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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek minister: Anti-terrorism memorandum with US finalized by end of year
  • [02] Greek Ambassador to US expresses Greek government's determination to combat terrorism
  • [03] Government extends condolences on death of Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad
  • [04] ND leader Karamanlis says he will not tolerate phenomena of introversion
  • [05] Balkan Federation of NGOs conference on peace and democracy in the Balkans
  • [06] Christodoulos says Church wants dialogue over divisive ID issue
  • [07] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos outlines Patriarchate's targets
  • [08] Press Minister calls for cooperation to strengthen the TV communication model
  • [09] Target is for 50 percent of Greeks to have access to Internet by 2006, conference told
  • [10] Collin McRay wins 47th Rally Acropolis
  • [11] President Clerides sends message of condolences on Assad's death
  • [12] Kasoulides criticizes UN Secretariat
  • [13] Social Democrats hold first electoral conference

  • [01] Greek minister: Anti-terrorism memorandum with US finalized by end of year

    Athens, 12/06/2000 (ANA)

    Greece's public order minister reportedly said that an anti-terrorism cooperation memorandum between Athens and Washington should be signed by the end of the year.

    Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis was quoted by the Athens "Sunday Eleftherotypia" on Sunday as saying that "negotiations have already been completed and we're now waiting for further procedures in order to sign. I believe that within the year it (memorandum) will be signed".

    The issue of terrorism again burst onto the spotlight in Greece over the past week, with extensive international media attention, following the assassination Thursday morning of Britain's defense attache in Greece.

    The elusive "November 17" urban terrorist group claimed responsibility for the gangland-style killing of Brig. Stephen Saunders on a congested Athens highway.

    Chrysohoidis also noted the Greek government's decision over the past few days to upgrade the issue of terrorism into a major social and political problem, while he stated that major reforms were in store for law enforcement agencies in the country.

    US ambassador: In a related development, US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns on Sunday was quoted by another Athens daily, "Kathimerini", as saying Washington was ready to assist the Greek government in tracking down the notorious terrorist group.

    Burns was also quoted as saying "there is no reason" for Washington to issue any type of travel advisory for Greece, a traditional Mediterranean holiday destination for millions of tourists.

    On his part, former CIA director James Woïlsey was quoted by the same newspaper as referring to "complete ineffectiveness" by Greek police vis-a-vis terrorism.

    "We have strong reasons to believe that important Greek government officials know how to track down and catch this organization (Nov. 17) if they wanted to, but they aren't," said Woïlsey, whose interview in the Athens weekly "Pontiki" this week on among others, terrorism, has generated calls that he be called to provide testimony to local prosecutors.

    The interview was given before the attack on Saunders and published the same day as the assassination.

    Finally, the honorary president of main opposition New Democracy and former premier Constantine Mitsotakis, whose son-in-law Pavlos Bakoyiannis was gunned down by November 17 in 1989, called for a unified social front against terrorism, echoing similar statements over the past few days by the government and PM Costas Simitis.

    Defense minister says policy of prevention needed to combat terrorism: International terrorism will be confronted through the highest degree of cooperation between all countries, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Saturday, in light of the assassination of British defense attache Brig. Stephen Saunders in Athens on Thursday morning.

    Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the European conference on peace, democracy and cooperation in the Balkans, which started at the Zappeion Mansion in Athens on Saturday, Tsohatzopoulos underlined that there exists a framework of international cooperation, as determined by relevant treaties.

    With regard the confrontation of terrorism through the taking of stricter legislative measures, he expressed the view that they would not prove to be effective without the existence of a policy of prevention.

    There must be a complete and continuous policy of prevention which must be accompanied by a series of high cost measures, he said.

    [02] Greek Ambassador to US expresses Greek government's determination to combat terrorism

    WASHINGTON, 12/06/2000 (ANA - A. Ellis)

    Greek ambassador to the United States Alexander Philon expressed the Greek government's determination to combat terrorism in the framework of a democratic society, which respects its citizens' individual freedoms.

    He was speaking to the public C-SPAN cable network, which covers the activities of the US government and Congress, as well as political events in the US.

    Philon referred to cooperation between Greece, the US and Britain to crack down on terrorism and to new measures to be taken by the Greek government.

    He said that the actions of the "November 17" terrorist organization are not only directed against NATO, the European Union and the Greek government, which, as he said, has achieved successes in the economy, cooperation in the Balkans and accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), but against democracy in Greece as well.

