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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-16

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] EMU accession Greece's biggest leap forward ever Simitis
  • [02] Mitsotakis, Papantoniou in verbal melee over Commercial bank affair
  • [03] Church rally highlights opposition to dropping religion from IDs, gov't remains adamant
  • [04] PASOK Central Committee secretary general Skandalidis criticizes Church over identity card issue
  • [05] Replay of terrorist murder
  • [06] US fears of terrorism excessive, report says NEW
  • [07] FM Papandreou underlines need for substantive talks on Cyprus issue
  • [08] Papadopoulos criticizes private health sector
  • [09] Gov't rules out dialogue with ex-king over property lawsuit
  • [10] Greek stocks continue moving higher
  • [11] Bulgarian parliament amends law after OTE, KPN request
  • [12] Intracom chief to stand trial over misleading ad before bourse entry
  • [13] Greek exports down over three years
  • [14] South Africa agrees to stop producing ouzo over next five years
  • [15] British doctor will swim from Delos to Paros to promote return of Parthenon Marbles
  • [16] Three men arrested for copyright violation and forgery
  • [17] Dimitris Katrivanos requests special measures for combatting heat wave and forest fires
  • [18] Interior Minister V. Papandreou inaugurates conference on violence in the family
  • [19] Banks to sponsor seminars on dangers of drug abuse
  • [20] Creation of European research sector discussed at Research Council
  • [21] Cyprus satisfied with UN resolution
  • [22] Luxembourg welcomes Cyprus progress in accession negotiations

  • [01] EMU accession Greece's biggest leap forward ever Simitis

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Greece's incorporation to the euro zone next year represents a huge qualitative change for the country in political and economic terms, amounting to the biggest developmental leap forward in its history, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Thursday.

    "There are watersheds in the history of nations which mark an end, in both real and symbolic terms, while also setting the foundations for hopeful and optimistic continuity and prospects... Greece has successfully met its biggest peacetime challenge, winning a place in the group of most developed and powerful countries on earth. We have at last ceased living on borrowed money," he said in a lecture on the subject of "EMU: Greece and Europe, the beginning of a new challenge," just a few days before Greece's accession to the euro zone is formally approved by the EU summit in Feira, Portugal. The lecture was sponsored by the National Bank of Greece.

    Simitis said the role of the nation state was not abolished in European integration but would continue in parallel with the role of supranational organs.

    "The role of the nation state is and will remain significant; it is transformed and not shrunk. The nation state must continue providing the basic functional element in the political union, with full implementation of the principle of subsidiary," he said.

    Simitis mentioned unemployment and social exclusion as problems of the utmost priority for the European Union.

    "The Union must have a strong social content with policies leading to full employment, and against poverty and social exclusion. The European social model must be retained," he said.

    Referring to Greece's new era inside EMU, Simitis detailed the government's goals as follows:

    First, the promotion of development and social cohesion and justice with a view to achieving a standard of living equal to the European average by the end of the decade.

    Second, the promotion of reforms for more democracy and stronger institutions in the service of the citizen, and

    Third, the consolidation of the country as a factor of security, stability and peace in the region.

    Outlining his vision of the European Union, the prime minister said it should be a pole of stability in a multicentric international system, should gradually include all European countries that have completed the processes of adjustment to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and possess strong supranational institutions with democratic legitimacy.

    "We need a strong political center next to EMU and its mechanisms but also vis-a-vis the problems arising from globalization," he said.

    Greece in favor of fundamental rights charter's inclusion in new EU treaty: Greece is in favor of a binding character of the charter on fundamental rights and its inclusion in the new EU treaty that will result from the Union's Intergovernmental conference, Alternate Foreign Minister Elisavet Papazoi said on Thursday.

