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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Aim of progressive governance is to prevent conflict, Simitis says
  • [02] Greek President continues Canada tour with meetings with Greek community
  • [03] Greek Foreign Ministry delegation in Istanbul
  • [04] FM Papandreou in Brussels to participate in Bildeberg club meeting
  • [05] Decision to build mosque unrelated to Olympics, Reppas says
  • [06] Dynamic Mix exercise prepares for landing operation in Kyparissia
  • [07] Flights by Turkish F-16s in Dynamic Mix exercise went smoothly
  • [08] Albanian opposition MP tables question over Greek military presence
  • [09] Turkish FM cites differences with EU over Euro-defense concept
  • [10] Cem criticized by some Turkish MPs for not properly briefing assembly
  • [11] Thessaloniki to get special bureau for Balkan reconstruction
  • [12] Karamanlis attributes personal attacks to campaign to weaken ND
  • [13] Athens Journalists Union says foremost duty of journalists is respect for citizens' personal life
  • [14] Managing director Costas Bakouris not to be replaced, spokesman says
  • [15] Church and state separate, identity law does not concern Church, say Reppas
  • [16] Karolos Papoulias begins three-day visit to Belgrade
  • [17] Parliamentary committee for revision of the Constitution elects presidium
  • [18] Government tables draft bill on stock market operation
  • [19] De Palacio and Verelis hold talks
  • [20] Greece's EMU membership begins June 19, Stournaras says
  • [21] Greek stocks end sharply lower on Thursday
  • [22] European Commission ratifies business programs
  • [23] Development Minister inaugurates European Energy Conference
  • [24] UNESCO Good Will ambassador opens two-day 'Conference for Children and Peace' in Athens
  • [25] FAA reportedly approves two new Olympic 'Airbuses' for US routes
  • [26] Thessaloniki to host transport ministers' conference in July
  • [27] Improvements scheduled for ancient theatre near Kavala
  • [28] Three Macedonian tombs discovered in Trikala prefecture
  • [29] Cyprus government not pleased with view adopted by UN Secretary General
  • [30] Envoys' visits will help clarify process at Cyprus peace talks
  • [31] Israelis and Palestinians start three-day meeting in Nicosia on Friday

  • [01] Aim of progressive governance is to prevent conflict, Simitis says

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    The requirement of progressive governance, one of the oldest in philosophical thinking, is now addressed at a global level and should aim to promote the synthesis of ideas and prevent conflict that may arise as a result of the trends of globalization, Prime Minister Costas Simitis has said.

    "Progressive governance in the 21st century aims, in the final analysis, to maximize the preconditions for human prosperity. In this search, globalization may work either as an obstacle -rendering the attainment of the goal much more difficult- or as a tool -allowing more people and more ideas to contribute. We may face conflict of cultures or ensure a fruitful synthesis of ideas. The mission of progressive governance is to secure the latter option: The prevalence of the synthesis of ideas," he said in his contribution to the two-day conference of 14 executive heads of Center-Left governments on "Progressive Governance in the 21st Century," opening in Berlin on Friday.

    The process involves converting the hard challenges into opportunities in order to maintain social cohesion, political stability and understanding, Simitis said.

    The participants in the conference are the heads of government of Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, USA, Italy, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Chile. The common denominator of the 14 governments is their wish to promote programs of reform based on the permanent values of the Center-Left. They also aim to establish a regular exchange of views and experiences at top level, but also promote close consultations between experts, with a view to locating tested solutions that may prove useful tools elsewhere.

    Discussions will center on the promotion of prosperity, the strengthening of civil society and boosting of international cooperation in the context of the common principles of democracy, solidarity and equality of opportunity.

    [02] Greek President continues Canada tour with meetings with Greek community

    TORONTO, 02/06/2000 (ANA - N. Voulelis - I. Fragouli)

    Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, currently in Canada on an official visit, began Thursday by meeting representatives of various associations of expatriate Greeks in Canada, after which he visited York University.

    At midday he attended a dinner given by the deputy governor of Ontario, Hillary Weston, and was then scheduled to address a forum of business people.

