|Tuesday, 21 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-10-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Cooperation, democratization needed for Balkan security, Simitis says
SKOPJE, 26/10/2000 (ANA - M. Savva)Prime Minister Costas Simitis said here on Wednesday the policy of cooperation, as well as the democratization and development process in the Balkans, should continue with the purpose of achieving reconstruction and security in the region.
Speaking at a joint press conference with leaders of southeastern European countries at the end of an informal Balkan Summit, Simitis also said that rules of international law should be applied since investments and cooperation cannot proceed in an insecure environment.
Simitis referred to cooperation between countries in southeastern Europe and the European Union, saying that integration in Europe was the best guarantee for cooperation and this should be the direction to be followed.
The process of democratization already started in Yugoslavia was outlined by the country's new President Vojislav Kostunica. He wondered whether holding elections in Kosovo now would be feasible since the "Albanian element in the region will not turn up to vote, in which case the outcome of the elections will not be representative".
He also said that he met with Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, adding that there was no problem despite existing differences.
Earlier, Mejdani raised the issue of compensation to Albania as a result of the war in Serbia, as well as the issue of independence for Kosovo and Montenegro in the framework of "European integration".
"I like telling the truth, but I believe our meeting here in order to speak frankly was a considerable initiative," he said, adding that the countries of southeastern Europe should respect human rights, including rights concerning property.
Stability Pact coordinator Bodo Hombach said the meeting was very positive for stability in the region. He further said military aggression is now no option for any country.
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski said Europe cannot be integrated without approaching the countries in the region. "We as well cannot proceed without Europe," he added.
Balkan summit aimed at straightening new Yugoslav president, Simitis says: Simitis also said that the purpose of the informal Balkan summit was to strengthen Yugoslavia's new president Vojislav Kostunica.
Simitis said that all countries participating in the conference welcomed the recent change in Yugoslavia and wanted to support Kostunica's effort.
"Greece's contribution was especially great and now the process of reconstruction (of the Balkans) should begin in earnest," Simitis said.
"This course begun in Crete in 1997, continued in Antalya, Turkey, but was cut short because of the war in Kosovo ... Now, however, it was agreed that the next regular meeting of the summit will take place in February 2001 in Skopje".
He said that the summit's next target would be to go ahead with economic cooperation, noting that efforts were made by different countries to develop specific plans and studies to best utilize funds destined for the reconstruction efforts in the region.
He also said that the European Union community support framework would be the model for Balkan reconstruction programs, adding that in this manner the money would fund specific aims and would not be squandered.
Simitis address: Addressing the gathered heads of state and government at the Balkan Summit in Skopje on Wednesday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis particularly welcomed the presence of Fed. Yugoslavia President Vojislav Kostunica at the meeting, saying it would allow the Balkan leaders to work together on their region's problems effectively and in a spirit of close cooperation.
This is the first time that a Yugoslav President has attended a Balkan Summit in several years. Also participating in the Skopje summit are the leaders of Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Albania and host nation Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), while Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are sitting in as observers.
Simitis stressed that the Balkan leaders could now proceed with the implementation of a charter signed at their previous meeting in Bucharest.
In the rest of his speech, the Greek premier talked about the difficult economic and political problems facing southeast European countries, which he said demanded a strong and determined stance from all the region's governments.
It is necessary, he underlined, that all abide by the rules of international law - including the inviolability of borders, respect for democratic principles and political rights, protection of minorities and the holding of free and fair elections.
He particularly stressed the last point, saying that the electoral process "has and will be tested" and that "any shortcomings that have occurred in this respect must be scrupulously examined and dealt with."
A top priority for the region, he said, was ensuring the implementation of UN Security Council decisions in Kosovo, while he talked about the need for international aid and for reforms that would allow growth and increased foreign investment.
With respect to future EU enlargement, Simitis said that Greece was in favor of integrating southeast Europe in EU structures.
Ending, the Greek prime minister said that all the countries involved should take full advantage of the possibilities offered by the Balkan Stability pact, at which point he encouraged Stability pact coordinator Bodo Hombach to continue his efforts.
He also reiterated Greece's commitment to support the process of implementing a plan for the reconstruction of the Balkan region, for which 180 billion drachmas will be spent over the next five years.
