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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-05-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Foreign ministers from six countries examine Adriatic development and security issues in Ancona
  • [02] Karamanlis outlines ND policy over ID cards
  • [03] Major NATO exercise begins, Turkish F-16s arrive at Greek base
  • [04] Crew of fallen Phantom jet to be buried Friday
  • [05] Deputy Defence minister expresses sympathy for five warplane accident victims
  • [06] Prevention, combatting of forest fires discussed by Cabinet
  • [07] Celebrations for 59th anniversary of Battle of Crete continue
  • [08] Tsohatzopoulos calls for recognition of genocide of Black Sea Greeks and Armenians
  • [09] Deputy FM meets with foreign diplomats in Athens to discuss cultural issues
  • [10] Greek president receives expatriategroup's leadership
  • [11] Kaklamanis to attend Euro-Med parliament speakers' conference in Egypt
  • [12] Rally of prices continues on ASE
  • [13] Elgeca reports 12 pct rise in 1st quarter turnover
  • [14] Government names new PPC chairman
  • [15] Association of Economic Universities of SE Europe conference
  • [16] Greek contractor rejects charges by Albanian politician
  • [17] Athens bourse suspends trade in Electra in sale dispute
  • [18] Deputy environment minister denies that toxic wastes from Yugoslav war will be stored in Greece
  • [19] Onassis Foundation and Haifa University to sign agreement for Modern Greek Studies
  • [20] Greek President at military academy graduation ceremony
  • [21] Pangalos launches exhibition of religious gifts from Catherine the Great
  • [22] US seminar on genetically modified food brushes off European fears
  • [23] Ceremony to hand over Olympic flame to Sydney Games organisers
  • [24] The Athens dailies at a glance
  • [25] Gov't slams Turkish reaction to exercise
  • [26] Clinton discusses Cyprus with Greek American leaders
  • [27] Denktash in Ankara for peace award ceremony
  • [28] New Zealand's King meets Kyprianou

  • [01] Foreign ministers from six countries examine Adriatic development and security issues in Ancona

    ANCONA, Italy (ANA- L. Hatzikyriakos)

    Foreign ministers and committees of experts from six countries on Friday began discussions on issues of security and development in the broader areas of the Adriatic and the Ionian Seas.

    Apart from Italy, the organizing country, Greece, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia are participating.

    Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Umberto Ranieri said the meeting provides the politicians and members of the special committees with the opportunity to address and sign bilateral agreements on issues which will increase the development, stability and security of not only the six countries but of the entire Balkan region as well. The meeting was promoted in particular by former Italian Prime Minister Massimo D' Alema.

    Among others, the purpose is joint cooperation to handle organized crime, the trafficking of arms and drugs and illegal migrant trafficking.

    However, issues are also being discussed concerning the region's development such as shipping, agriculture, transport, trade and the environment.

    Italy called for the involvement of the European Union, as well as that of international organizations which are active in the Balkans. Consequently, the meeting will be attended on Saturday by European Commission President Romano Prodi, the EU's foreign policy representative Javier Solana and the Stability Pact coordinator in the Balkans Bodo Hombach.

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou arrived in Ancona on Friday afternoon and was due to meet Dini and his counterparts from the other countries in the evening.

    The Ancona Declaration will be signed at a special ceremony chaired by Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato on Saturday, which will ratify the principle of cooperation between the six countries in sectors discussed by the special committees.

    An Adriatic and Ionian Council will also be established which will convene at ministerial level periodically and will primarily examine foreign policy and public order issues.

    "There are many differences. Economic, political and cultural. With this meeting we are aiming at smoothing out problems and strengthening cooperation to enable greater development and stability in the region," Ranieri said.

    Later on Friday evening, Dini announced that the six countries had signed fourteen agreements relating to the subjects discussed.

    [02] Karamanlis outlines ND policy over ID cards

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    The leader of Greece's main opposition party on Friday outlined his political party's position vis-a-vis the controversial issue of new ID cards and whether one's religious affiliation should be listed on them.