    Referring to other issues, Papazoi said Greece was also in favor of the "one commissioner from each member-state" arrangement

    [02] Mitsotakis, Papantoniou in verbal melee over Commercial bank affair

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Former premier and honorary president of main-opposition New Democracy, Constantine Mitsotakis, on Thursday lashed out at National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, accusing him of being unable to handle criticism, following the latter's response to Mitsotakis' statements on the Commercial Bank of Greece.

    Mitsotakis had said that the bank was still being run by party politics, with more than 100 able executives languishing "on ice" - something that Mitsotakis claimed was tantamount to a "breach of faith" against the bank's shareholders.

    The bank last week reached an agreement to sell a 6.7 percent stake to Credit Agricol of France.

    Mitsotakis said that the Commercial Bank's president had described the terms of the agreement as "colonial" and pointed out that the bank's share price had dropped by 4 per cent in a single morning, even as the national economy minister was celebrating the sale.

    The former premier described as lies Papantoniou's claim that his 1990-1993 ND government had brought the country's economy to the verge of bankruptcy.

    Papantoniou: In answer to the above comments, the economy minister responded on Thursday by accusing Mitsotakis of envying the success of the government's economic policy, and of criticizing it for petty party political reasons.

    According to Papantoniou, the state of the Greek economy in 1993 had been painted in the darkest colors by international financial organizations and "could not be covered by lies". Ruling PASOK, he continued, had managed over the last six years to reverse this negative course and lead the country to Economic and Monetary Union without terms and conditions.

    "This is a milestone in modern Greek history," he added.

    Accusing Mitsotakis of envying this success and of not acknowledging it for party political reasons, Papantoniou urged the former premier to not "challenge the truth".

    [03] Church rally highlights opposition to dropping religion from IDs, gov't remains adamant

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Tensions between the government and the Orthodox Church's hierarchy reached fever pitch on Thursday with the holding of a massive out-door rally to protest the announced exclusion of religious affiliation from new police-issued ID cards.

    Several metropolitan bishops of the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece addressed the flag-waving crowd gathered in the northern port city of Thessaloniki's main square, with the Church's outspoken Prelate, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, leading the barrage on the government's decision not to list personal data on the new IDs.

    In response, several ministers and the government spokesman on Thursday publicly criticized the rally and questioned whether the Church hierarchy was attempting to assume a political stature.

    "The expediency of yesterday's (Wednesday's) rally and mobilization by the Church leadership is obvious, and it's nothing other than to claim a role alien to the Church's tradition and mission," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Thursday during his regular press briefing.

    He added, however, that he doesn't consider that a conflict between the Church and state exists, saying such a relationship would be inadmissible.

    Reppas specified that the government is "always open to dialogue with the Church, however, it will not create a framework for dialogue or negotiations of a political nature."

    In terms of dialogue, the spokesman said the Church should follow such path, without touching on "the issue of IDs", he clarified.

    While ruling out a compromise on the ID issue, Reppas noted that the issues for dialogue dealt with canon law, parochial education and development projects for the Orthodox Church. He also stressed that Articles III and XIII of the Constitution referring to Church-state relations are not up for revision by the current Parliament.

    Christodoulos-Paschalidis meeting: During his departure from Thessaloniki on Thursday afternoon, Christodoulos also had a one-hour conversation with Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis at the city's "Macedonia Airport".

    According to press reports, during their talks the two men reportedly discussed methods of reducing tension between the sides. The discussion reportedly continued during a flight to Athens, as the two sat next to each other.

    [04] PASOK Central Committee secretary general Skandalidis criticizes Church over identity card issue

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Ruling PASOK party Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis on Thursday sharply criticized the Church Hierarchy over its position on the issue of identity cards and Wednesday's rally in Thessaloniki, but left the door open to dialogue with the Church on whatever issue except that of identity cards which he termed as being "locked."

    "The Hierarchy, wishing to face constitutional and legal deadlocks existing both at national and European level, proceeded with actions which do not honor it. This deadlock cannot be covered with political rallies and fiery speeches," he said.

