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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-10-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece says policy towards Ankara unchanged, calls on NATO to assume responsibilities
  • [02] Ankara says will not allow use of "demilitarized islands" in armed forces exercises
  • [03] Simitis to discuss armaments program with National Defense and National Economy ministers
  • [04] All projects related to Athens 2004 Olympic Games to be ready on time
  • [05] Noted director Cacoyiannis resigns as head of Cultural Olympiad effort
  • [06] Public Order Minister in Britain on official visit
  • [07] Vartholomeos meets with Tsohatzopoulos
  • [08] PASOK and ND Eurodeputies call for repeat of elections in Himara, Albania
  • [09] Greek Communist leader departs for Palestinian territory and Israel
  • [10] President receives Russian journalists
  • [11] Eighty per cent of 3rd CSF to go to regional development, Papantoniou says
  • [12] Labor minister sees two crucial weeks ahead in talks with trade unions
  • [13] National Real Estate Registry to be extended to 740 municipalities
  • [14] Greek stocks succumb to early profit-taking
  • [15] IOSCO to accept ADEX as associate member
  • [16] Minister lays foundation stone for cross border trade center
  • [17] New road link to Bulgaria in 2005
  • [18] National Bank of Greece expands internet services
  • [19] European Court raps Greece over minimum cigarette price
  • [20] Patriarch visits European Center for Public Law
  • [21] First Culture - Tourism Meeting in Syros a success
  • [22] Art directors to discuss creation of Balkan State Theatre Union
  • [23] Three-nation natural habitat discussed in Tirana
  • [24] Piraeus Bank donates four fire engines to Samos
  • [25] President Clerides, UN Special Advisor review Cyprus problem
  • [26] House rejects proposals containing the 'seeds of confederation'

  • [01] Greece says policy towards Ankara unchanged, calls on NATO to assume responsibilities

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Greece on Monday defended its decision to withdraw its troops and equipment from an ongoing NATO exercise in neighboring Turkey following Ankaras attempt to prohibit over flights of strategically placed Greek territory by alliance aircraft and a ban imposed by Turkey on Greek warplanes and ships in its territory during the war games.

    At a regular press briefing, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that although NATO recognized Greeces right to conduct military flights over its strategically placed islands of Limnos and Ikaria, the alliance, nevertheless, was unable to impose this position on Turkish leadership.

    The spokesman also noted that Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos had repeated contacts with NATO chief George Robertson over the issue.

    Regarding Greek-Turkish relations, Reppas said the governments policy of a step-by-step approach is correct and has not changed. He also said Turkey was solely responsible for the withdrawal of Greek forces from the Destined Glory 2000 exercise.

    In other related matters, the spokesman said Athens expects Ankara to fulfill its responsibilities as emanating from the EUs Helsinki summit, whereas NATO should effectively deal with any problems arising between allies participating in an alliance exercise, especially when one of the two disputes the sovereignty of the other.

    Finally, the government spokesman rejected as baseless various objections by Ankara to a military exercise held last week on the free parts of Cyprus by the island republic's National Guard along with the participation of Greek planes and vessels.

    [02] Ankara says will not allow use of "demilitarized islands" in armed forces exercises

    ANKARA, 24/10/2000 (ANA - A. Ampatzis, A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkey is not willing to allow the military use of islands "with a demilitarized status", a Turkish foreign ministry press release said on Monday.

    "Turkey is not going to allow the use of islands, with a demilitarized status, such as Limnos and Ikaria, in any military activity...Turkey which places importance on dialogue, cooperation and rapprochement with Greece, maintained a stance of good intentions also during the exercise. The show of a similar creative stance on the part of Greece, would facilitate the further development of bilateral relations," the Turkish foreign ministry press release said.

    "The islands of the Eastern Aegean are under a demilitarized status, in accordance to international treaties. The use of those islands in any kind of military activity, including NATO exercises, is a violation of the demilitarized status. It is not possible for Turkey to allow such a thing," it added.

    According to the Turkish foreign ministry, Greece's withdrawal from Destined Glory "is the result of a disagreement between Greece and NATO...The Greek Air force continually overstepped the plans and orders of NATO. Turkey continually made those violations known to NATO, requesting the necessary measures to be undertaken".