    Later in the afternoon, Stephanopoulos will decorate Canadian Archbishop Sotirios with a medal and then visit the Metropolitan cathedral and inaugurate the Theological Academy, after which he will preside at a dinner in his honor organized by Toronto's Greek community, which 2,500 Greeks from Toronto are expected to attend.

    Stephanopoulos' had received an enthusiastic welcome from Toronto's Greek community when he arrived in the city on Wednesday. In his address to the crowd gathered at the Toronto community center, he said that "Greece remembers you always" and urged them to be proud of their long history.

    The crowd was also addressed by Deputy Foreign Minister Angeliki Laiou, who is accompanying the President, who invited Greek-Canadians to contribute to the efforts to organize the Olympic Games in Greece, urging young people in particular to volunteer.

    Stephanopoulos' visit will end on Friday, with a visit to Niagara Falls.

    [03] Greek Foreign Ministry delegation in Istanbul

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    A high-level Greek foreign ministry delegation left for Istanbul on Thursday for the third consecutive meeting on bilateral cooperation for Turkey's adaptation to the European acquis communautaire.

    Well-informed sources said the Greek delegation is carrying a specific "action plan" with specific proposals and a time-schedule.

    [04] FM Papandreou in Brussels to participate in Bildeberg club meeting

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou has arrived in Brussels to participate in a meeting of the Bildeberg club and make an address on "Prospects of the European Union-Enlargement."

    Papandreou will then leave for London at the invitation of the British Museum for contacts on the issue of the Parthenon Marbles. On Monday he will be attending a working lunch given for him by his British counterpart Robin Cook.

    According to Greek diplomatic sources, Papandreou and Cook will discuss the EU's prospects in the wake of proposals recently presented by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations.

    Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi will also leave for London on Monday in the framework of her contacts with her EU counterparts and meet her British counterpart. After London, she will be visiting Dublin.

    On June 8 Papazoi will be making her first visit to Nicosia and will hold talks with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and other Cyprus government officials.

    [05] Decision to build mosque unrelated to Olympics, Reppas says

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    The conditions are ripe for building a mosque in the capital, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Thursday in response to reporters' questions.

    He said the government had reached this decision independently of preparations for the Olympics, because it was inconceivable for the Moslems of Athens not to have a place of worship.

    Commenting on statements by former PASOK public order minister Stelios Papathemelis, who said that he would only agree to the building of a mosque in Athens if Turkey turned over the keys of Aghia Sophia to Greece, Reppas said that parliamentary deputies are free to express their opinions and that PASOK would not make party discipline an issue during this particular vote.

    [06] Dynamic Mix exercise prepares for landing operation in Kyparissia

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Everything is ready for a landing operation in the region of Kalo Nero, near Kyparissia in the Peloponnese, north of the Netha River in the early hours of Friday in the framework of NATO's Dynamic Mix exercise.

    The landing force is composed of eight landing craft and 2,500 men from Greece, the United States, Spain and Turkey. Ships of NATOs permanent Mediterranean naval force (STANAVFORMED) and NATO aircraft transferred to Greek airports will back the operation.

    Helicopters from a US helicopter carrier, expected to arrive in the region in the early hours of Friday, may also be used to carry forces on land. The force of 2,500 men is composed of a battalion of Greek marines (950), a battalion of American marines (950), an enlarged company of Spanish marines (250), a company of Turkish marines (150) and a multinational artillery battery under Greek command. Tanks participating in the exercise will operate at a depth of 40 kilometers.

    [07] Flights by Turkish F-16s in Dynamic Mix exercise went smoothly

    ISTANBUL, 02/06/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    The flights by Turkish F-16s which took part in NATO's "Dynamic Mix 2000" exercise were conducted without any problems, the head of the Press and Public Relations Office of the Turkish General Staff, Colonel Fahir Altan, said on Thursday.

