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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-05-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Stephanopoulos begins Israel visit
  • [02] Simitis chairs first Olympics meeting with Angelopoulou-Daskalaki as 2004 president
  • [03] Tsohatzopoulos backs common European armaments policy without discriminations
  • [04] Turkish Navy Chief arrives in Athens for NATO meeting
  • [05] Paragioudakis meets NATO southern flank commander Ellis
  • [06] Burns pays courtesy visit to Laiou
  • [07] Gov't rejects Christodoulos' proposal for poll over ID cards
  • [08] Kaklamanis urges sobriety in State-Church relations
  • [09] ND cadres call for removal of party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos
  • [10] Reppas outlines Simitis engagements in coming week
  • [11] Unions, employers strike pay deal for 2000-2001
  • [12] Labor minister presents 'action plan' to combat unemployment
  • [13] Gov't priorities growth for technology, e-commerce
  • [14] Greek stocks jump 2.29 percent on ASE
  • [15] Papantoniou calls on businesses to seek new cooperation formats
  • [16] Papoutsis calls for a new coastal shipping policy
  • [17] Greek-American exhibition inaugurated in New York
  • [18] Belgian high school holds events on ancient Greece
  • [19] ICOM announces creation of new Athens museum for pottery
  • [20] Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus Sir David to visit Cyprus
  • [21] Turkey refuses to comply with Loizidou case ruling

  • [01] Stephanopoulos begins Israel visit

    JERUSALEM 16/05/2000 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday kicked-off a three-day visit to Israel, the first by a Greek head of state to the Middle Eastern country.

    Sources said that talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak -attended by Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi- dealt with bilateral relations, particularly in the commercial and economic sectors, international developments, the Middle East problem and Greek-Turkish relations which are issues.

    In the evening, President Stephanopoulos attended an official dinner given in his honor by Israeli President Ezer Weizman (with whom he had a private meeting earlier) who said in a toast that Greece's accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) certifies the development of the Greek economy and noted that Greece constitutes an important market for Israel.

    President Weizman said bilateral economic cooperation can be widened and include other regions such as the Balkans and the Mediterranean.

    The Israeli president also referred to the Middle East problem and said "we are on the right path to facilitate peace between Israel and its neighbors, peace which will not only contribute to the Middle East but to all the other nations in the region as well" and expressed the hope that Greece's efforts will meet with success and "come closer to its neighbor Turkey."

    Responding, Stephanopoulos emphasized that the Greek and Jewish nations are the bearers of two of the most ancient civilizations and added that "this land which we are visiting constitutes a holy place and place of reference for our two peoples" since it is the land where Greek civilization met with the Jewish one in a fertile manner in the Hellenistic times, while in parallel it is the place of the Holy Lands, the holy shrines of Christianity and Orthodoxy.

    He further said that in modern times the two peoples proceeded together and forged close cultural ties, such as in Thessaloniki and elsewhere, and added that they closed ranks in the struggle against barbarism, force and intolerance.

    He reminded that in the difficult years of Nazi bestiality Greek Jews paid an extremely heavy price in human lives and untold misery, despite the frequent heroic efforts of the entire Greek people to help them.

    President Stephanopoulos said that Greece and Israel "share the same vision and make every effort to make the Mediterranean a region of peace and cooperation" and pointed out that Athens "attributes great importance to all cooperation initiatives of a Euro-Mediterranean nature."

    He said this cooperation primarily has the need to be based on principles and conditions which will render it viable and creative, adding that respect for international legality, international law and the territorial integrity of countries, the obligation for a peaceful solution to differences, as well as respect for human rights and democratic freedoms constitute fundamental commitments of countries in the present-day international society.

    President Stephanopoulos said prospects for Greek-Israeli cooperation are great, emphasizing that in the political sector "our mutual interest in what is going on in the common geostrategic and geopolitical region to which we belong justify the close and very productive political contacts which have developed, particularly in recent years, and forebode their widening and deepening in the future."