    On his part, Turkish Defense Minister Sabahadin Cakmakoglu said that the friendly climate in Greek-Turkish relations should not be upset, because of developments in the exercise.

    "Pessimism should not replace the friendly climate between the two countries. It is too early for anyone to access, whether developments in NATO's exercise would have negative effects in the relations of the two counties," Cakmakoglu said.

    Discussing the withdrawal of Greek forces from the exercise, he said that "the planning of the exercise was conducted according to NATO regulations", adding that "Turkish armed forces units participating in the exercise conducted themselves in accordance to those regulations".

    Greece should forge specific policy toward Turkey, defense ministry sources say: Greece should forge a specific policy toward Turkey, Greek defense ministry high ranking sources said on Monday, in light of the stance held by the neighboring country toward Greece during the NATO Destined Glory 2000 military exercise.

    The same sources noted that the Turkish stance during the exercise emanated both from the political and the military leadership of the neighboring country, including Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Turkish Defense General Staff Chief Kivrikoglu and aimed at reintroducing the package of illegal claims against Greece.

    According to reports, as part of this effort, the Turkish naval academy is preparing maps of the Aegean with Turkish names assigned to small Greek islands and rock islets, as well as larger islands.

    The same defense ministry sources also said that the only issue up for negotiations in the Aegean is the delineation of the continental shelf, while in the meantime Turkey has the right to exercise its sovereign rights based on international law only to a distance of three miles from its coastline.

    As part of this specific policy toward Turkey, Greece should insist that the Turkish-European Union relations lead to a decrease of the illegal claims by the neighboring country, the sources said.

    They added that the ministries of defense and foreign affairs must continually cooperate to implement this strategy, noting that the leadership of the defense ministry would table the issue created during the exercise to NATO, the European Union and the Western European Union.

    Meanwhile, according to reports NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson was said to understand the problem, but he was reported to be unable to intervene on a military level.

    [03] Simitis to discuss armaments program with National Defense and National Economy ministers

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will discuss the armed forces' armaments program in talks with National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Tuesday.

    Simitis will be participating in the Inter-Balkan Conference in Skopje on Wednesday, while on Friday he will chair a meeting on the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    On October 31, he will chair an inner cabinet meeting focusing on the budget for 2001, while a cabinet meeting will be convened on the issue on November 1. Immediately afterwards, Papantoniou will table the budget in Parliament.

    [04] All projects related to Athens 2004 Olympic Games to be ready on time

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said he was certain Greece would organize the best possible Olympic Games, during a press conference on Monday, following his meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis.

    Laliotis said that they discussed all transportation issues regarding the greater Athens area, in light of the Games.

    He said that the new Athens airport at Spata would be operational by March, while all roadwork connecting it to the city would be completed in time.

    Responding to International Olympic Committee Senior Vice-President Dick Pound's statements on Friday, threatening to strip Greece of the Games due to delays, he said that the IOC members "made a commitment with their decisions and they should be sure that the Olympic Games would return where they were born, in Athens", reiterating that the Games would be organized to perfection.

    Gov't clarifies reasons for Aussie firms' exclusion from tenders: The Greek government on Monday clarified that international tenders for various 2004 Olympics-related projects are governed by European Union guidelines, which unfortunately, leaves out qualified albeit ineligible Australian firms.

    Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis made the statement following criticism in Australia stemming from the exclusion of Australian companies from the bidding process, only a few weeks after the completion of the successful Sydney Games.

    The Greek minister added that he personally briefed Canberra's ambassador in Athens over the matter, saying Greece recognized Australia's experience with Olympics-related projects but that Australia-based firms are excluded from tenders issued by EU members.

    According to the Greek ministry, tenders will continue to be issued international, with eligible companies being ones active in any of the 15 EU member-states or the 23 countries that have signed association agreements with the Union.

    In a related development, creation of a much-needed tram network in the Greek capital as well as the upgrading of current railway lines throughout Athens into a metro-like commuter system were the focus of a high-ranking government meeting on Monday chaired by Greek PM Costas Simitis.