    During the "Dynamic Mix" exercise, the operational control of the entire Aegean - air, sea and land (the islands) - belonged to Greece, with the agreement and consent not only of NATO but also of Ankara, for the first time since 1974 when Greece withdrew from NATO's military wing.

    The Turkish fighters, which took part in the exercise, followed NATO procedures and submitted, like all the other allied aircraft, a flight plan which included the points and time of entry and exit and the route in international air space, he said.

    [08] Albanian opposition MP tables question over Greek military presence

    TIRANA, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Albania's former defense undersecretary and current opposition party MP has tabled a question in the country's parliament over the presence of a Greek military contingent stationed in Albania.

    The mandate for the 200-man Greek contingent expired a few days ago. Greece sent military units to its impoverished northwest neighbor in the spring of 1997 within the framework of a multinational force rushed to Albania in the wake of a popular uprising against then president Sali Berisha -- the leader of today's main opposition and head of the Democratic Party.

    A subsequent bilateral agreement allowed the contingent to remain on the outskirts of Tirana, Albania's capital, in an effort to aid in the Albanian army's reorganization and the reconstruction of that country's dilapidated bases and military hospitals.

    Since 1997, the mandate has been renewed twice by Albania's parliament, each time accompanied by a vehement reaction from the country's conservative opposition.

    The tabled question was made by MP Leonard Deni and directed toward Albanian Defense Minister Zuan Haidaraga.

    [09] Turkish FM cites differences with EU over Euro-defense concept

    ISTANBUL, 02/06/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem referred to differences between Ankara and the European Union regarding the still under-discussion concept of a European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI).

    Cem cited differences over ESDI shortly before a scheduled meeting on Thursday with Javier Solana, the EU's high representative for foreign policy and defense.

    "There's a major difference of opinion between Turkey and the EU over ESDI," Cem said, adding that he hopes "a compromise will be found that satisfies both sides."

    According to reports, Solana agrees with the Turkish FM's position that NATO comprises Europe's "cornerstone" of defense.

    In addition, EU-Turkish relations following last December Helsinki summit of Union member-states are expected to dominate talks between Cem and Solana.

    During his one-day visit to Ankara, Solana will be received by new Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the head of the Turkish assembly's committee for foreign affairs, Kamran Inan.

    Turkish leadership has repeatedly lobbied for the country's full inclusion in decision-making bodies allocated the task of formulating Europe's defense strategy.

    [10] Cem criticized by some Turkish MPs for not properly briefing assembly

    ISTANBUL, 02/06/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem was the target this week of criticism by several Turkish deputies in Ankara for allegedly not briefing the country's national assembly over foreign policy issues.

    Citing an overloaded work schedule, Cem reneged on a promise to brief the plenary of the Turkish national assembly and limited his presence to an off-the-agenda speech -- which prompted the criticism by several opposition deputies.

    In response to a question by Motherland Party MP Abas Bozgel, who criticized the Turkish foreign ministry for not reacting, as he said, to the "rekindling" of the Armenian genocide issue, Cem noted that the foreign ministry reacts successfully to "allegations over the so-called Armenian genocide."

    [11] Thessaloniki to get special bureau for Balkan reconstruction

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    The Macedonia-Thrace Ministry will set up a special bureau in support of the Greek participation in Balkan reconstruction, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Paschalidis said on Thursday.

    "The issue will be discussed again during the French presidency. We want the European Reconstruction Agency, here in Thessaloniki, to have a political role and not just managerial, bureaucratic or executive. We insist on this, as we fulfill all the relevant conditions to achieve it," he said during a visit to the European Center of Information and Culture.

    "Thessaloniki must be linked with Brussels, and the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry intends to make this link a lively one," he said in reference to the activities of the center.

    [12] Karamanlis attributes personal attacks to campaign to weaken ND

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Thursday attributed personal attacks against him to an effort to weaken ND and limit its action.

    Referring to a recent article in the Turkish newspaper "Hurriyet" claiming a "political and sexual scandal in Greece" containing insinuations about his relationship with party spokesman and minister of state Aris Spiliotopoulos, Karamanlis said that "the mud travels to Ankara, is mixed with dirty water, and returns".

