and would be balanced, while the IOC had also made additional provision for $154 million as emergency reserve, Rogge said. Athens's biggest source of revenue would be television rights -about $800 million, he estimated.
The Prime Minister, Costas Simitis, is to meet the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee on Monday, after Angelopoulou-Daskalaki's official assumption of her duties.
 Albright praises Greek community's contribution to the development of the US
WASHINGTON, 15/05/2000 (ANA - A. Ellis)US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praised the contribution of the Greek community to the development of the United States in an address during an official dinner given by the State Department for Archbishop of America Dimitrios.
"Your community and your Church have contributed considerably to our country since it was and is a steadfast and enthusiastic defender of peace, unity and respect for human rights all over the world," she said.
Referring to Greek-Turkish relations, Albright said "the key to the future is the harmonious coexistence of those living round the Aegean Sea" and invoked a recent speech by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos in Cappadocia, saying that "the Ecumenical Patriarch appealed to the Greeks and Turks for love and mutual respect and to move towards reconciliation together."
On the question of Cyprus, Albright said it remains a divided island, adding that both she and President Clinton are working for a success to dialogue in the framework of the UN and for the achievement of a solution and wished Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides a speedy recovery.
 Pangalos sets new tone in Parthenon Marbles issue
LONDON, 15/05/2000 (ANA- L. Tsirigotakis)The Greek government will adopt new principles and a new approach in its effort to have the Parthenon Marbles returned from the British Museum, Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos said on Saturday after discussions with members of the British committee supporting the Greek claim.
"We reached a series of principles on the basis of which we believe that we can maximize the results and efforts for the return and exhibition of the Parthenon Marbles in Athens ... I shall seek that an institution broader than the government, the Cultural and Foreign Affairs Committees of the Greek Parliament address a memorandum to the British people and Parliament," he said.
Pangalos said the first new principle was that the issue was not a difference between the Greek and British governments but concerned the two countries' cultural and representative institutions.
"The Marbles, as you know, have been entrusted by the British Parliament to the British Museum for safe-keeping. Any development, therefore, could only come about through Parliament," he said.
The second principle was that the issue was not one of administering justice.
"The point is not to establish a victor and a loser... There is no need to try and condemn anyone.
"Third, the Marbles are an issue of cooperation between the British and Greek peoples, and one of European cooperation in the context of the new era.
"And fourth, we consider that the issue of ownership is secondary. What is important is where the Marbles are and on this we possess a catalytic argument, namely the undisturbed cohesion of the work of art called Parthenon. It was not a building, which comprised certain internal or external sculptures, but a sculptured edifice where sculpture and architecture constituted an absolute and continuous sum. Its break-up and rupture by Lord Elgin at the time (early 19th century) was an act of barbarity and its vandalism can be no longer tolerated," Pangalos said.
He suggested that the Greek cultural presence in the British Museum could be maintained with high-quality replicas of the Marbles and periodic long-term exhibitions of Greek antiquities.
Finally, Pangalos said the new Acropolis museum, which was essential for the exhibition of the Marbles in Athens would be ready before the Athens Olympics of 2004.
 Simitis says ruling party needs continuous reform
Athens, 15/05/2000 (ANA)The ruling PASOK party must be subject to continuous reform, setting the pace for a renewal of the political system as a whole, which is showing signs of fatigue, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Saturday.
"As a Socialist party, PASOK must be subject to continuous reform, avoiding saying merely things pleasant but pursuing a policy of modernization ... The party's renewal must be total and signal, at the same time, the renewal of the political system which is showing signs of fatigue," he told the party's Central Committee session.
He said further that the ruling party had to adjust to the electronic age, see to its ideological and political profile and establish closer contact with society.
The two-day meeting, which ended on Saturday, was the first after the April 9 election in which PASOK was re-elected with an approximately one percent lead in the number of votes over the conservative New Democracy. Simitis said the mandate, which PASOK received in the election, was for the future of the country and citizens' daily problems.
Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who also addressed the Central Committee, said that the election had revealed the party's weaknesses and noted that New Democracy had managed to considerably narrow the gap by adopting a "people's Right" profile.
"PASOK is partly responsible for this, as it did not succeed in revealing the Right's true face," he said.
He called for the opening of a front against this "people's Right" and greater consideration to be given to relations with the forces of the Left.
 Karamanlis sees need for "new party", promises relentless opposition
Athens, 15/05/2000 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said on Sunday his party needed to acquire new form, in tune with the modern requirements of political consensus, and promised relentless opposition to the government.
