|Friday, 15 January 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-10
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>July 10, 2002
 Greek and Italian PMs inaugurate electric power network
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday inaugurated the electric power network linkage between Greece and Italy with satellite connections from their offices.
The project, constituting Greece's first electric power linkage with the other European Union countries via Italy, concerns an underwater cable 163 kilometers long, submerged in the Ionian and Adriatic seas, and was the reason for the double celebration taking place simultaneously in Greece and Italy.
The two Prime ministers addressed messages on the occasion of the electric power linkage between their two countries, stretching from Gramenitsa in the western Greek prefecture of Arta to Galadina in Italy's region of Otranto.
Simitis said in his message that the project ''creates a bridge between Greece, Italy and the rest of Europe and gives us access to the enlarged electricity market and provides Italy with the possibility of having access to the eastern Mediterranean.''
He further said that the project certifies that the two countries are contributing to the progress of the European Union and to European integration.
''It is a project serving the target of the electricity sufficiency of both countries, but also gives security to citizens to whom it now provides more possibilities. I believe that this electricity linkage will also contribute to the better organizing and holding of the Olympic Games. It is a project of growth, which shows that Europe is progressing,'' he added.
On his part, Berlusconi said the electric power linkage between Greece and Italy is to the benefit of both countries and sets out a better future.
He congratulated all who contributed to enabling the project to become a reality and overcoming all the difficulties which appeared. He also said that a record was set when the underwater cable in the region of Otranto was submerged to a depth of 1,000 meters.
''I believe that the advantages from this electric power linkage will be great and they will bring the two peoples closer and will increase cooperation between the two countries,'' he added.
Berlusconi also said the electric power linkage is the first considerable project between Greece and Italy in the energy sector, while a second one will follow soon in the natural gas sector.
The two Prime ministers then proceeded with a simulated start to the electric power network linkage between Greece and Italy by lowering levers in their respective offices and allowing the flow of electricity to the underwater cable.
Earlier, and following a friendly dialogue, Simitis had invited Berlusconi to spend a vacation on the Greek islands. The Italian prime minister accepted the invitation.
Installations at Gramenitsa were inaugurated by Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who said the cost of the project amounted to about 340 million euros and that it has been planned to transfer electricity totaling 500 MW.
The project was completed last March and is expected to bring the first quantities of Italian-origin electricity to the local market in mid-July.
Revenues from the use of the cable will be divided with 25 percent going to Greece's Public Power Corporation (DEH) and 75 percent to Italy's ENEL company in accordance with the corresponding percentages of participation in the project's cost.
Considerable advantages will be enjoyed from the electric power linkage between the two countries.
It will secure Greece's electric power linkage with the rest of the EU countries for the first time, minimize the cost of managing the two countries' electric power production and transfer systems and decrease the cost of buying fuel for producing energy.
In addition, it achieves a more effective coordination and the better exploitation of water resources and contributes to cooperation between the two countries, in the case of an emergency, through common reserves.
Lastly, it offers greater flexibility in the transfer of electric power and provides indirect economic benefits concerning employment and incomes resulting from the construction of the project.
 PM and Irish president discuss improving bilateral ties
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Greece and Ireland could finally work on developing bilateral ties, which had been stunted over the past 50 years due to Ireland's troubled relations with the United Kingdom, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis noted after a meeting with visiting Irish President Mary McAleese on Tuesday.
He said they had agreed on a common framework for improving bilateral relations during their talks.
Apart from having the strongest growth rate in the European Union, Ireland was also a small country that had achieved very good results in economic development and social cohesion, Simitis said.
Greek-Irish cooperation within the EU would be easy, since the two countries were roughly the same size and faced similar problems, he added.
The Prime Minister also stressed Greece's support for the peace process in Ireland, and said that solutions did not arise from conflict.
He said that McAleese had expressed support for Greece's candidacy as a member of the United Nations Security Council in 2005 and 2006, and also that Ireland had always supported a solution of the Cyprus issue based on UN resolutions.
On her part, McAleese noted that this was the first visit by an Irish president to Greece and that this was due to the geographic and historical distance between the two countries.
''We are, however, partners within the European Union and this creates opportunities and obligations, which we must meet for the benefit of our peoples,'' she said.
