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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

July 2, 2002


  • [01] Injured bomber reportedly tied to 'November 17' terrorist group
  • [02] US Senator Olympia Snowe certain Saturday's bomb not intended for her
  • [03] Simitis to visit Ukraine, receive visiting Australian PM this week
  • [04] Irish President Mary McAleese to visit Greece next week
  • [05] Greek FM meets with U.S. Senator Olympia Snow in Athens
  • [06] Gov't doubtful that solution on Euroforce issue is imminent
  • [07] Gov't plays down significance of PM's dinner for cabinet
  • [08] G. Papandreou-Laliotis meeting on the upcoming PASOK convention
  • [09] POL.AN leader visits President Stephanopoulos
  • [10] Tsovolas says the Cyprus issue is at a crucial phase
  • [11] Defense minister meets with Piraeus mayoral hopeful
  • [12] Chinese Communist Party delegation meets with ND officials
  • [13] Karamanlis visits Fire Brigade headquarters
  • [14] Intracom to buy stake in Turkey's Meteksan Group
  • [15] Greek PMI holds high ground at 53.8 in June
  • [16] Greek stocks end lower in record-low turnover
  • [17] Athens' Olympic Road Network unveiled
  • [18] EU raps Greece over its system for recognizing foreign degrees
  • [19] Alvaro de Soto to brief Annan on Cyprus

  • [01] Injured bomber reportedly tied to 'November 17' terrorist group

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greek police have apparently linked a botched terrorist strike in Piraeus Saturday evening and the subsequent apprehension of the suspected bomber injured in the blast to the notorious “November 17” group.

    In reading out a brief statement broadcast live on national television Monday evening, the head of Greece's police force (EL.AS) called the case “extremely serious”, before revealing that a revolver found near the injured body of Savvas Xiros, 40, late Saturday evening was taken from a policeman killed during a 1984 Christmas Eve robbery in central Athens.

    Police Chief Fotis Nasiakos told reporters that the weapon used to kill the police officer on Dec. 24, 1984 was not the same .38 revolver recovered at the port of Piraeus on Saturday evening, but another firearm reportedly used in attacks later claimed by “November 17”.

    Besides the injured man, a church mural and icon painter, his girlfriend, Spanish national Alicia Romero, and another two men arrested at Xiros’ central Athens studio.

    According to Nasiakos' written statement, the late policeman was killed by a firearm, which was used in six separate attacks ranging in time from 1983 to the 1999 murder of Shipowner Peratikos.

    All those six attacks were claimed by ''November 17'' as was the murder of the police officer in 1984. Thus as the revolver of the officer was found in the possession of Xiros and was stolen by members of ''November 17'', the terrorist group is directly connected with Xiros.

    Nasiakos declined to answer questions, justifying his stance as mandated by the gravity of the case.

    Police announce name of suspect in Piraeus bomb blast: The identity of the man suspected of being behind the bomb blast in Piraeus at the weekend was announced by police on Monday in a terse announcement that said little apart from his name and that he had not occupied the law in the past.

    The suspect was identified as Savvas Xiros, 40, hailing from Thessaloniki.

    According to press sources, however, Xiros is known to be involved in anarchist groups and has been considered a suspect in a bomb attack in the early '90s, though no evidence to support the charge was found at the time.

    Police have searched the suspect's home and also three or four houses belonging to his friends and family.

    Sources said the 38-millimetre revolver Xiros had on him when the bomb exploded in his hands had been stolen from a police officer, though this information has not been officially released by police.

    The same sources also said that a number of people had been brought in for questioning that are believed to be linked to Xiros, while police are also investigating evidence on a phone card and credit cards that Xiros had on him.

    The evidence so far seems to point to the organization 'Revolutionary Cells' that has carried out bomb attacks since 1996 but not in the last two years.

    Xiros has suffered serious injuries to his arm and other parts of his body, which police suspected were incurred when a makeshift bomb he was carrying, exploded in his hands. The blast took place outside the ticket offices of the HFD shipping company in the port of Piraeus at 22.10 on Saturday night, causing only limited damage to the prefabricated building.

    A second makeshift bomb found near the offices was neutralized by bomb disposal experts, while a hand grenade and .38 revolver were also found nearby.

    Xiros was first rushed to Tzanio hospital in Piraeus and then to another hospital in Athens, where he is being treated under police guard. He will probably lose one of his arms as a result of the blast as well as an eye.

    Evidence indicating that the injured man is the bomber are gloves he was wearing and the hand grenade and revolver he had with him. Police believe he was carrying the revolver and hand grenade to protect himself in the event he was spotted by police or port officials.

