|Wednesday, 27 January 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-10-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Papandreou conveys to Kostunica EU message it wants Yugoslavia in European family
BELGRADE, 09/10/2000 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou held talks here on Saturday with Yugoslavia's new president Vojislav Kostunica at the Presidential Mansion.
Papandreou underlined to reporters at the end of his talks with Kostunica that the message the European Union was conveying was that it wishes to see Yugoslavia in the European family.
The Greek foreign minister said his meeting with Kostunica was very moving in that the democratic developments in Yugoslavia are of significance to all the countries of the region.
Papandreou expressed certainty that Yugoslavia "will find its path in this transitional period without external pressures" and will proceed in the settlement of its relations with the countries of the region and with the international community.
"The entire international community was waiting for the decisions of the Yugoslav people and to see a democratic Yugoslavia," he said.
The Greek minister said that following these developments, the procedure will start for the lifting of sanctions against Yugoslavia.
He noted that the European Union's General Affairs Council will meet in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss the sanctions issue and that he believed that positive decisions will be reached concerning the matter.
Papandreou said that democracy in Yugoslavia must be "constructed and stabilized", as this will contribute to peace, stability and to cooperation with the international community.
He conveyed Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis' congratulations to Kostunica over his election victory and an invitation by Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos to the new Yugoslav president to visit Greece as soon as possible.
On his part, Kostunica, having described the developments as being historic and stressing that the change in power was made in a peaceful and democratic manner, expressed his satisfaction that
Papandreou was the first EU foreign minister to visit Yugoslavia following his presidential victory.
"These democratic changes constitute an achievement of our people," Kostunica said, adding that "these could not have been achieved if it were not for friends such as from Greece who always contributed with their help". He noted that Greece helped in the overcoming of the recent crisis, which was brought on by the non-recognition of the election results, and had also supported Yugoslavia when it was under the regime of international isolation, sanctions and embargo.
"Greece constituted Yugoslavia's window of communication with the rest of the world," Kostunica said.
Kostunica said Yugoslavia had passed through a harsh period and was now starting a difficult mission and that there would be new experiences through the country's efforts to open to the international community.
Kostunica expressed the hope that Greece would continue helping Yugoslavia in its efforts to enter the European family of democratic countries.
Papandreou arrived in Belgrade early Saturday afternoon at the invitation of the new president.
In arrival statements at the airport, Papandreou said that he was visiting the Yugoslav capital at a historic moment, not just for Yugoslavia but also for the whole region. He recalled that during his recent visit to Belgrade prior to the September 24 presidential elections, he conveyed to the Serbian people the European Union's message for Yugoslavia's accession into the European family.
"The Serbian people have spoken and Vojislav Kostunica is today the president. For this reason, the European Union must respond to this message and help Yugoslavia approach Europe as soon as possible," he said.
Papandreou said he would discuss with Kostunica issues including Greek-Yugoslav relations, cooperation between Yugoslavia and the European Union and that country's accession to the European family.
Speaking on Serbian state television on Friday night, Kostunica stressed the importance of the meeting he would have the following day with Papandreou "as Greece all these years has shown great understanding regarding the situation in Yugoslavia."
 President Stephanopoulos congratulates new Yugoslav President Kostunica
BELGRADE, 09/10/2000 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos congratulated newly elected Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, both personally and on behalf of the Greek people, for his election victory and wished him success in his "lofty mission", while also sending wishes for the "progress and prosperity of the friendly Yugoslav people".
President Stephanopoulos, in his message delivered to Kostunica by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, expressed certainty that traditionally good relations and friendship and cooperation between the two countries would be strengthened and developed in the interests of both peoples during his period of office and at "this important and historic conjuncture".
"Greece, together with the other democratic countries of the world which are united by common values and virtues, will be very happy to welcome Yugoslavia again, under the guidance of Mr. Kostunica, in the family of European democratic countries where it traditionally belongs," President Stephanopoulos said and expressed Greece's readiness to assist all of Kostunica's efforts in this direction.
