|Thursday, 23 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-24
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Prodi notes "general satisfaction" with Greece's EMU accession.Athens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
European Commission President Romano Prodi said on Friday that there was a climate of happiness for Greece's entry to the euro zone and that the development caused no fears for the country.
"There is a feeling of general satisfaction with what the country has achieved. The climate of cooperation has been very good and there is a very constructive atmosphere. It was a highly significant goal and this was shown from its attainment," he said at a press conference at the end of his one-day visit to Athens, where he addressed an event at the city's university with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
"It is wonderful for 12 countries to have a common currency. It took 50 years to arrive at the euro," he added.
Prodi said the European Union attributed great significance to the Mediterranean basin, noting that the volume of trade from Mediterranean ports was increasing rapidly but more was needed to be done.
"We need a qualitative leap in this area, which does not only concern trade, but a more general cooperation of the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, leading to the building of institutional cooperation for the growth of investment and trade among many agencies and countries," he said.
Prodi noted fast progress in the negotiations for E.U. membership of Cyprus.
"We shall give strong support to Cyprus. The solution of the political problem is not in the hands of the Commission, and I regret that the progress recorded in Cyprus's negotiations with the E.U., is not matched by progress on the political issue," he said.
Responding to other reporters' questions, Prodi acknowledged there had been delays regarding the Thessaloniki-based Balkan Reconstruction Organization.
"I fully agree there has been a delay. Member-states put brakes on this procedure, because they had conflicting interests", he said.
He further noted that the Stability Pact for SE Europe had developed its own momentum and would fulfill a hugely important role in the Balkans.
 Simitis and Romano Prodi address Athens University gathering on European challenges after Greece's euro zone entryAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
European Commission President Romano Prodi and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis were both guest speakers at an event organized by the Athens University on Friday, which focused on Greece within the EMU, the challenges within Europe, the Greek economy and its adoption of the euro.
In a brief opening address, Athens University dean Constantine Dimopoulos stressed that Greece's entry into EMU was achieved thanks to the unrelentingly methodical approach and flexibility of the Greek government. He also underlined the need to immediately proceed with structural reforms and particularly to tackle bureaucracy, which he described as "the gangrene of public life".
The university, the dean concluded, would do its best to help Greeks acquire a "European consciousness".
The gathering was then addressed by the prime minister, who spoke about the challenges that lay before Greece and Europe.
Simitis placed particular emphasis on why he disagreed with Greece's "eurosceptics" and the argument that greater involvement in Europe meant surrendering Greece's national identity.
According to prime minister, those who said that "international solutions, international cooperation and unification with Europe in more and more sectors mean a loss of our nation's existence", have forgotten that "the nation" has existed without the "nation-state".
"The loss of our existence as a nation is, with mathematical certainty, the consequence of a policy of fear and isolationism", Simitis said.
A country that is declining, that is losing its political, social and economic capacity to withstand the pressures of its environment, is no longer in a position to defend its identity, its presence in the world and its creative contribution," the prime minister noted. The only road open to any country, but in particular Greece, he underlined, was to make a creative contribution to the "pulse of the time" and to join the large movements that are shaping the world.
"If we want to be able to control the negative consequences of internationalization, we must use the most effective weapon: inter-national cooperation. Closed borders, inwardness, nostalgia, economic and social stagnation do not lead to a creative Greece but to a downgraded Greece," Simitis said. "The conservative voices prevent Greeks from realizing their true potential. Conservatism, the fear of the new, does not concern, express or suit Greeks. This is demonstrated by Greece's success in joining EMU."
On his part, Romano Prodi described Greece's entry into EMU as an historic decision and lauded the Greek government for its great efforts to achieve this outcome.
Prodi recounted the steps that Greece had had to take (after a long period of foreign and domestic imbalances) to arrive at this point, the radically changed performance of the Greek economy that had transformed today's Greece into a country with significant potential.