    Speaking after a meeting with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said "no one should be forced (to list a religious affiliation), but no one should obstruct any citizen from choosing to list their religion on his identification card - as long as this is the product of one's free volition."

    Justice Minister Mihalis Stathopoulos said on Thursday that the issue of identity cards, and whether or not one's religious persuasion will be listed, has not been "frozen", adding that the problem cannot be resolved immediately, since a reasonable period of time is required to implement the decision by the authority for the protection of personal data.

    In other comments, Karamanlis said: "I had the opportunity to clearly state, once again, that in such issues unilateral actions on the part of the government find us in opposition.

    "The only path is one of continuous and sincere dialogue; dialogue aimed at finding substantive solutions and not, of course, promotion of pre-determined decisions ...our (ND) position is and remains crystal-clear: We believe that, concerning such a serious issue, a substantive dialogue should have preceded - a dialogue, which even now, must take place without delay."

    He also warned against what he termed "machinations" that provoke "divisiveness in Greek society".

    [03] Major NATO exercise begins, Turkish F-16s arrive at Greek base

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    A major NATO exercise begins on Saturday in various parts of Greece, with the participation of 12 alliance member-states.

    Some 15,000 troops, 65 vessels and more than 290 aircraft are set to participate in the exercise, code-named "Dynamic Mix", scheduled from between May 20 to 31.

    According to reports, meanwhile, 12 Turkish F-16 fighter planes and three transport aircraft landed at a central Greece airbase Friday afternoon to take part in the exercise -- an unprecedented act emanating directly from the recent wholesale improvement in Greek-Turkish relations that would have been considered improbable even a year ago.

    All 15 Turkish planes submitted flight plans with Greek authorities for their stop-over at the Aghialos base, reports state.

    [04] Crew of fallen Phantom jet to be buried Friday

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Funeral services for the two pilots of a Hellenic Air Force jet fighter that dived into a Viotia prefecture home on Thursday have been set for Friday afternoon. The fatal crash, the second involving a Greek warplane in 48 hours, also killed two teenage girls that were in the house at the time.

    Authorities said the two-seater F-4 "Phantom" crashed into a two-storey house located in the village of Antikyra, Viotia prefecture, at approximately 10:50 a.m. Two young women inside were killed while a third girl escaped, reports state.

    The US-made fighter had reportedly taken off from a nearby airbase only a few moments prior to the accident, along with another F-4, for a routine training flight.

    The two victims, aged 17 and 20, were identified as Argyro Papaharalambous and her cousin Irene Kollia and were buried on Friday morning.

    Authorities said that they would be carrying out a flight simulation during the day as part of an investigation into the causes of the accident.

    [05] Deputy Defence minister expresses sympathy for five warplane accident victims

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Expressing his own and the government's regrets and condolences for the five people killed in accidents involving Hellenic Air Force jets this week, Deputy Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis said in Hania, Crete on Friday that the defence ministry was still waiting for the experts' reports on the causes of the two accidents.

    On Thursday morning, a two-man F4 "Phantom" jet had dived into a home in a Viotia prefecture village shortly after take-off, killing the two men aboard and two teenage girls that were in the house at the time.

    Two days earlier, on Tuesday morning, an A7 fighter-bomber had crashed at Hania airport as it was taking off and its pilot, Dimitrios Agiasofitis, was taken to a military hospital in Athens where he died the following day.

    [06] Prevention, combatting of forest fires discussed by Cabinet

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Problems, especially forest fires, that may arise during the summer months were the focus of a Cabinet meeting Friday chaired by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Afterwards, the government spokesman said Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou emphasised that coordination and effectiveness by state services in combatting forest fires must equal last year's levels.

    Spokesman Dimitris Reppas also said measures will be taken in order to preclude forest fires starting and spreading from illegal landfills. Other measures, including various hirings and acquisition of new fire-fighting equipment, were listed as well.

    Forest fires in Greece over the past two decades or so have ravaged much of the country's forest land, particularly over the arid summer months.

    [07] Celebrations for 59th anniversary of Battle of Crete continue

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Celebrations marking the 59th anniversary of the Battle of Crete continued in Hania, Crete, on Friday with parachutist landings, speeches, ceremonies at heroes' memorials, exhibitions and cultural events.