    Gov't dismisses terror speculation after Saturday bomb blast: Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Monday dismissed a flurry of reports dealing with terrorism that appeared in the press over the weekend following the arrest of a suspected terrorist that is believed to have been the victim to his own bomb.

    The arrested man was identified as Savvas Xiros, 40, and he is now being treated for serious injuries in hospital under guard.

    Protopapas stressed that authorities were conducting a thorough investigation and following all leads in the case. He stressed that the search was being conducted systematically, responsibly and efficiently and that the authorities were confident about the outcome "because of the work we are doing".

    Constantopoulos comments on terrorist related press reports: Coalition of Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Monday in Thessaloniki referred to what he called "destabilization games" aiming at a continual incrimination of Greece and pressure exerted on the government with regard to the issue of terrorism.

    Stating that his party is contrary to the adoption of terrorist and murderous methods, Constantopoulos added that "there are many who play games with the issue of terrorism, especially those who want to create conditions of political tension during a period that is crucial for our country".

    "The issue of terrorism concerns all of us; the need to effectively deal with terrorism is to the benefit of democracy as well as that of society", Constantopoulos said.

    [02] US Senator Olympia Snowe certain Saturday's bomb not intended for her

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Visiting US senator Olympia Snowe expressed certainty Monday that she had not been the target of a failed bomb attack in Piraeus over the weekend.

    Snowe, accompanied by US ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller, met Monday morning with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, told reporters after the meeting that she was certain the bomb attempt was not related to her visit here.

    Snowe said that the issue of terrorism was of direct concern to Greece and the United States, adding that both countries were interested in tackling the problem and that their efforts were in that direction.

    Sources said Snowe and Miller expressed the same view during their meeting with Karamanlis.

    The talks also covered the Cyprus issue, Greek-US relations, and the situation in the wider region.

    Sources said the security measures for Snowe have been beefed up in comparison with her previous visits to Greece.

    [03] Simitis to visit Ukraine, receive visiting Australian PM this week

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis started the week by visiting US Senator Olympia Snowe on Monday at 10:00, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said while presenting the prime minister's agenda for the coming week.

    Simitis will chair a government meeting at 14:00 to prepare for his visit to the Ukraine on Tuesday, while at 21:00 on Monday he will head an informal cabinet meeting in the form of a working dinner.

    On Tuesday and Wednesday, Simitis will be in Kiev for an official visit to the Ukraine, during which he will meet the country's political leadership.

    On Thursday, the prime minister will officially receive visiting Australian premier John Howard at 10:30 in the morning, while more substantial talks between the two men will take place at 19:00 in the evening.

    In the meantime, the premier is to have a meeting with Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos at 11:30 and at noon he will chair a meeting of ruling PASOK's Executive Bureau.

    On Friday, Simitis will meet Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC) head Gianna Angelopoulos in the morning and is scheduled to speak at PASOK's organizational conference at noon.

    [04] Irish President Mary McAleese to visit Greece next week

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Irish President Mary McAleese will pay a three-day official visit to Greece next week at the invitation of her Greek counterpart, it was announced on Monday.

    McAleese arrives in Athens on July 8 for a three-day state visit, at the invitation of Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos, who had visited Dublin on July 3, 2000.

    [05] Greek FM meets with U.S. Senator Olympia Snow in Athens

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday met with visiting U.S. Senator Olympia Snow and discussed developments in the Greek-American relations, as well as developments in Europe.

    In statements to the press, the Greek-American Republican Senator called Greece important to the U.S. and expressed the belief that the two countries were cooperating for the confrontation of terrorism.

    [06] Gov't doubtful that solution on Euroforce issue is imminent

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Monday appeared dubious regarding rumors that a solution on the issue of a planned European rapid reaction force was imminent.

    "We have seen no signs up until now that Turkey has decided to adopt a positive stance. We fervently hope for a solution on this issue and that Turkey will accept the new framework decided on by the '15' (EU member-states' in Seville," he stressed.

    [07] Gov't plays down significance of PM's dinner for cabinet

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    The government once again urged reporters not to place undue emphasis on a working dinner and informal cabinet meeting planned by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday night.

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas noted, in response to questions, that one did not deal with introversion by reproducing it.

    Regarding the fact that Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis was not going to be among the diners, Protopapas said that Kaklamanis had a significant institutional role and it was right that he was not involved in the planning of government policy.

    Meanwhile, Kaklamanis himself on Monday strongly denied rumors that he was put out over not being invited to attend the dinner.

    "Mr. Kaklamanis was neither 'annoyed' nor 'embittered' because, as Parliament speaker, he neither participates nor intervenes in the work of the government and its organs, confining himself to his institutional role," a Parliament press office announcement said.