Greece and Ireland had to combine their ingenuity and their ability in order to improve their relations, McAleese added, and for this reason she had agreed on an agenda of issues for pursuing common goals with the Greek government during her visit to Athens.
The Irish president later called on the Greek Parliament, where she was received by Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis.
During talks with Kaklamanis she said she was optimistic that a national referendum in Ireland in the autumn would ratify the Nice Treaty, while he expressed satisfaction at Ireland's stance on Cyprus' accession to the European Union.
Irish President Mary McAleese meets with opposition party leaders: Visiting Irish President Mary McAleese had consecutive meetings Tuesday with main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis and Coalition of the Left and Progress (SYN) leader Nikos Constantopoulos, under stringent security measures.
One hour before the meetings, police had cordoned off the area surrounding her hotel, while security measures around the hotel were beefed up. The venue of the meetings was also changed for security reasons.
Both meetings focused on issues of mutual interest, covering current affairs and EU matters.
A similar meeting scheduled with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga did not take place, but no reasons were immediately given.
After his meeting with McAleese, ND leader Karamanlis said that their talks had covered matters of common European interest, and cited the example of Ireland which, in the framework of the EU, had succeeded in formulating high growth rates due to its tax and fiscal reforms, something he said that Greece should take a good look at.
Karamanlis also broached the Cyprus issue with McAleese, and said that Greece desired a solution to Cyprus' political problem, but stressed that if there was no progress in that direction, due to the Turkish side's intransigence, Cyprus' EU accession should nevertheless be supported, adding that it could by achieved by the spring of 2003.
Constantopoulos said after his meeting with McAleese that they had discussed matters of common interest, as well as Ireland's achievements in the 1990s decade, which he said were an example worthy of being copied with respect to its economic growth.
Greek political life very frequently refers to the speedy growth rates of Ireland to a good level of economic development, due naturally to a rational utilization of resources and to balanced development, Constantopoulos said.
Other matters of mutual interest discussed included the common future inside the EU, confrontation of the Euro-force issue, and a just solution to the Cyprus issue.
Mary McAleese says she looks forward to culture of consent: Irish President Mary McAleese, on a three-day visit in Athens, on Tuesday said that “from the old culture of conflict we must be led to a new culture of consent”.
Elected in 1997 as the eighth president of Ireland and the first from Northern Ireland to occupy the post, McAleese was speaking at the Benaki Museum in Athens about the membership of Ireland in the European Union (EU).
“Almost thirty years after its accession to the EU, Ireland is a modern, flourishing state within the scope of the EU that has given us the strength, the framework and the opportunity to achieve changes and to achieve them quickly”, the Irish president said.
“Ireland, just like Greece, has worked very hard to meet the EMU criteria. The Irish government, the labor unions, the industries and the workers have learned a lot from their counterparts in continental Europe”, she said.
Replying to questions on the Cyprus problem, the Irish president said that the history of Cyprus is familiar to the Irish people, who know how difficult is the resolution of such problem”, while referring to the EU expansion, McAleese said that each EU enlargement has expanded the social, geographical and historical aspects of the Union”.
Ireland is assuming the rotating EU presidency in 2004, one year after the Greek EU presidency that begins in January 2003.
 FM Papandreou and Solana discuss European security and defense
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou and European Union Foreign Policy High Commissioner Javier Solana had a wide exchange of views on Tuesday, on the occasion of the latter's presence at the Andreas Papandreou Foundation's conference on the island of Samos.
The conference concerns globalization, the prospects of the center-left and the future of Europe.
Speaking at the conference, Solana made important ascertainments on Europe's future role, while he and Papandreou discussed developments on the issue of European security and defense policy in light of Greece assuming the presidency on these issues, as well as the latest dramatic developments in Turkey.
''We are still not aware in what way the situation in Turkey will develop,'' Solana said in reply to a question from the press, adding that the new government in Ankara might possibly have the ability of continuing talks with the Europeans on this issue.
Solana said he discussed the priorities of Greece's presidency with Papandreou and added that there is close cooperation between Athens and Brussels to have the pending issue resolved.