    [05] Noted director Cacoyiannis resigns as head of Cultural Olympiad effort

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Well-known Cypriot-born film director Michael Cacoyiannis has resigned from the post of president of the Cultural Olympiad S.A., it was announced on Monday.

    Cacoyiannis, 78, said in an announcement that he had tendered his resignation in a letter sent last Friday to the Greek culture minister.

    He said he had resigned because plans for the Cultural Olympiad "cannot proceed" due to the "inflexible structure of the Cultural Olympiad S.A. and bureaucracy".

    On his part, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the government regretted the loss of Cacoyiannis, best known for his 1965 film "Zorba the Greek", and "Electra".

    Speaking from New York, Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos accepted Cacoyiannis' resignation, while noting that the structure of the company was unavoidable, as any other format would not have guaranteed the proper allocation of funds.

    Finally, Pangalos lauded Cacoyiannis and said he hoped the veteran filmmaker could contribute to the Cultural Olympiad in other ways.

    [06] Public Order Minister in Britain on official visit

    LONDON, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis arrived in London on Monday on an official visit, accompanied by Greek Police Chief Ioannis Georgakopoulos and senior ministry officials.

    Speaking to Greek reporters, Chrysohoidis said the Greek delegation was divided into two groups on the first day of the visit. The first preoccupied itself with legislative issues, while the second called on Scotland Yard where it was briefed primarily on operational and human rights issues.

    Chrysohoidis will meet British Interior Minister Jack Straw on Tuesday, while the Greek delegation will also meet Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs Keith Vaz during a conference on terrorism. The minister will also dine with Deputy Defense Minister Baroness Symons.

    Chrysohoidis said the government has decided not to hire private companies as security advisers for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. He added that he has sent letters to 4-5 countries, including Britain, Spain and the US, and will also be sending a relevant letter to Australia to appoint certain police officers, either in active service or retired, who are specialized in Olympic Games security to be used by Greece as official advisers.

    [07] Vartholomeos meets with Tsohatzopoulos

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Monday received Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos at his hotel rooms in Athens, while later in the day he delivered a lecture at the Asia Minor Studies Center entitled "The values of Orthodoxy as a spiritual heritage for humanity in the 21st century".

    The focal point of the lecture was Orthodoxy's values emphasizing tolerance, dogmatic principles against hatred and secular power, calling attention to the 2000-year-old history of the church and its life via empires of the past.

    Later in the day, Vartholomeos met with Bishop of Thebes Ieronimos and traveled with him to his Bishopric. On Tuesday, the Patriarch will be the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Vartholomeos is on a seven-day private visit to Greece.

    [08] PASOK and ND Eurodeputies call for repeat of elections in Himara, Albania

    BRUSSELS, 24/10/2000 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    The heads of the PASOK and New Democracy parties' Eurodeputies George Katiforis and Antonis Trakatellis, addressing a European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg on Monday, called for the repeat of local government elections held in Himara, Albania, earlier this month.

    Katiforis said that incidents of violence and adulteration occurred during the recent elections, which were directed against the ethnic Greek minority in the region, which was ascertained by observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    "This is the first lesson in democracy we should teach this country, which is starting now to build democracy in it," Katiforis said.

    Trakatellis also called on the EU to demand a repeat of elections in Himara, saying that the report by OSCE observers leaves no doubt as to violations of human rights and of democratic procedures.

    "Such attitudes should not be accepted by the EU. Otherwise, we shall be closing our eyes to basic human rights issues and violations of minority rights," he said.

    Meanwhile, the President of the European Parliament's Committee for southeastern Europe Doris Pak said the issue of the Albanian elections would be discussed at the Committee since "it constitutes a serious violation of democratic procedures in the heart of Europe."

    [09] Greek Communist leader departs for Palestinian territory and Israel

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga departed on Monday for a visit to Palestinian territory and Israel for talks with all Palestinian parties, the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Communist Party.

    She was accompanied at Athens airport by the Palestinian Authority to Greece's Ambassador Abdallah Abdallah.