On his arrival in FYROM earlier on Wednesday, the first visit by Greek prime minister to this tiny republic, Simitis gave an interview to local state television in which he stressed that all the countries in the region are joined in their conviction that they must eradicate the antagonism, nationalism and inflexibility of the past to go forward and cultivate a climate of peace, stability, cooperation and growth.
This, he added, was standing Greek policy, with many initiatives for overcoming the various crises that arise in Balkan countries from time to time, while expressing the hope that the talks between the Balkan leaders in Skopje would help solve outstanding bilateral issues.
 Continental shelf issue only Greek-Turkish problem, Simitis reiterates
SKOPJE, 26/10/2000 (ANA - M. Savva)Greece believes that there is only one problem to be resolved between Greece and Turkey, that of the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Wednesday, during a joint press conference of Balkan leaders, here, at the end of an informal summit.
He added that it would be positive in any case to "exchange views and to try to find common answers to many problems we confront in our region".
On his part Ecevit said "we do not have conflicting interests, we have converging interests. We have, however, difficulties to agree on the conception of several issues".
"Greece sees only one difference, which should be taken to the Court at The Hague, while if we take a look at the map we will see a very complex sea, on which several problems arise, concerning security, economic, political and ecological problems, and we can not expect the judgment of a court to resolve all that," Ecevit said.
He said that a non-binding, non-publicized dialogue could be very useful for both countries, adding that such a dialogue should include the continental shelf issue and other issues Turkey claims exist.
To mark his proposal for dialogue with Greece, Ecevit referred to Greek-Turkish dialogue in 1978 between then Greek premier Constantine Karamanlis and himself
 Simitis conveys Athens' displeasure to Ecevit over Turkish action during NATO military exercise
SKOPJE, 26/10/2000 (ANA - M. Savva)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday conveyed Greece's annoyance with Ankara's demand last week to exclude air corridors over two Greek islands during a NATO exercise, during a brief discussion here with his Turkish counterpart Bulent Ecevit.
Simitis spoke with Ecevit on the sidelines of a Balkan leaders' summit, held in the capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
He told Ecevit that Turkey's stance during the NATO Destined Glory 2000 military exercise was absolutely negative.
On his part, Ecevit said such matters should be discussed within the framework of bilateral dialogue, whereas the Greek PM replied that Athens has already tabled its proposals over how to deal with such differences.
The two men spoke during a luncheon for the summit's leaders.
Greece withdrew its forces from NATO's military exercise, citing a ban imposed by Turkey on its planes and ships to enter the neighboring country's territory.
Gov't to continue pressing 'air corridor' issue within NATO: Commenting on questions regarding Greece's withdrawal from the NATO exercise "Destined Glory 2000" in Turkey, deputy government spokesman said on Wednesday said Athens will raise the issue at all international fora, including a NATO member-states armed forces chiefs council on November 9.
Greece withdrew its forces from the military exercise after Turkey banned the use of air corridors above the Greek islands of Limnos and Ikaria, claiming that they were demilitarized zones and closed to military overflights.
Hytiris said that Turkey's claims had been refuted by NATO's legal service, the findings of which were published on Wednesday by the Greek daily "Ta Nea".
NATO legal department says military overflights over E. Aegean islands not forbidden: NATO's Office of the Legal Adviser said in a document released Wednesday that "there is no legal obstacle to the overflights" by military aircraft over the islands in the eastern Aegean.
The document, which is dated October 8, 2000 and appears in Wednesday's issue of TA NEA newspaper, disproves Turkish claims that the Greek islands of Limnos and Ikaria in the eastern Aegean are demilitarized zones.
Greek forces pulled out of the NATO exercise "Destined Glory" in Turkey on the weekend after Turkey blocked Greek jets from participating in the exercise Saturday and warned of "undesired results" if Greece persisted in flying over the islands of Limnos and Ikaria, which Ankara claims are "demilitarized zones" under past agreements, although the islands were included in exercise flight plans agreed on by the alliance before the maneuvers.
The NATO Office of the Legal Adviser said in its document that the although the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne had ordered the demilitarization of certain islands in the Aegean, under the 1936 Montreaux Treaty, which replaced the Lausanne Treaty, the demilitarization clauses no longer applied.
