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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-10-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis says a co federal Cyprus solution totally unacceptable
  • [02] Greek ministers received by Cyprus president
  • [03] FM Papandreou says Cyprus solution can only be based on UN resolutions
  • [04] 65 ships cease to serve Aegean routes, as death toll of Paros shipwreck rises
  • [05] Yacht sinks near island of Naxos, one dies on route to healthcare center
  • [06] Arafat appeals to Greece to play more substantial role for settlement of Palestinian problem
  • [07] SE Europe women parliamentarians decide joint actions, strategies
  • [08] Greek newspaper report on Serbian president denied
  • [09] Turkish journalist found innocent of "insulting the military"
  • [10] Hospital doctors to hold strike
  • [11] Olympic Games Athens receives Olympic Games Flag, as Sydney Olympics come to a close
  • [12] Athens Mayor: Greece will organize impeccable 2004 Olympics
  • [13] More Olympics medals for Greece
  • [14] President Clerides appeals for unity in Independence Day message

  • [01] Karamanlis says a co federal Cyprus solution totally unacceptable

    NICOSIA, 02//10/2000 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    President of the Cyprus Republic Glafcos Clerides met on Sunday with Greece's main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis who headed a party delegation to the island.

    Also present at the meeting was Greek Ambassador to Nicosia Christos Panagopoulos.

    In statements following the meeting Karamanlis said "we had a useful and constructive discussion with the President of the Republic as well as with the political party leaders. I would like to stress that the front of Hellenism is and must be unified and firm. We believe that the relations and the cooperation between Greece and Cyprus can become much more closer. Greece is the major supporter of Cyprus and must through its behavior on a European and international level prove daily its solidarity.

    "Cyprus Hellenism gives nothing away and cannot be a victim of so-called Greek-Turkish friendship without the obvious prerequisite of a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus issue. I must make clear that we are opposed to any deviation from the framework of the decisions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council. I also want to underline that we do not confront the talks in a negative manner, but we reject a confederation. We believe that any solution based on a co federal form, under whatever pretext or veil, will lead to Cyprus Hellenism becoming hostage to Turkey.

    "We firmly support Cyprus' accession to the European Union. However, dangerous interpretations and misinterpretations are being circulated regarding the Helsinki decisions. This is why we must make clear in an absolute way that Cyprus' accession to the European Union is not linked, and that it is independent from any political solution to the issue. In every case, developments necessitate that we must all be in a state of vigilance and readiness." Karamanlis also held meetings with the leaders of all parliamentary parties of the island republic.

    [02] Greek ministers received by Cyprus president

    NICOSIA, 02/10/2000 (ANA- G. Leonidas)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides received Greeces Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis here Sunday.

    The two ministers represented Greece at ceremonies held in Nicosia to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Independence of Cyprus.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Christodoulakis said that the Greek government and the entire Greek people "support the efforts of Cypriot Hellenism and the Cyprus government for the finding of a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem".

    "Cyprus European Union accession prospects go along with the search of a just settlement of the protracted (Cyprus) problem," Christodoulakis said.

    On his part, Apostolakis, in an interview to a daily newspaper of Nicosia, said that the further development of the infrastructure of the Cyprus National Guard, which will allow for the further support of the Joint Defense Doctrine, is continual.

    [03] FM Papandreou says Cyprus solution can only be based on UN resolutions

    Athens, 02/10/2000 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Saturday said that a solution to the Cyprus problem will either be just and viable, based on UN resolutions providing for a bizonal bicommunal federation, or there will not be a settlement at all.

    In a declaration on the 40th Anniversary of the Independence of Cyprus, Papandreou noted that "the credibility and effectiveness of the United Nations and the international community are today being judged", adding that with by strengthening unity "we can achieve our aims for a united and democratic Cyprus, which will be a member of the European Union, guaranteeing the security, prosperity and progress of all its citizens, Greek and Turkish Cypriots".

    Papandreou conveyed his regards to "all patriotic powers in Cyprus, struggling against the continued international illegality of the Turkish occupation, for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem".

    He said "in this struggle, Greek Cypriots are not alone, Greece is with them", adding that the support of the Greek people and government "is given" and that maintaining a united front and deepening cooperation were "the necessary conditions to achieve our goals".