    "We shall meet all the parties of Palestine and the Palestinian Authority. From then on I do not know how the program will be shaped. It also depends on events. There shall also be a meeting with the Israeli Communist Party," she said.

    "A meeting with Arafat is also on the agenda. We had received an invitation since last May, both from the parties and the Palestinian Authority. This trip is simply taking place now and at this conjuncture," Papariga said shortly before her departure," she added.

    "It is a trip of solidarity and support for the people of Palestine who are struggling for their own independent state, for the return of all refugees and for peaceful coexistence between the two states, since they are neighbors. One being next to the other," she said.

    Papariga went on to say that "we believe the overwhelming majority of the Greek people are, at present, on the side of both the Palestinian and Israeli people, considering that when a state oppresses a neighboring people, it can only oppress its own as well one way or another."

    [10] President receives Russian journalists

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos received a group of 25 Russian journalists, publishers and press officials on Monday night.

    Stephanopoulos spoke of the traditional cultural relations between the two peoples and replied to many questions put to him on modern-day Greece.

    The Russian journalists conveyed to President Stephanopoulos the complaints by their fellow countrymen concerning the recently enacted regulations regarding the granting of visas by the Greek consulate in Moscow and noted that the regulations rendered a visit to Greece prohibitive for many Russians.

    The Russian journalists represent regional Russian media and are on a weeklong visit to Greece.

    [11] Eighty per cent of 3rd CSF to go to regional development, Papantoniou says

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Monday the government placed great importance on regional development, adding that 80 per cent of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF), totalling 17.5 trillion drachmas, will be used for Greek regions.

    Papantoniou was focusing on growth prospects after the country's accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), during an address at an event organized in Patras by the Economic Chamber of Western Greece.

    "The 3rd Community Support Framework constitutes the development tool aiming at achieving real convergence with the European Union. The total program amounts to 17.5 trillion drachmas. We secured them after tough negotiations at the Berlin summit. It is the biggest development package ever to be managed by our country," he said.

    Papantoniou said the new regional operation program for western Greece is 75 per cent higher than the previous one. It will increase from 125 billion drachmas to 220 billion drachmas. He also said that the region's development would be additionally funded by the Interreg III program with 18 billion drachmas.

    [12] Labor minister sees two crucial weeks ahead in talks with trade unions

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    "A social dialogue is not an end in itself and we expect to conclude contacts with out social partners in the next two weeks leading to constructive proposals," Labor Minister Tassos Giannitsis said on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters in Patra, Giannitsis acknowledged that conditions in the labor market were not satisfactory.

    Giannitsis attended a conference on Healthcare and Safety at Work, organized by the Federation of Greek Industries, the Union of Peloponnese-Western Greece Industries and Titan Cement SA.

    He said that healthcare and safety at work were very significant issues that determined the quality and the development of a society.

    "Greece seeks to modernize this sector and adopts new EU regulations," Giannitsis said.

    A total of 8,000 people were killed in labor accidents in Europe last year. In Greece, a total of 32,200 labor accidents were recorded in 1988, and 18,600 in 1998. "This fall is satisfactory, but we will continue our efforts," he said.

    Local government employees' union calls for strike in November: Local government workers union on Monday decided to call a strike on Nov. 9 and 10 demanding ratification of the 2000 collective agreement for employees on limited time contracts, among other demands.

    The union also called for a work stoppage on Nov. 2, and announced it would reconvene on Nov 10 to decide on further action.

    Union leaders also said that their demands included pensioning at 58 years of age, bonus payments and classification of their work as hazardous to health, meriting extra pay and early retirement.

    [13] National Real Estate Registry to be extended to 740 municipalities

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    The creation of Real Estate Registry is proceeding with speedily, as fund from the European Union and national funds amounting to 84 billion drachmas have been secured for the 2000-2006 period, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said during a press conference on Monday.

    Preparation of the Registry is currently underway in 450 municipalities and communities, whose administrative limits cover crucial regions and have a total area of 2.75 million acres in all of the country's prefectures.

    Laliotis said tendering will be proclaimed over the next six to eight months for registration in 740 municipalities having a total area of 3.25 acres and a budget of 70 billion drachmas, which will be included in the 3rd Community Support Framework.

