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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-05-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Simitis chairs meeting focusing on Aegean CBMs, NATO exercise
  • [02] Turkey satisfied with developments in relations with Greece
  • [03] Greek President receives warm welcome from Palestinian leader
  • [04] Stathopoulos says decision on IDs is final but can be contested at Council of State
  • [05] Eurodeputies expected to ratify Greek accession to euro zone with very comfortable majority
  • [06] Karamanlis receives US ambassador for talks on foreign policy issues
  • [07] Manslaughter charges filed against pilots in Kranidiotis plane accident
  • [08] Inflation in Greece decreases to 2.1 percent in April
  • [09] Greek stocks fall on profit-taking
  • [10] Indicative fuel prices increase
  • [11] GNTO to transfer assets to subsidiary
  • [12] 2004 Olympics organizers reach agreement with hoteliers
  • [13] Angelopoulou-Daskalaki and Athens Mayor pledge to cooperate in preparing the city for the Games
  • [14] Battle of Crete events begin on Thursday
  • [15] Cyprus proximity talks to resume July 5
  • [16] Kasoulides sees no change in Turkish position
  • [17] Joint Greece-Cyprus military exercise underway
  • [18] Council of Europe to discuss Loizidou case again in June
  • [19] Verheugen sees fast progress in Cyprus' accession

  • [01] Simitis chairs meeting focusing on Aegean CBMs, NATO exercise

    Athens, 18/05/2000 (ANA)

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired a high-ranking government meeting on Wednesday focusing on Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) in the Aegean with Turkey as well as NATO-related issues in light of an alliance exercise set to begin on May 20.

    Other participants included National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    In comments on Wednesday concerning the manoeuvres, code-named Dynamic Mix-2000, Tsohatzopoulos said all conditions were set and the relevant agreements were being abided to concerning participating countries activities during the NATO exercise.

    "All the conditions have been created and all agreements are being abided by on the manner of operation of the participating countries in the NATO exercise Dynamic Mix, conditions based on international law so as to avoid misunderstandings," Tsohatzopoulos said after a meeting with the visiting commander of the regional headquarters of the alliance's southern wing, Adm. James Ellis.

    The meeting took place on the sidelines of a conference of navy chiefs from NATOs southern wing member-states (Marcoment), currently taking place in Athens.

    Earlier, Tsohatzopoulos outlined to the Alliances admirals the Greek sides views on the security and stability issues in the region. He stressed that the resolution of the Cyprus issue was the top priority for Athens.

    The final stage of Dynamic Mix will take place in northern Greece from May 20 to June 10, involving a 7,000-strong force comprised of US, British, Hungarian, Turkish and Greek soldiers.

    Dynamic Mix is the largest NATO exercise planned for the alliance's southeastern wing this year.

    According to diplomatic sources, it was agreed during the meeting that Greece will continue to work towards strengthening the policy of "no tension" with Turkey and the need to promote the memorandum concluded by former Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers Karolos Papoulias and Mesut Yilmaz in 1988 was reconfirmed.

    The sources said the proposal on the creation of a joint committee of the foreign and defense ministries was approved, as well as the holding of ad hoc meetings between the two ministries with the purpose of better coordination on issues concerning the duties of both ministries and the processing of Greek proposals for confidence-building measures, as well as the study of corresponding Turkish ones.

    [02] Turkey satisfied with developments in relations with Greece

    ISTANBUL, 18/05/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Sermet Atacanli, speaking at the ministry's weekly press briefing on Wednesday, said the developments of past months in Greek-Turkish relations are satisfactory.

    Atacanli said there was no question of flight plans being submitted for Turkish warplanes participating in NATO exercises in international airspace. He explained that Turkish warplanes submit flight plans when they intend to use the national airspace of another country.

    "We are pleased over the fact that, after a long time, Greece has given necessary permission for the passage of Turkish warplanes through Greek airspace to participate in NATO exercises in Western Europe," he said.

    According to reports, Turkish aircraft which passed through Greek airspace recently to go to Germany submitted full flight plans, as anticipated by the process of the International Civil Aviation Association (ICAA).