The Office of the Legal Adviser further concluded that, even in the event that the Lausanne Treaty applied, overflights by military aircraft would again not be forbidden.
The full text of the NATO document, which was ratified by the SHAFE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Forces Europe) Legal Dept., is as follows:
"Concerning the flights over the Aegean islands during Exercise Destined Glory, the opinion of the Office of the Legal Adviser is the following:
"The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) ordered the demilitarization of the certain islands in the Aegean. That treaty was followed by the Treaty of Montreaux (1936), which makes no mention of the demilitarization. Since the Montreaux Treaty expressly states in the Preamble that it replaces the Lausanne Treaty (and not only some parts of it), our opinion is that the Lausanne Treaty is not in effect now, therefore the demilitarization clauses no longer apply.
"Should the Lausanne Treaty apply, even in that case it is questionable whether it forbids overflights by military (State) aircraft. When defining the meaning of 'demilitarization', the treaty specifically does not mention such a ban even though it may only be so because the level of technical development did not make it necessary in 1923. The status of the island of Ikaria is covered by the Lausanne Treaty of Peace (1923), which is still in effect. This treaty does not order a complete demilitarization, just stipulates that 'No naval base and no fortification will be established in the said islands' (Art. 13.1). This definitely does not mean that no military aircraft can fly over Ikaria. Greek and Turkish military aircrafts are forbidden to fly over the territory of one another only.
"In conclusion, our opinion is that there is no legal obstacle to the overflights in the concerned area during the exercise. This statement has been ratified by SHAFE Legal Dept."
 Washington expresses regret over Greece's pullout from NATO exercise
WASHINGTON, 26/10/2000 (ANA - T. Ellis)Washington expressed its regret on Wednesday over the fact Greece felt it should quit the NATO exercise codenamed "Destined Glory."
"Greece announced on Sunday that it had cancelled its participation in the NATO Destined Glory exercises. Earlier last week, Greece had temporarily grounded some of its aircraft participating in the exercise. It is regrettable that Greece felt obliged to pull out from the exercise," a State Department spokesman said.
He added that "it was a successful exercise including the participation of Greek units on Turkish territory. There was a good response to the Dynamic Mix exercise held earlier during the summer in which Turkish forces had participated on Greek territory.
Participation in NATO exercises is one of the issues which Greek-Turkish dialogue, bilaterally or under the auspices of NATO, will attempt to resolve."
 Greek-American leaders address letter to US leadership on Turkish actions during NATO exercise
WASHINGTON, 26/10/2000 (ANA)National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) leaders called on US President Bill Clinton and top US foreign policy-makers to demand from Turkey the same standards of conduct it expects and receives from its NATO allies.
"The United States must immediately demand from Turkey the same standards of conduct it expects and receives from its other NATO allies. When Turkey violates NATO procedures and takes aggressive actions against a fellow NATO ally during a NATO exercise, the United States must clearly and publicly express its concern," said a letter addressed to the US president, the United States Congress and policy makers in the administration.
"Otherwise we injure the solidarity of NATO and endanger American security interests in the region," Greek-American leaders said, adding "the silence of the United States may be encouraging further aggressive action by Turkey, which could lead to very dangerous developments in the region".
Greece was forced on Sunday to pull out from the NATO Turkish based exercise Destined Glory 2000 after Turkey banned Greek warplanes and ships from entering its territory.
 Papandreou: Difficulties should not upset rapprochement process with Turkey SAN
FRANCISCO, 26/10/2000 (ANA-I. Afendouli)The policy of rapprochement with Turkey must not be upset due to the problems that arose recently and led to Greece's withdrawal from the NATO exercise "Destined Glory" in the neighboring country, Greek foreign minister George Papandreou said late Tuesday night in San Francisco, during a US visit.
Prompted by press reports calling for its revision, Papandreou said that the policy was "the result of a strategic choice, the product of the Greek government's planning".
The foreign minister said he considered it "natural" that the policy could meet "difficulties and stumbling blocks", without this meaning, however, that it should be abandoned, since "it expresses a strong trend in the Greek and Turkish society".
"We have a democratic obligation to listen to the voice of our peoples and not downgrade their desire for rapprochement," he said.
Greece, he added, "has every interest in Turkey being obliged, within the context of NATO and the EU, to abide by specific principles and rules".