    The first stage of tendering, due to absorb 30 billion drachmas, will take place by the end of the year and the next, absorbing another 40 billion drachmas, will take place by the end of June.

    [14] Greek stocks succumb to early profit-taking

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended sharply lower on Monday, dramatically reversing a two-day rebound the previous week, as investors seeked to take early profits on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The reversal disappointed those who had been expecting the continuation of the market's advance, traders said.

    Dealers said persistent low liquidity was the main obstacle to any effort to push the market higher.

    The general index ended 1.86 percent lower at 3,717.05 points. Analysts said the market has found resistance at the 3,850 level and predicted it would find support at the 3,650 level.

    Turnover was a low 49 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.69 percent lower at 2,150.11 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 3.11 percent to 441.76 points.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 7,835.88 -2.18% Leasing: 548.84 -3.88% Insurance: 1,919.76 -0.75% Investment: 1,387.40 -2.17% Construction: 1,696.32 -4.69% Industrials: 2,156.99 -0.65% Miscellaneous: 3,293.15 -3.10% Holding: 4,088.08 -4.45%

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 5.08 percent lower at 425.70 points.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 311 to 32 with another eight issues unchanged.

    Lambrakis Press and Hellenic Telecoms were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Leading shares' closing prices (in Drs): National Bank: 14,510 Alpha Bank: 14,010 Commercial Bank: 17,835 Eurobank: 10,300 Piraeus Bank: 6,030 Lambrakis Press: 6,780 Heracles Cement: 5,070 Titan Cement (c): 14,150 Hellenic Telecoms: 7,140 Panafon: 3,220 Hellenic Petroleum: 3,580 Attica Enterprises: 2,975 Intracom: 10,225 Minoan Lines: 2,260 Hellenic Bottling: 5,100

    Equity futures end down, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Monday, in line with the indices on which they are based.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 1.69 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 3.11 percent lower.

    Turnover was 13.4 billion drachmas.

    A total of 2,471 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 10.7 billion drachmas.

    On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 1,475 contracts changed hands on turnover of 2.6 billion drachmas.

    Bond prices rise, yield spread narrows: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished higher in light to moderate trade.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.945 percent from 5.95 percent a day earlier.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 75 basis points from 76 basis points in the previous session.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 89 billion drachmas from 54 billion drachmas in the trading day before.

    Of the total, buy orders accounted for 36 billion drachmas of trade.

    Drachma down vs. euro, dollar: The drachma on Monday ended lower 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 339.540 drachmas from 339.500 drachmas in the previous session.

    Also at the fix, the dollar was set at 404.430 drachmas from 400.880 drachmas a trading day earlier.

    The central bank intervened at the fix, selling 80 million euros.

    [15] IOSCO to accept ADEX as associate member

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    The Athens Derivatives Exchange is to be accepted as associate member to the International Organization of Securities' Commissions (IOSCO), along with Chicago and Toronto, following a proposal by IOSCO's executive committee.

    The proposal, adopted last Thursday, October 19, is to be submitted to approval at IOSCO's world conference in Stockholm, in June 2001.

    The Athens Stock Exchange was accepted as associate member last May in Sydney.

    [16] Minister lays foundation stone for cross border trade center

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Paschalidis laid the foundation stone on Monday for a new cross border trade center to be built at Promahonas in the prefecture of Serres. The project will cost 3.5 billion drachmas.

    Paschalidis said that, in light of funding under the 3rd Community Support Framework, proposals on the implementation of any project should be accompanied by relevant mature and integrated studies, such as in the case of the cross border center at Promahonas.

    Focusing on the prefecture of Serres in particular, Paschalidis said the message of development came through the utilization of its geographical position and its relations with neighboring countries and mainly with Bulgaria.

    On the question of prospects of development for small and medium-size enterprises, he said business initiatives could be continued at present under the inter-Balkan programs of European reconstruction services and the World Bank.

    [17] New road link to Bulgaria in 2005

    SOFIA, 24/10/2000 (ANA/B.Borisov)

    A major new road link from northern Greece to Bulgaria will open to traffic in 2005, Bulgarian Deputy Regional Development Minister Vassil Garnisov said on Monday.