    Atacanli said Turkey attributes great importance to discussions developing between Greece and Turkey and stressed that the issue of the Aegean has not yet preoccupied talks.

    "Efforts to improve the climate of confidence in the Aegean must continue with care and patience," Atacanli said.

    [03] Greek President receives warm welcome from Palestinian leader

    BETHLEHEM, 18/05/2000 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)

    Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos was warmly received during his arrival here Wednesday by the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in what was perceived as an effort to erase any misunderstandings arising in Greek-Palestinian relations over the last few days.

    According to Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Elisavet Papazoi, who is accompanying the Greek president on his visit, the matter is now considered closed and talks between the two men went "very well".

    Stephanopoulos and his entourage this week cut short their visit to the area by one day following Palestinian protests at a Greek decision not to meet with Palestinian officials in East Jerusalem.

    According to Papazoi, the "misunderstanding caused by procedural matters" is now over and Stephanopoulos confirmed Athens' unchanged stance toward the Palestinians as well as Greece's standing position on the Jerusalem issue.

    She added that Stephanopoulos had also conveyed Athens' displeasure at the Palestinian protest, which had been triggered by matters of protocol rather than substance, while adding that mutual explanations had been given.

    According to reports, Arafat briefed Stephanopoulos on the course of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, expressing the view that it would not be easy to wrap these up by September in spite of pressure from US President Bill Clinton and the good will shown by the Palestinian side.

    Regarding the Greek position on Jerusalem, diplomatic sources said Greece's position is in line with UN and European Union decisions. According to the same sources, Arafat complained to Stephanopoulos about the continuing encirclement of Jerusalem by what he called new Jewish settlements and said that West Jerusalem was not at issue, just the Old City of East Jerusalem. He also claimed Israelis had violated the agreement penned with former Israeli premiers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres for Bethlehem's status and had established a type of external border outside the historic township.

    Regarding bilateral relations, the Palestinian side accepted a Greek proposal for a donation of US$ 150,000 for the building of various monuments in the Holy City, while Arafat requested Athens' assistance for a Palestinian center for thalassaemia. An existing contribution of $200,000 from the Greek health ministry will continue this year also, in addition to a donation from the Onassis Foundation for the creation of a library and data bank at a Palestinian physiotherapy center.

    Members of the Greek president's entourage, meanwhile, said they were disturbed by a Reuter's dispatch on Wednesday claiming the presidential delegation had been attacked with eggs by Palestinian protestors, saying that they were unaware of any such incident.

    Stephanopoulos comments: In statements to the reporters in his entourage after the meeting, Stephanopoulos expressed "complete satisfaction" on Wednesday with the results of his talks with the Palestinian leader. Stephanopoulos said they had had the opportunity to reiterate feelings of mutual regard and friendship between the two sides and to confirm Greek support - as in the past - for every need of the Palestinian people.

    The President also jokingly denied a Reuter's report that egg-wielding protestors in Jerusalem had attacked him this morning, saying: "I don't even have eggs for breakfast."

    Referring to the turbulence in Greek-Palestinian relations in the last few days, Stephanopoulos said that his talks with Arafat revealed the cause to be an impression on the Palestinian side that his itinerary of visits in Jerusalem and the Palestinian self-rule areas had not been finalized.

    "I thought my program had been finalized and the Palestinians thought another visit could be added," he said.

    Stephanopoulos repeated that Greece had not ceased to recognize the "special status" of Jerusalem and he stressed that the Greek position on this issue was unchanged and coincided with the relevant decisions of the UN Security Council and the EU.

    On Wednesday afternoon, the President visited the museum and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and tonight he will preside at an official dinner given in his honor by the Palestinian president.

    The president and his entourage are scheduled to leave Israel for Athens early on Thursday morning.

    Stephanopoulos visits Jerusalem Patriarchate: Earlier on Wednesday Stephanopoulos visited the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, where Patriarch Diodoros received him.

    In talks with Diodoros, the president stressed that the "Patriarchate is an extension of Greece in the country we are visiting." He also assured Diodoros that Athens has not in the least lost interest in the ancient Patriarchate and is always by its side.