    The highlights of events were at the historic airport of Maleme and the district of Galata.

    The official hoisting of flags took place at the Firka castle in the presence of local authorities and Battle of Crete veterans. Celebrations will reach a hiatus on May 21.

    In a message on the 59th anniversary of the Battle of Crete, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said "59 years have passed since the Battle of Crete which was a continuation of the Greek and allied resistance to the Axis and one of the most splendid and most stunning moments in modern world history.

    "The passion for freedom and the self-sacrifice of the fighters of the Battle of Crete, and their courage and heroism, sent the message of bravery and resistance for the defence of human dignity.

    The Battle of Crete set Greece's examples of determination when it is a question of fighting for its just causes and independence."

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in his message that "the Cretans' support for the Allied cause had a high cost and we remember their sacrifices with gratitude.

    Since the number of these veterans is constantly decreasing and fewer and fewer are returning to strengthen friendships forged during those difficult days, remembering your sacrifices and bravery, we who belong to the generation of today, is of even greater importance."

    A similar message by the Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark said, among others, that "as we are entering the new century it is important, hoping to be rid of such destructive wars, to honour those who lost their lives for the defence of Crete.

    "Among the victims were 671 New Zealanders who died defending freedom and those who were wounded or were taken prisoner were even more.

    "We pay tribute to them, as well as to the brave and unselfish men and women of Crete who, defying the great threat posed by the occupation forces, provided shelter, protecting the men of our armed forces and helping in their rescue.

    The New Zealanders hail your bravery with honour, admiring your traditional adherence to freedom and democracy."

    [08] Tsohatzopoulos calls for recognition of genocide of Black Sea Greeks and Armenians

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Friday called on the international community to recognise the genocide of the Black Sea Greeks (Pontians) and Armenians.

    He was the main speaker at an event marking the 81st anniversary of the Black Sea Greeks' genocide.

    "Recognition at international level of the genocide of the Pontians and Armenians is an obligation to modern democracy and the principles of democracy and humanism because conditions for good neighbourly relations can only be safeguarded in this way. Common history is what unites and binds, provided it is respected by both sides," Tsohatzopoulos said.

    [09] Deputy FM meets with foreign diplomats in Athens to discuss cultural issues

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Aggeliki Laiou has held customary meetings with foreign diplomats in Athens this week, according to press reports.

    Following her meetings with the Armenian Ambassador in Athens, Armen Petrossian, and Ukrainian Ambassador Yuri Sergeev, Laiou met with Croatian Ambassador Daniel Bucan and Ambassador Hasani of Tunisia.

    Her talks with the ambassadors concentrated on cultural diplomacy, particularly the great influence of history in the region.

    [10] Greek president receives expatriategroup's leadership

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday received several delegations at the presidential mansion, including the leadership of the Greek expatriate organisation AHEPA, a group of Canadian business people and several foreign students.

    [11] Kaklamanis to attend Euro-Med parliament speakers' conference in Egypt

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Greek Parliament President leaves for Alexandria on Sunday to attend the 2nd conference of parliament speakers from Euro-Mediterranean countries.

    The first such conference was hosted in Athens in 1997.

    Among the topics expected to be discussed are peace and security in the wider region, promotion of a "dialogue among civilisations", a liberalisation of trade and technology as well as issues dealing with emigration and its effects on employment.

    Kaklamanis is scheduled to meet with several of his counterparts, as well as religious leaders and other personalities in Egypt.

    [12] Rally of prices continues on ASE

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Greek stocks surged to their highest levels in the last 24 sessions on the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, pushed by strong buying interest for stock shares across the board.

    Turnover was a spectacular 371.2 billion drachmas, its highest level in the last four months, while shares in the smaller capitalisation sector scored the biggest percentage gains.

    Traders said a misinterpretation of a ABN AMRO bank report over its portfolio position in the Greek market sparked a limited correction of prices during the session.

    The general index ended ata 4,802.61 points, up 1.30 percent, after moving within the 4,755.96-4,840.34 level range.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,634.31 points, up 0.98 percent, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 1.86 percent to 722.33 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 1,076.53 points, up 5.38 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 291 to 48 with another eight issues unchanged.