    Garnisov said the government had secured financing for the road, which will link the Greek town of Komotini to Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.

    Athens was not yet ready with financing, he added.

    [18] National Bank of Greece expands internet services

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    National Bank of Greece launched a new series of expanded services on the internet, offering its customers the ability to participate in public offerings on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Its website (http// was suitably re-designed also to offer customers full information on candidate companies.

    National Bank already offers its customers a wide range of internet services, such as banking transactions, money transfer, share transactions, etc.

    [19] European Court raps Greece over minimum cigarette price

    BRUSSELS, 24/10/2000 (ANA / B. Demiris)

    The European Court has ruled against Greece for imposing a minimum retail price on cigarettes, saying the move contravened EU legislation.

    The court, which issued its ruling last week, rejected Greece's argument that the minimum price was essential to discouraging the consumption of tobacco products.

    [20] Patriarch visits European Center for Public Law

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos of Constantinople on Monday visited the European Center for Public Law, where he received a warm welcome from the Centers board of directors.

    During the visit he held a brief conversation with justice minister Michalis Stathopoulos, who stressed the significance of the Patriarch's visit to Greece.

    Asked by reporters if it was hoped that the Patriarch would help smooth over the tension in relations between the Orthodox Church of Greece and the State, given that the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece would be attending a function in the Patriarch's honor to be hosted by prime minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday, Stathopoulos replied that the Patriarch's presence alone, "for symbolic and moral reasons" could contribute to "defusing some critical conditions".

    "But we must contribute ourselves, and, mainly, those who have caused the exacerbation" in the relations, the minister added.

    [21] First Culture - Tourism Meeting in Syros a success

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    The 1st Culture-Tourism Meeting, organized by the municipality of Ermoupolis' cultural center and the Ministry of the Aegean on theme museums in the Aegean island complex, came to a successful conclusion on the island of Syros.

    Minister to the Aegean Nikos Sifounakis, who attended the meeting between October 18-20, said "the islands of the Aegean should be assisted in the direction of creating theme museum exhibitions capable of contributing to the preservation of agricultural, biotechnical and every form of popular culture, primarily from the 18th century to the mid-20th century.

    Apart from special scientists, over 100 first and second stage local administration officials from the five Aegean prefectures participated in the meeting, as well as many personalities from the culture sector.

    [22] Art directors to discuss creation of Balkan State Theatre Union

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    The State Theatre of Northern Greece will organize the first meeting of art directors from nine theatres in the region, focusing on the creation of a Balkan State Theatre Union. The meeting will be held in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on November 18.

    The meeting will examine the problems and present operational state of Balkan state theatres, as well as prospects for joint productions, exchanges and information.

    The art directors of state theatres from Belgrade (Yugoslavia), Zagreb (Croatia), Tirana (Albania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Bucharest (Romania), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Istanbul (Turkey) will be participating in the meeting.

    [23] Three-nation natural habitat discussed in Tirana

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    A conference focusing on the creation of a three-nation national park in the Prespes Lake district separating Greece, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was held in Tirana over the past few days.

    [24] Piraeus Bank donates four fire engines to Samos

    Athens, 24/10/2000 (ANA)

    Four new fire engines were delivered Monday to the island of Samos, which was ravaged by a huge forest fire last summer, in a donation by the Bank of Piraeus.

    Piraeus Bank Group president Michalis Sallas announced the donation during the recent inauguration of a branch of the bank in Samos.

    The fire engines are fully equipped, while one million dr. was also donated for the island's volunteer forest fire squad.

    Meanwhile, Samos prefect Thalassinos Thalassinos chaired a meeting with local stockbreeders to discuss the problems they faced in grazing their herds following the destruction of pastureland by the summer's wildfires.

    They also discussed the need to protect the burnt forestland from illegal grazing.

    It was proposed that seasonal personnel would be hired to guard the burnt expanses, while a six-month extension would be sought in the provision of animal feed to the stockbreeders.