    Afterward, Stephanopoulos left on foot to worship at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, before heading to the Monastery of the Holy Cross -- where he attended a ceremony for the laying of a foundation stone for a new cultural center on a site donated by the Jerusalem Patriarchate.

    Israeli security measures were reported as extremely tight throughout.

    Earlier this week, Stephanopoulos and his accompanying entourage cut short the visit to Israel and the Palestinian self-rule areas by one day because of protests by the Palestinian authority over the Greek side's decision not to meet with a Palestinian official in East Jerusalem. A Greek government official said this week that Palestinian officials had been fully briefed on Athens' position last week and that Stephanopoulos' itinerary was made known to them.

    Arafat hosts Stephanopoulos to dinner: President Kostis Stephanopoulos attended an official dinner given in his honor by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on Wednesday night, who stressed in a brief statement that both he and his people do not forget help given to them by the Greek government and the Greek people, either directly or through the European Union in all sectors.

    President Arafat said President Stephanopoulos' visit to the Palestinian Authority was important and underlined that the Greeks and Palestinians have been linked from the past with historical and cultural ties.

    President Stephanopoulos then left for Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv from where the presidential aircraft will take off for Greece and is expected to arrive in the early hours of the morning.

    [04] Stathopoulos says decision on IDs is final but can be contested at Council of State

    Athens, 18/05/2000 (ANA)

    Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos said on Wednesday the decision by the Authority on the Protection of Personal Data is final but can be contested at the Council of State as an administrative act.

    He explained that the decision is not subject to approval or ratification by any body or other supervisory administrative authority.

    Stathopoulos said the decision taken by the authority does not only concern religion and for this reason the problem is wrongly focused in relations between the state and the Church and tension of a religious nature is being created or "tendencies of a religious war."

    He added that it concerns four factors and that the other three have nothing to do with religious convictions and a religious or church issue is being wrongly created.

    "Since there is talk of a conflict between the Church and the State or of tension, I believe that there is no such conflict," Stathopoulos said.

    Stathopoulos said the only conflict he believes exists is a conflict between fanaticism and sobriety.

    "I want to believe that sobriety will ultimately prevail on all sides and, consequently, the situation will be defused," he said.

    Christodoulos and Efthymiou discuss ID card issue: Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and Education Minister Petros Efthymiou held two-hour across-the-board talks on Wednesday and indirectly indicated the intention of both the state and the Church to lower tones and defuse tension created over the issue of new identity cards and the listing or not of a person's religious persuasion on them.

    Both said after the meeting that they desire to discuss and find solutions on all pending issues in a friendly and calm climate with sobriety and calm.

    Efthymiou said that "we had a discussion on all issues in the framework of the distinguished roles of the state and the Church" and underlined the role of Orthodoxy and Hellenism, saying there is no war, as is being said and written.

    [05] Eurodeputies expected to ratify Greek accession to euro zone with very comfortable majority

    BRUSSELS, 18/05/2000 (ANA/Reuter)

    The European Parliament, according to all indications, appears set to ratify Greece's official request for accession to the euro zone with a very comfortable majority, following the parliamentary debate held on Wednesday during which very few Eurodeputies opposed the country's accession candidacy.

    The vote on Greece's accession to the euro zone will take place on Thursday and its result is not binding for European Union leaders who, together with finance ministers, will decide on Greece's candidacy in Oporto, Portugal, in June.

    However, Thursday's vote at the European Parliament is a substantive stage in the process before the EUs leaders and finance ministers take the decision next month.

    Even the German Christian Democrats, who until recently appeared united in their opposition to Greece's candidacy, appeared moderate towards Greece's bid on Wednesday.

    German Christian Democrat Eurodeputy Karl von Vogau said "the majority of the Christian Democrats' parliamentary group will vote for Greek accession to EMU without reservations."

    Socialist Eurodeputy Robert Goebbels, who has undertaken to monitor and report on Greece's efforts to comply with existing economic convergence criteria on economic and monetary union, said "Greece will be the 12th member in the euro zone."