Karamanlis lauds Yugoslavia's course towards democracy: Main opposition New Democracy (ND)party leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday hailed Yugoslavia's course towards democracy and said that the time has come for Yugoslavia to take the position it deserves in Europe, which must support the country.
He made the comments while addressing a party meeting in Athens on the European Union Intergovernmental Conference.
Archbishop Christodoulos expresses solidarity to Serbian Patriarchate: Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Saturday expressed his solidarity to the Orthodox Patriarchate of Serbia and the Serb people on Saturday, saying that he had addressed a letter before the elections with the wish that "matters would develop smoothly and come to an end without bloodshed".
He also said that he endorsed the Serb Patriarchate's position, reminding that his visit to the Serb Church "had been postponed three times due to extraordinary events".
The Archbishop made the statement while receiving representatives of the gypsy community at the Archdiocese. He said of gypsies that they were "working people who should not be treated as outcasts or be excluded socially". He also promised to undertake an initiative aimed at lifting their social exclusion and to visit them at their campsites.
 US Defense Secretary says Milosevic should be brought to justice for war crimes
Athens, 09/10/2000 (ANA)US Defense Secretary William Cohen said here on Sunday Washington insisted that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic should be brought before the International Court at The Hague for war crimes.
He also underlined the will of the US and its allies to assist newly elected Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica in stabilizing democratic reforms and going ahead with elections, as he has declared.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos in the framework of the meeting of defense ministers from southeastern European countries, due to start here on Monday, Cohen expressed satisfaction over developments in Yugoslavia and the way with which they were carried out and said Milosevic has no chance of participating in the political scene.
"Being responsible, he must appear before the Court at The Hague. We should continue to pressure so that Milosevic will remain a man charged with war crimes in our conscience," he said and added that US President Bill Clinton "is conferring with Congress to have sanctions against Yugoslavia lifted".
Cohen explained that such a lifting would not concern sanctions imposed on Milosevic.
On his part, Tsohatzopoulos said Greece was vindicated on insisting on the need for democratic changes in the Balkan country and underlined the position of Athens to support the new Yugoslav political leadership under Kostunica.
The two ministers said that they also discussed issues concerning armaments. Tsohatzopoulos said Greece is holding talks with American companies for the procurement of military equipment, which Cohen confirmed.
"We have the best products at the best prices and they guarantee the best intra-operational cooperation in the framework of NATO," Cohen said, referring to US military technology.
Issues to be discussed during the meeting of defense ministers from countries of southeastern Europe include peace and stability in the region, military cooperation between the countries, the accession of Croatia to the initiative and the creation of a Balkan police force.
A visit the defense ministers had planned to make to Mount Athos, in northern Greece, on Sunday was cancelled due to bad weather conditions.
 President Stephanopoulos arrives in Riga on first stop of tour of Latvia and Estonia
RIGA, 09/10/2000 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)President Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived in Riga on Sunday night, at the start of his tour of the Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia.
President Stephanopoulos, who is repaying visits to Greece by the presidents of the two countries, will meet his Latvian counterpart on Monday morning and address an economic forum of Greek and Latvian businessmen later. He will also visit the Latvian Parliament and meet representatives of the Greek community in the country, while he will also be attending an official dinner given in his honor by his Latvian counterpart on Monday evening.
President Stephanopoulos' visit to the two countries is aimed at strengthening relations, particularly in the economic and cultural sectors.
According to diplomatic sources, an issue of top priority for the two countries is joining the NATO alliance and afterwards the European Union (Latvia is included in the second wave of enlargement and Estonia in the first).
On the question of their EU accession, the sources said Athens is favorably disposed and hails efforts being made by these countries to improve their economic indicators, although insisting that its absolute priority is the accession of Cyprus to the EU.
Referring to bilateral relations, the sources said no political problems exist with Latvia and Estonia in the political sector, while the political will exists on both sides to strengthen bilateral economic relations.
President Stephanopoulos is being accompanied on his visit by Deputy National Economy Minister Yiannis Zapheiropoulos and Deputy Foreign Minister Angeliki Laiou, as well as by a group of businessmen.
