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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

July 8, 2002


  • [01] Second "November 17" safehouse discovered in Athens by police
  • [02] Simitis calls for the “turn of a page” in the party
  • [03] Premier calls on all party members to struggle for victory in local elections
  • [04] Papantoniou says EU presidency a privilege for Greece
  • [05] Main opposition leader criticizes gov't policies on farming, local gov't
  • [06] KKE leader questions whether the "N 17" group's leaders will be caught
  • [07] Venizelos-Oswald letter exchange on facilities cut-back
  • [08] Mass media reactions of Australia's premier's visit to Greece
  • [09] Christofias: UN should attribute responsibilities if deadlock continues
  • [10] Turkish Cypriot Movement supports a federal state in Cyprus

  • [01] Second "November 17" safehouse discovered in Athens by police

    Athens, 08/07/02 (ANA)

    The discovery of the second safehouse used by ''November 17'' on Saturday at the central Athens Pangrati neighborhood closed a circle of physical evidence discoveries as all the weaponry stolen by the murderous groups from the military camp at Sikourion, Larisa central Greece was found and accounted for, according to sources.

    According to a police spokesman, officers that entered the apartment of Pangrati, found a large number of anti-tank handheld missiles, materials for the disguising people, hand- grenades and other materials that were being evaluated by police.

    Another police source said that the missiles found at the Pangrati safehouse were those unaccounted for after the final count of weapons taken at the Patisia safehouse.

    Also police found a large number of table clocks and other materials of the construction of bombs and hand-held small rocket launchers.

    Reports gathered by residents of the area alludes to information that police had the apartment under surveillance since Easter. Residents also said that during the late morning hours police officers staking out the safehouse apprehended three people, two men and a woman, and took them into the apartment building, apparently without meeting any resistance.

    Similar sources said that around 5:30 am police apprehended another three people in the same area and were taken to police anti-terrorism headquarters.

    Sources also said that extensive investigations were taking place in the city of Kalamata, southern Greece and Evritania prefecture, central Greece.

    Special prosecutor visits alleged terrorist Xiros in an Athens hospital:

    Special prosecutor for terrorism issues Yiannis Diotis on Saturday visited alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros at the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens and stayed with him for about six hours in the presence of the Anti-terrorism Squad Stelios Syrou, police sources said.

    According the same sources, the discussion did not take the form of questioning; rather it was a first attempt to convince Xiros to cooperate with the authorities.

    Doctors insisted, the same sources said, that no pressure is applied on the 40-year old man as he was under great psychological strain made worst by the possibility that he may be blinded for life.

    ''17 November'' suspect released due to lack of evidence:

    Police authorities on Sunday said that a ''17 November'' suspect was released due to lack of evidence.

    George Panoussopoulos, the owner of an electronics shop in Athens' area of Koukaki, was arraigned on Saturday after his name and telephone number appeared in the telephone book of Savvas Xiros, a would-be bomber presently hospitalized under guard with injuries he suffered during an aborted June 29 bomb attempt in Piraeus.

    Special Anti-terrorist Squad officers suspected Panoussopoulos for manufacturing the electronic plaquettes used by ''17N'' members for telecontrolled explosives, police sources said.

    Charges are expected to be filed against Xiros on Monday, but there will be no writs for anybody's arrest, the same sources added.

    [02] Simitis calls for the “turn of a page” in the party

    Athens, 08/07/02 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis closed the PASOK convention that began on Friday with his call for ''the turn of a page in the party'', which will end the introversion, the personal strategies of members and the defeatism.

    He called the convention a starting point for the cohesion, which will lead to an organized march to victory and prospects.

    Simitis strongly criticized the right wing, which he said was bound by the most conservative strata of society, which believes in a socially damaging policy for the economy and connects the development of education and culture with the operation of the market place.

    The prime minister paid special attention to the issue of resolving the everyday problems of the citizens and called on PASOK cadres to work closely together in opening the way for the party on its way to society and the renewal of its policy.