    Kaklamanis was very annoyed with the media that published reports concerning him without going to the trouble to crosscheck their information, it added.

    [08] G. Papandreou-Laliotis meeting on the upcoming PASOK convention

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday said that his meeting with ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Laliotis focused on the upcoming party convention and the municipal elections.

    Exiting the PASOK headquarters in Athens where the two men met for one hour, Papandreou said that there was a good exchange of views during the meeting and a common understanding that the PASOK convention, beginning on Friday, will constitute a starting point for party reorganization.

    Replying to questions about the "phenomenon of introversion" Papandreou said that diversion in views was useful and necessary for a democratic party. Asked whether there was an agreement with Prime Minister Costas Simitis to support the foreign minister in the succession process as a reward for the latter's support during the 1996 PASOK congress, Papandreou replied that "in Greece we have a tendency toward (the creation) of scenarios and conspiracy talk."

    "Politics are simpler and more transparent", he added.

    [09] POL.AN leader visits President Stephanopoulos

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Political Spring (POL.AN.) party leader Antonis Samaras on Monday visited President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and briefed him on his party's positions concerning the upcoming municipal and prefecture elections, while they also discussed domestic and international developments.

    [10] Tsovolas says the Cyprus issue is at a crucial phase

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas on Monday said that "from now until the end of this year, the Cyprus issue is going through its most crucial phase".

    Coming out of a briefing by Foreign Minister George Papandreou on the course of national issues, Tsovolas said that "the Cyprus issue is the bulwark of Hellenism and any solutions involving Confederation will have an immediate adverse impact on Greece also and in the Aegean". With regard to the euro-army issue, Tsovolas clarified that during his meeting with Papandreou he informed the foreign minister that "in no case should Greece accept texts ... that leave Cyprus and our borders, as defined by international agreements and international law, outside the responsibility of the EU".

    [11] Defense minister meets with Piraeus mayoral hopeful

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Monday met with former deputy defense minister and Piraeus mayoral candidate Manolis Beteniotis and discussed the conditions of the military camps in the municipality.

    Their discussion also involved the transfer of military camps outside the city.

    [12] Chinese Communist Party delegation meets with ND officials

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    A high-level Chinese Communist Party delegation headed by Zhang Baoqing, on a five-day visit in Greece, was received on Monday by main opposition New Democracy (ND) party Parliamentary Group General Secretary Dimitrios Sioufas in Athens.

    According to an ND announcement, the two parties exchanged bilateral and general interest views, such as the impact of globalization on the retention of the cultural identity of the states, the Greek presidency of the EU, the possibilities for financial and business cooperation between Greece and China, the Olympic Games in Athens and in Beijing, as well as the course of the Cyprus issue since China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

    The Chinese delegation, which is scheduled to meet with more ND officials in Athens and Irakleion, extended an official invitation for ND leader Costas Karamanlis to visit China.

    [13] Karamanlis visits Fire Brigade headquarters

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday visited the Fire Brigade headquarters in Athens and was briefed by Chief Panagiotis Fourlas about preparations and fire-protection plans for combating fires this summer.

    During his visit, Karamanlis praised the work of the men and women of the fire-fighting forces while criticizing the government by saying that the year-old delays in the personnel's duty travel compensation was unacceptable.

    [14] Intracom to buy stake in Turkey's Meteksan Group

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Intracom on Monday announced the signing of a memorandum of cooperation with Meteksan Group envisaging the purchase of an equity stake of more than 20 percent in the Turkish company Meteksan Group's equity capital.

    A company announcement said that Meteksan was also drafting a cooperation plan with Gantek (in which Intracom already owns a 20 percent equity stake) aimed to enhance their activities.

    The Intracom-Meteksan-Gantek cooperation lays the foundations for creating the biggest agency in the Turkish market, capable of implementing some of the largest information and telecommunications projects in Turkey and in the wider geographical region.

    Meteksan, a company based in Ankara, owns a technical support network in 23 Turkish cities and focuses its activities towards the public sector, while Gantek - based in Istanbul - operates mainly in the private sector.

    Meteksan Group employs 400 workers and includes Meteksan Sistem, Meteksan Servis, Meteksan Net, Mobilsoft and TEPE Teknoloji.

    Meteksan Group is owned by Bilkent University, Turkey's largest private university.

    [15] Greek PMI holds high ground at 53.8 in June

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 53.8 in June from 54.5 in May, reflecting an expanding manufacturing activity in the country, albeit with a slight decline for on a month-to-month basis.

    The PMI rise reflected an increase in production, new orders, supplies and employment.

    Demand for Greek products rose for the seventh consecutive month in June, with the growth rate slightly lower compared with the previous month, but still the highest rate since November 2000.