    The Greek Foreign Minister noted that "for us a solution will either be just and viable and will be based on UN resolutions for a bizonal bicommunal federation, or will not be at all".

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the island.

    [04] 65 ships cease to serve Aegean routes, as death toll of Paros shipwreck rises

    Athens, 02/10/2000 (ANA)

    The death toll from the ferry shipwreck off the Aegean island of Paros rose to 79 on Sunday, as divers recovered three more bodies at noon, the port authority of Paros said.

    The 103-metre 4,407-ton "Express Samina" sank late Tuesday in a gale some two miles off Paros after it scraped a rocky outcropping. The survivors number 456, while an estimated 10 persons still remain missing

    Meanwhile, the merchant marine ministry announced that 65 other passenger ships serving domestic routes would cease to sail, as they do not fulfill the necessary safety requirements, according to the European Union regulations.

    These ships will have to undergo the necessary modernization of safety and rescue systems by Oct. 20, otherwise they would forefeet their licenses to serve their routes.

    In efforts to serve the routes, in the meantime, extraordinary sailing of other ships will be scheduled the ministry said.

    In a related development, the European Union Council of Transport and Merchant Marine Ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting in Luxembourg on Monday to examine shipping safety in the Union, in light of the Paros shipwreck.

    Merchant marine minister announces changes to domestic shipping: Changes in domestic passenger shipping, including the freeing of monopoly routes in the Aegean, announced Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis in an interview to the Sunday edition of Athens daily Eleftherotypia.

    Papoutsis said that through a special bill the status of domestic monopoly routes in passenger shipping would be abolished allowing for free competition, adding that the bill will include stricter regulations for the condition of ships.

    He also said that stricter regulations would be mandated for the training of sailors serving on passenger ships, along with the upgrade of their training and education.

    Papoutsis also noted that the program of improvements for Greek port infrastructure will speed up and the port authority will be reinforced with more personnel and modern equipment.

    Regarding his standing, following the "Express Samina" sinking of the central Aegean island of Paros, he said that a possible resignation would have been the easy way out, adding that he chose the hard way.

    Meanwhile, unknown assailants set fire to the entrance of the Athens offices of Minoan Lines operator of "Express Samina".

    Prosecutor charges Minoan Flying Dolphins over Paros wreckage: Public prosecutor Dimitris Dadinopoulos on Sunday brought charges against the Minoan Flying Dolphins company over the sinking of the "Express Samina" ferry off Paros island on Tuesday night and which cost the lives of 79 people.

    The charges concern "the placing in danger of the passengers."

    According to the prosecutor, who took testimony from the four-crew members accused in the incident, and by survivors, the charges were brought on the basis of evidence to date and reports in the Greek press.

    [05] Yacht sinks near island of Naxos, one dies on route to healthcare center

    Athens, 02/10/2000 (ANA)

    The yacht Zeus III hit a rock and split in two and sank about a mile and a half off the port of the central Aegean Island of Naxos, claiming the life of one of the 31 passengers and seven crewmembers, in the early hours of Sunday.

    All passengers and crewmembers were rescued by port authority vessels and local fishermen, on their way, however, to the island's healthcare center, United States national Richard Ihde, 82, died.

    The yacht transported 27 US nationals, one German and three Greeks, along with the seven crewmembers.

    Burns comments on sinking in 'Zeus III' ship: US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns referred to the sinking late Saturday night of the "Zeus III" ship off the coast of the island of Naxos in a press release issued by the US Embassy on Sunday.

    "On behalf of the United States government and the passengers of the Zeus III, I would like to take this opportunity to mourn the loss of Richard Ihde, an American citizen from Cleveland, Ohio, who died during the rescue effort early this morning. Mr. Ihde was traveling with his wife, and we offer her and her family our sincere condolences," Burns said.

    "I would like to thank several parties for their swift and generous assistance. As you know, most of the passengers were American citizens. They and we at the Embassy would like to thank the people of Naxos, who helped the port authorities to organize the rescue effort and who provided the necessary blankets, shoes, clothes, and food when the passengers came ashore.