Today, as Prodi stressed, there is a climate of stability and also a feeling of confidence in Greek economic policy. "The Greek government gained this confidence through the right combination of political measures and its consistent application of convergence programs, especially after 1995."
Referring extensively to the country's economic indices, the Commission president did not forget to mention the preparations being made for the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, explaining that intense effort was needed to complete all the basic infrastructure.
Prodi stressed that Greece must continue to travel the road of self-restraint; meaning relatively low wage increases, and pointed to the period of 1998.
"Greece has a very important role to play as regards E.U. relations with the rest of Europe. However, we must not rest on our laurels. The next years bring new challenges and opportunities to the euro-zone and to every country within that zone."
The spearhead of these challenges, Prodi explained, was competitiveness and for this to be achieved, particularly for Greece, certain steps had to be taken: these included decisive policies for public-sector finance, linked to a reduction in interest rates. Structural reforms had to be made, Prodi underlined, particularly in the public sector, which had to be made both cheaper to reduce public spending, and more efficient. A top priority, he added, was to restructure the country's social security system. Greece, he reiterated, had to take steps to rapidly reduce the size of its public debt.
He concluded by saying that, given the determination, the steadfast application to its goals and the political will shown by the country in pursuing EMU entry, he was certain that the prospects were bright for Greece's future.
 ND leader holds talks with European Commission presidentAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis held talks with European Commission President Romano Prodi on Friday and stressed the need for creating Europe with greater effectiveness and in which democratic representation and transparency will be safeguarded.
Karamanlis expressed support for a federal structure in which, however, the national and cultural identity of each country should be safeguarded, as well as the separation of the duties of the E.U. and member-states.
He further backed enlargement, but pointed out that caution is necessary to avert any shakiness of the European structure. He added that top priority in this direction is the accession of Cyprus, whose political issue cannot be the cause of delays since it fulfills the criteria of accession.
Karamanlis said a social Europe and the tackling of the problems of unemployment, strengthening unemployment, lifting inequalities, protecting citizens and the issue of legal and illegal immigration are a priority for his party.
He said the facing by Europe of the big challenges of the new century in the direction of environmental balance and application of new technologies is a major issue. He also said Prodi's idea for closer Mediterranean cooperation in coming years is interesting.
 Reppas says Turkey's position in efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue is negativeAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, commenting on the presence of Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus and his references to a confederation, said on Friday the position of Turkey's leadership was "absolutely negative."
Reppas said the handling of the Cyprus issue can only be carried out from the aspect of UN resolutions. He added that the mobility registered recently concerning efforts to resolve the protracted issue, was a positive event and stressed that "Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, with the policy he expresses and promotes, remain a negative factor".
He further called on the international factor to take Turkey's position into consideration and underlined the neighboring country's obligation to align itself with the international community's effort to handle the Cyprus issue.
 Cem underscores Ankara's wish for good relations with Greece, slams E.U. decision on Turkish role in ESDIISTANBUL, 24-06-2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)
Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem on Friday reiterated Turkey's intention to continue fostering "good relations with Greece." Cem was speaking at an awards ceremony for the Smyrna School of Journalism.
"Greek and Turkish rapprochement has made a positive contribution to trade, cultural and artistic relations between the two peoples on either side of the Aegean," Cem said, adding that Ankara wishes to "further promote its relations with Athens" and expressing the hope that "Greece has the same wish".
Referring to a recent decision by the E.U. Summit in Portugal regarding Turkey's role in the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), Cem stressed that Ankara views the decision negatively and said that the ESDI was being organized in the wrong way.
 ND proposes optional inclusion of religious affiliation on IdsAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Main opposition New Democracy party (ND) on Friday warned the government not to refuse discussion on a draft law it has tabled in parliament to make inclusion of religious affiliation on state-issued identity cards optional.
ND parliamentary spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that the government should not hide behind the decisions of the independent privacy protection agency and was obliged to take a stand.
In mid-May, the privacy protection agency issued a recommendation that religious affiliation should be removed from Greece's mandatory state-issued identity cards.