He further said he intends to contact Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem to discuss developments and the need for a solution to be found which shall allow the implementation of the European defense and security identity.
Papandreou has already contacted his Turkish counterpart, since Greece assumed the presidency on defense and security issues, declaring the intention of Athens to help to enable a solution to be found on the issue of the so-called European army.
Solana, who had the opportunity of contacting Israeli and Palestinian officials participating in the conference, arrived on the island on Monday night and was due to leave on Tuesday night on board a private aircraft.
 DM briefs US ambassador on EU's defense policy during Greece's presidency
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Tuesday briefed U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller about Greece's defense and security action program, during its European Union Presidency.
They also discussed the further participation of Greece in the confrontation of international terrorism with the allocation of Greek means to the U.S.
Miller congratulated the Greek government and especially the Greek police for its systematic efforts in dismantling the ''November 17'' terrorist organization.
He also assessed that this case will not be solved in a day or two and called for patience, noting Monday's statement by Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas, who had called for the police to be left unhindered to do its work and also to avoid speculations.
Responding to questions Miller said that according to his briefings from the FBI, the procedures used by Greek police in the questioning of suspects was perfect, adding that police should be left alone to continue its efforts, without artificial deadlines, as some people are trying to set.
''It will take as long as it is needed,'' he said, stressing that no one can speed up the process or disregard Greek legislation.
He also reiterated that he felt safe in Greece, adding that he stated so when he arrived in Athens.
According to sources the Greek defense ministry accepted a request from the United States for the allocation of two Greek Airforce Chinook type helicopters to contribute to the needs of the multi-national forces in Afghanistan, as part of the campaign against terrorism.
 U.S. President Bush to receive Archbishop Dimitrios
WASHINGTON, 10/07/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)U.S. President George W. Bush was due to receive Archbishop Dimitrios and leaders of other Orthodox Churches in America on Tuesday night with the purpose of achieving better communication between the U.S. government, and himself personally, with the country's Orthodox population.
According to reports, during President Bush's first meeting with the Orthodox leaders, Archbishop Dimitrios, who presides over the Synod of Orthodox bishops of America, will also brief the U.S. president on latest developments on the issue of terrorism in Greece.
 European Parliament president on Cyprus's EU accession
NEW YORK, 10/07/2002 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)European Parliament President Pat Cox said a political solution to the problem of Cyprus in 2004, when the European Union's enlargement processes will have been completed, would be an ideal and an optimum development.
Cox, who was speaking in an interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA) on Monday afternoon on the first day of his official visit to New York, said this desirable development could not be considered an essential precondition for the accession of Cyprus.
He added that George Vassiliou, the man responsible for Cyprus's accession negotiations with the EU, is developing excellent activities and is doing remarkable work, while preparation is proceeding with speedy and very satisfactory rates.
Cox further said that both Denmark, which has assumed the EU's presidency, and the majority of the European Parliament fully support the speeding up of enlargement.
He added that meetings he had on Monday with the UN secretary general's envoy Alvaro de Soto and Greece and Turkey's permanent representatives Adamantios Vassilakis and Umit Pamir were ''useful.''
Referring to the new round of negotiations between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, due to get underway next week, Cox said that judging from the course of talks so far it would be difficult for one to predict that spectacular progress is impending in the immediate future.
Cox said the EU is willing and ready at any moment to help UN secretary general Kofi Annan in his good offices mission.
He referred to his recent visits to Athens, Ankara and Cyprus ''with the main target of urging all sides, and Ankara in particular, to take advantage of this new development, a decisive moment, which will be to the benefit of all sides.''
Cox also said that ''I can state on behalf of the European Parliament that the considerable progress, the positive measures taken by Turkey to improve its relations with the European Union, is acknowledged. However, it is necessary for it to do more in the direction of the Acquis Communautaire and the so-called Copenhagen criteria.''
However, Cox expressed fear that this progress might be delayed due to the government crisis and the possibility of early elections being called.
Replying to a questioner, Cox also said that he intends to raise the Cyprus issue during meetings he will be having in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday with Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and other senior officials of the Bush administration, as well as with Congress leaders.
