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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-05-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Athens ceremony delivers Olympic flame for Sydney Olympics
  • [02] Lack of progress on Cyprus issue will affect Greek-Turkish relations, Papandreou says
  • [03] 'Ancona declaration' nations pledge to fight organised crime, work for stability
  • [04] Ecumenical Patriarch calls for peaceful coexistence
  • [05] Turkish FM addresses EU's 'geographical change' resulting from Turkey's candidacy
  • [06] Simitis says progressive bloc a majority in country
  • [07] Tsohatzopoulos opposes PASOK re-founding at next congress
  • [08] Stephanopoulos hails 136th anniversary of Ionian isles' annexation
  • [09] Greek state radio to assist Albanian public network
  • [10] Archbishop Christodoulos in Romania
  • [11] Police say 47 illegals held hostage by migrant smugglers
  • [12] Memorial services held for 350,000 Greeks massacred in Asia Minor
  • [13] Premier Simitis holds reception for his name-day
  • [14] Sunday's newspaper headlines
  • [15] Government to make representations over deputy's detention in British bases

  • [01] Athens ceremony delivers Olympic flame for Sydney Olympics

    Athens, 22-05-2000 (ANA)

    The Olympic Flame was passed on to a Sydney delegation during a solemn ceremony at Greek capitals outdoor Panathenian Stadium on Saturday evening in Athens, an impressive, marble-decorated venue rebuilt on the exact location where an ancient stadium stood -- as well as the site where the first modern Olympics of 1896 were held.

    The ceremony was attended by among others, Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Environment town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis and Deputy Sports Minister Giorgos Floridis.

    Voula Tsiamita, triple jump world champion, was the last of the torchbearers to reach the stadium, where Hellenic Olympic Committee President Lambis Nicolaou handed over to the Australian delegation the Flame.

    Papandreou was among the torchbearers within Athens, carrying the Flame on its way to the Panathenian Stadium.

    Nicolaou noted during the ceremony that the time has come for us to deliver the Olympic Flame to Sydney, (the flame) that constitutes the eternal symbol of unity and friendship of peoples. It passed through many points of our country and will go to the other side of the world, at Sydney where it will be placed at the highest altar.

    I am sure that the Olympic Flame will manage to inspire in the hearts of everyone the timeless value of the Olympic Games, he added.

    Later in the day the Flame carried by the delegation, which included a group of Australias aborigines, began its travel downunder in a specially made container aboard a plane chartered for that purpose.

    The televised event was conducted without the benefit of spectators at the site as the stadium suffered serious damage during the Sept. 7 earthquake and was deemed unsafe for the public.

    [02] Lack of progress on Cyprus issue will affect Greek-Turkish relations, Papandreou says

    NICOSIA, 22-05-2000 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister, George Papandreou, said the lack of pro-gress on the Cyprus problem will, in no doubt, affect Greek-Turkish relations in the long-, medium- and short-term.

    In an interview with "Haravghi" newspaper, Papandreou further said the improved climate in the two countries' relations, created after the Helsinki European Council will have "positive results on the future and bilateral relations, especially on Cyprus".

    Papandreou said the United States know very well that the Cyprus problem is an issue which has marred Greco-Turkish relations in the past.

    "A lack of progress on Cyprus cannot but affect in the long-, medium- and short-term the Greek-Turkish relations", he added.

    Papandreou said that "there are many important reasons for the US to want an appropriate solution" and expressed confidence that in the "next months during President Bill Clinton's presidency, and in spite of the election of a new president, there will be a (US) policy seeking a Cyprus settlement".

    The foreign minister further told "Haravghi" that if the favou-rable climate created after the Helsinki summit continues, "it will have positive results in the future on bilateral relations and especially Cyprus".

    He explained that this will decrease tension between the two countries (Greece and Turkey), there will be mutual under-standing regarding the concerns which exist and there will be a solution of the big issues, such as the Cyprus problem.

    Noting that these first steps have yielded some results, Pa-pandreou cautioned that the "road is neither easy, nor without obstacles".

    "Nobody knows where this path will take us", he said, adding however that it must be tested and if no result is achieved regarding Cyprus, "at least we have secured at the EU that even if there is no Cyprus solution", Cyprus' accession to the EU "will be unimpeded".