    Hellenic Telecoms, Doudos, Lambrakis Press and Panafon were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Derivatives prices gain more ground

    Derivatives prices ended higher for one more session on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday following gains in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.

    Turnover was an improved 17 billion drachmas and volume 4,759 contracts.

    A total of 1,659 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 8.4 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 2,632.50 points, the June at 2,590, the July at 2,592 and the September contract at 2,560 points.

    A total of 3,100 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 8.6 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 720 points, the June at 687 and the July at 689.75 points.

    Bonds down in sell-off spurred by euro's descent

    Bond prices in the domestic secondary market ended lower in heavy trade on Friday with investors selling off their paper in the wake of the euro's decline in markets abroad.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.31 percent from 6.32 percent a day earlier; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.44 percent.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 95 basis points from 90 basis points a session earlier and 91 basis points on Wednesday.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 142 billion drachmas from 82 billion drachmas in the previous session and 129 billion drachmas on Wednesday.

    Sell orders accounted for around 126 billion drachmas of trade.

    Drachma drops vs euro, dollar

    The drachma on Friday 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 336.700 drachmas from 336.680 drachmas in the previous session.

    Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 377.190 drachmas from 376.760 drachmas a day earlier.

    The central bank intervened at the fix, selling around 150 million euros.

    Greek stocks end sharply up in the week

    The Athens Stock Exchange surprised even the most bullish analysts with its performance during the week under review, to end sharply up easily absorbing waves of profit-taking.

    Dealers and analysts now believe that the Greek bourse has the dynamism to push higher despite a negative picture of international stock markets. Optimism over the course of the privatisation programme and positive company news were the main factors behind the renewed investors' confidence in the market.

    The most impressive fact of the week was a sharp increase in turnover, evidence of rising inflows in the bourse.

    Shares in the smaller and medium capitalisation sectors were the biggest percentage gainers in the week.

    The general index ended the week 4.82 percent higher. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks soared 19.37 percent, while the Insurance and Leasing indices ended with losses.

    Turnover totalled 1.254 trillion drachmas for a daily average of 250.986 billion, double the previous week's figure of 124.425 billion.

    From a technial point of view, the 4,650 level was seen as a significant support level and the 4,850 level a short-term resistance level.

    [13] Elgeca reports 12 pct rise in 1st quarter turnover

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Elgeca SA, a listed distribution company, on Friday announced that its 1st quarter turnover totalled 8.9 billion drachmas, up 12 percent compared with the same period last year.

    Pre-tax profits rose 9.0 percent to 611 million drachmas. The company expects its this year's turnover to total 30 billion drachmas.

    Elgeca has expanded its activities in Romania through the purchase of a 80 percent equity stake in Romanian Cosmos Trading SRL through its subsidiary Elgeca Cyprus Ltd, earlier this year.

    [14] Government names new PPC chairman

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Professor Dimitris Papoulias on Friday was appointed as new chairman at Public Power Corporation's board, an appointment coinciding with a government decision to transform the country's electricity utility to a multi-shareholding company.

    Mr. Adrianos Papathanasiou will remain at his post as general manager until the appointment of a new chief executive at PPC. He will then move on to head an agency for the Management of Electric Power Transport and Distribution Systems, which will probably supervise the function of a liberalised energy market in Greece from February 19, 2001.

    Pantelis Kapros, an Athens Polytechnic professor and a member of PPC's board, will take over as chairman of the Energy Regulatory Authority.

    The new appointments were announced by Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis after a cabinet meeting on Friday.

    The Greek government plans the flotation of PPC in the Greek market later in the year.

    [15] Association of Economic Universities of SE Europe conference

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    The recent economic developments and the problems faced by economies in transition, particularly those of the former East Bloc, will be the focus of discussions among economists and academics attending the 1st International Conference of the Asseciation of Economic Universities (ASECU) of the countries of Southeast Europe, that opens May 24 at Macedonia University in northern Greece.