 Justice minister says legal process applied in Xiros case
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Minister of Justice Philippos Petsalnikos on Tuesday said that “the constitutional process and legislation are absolutely complied with in the case of Savvas Xiros''.
Petsalnikos was coming out of a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis over the upcoming cabinet meeting on Thursday to discuss promotions of high level court justices.
A religious icon-painter, Savvas Xiros, is currently hospitalized under guard after a bomb blew up prematurely in his hand at a 29 June aborted bombing at the busy port of Piraeus.
Main opposition claims credit for tough anti-terror laws: Main opposition New Democracy on Tuesday claimed a share of the credit for tough anti-terror laws that helped police clamp down on terrorists, saying its support had allowed the government to get its controversial bill past a divided PASOK majority.
The recent breakthroughs in the fight against terrorism, including the capture of a suspected member of the elusive terrorist group ''November 17'' and two of the group's hideouts, were discussed during a meeting of the party's top brass at ND headquarters, chaired by ND leader Costas Karamanlis.
The meeting concluded that the issue would not have political impact and that any benefit for the government would be temporary, while all those present stressed that terrorism was not an issue for petty party politics.
After the meeting, ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos stressed that New Democracy dealt with the developments "with a sense of responsibility and felt it had been justified".
He pointed out that the main opposition had supported the bill against terrorism while government officials "had played hide-and-seek with PASOK MPs", with 11 out of 14 speakers for the ruling party having opposed the bill during the debate in Parliament.
The current efficiency of law enforcement agencies, who in collaboration with their more experienced foreign counterparts were finally beginning to unravel the mystery of "November 17" after 27 years, was based on ND's vote, he added.
Roussopoulos stressed that the main opposition wanted the case to be fully cracked, with the discovery, arrest and conviction of the group's members and leaders, and its support for this was given.
DNA evidence links Xiros to Halandri rocket attack by '17N': Sources on Tuesday revealed that the results of DNA tests on Savvas Xiros, the man currently in police custody as a suspected terrorist, place him at the scene of a rocket attack on the German Ambassador's residence carried out in May 1999 by the elusive ''November 17'' terrorist group.
The DNA sample was cross-checked against blood spots found on the pavement outside the ambassador's residence after the attack, next to a home-made rocket launcher.
As yet, there has been no official announcement from Greek crime labs, with authorities waiting to cross- check their results against those of parallel tests being carried out by Scotland Yard in Britain.
Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis and special public prosecutor Ioannis Diotis visited police headquarters in Athens to be briefed on the course of the ongoing investigation, while an official announcement is expected later on Tuesday afternoon, as well as the release of photographs and videos taken at the two 'November 17' arms caches discovered in the Athens districts of Patissia and Pagrati.
Responding to questions, meanwhile, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said that no arrests had been made, while he refused to answer questions regarding people brought in for questioning.
To questions claiming that one of the people brought in had been Xiros' 11-year-old son, the spokesman said that underage children were neither cross-examined nor brought in for questioning and stressed that the Constitution and the laws were being strictly adhered to throughout the investigation.
 PM Simitis meets with FYROM socialist leader Crvenkovski
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Prime minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday met with the visiting leader of FYROM's Social-Democratic Union, Branco Crvenkovski, for a review of developments in the Balkans.
The talks particularly focused on prospects for stabilization of the situation in FYROM, in light of the EU's assumption of the leadership of the peacekeeping force there and elections slated for September.
 Kaklamanis receives delegation from Intra-Balkan Camp
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Tuesday received a delegation of approximately 200 children from the Olympic Solidarity Intra-Balkan Camp co-sponsored by the Balkan Stability Pact and the Greek Girl Scouts under the aegis of the Greek parliament.
“The Olympic solidarity as an idea and action is the most binding element, more than anything else, in the course to be followed by all the Balkan peoples”, Kaklamanis told the visiting children and congratulated the Greek Girl Scouts and the representative of the Balkans Stability Pact Irene Lambrakis for the effort.
 ND EuroMP Folias: Political Europe based on commitment and solidarity
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)A ''political Europe'' based on commitment and solidarity needed to be built in order that the free economy will expand into societies and equal opportunities will be given to them, main opposition New Democracy (ND) Euro-deputy Christos Folias said Tuesday.