The government's decision to abide by the recommendation has sparked severe criticism and protests by the Greek Orthodox Church, which has warned it will take any action necessary to stop such a move.
Pavlopoulos said that ND had tabled a draft law in a bid to resolve the issue in the legislative body by making inclusion of religious affiliation optional, "in accordance with Greek and international legislation concerning the protection of sensitive personal information".
He said that a prospective abstention from or negative stance on the part of the government in the parliamentary debate on the issue, scheduled for Thursday, would "render them responsible for anything that may ensue".
ND parliamentary group secretary general Dimitris Sioufas said that the government and the prime minister had not "received the message from society", adding that the main opposition party was giving the government "the opportunity next week to return to dialogue in parliament" with the bill it has tabled.
ND officials said that although discussion of the party's draft law had been scheduled to take place in a standing parliamentary committee on Thursday, ND had yet to receive a formal reply as to whether the discussion would actually take place.
 Gov't spokesman comments on Archbishop's absence from PM's receptionAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Friday that it was not necessarily an impropriety when a guest was absent from an event for his own reasons, referring to the failure of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos to attend Prime Minister Costas Simitis' reception on Thursday to celebrate Greece's EMU entry.
The Archbishop had cited "prior commitments" as the reason for not attending.
Reppas also rejected claims that the invitation to the Archbishop had arrived late, describing them as "laughable," while he added that a letter from the Prime Minister's Office to thank the Archbishop for his message congratulating Simitis' on the country's EMU entry would be arriving in a matter of hours.
Asked whether there would be any changes to public registry documents, Reppas said that the Personal Data Protection Authority would look into the matter and that the 1997 law would be implemented in all cases.
Asked to comment on statements made by deputies of ruling PASOK asking for the resignation of Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos, the spokesman said only that different views were part of the democratic process and for this reason it was good when the views of citizens were expressed and heard.
The political parties, Reppas continued, are democratically and not dogmatically organized. On Thursday, the spokesman had said that Stathopoulos had the complete confidence of the prime minister.
 PM thanks Archbishop for his message of congratulations on country's EMU entryAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis addressed a letter to Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Friday, thanking him for the message of congratulations he had sent to him on the occasion of the country's accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
"I thank you for your kind words and wishes on the occasion of the country's accession to EMU. Our country's effort was crowned with success thanks to the perseverance of the Greek people. We are optimistic that new paths are opening in the face of the challenges of the new era and we have better conditions to achieve the progress, development and prosperity of the Greek people," the prime minister said in his letter.
 Political memorial held for PASOK founder PapandreouAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
The ruling PASOK party on Friday held a political memorial for their late founder Andreas Papandreou.
The event, marking the fourth anniversary of the former premier's death, was attended by his three sons George (Greece's current foreign minister), Nikos and Andreas and his widow, Dimitra Liani-Papandreou, as well as prime minister Costas Simitis, most of the cabinet members, a number of MPs and former close associates of Papandreou.
Simitis, who succeeded Papandreou to the party leadership in 1996 after the PASOK founder resigned due to ill health a few months before his death, spoke of the foundations for the development of the Greek economy set out by Papandreou.
He said Papandreou had set the foundations "for achieving our entry into EMU today, and with the slogan 'Greece for the Greeks' put the seal on a strong Greece".
 Turkish agriculture minister says Turkey wishes to benefit from Greece's experience in the E.U.ISTANBUL, 24-06-2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)
Turkish Agriculture Minister Yusuf Gokalp told his Greek counterpart George Anomeritis on Friday that Turkey wished to benefit from Greece's experience in the European Union, according to a report by the Anatolia news agency.
A cooperation protocol between Greece and Turkey on agricultural issues was signed during the meeting, anticipating the exchange of technical and scientific information, as well as cooperation between the two ministries in the framework of Common European Agricultural Policy.
Anomeritis will also visit the Ataturk dam in southeastern Turkey and will be briefed on the irrigation Program of Southeastern Anatolia (GAP).