    "We will certainly vote for the Greek accession candidacy," said Christopher Hoon, the head of the Liberals' parliamentary group on economic issues.

    Speaking at the debate, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes said doubts over the maintenance of low inflation in Greece have been overstated.

    "Sometimes doubts concerning Greece are exaggerated," he said.

    [06] Karamanlis receives US ambassador for talks on foreign policy issues

    Athens, 18/05/2000 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis received US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns on Wednesday at ND's headquarters.

    Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus problem and the latest developments in Yugoslavia were reportedly discussed at the meeting, which had been previously scheduled.

    According to reports, Washington wants the next round of Cyprus proximity talks to focus on the substance of problems instead of procedural issues, as was the case in the previous two contacts.

    The main opposition has in the past called for improved relations with Turkey based on specific preconditions, however, including respect for international law, treaties and other countries' sovereign rights.

    Finally, sources noted that US leadership doesn't desire the re-election of Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic, although Washington reportedly considers that whatever outcome emerges should be respected.

    Top ND cadre Dora Bakoyianni, among others, attended the meeting.

    [07] Manslaughter charges filed against pilots in Kranidiotis plane accident

    Athens, 18/05/2000 (ANA)

    An Athens prosecutor filed unintentional manslaughter charges on Wednesday against the two pilots that commanded the Greek PM's corporate jet on a fateful flight that witnessed the death of seven passengers last year, including the country's alternate foreign minister.

    The charges follow the tabling of an experts' report ordered by the Athens prosecutor's office, in which "human error" is ruled as the cause of the accident and not mechanical failure. Specifically, the two pilots are cited as flying at an excessive speed (336 knots instead of a manufacturer's prescribed speed of 260 knots) and of disregarding directions issued by air traffic controllers from Bucharest's airport.

    The plane, a French-made 'Falcon' jet, dropped several thousand feet within a matter of seconds while approaching Bucharest on Sept. 14, 1999 before pilots managed to regain control. The nosedive resulted in the fatal injury of seven passengers on board who weren't buckled into their seats at the time and were violently tossed around in the plane's cabin. Besides the two pilots, another four individuals managed to survive with varying degrees of injuries.

    Greek Alternate FM Yannos Kranidiotis was killed in the accident, along with his son and five other people - two reporters, a cameraman, the minister's police bodyguard and the plane's flight engineer. Kranidiotis was scheduled to attend a conference of Balkan foreign ministers in the Romanian capital.

    Another finding in the report notes that pilots incorrectly set the plane's automatic pilot system, resulting in its failure to properly operate during the crucial moments when the aircraft was in the deadly free-fall. Finally, both pilots - identified as Ioannis Androulakis and co-pilot Grigoris Synekogl´u - were accused of failing to promptly order passengers to fasten their seatbelts.

    In terms of the numerous malfunctions that the specific aircraft had suffered during various official flights in the past, the report noted that short-circuits in the plane's wiring were discovered during testing of its engines that was conducted in specialized aviation laboratories abroad.

    Dozens of witnesses were called during the investigation, which besides the pilots, heard testimony from technicians at state-run Olympic Airways and employees with the Greek ministries of foreign affairs as well as diplomats.

    Other reports focusing on the fatal accident are pending, including one by Romanian authorities, the plane's French manufacturer Dassault and Greece's transport ministry.

    [08] Inflation in Greece decreases to 2.1 percent in April

    BRUSSELS, 18/05/2000 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    Harmonized inflation in Greece decreased from 2.8 percent in March to 2.1 percent in April, while the annual harmonized inflation rate was 2 percent, according to the monthly bulletin of the Eurostat statistical service.

    The annual inflation rate for the 11-member euro zone decreased from 2.1 percent in March to 1.9 percent in April. A year ago it was 1.1 percent. For the 15 European Union member-states, inflation decreased from 1.9 percent in March to 1.7 percent in April. Last year it was 1.2 percent.

    The countries with the highest inflation rates were Ireland with 5 percent, Luxembourg 3.2 percent and Spain 3 percent. On the other hand, the lowest inflation rates were recorded in Britain with 0.6 percent, Sweden 1 percent and France 1.4 percent.