Speaking to the Athens News Agency (ANA) as part of a series of on-going interviews with Greece's MEP's, Folias also said that the ''myth'' of Thessaloniki as the capital of the Balkans had been ''surpassed by reality'', while he further predicted that the inflow of Community Resources to Greece would be reduced after the EU's enlargement.
Asked about the reasons that led to the decision for a new Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) on revising the EU Treaties, Folias said that several reasons had led to that decision, such as the distribution of authorities among the EU's institutional bodies, the Fundamental Rights charter, simplification of the 15-nation bloc's treaties, and the role of the national parliaments. However, the most important reason was the imminent EU enlargement, Folias said.
He said that the challenge of Enlargement was immense, as never before in the past had so many and nations acceded such a strong Union. ''And we're talking about nations with particular characteristics, nations that arose following the abolition of the myth of the socialist model of governance, nations in which democracy and its consolidation depends mainly on their economic situation''.
In order for the European family to be able to live up to this major historical challenge of enlargement, it needed to shore itself up institutionally and functionally, and consequently the imminent enlargement played the biggest role for deciding the new IGC, Folias explained.
Developments were rapid, and the issues that led to the new IGC needed to be tackled urgently, but this sense of urgency should not cloud the vision of the future Europe, which required the creation of a political Europe based on commitment and solidarity, extension of the free economy to the societies and the provision of equal opportunities to all, the creation of more appropriate conditions for the flourishing of individual creativity and private entrepreneurship, combating bureaucracy and skepticism that leads to national introversion, and the promotion of transparency in order to meet the needs of the European societies and peoples within the new conditions created by globalization, Folias said.
Asked whether the new international conditions created after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US and the imposition of certain restrictions or regulations altered the prospects for a Europe with full development of the liberties and rights of its peoples and citizens, Folias categorically replied 'no'.
He said that the imposition of certain restrictions or regulations did not alter the picture of a democratic Europe whose main goal had always been the safeguarding of the individual liberties and rights of its citizens. On the contrary, he added, those regulations would protect the individual rights and liberties of the European citizens by strengthening their sense of security.
Questioned on the institutional and essential role that Greece could play in backing the Balkan countries preparing for EU membership, Folias said that the ''myth of the role that Greece can play in the Balkans must end'', and that it did an ''injustice'' to both Greece and the Balkan countries.
''The myth of Thessaloniki as the capital of the Balkans has unfortunately been surpassed by reality'', as opportunities to consolidate this role had been lost, Folias said.
Greece, he added, was among the countries that could prospectively lose from the accession of poorer states to the EU, as regarded the net inflow of Community funds. ''But enlargement will comprise a triumph for our common values, which contain the hope for peace and security, a hope that inspires and without which there can be no thought of enlargement,'' Folias added.
 International treaty on terrorist bomb attacks introduced in Parliament
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)The international treaty on the suppression of terrorist bomb attacks has been introduced in Parliament for ratification. The UN treaty to be ratified was opened in New York for signing on January 12, 1998, and was signed by Greece on February 2, 1998.
According to the relevant bill's introductory report, the treaty is aimed at combatting terrorist attacks with explosives or other lethal apparatuses and the combatting and punishment of their perpetrators.
Among others, each country takes suitable measures to have offences concerning terrorism characterized as penal ones and punishable actions not to enjoy political, philosophical, ideological, racial, national or religious coverage or coverage of a similar nature.
It is also determined that each country in whose territory the alleged perpetrator is to be found, if it does not extradite him, is obliged to bring the case before its relevant authorities immediately, without any exceptions and regardless of whether or not the offence was perpetrated in its territory.
 Greece boasts high growth rate in first quarter of 2002
BRUSSELS, 10/07/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)The rate of Greece's economic development was almost six times higher compared to 11 of the other 14 European Union member-states during the first quarter of 2002, according to a report issued by Eurostat.
The rate Greece's GDP growth was 1.9 per cent during the first quarter of 2002 compared to the last quarter of 2001, when the EU's average was 0.3 per cent, that of the U.S. stood at 1.5 per cent and that of Japan at 1.4 per cent.
The rate of growth rose by 4.3 per cent if compared to the same period of 2001.