    [25] President Clerides, UN Special Advisor review Cyprus problem

    NICOSIA, 24/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    President Glafcos Clerides and UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto on Monday had a general review of the present situation of the Cyprus problem in view of a fifth round of proximity talks, due to begin in Geneva next week.

    The UN official did not make any statements after the hour-long working breakfast, but government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said he was here "to have a closer look at things, to see party leaders and to exchange views in view of the next round of talks".

    Replying to questions, Papapetrou said the UN has so far only expressed ideas to see the reaction of the two sides, but no proposals have been put forward.

    Papapetrou also noted that de Soto "was not particularly happy" with the recent tension in Greco-Turkish relations. "We explained to him that the tension was due to the Turkish stance", he added.

    Turkish military aircraft harassed Greek warplanes, which flew to Cyprus to participate in the annual National Guard military exercise, code-named "Nikiforos".

    De Soto met later on Monday in the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, and he was to meet at Nicosia UN Peace-keeping force headquarters with the Ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    [26] House rejects proposals containing the 'seeds of confederation'

    NICOSIA, 24/10/2000 (CNA)

    The House of Representatives has stressed it would reject any proposals and ideas "containing the seeds of confederation or the establishment of two states".

    In a resolution, approved after an extraordinary session on developments in the Cyprus problem, the House also called on President Glafcos Clerides to intensify his efforts to rectify the situation, created by the UN Secretary-General's opening statement at the New York talks, and reaffirm the basis of the talks and the framework for a solution, as determined by UN resolutions and the two high level agreements reached between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides in 1977 and 1979.

    At Saturday's extraordinary session, the House discussed "the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and particularly the developments in the fourth round of proximity talks, which were held in New York at the end of September - beginning of October 2000."

    The House resolution says: "The House of Representatives concludes that the opening statement of the UN Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan falls outside the letter and spirit of the framework of the talks and the basis of a solution of the Cyprus problem, as determined by the UN principles, decisions and resolutions.

    "It also establishes that the non-papers which the UN Secretary-General's representative Mr. de Soto presented to the representatives of the two communities contain ideas and proposals which are not in line with the framework of principles and UN resolutions.

    "Taking all the above into account, the House of Representatives:

    1. Reiterates its firm insistence on a solution of the Cyprus problem based on the UN resolutions and decisions and the 1977 and 1979 high level agreements. A bicommunal, bizonal federation constitutes our ultimate and painful concession and not a starting position for negotiations aiming at the finding of a "middle-of-the-road settlement". It must safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all the Cypriot people - Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins - and envisage the restoration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Cyprus state and the withdrawal of the occupation troops and settlers.

    "2. Calls upon the UN Secretariat to repeat and reaffirm that the talks are being held on the basis of the UN resolutions and the 1977 and 1979 high level agreements and make the necessary corrective moves.

    "3. Appeals to various mediators who are guiding or supporting the UN intervention in the Cyprus problem to uphold with greater strictness, firmness and consistency the principles of the United Nations, the provisions of their decisions and resolutions on Cyprus, the high level agreements and the acquis communautaire. It is a basic and fundamental principle of the talks that any proposals or ideas should be fully in line with the acquis communautaire.

    "4. Declares that it rejects any proposals and ideas containing the seeds of confederation or the establishment of two states and calls upon the President of the Republic to repeat clearly in all directions that he will neither accept, nor discuss a framework for the solution of the Cyprus problem containing confederal elements.

    "5. Calls upon at the same time the President of the Republic to continue and intensify his efforts in the direction of a full correction of the situation, created by the UN Secretary-General's opening statement and of reaffirming the basis of the talks and the framework for a solution, as these are determined by the resolutions and decisions of the UN and the two high level agreements.

    "6. Calls upon the President of the Republic to continue and intensify the initiatives and handling which will substantively and effectively support the agreed targets set by the National Council and the accepted procedures and handling for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    "7. Considers that there is an imperative need for the National Council to study and analyze in depth current developments in the Cyprus problem and, on the basis of the assessments and conclusions to be drawn, to consult with the Greek Government so as to determine the tactics and further handling of our national problem, aiming always at a workable and viable solution".

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