    Simitis spoke of a plan to modernize Greece, saying that the plan is a common one for all of PASOK, criticizing the stance of some social groups, as well as party members that are active in certain sectors, stressing that there can not be the case where there is a plan drafted by PASOK in words alone and a separate plan for the university professors, the port workers, the public sector employees, the lawyers, the doctors of the social security system etc.

    "Greece will not be turned into a guild federation, where everything happens based on the special interests of groups, all the while disregarding the common interest," the premier said.

    "What kind of nation are we building, what kind of nation do we want within the European Union, which is constantly changing," Simitis said, posing a dilemma to the participants, concerning on which government and which party represents Greece best in the Union.

    He also stressed that not all political parties are the same, underlining that there is a delineation, which determines the policy of every party in the Union and for the future, while at the same time criticizing the right wing parties for being wary of citizens, wary of supra-national policies and more attuned to isolation, a right wing that considers the social policy damaging for the economy.

    Simitis also stressed the dangers lurking against Greece, which as he said is not like Switzerland, adding that peace is not a given for Greece, nor is its national security a given.

    Gov't ministers address PASOK party convention:

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou on Saturday said that "no personal strategies should be made to succeed through the defeat of PASOK," in her address to a PASOK convention that began on Friday.

    "Today everyone aims at everyone else. Those high up point the finger to those below them and those below them point the finger to those high up, while everyone is pointing the finger to those around him," Papandreou said.

    She proposed a wider set of organizational changes to secure the participation of all to the formulation of the ruling party's policies and expressed her optimism of PASOK's possibilities to win the next election.

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou stood for "a party of the masses, open to society", stressing, however, that the party membership should be clarified and next to the increased rights there should be more obligations, evaluation of party volunteer work and establishment of processes for the education and training of members.

    "In no event should we allow the party membership to be a flag of opportunity for the promotion of personal strategies," he stressed.

    On his part, Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas stressed that "there are no volunteer defeatists in PASOK. The word defeat does not exist in the vocabulary of PASOK and its cadres".

    He stressed that there is a necessity for the mitigation of distances with the "other left", saying that "the left was always the battering ram for the great changes, for the overthrow of conservatism and that this battering ram can not become the Trojan horse for the return of the right wing to power".

    Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas noted that "we pick up the glove the right wing tossed to us. What do we have to fear? Nothing changed in this country over the past 20 years?"

    He underlined also that "whoever feels tired, can with his tactics be a burden to the party".

    Addressing the convention, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis spoke of the government's success in uncovering the shadowy, murderous terrorist group "November 17", speaking of a success for the government and the justice minister on that front.

    Interior, agriculture ministers:

    Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis on Saturday posed the dilemma of ''an organized and creative overturn of affairs or open rebellion,'' in his address to a PASOK convention that began on Friday.

    He stressed that he stood for the first of the two options, clarifying that ''we should orient ourselves and change the focus our policy from numbers to people, from projects to quality of life''.

    ''Organized and creative overturn of affairs means that the focus on the economy it is not enough, the convergence of indexes and the rates of development, in order to secure the new victory is not just the projects' funding often mentioned correctly so by the premier, rather it is a campaign against corruption, for meritocracy, evaluation, decentralization, regional restructuring, quality services, all that which amounts to a new model of institutional organizing of democracy,'' Skandalidis said.

    He pushed the point and challenged ''everyone that believes that were are sailing to the wrong direction, in regards to our aims and targets, should come up and say it clearly and request a change of leadership''.

    On his part, Agriculture Minister George Drys said ''citizens do not despise our policy, they despise our implementation practice. When this implementation practice of ours does not instill safety, does not create optimism, is not friendly toward the citizen, does make the necessary changes in all sectors every single day in all levels''.

    Drys called on all ''to stop negotiating our fiefs and gather around our president and prime minister who is identified with the modernization of the country''.

    Foreign minister:

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Saturday addressed the ruling PASOK party's convention, placing emphasis on party unity and stressed the points that unite the cadres, the members and the voters of PASOK.

    Papandreou spoke using names of his party colleagues and commented positively on their positions, among them those of PASOK party deputy and former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    The minister took a stroll down memory lane on PASOK's course in the past and its successes from the very small ones to the largest ones, concluding by saying ''we all love this party, which completed such huge work and we should not allow our work to be undermined by some people.''