    Addressing a meeting of the ND parliamentary group, Karamanlis said it was apparent that "the mudslingers are on the side of those who are accommodated by the present government and are disturbed by our action and position. They seek to weaken our voice and action, and harm the essence and quality of democracy, ultimately aimed against our party and the entire opposition".

    "We know that we disturb the powerful and that they will strongly fight us, but we can take them on, they cannot impose silence. The played their trump cards. They were terrorized by the 43 percent (garnered by ND in the recent general elections) and are acting unabashedly and without compunction, continuing and intensifying the polemic against us," Karamanlis told his MPs.

    The main opposition leader said he was determined to carry on with his uncompromising course, and called on his cadres for solidarity.

    "It is our duty, united in a firm fist, to neutralize the attacks against us," the party leader said, adding that "we must not provide pretexts to those who are battling our party".

    He told his MPs that the voters who placed their confidence in ND were worried about the party's course.

    Karamanlis said there was a difference between dialogue to seek out the causes of the party's electoral defeat in order to improve the party and introversion, which he warned was destructive.

    "We move ahead and do not compromise with sick situations that undermine our mission, our duty and our institutional role," he said.

    Karamanlis insisted on the "strategy of the middle space" of the political spectrum, and the "need for organizational restructuring" of the party.

    Turning to national issues, he sharply criticized the government of "covert, personal handlings", and warned that ND did not attend to accept secret agreements or tolerate faits accomplis.

    Bakoyianni says ND party has deficit in its democratic functioning: Deputy Dora Bakoyianni, daughter of former ND prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, addressing the meeting, insisted that the party had a deficit in its democratic functioning.

    She said all should show tolerance to different views, solidarity and respect for the party's history.

    Bakoyianni said mistakes have been made and are being made in communication policy, but stressed that mudslinging attacks and personal abuse cannot go without a reply by ND in its entirety.

    "Some of us experienced mudslinging in the past, and I myself during the Mitsotakis administration, while some others remained silent. I shall not do this. If we do not protect ethics in politics we will enter a path without return," she said.

    "We say yes to political confrontation, criticism and intraparty dialogue. However, we should say with one voice that ethics cannot be absent from politics. It is inconceivable for political criticism to be turned into mudslinging," she added.

    Bakoyianni said ND can and should win the next elections and pointed out that there is no question of the party's cohesion and unity.

    Deputy Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on his part that solidarity shown between cadres is aimed at shielding the functioning of the political system, adding that when cadres defend ND in essence they are defending the honor and ethics of the political system.

    Pavlopoulos said ND is strong and has influence in society and some fear it because the current government is unable to rule.

    [13] Athens Journalists Union says foremost duty of journalists is respect for citizens' personal life

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    The Athens Journalists Union's (ESHEA) board expressed deep concern on Thursday over phenomena and actions observed lately in private electronic mass media and newspapers.

    The board reaffirmed the union's position that reputations cannot be defiled, personal attacks cannot take place and innuendo cannot be made on citizens' personal life.

    Respect for citizens' personal life is the foremost duty of journalists it said, but added that issues concerning ethics cannot be handled with lawsuits.

    The board decided during its meeting on Thursday to summon senior executives of radio and TV stations to discuss with them the issue created.

    [14] Managing director Costas Bakouris not to be replaced, spokesman says

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Thursday said that no changes in the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee are envisioned, in response to questions regarding the possible replacement of the committee's managing director, Costas Bakouris.

    He added that the committee's pace of work had intensified and was producing results.

    [15] Church and state separate, identity law does not concern Church, say Reppas

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    There is no political dispute with the Church and the law on identity cards is not an area of conflict, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Thursday in response to comments by Archbishop Christodoulos.

    Reppas said that the Archbishop expressed his views but that the law in question does not concern the Church, whose role is spiritual and social and not political.

    He also said that the roles of Church and state are separate in Greece, which is a modern democratic society and that the rules of democracy are respected by all.