"We need to transit to a new form of party which will be responsive to the needs of society and the dictates of the times... The labels of the past have no place in the new era, the problems of people around us are colorless. We remain steadfastly adherent to the concept of the middle ground," he told a party meeting in Thessaloniki.
He said the need for consensus in political life did not mean toleration and covering up of illegal practices, phenomena of corruption and decadence, or authoritarianism.
Karamanlis was particularly critical of the government over what he called lawful but ethically questionable methods used in the April 9 election, which involved the waste of public money and amounted to an abrogation of the conditions of democracy.
"We are resolved to force the government to give a full account for the waste. Nothing of what they did will be written off. Enough is enough," he said.
Karamanlis warned that the opposition, which New Democracy would exercise, would be responsible and creative, but also severe, resolute and relentless.
"We shall shadow them in their every step, we are resolved to put an end to their authoritarian practices," he said.
He forecast especially significant developments in national issues, particularly in view of the upcoming crucial round of talks on the Cyprus issue, but also because Ankara appeared to refuse to comply with what was agreed at the EU Helsinki summit in December.
Finally, he said there were worrying signs regarding the necessary structural changes in the public sector of the economy, exemplified by the appointment of one person who used to work for the Intracom telecoms equipment conglomerate, Nikos Manassis, in the posts of both president and managing director of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE).
Commenting later on Karamanlis' speech in Thessaloniki, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said "Karamanlis learnt nothing from the recent elections."
"It seems that he is choosing the path of fleeing from reality. Either he is unable to understand and analyze the new factors or purposely, due to the crisis plaguing his party, he is trying to cover them up," Reppas added.
 Coalition of the Left dissidents leave the party
Athens, 15/05/2000 (ANA)Eighteen dissident cadres of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) on Saturday formally announced they are leaving the party to form an independent political grouping.
The move, announced at the party's Central Committee session, had been expected for some days following advance notice given of his withdrawal by Nikos Bistis, who is considered head of the group.
In a statement, the dissidents claimed that Synaspismos has been increasingly acquiring demagogic features based on outdated and dogmatic ideological stereotypes. They also charged that the party lacked substantive positions, which gave rise to negative and nihilistic opposition to the ruling Socialist (PASOK) party.
The Coalition of the Left made a rather poor showing in the April 9 election, only just managing to clear the hurdle of three percent of the poll required for parliamentary representation. It has the longest record of consistent support to European integration among the parties of the Left, in contrast to the Communist Party of Greece.
The 18 dissidents further charged that the party had moved away from the values of the progressive Left -which they would try to reconstitute- and insisted they did not intend to join PASOK.
Coalition leader Nikos Constantopoulos' reaction was low-key.
"At this difficult hour it is important to defend our principles and values and not to allow ourselves to engage in a degenerate and pointless clash," he said.
He added the party needed to reach at its upcoming congress a political decision clarifying the elements of its identity and orientation.
In a related development, former Coalition leader and veteran Left-wing figure Leonidas Kyrkos, denied a claim by Bistis that he approved of the dissident group's withdrawal from the party, describing it as "dishonest".
 Defense Minister Tsohatzopoulos says Thrace constitutes a bastion of Hellenism
Athens, 15/05/2000 (ANA)National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Sunday that Thrace, being a bastion defending the sovereign rights of Greece and Hellenism and a center of peace and creative cooperation with neighboring peoples, has its own role to play in Balkan development and the course towards Europe in a climate of peace and economic development.
Tsohatzopoulos was speaking at events organized in central Athens Square on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Thrace's liberation and unification with the motherland.
The events in Athens were organized by the Organizing Committee Thrace 2000, the municipality of Didimotiho and Thracian societies.
Tsohatzopoulos left for Oporto, Portugal, in the afternoon to participate in the two-day session of WEU and WEAG Foreign Affairs and Defense ministers to be held on May 15-16.
 Headquarters of the World Peace Council to be transferred to Athens from Paris
Athens, 15/05/2000 (ANA)The World Council of Peace Committees, attended by 200 representatives from 44 countries, came to a close in Athens on Sunday with the ratification of a resolution and the election of an Executive Committee.
By decision of the Executive Committee, the headquarters of the World Peace Council will be transferred to Athens from Paris.