    Employment levels in the manufacturing sector continued rising in June, with the highest growth rate since June 2000.

    The monthly index, compiled by NTC Research of the UK with the Greek Procurements Institute, is designed to offer an overview of conditions in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 show growth, while below 50 slowdown.

    [16] Greek stocks end lower in record-low turnover

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended Monday's session lower in subdued turnover in the Athens Stock Exchange with investors seemingly shifting their attention towards their summer holidays.

    The general index fell 0.84 percent to end at 2,218.98 points, with turnover an extremely low 57.4 million euros, a new low for the year.

    The IT sector was the only one to score gains (up 0.27 percent), while the Insurance, Textile and Retail sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (3.07 percent, 1.88 percent and 1.71 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.97 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.82 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 1.44 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 237 to 69 with another 46 issues unchanged.

    Equity index futures finish lower: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Monday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a discount of 0.6 per cent and on the medium cap index a discount of 1.5 per cent.

    Turnover was 60.4 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips lost 0.97 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks dropped by 0.82 percent.

    Bond prices down in light trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished higher in light trade focusing on ten-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.3 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 31 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 1.2 billion euros.

    Sell orders accounted for more than half of trade.

    [17] Athens' Olympic Road Network unveiled

    Athens, 02/07/2002 (ANA)

    Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) Transport General Directorate on Monday announced that some 200 roads of Attica, totaling 605 kilometers will carry the bulk of the burden during the Games.

    The roads were classified in to two categories and 74, totaling 275 kilometers will compose the major Olympic Road Network, while another 129, totaling 330 kilometers will compose the secondary network.

    Police will begin to undertake measures that will culminate during the days of the Games, and as ATHOC officials said ''forget the private automobile use'' during those days.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos repeatedly stressed that Athenians will have to assume a different attitude, they will have to park their cars, legally, and use public transport.

    [18] EU raps Greece over its system for recognizing foreign degrees

    BRUSSELS, 02/07/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)

    The European Commission on Monday issued Greece a final warning to bring its system for the recognition of foreign tertiary education degrees in line with Community legislation or face legal action through the European Court of Justice.

    The Commission's warning refers to directive 89/48 that certifies the professional training of at least three years for engineers and teachers.

    This was incorporated into Greek legislation with a presidential degree on June 23, 2000 but the European Commission claims that the transfer of the directive is not compatible with Community law since it discriminates against foreigners.

    Among others, the Commission objects to a demand by Greek authorities for 'parity' of degrees in order for someone to get a job in the public sector, and a demand that foreigners with the right credentials become members of Greece's Technical Chamber.

    Greece has two months in which to respond.

    [19] Alvaro de Soto to brief Annan on Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 02/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto has said that the major breakthrough the UN had hoped for by the end of the June target date is not going to happen.

    The top UN envoy on Cyprus leaves Wednesday for Vienna, where he will meet and brief Kofi Annan on the course of the direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    He then flies on to New York where Tuesday, 9th July, he will brief the Security Council, whose current president, Britain's permanent representative Sir Jeremy Greenstock, will make a statement after the briefing.

    ''We are facing a conundrum and I have to discuss this with the Secretary General,'' de Soto told CNA, noting that so far the two

    sides ''have relied on bilateral negotiation'' at the talks.

    The two sides, he said, seem to find it difficult to negotiate by themselves.

    ''There is not going to be this major breakthrough we hoped for,'' he told CNA.

    He said that had this happened, it would have facilitated enormously and made the drafting of legal texts much easier.

    De Soto explained that the UN were trying to crack the four core issues as these were identified by Annan --governance, security, territory and property -- by the end of June, a target date initially suggested by Denktash and agreed upon by the President and the UN.

    ''The parties cannot get down to the legal drafting and both sides, one more than the other, seem to underestimate the amount of legal drafting that needs to be done,'' de Soto said.

    Referring to the sense of urgency to reach an agreement, de Soto said accession of Cyprus to the European Union is a pressing factor and should be taken into consideration.

    ''The EU enlargement process and the Secretary General's good offices are separate processes, though not incompatible and they obey their own calendars. Each has its own different mandate,'' he said.

    He pointed out, however, that ''to argue that there is no relationship between the UN and the EU processes would be to pretend that EU enlargement had no bearing on the negotiations.''

    That, he added, would be an attitude of ''childlike naivety.''

    ''The UN keeps its independence, the Secretary General reports to the Security Council and he must take into account the existing international context,'' de Soto said.

    Direct talks began in January, in the presence of Alvaro de Soto, between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides with a view to negotiating until a comprehensive settlement is reached.

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