    The president will visit the Holocaust memorial on Tuesday and will be given an honorary doctorate at the Jewish University in Jerusalem.

    Stephanopoulos calls for Greek-Israeli business cooperation abroad¨Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday called on Greek and Israeli businessmen to find and develop ways of business activities in the Balkans and Europe, during his address at the Greek-Israeli business forum in Tel Aviv.

    The visiting Greek president noted that Greeks and Israelis are capable traders and, for this reason, should work together.

    This call came in response Regional Development Minister of Israel Simon Peres' statements on the prospects of Greek-Israeli economic relations.

    Stephanopoulos noted that "there are immense possibilities of cooperation between Greek and Israeli companies in the Balkans ... the process of the reconstruction in the peninsula is very attractive to Israeli companies.

    "Greece has created a national plan for this reconstruction for the 2000-2004 period and through this plan Greek-Israeli cooperation can develop," he added.

    According to sources, Israelis showed renewed interest in promoting cooperative efforts regarding security technology and know-how for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, in subcontracts for Olympic projects, infrastructure, industry and trade within the Balkan reconstruction framework.

    About 50 Greek businessmen, participated in the delegation headed by Stephanopoulos and were expected to hold meetings with about 300 Israeli businessmen.

    Thursday schedule cut: Meanwhile, press reports from Jerusalem cited a Palestinian demand that the Greek president meet with their representative in East Jerusalem as leading to the cancellation of his last day's schedule, leaving a meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for Wednesday in Bethlehem.

    Stephanopoulos, along with the entire Greek delegation, was originally set to visit Ramallah for talks with the leadership of the Berzeit University as well as a meeting with the chairman of the Palestinian legislative council.

    His Thursday itinerary was to end with an official dinner given in his honor by Arafat.

    Greek sources said they had ruled out such a meeting the previous week due to time constraints, namely, Stephanopoulos' earlier visit to the Jerusalem Orthodox Patriarchate. According to Greek diplomatic sources, the decision to cancel the last day of the tour was taken by the Palestinian side, which cited security concerns.

    Gov't: Finally, in statements on Monday from Athens, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stressed that relations between Greece and the Palestinians were unaffected by the latest developments.

    [02] Simitis chairs first Olympics meeting with Angelopoulou-Daskalaki as 2004 president

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday chaired yet another high-level government meeting focusing on all-important 2004 Olympics preparations, the first session to include the newly appointed president of the Games' organizing committee.

    Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, who spearheaded Athens' campaign to host the 2004 Olympics, participated in the mid-afternoon meeting that was also attended by the culture minister, the mayor of Athens and other top 2004 executives.

    "We must work hard, during this phase it's important that we work and not talk. We're determined that, with the assistance of responsible ministers, the government and the organizing committee... we'll reach our goal," Angelopoulou-Daskalaki said in her first statements after officially assuming the post of 2004 president.

    Preparations surrounding the 2004 Games in Athens entered a more-or-less "accelerated phase" recently after last month's stinging comments by IOC President Juan Antonio, who cited severe delays and "red tape", among others.

    The object of Monday's discussions reportedly centered around turning the organizing committee into a more flexible organization in terms of handling problems and obstacles.

    Meanwhile, while visiting Athens on Saturday, the president of the IOC coordinating Jacques Rogge said he was pleased with the measures adopted by the Greek government last week to speed up preparations for the Games.

    "The government adopted the right decisions. We were particularly happy to hear that Gianna 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 Lausanne-based IOC had set a 100-day deadline for the Greek government to tackle certain pending issues and implement basic programs.

    "In these 100 days... two prominent issues must necessarily close: the agreement with the hotel owners and that of radio-television coverage," he stressed.

    Rogge also denied that IOC head 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.

    [03] Tsohatzopoulos backs common European armaments policy without discriminations

    Athens, 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Monday expressed support for a joint European armaments policy without discriminations, with all European countries participating with equal opportunities and rights corresponding to their commitments.