    Philon said the Greek people deplore the terrorists since they have realized that they aim at undermining Greek society and marring the country's international image.

    [03] Government extends condolences on death of Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad

    Athens, 12/06/2000 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas extended the Greek government's condolences late Saturday night on the death of Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad.

    "We express our sorrow on the death of Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad. We extend our condolences to the Syrian people on the loss of their leader, which comes at a very crucial moment for developments in the region," he said.

    [04] ND leader Karamanlis says he will not tolerate phenomena of introversion

    Athens, 12/06/2000 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis concluded his party's three-day special congress on a strict tone on Sunday afternoon, saying that he will not tolerate phenomena of introversion and repeated many times that the minority should fall in line with the majority's decisions.

    Karamanlis said no one could accept "tendencies and trends in paralytic directions" because such a thing would lead to anarchy.

    "I, who was obliged to embitter or become embittered in the effort to ostracize introversion, do not have the right of tolerance," he said.

    Karamanlis said those who "take dialogue for weakness are mistaken", adding that the party has learnt to distinguish between dialogue and grumbling and that it has learnt from the past and will not turn back.

    He called on party members to forge ahead and exercise their institutional role.

    "Let us put an end to attitudes which can not be explained but can be misunderstood. Dialogue should take place in the (party) organs. Cries and whispers in the (TV) channels, which embitter our people and make our rivals happy are a thing of the past. We cannot be the victims of the channels which seek the exception and ignore the whole," he said.

    Karamanlis said he believes he does not have rivals in the party and looks upon all members as associates and colleagues. He predicted that rapid developments might take place due to the government's "inadequacy" and the "bills it has to pay off." He also pointed out that all should do their duty towards the 43 percent of the electorate, which voted for ND in last April's elections and warned that "there is no collective responsibility for individual shortcomings."

    Karamanlis went on to say that, apart from his duty towards the party and the congress, which elected him president, he believes, he is also accountable to the citizens and voters of ND.

    "Society has requested another effort from us, another step. the mandate by three million Greeks is even heavier. This mandate does not allow for hesitations and dilemmas. The mandate we have received is clear and cannot be cut into pieces or cancelled. As from today there is no place for doubts for our options. This is our position. A package position, which is overall and indivisible," he said.

    Outlining his future intentions, Karamanlis said "I will not distance myself from your mandate, nor will I abandon my duty", adding that "we will not heed extortions and intimidations from anyone. Those outsiders who thought they can impose decisions and options are mistaken. We have taken a decision for a struggle and nothing can stop us. Today, we are putting an end to introversion. We are all united, omnipotent and determined here."

    Karamanlis criticized the government on its options and policy and stressed that no member expressed a different view on the party's basic political principles during the congress.

    All delegates present sang the national anthem at the end of Karamanlis' address, following a suggestion by ND Deputy Miltiades Evert.

    Earlier, Evert had sharply criticized ND Deputy Dora Bakoyianni.

    "Refounding does not befit a party which has been vindicated historically. And it is those who have created many parties who are speaking of refounding. Enough is enough," he said addressing the congress. He also called on Karamanlis to support party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos who has recently been the objet of strong criticism by some party cadres for his communication policies.

    ND Deputy Apostolos Andreoulakos, an outstanding critic of ND leadership, said the result of the elections was an order to ND to improve itself. He spoke of a democratic deficit in the party which was leading to a closed group of leaders with age exclusions.

    Andreoulakos described ND as a center-right party and, referring to the political center, termed it "terra incognita", adding that "if we can all fit in it, I do not mind."

    Bakoyianni tells ND special congress 'prestige of party comes first': Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party deputy Dora Bakoyianni on Saturday made proposals for the future course of the party, in order for it to win the next general elections and for it to overcome the difficult phase it was currently going through.

    Speaking on the second day of the party's special congress at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus, Bakoyianni said that the first major change that should be recognized is that "dialogue within the party does not constitute introversion."

    She said "the lack of democracy in the internal functioning must be confronted," adding that "the party can not operate with the logic of a closed internal group."

    Bakoyianni said "no one has undermined and no one is undermining the leadership of the party, but no one can be over and above political criticism and the choices of all are judged."

    Addressing ND leader Costas Karamanlis, she said "we are all obliged to protect your prestige and that is what we are doing. However what comes first is the prestige of the party and the past days have shown that we do not win our future in this manner."

    Speaking at the special congress on the party's internal crisis, former prime minister George Rallis called on Karamanlis "to impose order," in the party, "otherwise these few but dangerous people will dissolve the party."