Papandreou wind up the California leg of his visit Wednesday with a meeting at Stanford University with US Republican presidential candidate George Bush's senior national security aide Condoleezza Rice, who recently said that the US should re-examine its policy of a strong military presence in the Balkans. On Tuesday he met with former Secretary of State George Schultz, who heads Bush's team of advisors.
After the meeting, Papandreou said that the international community had a responsibility over what had happened and was happening in the Balkans and should support peace in and the reconstruction of the region, and contribute to the region's 'de-Balkanization'.
 Papandreou requests postponement of joint award presentation with Turkish counterpart
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou has addressed a letter to the President of the Atlantic Treaty Union, requesting that the presentation of awards to both himself and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem be postponed.
The presentation of awards to the two foreign ministers had been scheduled to take place in Budapest, Hungary, on October 31, on the sidelines of the Atlantic Treaty Union's 46th annual session.
Explaining his decision, Papandreou invoked the latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations and mainly developments that took place during the NATO exercise Destined Glory.
Greece on Sunday pulled out from the NATO Turkish based exercise Destined Glory 2000 after Turkey banned Greek warplanes and ships from entering its territory.
However, Papandreou will be going to Budapest on October 31 to attend the session.
 Greek defense minister dismisses criticism by main opposition party, calls Turkish action 'hostile'
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Wednesday called Turkey's stance toward Greece during NATO's Destined Glory 2000 military exercise, "extremely hostile", during his visit in a military camp in Redina, northern Greece.
"This development aggravates Greek-Turkish relations at a time that we, with the best of motives, are attempting to support the prospect of our neighboring country's course toward Europe," Tsohatzopoulos said.
Tsohatzopoulos also said that the government's handling of the situation was absolutely correct and necessary, thus responding to criticism by main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis, adding that the ND leader was briefed of the action taken by the government.
Greece was forced on Sunday to pull out from the NATO Turkish based exercise Destined Glory 2000 after Turkey banned Greek warplanes and ships from entering its territory.
 Ankara unaware of any past Papandreou-Ozal deal over Cyprus
ISTANBUL, 26/10/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)A Turkish foreign ministry official on Wednesday said his government was unaware of any previous Greek-Turkish agreement allowing for the gradual withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops from the divided island of Cyprus.
"The Turkish foreign ministry has no information related to claims that Turgut Ozal and Andreas Papandreou had an agreement for the gradual withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus," spokesman Hussein Dirioz said during a regular weekly press briefing.
Former Greek foreign minister Karolos Papoulias last week claimed that the two ex-premiers of Greece and Turkey, Papandreou and Ozal, respectively, had worked out such a deal. Both leaders are now deceased.
Roughly one-third of Cyprus' territory remains occupied by Turkish forces since the summer of 1974, when Turkey invaded the island republic.
 Karamanlis outlines concerns over foreign policy issues to Greek president
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)After a meeting with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Wednesday, New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said he had conveyed to the president his concern over foreign policy issues, particularly relations with Turkey.
Talking about "huge responsibilities" and "step-by-step selling-out of sovereign rights," Karamanlis said that "between appeasement and unilateral concessions, foreign policy is falling apart." He went on to propose setting up a foreign policy council and holding a meeting of political party leaders under the President of the Republic.
According to the ND leader, at the EU summit in Helsinki, the government had made "an extravagant goodwill gesture" that had not been reciprocated by Turkey, which had responded by increasing tension. He also said that the "wrong messages" were being sent out and that "the increase in Turkey's insolence comes just one month before its relationship with the EU is up for discussion."
 Hytiris says Patriarch's visit was 'beneficial'
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)The visit by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos to Greece was described as "beneficial" on Wednesday by deputy government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris, who said it had displayed "modesty, wisdom and restraint."
Asked if the visit had helped "break the ice" in strained relations between the state and the Church of Greece, Hytiris replied that the government had never been antagonistic toward the Church.
"It's a question of distinguishing between the roles of government and of the Church," he added, "and we are very happy that the Archbishop [Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece] referred to this issue. I think identity cards are just such as issue."
 Greek Euro-MPs request final decision on a translation conflict of Amsterdam Treaty articles
BRUSSELS, 26/10/2000 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)Greek Eurodeputies on Wednesday tabled in Europarliament a request for a final decision on a translation conflict of an article of the Amsterdam Treaty regarding the special status of European Union islands, which has been blocking development aid to those regions.