    Tsohatzopoulos, who was addressing a meeting of West European Armaments Group (WEAG) defense ministers in Oporto, Portugal, also supported the rationalization of military expenditures to enable common foreign policy and common defense policy to have the necessary means rendering them reliable and respected.

    "Only a bold political will for a real joint armaments policy can secure the triptych of defense material which will be better, cheaper and quicker (to obtain)," he said.

    Replying to a questioner, Tsohatzopoulos said common European borders have nothing to do with Greek-Turkish relations since this is an issue governed by international treaties.

    On the sidelines of the meeting, Tsohatzopoulos attended an official luncheon with his counterparts and also had a working meeting with British Defense Secretary Hoon.

    On Tuesday, Tsohatzopoulos will be participating in the session of West European Union (WEU) defense ministers, focusing on the issue of the conclusions from the joint WEU-NATO CRISEX 2000 exercise and the joint session of WEU foreign affairs and defense ministers.

    [04] Turkish Navy Chief arrives in Athens for NATO meeting

    ANKARA, 16/05/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Navy General Staff Chief Ilhami Erdil left for Athens on Monday to attend a meeting of navy chiefs from countries of NATO's southern flank, according to a report from the Anatolian news agency.

    "Latest developments in the wider region of the eastern Mediterranean will be discussed at the meeting," Erdil said before departing from Istanbul airport, adding that "relations between the navy staffs of countries in the region will also be discussed." Erdil said he will have a bilateral meeting with his Greek counterpart George Ioannidis and that the agenda contains no specific issue.

    Navy staff chiefs from countries of NATO's Partnership for Peace will also participate in the meeting "MARCOMET-00" which is due to be completed on May 18.

    [05] Paragioudakis meets NATO southern flank commander Ellis

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    National Defense General Staff Chief Manoussos Paragioudakis received the commander of NATO's southern flank James Ellis, currently in Greece for the Marcomet session, in a courtesy visit on Monday. The two men discussed issues of mutual military interest concerning the southern region.

    According to reports, they examined developments regarding the NATO exercise code-named DYNAMIC MIX, due to start on May 20 and be carried out in Greece, Italy and Turkey.

    National Defense General Staff sources reiterated that airforce issues included in the exercise's planning are binding for participating countries. They stated categorically that the aircraft of participating countries, which fail to observe the exercises plans, would be intercepted.

    [06] Burns pays courtesy visit to Laiou

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns paid a courtesy visit to newly appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Angeliki Laiou on Monday and, according to diplomatic sources, discussed bilateral and international issues.

    Laiou will also receive courtesy visits by the ambassadors of Japan, China and India on Tuesday.

    [07] Gov't rejects Christodoulos' proposal for poll over ID cards

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Monday rejected a proposal by the influential Greek Church's Prelate over the holding of a nation-wide referendum on the increasingly divisive issue of listing a citizen's religious affiliation on new identity cards.

    During a sermon on Sunday, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos proposed from the pulpit that results of a referendum decide the issue's outcome in the predominately Orthodox country of around 11 million.

    The listing of one's religious affiliation has for decades been displayed on Greek State ID Cards.

    "The government is not dealing with such an issue (referendum)," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas replied on Monday, adding that "everyone has a right to freely express their opinions".

    "However, the Greek people have given a mandate to the government they elected in order to deal with issues of policy on their behalf," he said.

    The spokesman also offered support to new Justice Minister and law professor Mihalis Stathopoulos, a proponent of eliminating such information from ID cards on the grounds of unconstitutionality. Reppas noted that Stathopoulos "doesn't act autonomously, he's a member of the government".

    Christodoulos chaired a Holy Synod meeting last week that again focused on the new identity cards issue -- a heated subject that has pitted conservative Church groups and bishops with supporters of the measure to eliminate the reference to religion in IDs.

    Holy Synod representative and Metropolitan of Piraeus Kallinikos said the hope was expressed that the issue of new identity cards will be handled with a spirit of "consensus and understanding."