    [09] Greek stocks fall on profit-taking

    Athens, 18/05/2000 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended lower on the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday as a wave of profit taking reversed a five-day rally which pushed the general index 5.74 percent higher.

    Dealers said that comments made by Morgan Stanley's vice-chairman that the US investment bank would not discuss the upgrading of the Greek market during its regular meeting on Wednesday hurt sentiment in the market.

    These comments pushed the general index 1.62 percent lower temporarily, only to recover later in the day to end 0.13 percent down at 4,703.61 points. Dealers said the market remained confident over the prospects of the Greek bourse's listing among the world's maturing capital markets sometime this year.

    Turnover was a moderate 187 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.43 percent lower at 2,597.15 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended at 685.53 points, up 0.90 percent.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 8,934.93 -0.27% Leasing: 1,026.43 -1.28% Insurance: 2,967.68 -1.61% Investment: 1,971.67 -0.95% Construction: 2,725.22 +0.78% Industrials: 2,853.21 +0.28% Miscellaneous: 5,095.23 +0.32% Holding: 5,350.47 -0.26%

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 948.82 points, up 3.42 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 208 to 140 with another three issues unchanged.

    Giannoussis, Doudos, Hellenic Telecoms, Lambrakis Press and Alpha Credit Bank were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Leading shares' closing prices (in Drs): National Bank: 16,950 Alpha Bank: 22,700 Commercial Bank: 20,470 Ergobank: 7,780 Eurobank: 10,550 Heracles Cement: 9,200 Hellenic Telecoms: 8,920 Panafon: 4,570 Hellenic Petroleum: 4,150 Intracom: 15,200 Minoan Lines: 6,250 Hellenic Bottling: 6,190 Titan Cement (c): 15,930

    Derivatives prices remain positive on ADEX: Derivatives prices remained on a positive course on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday despite a mixed appearance by the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.

    Turnover shrunk to 8.5 billion drachmas in volume of 2,572 contracts.

    A total of 883 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 4.3 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 2,572 points, the June at 2,565.75, the July at 2,569 and the September contract at 2,582 points.

    A total of 1,689 futures contract were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, worth 4.2 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 674.25 points, the June at 653.75 and the July contract at 655 points.

    Bond prices drop in sell-off: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market fell in heavy trade on Wednesday with players selling their paper.

    The brisk session came in the wake of two moribund trading days.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.309 percent from 6.25 percent a day earlier; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.607 percent.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 91 basis points from 86-88 basis points on Tuesday.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 129 billion drachmas from 4.0 billion drachmas on Tuesday and zero on Monday. Sell orders accounted for 110 billion drachmas of turnover.

    Drachma drops vs. euro, dollar: The drachma on Wednesday fell against the euro and the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 336.590 drachmas from 336.520 drachmas on Tuesday.

    Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 376.450 drachmas from 370.700 drachmas a day earlier.

    [10] Indicative fuel prices increase

    Athens, 18/05/2000 (ANA)

    Indicative fuel prices rose on Wednesday, with super hiked by 3.7 drachmas per litre and unleaded by 3.8 drachmas.

    Diesel increased by 1.1 drachmas per litre. The suggested retail prices for fuel are in effect for one week.

    [11] GNTO to transfer assets to subsidiary

    Athens, 18/05/2000 (ANA)

    Assets belonging to the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) including casinos, beaches and marinas will be transferred to a real estate subsidiary that may eventually seek listing on the Athens bourse, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Wednesday.

    The subsidiary, Tourism Property Utilization SA, will also acquire GNTO's entertainment centers and the Parnass´s skiing unit.

    A financial consultant will be hired to assess the benefits of the company's possible entry into the Athens Stock Exchange in 2001 as an independent public enterprise, Christodoulakis told a news conference.

    In addition, the Corfu and Parnes casinos would become SA companies, he added.

    GNTO is to retain its function as issuer of permits and regulatory body, but drop all its business activities, he added.

    Finally, the ministry will call an international tender by August to find partners for the Athens Festival, Christodoulakis said.