    Skandalidis, who was addressing a meeting of PASOK's Prefectural Council of Thessaloniki, also referred to the issue of terrorism and said that what the American side said about "members of the Greek government knowing the terrorists" was a "joke", adding that it would be absurd for the government not to want to handle this problem.

    The government and the Greek police will continue the struggle against terrorism with all the means and capabilities at their disposal, he said.

    [05] Replay of terrorist murder

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    A police anti-terrorism squad early Thursday re-enacted the killing of a British diplomat in Athens by a terrorist organization, in a drive to "sensitize" public opinion and prompt eye-witnesses to come forward, a police spokesman told ANA.

    The diplomat, British defense attache Brig. Stephen Saunders, was shot and fatally injured last Thursday morning by two gunmen on a motorcycle as he was driving alone from his home in Nea Erythrea to the British embassy in downtown Athens. The notorious "November 17" terrorist organization claimed the attack in a proclamation to the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" published Friday.

    Anti-terrorism police placed a car, with a giant picture of Saunders, at the precise spot where the "November 17" gunmen fatally shot Saunders on the Kifissias highway just a few hundred meters from the private Hygeia hospital, and videotaped the area and the re-enaction.

    Employees of an advertising agency at the same time passed out leaflets in the area to pedestrians and drivers appealing to anyone who had seen something or had any knowledge about the murder to go to the police with their information.

    The re-enaction, a first of its kind for the Greek police, was carried out at the recommendation of British Scotland Yard officers assisting in the investigation of Saunders' killing, who say that this method has frequently produced results in investigations of IRA killings.

    The re-enaction took about an hour, and was held at the exact hour the killing took place as it was considered highly likely that commuters who were there at the time of the killing would be passing by again.

    Gov't comments on Papandreou meeting with US ambassador: The Greek government on Thursday said the US ambassador to Athens expressed Washington's concerns over terrorism during a recent meeting the envoy had with Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said US ambassador Nicholas Burns also told Papandreou that the US administration isn't planning to take any administrative sanctions against Greece following last week's deadly terrorist strike against a British diplomat.

    The notorious "November 17" urban terrorist group gunned down Britain's defense attache in Greece, Brig. Stephen Saunders, while he was driving alone on a congested Athens highway Thursday morning.

    [06] US fears of terrorism excessive, report says NEW

    YORK, 16/06/2000 (ANA- M. Georgiadou)

    The Wall Street Journal carried a report on Thursday by Bilt Bearden and Larry Johnson, former CIA officials, where they express the view that fears of terrorist threats against the US, as stated in the report of the National Committee on Terrorism, are excessive.

    "US government statistics show that deaths from terrorist acts worldwide dropped from about 5,000 in the 1980s to 2,500 in the 1990s," the authors say.

    They also note that no American life was lost in a terrorist action in 1999.

    [07] FM Papandreou underlines need for substantive talks on Cyprus issue

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou expressed the hope that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will go to next month's UN-led peace talks with a view for substantive negotiations and not with demands for recognition of his self-styled state.

    "This is where we will see whether the will is there. Obviously, I do not necessarily expect that in a round of talks, all the problems will be settled but if this process sets off in a substantive manner, it will signal an important indication that the will to move towards a common Europe exists," Papandreou said in an interview to an Athens radio station.

    He said in Europe there are no dividing walls, Greeks and Turks and the Balkan region can live without divisions.

    Papandreou's comments come in the wake of statements by the Turkish side that it wants to interrupt the UN-led peace talks, scheduled to start on 5 July in Geneva, and following the withdrawal by the UN of an addendum to the Security Council resolution renewing the mandate of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus.

    The addendum, introduced last December, noted the Turkish position backing Turkish Cypriots' demands that UNFICYP consults with them on the modalities of the force's operation in the northern Turkish occupied part of Cyprus.

    UNFICYP's mandate is renewed following consultations with the government of the Cyprus Republic, as stipulated in UN resolution 186, which decided the dispatch of the force to Cyprus in March 1964.