    The Archbishop has already addressed a letter to Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis on the matter, with the latter promising to provide a written reply to the Archbishop.

    [08] Kaklamanis urges sobriety in State-Church relations

    Athens, 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Monday urged sobriety "in all directions" concerning the public discussion going on about relations between the State and the Church.

    "The country has many problems to face and we should not add more to them," he said, adding that "there is prudence and responsibility, but primarily sobriety in the ranks of the Church. I hope this sobriety will be adopted by all, from the Archbishop to the youngest metropolitan."

    Kaklamanis said State and Church should discuss all issues but avoid any meddling in each other's sphere of responsibility, or making other kinds of moves which do not suit the tradition of Orthodoxy and do not help the country and the nation's interests."

    [09] ND cadres call for removal of party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    Unrest in the main opposition New Democracy party, following the dismissal from the party of Deputy George Karatzaferis last week, took a new turn on Monday with an interview by ND Deputy Apostolos Andreoulakos in the Athens daily "Ethnos" calling for the removal of ND Deputy Aris Spiliotopoulos from the post of party spokesman.

    Andreoulakos said "it would be in the interest of both the party and himself if Spiliotopoulos were to be used in another sector. Costas Karamanlis has no need for a presidential guard or Herculeses."

    Yiannis Kefaloyiannis, expressing the same mood, told the NET TV network that Spiliotopoulos "has risen very high and has become dizzy."

    The ND party replied in essence with a statement by agricultural development sector chief Athanassios Nakos who said: "It is clear now that the target is the party in its entirety, the disorientation of public opinion and the restriction of the increased possibilities of government control by the opposition in light of crucial decisions. There is a problem of quality of democracy and not persons in ND. It is obvious that certain extra institutional centers are attempting to create a climate of introversion in ND to promote decisions and options of their own and set up a dance of billions at the expense of public interest, the savagely taxed citizens and the big majority of the business world."

    [10] Reppas outlines Simitis engagements in coming week

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will inaugurate the book fair at the Pedion tou Areos Park on Monday night, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    Outlining the Prime Minister's schedule for the coming week, Reppas said that on Wednesday morning he would chair a meeting of an inter-ministerial committee coordinating preparations for the Olympics ( also attended by the ministers involved), while on Friday he would head a meeting of PASOK's Executive Bureau.

    Tomorrow, Simitis is scheduled to meet with Transport minister Christos Verelis, Health minister Alekos Papadopoulos and the Secretary of PASOK's central committee, Kostas Skandalidis.

    Also on Wednesday, the premier will hold a joint meeting with Defense minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Foreign minister George Papandreou.

    [11] Unions, employers strike pay deal for 2000-2001

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    Trade unions and employers' umbrella groups on Monday forged a two-year collective labor agreement that includes a staggered 3.5 percent pay rise for 2000.

    The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), which represents nearly a million private and public sector workers, and the Federation of Greek Industry reached the agreement in the fourth round of talks.

    For 2000, workers will receive a backdated 2.0 percent pay rise from January 1, and a fresh increase of 1.5 percent from July 1.

    In addition, an index-linked corrective sum of 0.7 percent will be given to workers on December 31 calculated on the basis of inflation and terms of the previous collective labor agreement.

    For 2001, employees have secured a 3.3 percent pay rise, with the first installment of 1.8 percent due on January 1 and second installment of 1.5 percent on July 1.

    GSEE president Christos Polyzogopoulos said on conclusion of the negotiations that he welcomed the outcome.

    "With low inflation we achieved (wage) increases of more than 50 percent of the inflation rate. For the first time, the calculation was based on average annual inflation," Polyzogopoulos told reporters.

    Trade unionists aligned with the Communist Party of Greece criticized the pay deal, saying it amounted to a rise of 65 drachmas a day.