    "The Cyprus problem is directly associated with the EU's future, it is a European problem", said Papandreou, noting that it is high on the agenda of various countries and it is natural that a solution should comply with the acquis communautaire".

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

    [03] 'Ancona declaration' nations pledge to fight organised crime, work for stability

    ANCONA, 22-05-2000 (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakos/Reuters)

    The foreign ministers from six countries surrounding the Adriatic Sea pledged over the weekend to better coordinate their law enforcement efforts in order to fight organised crime as well as to work towards the region's stability and prosperity.

    FMs from Italy, Greece, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia - Serbia was not invited, while pro-western Montenegro was welcomed as an observer -- gathered at the SE Italian port city of Ancona for the unprecedented conference, which concluded with the adoption of the "Ancona Declaration", which states among others, that signatories will "cooperate on ensuring the whole of the Adriatic and the Ionian basin becomes an area of peace, stability and increasing prosperity."

    Greece was represented by Foreign Minister George Papandreou, while other high-profile participants included the European Union's high representative for foreign policy, Javier Solana, Balkan Stability Pact coordinator Bodo Hombach and Portuguese FM Francisco Seixas da Costa -- as Lisbon currently holds the Union's rotating six-month presidency.

    Papandreou referred to a region he said has "witnessed wars; sports a significant deficit in democracy, the operation of state institutions in some countries and economic development.

    "The result is that we're facing all the well-known phenomena of a 'black economy', illegal immigration, an increase in crime and, of course, a policy of destabilisation that on many occasions threaten to become conflicts."

    The Greek FM added that Athens would continue to contribute towards this initiative both as an EU member-state and a Balkan nation with a robust economic presence in the greater region.

    In terms of organised crime, a topic that dominated the conference, Papandreou said "Greece and Italy have cooperated between them and with Albania" over tacking cross-border crime syndicates and illegal immigration rings.

    On his part, Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini noted that both Rome and Athens have expressed a firm commitment to combating organised crime, while he also cited Tirana's willingness to cooperate in international and bilateral crime-fighting efforts.

    The Adriatic has increasingly, over the last few years, become a major sea route for illegal immigration, smuggling as well as trafficking in drugs and women emanating from the sea's eastern shores and impoverished countries such as Albania.

    [04] Ecumenical Patriarch calls for peaceful coexistence

    Alexandroupoli, 22-05-2000 (ANA)

    Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos concluding his visit in northern Greece on Sunday called on citizens to maintain this crossroads open to those who come with positive motives, but close it to those who want to use it for immoral and racist activities.

    Speaking at the small border town of Ferres, Evros prefecture, Vartholomeos said "you happen to be on a great and historical bridge, which is called Thrace and unites the east with the west.

    "It was through these regions that the Gospel of Christ came toward Europe. You should maintain this venue open for those who come in good faith. Block it for those who become transporters of religious racism, fanaticism, slave trade, as well as ideas and substances of death," he added. "You should develop relations, bonds and institutions thus providing a model of peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims in a spirit of mutual respect and solidarity," the Orthodox prelate said.

    Vartholomeos also noted that it should be understood by everyone that "the peaceful resolution of all differences is an elemental component of civilisation and entry to the society of civilized countries". He stressed that his speech did not contain any political motives. Addressing Greek-Turkish relations he said that as conditions changed for the better "we are indebted to Holy God and to those people who contributed for this change of climate and we feel optimistic for the future, we look forward with hopeful prospects.

    "We request of Holy God, the master of peace, for this development to be permanent, (we request) that there will be no backtracking and to have peace, mutual understanding, coope-ration, mutual respect and respect for the territorial integrity of both sides, of each state, of each of the two nations.

    "With these preconditions in a few years, as we hope, the full entry of Turkey in the European Union will be achieved, event that will provide even greater prospects for the peoples of the region, for the Balkans. This entry, will solve automatically the problems of the Greeks (in Turkey) and of the Patriarchate, an entry supported by Greece at the recent summit in Helsinki," Vartholomeos said.