    During the four-day conference, delegates will discuss the economic development of the countries of the region, the distribution of income in countries whose economies are in a transitional stage, trade relations and economic development, economic relations and the EU, the labour market, economic stabilisation policies, and institutional changes and privatisations. ASECU president and chairman of the conference's organising committee Professor Yannis Tsekouras, a former dean of Macedonia University, told a press conference in Thessaloniki on Friday that representatives from 40 universities in SE Europe and eminent economists from major international organisations throughout the world would take part in the conference.

    Guest speakers include Harvard University professor Jeffrey Sachs, considered the financial guru of many SE European countries, deputy director of the Moscow-based Institute of Economies in Transition's international affairs department Leonid Todorov, and Chinese economist Qing Gong Yang.

    Professor Sachs' address will be broadcast live to the conference by satellite from his office at Harvard.

    Replying to press questions, Tsekouras said that the raod to development would not be a short one.

    He said those countries needed to develop institutions in the economy, and those institutions needed to be assimilated quickly, which was very difficult. In addition, those economies also faced international competition as a result of globalisation of the economy.

    [16] Greek contractor rejects charges by Albanian politician

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    K I Sarantopoulos, a Greek engineering contractor listed on the Athens bourse, on Friday rejected charges by an Albanian politician that the company had deliberately delayed a road building project and should be expelled from the neighbouring country.

    "Everything asserted by (Democratic Alliance leader) Neritan Ceka on halting works in construction of the Durres-Rogozina stretch of the east-west road is baseless. Implementation of the project is continuing normally and by the end of the year the stretch will be handed over to the Albanian government for use," Sarantopoulos said in a statement.

    On Thursday, Ceka told a news conference that the Greek firm should be asked to leave the country and be declared a persona non grata as it had deliberately halted work on a roadbuilding project.

    The company added that its president, Constantinos Sarantopoulos, had briefed the Albanian premier on progress in the project last week.

    The two men also discussed the possibility of Sarantopoulos undertaking fresh investments and projects in the neighbouring country, the statement said.

    "Mr. Ceka's statements will have no impact the company's work and presence in Albania," it added.

    [17] Athens bourse suspends trade in Electra in sale dispute

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Athens Stock Exchange authorities said on Friday that they had suspended trade in Electra Importers SA for six trading sessions.

    The bourse's board said in a statement that it deemed the suspension necessary due to announcements by Electra concerning the sale of 51 percent of its stock to institutional and strategic investors through Laidlaw Global Corporation of the US.

    "These announcements have created intense uncertainty concerning the company's prospects. In view of this, it was decided to suspend the stock for six working days in order to give the investing public the chance to form a clear opinion on business developments in the firm," the statement said.

    On Thursday, Electra issued an injunction against Laidlaw calling on the firm to name the investors on whose account it is working to effect the stock transfer. A failure by the investors to appear had led to the postponement of two shareholders' meetings, Electra said.

    The injunction gave Laidlaw three days to appoint a representative who will seek to resolve differences of opinion with Electra.

    It also sought compensation for the damage Electra suffered due to the delay in effecting the stock purchase.

    Laidlaw has in writing denied Electra's allegations, saying the names of the investors are known. The company has also blamed Electra for the problems between the two sides.

    [18] Deputy environment minister denies that toxic wastes from Yugoslav war will be stored in Greece

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    There is no question of hazardous toxic wastes from the war in Yugoslavia being stored in Greece, Deputy Environment Minister Nasos Alevras said on Friday, in response to a question put to him in Parliament by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Liana Kanelli.

    Kanelli brought to attention of the assembly the activities of a company that had filed for a licence to "store, collect, transport, utilise and sell hazardous waste" in two northern Greek prefectures, Grevena and Kozani, and asked if such a licence had been granted. She then produced a document showing that the same company had signed a contract with NATO bases in Araxos and Souda and had also asked permission from the relevant chamber of commerce in Grevena to collect toxic wastes.

    Alevras replied that had been no application for a licence to import toxic wastes into the country, nor had any applications for permission to store toxic wastes from Kosovo been filed with any prefectural authority in Greece.