 Government to produce series of draft bills on tax reform, corporate governance
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Tuesday unveiled a draft bill on accounting standards and auditing inspections, part of a wider strategy plan aimed to reform the country's tax system, improve company inspections and attract foreign investments.
Christodoulakis said that the ministry was promoting a series of draft bills covering income taxation, real estate taxation, while a draft bill on adopting international accounting standards and reforming corporate governance was expected to be put into force by January 1, 2003.
A ministry committee is expected to submit a draft bill on coding of capital market legislation this week, with the committee working on two other draft bills, covering the state's golden share in privatized companies and the operation of offshore companies in Greece.
Mr. Christodoulakis said the ministry was cooperating with the Union of Greek Banks on drafting a bill on attracting foreign investments in the country.
''We have began an effort of restructuring the operation of companies, ensuring transparency and establishing a climate of confidence between investors and businessmen,'' he noted.
Christodoulakis emphasized that with the new draft bill the Greek government was separating the role of consultant with the role of an auditor in a company. ''The two roles cannot coincide because they offer motives for improper recording of accounting figures,'' Christodoulakis stressed.
Under the new draft bill, the government will set up a committee of accounting standardization and inspections (ELTE) with the aim to improve transparency in corporate management and ensuring the quality of accounting inspections.
ELTE will function under the supervision of Economy and Finance Minister and will include representatives from the Bank of Greece, the Capital Market Committee and employers union.
Christodoulakis said that the ministry, the central bank and international organizations were cooperating closely in an effort to combat money laundering and the use of this money in illegal or terrorist activities.
 Germanos signs agreement with HDW/FS on submarine battery supply
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Germanos Group on Tuesday announced the signing of an agreement with German submarine builder HDW/FS for the supply of Sunlight batteries in four submarines to be delivered to the Greek Navy and three more to the South African Navy.
The 214-type submarines will be build jointly at the Skaramanga Shipyards and HDW/FS facilities in Germany.
Germanos' Sunlight batteries production unit is already supplying batteries the Greek, Ukrainian and Egyptian Navy, in contracts worth 100 million euros.
The group said the agreement with HDW/FS was expected to positively affect its profitability. Germanos expects its profits to rise by 15 percent in the next three years, while the Sunlight batteries production unit expects a 25 percent increase in its annual turnover.
Sunlight's turnover was 40 million euros last year.
 Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling seeks takeover of Swiss water bottling company
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling on Tuesday announced a joint plan with The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) to acquire the Swiss-based mineral water bottling company Valser Mineralquellen AG.
Valser is a non-listed subsidiary of Hess Group AG, a group based in Berne, Switzerland, and producer of a series of well-established mineral water products (Valser Classic, Valser Naturelle and Valser Limelite). Its production and distribution facilities are based in the cities of Vals and Zizers.
Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling said the acquisition is part of a common strategy with TCCC to expand in new categories of the non-alcohol beverage market.
The plan is under approval from TCCC's board. Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling has already approved the plan.
 Greek mutual funds market continues its decline
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)The Greek mutual funds market remained under pressure in June extending losses in equity and combined funds to more than 20 percent so far this year.
Domestic equity mutual funds losses exceed 20 percent since the beginning of 2002, with 42 funds showing negative returns between -10 percent to -21 percent from a total of 74 funds in the category.
In the foreign and international equity mutual funds category the situation is even worse, with returns reaching as much as -45 percent so far this year. From a total of 28 mutual funds in the foreign equity mutual funds category, 10 were showing losses more than 20 percent, while in the international equity funds 13 funds were showing losses of more than 15 percent out of a total of 19 in the category.
Returns in the domestic, foreign and international combined mutual funds exceed -11 percent so far this year.
The situation is better in the money market mutual funds, with average returns ranging from 0.5 percent and 1.0 percent so far this year.
Domestic bond mutual funds' returns do not exceed 2.0 percent this year, while foreign and international bond funds' returns fall as much as -8 percent.
The Greek mutual funds market continues a two-year decline during which investors have suffered heavy losses. Traders said investors were facing a dead-end, left with alternative investment moves as real deposit rates were around zero in Greece.