 Diamantopoulou upholds E.U. principles of democracy, respect for human right and market economyISTANBUL, 24-06-2000 (ANA- A. Kourkoulas)
The European Union does not negotiate the principles of democracy, of respect for human and minority rights and of the market economy, Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou said at a seminar in Istanbul on Friday.
Diamantopoulou reminded that E.U. candidate countries must fulfill E.U. criteria on a political and institutional level.
The commissioner also said that Turkey's entry into the European Union would be to the benefit of all members.
Diamantopoulou is due to meet on Saturday with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.
 President to begin state visit to Russia on SundayAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos on Sunday begins a five-day state visit to Russia at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Stephanopoulos, who is due to arrive in Moscow on Sunday, will hold talks with Putin on bilateral relations and international issues, including the situation in the Balkans and Greek foreign policy issues.
Foreign minister George Papandreou, who will be accompanying the President, will also hold consultations with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov, while national economy deputy minister Yannis Zafiropoulos will meet with the financial ministers of the Russian government.
Stephanopoulos winds up his visit on June 29.
 State Department reiterates position on Greece's record in fighting terrorismAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
A State Department spokesman said on Thursday that a number of press reports by Wayne Merry, a former official of the US embassy in Athens, accusing Greece of unwillingness to fight terrorism, did not reflect the general stand of U.S. diplomacy towards Greece.
"No, you cannot make that assumption. We have made our position on the issue of terrorism absolutely clear and I refer you to relevant statements by the Secretary of State on the matter, " said the spokesman in response to reporters' questions.
 Exercise Cooperative Dragon 2000 starts in Tirana with participation of 14 countriesTIRANA, 24-06-2000 (ANA - Ilir Patso)
The military Exercise Cooperative Dragon 2000 started in Tirana on Friday with an official ceremony and the participation of 14 countries, four of which are NATO countries (Italy, Greece, Turkey and Britain).
Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani and Prime Minister Ilir Meta attended the ceremony, held at the military academy in Tirana. According to official sources, the exercise is aimed at upgrading the level of peacekeeping operations and the handling of humanitarian crises by NATO and partnership countries.
The exercise will be under the command of Turkish General Tamer Akbas, commander of NATO's southeastern flank.
 Karamanlis meets Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee presidentAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis met on Friday with Athens 2004 Athens Olympics Organizing Committee President Yianna Daskalaki - Angelopoulos and discussed organizational issues for the Games.
Karamanlis criticized the government for its continuous changes of people in the Athens 2004 committee, saying that they were "a confession by the government that three years have been wasted" in preparing for the Games.
The ND leader also said that his party would not "tolerate any non transparent procedures in preparations for the Games".
 Environment minister says Karla lake operation to be completed in two yearsAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said on Friday that, barring the unexpected, the operation to recreate the Karla lake in the plain of Thessaly in central Greece will be completed in two years' time. Laliotis made the announcement in the town of Volos while inaugurating a conference on the Karla lake.
The purpose of the conference was to brief agencies in the region and exchange views, as well as to satisfy a request submitted to the Environment Ministry by the European Union's Environment Department to convince its representatives participating in the conference on the project's environmental expediency, since the next phase of the lake's recreation is destined to be funded by the Cohesion Fund.
 Parliament president receives delegation from the Euro-American Women's CouncilAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanlis met on Friday with a delegation from the Euro-American Women's Council and expressed the Greek people's friendly sentiments towards all people worldwide.
The 40-member delegation represented 16 countries.
The parliament president said that the Greek people love and respect all people, irrespective of race or color, and religion, and desire peace and friendly relations with neighboring nations, in compliance with international law.
Kaklamanis reminded the delegation that northern Cyprus has been under Turkish occupation for the past 25 years, with the island's cultural heritage destroyed and looted.
 Apostolakis leaves to attend celebrations for 50th anniversary of Korean WarAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis left for South Korea on Friday in order to attend celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, at the invitation of Korean Defense Minister Sho Seong Tae.