    [08] Papadopoulos criticizes private health sector

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Health Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, addressing a conference organized by the "Economist" on Thursday, said the permanent slandering of the National Health System (ESY) should stop and added that the private health sector, with few exceptions, provides a moderate to unacceptably low level of services.

    Papadopoulos said that ESY, despite problems it is faced with, would not shrink or become obsolete. He added that people treated as outpatients increased 16 percent between 1993 and 1998 and patients who were kept for treatment increased by 30 percent, while the average period of treatment decreased to 5.5 days from 7.5 days. He also disclosed that uninsured people alone, primarily economic migrants, cost ESY more than 25 billion drachmas a year.

    "Our country has one of the biggest private sectors in health compared to other European countries," Papadopoulos said and wondered whether the real health needs of the Greek population justify this big sector which operates parallel to ESY and as a supplement.

    [09] Gov't rules out dialogue with ex-king over property lawsuit

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    The government on Thursday reiterated that there's no chance of dialogue commencing between the Greek State and Greece's deposed ex-king over the latter's demand to reclaim property in the country.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statement during a regular press briefing in Athens.

    The European Court of Human Rights was the scene on Wednesday for the latest court battle-pitting ex-king Constantine against the Greek State.

    Constantine and eight members of his family filed a claim over three large tracts of property three years after Greece's Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a 1994 law seizing the former monarch's estate.

    The law cleared the way for the properties - including the summer estate of Tatoi, outside Athens - to revert to the Greek State.

    Athens has long argued that the thousands of hectares of land and two residences in question were only allocated to the royal family while they ruled, without however, ever being turned over to them as personal holdings. Attorneys representing the government have also cited the historical and archaeological significance of the properties for the state.

    On his part, Constantine -- who fled Greece in 1967 after a failed royalist counter-coup against a military junta ruling the country at the time -- argues that the law violates his right to ownership as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and that his ancestors actually purchased the properties.

    [10] Greek stocks continue moving higher

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended higher on Thursday, extending their previous day's gains on the Athens Stock Exchange with the market facing stiff resistance at the 4,450 level.

    Dealers said that from a technical point of view the market could break this resistance level only if turnover steadied above 200 billion drachmas.

    The general index ended at 4,393,08 points, up 0.61 percent, but off the day's highs of 4,430.64 points hit by losses in blue chip stocks, particularly in the banks sector.

    Turnover was a moderate 160 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.25 percent higher at 2,424.71 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index rose 0.76 percent to 642.40.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Bank: 8,199.19

    -0.25% Leasing: 885.67 -0.86% Insurance: 2,915.36

    +0.13% Investment: 1,765.96 +1.17% Construction:

    2,483.21 +2.25% Industrials: 2,706.81 +0.89% Miscellaneous: 4,643.05 +0.92% Holding: 4,975.00 +0.82%

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 916.67 points, up 0.67 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 239 to 98 with another 10 issues unchanged.

    Naoussa Spinning, Hellenic Telecoms, Doudos (ex-dividend) and Klonatex were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Leading shares' closing prices (in Drs): National Bank: 15,550 Alpha Bank: 14,760 Commercial Bank:

    17,200 Ergobank: 7,015 Eurobank: 9,855 Heracles Cement: 8,430 Titan Cement (c): 14,035 Hellenic Telecoms: 9,020 Panafon: 4,410 Hellenic Petroleum:

    4,210 Intracom: 14,110 Minoan Lines: 5,450 Hellenic Bottling: 5,820

    Equity futures rise in line with indices: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished higher on Thursday, tracking the two indices on which they are based.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 closed 0.25 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0.76 percent higher.

    Turnover was 10.8 billion drachmas from 15.5 billion drachmas a day earlier.

    A total of 1,343 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with turnover at 6.5 billion drachmas.

    Changing hands on the FTSE/ASE 40 were 1,695 futures on turnover of 4.3 billion drachmas.