 Greek stocks end down in record-low turnover
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks fell on Tuesday hit by a drop in turnover to a new record-low for the year in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index ended 0.74 percent lower at 2,185.44 points, with turnover at 55.6 million euros.
The IT and Wholesale sectors were the only ones to scored gains (up 0.24 percent and 0.05 percent, respectively), while the parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks rose 0.34 percent.
On the other hand, the Construction, IT Solution and Holding sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.50 percent), 1.43 percent and 0.92 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.75 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 0.98 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.15 percent lower.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 188 to 112 with another 55 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded shares in value were AXON Holdings, Sex Form, Olympiaki Techniki and Vodafone.
Equity index futures finish lower: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Tuesday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a discount of one percent. Turnover was 52.6 million euros.
The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 0.75 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks dropped by 0.98 percent.
Bond prices finish lower in moderate trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Tuesday finished almost unchanged in a moderate trade day, focusing on new issue five-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.3 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 32 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 1.5 billion euros. Buy orders accounted for more than half of the trade.
 Patra candidate for hosting 2009 Mediter-ranean Games
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)The Hellenic Olympic Committee on Tuesday said that its plenary session named Patra as the candidate city to apply for hosting the Mediter-ranean Games in 2009.
After an hours-long and occasionally heated debate with the candidacy of rival city Thessaloniki strongly supported by the northern city’s Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, the Committee decided on Patra’s candidacy, which will be officially submitted to the International Mediterranean Games Commission on 31 July.
 Venizelos presents new law on the protection of antiquities
Athens, 10/07/2002 (ANA)Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday met with antiquity curators and ministry associates to present a new law passed in June for the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage.
“Law 3028/2002 is the product of an extensive and long preparation, with the parliamentary consent clearly expressed”, Venizelos said, adding that “it replaced old 1932 legislation that was characterized by omissions and contra-dictions since it provided protection for Byzantine monuments, however lacking on the issue of post-Byzantine and modern-time monuments”.
The minister expressed the conviction that the new law would serve as an example for other countries with similar problems pertaining to the protection of their cultural heritage.
 Security Council says Turkish Cypriot side less constructive in talks
NICOSIA, 10/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)The UN Security Council notes in a statement issued on Tuesday that the Turkish Cypriot side has been ''less constructive'' than the Greek Cypriot side in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and in this regard expresses its disappointment that progress remains slow and the June target date for agreement had not been met.
In a statement read out by the Security Council President, British Permanent Representative to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock, after the Council was briefed by the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, about the course of the UN-led direct talks aiming to solve the Cyprus problem, the Security Council urges both sides to work with de Soto so as to enable him to establish the component parts of a comprehensive settlement which takes full consideration of relevant Security Council resolutions and treaties.
The Council adds that its members ''welcomed the support given to the talks and to the Secretary General's efforts by the heads of state and government of the EU meeting in Seville on June 21 and 22, and by the Foreign Ministers of the G8 on June 13''.
''The members of the Council expressed disappointment that, despite the Secretary General's valuable personal involvement, including when he visited the island in May, progress remained disappointingly slow and the June target date for agreement had not been met'', the statement notes.
It also points out that the members of the Council ''noted in this regard that the Turkish Cypriot side has been less constructive in its approach so far and had declined to support the goal of resolving the core issues by the end of June'' and ''also noted with regret that the call by the members of the Council on May 2 that the UN should play a fuller part in the talks has not yet received the requisite response''.
The Council statement adds that ''the members reiterated that call''.
Furthermore, ''the members of the Council endorsed the intention to continue the present talks process on the island for a further period, in pursuance of the mission entrusted to the Secretary General by the Council in its Resolution 1250'', the statement notes.
It adds that the members ''urged both sides to cooperate fully in such an effort and in particular to work with the Secretary General's Special Adviser so as to enable him to establish the component parts of a comprehensive settlement which takes full consideration of relevant Security Council resolutions and treaties''.
The members also ''strongly underscored the need for the Turkish side in particular to move in this direction''.
Lastly, the statement notes that ''the members of the Council invited the Secretary General to give it a further report in early September''.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash launched direct UN-led talks in January, with a view to solve the problem. The talks enter their fifth round in mid-July.