    [12] Labor minister presents 'action plan' to combat unemployment

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    Unemployment rose significantly during 1999, increasing to 11.7 per cent from 11.1 per cent in 1998, according to official figures. Labor minister Tassos Yiannitsis unveiled the figures on Monday while presenting the government's National Action Plan for Employment. This will first be sent to Greece's European Union partners and the opposition parties and is due to be submitted to the European Union by the end of the year.

    The Action Plan provides for the creation of 75,000 jobs a year and a further 75,000 vocational training slots for the unemployed. The total cost of the measures is 880 billion drachmas, to be provided by national and community funds, and is expected to benefit 900,000 workers and jobless. Central ideas of the Plan are to link education and employment, subsidize employers creating new work positions, fight social exclusion and promote equality of the sexes in the labor market.

    [13] Gov't priorities growth for technology, e-commerce

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    Two of the government's main priorities are encouraging the use of high technology and promoting the growth of e-commerce, Deputy Development Minister Alexandros Kalafatis said on Monday.

    He was addressing a seminar organized by the Hellenic Investments Center on strategic alliances between domestic and foreign companies.

    European Union funding of 180 billion drachmas had been secured to help fund the governments technology program, Kalafatis said.

    [14] Greek stocks jump 2.29 percent on ASE

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    Equity prices surged to higher levels on the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday supported by strong buying interest in blue chip stocks and an increasing turnover.

    Dealers said the market was on a steady upward trend and was expected to test the 4,800 resistance level soon.

    Banks were chief gainers on talk of a decision to upgrade the Greek market before the country's EMU participation.

    On the other hand, shares in the construction sector suffered losses on profit taking.

    The general index ended at 4,686.75 points, up 2.29 percent, but off the day's highs of 4,705.72 points. Turnover was a strong 236.5 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index ended at 2,582.36 points, up 2.83 percent and the FTSE/ASE 40 index increased 2.44 percent to end at 685.84 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 912.63 points, up 1.2 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 213 to 125 with another 10 issues unchanged.

    Athens Water, ETBAbank, Hellenic Telecoms, Panafon and National Bank were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Stock market authorities launched a new method to present closing prices based on the average weighed prices to traded stock shares in the last 10 minutes of the session.

    Derivatives prices continue moving higher: Derivatives prices ended higher on Monday, extending their previous week's gains on the Athens Derivatives Exchange. Turnover was an improved 13.9 billion drachmas and volume 3,850 contracts.

    A total of 1,584 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 8.0 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 2,559.50 points, the June at 2,559 and the July contract at 2,562 points. A total of 2,266 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 5.9 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 668 points, the June at 657.50 and the July contract at 662 points.

    No deals in bond market: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market were unchanged in a complete absence of deals through the central bank's electronic trading system.

    On Friday, the Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.271 percent and the equivalent German bund 5.380 percent.

    The paper's yield spread over German bunds was 88 basis points, the same as the previous session. Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 56 billion drachmas from 82 billion drachmas a day earlier. Of Friday's total, sell orders accounted for 32 billion drachmas of turnover.

    Drachma noses down vs. euro, jumps vs. dollar: The drachma on Monday edged down against the euro and rose sharply against the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 336.460 drachmas from 336.430 drachmas on Friday and 336.330 drachmas on Thursday.

    Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 367.290 drachmas from 371.920 drachmas on Friday and 369.910 drachmas on Thursday.

    [15] Papantoniou calls on businesses to seek new cooperation formats

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    National economy and finance minister Yannos Papantoniou on Monday called on Greek business enterprises to "open up their horizons" and seek new formats for cooperation.

    Greece was entering a new era, in which a particularly auspicious environment was developing for collaboration and strategic alliances between Greek and foreign enterprises, Papantoniou told the opening session of a day-seminar on strategic alliances between Greek and foreign firms organized by the Hellenic Center for Investments (ELKE) at a central Athens hotel.

    "It is imperative for business concerns, at this critical stage, to take advantage of Greece's participation in (the European Union's) Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), and also the relations developing in the Balkans and in the Black Sea countries, and establish strategic alliances," Papantoniou said.