    Bond prices nose up in buy-oriented trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday finished higher in light trade.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.046 percent from 6.07 percent in the previous session; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.176 percent.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 87 basis points from 90 basis points a day earlier.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 74 billion drachmas from 60 billion drachmas in the previous session.

    Buy orders accounted for 52 billion drachmas of turnover.

    Drachma drops vs. euro, dollar: The drachma on Thursday 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 336.650 drachmas from 336.370 drachmas in the previous session.

    Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 353.600 drachmas from 349.150 drachmas a day earlier.

    [11] Bulgarian parliament amends law after OTE, KPN request

    SOFIA, 16/06/2000 (ANA-B.Borisov)

    The Bulgarian parliament on Thursday amended legislation on the restructuring and privatization of state enterprises following a request by the potential buyers of the state's BTC telecom.

    Involved in lengthy, complex negotiations for BTC are Hellenic Telecommunications Organization of Greece and KPN telecom of the Netherlands, making a joint bid.

    The two firms had sought the legal changes in order to secure a more stable economic environment for their planned investment.

    [12] Intracom chief to stand trial over misleading ad before bourse entry

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    The chairman of the Intracom group, Socrates Kokkalis, and the board of the group's Intralot gaming subsidiary, were charged on Thursday with engaging in misleading advertising before the company's flotation on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) last autumn.

    Kokkalis and Intralot's board were ordered to stand trial before a three-member Athens Misdemeanors Court in October in connection with a full-page advertisement run in the months before Intralot was to enter the ASE.

    According to the charges, the advertisement aimed to inform prospective investors about the company's products, such as the "Stihima" football and basketball pools and "Xysto" scratch lottery. At the same time, however, it allegedly implied Intralot's ownership of other games of chance, such as the "Propo" football pools, "Lotto" and "Joker" games that belong to the Organization for Football Game Forecasts (OPAP) and the "Ganian", "Didymo" and "Trikat" betting games that are supported and operated by the Greek Horseracing Organization (ODIE).

    The advert, which might be considered misleading to investors, prompted the public prosecutor's office to carry out a preliminary investigation, which found that it contravened a 1928 law on accurate press releases by companies applying for entry into the stock exchange. The law in question carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for any business issuing inaccurate press releases for the purpose of unfair gain.

    [13] Greek exports down over three years

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Greek exports dropped over three years, the Association of Northern Greek Industrialists said on Thursday.

    In 1998, exports totalled 10.7 billion US dollars, or 8.9 percent of gross domestic product, with the average for the world's 48 leading exporting countries at 30.7 percent, the association said in a statement.

    In 1994-1999, the average annual rise in Greek exports was 2.1 percent while the world market showed an annual average rise of 8.3 percent.

    On the basis of the average annual rise, Greece ranked 35th out of the 48 countries and 115th worldwide, the statement said.

    This meant that a national policy for exports was needed, the association said.

    [14] South Africa agrees to stop producing ouzo over next five years

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    South Africa will gradually stop producing and selling ouzo over the next five years, in accordance with an agreement on wines and alcoholic beverages concluded with the European Union, the European Commission announced on Thursday.

    The agreement on wines and alcoholic beverages is part of a general trade deal between the EU and South Africa that the EU General Affairs Council reached on February 14. Its implementation had been delayed, however, by South Africa's objections to the protection accorded to ouzo and grappa as traditional products.

    The agreement for alcoholic beverages and wines will officially go into effect on September 1, after the EU Ministers Council ratifies it.

    [15] British doctor will swim from Delos to Paros to promote return of Parthenon Marbles

    LONDON, 16/06/2000 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    British doctor Christopher Stockdale, 57, from Birmingham will swim from Delos to Paros, a distance of 35 kilometers, on the morning of July 1 to impress upon international public opinion the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

    "What I hope to achieve is to point out on the part of art the situation concerning the Marbles. I think that the Acropolis and the Parthenon are the symbol of the start to western civilization. It is a wonderful historical monument and I think that the return of the Marbles gives our country the opportunity to shake the hands of cultural friendship with the friendly Greeks and give a fair end to the issue of the Marbles," he told a press conference on Thursday.