    [03] Premier calls on all party members to struggle for victory in local elections

    Athens, 08/07/02 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Sunday closed the meeting of the National Council for the Local Government, organized by the ruling PASOK party in Athens, stressing that all party members should stand at the forefront of the struggle for victory in the October elections.

    ''We heard our comrades, who will wage the struggle at the front lines and we can leave from this here room with the self-confidence that we will wage the right battle and if we have faith we will win,'' Simitis said.

    ''Let's all together wage the struggle for victory,'' he concluded.

    On his part, PASOK party Secretary Costas Laliotis called on all members of the government to go out the people and work for the victory in the municipal and prefectural elections.

    ''We want our cadres at the forefront of the battle,'' Latiotis said, stressing that Parliament deputies and ministers were not excluded from his call to arms.

    He also noted that the ''games with predictions and numbers and the bottom line were wrong''.

    ''We are fighting for and we are contesting victories, because no mayoral and prefect candidate, no election ticket and no party goes to a battle to lose it,'' he said, stressing the necessity for a renewed dialogue with the ''center-left'' initiated by PASOK.

    Former merchant marine minister and mayoral candidate for Athens Christos Papoutsis also spoke to the council, stressing that ''the time has come for change in Athens and I am here, heading this collective effort, because I refuse to submit to the climate of the recycled and self-feeding misery that is cultivated in the public life of the country.''

    He called the municipality a field for the popular participation in democracy and said that it has a leading role to play in the development and progress of a city.

    Papoutsis expressed his discontent with the stance of the parties of the left and especially with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), saying ''it is a pity that some people give up the consistency concerning their opinions over the role of local government and use the slogan ''they are all the same: abstention, blank vote in the second round''.

    PASOK secretary, development minister:

    The convention of PASOK can decisively contribute to the overturning of the negative image of the party, PASOK party Secretary Costas Laliotis said on Saturday during the ruling party's Organizational Convention in Athens.

    Laliotis said that political climate recorded by the opinion polls can be reversed, adding that if an opinion poll was to be conducted now the results would have been more positive for PASOK and the government, following the latest steps against terrorism.

    He stressed that PASOK and Prime Minister Costas Simitis have the mandate to rule for a total of four years, that is until the spring of 2004, adding that it is up to the cadres and members of the party to overturn the current climate and they can do so if only they believe so.

    He underlined that PASOK does not exist to serve itself, that it can not be a party of officials, adding that the abilities of a collective PASOK ''are totally different from those that are delineated by the barren and out of place and time battles between successors''.

    On his part, Development Minister and long time high-ranking cadre Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that the convention met during a critical phase, as the local elections are approaching, the Athens 2004 Olympic Games are near and the accession of Cyprus in the European Union is on the line.

    ''The new element in Europe is the election gains of the right wing. PASOK should respond with cohesion and make clear that it will forge forward united and that it is the credible force guaranteeing the course of the country in the future and that it has a sense of its responsibility,'' Tsohatzopoulos said.

    He expressed his satisfaction over the speech of Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday, saying that he had found the way again, reaffirming the agreements of the ruling party's Congress, which was held last year.

    ''We need a new political proposal and a new strategy of national development. The recreation of a progressive movement of the left is important for Greece,'' he said.

    Speaking of the ''November 17'' murderous terrorist group affair, Tsohatzopoulos said that its actions attempt to hold society hostage of international terrorism and expressed the hope that ''we will be led to the final dismantling and judicial cleansing of this case.

    Premier delivers closing speech of National Council for Local Government:

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Sunday closed the meeting of the National Council for the Local Government, organized by the ruling PASOK party in Athens, underlining that there are no minimums in the numbers of municipalities and prefectures the ruling party should win in the October elections.

    "The limit is victory in every municipality and in every prefecture," Simitis said, emphasizing on the election battle to be waged in the local government level against the conservative leadership, where according to him things are stagnant since 1998. He said that the stagnation was due to the lack of vision by the main opposition party New Democracy in its policy for the local government, which he said has as its only vision the corruption and the vision of governing just to stay in power and called on the PASOK party cadres to break the "downward spiral" of misery.