 PM Simitis says standard of living in Greece better than four years ago
Athens, 09/10/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis, in his final address during the PASOK party's Central Committee on Saturday, said the standard of living in Greece is better today than it was four years ago and rejected allegations by Central Committee members that the government is socially insensitive.
Simitis also referred to ongoing talk on "vested interests", attributing the furor to strong competition between business interests which "are trying to benefit the most now that markets have been deregulated, while others are preparing to do so".
On developments in Yugoslavia and the presence of Foreign Minister George Papandreou in Belgrade on Saturday, Simitis said the policy followed on the Yugoslav issue was successful and criticized those claiming that the government's policy on Yugoslavia was based on orders.
Simitis also said, in connection with Yugoslavia, that Greece will promote the immediate lifting of all sanctions against the country at the Council of General Affairs on Monday and will call for the immediate release of 2.3 billion euro, as well as Yugoslavia's accession to the Stability Pact and the paving of the way for the country's European vocation.
Addressing the Central Committee meeting, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that in past years the government and PASOK overlooked the potential of capitalism, which wants to brush aside every obstacle it finds before it, and said confrontation between economic interests and the state is unavoidable.
He said it is not enough for the government and PASOK to refer to the preservation of economic indicators, while specific action is required, such as going ahead with the redistribution of income and decreasing work time. He also said relations between the economy and politics have a decisive influence on the political atmosphere.
Referring to developments in Yugoslavia, Tsohatzopoulos said the change brought about in the country did not concern the regime, but was achieved due to the shift of the political and military elite towards Kostunica. He added that a very important fact was that the change was not achieved with the contribution of the "mediators of conflict" who had been "adequately funded to play their role".
 Karamanlis says there can be no EU enlargement without Cyprus
Athens, 09/10/2000 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis, in closing the sessions in Athens on Sunday of a two-day party conference on the European Union Intergovernmental Conference, sent a message to the European partners and to the government that Greece should block European Union enlargement if Cyprus' EU accession course does not proceed.
Karamanlis told the meeting that EU enlargement without Cyprus was inconceivable. "We will not accept enlargement without Cyprus, enlargement without Cyprus will not occur," he said.
He added that in no event should Cyprus' EU accession course be linked to the settlement of the island's political problem, noting that the EU has taken relevant decisions.
Karamanlis criticized the government over its stance on Cyprus, saying "we cannot remain silent when it concerns Cyprus. We do not understand the government's mentality and we do not tolerate it."
The ND leader said he supported a federal Europe and its political unification, stating however, that there was "a lack of political volition on the part of the EU leadership".
He said Europe needs statesmen with vision "and not petty politicians and accountants".
Karamanlis also referred to the composition of the European Parliament and to the Charter on fundamental human rights. He said that the Charter could constitute the first chapter of the new European constitution and have a binding character. He further said that there should be a balance between small and big countries, without the big countries imposing their views on the smaller ones.
On Saturday, Karamanlis said that the European Union was going through an important course and that its future will depend on decisions taken.
He said that the institutions, which safeguard the interests of citizens, must be strengthened. He observed that the fact that the Danes decided to stay out of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) went to show that the venture did not enjoy full acceptance in the European Union. He said ND supports EMU but that sensitivity must be shown to the particularities of member states.
The ND leader said that "the presence of small states must not be abolished and that Greece must participate with the greatest possible credibility and effectiveness."
He said that there must be security against foreign dangers and noted that "there is a lack of symmetry in EMU", given that economic union was still apart.
The president of the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee, Elmar Brock, said in his address that "the democratic uprising in Serbia showed the strength of democracy in Europe."
Brock added that the Nice summit, where the new European constitution will be discussed and shaped, will attempt to achieve a balance between institutional bodies of the European Union and between the big and small countries."
 Turkish Premier Ecevit says friendly relations create the best preconditions for Greek-Turkish dialogue
ISTANBUL, 09/10/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Sunday night friendly relations create the best preconditions for a start to dialogue between Greece and Turkey.
"Dissension and disagreements between the two peoples are artificial. However, their friendship is natural," Ecevit told Greek and Turkish journalists attending a dinner hosted in their honor by Turkish Minister of State Sukru Sina Gurel.