    [16] Karolos Papoulias begins three-day visit to Belgrade

    BELGRADE, 02/06/2000 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    Karolos Papoulias, President of the Permanent National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, started a three-day visit to Belgrade on Thursday, at the invitation of the President of the Yugoslav Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee Lubica Ristic.

    Papoulias was due to meet Serb President Milan Milutinovic later in the day, while talks have been scheduled on Friday at the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry, the Yugoslav Parliament and the committee which has undertaken the country's reconstruction after last year's bombings.

    His agenda does not anticipate a meeting with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic so far.

    Talks Papoulias will have with Yugoslav officials will be the continuation of contacts he had last November and which are aimed at maintaining channels of communication between the Greek government and Belgrade.

    Issues Papoulias will discuss with them are the situation prevailing in the region, the course of the peace process in Kosovo and the consequences from the implementation of the international community's sanctions on Serbia's political, economic and social life.

    [17] Parliamentary committee for revision of the Constitution elects presidium

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    The parliamentary committee for revision of the Constitution on Thursday met and elected its presidium.

    Ruling PASOK party MP Fivos Ioannidis was elected chairman, and MPs Nikolaos Katsaros from the main opposition New Democracy party (ND), Antonis Skylakos from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Fotis Kouvelis from the Coalition of the Left and Progress (SYN) were elected presidium members.

    The committee will begin its task in September.

    [18] Government tables draft bill on stock market operation

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Thursday tabled a draft bill aimed to modernize the country's capital markets, envisaging stricter regulations for listed companies and promoting transparency.

    The draft bill envisages issuing of a code of conduct for listed companies on the Athens Stock Exchange to ensure equal treatment and shareholders' rights and to promote transparency.

    The bill envisages that penalties imposed for breaching the law would rise to 200 million drachmas.

    It also calls on big shareholders (owners of more than 5.0 percent of a company's equity capital) to pre-announce any changes in their stakes.

    Stock market authorities will be offered the power to monitor the process in share capital increase plans announced by listed companies or companies seeking listing on the market, end to impose penalties if necessary.

    [19] De Palacio and Verelis hold talks

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    The European Commission is to ask Austria to review measures hampering the transit of heavy-duty trucks through its territory, which adversely affect Greek transporters in particular, Energy and Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio said on Thursday.

    "The movement of goods in the internal market and the transactions between member-states must be safeguarded ... The Commission is to ask for a review of the Austria protocol -the review date is nearing expiry anyway- and will examine the results achieved so far in that country regarding the improvement of environmental conditions and the measures that were to be adopted for a solution of the particular problem," she said after talks in Athens with Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis. Verelis said they also discussed the issue of the planned part-privatization of Olympic Airways.

    "Ms de Palacio has fully understood the issue and, to the degree that there is no violation of Community legislation, we believe that we shall have excellent support," he said.

    De Palacio said the Commission would await the final decision of the Greek government after consultations with British Airways, which is interested in acquiring a stake in the Greek carrier.

    A representative of British Airways is due to meet Verelis and National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou for talks on Friday.

    [20] Greece's EMU membership begins June 19, Stournaras says

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Greece will enter the euro zone in a few days but that does not mean any further commitments for the country, the government's chief economic advisor Yiannis Stournaras told ANA on Thursday.

    In an interview with ANA, Stournaras noted that Greece's EMU entry meant a prudent economic policy, combatting excessive spending and supporting a social state.

    "Greece will enter the euro zone on June 19 when a decision will be taken by EU leaders, but formally its EMU membership begins on January 1, 2001," Stournaras said.

    "I believe that no one will raise objections to the country's membership knowing the Greek economy's progress," he noted.

    Stournaras dismissed talk of further commitments following Greece's EMU entry. "The only commitment a euro zone member-state has is to implement an economic policy coherent with a Stability and Growth Pact. That is the basic limitation. Of course, there are guidelines that we agree to and others we don't," he said.

    "The Stability Pact is clear. It envisages that a country's deficit must be contained to low levels, but it is up to each national government to decide how to achieve this target. No one can enforce ways to reduce deficits."