    The premier accused ND that it wants the mayor to be a local party operative and to secure votes for the national elections and it wants the prefect to be the representative of the central government.

    To the contrary, the premier said, PASOK with its policy has given local government its premier position that it holds today, adding that the reforms will continue aiming to give more responsibilities held by the central government to the local governments.

    Simitis then provided the base of the pre-election campaign of PASOK saying that it will focus on transparency, modernization and development.

    ND spokesman unleashes strong criticism against PM:

    A main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman on Sunday unleashed strong criticism against Prime Minister Costas Simitis and ruling PASOK party.

    ''Mr. Simitis is the prime minister who systematically attempts to charge local government with the mistakes, the omissions and the weaknesses of his government... Mr. Simitis is unreliable. With his words and deeds all these years he has demonstrated the way he perceives the position and the role of local government'', Thodoris Roussopoulos said in a response to the premier's speech during a ruling PASOK's convention on local government.

    ''Six years of Simitis and twenty years of PASOK identify with a regime of intransparency and impunity, the unreliability and ineffectiveness of the state machine and the exacerbation of inequalities in the provinces'', Roussopoulos added.

    [04] Papantoniou says EU presidency a privilege for Greece

    Athens, 08/07/02 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou in an exclusive interview to the Athens News Agency said that it is a privilege for Greece to assume the presidency in the European defense sector from 1 July 2002 and for 12 months – since Denmark who holds the rotating EU presidency during the second half of the current year, is exempted from the coordination of defense policy due to neutrality (imposed by its constitution).

    He added that this is going to be a decisive period for the resolution of all pending issues to render the euro-army ready for operations and promote the framework for NATO-Euro army cooperation.

    Papantoniou said “assuming the presidency will not hinder the promotion of the so-called national issues. The presidency will impart for Greece additional prestige, which I believe will have a positive impact on developments also on the Euro army issue; this does not mean that the country will fail to adhere to the objectivity that its role in the presidency requires. As the presiding state from 1 July, (Greece) will deal effectively with the major Euro army issue”, he added.

    “Europe is on its way to a new position, the Greek position, based on ensuring EU autonomy in decision making with regard to the Euro army, as well as, absolute respect for the sovereign rights of the EU member states, including their border protection and land integrity”, the defense minister said. “This is finally the European position; on the basis of this framework we are going to enter into discussions with the NATO members in order to reach a mutually accepted conclusion, one that will respect the above principles”, he added.

    [05] Main opposition leader criticizes gov't policies on farming, local gov't

    Athens, 08/07/02 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday strongly criticized the government's policy on agriculture and local government, during an address at a political rally in Lamia, Fthiotida prefecture, central Greece.

    ''We will not accept behind the scenes manipulations that expose to danger and undermine the future of the European Union farmers. The security of the farmers' income is a national affair,'' Karamanlis said.

    He spoke of a change in the agricultural policy of the country and noted what he called the government's lack of coordination concerning the choices of ministries in relation to the country's agricultural policy.

    Speaking of the restructuring of local administration institutions, Karamanlis stressed the necessity for the building of a relationship of trust and noted that ''a revolution in attitudes is necessary. As far as the government is concerned it is always some one else's fault. An establishment of 20 years is never at fault?''

    [06] KKE leader questions whether the "N 17" group's leaders will be caught

    Athens, 08/07/02 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Saturday said that the nucleus and the head of the murderous terrorist ''November 17'' group will not be discovered and the case will be closed with the arrest of some branches that are connected with it.

    Speaking during a tour of the Evritania prefecture, central Greece, Papariga said that ''protection is offered to the political instigators of the November 17 set up from centers in and out of Greece ''.

    ''Maybe some people want some revelations about November 17, because this mechanism is not useful to them anymore and they want to focus to other directions, that is within the people?'' Papariga said tabling a question.