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) Eurodeputies headed by Kostis Hatzidakis, president of the Europarliament's Regional Policies Committee, said that the existence of two different translations of article 158 on the special status of the Union's islands has blocked development funds and programs.
He added that the European Commission could not adopt the special status as long as these problems persisted.
On his part, Commissioner on regional policy Michel Barnier promised to examine the problem, while he requested the development of a study on the socio-economic condition of the islands, aiming to develop a comprehensive Union policy on the issue.
 President Stephanopoulos in Thessaloniki to attend triple celebration
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)Official events marking the triple celebration of the city of Thessaloniki's liberation from Turkish rule, the city's patron Saint Dimitrios and the anniversary of the outbreak of war with Italy on October 28 1940 (Ochi Day), will start in Thessaloniki on Thursday in the presence of President Kostis Stephanopoulos. National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will represent Prime Minister Costas Simitis, while main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, ministers, party representatives, deputies and the armed forces' leadership will also be present.
 Gasoline up, heating oil down by 3 drachmas
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)Indicative gasoline prices were raised on Wednesday, whereas diesel and heating oil fell a few drachmas after consecutive increases the previous weeks. The government-issued prices are effective for the coming week throughout Greece.
Super and unleaded petrol prices increased by four drachmas per liter, while diesel fell by four drachmas and heating oil by three drachmas per liter.
Specifically, in the greater Athens area and Thessaloniki prefecture, super gasoline will sell for a suggested retail price of 283.7 drachmas per liter; unleaded for 267.8; diesel for 253.1, and heating oil for 154.3 drachmas per liter.
(One US dollar equals about 410 drachmas)
 Stocks begin to show signs of consolidating
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)Equities showed some small signs of consolidation on Wednesday with buying seen in high capitalization stocks but medium- and small-capitalization stocks were hard hit.
The general index ended 0.15 percent lower at 3,749.08 points.
Most heavily traded were telecoms shares, reflecting a recent tendency in other European bourses.
Analysts said the market has found resistance at 3,850 points and predicted it would find support at 3,650 points.
Turnover was 68.76 billion drachmas, slightly up on the previous session.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.17 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE 40 fell 1.22 percent.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: +0.48% Leasing: -1.22% Insurance: -1.01% Investment: -0.73% Construction: -3.48% Industrials: -0.58% Miscellaneous: -1.66% Holding: -1.03%
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 1.73 percent lower.
Of 353 stocks traded, declines led advances at 247 to 92 with 14 unchanged.
Most heavily traded were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Panafon telecom, Commercial Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank and National Bank of Greece.
Equity futures drop, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Wednesday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 0.17 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 1.22 percent lower.
Turnover was 13.2 billion drachmas.
A total of 2,389 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 10.4 billion drachmas.
On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 1,618 contracts changed hands on turnover of 2.8 billion drachmas.
Bond prices end mixed in slim trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished mixed in scant trade.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.941 percent from 5.948 percent a day earlier.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 73 basis points from 74 basis points in the previous session.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 32 billion drachmas from 16 billion drachmas in the trading day before.
Of the total, sell orders accounted for 16 billion drachmas of trade.
Drachma up vs. euro, down vs. dollar: The drachma on Wednesday ended higher against the euro and lower versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 339.480 drachmas from 339.500 drachmas in the previous session.
Also at the fix, the dollar was set at 408.190 drachmas from 405.550 drachmas a trading day earlier.
The drachma has lost 24.28 percent against the US currency since the start of the year.
 Merchant marine minister announces creation of regulatory authority
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis on Wednesday announced the drafting of a bill creating a regulatory authority on unfair competition for passenger shipping, to avert cartel type phenomena in the Greek market.
"The cartel that was created by passenger shipping companies a few years ago in the Adriatic Sea, will not be created in the Aegean," Papoutsis said.
"Its about time that everyone understood that we are in a new era. There is no need for 'troublesome behavior' by some that say they control the port. The new regulations in passenger shipping are clear. Every businessman has responsibilities to the consumers," he added.