    He clarified that the company in question had asked permission to collect toxic wastes, which would then be sent to Germany for disposal. He said there was no question of storing toxic wastes in Greece, particularly not from Kosovo.

    [19] Onassis Foundation and Haifa University to sign agreement for Modern Greek Studies

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    On May 22nd the Onassis Foundation and Haifa University will sign an agreement to establish a center for Modern Greek Studies at the University of Haifa in a ceremony that will be held at the University of Athens at 1:00 pm, a Haifa University press release faxed to the ANA on Friday said.

    The Onassis Foundation is financing the program. The Dean of the University of Athens, Professor Konstantine Dimopoulos, the Chairman of the Board of the Directors of the Onassis Foundation, Mr. Papadimitriou, Professor Mina Rosen, the Head of the Greek Program and the Ambassador of Israel, Mr. Ran Curiel will participate in the event.

    "Classical and even Byzantine studies are an intregral part of the curriculum of all institutions of higher education in Israel, however it will be the first time that a center of modern Greek studies will be established in an Israeli University. The program will be part of a Master's degree curriculum and will include all facets of modern Greek life like the Greek language, modern history, social sciences, communications and current political developments.

    Well known professors from Greece are expected to go to Israel to teach at Haifa University. The Center of Modern Greek studies is expected to enhance and strengthen the academic relations between Greece and Israel," said the press release.

    Greek-owned ship in flames off Aden port, crew evacuated safely

    Fire broke out aboard a Greek-owned Maltese-flag freighter early Firday as it sailed 130 kilometres east of the Yemeni port of Aden headed for Malaysia, but its 19-member crew was safe, the merchant marine ministry said.

    It said the 13,220 grt cargo vessel "EVELYN), owned by the Piraeus-based Kollintzas Marine Co., was loaded with fertilizers and was headed from Russia to Malaysia when the fire broke out from causes as yet unknown.

    Despite efforts by the crew -- three Greek officers and 16 foreign seamen -- the fire raged out of control and the 19 crew members abandoned the flaming vessel on life boats. They were later picked up by a nearby French merchant vessel.

    The Greek officers were identified as Captain Andreas Fragoulis, first engineer George Georgoulis, and second engineer Gerassimos Pagoulatos.

    [20] Greek President at military academy graduation ceremony

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos attended a National Defence College graduation ceremony on Friday, held in Athens' War Museum.

    Fifty-one senior officers were awarded degrees, including five foreigners from Balkan countries and the United States, and three women employed in various ministries.

    The aim of the National Defence College is to provide further training for officers of the Armed Forces and police, and to train employees of the public sector and certain private-sector organisations in handling national defence issues that fall within their area of competence.

    [21] Pangalos launches exhibition of religious gifts from Catherine the Great

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Friday inaugurated an exhibition of religious gifts to the Greek Orthodox Church from Catherine the Great.

    The exhibition at the Byzantine and Christian Museum, which runs until August 20, includes silver- and gold-plated bibles and a communion cup, donated by Catherine the Great to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Livorno, Italy.

    [22] US seminar on genetically modified food brushes off European fears

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    Speakers at a seminar on the future of agricultural biotechnology, which was organised by the US embassy in Athens, on Friday backed the use of genetically modified foods, rejecting widespread fears in Europe of the products.

    "Biotechnology must go ahead and a fear of the unknown should not stop us, because if that's how we operate, then we would never have reached the moon," US ambassador Nicholas Burns said in a message to the seminar.

    Environmental and consumer groups in Europe have widely protested the importation of genetically altered foods from the US.

    Patriarch begins visit to NE Greek city

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos begins a visit to the northeast Greek border town of Alexandroupoli on Friday, following an invitation by local Metropolitan Anthimos.

    Vartholomeos is scheduled to inaugurate sessions of a conference by the international union of police officers.

    [23] Ceremony to hand over Olympic flame to Sydney Games organisers

    Athens, 20-05-2000 (ANA)

    In a ceremony held at the Panathenian Stadium in central Athens on Saturday, 21:00 p.m. and in the presence of the Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, the Olympic flame will be handed over to the Organising Committee of the Sydney Olympic Games.