    "The Greek Coast Guard Commander in Chief, Andreas Sirigos, offered excellent support throughout the rescue effort and afterward, and the staff at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs worked close with the Embassy to stay up to date on the tragedy. The Greek military moved quickly to provide a helicopter to fly the one deceased passenger and his wife to Athens," the ambassador concluded.

    Alternate FM expresses condolences over shipwrecks: Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi expressed her condolences on Sunday over the shipwreck near the central Aegean island of Naxos that claimed the life of a United States citizen,

    In a telegram to the US embassy in Athens, Papazoi underlined the sorrow of the Greek people for both tragic incidents at Naxos and Paros.

    She also said that these were the only accidents on Greek seas for decades, although over ten million visitors come to the Greek islands each year, adding that these latest incidents did not compose the image of domestic passenger shipping.

    [06] Arafat appeals to Greece to play more substantial role for settlement of Palestinian problem

    Athens, 02/10/2000 (ANA)

    Palestinian leader and president of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat appealed to Greece and to all the European governments to play a more substantial role for a settlement of the Palestinian problem, in an interview to the Sunday edition of Greece's "Vradini" newspaper.

    "Today, Greece, more than ever before, is called upon to play an important role: to support and help us," Arafat stressed. "We ask of Greece in particular, and of Europe in general, to play a greater role so that we can find a peaceful solution to our problem, for all the peoples here to live in prosperity and in peace."

    Arafat added that "Greece can play a very important role, both on a political and religious level. Let us not forget that that the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem since the era of the Byzantium, is of Greek origin."

    On the issue of the proclamation of the independence of the Palestinian state, Arafat said that "this historic decision will be taken by the Central Council of the Palestinians early in November".

    "We have twice postponed the proclamation of the independence of the Palestinian state," he stated, adding that "we have heard advice from abroad and have acted upon it, so as to help in the solution of the problem and contribute in the negotiations. We are now obliged to announce it. With the help of God we will make this historic announcement of the official Palestinian state."

    [07] SE Europe women parliamentarians decide joint actions, strategies

    Athens, 02/10/2000 (ANA)

    Women parliamentarians from SE Europe on Saturday wound up a three-day meeting in Athens with a joint declaration outlining joint actions and strategies agreed during their talks.

    Saturday's discussions covered the theme "The decisive role of women consolidated in democracy, stability and peace in the Balkans".

    The parliamentarians had a "fruitful exchange of views and experiences that could lead to a qualitative improvement of the activities of women politicians through seeking a more dynamic and decisive role for a more just and peaceful society".

    The delegates conceded the need to reinforce democracy in their countries and consolidate peace and stability in the region.

    "We must consolidate and broaden that which other women have achieved in more difficult times," Greece's development deputy minister Milena Apostolaki, and MP of the ruling PASOK party, said, referring to the representation of women at the decision-taking centers.

    [08] Greek newspaper report on Serbian president denied

    Athens, 02/10/2000 (ANA)

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis on Sunday categorically denied reports in an article in Sunday's "Eleftherotypia" newspaper that Greek officials had met with Serbian President Milan Milutinovic to discuss his settlement in Greece.

    [09] Turkish journalist found innocent of "insulting the military"

    NEW YORK, 02/10/2000 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    A three-member court in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday found innocent journalist Nadire Mater and her publisher Semih Sokmen of charges of "insulting the military".

    The two were being tried at Beyoglu Criminal Court No 2 for insulting the military, under article 159 of the Turkish Criminal Code.

    In "Mehmet's Book", Mater collected interviews with veterans of the conflict in southeast Turkey, giving a dignified and human voice to that generation of armed forces conscripts in a series of forty-two interviews.

    The publishing of the book led to the trial and now the public prosecutor is requesting her imprisonment for twelve years.

    A Human Rights Watch representative James Ron attended the trial.

    [10] Hospital doctors to hold strike

    Athens, 02/10/2000 (ANA)

    Most doctors and nursing staff at the State hospitals throughout Greece will be taking part in a general strike called by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) on October 10, it was announced Saturday.