    Stournaras noted that Greece's economic growth rates were higher than the EU average and that its membership in the euro zone would help in strengthening the euro currency.

    He said that the government would launch a campaign after the EU summit's decision to inform the Greek public over the euro currency.

    [21] Greek stocks end sharply lower on Thursday

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Equity prices came under heavy pressure on the Athens Stock Exchange to end sharply lower on Thursday.

    Blue chip stocks were particularly hit leading the wider market lower while smaller capitalitalization stocks showed signs of resistance.

    Dealers said a large sell order (around 2,000 shares) for National Bank of Greece at open price, temporarily pushed its price at the day's 10.0 percent limit down before recovering late at the session to end 2.99 percent lower. The sell order pushed the general index lower and dampened sentiment in the market.

    The general index ended at 4,532.98 points, off 1.63 percent, but off the day's lows of 4,522.94 points. Turnover was a low 149 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.81 percent lower at 2,507.67 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 0.59 percent to 668.75 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 0.75 percent lower at 990.64 points.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 229 to 109 with another eight issues unchanged.

    Intralot, Klonatex, Teletypos and Naoussa Spinning were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Equity futures drop in line with indices: Equity futures finished lower on Thursday, tracking the two indices on which they are based.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 closed 1.73 percent lower, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0.73 percent down.

    Turnover in derivatives was 4.8 billion drachmas.

    A total of 525 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with turnover at 2.6 billion drachmas.

    Changing hands on the FTSE/ASE 40 were 849 futures on turnover of 2.2 billion drachmas.

    Bonds active in light to moderate trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market edged up in light to moderate trade on Friday with buyers active in the market.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.047 percent from 6.067 percent in the previous session; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.15 percent.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 86-88 basis points from 84-86 basis points a session earlier.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 86 billion drachmas from 42 billion drachmas in the previous session.

    Buy orders accounted for 58 billion drachmas of turnover and sell orders the remainder.

    Drachma ends down vs. euro, up vs. dollar: The drachma on Thursday fell against the euro and rose versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 336.980 drachmas from 336.930 drachmas in the previous session.

    Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 361.260 drachmas from 362.130 drachmas a day earlier.

    [22] European Commission ratifies business programs

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Business programs belonging to the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF-3) have been ratified by the European Commission, according to an announcement by the National Economy Ministry on Thursday.

    The announcement said the programs were accepted, and the immediate start to negotiations for the finalization and ratification of the operational programs was permissible.

    Deputy National Economy Minister Christos Pachtas said particular emphasis would be placed now on balancing CSF-3 funds between rural areas and urban centers.

    [23] Development Minister inaugurates European Energy Conference

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Europe needs a strong energy market that will respect the environment, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis told delegates in a European Energy Conference held in an Athens hotel on Thursday.

    Inaugurating the two-day conference, organized by the European Union and Greece's development ministry, Christodoulakis said that "a necessary intermediate aim is to strengthen regional energy markets".

    "However," he said, "creating a European energy market needs a regulatory framework to regulate private and state behavior and motives to implement the necessary energy infrastructure projects".

    Referring to the Greek government's efforts to liberalize its energy market, he described as important steps the forthcoming flotation of the Public Power Corporation, the country's electricity utility, the completion of a tender to supply household electricity in Northern Greece and the creation of an energy futures market.

    He said that an agreement between Greece and Turkey to draft a feasibility study on new energy transport routes from the Caspian Sea to Europe and a Greek-Italian cooperation in the energy sector were also of significant importance.

    Loyola de Palacio, the European Commission's vice-president, expressed her belief that Greece would enter the euro zone and also stressed the importance of the Greek-Turkish and Greek-Italian energy deals.

    Commenting on rising oil prices, she said he shared citizens' worries but stressed that prices were exacerbated by a weakening euro parity.

    "Competition among oil companies was ultimately affecting fuel prices," Mrs. de Palacio said.

    She said that a liberalization process in the European energy market was progressing with different steps, as other EU member-states were rapidly implementing EU directives and others were moving slower.