    The Olympic flame will be transported to Australia on a special flight on Sunday.

    According to the Greek Olympic Committee, the general public will be barred from entering the stadium to view the ceremony because of structural damage caused by last September's earthquake. The ceremony will be broadcast by the state television channel ET.

    [24] The Athens dailies at a glance

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS (Mitsis): "While efforts are being made to restore peace (in the New Democracy party), the war of signatures continues; statements are now being collected in favour of Aris Spiliotopoulos (the party's press spokesman)".

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS (Rizos): "Five causes of the tragedy; events and burning questions for the air force", a reference to the Greek airforce Phantom jetfighter crash on Thursday that killed its two airmen and two teenage girls in Antikira, Viotia.

    APOGEVMATINI: "Why the Phantoms fall; responsibilities for the flights of death, what are the causes of the F-4 jet crash".

    ATHINAIKI: "Major questions after the new F-4 crash; what they are hiding about the tragedies in the (Greek) airforce; third accident within the year".

    AVGHI: "Flights of death over the cities; another air tragedy in Antikira yesterday".

    AVRIANI: "Speedwing's assessment; Olympic Airways is worth nothing".

    CHORA: "A flying coffin; major responsibilities for the Antikira tragedy; the Phantom that killed four persons was built at the end of the '60s and bought in the '70s, and has been withdrawn in several countries".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Thrace's moslems will be christened 'Turks' in September".

    ELEFTHEROS: "The airforce in a state of dissolution".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Tears and questions over the unbelievable tragedy; why the ill-fated Phantom crshed into a two-storey house".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "An exercise of death, low flights over inhabited areas are being re-examined".

    ESTIA: "Why so many jetfighters are crashing; long flights with insufficient support".

    ETHNOS: "The five silent seconds from the fateful deviation; the pilot's silence is a mystery".

    EXOUSIA front-paged pictures from the Phantom crash at Antikira under the banner headline: "WHY??".

    KATHIMERINI: "The skies betrayed them; the tragic accident raises many questions on our airforce".

    LOGOS: "Tragedy in the air...., second loss for the airforce within 24 hours; four dead in an F-4 crash into a house".

    NIKI: "Flight of death; nationwide grief for the loss of two pilots and two girl pupils".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Murder...two children and three pilots dead; heavy responsibilities for the government".

    STO KARFI: "New Democracy 'hen-house': Pro-Karamanlis and pro-Mitsotakis cadres speak of 'chickens' and 'laughingstocks'...".

    TA NEA: "An upside-down plunge of death after a double mistake...; exercises beyond the limits will be re-examined".

    TO VIMA: "A statement by Duisenberg: "Europe supports the drachma".

    VRADYNI: "An air corridor of death; harsh questions over the crash (of the jetfighter) in an inhabited area".

    [25] Gov't slams Turkish reaction to exercise

    NICOSIA 20-05-2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou described as totally "unjustified" the Turkish Foreign Ministry's reaction over the military manoeuvres "Toxotis - Vergina", stressing that the security and stability in the region is jeopardised by the presence of the Turkish occupation army in Cyprus.

    Regarding Turkey's claims that the joint Cyprus-Greece manoeuvres do not favour conditions for the third round of the UN-sponsored talks scheduled to start on July 5 in Geneva, Papapetrou said he hoped "this was not an effort to create a pretext in view of the third round of talks, and to prepare the ground that the Turkish side will come to the talks with the same attitude and approach" as in the previous rounds.

    According to the Athens News Agency, the Turkish Foreign Ministry had expressed concern over the three-day military exercise, describing it as an "activity which might escalate tension and disturb stability in the region".

    The spokesman stressed that the Greek Cypriot side has actually shown its willingness and desire to negotiate seriously and to reach a soluton to the Cyprus problem based on high level agreements and the relevant UN resolutions.

    "Our position will not alter, despite any Turkish pretext", the Spokesman concluded.

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

    [26] Clinton discusses Cyprus with Greek American leaders

    WASHINGTON 20-05-2000 (CNA/ANA)

    US President Bill Clinton has expressed the view that all the parties involved in the Cyprus issue know what kind of format the solution to the problem will have and the only issue that remains is how soon it will come through, according to Greek American leaders who met him at the Oval Office on Friday.