"The fact that since the middle of the past year a friendly climate of dialogue started developing between us is fortunate and this gives hopes for our common future," he said.
Ecevit made an account of the past and reminded that when he was a journalist he had attended a conference between Greek and Turkish journalists in Rhodes in the early '60s.
The Greek and Turkish journalists present at the dinner had participated in the 2nd Conference of Greek and Turkish Journalists, which came to an end here on Sunday.
 Journalists stress the need for adequate news on domestic developments in Greece and Turkey
ISTANBUL, 09/10/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Greek and Turkish journalists addressing the 2nd Conference of Greek and Turkish Journalists, which came to an end on Sunday, stressed the need for adequate news on domestic developments in Greece and Turkey, while Athens News Agency (ANA) managing director Nicholas Voulelis said the Greek government's decision to agree to Turkey's candidacy for European Union membership was a "strategic option."
"Greece should be the first and most consistent supporter of Turkey's accession to the EU," he said.
Voulelis underlined the lack of substantive knowledge of Turkey, adding that the media should approach sensitive problems without fanaticism.
Journalist George Kapopoulos said "a vacuum exists in objective news because Turkey's foreign policy is presented as being dissociated from domestic developments in Turkish society" and added that "airtight compartments" continue to exist between diplomatic news and foreign policy.
Former Turkish Foreign Minister Ilter Turkmen said "the press is not so important for a country's domestic policy because people have direct contact with developments" and that "on the contrary, the press plays a special role in foreign policy because readers lack direct contact with the issue."
 Archbishop Christodoulos says phenomenon of terrorism must be confronted
Athens, 09/10/2000 (ANA)Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece delivered a service at the Athens Cathedral on Sunday dedicated to the victims of terrorism.
Present at the service were relatives of victims, ministers, deputies, ambassadors of foreign countries and people who escaped terrorist attacks.
The Archbishop said "we must all feel responsible, whatever our position in society is," over the phenomenon of terrorism, "as a common crime and social perversion."
He said that humanity might have witnessed rapid progress in science and technology but not a similar advancement in the values and morals of people.
The Archbishop said that the state must step up action in combatting violence, but that ordinary people should also learn to love and respect one another.
Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis praised the Archbishop's initiative and said that terrorism is a great threat to the country and that all efforts must be made to eradicate it.
 Health minister says an effective health system is his ministry's target
Athens, 09/10/2000 (ANA)Health Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, attending a meeting of the country's medical faculty presidents at the University of Crete on Sunday, reiterated that an effective health system is his ministry's target.
A long discussion was held during the meeting on all aspects of reform in the health sector in connection with universities and medical faculties, while Papadopoulos analyzed his ministry's action plan.
"We had an interesting and long discussion on all aspects of reform. We have reached certain conclusions. Dialogue will continue because what interests us is for the final product of this discussion and of dialogue to respond to what the Greek people want: an effective health system," he said.
 Athens' new "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport opens on March 1, 2001
Athens, 09/10/2000 (ANA)Athens' new "Eleftherios Venizelos" international airport in Spata was formally presented on Saturday by the "Athens International Airport" construction company at a ceremony attended by more than 1,000 guests.
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, addressing the guests at the airport's arrivals-departures lounge, said that a period of trial flights will begin and that the new airport will start operating on March 1, 2001.
He said that the existing Hellenikon Airport would close as soon as the new airport starts operating.
 Bomb explodes outside offices of Minoan Flying Dolphins
Athens, 09/10/2000 (ANA)A bomb exploded in front of the offices of the Minoan Flying Dolphins shipping company in the early hours of Sunday morning, causing minor damage.
The homemade explosive device, consisting of two gas canisters, went off at 2:35 a.m., breaking windows and causing slight damage to the interior of the office. Firemen were quick to extinguish the fire, which also burnt the tent of a nearby kiosk.
It was the second bomb attack against the sector of shipping companies in a week.
A similar homemade device exploded last week outside the offices of the Ship owners Federation of Northern Greece, causing material damage.
Thessaloniki security police are investigating both the incidents. They had linked the first bomb attack to the sinking of the "Express Samina" off the island of Paros, which cost the lives of at least 79 people.