    Vartholomeos inaugurated in Alexandroupolis the 16th national conference of the international association of police officers on Saturday before traveling to the nearby northeastern Aegean island of Samo-thrace.

    [05] Turkish FM addresses EU's 'geographical change' resulting from Turkey's candidacy

    ANKARA, 22-05-2000 (ANA - A. Abatzis)

    The European Union's geography has changed since the acceptance of the Turkish candidacy, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said, addressing an Istanbul Rotary Club chapter on Saturday.

    Cem noted that "there were important changes in the (European) Union geography", adding that "the borders of the Union moved, from the Balkans and the Aegean, to the eastern borders of Turkey" and as a result "Turkey and Greece ceased to be in confrontation".

    He underlined that the Turkish candidacy "gave speed to Turkish efforts and shortened the road toward its aims regarding democracy and human rights".

    [06] Simitis says progressive bloc a majority in country

    Athens, 22-05-2000 (ANA)

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Saturday told a conference of ruling PASOK's prefectural and sector heads that the April 9 election result "demonstates that the progressive (electoral) bloc is greater than that of the conservative".

    He also told PASOK delegates that main opposition New Democracy's moves towards a more centrist political area will fail. While noting that his government "delivered what it promised", he also cautioned that certain government policies could stand improvements. PASOK outdistanced New Democracy in last month's Greek general elections by taking 43.8 percent of the vote to ND's 42.7.

    [07] Tsohatzopoulos opposes PASOK re-founding at next congress

    Athens, 22-05-2000 (ANA)

    Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Sunday voiced his opposition to ruling PASOK party's re-founding during the next party congress, which was announced during a party Central Committee meeting earlier this month.

    In an interview to the Sunday edition of Eleftherotypia newspaper, Tsohatzopoulos stressed that "it is an oxymoron to propose the re-founding of the party the day after a victorious election".

    He appeared mistrustful of the proposal, noting that it may be hiding "the wish for the formulation of something different of what PASOK was historically, socially, politically and ideologically". The defence minister voiced his disagreement regarding many choices of the party leadership on upcoming party developments.

    He said that policies "are produced selectively by several well known personalities" and the party organisation was used "as a mechanism for the reproduction of political power, thus downgrading PASOK".

    [08] Stephanopoulos hails 136th anniversary of Ionian isles' annexation

    Athens, 22-05-2000 (ANA)

    Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos attended at a ceremony on Sunday celebrating the 136th anniversary of the annexation of the Ionian islands by the Greek state. Stephanopoulos, on a visit to the SW Aegean isle of Kythira during his name day on Sunday, attended a te deum at the island's main cathedral before visiting the historic Myrtidiotissa Madonna Monastery.

    Some seven main islands -- including Corfu and Cephallonia -- comprise the Ionian chain off mainland Greece's western shores. "We all comprehend the significance of today's anniversary. It is the first liberation of lands after the 1821 (War of) Independence and the London Protocol of 1830. Of course, other liberations followed, but it was the first after the creation of the Greek state," Stephanopoulos noted.

    [09] Greek state radio to assist Albanian public network

    TIRANA, 22-05-2000 (ANA - I. Patso)

    A protocol of assistance was signed here on Sunday between the heads of Greece's state-run radio network (ERA) and the corresponding Albanian public network.

    Among others, the agreement foresees the granting of 50 million drachmas towards the Albanian broadcaster for the purchase of equipment. Additionally, cross-border cooperation between the two state radio networks' regional affiliates is also envisioned - for instance, between ERA's station on the Ionian island of Corfu with the station in the southern Albanian town of Gjirokaster and between stations in Florina, northern Greece, and Korce, in SE Albania.

    The protocol was signed by visiting ERA general director Yiannis Tzannetakos and the director of Albanian radio, Martin Leka. (One US dollar equals about 375 drachmas)

    [10] Archbishop Christodoulos in Romania

    Athens, 22-05-2000 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos began a six-day visit to Romania on Saturday at the invitation of the country's Orthodox Church leadership.

    A tour of several monasteries and sites in Romania is scheduled, while the Greek Church's prelate will also meet with Greek students studying in that country and visit the Greek cultural centre in Bucharest.