    According to the Greek American leaders, holding their annual conference here, President Clinton supported the establishment of a bizonal federation in Cyprus, with two autonomous entities and freedom of movement.

    President Clinton reiterated his personal interest in a solution to the Cyprus problem before his term expires and seemed more optimistic than in the past.

    He also assured that he is following the Cyprus peace talks and will become personally involved when he believes the climate is mature and this would help the process.

    Meanwhile, Republican Presidential Candidate George Bush sent a message to the conference assuring he will support efforts for a settlement in Cyprus based on UN resolutions, if elected.

    US-based President of the International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus Philip Christopher, who participated in the meeting with the US President, told the press that President Clinton said "we all know what the end will be. It's a matter of how we will get there and what to do to get there."

    Christopher asked President Clinton what his definition of the end is and according to him the US President said "it means a bizonal federation," with two autonomous entities that will have freedom of movement, "which is very very important in the whole skim of things."

    According to Christopher, of Cypriot origin, President Clinton seemed optimistic after the election of a new President in Turkey.

    He said the US President felt it is possible to have a solution and that he is optimistic.

    According to the other Greek American leaders, President Clinton said that all the parties involved in the Cyprus problem are searching for ways to "save face".

    This phrase, according to the leaders who participated in the meeting, was a reference to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Turkey.

    They also pointed out that President Clinton said he was also optimistic in the past but the process took a negative turn for aperiod.

    According to the Greek American leaders, the US President said that today he once more believes we are very close to positive developments.

    They said President Clinton assured them he closely follows the process and the proximity talks and repeated his intention to get personally involved when he will understand that the climate is mature and his intervention will be helpful to the process.

    Two rounds of UN-led proximity talks, separate meetings with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides, have already been held and a third is scheduled to begin in Geneva on July 5.

    They aim at paving the way for a settlement on the island, divided since Turkish troops occupied 37 percent of its northern territory in the summer of 1974.

    Among the ten leaders who participated in the meeting at the White House, apart from Christopher, were President of the Council of Hellenes abroad Andrew Athens, President of the Cypriot Federation of America Panikos Papanicolaou, Andrew Manatos and Savas Tsivikos.

    [27] Denktash in Ankara for peace award ceremony

    ISTANBUL 20-05-2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Friday, after talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, that "as long as the reality of the existence of two independent states in Cyprus is not accepted, no solution can be found satisfying both sides."

    Ecevit said that with Denktash he primarily discussed the economic situation of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", adding that "we did not feel the need to talk on the TRNC's foreign affairs and political issues because the position of the TRNC and of Turkey, as well as the determination of Mr. Denktash are known."

    Denktash is in Ankara for the award ceremony of the "International Ataturk Peace Award." The award is given by the "Ataturk Culture, Language and History Foundation" to private persons or legal entities of public law which have served world peace and friendship, understanding and goodwill among nations.

    Denktash will also meet Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

    [28] New Zealand's King meets Kyprianou

    NICOSIA 20-05-2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Health Minister of New Zealand, Annette King, expressed satisfaction on Friday that "the whole parliament of New Zealand has unanimously endorsed a resolution on Cyprus and the need for Turkish troops to leave this country".

    Speaking in Nicosia after a meeting with House of Representatives President, Spyros Kyprianou, King said her visit here "finishes part of that process of the endorsement", as she came "to see for myself what has happened to your beautiful country".

    King added that "there is a large Greek Cypriot community living in New Zealand, who have never forgotten their homeland and have constantly fought for justice for Cyprus", adding that "over the years we have worked together to highlight the injustice here in Cyprus in our own small way in New Zealand".

    On his part, Kyprianou expressed gratitude for New Zealand's role and initiatives to support the Cyprus government's positions on the Cyprus problem.

    Kyprianou noted that King herself has often helped in decision-making, which was positive for Cyprus and thanked her for "helping to promote a correct settlement of the Cyprus problem" and cultivating awareness of the international public opinion

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