 Report gives US four options for avoiding Cyprus crisis
WASHINGTON, 10/07/2002 (CNA/ANA - T. Ellis)Brookings Institution in Washington has prepared a report on Cyprus, in which it presents four options for US involvement in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, namely for the US to oppose Cyprus' EU accession, to present a US plan for a settlement, to link a Cyprus deal to the launching of Turkey's EU accession talks, or link a Cyprus deal to Turkey's eventual EU accession.
It notes that deferring the unification of Cyprus until Turkey is also in a position to join the Union is far preferable to the regional crisis that, in the absence of intense American engagement, will almost certainly occur, and that ''in the absence of a political settlement, Cyprus' EU accession could have very negative consequences for the entire Eastern Mediterranean region and beyond''.
The report, with the title ''Avoiding a Cyprus Crisis'', was prepared by Henri Barkey, a Cohen Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University and a former member of the State Department's
Policy Planning Staff, and Philip H. Gordon, a senior fellow in Foreign Policy Studies and the Brookings Institution and former Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council.
Barkey and Gordon note that ''the US should persuade the parties not to close any doors if the Greek portion of Cyprus joins the EU and to link a future Cyprus settlement to Turkey's own EU membership'', adding that ''regional cooperation could thus go on in the short term'' and that ''in the longer run, a comprehensive Cyprus settlement would become possible as Turkey itself is integrated into Europe''.
They add that ''accession to the EU by only the Greek portion of Cyprus, strongly opposed by Turkey, could raise tensions on the island, set back the recent progress in Greek-Turkish cooperation, and undermine Turkey's difficult but steady evolution toward Europe at a time when the development of a democratic and stable Turkey is more important than ever''.
''To prevent such a crisis, some Americans may be tempted to oppose Cyprus' accession or to seek to impose a specific settlement plan, but neither approach would work'', Barkey and Gordon point out in their report.
They note that ''Greek Cypriot leaders genuinely seem to want to see a reunified island before EU accession'', adding that ''given all the obstacles to a deal, outside observers would be gravely mistaken to assume that a political settlement will spare them from the difficulty of dealing with a Cyprus EU accession crisis at the end of this year''.
In the first option for the US, which is to oppose Cyprus' EU accession, Barkey and Gordon note that ''for better or for worse, EU leaders seem to have decided that Cyprus is going to join the EU whether there is a settlement or not, and no member state appears prepared to veto Cypriot accession on Washington's behalf''.
In the second US policy option, which is to come forward with a specific American settlement plan, the report notes that ''the logic of such an approach would be that only intensive outside diplomatic pressure, combined with a very precise international plan, will produce a deal'', but adds that although tempting, this option ''has significant risks''.
''While an international plan might be welcomed by the Greek side, the Turkish side would be deeply skeptical'', Barkey and Gordon note, adding that a ''heavy-handed'' approach could ''undermine Turkey's already fragile political stability and complicate its relations with the West''.
As regards option three, which is to link a Cyprus deal to the start of Turkey's EU accession talks, Barkey and Gordon note that ''even beyond the fact that the EU might not agree, there is a real risk that accepting accession negotiations with Turkey with the sole purpose of avoiding a Cyprus crisis would only raise false expectations in Turkey about near-term EU membership and lead to a new set of disappointments down the road''.
In option four, which is to link a Cyprus deal to Turkey's eventual EU accession, Barkey and Gordon note that deferring a Cyprus settlement until Turkey can join the EU ''would not only give Turkey an added incentive to continue down the European path, but it would give Greece and the Greek Cypriots an incentive to promote Turkey's EU membership''.
In such a case, ''the EU should make clear that the requirement to meet the Copenhagen criteria applies as much to northern Cyprus as it does to Turkey'', the report adds.
Barkey and Gordon conclude their report by saying that ''an agreement by the two Cypriot communities to live together in a bi-national state that would join the EU in 2004 remains the best solution to the Cyprus problem'' but note that ''in diplomacy, optimal solutions are rarely available''.
''Deferring the unification of Cyprus until Turkey is also in a position to join the Union is far preferable to the regional crisis that, in the absence of intense American engagement, will almost certainly occur'', they add.