    Rallis also said that as the main opposition party, ND was not projecting "the problems arising from the government's policy" in such sectors as education, health and relations between the state and the citizen.

    In opening the special congress on Friday, ND leader Karamanlis urged party members to close ranks in the face of attempts to undermine the party and reiterated the claim to the "middle ground" of politics as a viable ideological option.

    The party congress comes to an end on Sunday.

    PASOK says ND "a party in crisis": The ruling PASOK party said in a statement on Sunday that the main opposition New Democracy's special congress confirmed that it is a party in crisis", adding that "it has also confirmed that it does not learn from its defeats, does not realize their causes and is unable to correct its course."

    Commenting on the results of the ND congress, PASOK said the "recent invention of the political center confirms ND's ideological confusion and its permanent political rigidness".

    "We would like to hope that ND will succeed at least in exercising its duties as the main opposition party with elementary responsibility and will not attempt to export its crisis to society," the statement added.

    [05] Balkan Federation of NGOs conference on peace and democracy in the Balkans

    Athens, 12/06/2000 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Saturday called on the international community to increase its efforts for the economic development of Balkan nations to safeguard peace.

    Inaugurating the 3rd European Conference on Peace, Democracy and Cooperation in the Balkans, Tsohatzopoulos said: "We have intervention by all the international organizations in the Balkans today. We call on the international community to intensify its efforts in the field of economic development to safeguard peace as well, otherwise protectorates will be created."

    The conference was organized by the Federation of Balkan Non-Governmental Organizations with assistance by the Greek Movement for Peace, Human Rights and National Independence (KEADEA).

    The conference, sponsored by Council of Europe secretary general Walter Schwimmer, focused on "the successful implementation of the Stability Pact in southeastern Europe."

    Tsohatzopoulos said the Stability Pact's prospects are increasing all the time and added that it is developing into a useful implement.

    [06] Christodoulos says Church wants dialogue over divisive ID issue

    Athens, 12/06/2000 (ANA)

    The powerful prelate of Greece's Orthodox Church on Sunday again used the pulpit to direct criticism against the government for its intention to leave the category of religious affiliation off new state-mandated ID cards.

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos began his sermon at a packed downtown Athens Cathedral by saying that Orthodoxy and Hellenism have always "proceeded together".

    "This association has never hurt anyone. Conversely, it has benefited both Orthodoxy and Hellenism."

    Christodoulos also said the issue of new IDs sans religious affiliation in the predominately Orthodox Christian nation of around 11 million is just but one "corner stone" projected to be "demolished", with others to follow.

    "Other corner stones will follow. That's our fear... We're not ayatollahs; we're not fanatics, as some have accused us. We want Greece to remain as it is. For us to proceed within the European Union with our uniqueness and not be absorbed. We don't want to jointly rule, as some have accused us," the Archbishop said, adding:

    "We don't dispute the government's right to rule. What to we want? Dialogue... we're not politicizing the gatherings, neither are we calling them rallies, we're calling them 'people's assemblies'."

    [07] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos outlines Patriarchate's targets

    ISTANBUL, 12/06/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos said on Sunday the Ecumenical Patriarchate's activities focus on "the unity of Orthodox Churches, the dissemination of the Orthodox Christian message and the promotion of saints."

    Speaking at a reception at the Phanar on the occasion of his name day, the Ecumenical Patriarch said it "is not permissible for us to abandon the sermon on the word of God for any other service of lesser significance."

    Deputy Foreign Minister Angeliki Laiou, who represented the Greek government at the event, addressing the Patriarch said: "You are a personality of global standing and you have given even greater radiance to the supreme institution of Orthodoxy with your initiatives and activities."

    "With the moderation and wisdom characterizing your holiness, you have been the first preacher for rapprochement between the two countries of Greece and Turkey in difficult times," Laiou also said.

    [08] Press Minister calls for cooperation to strengthen the TV communication model

    Athens, 12/06/2000 (ANA)

    Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas committed himself to clarify the TV scene at both national and regional level with the criterion of merit, while speaking at the Regional Greek TV conference in Irakleio on Saturday.

    Reppas called for cooperation to strengthen the TV communication model, adding that decentralization will pave the way for balanced development and true democracy.

    He said that, unlike Europe, there is a marginalization of regional media in Greece and that it is the duty of the state to help the effort to prevent this danger which is a drawback for the development process.

    Reppas stressed the need for regional media in particular to promote local cultural elements and particularities, whose composition shapes the national identity.