    De Palacio urged for measures to protect the environment in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region from energy transport pollution risks.

    Merchant Marine Minister, Christos Papoutsis, said that Greece "will be present to all energy planning and at the forefront of efforts to protect the environment".

    The conference aims to promote cooperation between the European Union and Black Sea and Mediterranean countries in major energy issues.

    [24] UNESCO Good Will ambassador opens two-day 'Conference for Children and Peace' in Athens

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    "We should teach our children to declare war on war," said UNESCO Good Will Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyianni on Thursday, addressing an international conference for children and peace at the Athens Concert Hall. The two-day "Athens-Delphi International Meeting for Children and Peace" has been organized by the "Foundation for Children and Family" under the auspices of UNESCO and in cooperation with the International Peace Bureau.

    The two-day event is part of an UNESCO program for a "civilization of peace" aimed to coincide with the declaration by the United Nations of the year 2000 as the International Year for Peaceful Civilization and Non-violence.

    According to Vardinoyianni, the aim of the conference is to help create a civilization of peace through the twin axes of family and education, the two formative areas where ways of thinking and internal values are developed. Children, she said, are those most deeply affected by wars and the numbers confirm this. Wars, she continued, are responsible for killing 1.5 children, maiming four million children, uprooting 20 million children and the 13 million children now living in destroyed cities.

    [25] FAA reportedly approves two new Olympic 'Airbuses' for US routes

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    The Washington-based Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has reportedly consented to the replacement of two Olympic Airways 747s with new "Airbus" 340s on the airline's routes to the United States.

    Greek civil aviation authorities (YPA) this past week sharply criticized a more-or-less tacit ban by the FAA against an OA plan to replace two out-dated Boeing "Jumbos" with the state-of-the-art European-made Airbuses.

    FAA, the influential agency that oversees air traffic control and the airline industry in the United States, reportedly informed OA officials last week over the ban, although an official memorandum to YPA had not been relayed.

    OA officials said the FAA simply cited "bureaucratic reasons" and a freeze on new listings on the agency's register for the decision.

    FAA approval is also pending for another two OA Airbus 300-600s expected to service the all-important Athens-Boston via Manchester route as of June 18, sources at Greece's national carrier said this week, before expressing concerns that delays may damage the airline's North American summer schedule.

    Two other OA Airbuses had already been included (early 1999) on the FAA register of planes allowed to land and take off from US airports. OA at present has six planes on the FAA register.

    The same Greek sources said a new FAA inspection of airports in the SE European country is scheduled, despite a recent positive report by the ICAO.

    [26] Thessaloniki to host transport ministers' conference in July

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    The 15th International Symposium of the European Conference of Transport Ministers will be meeting in Thessaloniki on July 7-9. Members of governments, academics, and staff from institutes, transport bodies and companies from 33 countries will take part. Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis will lead the Greek delegation, numbering 120 members.

    The conference will discuss transport issues in the 21st century, while on the third day there will be a meeting of the organizational and scientific committee of the "World Conference on Transport Research Society" and of the "Group for Trends in International Transport".

    [27] Improvements scheduled for ancient theatre near Kavala

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Improvements and renovations will be made at the ancient Filippoi theatre near Kavala, northern Greece, in light of the upcoming 43rd Filippoi Festival.

    Among others, new lavatories, a snack bar and improvements to the surrounding archaeological site are foreseen.

    [28] Three Macedonian tombs discovered in Trikala prefecture

    Athens, 02/06/2000 (ANA)

    Three Macedonian tombs dating back between the 4th and 5th centuries BC have been discovered during archaeological digs in the Magoula area of the Petrosporos in Trikala prefecture, it was announced Thursday.

    The tombs were located during excavations initiated Wednesday by the 15th Antiquities Ephoria of Larissa.

    A spokesman for the Larissa Ephoria told ANA that the tombs, including a family tomb, were expected to be unearthed in the next few days.