    National economy ministry secretary general for investments and development Constantine Theos said that, within "the particularly auspicious environment developing", there were "very positive prospects" for the development of collaborations between Greek and foreign enterprises in dynamic sectors of the economy over the next five years.

    Businesses, he said, should "weigh the opportunities arising" due to Greece's impending EMU entry, the organization of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and the materialization of projects financed under the Third Community Support Framework (CSF), estimated at some 16 trillion dr.

    Theos said Greek enterprises were continuously increasing their presence in the Balkans and Black Sea countries, noting that the focal point of their activities was the telecoms and transports sectors.

    ELKE president Evangelos Kouloumbis, a past minister of energy, town planing and environment, and transports in several PASOK governments, predicted an even greater boost given the substantial changes taking place in the Greek economy but also due to the liberalization of the energy and other markets.

    Kouloumbis said there was a strong trend towards buyouts and mergers in the Greek corporate market, and predicted a continuation of that trend not only because this was imposed by international competition but also due to Greece's impending entry into the euro-zone.

    In the two-year period 1997-98 alone, there were 250 buyouts and mergers, mainly in the sectors of insurance, banking, construction, services, health, informatics and commerce, Kouloumbis said.

    The trend would continue, and the landscape would change radically, the ELKE president added.

    [16] Papoutsis calls for a new coastal shipping policy

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis on Monday urged ship-owners, municipal authorities and union leaders to work together in an effort to draft a new coastal shipping policy ahead of the abolition of the cabotage policy on December 31, 2003 in Greece.

    Papoutsis said that all interested parties should prepare themselves to face new challenges.

    "In the meantime we have to solve everyday problems faced by citizens and tourists," he said.

    Papoutsis said that liberalizing domestic shipping market envisages ensuring fair and healthy competition and protecting the public interest.

    [17] Greek-American exhibition inaugurated in New York

    NEW YORK 16/05/2000 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    The President of the Hellenic-American Council Yiannis Katsimatidis inaugurated the 8th international two-day exhibition Hermes Expo at the Javits Center on Monday. Archbishop of America Dimitrios blessed the ceremony.

    The Expo will include seminars on economic issues and new business ideas and meetings between Greek and Greek-American businessmen.

    The dinner planned by the Hellenic American National Outreach Committee, the Hellenic National Council and the Cretan Brotherhood Fund to honor retired Archbishop of North and South America Iakovos and Agapi Vardinoyianni was postponed for this weekend and will take place in Chicago.

    US First Lady Hillary R. Clinton was invited to present awards to retired Archbishop of North and South America Iakovos for his "exemplary and inspirational leadership" and Agapi Vardinoyianni for her work, "personifying the Great Women of 2000".

    [18] Belgian high school holds events on ancient Greece

    BRUSSELS, 16/05/2000 (ANA - G. Zitouniati)

    The Belgian high school of Mons "Sacre Coeur" organized, for the 12th consecutive year, weeklong events dedicated to ancient Greece attracting the participation of 33 other schools, a record number.

    The event took place between May 2 and May 6 and included ancient Greek theater performances, exhibitions and student competitions on knowledge regarding ancient and modern Greece.

    The Onassis Foundation, the Greek embassy press office in Brussels and Olympic Airways sponsored the events, which included a "hospitality trip to Greece" as an award for the winning students on the "geographical quiz" on both modern and ancient Greece.

    Central event during the week was the presentation of Aristophanes' "Birds" with students as actors, who were directed by their teachers.

    [19] ICOM announces creation of new Athens museum for pottery

    Athens 16/05/2000 (ANA)

    Athens will soon acquire a "Modern Ceramics Museum" that will open its doors on Thursday May 18, in celebration of International Museum Day, the Greek section of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) announced on Monday. The new museum, which will be housed in a handsome neoclassical building in Athens' Kerameikos district, will be devoted to the research and promotion of Greek pottery in the last 300 years.