    [09] Target is for 50 percent of Greeks to have access to Internet by 2006, conference told

    Athens, 12/06/2000 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis' adviser on informatics, George Papaconstantinou, said on Saturday one of the government's main targets for the development of the informatics society is for 50 percent of Greeks to have access to the Internet by the year 2006. At present, 13 percent of Greeks have an electronic computer and only 5 percent access to the Internet.

    Papaconstantinou made the statement during an address at the 2nd Inter-Balkan Information Forum taking place in Thessaloniki, northern Greece.

    He said that, according to all indicators, Greece is last in the European Union regarding the "assimilation" of the Informatics Society. However, the rate of development has improved in past years and is about to exceed the average rate of European development in the informatics sector.

    [10] Collin McRay wins 47th Rally Acropolis

    Athens, 12/06/2000 (ANA)

    Collin McRay won the 47th Rally Acropolis, which came to an end in Itea on Sunday. The British driver left Carlos Sainz, who also belongs to the Ford team, in second place.

    Sainz reduced his tempo in the last special route at the order of their team and let McRay, who was leading during the biggest part of the race, come first. Juha Kankounen from Finland (Subaru) came third.

    [11] President Clerides sends message of condolences on Assad's death

    NICOSIA, 12/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriots participate in the mourning of the people of Syria over Saturday's death of their President, Hafez al-Assad, said President Glafcos Clerides.

    In a message of condolences which was sent to Haysam Douehi, Minister to the President of the Syrian Arab Republic, the president notes that "it was with profound grief that we received the sad news of the passing away of the great leader of Syria, President Hafez al-Assad who for many years led the people of Syria with great dedication and wisdom".

    "Please convey to his family my condolences and sympathy. The people of Cyprus participate in the mourning of the people of Syria. May he rest in peace", concludes, President Clerides.

    On his part, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said Cyprus hoped that the dynamic for a peaceful solution of the Middle East issue would be continued by President Hafez al-Assad's successors.

    In a statement, Papapetrou said "the government of the Republic of Cyprus and the people of Cyprus were deeply saddened to hear about the death of President of the Syrian Arab Republic, Hafez Al-Assad.

    "The long stay in the presidency of Syria of Hafez al-Assad, marked the friendship and cooperation between the two peoples and governments. Hafez al-Assad was actively involved in efforts for peace in the Middle East", Papapetrou said.

    "Although his death marks an entire era, Cyprus hopes that the dynamic for a peaceful solution of the Middle East issue will be continued by his successors", the spokesman concluded.

    Cyprus' representation at the funeral, which will be held on Tuesday, will be announced on Monday.

    [12] Kasoulides criticizes UN Secretariat

    NICOSIA, 12/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides criticized the United Nations Secretariat for including the Secretary-General's addendum, which reflected the positions of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Kasoulides made the statement on Friday in view of the Security Council resolution for the renewal of the mandate of UNFICYP, which ends on June 15.

    "What the UN Secretariat should understand is that the political positions of both sides and their efforts to achieve political advantages should not be reflected in UN documents".

    "The UN have specific mandate from Security Council resolutions and should reflect exactly the Council's resolutions", adding that "at this moment, there are serious deliberations over the UN resolution which will be published".

    "It should not be derived from UN documents that they (UN) grant any advantage to either side because they will lessen the chances of a successful dialogue", the minister said.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third.

    [13] Social Democrats hold first electoral conference

    NICOSIA, 12/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    President of the Movement of Social Democrats, Vassos Lyssarides, said on Sunday the movement is being established in Cyprus with principles which conform with modern needs, that is renewed structure and wider prospects.

    Speaking during the first electoral conference of the movement,

    Lyssarides said the forthcoming parliamentary elections will be decisive for the movement and expressed the hope "we will succeed because we have complete proposals".

    He said that after next year's parliamentary elections, there should be a new charter for the Movement and then an electoral conference should be held based on the new charter with clear provisions on the duties of each party official.

    During the conference, representative of Greek ruling PASOK party, Yiannis Nicolaou, conveyed a message from Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    "Our patriotic solidarity and cooperation is well known", Nicolaou said, adding that "the main national issue is the Cyprus problem" and that "we remain committed until justice prevails".

    "We never forget that the Cyprus problem is a problem of invasion" and that there are new prospects before us with Cyprus' accession to the European Union, he added.

    Movement of Social Democrats coordinator, Yiannakis Omirou was proclaimed Deputy President since he had no opponents.

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