A proclamation ratified under the title "Global action against the new world order for a 21st century of peace, security and growth" lists the conference's views on the "eradication of nuclear weapons and substantive disarmament, the struggle to overturn the new world order, the struggle against NATO and military blocs and foreign bases all over the world".
 Development Minister says tourism should emerge as the country's strategic economic activity
Athens, 15/05/2000 (ANA)Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Sunday that tourism cannot continue to be handled as a "circumstantial haven in periods of tight economic conditions", but can and should emerge as the country's strategic economic activity.
Christodoulakis was speaking during an official dinner organized in the framework of the Tourist Panorama 2000 exhibition organized by the Kalofolias Group in cooperation with the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers.
He outlined a more ambitious and long-term tourist policy focusing on considerable targets and enterprising plans aimed at a dynamic development of the tourism sector.
Christodoulakis said that entry into the euro zone would create new factors, conditions and requirements regarding the movement of Europeans in the unified European market, while new forms of tourism will be created in Greece such as weekend tourism.
 New UN Envoy in Cyprus named
NICOSIA, 15/05/2000 (CNA/ANA)Former Polish U.N Representative Zbigniew Wlosowicz will take up the post of Acting UN Special Representative in Cyprus and UNFICYP Chief of Mission, when the term of the incumbent James Holger of Chile expires on May 31, it was officially announced on Friday.
UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told his daily briefing that the Secretary-General has asked his Special Advisor for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto to remain based at UN Headquarters for the time being, "in order to give priority to the good offices effort underway".
De Soto is leading the UN-led proximity talks aimed at reaching a settlement in Cyprus, divided since Turkish troops occupied 37 percent of its territory in 1974.
Two rounds of talks have been held so far, while consultations are continuing to decide the date and venue of a third round, that was initially scheduled to begin in New York on May 23 but was postponed because Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides underwent surgery earlier this month to remove a polyp from his large intestine.
Wlosowicz, 45, took up his post as Poland's U.N. envoy in February 1993 and was a member of the Security Council from 1996 to 1997.
For the past two years he was serving as a special adviser on inter-governmental affairs with the UN Development Program.
An expert in international law, Wlosowicz holds a doctorate from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow.
The UN has maintained a peacekeeping force on the island since 1964 and today numbers about 1,250 troops and civilian police.
 Miss India wins Miss Universe pageant organized in Nicosia
NICOSIA, 15/05/2000 (CNA/ANA)Miss Universe 2000, Miss India Lara Dutta, on Saturday night was presented with a reproduction of the Greek Mythology golden apple given to Aphrodite in Cyprus in 1000 BC, at the Coronation Ball held here.
At a special farewell ceremony at the Hilton hotel, in the capital Nicosia, the 21-year-old economist and daughter of a pilot was presented with the golden apple, designed by Mykimoto with a cultured pearl on its stem.
During the event, the new Miss Universe was also presented with a cultured pearl necklace and earrings by Mykimoto and the Miros Integral diamond and steel watch by Christian Lacroix, worth 4,500 US dollars.
Miss India was crowned Miss Universe 2000 out of 79 international contestants, at the 49th Miss Universe pageant a live CBS telecast from the Eleftheria stadium in Nicosia in the early hours Saturday.
The telecast was aired live to the US and Latin America and pre-sold to another 125 countries with a total viewership of 4,5 million.
The Coronation Ball, which attracted throngs from across the island and foreign visitors, including ministers, politicians, government officials, contestants and celebrities, was the final of a series of nine Miss Universe 2000 official events staged in Cyprus in the last three weeks.
In his address to the special ceremony for the presentation of the golden apple, Commerce Industry and Tourism Minister Nicos Rolandis who instigated the staging of the Miss Universe pageant in Cyprus described the event as a complete success.
Rolandis told CNA that "the aim of staging the pageant on the island, that is attracting tourists and sparking business for Cyprus as well as promoting the island and Cypriot culture abroad, was achieved".
He said that about 4000 accredited and more non-accredited foreign journalists arrived in Cyprus especially for the event.
The final telecast with a magnificent set promoting Cypriot history and culture, a reproduction of the ancient Curium amphitheater with elements of Famagusta Gate and other medieval and ancient Cypriot sites, included spots filmed in various parts of the island promoting Cypriot history, culture and tourism.
Miss Universe Organization President Maureen Reidy told the Coronation Ball "this was the best ever Miss Universe pageant, particularly because of Cyprus' history and its links to the myth of the goddess of beauty, Aphrodite".