    [12] 2004 Olympics organizers reach agreement with hoteliers

    Athens, 18/05/2000 (ANA)

    The committee organizing the Athens Olympics in 2004 has reached agreement with hoteliers in the Greek capital over housing visitors to the event, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Wednesday.

    Christodoulakis told a news conference that that agreement, forged on Tuesday with the Athens Hoteliers Union, covered the main areas of difficulty in providing accommodation for the flood of visitors due to attend the Olympics.

    The agreement emerged after the two sides had met with Christodoulakis himself.

    Pending was the provision of guarantees for deposits, the minister said. He is to present a proposal to both sides.

    Christodoulakis added that he would shortly bring to the National Tourism Council for debate what he called an Olympics tourism package that would state the government's tourism policy measures covering infrastructure, modernization, auxiliary installations and installations still lacking.

    [13] Angelopoulou-Daskalaki and Athens Mayor pledge to cooperate in preparing the city for the Games

    Athens, 18/05/2000 (ANA)

    The recently appointed new chairman of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee, Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, on Wednesday met with Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos at his office in the Town Hall to discuss cooperating in preparations for hosting the Olympic Games.

    After an hour-long meeting that both of them described as constructive, the two held a joint press conference outside the Town Hall in which they confirmed their commitment to work together to organize the Games.

    "There is no going back," Angelopoulou-Daskalaki had said to Avramopoulos earlier, on arriving for the meeting. "There are many matters before us and a lot of work."

    Addressing reporters, Avramopoulos said he and Angelopoulou-Daskalaki had agreed to work hard in a climate of solidarity. "There is no room for rivalry between our two bodies, the city must start getting ready," he added.

    She confirmed that there was good cooperation with the Mayor and said that from now on they would work together to carry out this affair, aiming beyond 2004 to the next decade.

    [14] Battle of Crete events begin on Thursday

    Athens, 18/05/2000 (ANA)

    The Prefectural Administration of Irakleio, Crete, will organize three-day events this year to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the Battle of Crete.

    According to the program, a static display of historical World War Two vehicles will take place at 12 noon on May 18 in front the prefectural building.

    On May 19 in the morning a Te Deum service will take place at the airport in connection with the extensive sabotage which had occurred at Irakleio airport.

    On May 20, a ceremony will be held at the Battle of Crete Memorial with a Te Deum service and the official hoisting of the flags of Greece, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, accompanied by the national anthem of each country.

    Wreaths will also be laid at the memorial by the government's representative and representatives of the governments of Britain, Australia and New Zealand, as well as by local agencies and war reserves and resistance organizations.

    According to a British Embassy press release, British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent a message which, among others, said:

    "It is now 59 years since the brave people of Crete stood alongside allied forces from Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand to face a devastating attack by German aircraft and airborne forces. The courageous and stoic resistance by the heroic defenders of Crete during those days in May 1941 did much to lift the spirit of the Allies and restrict the plans of Hitler.

    "After the battle, some 3,000 Allied troops who were not captured by the Germans hid in the mountains and villages. The people of Crete, in spite of reprisals, gave refuge to these troops and helped them escape to other countries. The Allies will always remember the bravery and support of the Cretan people. While the passage of time has reduced the number of veterans who return to Crete to commemorate the Battle, new generations will take their place to ensure the sacrifices and bravery of the Cretan people are not forgotten."

    [15] Cyprus proximity talks to resume July 5

    NICOSIA, 18/05/2000(CNA/ANA)

    UN-led proximity talks on Cyprus will resume on July 5 in Geneva, Spokesman for the UN Secretary General Fred Eckhart announced on Wednesday.

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will open the talks. The UN announcement has no reference to the duration of the talks.

    In the statement, read by Eckhart, the UN Secretary General says he is pleased to announce "that the proximity talks on Cyprus between H.E. Mr. Clerides and H.E. Mr. Denktash will resume in Geneva on 5 July".

    This is the third round of proximity talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash aiming at meaningful negotiations with a view to find a settlement of the protracted Cyprus problem.

    The two previous rounds took place in New York last December and in Geneva in early February.

    The third round was scheduled for May 23 in New York but it had to be postponed due to surgery President Clerides had to undergo.