 Gov't begins privatization of agri-bank, football pools
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)The government plans to part-float 13 percent of the Agricultural Bank of Greece and a smaller stake in the OPAP football pools company, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Wednesday.
He was speaking to reporters after a meeting with the bank's governor, Petros Lambrou, and Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis.
Of the 13 percent stake of Agricultural's capital for eventual sale to the public and bourse listing, 8.0 percent will come from convertible privatization bonds and 5.0 percent from the issue of new stock.
Anomeritis said flotation would coincide with a restructuring of the bank and with the inflow of European Union farm funds of around 11 trillion drachmas until 2006.
Papantoniou added that the football pools company's IPO prospectus would be submitted to the Athens Stock Exchange in coming days for approval.
 Greece needs drive towards information technology
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)Greece, which is lagging other western countries in its information technology infrastructure, needs to adopt the culture and work hard to catch up, Deputy Development Minister Milena Apostolaki said on Wednesday.
At the same time, the country's position could be viewed as an asset as there were no precedents to hinder progress, Apostolaki added.
She was addressing a two-day conference held by the Economist business magazine and Hellenic-British Chamber.
Another speaker, the ministry's general trade secretary, Dimitris Mardas, told delegates that central to the move ahead was business-to-business commerce, a much larger industry than business-to-consumer trade.
Mardas is also president of the national electronic commerce commission.
 Onassis Cultural Foundation inaugurated in New York
NEW YORK, 26/10/2000 (ANA-N. Voulelis)The Onassis Public Benefit Foundation inaugurated a daughter foundation Tuesday in New York that will develop multi-faceted educational and cultural activity aiming at the projection of Hellenic culture throughout the United States and chiefly in the greater New York area.
The inauguration of the NY-based Onassis Cultural Foundation, housed in the Olympic Tower on Fifth Avenue, was attended by a number of personalities from the political and academic communities of both Greece and the US.
Onassis Public Benefit Foundation chairman Stelios Papadimitriou, who will also serve as chairman of the Culture Foundation, officiated over the inauguration ceremony together with Greece's parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis, while Greek-American Senator Paul Sarbanes and a representative for the mayor of New York addressed short greetings.
An exhibition of plaster moulds of the Parthenon Marbles -- the original copies of the Marbles on loan from the City College University of New York (CUNY) -- was also opened Tuesday in the Foundation's atrium.
The plaster casts are the original copies of the Marbles, which were preserved and restored by CUNY, and they will be on display in the atrium over the next five years.
As part of the inauguration events, another exhibition titled "Classical Memories in Modern Greek Art", featuring the works of Greek artists inspired by the ancient Greek civilization, was also opened on Tuesday and will run to the end of January.
The Foundation has a 300-seat conference hall, as well as private offices in the Olympic Tower.
The Onassis Cultural Foundation will develop five main categories of activities.
The first is the introduction of courses, seminars and lectures to existing Hellenic Studies programs in American universities through supporting and cooperating with the Hellenic Studies Seats.
The second concerns intellectual and artistic activities at the Foundation's facilities, including lectures, exhibitions and other events.
The third will be a major Greek event each year that could also travel to the other US states, as well as artistic or cultural activities of US citizens related to Hellenic culture.
The fourth is the establishment of awards to encourage the writing of books, in the English language, on Greece and its culture, or books in the Greek language on the United States and its culture, that promote the cultural ties and friendship between the two countries.
The fifth area of activity is the organization and operation of a library with books concerning Greece and its culture.
Greece's culture minister Theodoros Pangalos later addressed a reception at the Waldorf Astoria and spoke on the role and value of foundations such as the Onassis Foundation.
Brief addresses were also delivered by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, deputy foreign minister Angeliki Laiou, Athens' National Gallery director Marina Lambraki-Plaka, and US ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns, who conveyed messages by US First Lady and senate candidate for NY Hillary Clinton and secretary of state Madeleine Albright on the importance of Hellenic culture for the US and the world.
 Greek culture minister argues for return of Parthenon marbles, on CNN
WASHINGTON, 26/10/2000 (ANA - T. Ellis)Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos outlined Greek arguments favoring the return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece from Britain in an interview broadcast by the US CNN television network on Monday, October 23.
Pangalos, currently in New York, said Greece is not interested in all Greek antiquities being returned, as it would be difficult to deal with such a prospect, "since we have so many that we would not know what to do with them."