    Finally, the Romanian-language edition of a book written by Christodoulos and focusing on religious issues will be presented during a ceremony in the city of Jassy.

    [11] Police say 47 illegals held hostage by migrant smugglers

    Athens, 22-05-2000 (ANA)

    Police on Saturday discovered 47 illegal immigrants reportedly being held hostage in a residence located within an industrial district north of Piraeus.

    Six Iraqi nationals were charged with migrant smuggling, assault and of holding the 47 illegals against their will. Authorities said the suspects allegedly demanded payment ($2,000) from each of the migrants, listed as Egyptians and Pakistanis, for smuggling them into Greece.

    According to reports, the group of migrants had illegally entered the country over the past three days aboard a truck that picked them up from an unidentified city in neighbouring Turkey.

    All six suspects are scheduled to face a local prosecutor.

    Police said the residence was in the Rendi district.

    [12] Memorial services held for 350,000 Greeks massacred in Asia Minor

    Athens, 22-05-2000 (ANA)

    The citizens of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, northeastern Greece, on Saturday held memorial services for the more than 350,000 Black Sea Greeks (Pontians) massacred during the 1915-1923 period in Asia Minor.

    Local community leaders and the church held memorial services in all of the regions prefectural headquarters, with the participation of Pontian organisations.

    The massacre coincided with the "resolution of the Armenian question in the Ottoman Empire" via genocide after the end of the First World War.

    [13] Premier Simitis holds reception for his name-day

    Athens, 22-05-2000 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Saturday evening held a reception for the members of the government and ruling PASOK party's Executive Office in light of his name-day celebration on Sunday.

    [14] Sunday's newspaper headlines

    ADESMEFTOS: (Main opposition party) New Democracy: An exodus from the trenches...

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: 25,000 hectares to be incorporated in urban planning zones.

    AGGELIOFOROS: (Greek PM) Costas Simitis to PASOK cadres: 'We must change'.

    APOGEVMATINI: New wage scales - Charts with increases per category.

    AVGI: 2004 (Olympics) under IOC's supervision - Just like that, without any planning.

    AVRIANI: (Stock exchange) 'Bubbles' again on the forefront - What investors should take into account.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Features interviews and comments by two "No. 2s" - as the paper calls them - from both ruling PASOK and ND, namely, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzo-poulos and former minister Dora Bakoyianni.

    ETHNOS: New Democracy - The 'covert war' - The reasons behind the crisis.

    HORA: An investigation on internal police affairs.

    KATHIMERINI: ND at a crucial crossroad.

    LOGOS: Sophocleous' (the Athens bourse) dynamism causes 'uncontrolled' optimism.

    NIKI: Simitis wants (ruling) PASOK's depilation.

    PARON: On a final collision course - Karamanlis: Whoever wants can leave.

    RIZOSPASTIS: A police-state model: Made in USA.

    TYPOS: Athens bourse: Opportunities and dangers amid a new (investment) landscape.

    VIMA: Simitis' measures against (public sector) corruption and bureaucracy.

    VRADYNI: Beneficial regulations (by the agriculture ministry) for forests/ illegal constructions.

    [15] Government to make representations over deputy's detention in British bases

    LIMASSOL, 22-05-2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Democratic Party deputy Marios Matsakis, detained on Saturday by the British Bases at Episkopi after blocking a road during a demonstration against the Red Arrows, was to meet on Sunday House President Spyros Kyprianou.

    Matsakis said he will give Kyprianou "interesting evidence about the Red Arrows aerial acrobatic team flights over Akrotiri".

    The deputy Matsakis was arrested after a struggle with policemen of the British Bases while demonstrating against Red Arrows aerial acrobatic flights at the Episkopi area.

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and the President of the House made representations to the Bases over Matsakis' detention, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told CNA. The deputy was released after more than seven hours in custody.

    According to British Bases divisional commander Kelvin Ashley, Matsakis was arrested after blocking a main road outside Akrotiri, one of the two military Bases Britain retains in Cyprus since granting the island independence from colonial rule in 1960.

    British Bases Police confiscated the deputy's car and all items it contained. Everything was returned to Matsakis when he was released on Saturday night.

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