During his visit, Apostolakis will meet his Korean counterpart Park Yong Ok and tour military and defense industry installations.
Also attending the events are dignitaries from Australia, Belgium, Britain, France, Denmark, the US, Italy, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey and the Philippines.
 Papariga addresses international meeting of communist partiesAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
The Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) policy of alliances and its prospects at national and international level were outlined Friday by KKE secretary general Aleca Papariga to the opening session of a three-day international meeting of communist parties in Athens.
Addressing representatives of 64 communist and labor parties from 53 countries throughout the world, Papariga set out three main strategy directions that could be followed by communist parties vis-à-vis alliances.
First of all, the KKE leader said, the matter of alliance policy was indivisibly linked to the parties' everyday struggles and to the end-goal of socialism "which today becomes more timely, particularly given the capitalistic restructuring under the new NATO doctrine".
Second, the discussion was not a generalized one with respect to the necessity of alliances, but was based on the specific experiences acquired by the communist parties over the last decade in many countries of the world, and which present a lack of uniformity.
Third, she continued, the policy of alliances provided a reply to the imperative question of how will it be rendered possible for peoples to obstruct and halt imperialistic policy, and how the biggest number of countries possible will be drawn out of imperialistic incorporation, dependence and subjugation.
Papariga detailed the KKE's resolution on establishing an anti-imperialism, anti-monopoly, democratic front, noting that although some steps forward were made since the party's 16th congress where the resolution was passed, the target had yet to be achieved.
She attributed the failure to achieve the target to the negative atmosphere in the trade union movement, which it blamed on the union leadership, and the climate of concession among a section of the public opinion considered to belong to the Left and progressive forces.
Papariga said the KKE would carry on the same policy at the party's next congress at the end of the year, where the results of the efforts so far would be reviewed.
 Papantoniou sees rates falling sharply by end-yearAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Friday that he saw interest rates dropping sharply by the end of the year.
"Moves in the banking sector confirm the forecast that by the end of the year there will be major developments, possibly spectacular, in banking rates," Papantoniou said in reply to a reporter's question.
"These developments bear witness to the fact that at the beginning of 2001 banking rates generally will have been roughly halved for loans, housing loans and banking activities generally," the minister added.
 Gov't to auction T-bills on TuesdayAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
An auction of 12-month, 6-month and 3-month treasury bills will be held on Tuesday, the public debt management agency said in a statement on Friday.
The government hopes to raise 90 billion drachmas from the sale, said the agency, which is part of the finance ministry.
The issue and settlement date is June 30, and commission will be paid to primary dealers, the statement said.
 Costopoulos denies plans for cooperation with Latsis groupAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Alpha Bank president Yiannis Costopoulos on Friday denied rumors of cooperation with EFG Eurobank of the Latsis group, but said Alpha had plans for further cooperative schemes with the National Bank of Greece, the country's largest.
"There are many sectors in which we both have an interest in reducing costs, but there are also other cases, such as that of the smart card, which neither could do on its own," he Finally, Costopoulos said all interest rates of Alpha's products would fall at euro zone levels by the end of the year.
 Equities drop in light tradeAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) ended lower on Friday, remaining under pressure for the fifth consecutive session as the market stayed below an earlier support level of 4,200 points.
The ASE's general share index ended at 4,145.76 points, down 1.13 percent. Turnover was light at 96 billion drachmas.
Heavily weighted banking shares were hard hit, especially blue chip National Bank of Greece, which lost 3.16 percent.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.48 percent lower at 2,292.02 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 0.67 percent to finish at 596.04 points. The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 1.85 percent down.
Of 344 stocks traded, declines led advances at 233 to 98 with 13 issues unchanged.
Most heavily traded were Ionian Invest, Naoussa Spinning Mills, National Bank of Greece, Klonatex and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization.
 Equity futures drop in line with indicesAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Friday, tracking the two indices on which they are based. The FTSE/ASE 20 closed 1.48 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0.67 percent lower.