    [16] Kasoulides sees no change in Turkish position

    LARNACA, 18/05/2000(CNA/ANA)

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Wednesday there are no indications so far that Turkey has changed its position with regard to a settlement of the Cyprus problem and pointed out that such a stance is incompatible with the country's desire for accession to the European Union.

    Arriving from London, where he had meetings with his British counterpart Robin Cook and British representative for Cyprus Sir David Hannay, Kasoulides also noted that those involved in the preparation of the third round of UN-led proximity talks agree that "this round will be upgraded and will not be confined to a presentation of the positions of the two sides".

    UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will put forward his own ideas and see how the two sides relate to them, the Foreign Minister added.

    Replying to questions, Kasoulides also stressed that during his meetings in London neither Cook nor Hannay exercised any kind of pressure to lift the so-called embargo against the Turkish-occupied areas of the island and pointed out that since "we are now going to discuss the substance of the Cyprus problem and it is not right to focus on other issues".

    Earlier on Wednesday in an interview to London Greek Radio (LGR), Kasoulides called on the EU to make clear to Ankara as soon as possible that the road to Europe is incompatible with its stance on the Cyprus problem.

    "The earlier Turkey realizes that, the easier it will be for Ankara to face EU demands deriving from the Copenhagen criteria," Kasoulides said, adding that "it is a matter of time for Turkey to understand that it cannot have it both ways, that is remaining intransigent on Cyprus and at the same time moving towards Europe".

    The Foreign Minister warned his British counterpart that if the demands of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for recognition of the illegal entity, unilaterally set up in the northern Turkish-occupied part of the island, are met, this would lead bi-communal talks to a new deadlock.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island illegally occupying 37 per cent of its territory.

    Despite repeated UN resolutions and two high level agreements between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides calling for the establishment of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, Denktash demands recognition of his illegal regime and the establishment of a confederation of two states on the island.

    [17] Joint Greece-Cyprus military exercise underway

    NICOSIA, 18/05/2000 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Two Hellenic Air Force F-16s flew over parts of free Cyprus on Wednesday as part of joint military exercises between Greek units and the island republic's National Guard.

    According to sources, the two warplanes flew in the vicinity of a military air base near the town of Paphos, while during their return flight towards Greece they flew past Turkish fighters within the Nicosia FIR, although no interference was reported.

    The exercise, which also includes the participation of ground forces and naval vessels, began in the morning and was fully underway by mid-afternoon before it is scheduled conclusion on Thursday. Additional flights by Greek warplanes are set for Thursday as well.

    [18] Council of Europe to discuss Loizidou case again in June

    NICOSIA, 18/05/2000(CNA/ANA)

    The execution of a European Court judgment passed on a case of human rights violation in Cyprus by Turkey will be brought up for discussion again in early June, the Committee of Ministers of the Council has decided.

    Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the Council, Ambassador Christoforos Yiangou, fended off Turkish arguments to deal with the execution of the Court ruling and pointed out that Ankara continues to refuse to comply with the judgment, which calls on the Turkish government to allow Titina Loizidou access to and peaceful enjoyment of her property in Turkish occupied Cyprus.

    Wednesday's debate focused on a letter Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem sent to the Committee, claiming that the matter is a political one and the issue of property should be dealt with through a process of exchange of property between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots and the payment of compensation.

    The European Court of Human Rights in its judgment of December 1996 dismissed these arguments and ruled Loizidou is and remains the legal owner of her property, adding that Turkey through the presence of her troops exercises effective control in the areas of Cyprus it occupies.

    [19] Verheugen sees fast progress in Cyprus' accession

    BRUSSELS, 18/05/2000(CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus is moving at a much faster pace towards accession to the European Union than the other candidate countries, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen has pointed out and expressed the view that the Cyprus problem is today closer to its resolution.

    Verheugen made the comments during a briefing of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament on the progress of accession talks with the candidate countries.

    Verheugen also reaffirmed his position that improved Greco-Turkish relations have contributed to efforts for a Cyprus settlement and praised the contribution of Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou in this direction.


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