    [07] Venizelos-Oswald letter exchange on facilities cut-back

    Athens, 08/07/02 (ANA)

    International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordinating Committee President Dennis Oswald in a letter addressed to Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos expressed his concerns about the fashion that certain Olympic installation cut-backs were reported, mainly in connection with the information that the international sport federations received on that issue, according to an article in Sunday’s edition of Athens daily “Kathimerini”.

    Reliable sources on Sunday said that the “Oswald letter” was written as a result of pressure exerted by certain international federations and that it was intended to appease the 28 federations that expressed concerns over the quality of the sports, since they did not receive timely information prior to the decision on the cut-backs.

    In response to press reports and comments on the issue, Culture Minister Venizelos said in a statement Sunday evening that there was no real dispute with the IOC regarding the Olympic installations and that he had replied in writing to Oswald thanking him for his letter which confirmed previous discussions between the two men.

    “The government is and will continue to be acting on the issue in full cooperation with the IOC, the international federations and the Organizing Committee of the 2004 Olympic Games, ensuring infrastructure adequacy and quality for all sports”, the minister added.

    In a related development, main opposition New Democracy (ND) sector-leader Fani Palli- Petralia on Sunday criticized the government over Olympic installation cut-backs and said that her party had “issued fair warning that the government’s bad handling would make the completion of the Olympic projects unfeasible”.

    [08] Mass media reactions of Australia's premier's visit to Greece

    MELBOURNE, 08/07/2002 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    The Australian mass media gave positive coverage of their country's Prime Minister John Howard to Greece, who in statements to the press said that he was impressed by the progress of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games' projects.

    Some mass media of Australia, however, made mention of the problems that maybe caused by the pollution and the traffic in the Greek capital during the Games.

    [09] Christofias: UN should attribute responsibilities if deadlock continues

    NICOSIA, 08/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus House President Demetris Christofias said here on Sunday the United Nations should assess the situation regarding the Cyprus talks and attribute responsibilities, if the deadlock in the UN-led talks, aiming to solve the Cyprus talks, continues, during the new round of talks that will begin on July 16.

    Christofias pointed out the Greek Cypriot side would proceed to the new round with good will and a spirit of compromise that would pave the way for a solution, noting that the Greek Cypriot side will insist on a settlement providing for a bizonal bicommunal federation.

    He also noted that the Turkish side remains intransigent and inflexible, with a view to consolidate the faits accomplis.

    ''If the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's initiative does not bear fruit, the UN should assume their responsibilities, assess the whole situation and attribute responsibilities if the deadlock continues'', Christofias said, adding that otherwise time will pass by without any costs for the intransigent Turkish side.

    Christofias also said that the UN should act within the framework of their own decisions and resolutions adding that the UN Secretary General's acts should be based on the UN Charter's principles and the UN resolutions on Cyprus.

    Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in direct talks, under UN auspices, since mid January this year. The fourth round of talks was wrapped up on July 2.

    No progress has been achieved so far because of Denktash's insistence on two states in Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    [10] Turkish Cypriot Movement supports a federal state in Cyprus

    LONDON, 08/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Turkish Cypriots living in Cyprus occupied areas are outnumbered by the Turkish settlers and are facing extinction, Turkish Cypriot politician, member of the Turkish Cypriot Patriotic Unity Movement (YBH) Ozker Ozgur said speaking here on Friday at a gathering of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    Ozgur said that the Turkish Cypriots are desperate and send an SOS message to all who are ready to listen to them. Both Ozgur and YBH General Secretary Izzet Izcan stressed that the way out of this situation was the accession of a united Cyprus to the European Union.

    Ozgur noted that the army in the occupied north has the final word on both external and internal security. Izcan said that the Movement wants an independent, united, federal state in Cyprus where people of Cypriot identity will be masters in their homeland.

    ''Cypriots lived peacefully together for hundreds of years. They can live together again,'' he added.

    He also noted that the framework for a solution to the Cyprus problem is provided by the High Level Agreements of 1997 and 1979 and UN resolutions on Cyprus, providing for a bicommunal, bizonal federation.

    ''We are for a single state, single voice, single representation with basic human rights guaranteed,'' he added.

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