Turnover was 9.8 billion drachmas from 7.6 billion drachmas a day earlier. A total of 1,319 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with turnover at 6.1 billion drachmas. Changing hands on the FTSE/ASE 40 were 1,547 futures on turnover of 3.7 billion drachmas.
 Bond prices end mixed in higher turnoverAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Friday finished mixed in light to moderate trade.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.101 percent from 6.073 percent in the previous session; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.24 percent. The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 86 basis points for the second straight session from 89 basis points a day earlier.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 106 billion drachmas from 76 billion drachmas in the previous session. Buy orders accounted for 54 billion drachmas of turnover.
 Drachma up vs. euro, down vs. dollarAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
The drachma on Friday rose against the euro and fell versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market. At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 336.510 drachmas from 336.550 drachmas in the previous session. Also, at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 358.950 drachmas from 358.030 drachmas a day earlier.
 Intracom, Mytilineos win defense industry privatization tenderAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
A consortium comprising Intracom, an information technology company, and Mytilineos, a metals trader, has won a tender for the partial-privatization of Hellenic Vehicles Industry SA, the national economy ministry said on Friday.
The ministry said in a statement that the consortium offered 4.15 billion drachmas for a 43 percent stake in the defense industry, much higher than the company's valuation, and its technical bid was satisfactory.
A sale contract is expected to be signed in coming weeks, the statement said.
The government's advisers in the sale were Credit Commerciale de France and Eurocorp SA.
Both Intracom and Mytilineos are listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.
 Panafon lowers charge for pre-paid mobile phone serviceAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Panafon, one of the country's three mobile phone operators, announced it will cut the calling charge for its A La Carte pre-paid service, effective on Saturday.
The new lower rate for Panafon's card mobile phone is 2.3 drachmas per second for nationwide calls, the company said in a statement on Friday.
For international calls, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization plus a 2.3 drachma surcharge base the tariff on that set, the statement said.
 Valkan Export company to receive International Award for QualityAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
The Valkan Export company is among companies due to receive the International Award for Quality in Paris on July 3. Work groups will also be created in the same location to promote business contacts between representatives of companies attending the ceremony.
The representatives of companies receiving awards, coming from 25 countries, will have the opportunity of presenting the activities and prospects of their businesses.
The Trade Leaders Club is organizing this international event for the 14th consecutive year, which has 14,000 members from 112 countries.
 Informal bankers' lobby expects China as the next economic superpowerAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
An informal lobby of about 40 bankers, economists and academics meeting for an annual, two-day forum, established general agreement on Friday that China will be the next economic superpower in the next five years but the U.S. will retain their dominance as a political power, sources said. The meeting, held this year in Thessaloniki instead of Athens, as usual, is held behind closed doors.
According to the same sources, participants expressed fears that if the program of economic reconstruction in Russia failed, the country would become a source of upheaval. They also generally agreed with the position of international community that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic constituted an obstacle to the development of his country, while Africa was a source of concern on account of its tremendous inequalities.
 Suicide note left by UK embassy employee has police hoping for new lead in Saunders caseAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
A British embassy employee, Tony Dunford, 60, was hospitalized on Friday after a suicide attempt, apparently related to the death of Brig. Stephen Saunders who was slain by the "November 17" terrorist group.
British and Greek police investigating the killing say that a suicide note left by Dunford, in which he says "I couldn't live, knowing that I could have saved Stephen Saunders," may provide an unhoped-for breakthrough in catching the elusive organization.
Dunford, who is now recuperating at the Evangelismos hospital in Athens, tried to take his own life earlier on Friday using a "cocktail" of tranquillizers and other medication. In a suicide note, he explained to his wife and two children that he felt devastated by the death of Saunders, with whom he had developed a close friendship.
Police say they are hoping that Dunford, who is now out of danger, will be able to clarify exactly what he meant by that phrase and that it will be something that will help in their investigation.
 Mild earthquake reported by Athens Observatory seismic instituteAthens, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
An earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale took place at 14:21 on Friday near Karditsa in Thessaly, approximately 210 km from Athens, according to the Geodynamic Institute at the Athens National Observatory. No damage or casualties have been reported so far.