 Former PASOK State Deputy, Eurodeputy and writer Spyros Plaskovitis dies
Athens, 09/10/2000 (ANA)Writer and state adviser Spyros Plaskovitis died on Saturday at the age of 83. Plaskovitis also served as State Deputy for the PASOK party between 1977-1980, a Eurodeputy and European Parliament Vice President from 1980-1989, as well as president of the National Book Center.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis extended his condolences to Plaskovitis' family, terming him a worthy judicial functionary, a fighter for democracy and a relentless defender of human rights and individual freedoms "who gave real battles from wherever he served for the realization and consolidation of the principles and values of the western legal civilization."
Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos also sent a message of condolences.
 Bank employees and hospital doctors on 48-hour strike as of Monday
Athens, 09/10/2000 (ANA)Bank employees and hospital doctors throughout the country will start a 48-hour strike as of Monday, while the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) have called a 24-hour nationwide strike on Tuesday, including employees in public transport and the Metro. The two unions are protesting changes in labor laws and the insurance system.
 Confederal Cyprus solution rejected by international community, FM assures
NICOSIA, 09/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has made it abundantly clear that "we will never accept a confederation in Cyprus nor a solution of two states, as this would not constitute a settlement", noting these possibilities have already been rejected by the US, Britain, Russia, France, China and the European Union.
Speaking at a ceremony held Saturday night by the Municipality of the Turkish occupied town of Morphou, Kasoulides referred to an opening statement made by the UN Secretary General at the start of proximity talks in New York last month, which caused concern to the Greek Cypriot side, and expressed certainty the UN and the international community now realize its consequences.
"It is obvious the statement was made to appease (Turkish Cypriot leader) Rauf Denktash and force him to abandon his intransigent demand for recognition or leveling as a precondition to start substantive talks," he said, noting that at the same time the statement created problems to the Greek Cypriot public opinion.
"Clarifications were given and the UN Secretary General and his special adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto publicly dismissed the misconstructions by Ankara and Denktash," he added.
The Turkish side misconstrued Kofi Annan's statement that at the talks the two parties represent themselves and no-one else as the political equal of the other, supporting that it is an indirect recognition of the illegal regime in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974.
Denktash had been refusing to enter substantive negotiations unless his demand for the recognition or the leveling of his illegal regime is satisfied.
Only Turkey recognizes the puppet regime, while UN resolutions call on all states not to recognize or facilitate it in any way.
The Cyprus foreign minister said the international community cannot recognize the illegal regime as in such a case it would be acting "contrary to its own interests as they would be setting a precedent".
Referring to Denktash's demand for what he describes as "the realities" to be accepted, Kasoulides said the realities in Cyprus are the consequences of the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 percent of the island's territory, the refugees, the presence of occupation troops, the fact that Turkish Cypriots are emigrating and the illegal influx of Turkish settlers in a bid to alter the demographic character of the island.
He said these are the realities which are also accepted by the UN in its resolutions on Cyprus, adding that: "If there is one reality which the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots should accept is that of the need for a peaceful settlement through a dialogue under UN auspices."
Kasoulides said this is the aim of the Greek Cypriot side and underlined that the road ahead is not easy, but it is up to us to tackle it.
UN led proximity talks opened in December last year and continued in February, July and September, while another round is scheduled to begin in Geneva in November.
The Foreign Minister said the Greek Cypriot side is constructive in the peace talks and acts within the framework set out by UN resolutions and the rules and regulations of the European Union, of which Cyprus aspires to become a member.
The Cyprus Republic opened accession talks with the EU in 1998.
He said a settlement in Cyprus should safeguard the human rights of all citizens of the island and offer real security for all, without occupation troops and barriers.
Kasoulides assured the people of Morphou that their right to return to their homes under Greek Cypriot administration must be provided for in a settlement.
The Turkish occupied town of Morphou was twinned last night with the municipalities of Sparta and Kalavryta, Ermoupolis and Orestiada in Greece, Barnet of north London, Zurrieq in Malta and the French town of Saint Cyr sur Loire.