    Healthcare providers would face closure, if they do not provide quality services: Public and private hospitals and clinics that do not provide high quality services will close down, Health and Welfare Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said in an interview to the Sunday edition of "To Vima" newspaper.

    He added that all healthcare units would undergo checks every three years, as is done in all developed countries, and those that do not fulfill their obligations and do not follow regulations would shut down.

    [11] Olympic Games Athens receives Olympic Games Flag, as Sydney Olympics come to a close

    Athens, 02/10/2000 (ANA)

    Athens received the Olympic Games Flag via its representatives Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki from the President of the International Olympic Committee Juan Antonio Samaranch, on Sunday, at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games.

    This the first time ever that a president of an Olympic Games organizing committee participates in this ceremony of passing on the Flag, as 2000 was designated as the IOC Year of the Woman.

    "We hand over the Flag of the Olympic Games to Greece, the country that gave birth to them. I formally call today the youth of the whole world to the 28th Olympic Games of 2004 in Athens," Samaranch said, during his final official passing over of the Flag, as he will step down from the presidency of the IOC before the Athens 2004 Games.

    Meanwhile, Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos congratulated the Greek Athletes for their success in garnering four gold, six silver and three copper medals in the Sidney Olympics.

    "In light of the conclusion of the Sidney Olympic Games, I express my warm congratulations to the Greek athletes, who won medals in various sports, as well as to all athletes of the Greek mission, regardless of the results they yielded, for the importance of their participation. The main aim of all from now on is the common effort and work for the successful organizing of the Olympic Games of 2004 in Athens," Stephanopoulos said, in his message.

    On his part, Prime Minister Costas Simitis will head the delegation of state officials to welcome to Greece, on Tuesday, the Greek mission from Sydney and the Olympic Flag, which will once again be on Greek soil after 104 years.

    Further celebrations for the athletes were canceled, as the tragedy of the "Express Samina" that claimed some 79 lives, left the country in mourning.

    [12] Athens Mayor: Greece will organize impeccable 2004 Olympics

    SYDNEY, 02/10/2000 (ANA - D. Efstathiou, G. Mantaios)

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos on Saturday expressed his certainty that Greece's organization of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens will be impeccable, "provided we work systematically and with planning".

    Avramopoulos, who has been in Australia for the past week, said he was convinced of the success of the Athens Games, although he himself would not be Mayor of the host city, as he would not be running for the post for a third time.

    While in Sydney, Avramopoulos has held talks with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Juan Antonio Samaranch, other IOC officials, and Australian officials including the governor of Australia, the state prime minister of New South Whales, and the mayor of Sydney, host city of the 2000 Games.

    Replying to press questions, Avrampoulos denied recent rumors in the Australian press that Athens was at risk of losing the Games, noting that Samaranch and other IOC officials he had spoken with in Sydney had expressed confidence that Athens would organize impeccable Games.

    Statue of Greek Goddess Athena unveiled in Sydney: Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos on Sunday presented a gift to the city of Sydney of a copy of the Statue of Goddess Athena in a ceremony as an indication of friendship and solidarity between the two cities, and as recognition of the support given to the Greek athletes at the Sydney Olympic Games by Australia's Greek community.

    Present at the unveiling ceremony of the statue were Sports Deputy Minister Giorgios Floridis, Greek diplomats, Australian officials and members of the country's Greek community.

    [13] More Olympics medals for Greece

    Athens, 02/10/2000 (ANA)

    Greece's Mirella Maniani-Tzelili took home the silver medal in the women's Olympic javelin competition on Saturday, with a throw of 67.51 meters, coming behind Norway's Tine Hattestad who took the gold with 68.91 meters. Osleidys Menendex of Cuba came in third with 66.18 meters.

    Greece's Olympic rhythmic gymnastics team also took home the bronze medal with 39,283 points, behind Russia and Belarus who tied with 39,500 points. The gold went to Russia, which obtained a higher mark in the qualifying round.

    [14] President Clerides appeals for unity in Independence Day message

    NICOSIA, 02/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides urged Greek Cypriots and all political powers to be united in the struggle for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem, noting that "we are too few to be divided".