    Ephoria director Athanasios Tzafalias said that, according to information and material collected, the ancient town of Petrosporos was buried in the wider region of Pelinnaion municipality, and particularly the Pelinnaion and Petrosporos towns, and the excavations, which would continue throughout the summer, were expected to produce very important archaeological finds.

    [29] Cyprus government not pleased with view adopted by UN Secretary General

    NICOSIA, 02/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    The government is not pleased with the view adopted by the UN Secretary General that he does not intend to appoint a third member to a committee dealing with the issue of missing persons until the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides show genuine commitment to reaching a consensus.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou on Thursday said such a point of view takes no account of the agreement on the issue of missing persons reached between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    "This reference is not fair to our side and completely overlooks the July 1997 agreement. We do not agree with it and there will be consultations with the UN," Papapetrou told his daily press briefing.

    In his report to the Security Council on the UN operation in Cyprus, Annan said before proceeding to appoint a member to the Committee of Missing Persons he needs to ensure that "both sides had shown a genuine commitment to reaching a consensus for the fulfillment of the five modalities contained in the letter of the Secretary-General of 4 December 1996." The spokesman rejected a reference, which puts on an equal footing the legal armed forces of the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish occupation army, saying that the two cannot be equated.

    "Under no circumstances can the exercises of the National Guard be judged on an equal footing with the military manoeuvres of the illegal occupation forces in Cyprus," Papapetrou pointed out.

    Turkey maintains some 35,000 troops, which exercise effective control of the areas the Turkish army occupies since 1974.

    [30] Envoys' visits will help clarify process at Cyprus peace talks

    NICOSIA, 02/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the forthcoming visits by foreign envoys to Cyprus would help clarify the process that will be adopted in the third round of UN-led Cyprus peace talks, due to start in Geneva on 5 July, with a view to upgrade the dialogue.

    Papapetrou said the government considers that certain elements from a UN set of ideas and other documents could be useful and should be applied in the search for peace.

    He announced that UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will be in Cyprus on June 18, and not 15 as initially announced. The UN envoy is set to leave on 20 June.

    US Presidential Emissary Alfred Moses is expected to visit the island around 20 June whereas Britain's envoy Sir David Hannay arrives next week for a three-day visit.

    "We are seeking to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question and not a solution to some of its aspects," he told his daily press briefing, when asked to comment on remarks by former UN top envoy in Cyprus Gustave Feissel that a step-by-step approach towards a solution cannot yield results.

    Replying to questions, he said the 1992 UN set of ideas on a comprehensive settlement is no longer at the negotiating table before the negotiators. "There are however certain elements from these ideas and other documents which the government considers would be useful and should be applied," the spokesman said.

    Papapetrou said President Glafcos Clerides will go to talks ready to negotiate the substance of the problem but avoided further comment saying there is an UN-imposed blackout on the content of the talks.

    Asked if the UN intends to change its approach in the third round, he said "the visits to Cyprus by de Soto and others will probably shed more light on their intentions."

    [31] Israelis and Palestinians start three-day meeting in Nicosia on Friday

    NICOSIA, 02/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Israelis and Palestinians start here on Friday a three-day meeting on the future status of Jerusalem, within the framework of an overall solution to the Middle East problem.

    Reliable sources told CNA that the Nicosia meeting is not the start of negotiations between the two sides on the thorny issue of Jerusalem but the start of a "dialogue" that would pave the way for future negotiations.

    The same sources said the meeting, which will last until Sunday, is organized by the Jerusalem-based Israel - Palestinian Center for Research and Information.

    Taking part in the Nicosia meeting will be 7-8 representatives from each side, including Israeli and Palestinian diplomats, officials dealing with security matters and academics.

    The same sources told CNA that the two delegations are expected to deal with issues that concern the future status of Jerusalem, expressing "their interests, fears and anxieties."

    The sources said the two parties' delegates are "very close to leadership" and that there will be a "follow-up" of the topics to be discussed in Nicosia.

    Cyprus has repeatedly expressed its wish and readiness to play host to meetings between the parties involved in the Middle East question, in a bid to help in the efforts for an overall settlement.

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