    Stockdale revealed that the idea to swim the distance between Delos and Paros for the Parthenon Marbles had been proposed to him by his friend Greek orthopedic doctor Yiannis Polyzoidis, which he accepted immediately.

    "At first, I knew very little about the Parthenon Marbles. However, when I preoccupied myself with the issue and learnt more, I felt that it would be a great privilege and honor for me to be linked to this cause. I am aware that a political issue also exists on the Parthenon Marbles and their return, from which I wish to distance myself," he said.

    [16] Three men arrested for copyright violation and forgery

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Three men have been arrested in the Agia Varvara district for running a laboratory-reproducing pirate digital disks, in violation of copyright laws, and for forgery. They are Gerasimos Mavrakis, 19, his brother Panayiotis, 28, and Chrysovalantis Kerezis, 25.

    Police found and confiscated three machines reproducing digital disks, a machine reading digital disks, 1,250 pirated digital disks, 480 empty CD holders and 800 blank digital disks.

    [17] Dimitris Katrivanos requests special measures for combatting heat wave and forest fires

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Civil protection secretary general Dimitris Katrivanos has addressed an urgent circular to the public order and health ministries, as well as to prefectures in the country, calling for special measures to be taken to prevent forest fires.

    Katrivanos called for implementation of the Xenokratis emergency plan, following weather reports that the heat will continue throughout the country on Friday, while temperatures are expected to reach 39C in parts of central and southern Greece.

    However, weather conditions are expected to change in northern Greece as of Friday night. Gale force northerly winds will reach force 9 in the Aegean over the weekend and temperatures will decrease considerably all over the country.

    Consequently, the ministries and relevant bodies should take suitable action to protect the population, as well as to prevent forest fires.

    [18] Interior Minister V. Papandreou inaugurates conference on violence in the family

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Vasso Papandreou on Thursday inaugurated the two-day conference on "Breaking silence-Violence in the family", organized by the Equality General Secretariat.

    "Abuse of the unequal distribution of authority in the family is the cause of cases of violence against women," she said, adding that "violence against women is the expression of the historically-ascertained inequality in relations of power between men and women and discriminations against women resulting in the prevention of their development."

    Papandreou said that researchers have indicated that 75 percent of men ill-treating their wives had witnessed the ill treatment of their mother by their father. A total of 50 percent of under aged perpetrators are children which experienced violence in the family, while the majority of parents ill-treating their children were themselves victims of parental ill-treatment.

    [19] Banks to sponsor seminars on dangers of drug abuse

    Athens, 16/06/2000 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Bank Association (EET) is planning to play an active role in a campaign to inform the public on the dangers of drug abuse, according to an announcement on Thursday.

    EET will join forces with local government to organize briefing seminars in isolated communities, starting in Epirus and moving on to Thrace.

    Special EET lecturer Iraklis Logothetis will present the briefing material, including audiovisual and printed matter. The total package has been approved by the Educational Institute as being suitable for informing and sensitizing students, teachers and parents on drugs.

    During a meeting in Ioannina on Thursday, a representative of the EET and Logothetis met with the leaders of 11 communities in the Ioannina and Thesprotia prefectures to plan the local seminars.

    [20] Creation of European research sector discussed at Research Council

    BRUSSELS, 16/06/2000 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The creation of a European research sector was the main topic of discussion at the Research Council on Thursday, while Research and Technology general secretary Dimitris Deniozos represented Greece.

    Ministers laid the foundations for the creation of a European Research and Innovation Sector with a resolution adopted by the Council. Action endorsed at the present phase is related, among others, to the coordination of national policies, the lifting of obstacles for researchers' movement in the European Union and support for private investments through the exchange of better practices on issues concerning technology and innovation and with incentives being provided for launching new high technology businesses.