    The new museum's collection, workshops and other activities were developed by the Modern Ceramics Research Center belonging to the Georgios Psaropoulos Family Foundation, which has operated since 1987 in Plaka and is being relocated because of space problems that prevented it putting its entire collection on display.

    The inauguration ceremony will be held on Thursday with Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos presiding.

    [20] Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus Sir David to visit Cyprus

    NICOSIA 16/05/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus Sir David Hannay arrives in Cyprus on June 7 for talks with President Glafcos Clerides, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou announced here on Monday.

    Without excluding the possibility of more foreign envoys visiting the area around this period, Papapetrou said regarding the third round of the UN-sponsored proximity negotiations, "we are waiting from the UN the announcement of the date and venue of the talks".

    "The dates and venue already mentioned do not create any tension from our side, what is important is for the parties to come with a real willingness to negotiate", the Spokesman added.

    The Spokesman made the statements after a cabinet meeting here Monday at the clinic where President Glafcos Clerides has been recuperating following an operation to remove a polyp from his large intestine.

    The President will be discharged from hospital on Tuesday and will continue his duties from home before returning to the Presidential Palace.

    Papapetrou expressed the government's position that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash should come forward to the talks with a completely new face recalling President Clerides' proposal made during the UN General Assembly last September.

    In his address to the GA, Clerides said the Greek Cypriot side is ready to negotiate in good faith and joined his voice to that of the Security Council, the European Union and the Group of Eight most Industrialized nations plus Russia in asking Denktash to come to the negotiating table without preconditions.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

    [21] Turkey refuses to comply with Loizidou case ruling

    NICOSIA 16/05/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Turkey, a member state of the Council of Europe, has once again proclaimed its unwillingness to comply with a judgement by the European Court of Human Rights, saying compliance would have serious repercussions on the UN-led peace process and claiming that Ankara has neither the competence nor the jurisdiction to execute the ruling.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem calls on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the competent organ to see Court rulings executed, to develop the relevant and appropriate approach to the case of Titina Loizidou in order to settle the matter, which he describes as "exceptional". The Court ruled in December 1996 that Turkey is guilty of Loizidou's human right to enjoy peacefully her property in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus and be allowed access to it.

    It also said Turkish through the presence of its armed forces exercises effective control the areas it occupies and stipulates that Loizidou is and remains the legal owner of her property.

    The case will come before the Committee of Ministers during Wednesday's session, only days after Cem sent his reply letter to Committee chairman Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini.

    The arguments Cem puts forward in his letter have been dealt with during the hearing of the case and the Court has already ruled on them through its judgement.

    Claiming that the Loizidou case "could not be seen as an individual property ownership application" with an "exceptional nature", Cem said this nature is manifested in the great number of property claims by both the Turkish and the Greek Cypriots and in the magnitude of the repercussions the execution of the judgement would have on the effort to reach a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.

    Cem notes that UN Special Advisor for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto has already informed the Greek and Turkish Cypriot parties that the issue of property will be given high priority in the agenda of the next round of UN-led talks, expected to resume at the end of June.

    "Turkey has neither the competence nor the jurisdiction to execute the ruling. It is obvious any payment to the applicant will immediately invite thousands of similar Greek Cypriot applications," Cem said, a move he claims would be "the preferable option" to many rather than settling the issue through exchange of property and compensation.

    The Turkish foreign minister stresses the importance of the Cyprus issue for Ankara, saying its position on this question is based on long series of historical facts and vital national interests.

    He said the Committee of Ministers is a "better placed organ than any other to correctly assess political and exceptional nature of the Loizidou case and accordingly the need for developing an approach which is specially relevant and appropriate to it. "The Loizidou case will also be given prominence in Washington this week, when her lawyer Achilleas Demetriades will outline the parameters of the case, its significance and repercussions at the annual conference of the International Coordinating Committee -Justice for Cyprus.

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