    In a televised message for Sunday's 40th anniversary of the Independence of Cyprus, President Clerides noted that "we shall never agree to a co federal solution" on the island, divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    The president said that "a federal, united, demilitarized Cyprus, incorporated into the European Union whose Common Foreign and Security Policy it will follow consistently, will serve the vital interests of all, including those of Greece and Turkey".

    He said "the anniversary of the independence of the Cyprus Republic is marked this year in a period of talks held within the framework of the United Nations, in order to find a solution to the Cyprus problem".

    UN-led proximity talks, separate meetings of the UN with President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, began last December and a fourth round was wrapped up last week in New York. A fifth round is scheduled to begin November 1 in Geneva.

    President Clerides expressed hope that "this concurrence of time will be a good omen for breaking the impasse and leading to a solution of the serious political problem of the region, a problem which has been causing hardships and insecurities to the whole of the Cyprus people in the last decades, a problem which is a potential source of military conflict which could draw Greece and Turkey into war and, by extension, destabilize the broader region".

    He noted that "the solution of the Cyprus problem as envisaged by the UN resolutions must come from an agreement between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities", adding that "the solution must be consistent with the relevant Security Council resolutions, the two high level agreements (1977 and 1979), human rights conventions, international law and the acquis communautaire".

    "I truly believe that a solution will serve the basic interests of the parties involved, mainly those of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities. On this occasion I would like to reiterate with emphasis that we should never agree to a co federal

    solution", he added.

    The President assured that "we are determined to do everything possible to contribute to the creation or the utilization of every opportunity in the search of a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem the soonest", but noted however that "we shall never accept the present faits accomplis of the invasion, which were caused by Turkey's expansionist strategy".

    "This strategy", he said, "not only endangers the natural and national survival of Cypriot Hellenism in its ancestral land, but tends to turn the Turkish Cypriot community into a minority in the occupied territory while at the same time it compels it to live in conditions of economic hardship".

    He noted that "we are participating constructively in the talks which are being held" and that "if the Turkish side maintains the same stand, it will not be long before we have a solution".

    The President pointed out, however, that "for the Turkish side to take a constructive stand, the international community must exercise due influence".

    President Clerides said that "until a solution to the Cyprus problem is found, we shall continue in close cooperation with the Greek government the defense and foreign policies which we consider necessary for the protection and strengthening of the Republic of Cyprus, accession to the European Union, and prevention as far as we are able of the implementation of the expansionist strategy of Turkey against us". "We shall continue strengthening our defense within this framework", he said. He also expressed "our warmest thanks and gratitude to the Greek government for the help offered under the United Defense Doctrine between Cyprus and Greece, particularly for the dispatch of military equipment", noting that "also of invaluable importance is the assistance offered to us by Greece as a European Union member for the promotion of a settlement of the Cyprus problem and our accession to the large European family".

    "Greece", he said, "is our invaluable strategic ally".

    President Clerides called on Greek Cypriots and all political forces "to unite and strive with all our might for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem", noting that "we are too few to be divided".

    Regarding the Turkish Cypriot community, President Clerides sent a message of "sincere cooperation in the effort of finding a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem, a solution which will benefit equally both communities in all fields".

    Lastly, he called on the Turkish Cypriot community "to cooperate with us in the negotiations which will lead Cyprus to the European Union and create a better future for the new generations of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the economic and political fields, in the security field as well as in all the other fields, a future which will safeguard in practice respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms".

    "Let us think of our children more than of ourselves", the President concluded.

    Military parade: A military parade was held Sunday in Nicosia, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the independence of Cyprus.

    President Glafcos Clerides received the salutation of the parade, accompanied by Defense Minister Socratis Hasikos and Chief of the National Guard General Staff Lieutenant General Evangelos Florakis.

    The parade presented to officials and cheering masses of people motorized and foot divisions of the National Guard, the Police, the Fire Brigade and the Civil Defense, accompanied by army and police helicopters flying above.

    Development Minister Nicos Christodoulakis and Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis represented the Greek government.

    Speaking after the parade, President Clerides said he had congratulated Florakis and Hasikos for an "excellent parade", noting that the "foot divisions impressed us with their disciplined pace and the motorized divisions give new vigor to the National Guard".

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