    The Research and Technology secretary general, as did the representatives of the other member-states, supported the creation of the European research sector.

    He further said that, for the application of relevant decisions, special attention should be paid to selecting comparative assessment indicators and greater emphasis should be placed on tapping the results of research.

    [21] Cyprus satisfied with UN resolution

    NICOSIA, 16/06/2000(CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus government has expressed satisfaction with Security Council resolution 1303 renewing for a further six-month period the mandate of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and is now concentrating its attention on the resumption of the UN-proximity talks on July 5 in Geneva.

    "The government is satisfied with the way things developed in New York and is concentrating its attention to the third round of the talks and the need for both sides to come forward with an intention to negotiate substantially to break the deadlock over the Cyprus problem", Cyprus Government Michalis Papapetrou said on Thursday.

    The spokesman conveyed the government's praise over the way the Republic's diplomatic services and especially Cyprus' Permanent Mission at the UN, together with the respective Greek Mission, "gave a coordinated battle with great success".

    The Security Council approved unanimously on Wednesday resolution 1303 extending UNFICYP's mandate for another six months, after the Cyprus government gave its consent following a diplomatic battle not to include an addendum to the Secretary-General's report with a Turkish Cypriot demand for separate consultations with UNFICYP.

    Nicosia strongly opposed the inclusion of the addendum in the resolution because it said it was part of efforts by the Turkish Cypriot side to secure recognition of the illegal regime unilaterally set up in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

    Asked what guarantees the government has that the addendum, which was reflecting the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side, will not come up in the future, the spokesman said the government gave its consent "under certain conditions. Therefore if any of these conditions are not kept, the consent automatically stops".

    He warned that "if any approach aims at a direct or indirect recognition of the illegal regime, it will be confronted with the same firm resistance from our side, which will not accept it".

    Papapetrou added the government handled the issue correctly and it is "satisfied with the final position taken by the UN Secretariat and the Security Council on the issue".

    "There is no evidence or reason to doubt what the Security Council decided unanimously and which our side considers as a satisfactory resolution of the whole issue", Papapetrou noted.

    Asked to comment on a statement by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that he wanted to interrupt for a week the third round of proximity talks scheduled to begin on July 5 in Geneva to attend "celebrations" in the occupied areas for the Turkish invasion of the island, the Cypriot official said President Glafcos Clerides had given his consent for substantial negotiations and to stay in Geneva for the whole of July, as the UN had asked.

    "He was not officially informed about a change of this arrangement. He is ready, but he will take a position if and when such an issue is raised", the spokesman said.

    Two rounds of UN-led proximity talks to prepare the ground for meaningful negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement have already been held in December last year and in February.

    [22] Luxembourg welcomes Cyprus progress in accession negotiations

    LUXEMBOURG, 16/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Luxembourg's Vice President and Foreign Minister Lydi Polfer has welcomed the progress Cyprus has achieved in its accession negotiations with the European Union and said her country backs Cyprus' EU membership.

    Plofer met here on Thursday Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who attended the Intergovernmental Conference in Luxembourg and had a series of meetings with EU and other officials.

    The two ministers discussed institutional change within the EU, common foreign and security policy and tax policy, areas in which Nicosia and Luxembourg share the same views.

    Kasoulides thanked Plofer for the start of accession negotiations which was decided at the EU Luxembourg summit in December 1997.

    He briefed her on developments in the Cyprus question and explained that EU membership is very important for peace, stability and prosperity.

    Prospects of accession and accession itself will serve as a catalyst towards a Cyprus solution, he added.

    While in Luxembourg, Kasoulides met the two vice presidents of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ben Fayot and Narred Glesener.

    Fayot told the minister the Parliament in Luxembourg believes each candidate country should be judged on its own merits and in the case of Cyprus, there are no specific difficulties in its accession course.


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