He said Greece believes the Parthenon was mutilated illegally by Lord Elgin with an act constituting a moral offence and an aesthetic crime.
"These sculptures were cut from the Parthenon and in ancient Greek times sculptures and architecture constituted a unified entity. For this reason, these particular pieces of art should be returned and placed next to the temple to enable the visitor to see the Parthenon in its entirety as it was and not as it is today, with essential of it cut away and put in the British Museum in London," he said.
Pangalos further said "when the marbles are returned, they will be placed in a new museum being built and which will be ready in 2004 when Athens will be hosting the Olympic Games. This will constitute a marvelous act of justice which will show the world that the British people and the British authorities can give a lesson of morality and justice."
 Pilot law enforcement program for Attica and Thessaloniki
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)The public order ministry on Wednesday announced it would implement another law enforcement pilot program in the Attica and Thessaloniki, following the success of a previous one concerning traffic decongestion in downtown Athens.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis announced a new pilot program to be implemented in the country's two biggest cities on a daily basis from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. The purpose of the new program is to cite violations leading to traffic accidents.
According to data provided by the ministry, traffic accidents decreased by 5.4 per cent in the country during the first nine months of the current year, compared to the corresponding period in 1999. However, they increased 2 per cent in the Attica area.
 Greece participating in European Museum history exhibition
STRASBOURG, 26/10/2000 (ANA)The European Council of History Museums is presenting the history exhibition of European Museums at the European Parliament Plenum Mansion here. Greece is being represented at the exhibition by the Old Parliament's National History Museum with four works of art from modern Greek history. The National History Museum of Athens is the European museum participating with the largest in number of exhibits.
 Six new heliports to be built in border regions
Athens, 26/10/2000 (ANA)Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis on Wednesday endorsed the construction of six new heliports in remote and border areas that could also be used for night flights.
The heliports, whose design will comply with international specifications, will be built in Anafi, Siphnos, Nisyros, Koufonisia, Psara and Karpathos.
 UN should take note of Denktash's war threats, spokesman says
NICOSIA, 26/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)The United Nations and the permanent members of the Security Council should take a note of the war threats made by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, after the "lock in" of two Turkish military planes by the Republic's radars, while trying to take photos of the Paphos air base during National Guard military exercise "Nikiforos", government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said on Wednesday.
The spokesman added that the Cyprus government does not wish neither the creation of tension nor aggravation, particularly in view of the fifth round of proximity talks to be held in Geneva next week.
Invited to comment on the Turkish Cypriot leader's statements regarding the military exercise "Nikiforos" the spokesman said that the exercise "aims at reinforcing the Republic's military capabilities against the Turkish threat".
He noted that neither the exercise nor unnecessary tension would have taken place if Denktash and Turkey adopted the proposal made by President Glafcos Clerides for demilitarization of the island.
Replying to a question whether the government considers the possibility of taking measures for the decrease of tension, Papapetrou said that "the government would be ready to make such arrangements with Turkey" adding that the government has repeatedly and publicly made such proposals but there was no response from the Turkish side.
 Russian envoy reiterates support for solution based on UN resolutions
MOSCOW, 26/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)Russia firmly supports a solution to the Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions, acceptable by both sides on the island, thus contributing to cooperation and security in the Eastern Mediterranean, Russian representative for Cyprus Vladimir Prygin told CNA.
Prygin, who is Deputy Director of the Third European Department in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also said that "the search for a solution should strictly be in the framework of UN Security Council resolutions".
In an interview with CNA in Moscow, Prygin expressed Russia's position for a viable comprehensive solution and wished for progress in the UN-led proximity talks and for a more substantive discussion of the key issues, so that a solution will be mutually beneficial.
"We are interested in the continuation of the negotiating process and the achievement of progress through this process, so that a mutually acceptable solution will be possible," Prygin said, acknowledging at the same time that this is "a difficult procedure" and that a problem like the question of Cyprus "cannot be resolved at once in some rounds of talks".
Prygin, who will be in Geneva where the fifth round of proximity talks, beginning on November 1, will take place, pointed out that Russia supports the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-
General, in accordance with the UN Security Council mandate. He also said Russia supports the procedure of bi-communal talks, which it views as "the way to a resolution".