 SAE President Andrew Athens receives awardCHICAGO, 24-06-2000 (ANA)
Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) President and President of the United Hellenic Congress (UHAC) Andrew Athens has been given the award of Archbishop Iakovos, Leadership 100.
The award was given at an official dinner in the framework of the recent annual conference for financial backing for the Leadership 100 in Washington. Leadership 100 supports specific aims of the Orthodox communities of the US and the entire world.
 Cyprus government expresses disappointment over Turkish president's statementsNICOSIA, 24-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)
The Cyprus government considers statements by Turkey's President on Cyprus outside the negotiating framework for a solution and would like to believe that such positions will not find their way to the negotiating table.
"One cannot be optimistic when one hears statements of this kind, nor can one see any prospect for the new round of talks," government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Friday, barely two weeks before the UN-led talks are due to resume in Geneva.
Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who paid a two-day illegal visit to the
Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, said a Cyprus solution must be based on the principle of "two states" and claimed the absence of a solution "is due to the intransigence of the Greek Cypriot side".
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Dentkash, backed by Turkey, insists on a confederal solution, on the basis of "two separate states", which contravenes UN resolutions and decisions on a future settlement in Cyprus, calling for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
"There is no indication that the Turkish side has changed its policy but we cannot preempt the outcome of the talks nor can We consider Mr. Sezer's public remarks as his final word," Papapetrou told his daily press briefing.
He said the government will evaluate the Turkish positions, as these will be presented at the negotiating table.
"The framework within which we are seeking a solution is already set out. If Mr. Denktash insists on recognition of his so-called state as a precondition for a solution, then there cannot be an agreed settlement", the spokesman stressed.
Replying to questions, he said there are issues on which public statements and positions expressed behind the scenes do not concur. "The parties do not negotiate in front of the media, when many remarks are made for public consumption," Papapetrou added. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
 Moscow reiterates unwavering support for settlement of Cyprus problemNICOSIA, 24-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)
Russia will continue to actively support the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General on Cyprus and believes a solution should be based on UN Security Council resolutions, a statement by the Russian foreign ministry has said.
The statement, issued after a visit here by Russian envoy for Cyprus Vladimir Prygin, said during his meetings on the island the Russian diplomat "reiterated Moscow's firm and unwavering support of international efforts to seek a just, viable and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question on the basis of relevant UN Security Council resolutions".
Prygin, the statement added, has expressed his readiness to cooperate with representatives of other Security Council members and the G8 member-states "to continue the active contribution in the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General for Cyprus, including participation in the forthcoming Geneva talks."
The UN is due to chair another round of talks in early July in Geneva and representatives of various countries interested in Cyprus, including the UK, the US and Germany, are expected to be in the wings of the peace talks.
The statement refers to Prygin's meetings with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides and says "there was an in depth exchange of views on the present situation and the prospects of promoting the Cyprus issue, in view of the planned talks in Geneva."
 Irish human rights deputy due in Cyprus on SaturdayNICOSIA, 24-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)
The President of the subcommittee on Human Rights at the Dail (Irish Parliament) Gay Mitchell arrives here Saturday for a brief visit, at the invitation of the House of Representatives.
Mitchell will have separate meetings with House President Spyros Kyprianou, the leader of the ruling right wing Democratic Rally party DISY Nicos Anastasiades and the president of the House Foreign and European Affairs Committee Tassos Papadopoulos.
 Cyprus, Malawi to establish diplomatic tiesNICOSIA, 24-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)
Cyprus and Malawi are set to establish diplomatic ties, following the signing of a protocol. Cyprus' permanent representative to the UN Ambassador Sotos Zachkeos and Malawian representative Ambassador Yusuf Juwayeyi signed Thursday the relevant protocol.
The Ambassadors said closer cooperation and international fora should be strengthened. They also backed increased cooperation on a bilateral level in economic affairs.