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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

July 15, 2002


  • [01] Search continuing for terrorist hideouts tenant
  • [02] FM Papandreou contacts new Turkish foreign minister
  • [03] Cyprus FM says developments in Turkey under close watch
  • [04] New Turkish FM confirms tough policy on Cyprus issue
  • [05] Papantoniou says government will be judged at end of 4-year term
  • [06] Culture minister confident of local election results
  • [07] IOC's Oswald says Olympic preparations race against time
  • [08] Archbishop Christodoulos speaks on homeland and nation
  • [09] Parties condemn 1974 coup - Commemoration services take place

  • [01] Search continuing for terrorist hideouts tenant

    Athens, 15/07/2002 (ANA)

    Police are continuing to investigate the whereabouts of Dimitris Koufontinas, the man who had reportedly used a stolen and forged identity card to rent the November 17 terrorist organizationís hideout in Damareos street in the Athens district of Pangrati.

    Koufontinas, 44, the son of a poor family of tobacco workers, has not been in contact with his family for 20 years and is considered the key to investigations to break up the terrorist organization. He was probably recruited by the organization between 1975 and 1980 when he was a law student at the Athens University.

    Police believe that Koufontinas might have removed weapons and money obtained from robberies from the two hideouts in Damareos and Patmou streets before they were discovered and after alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros was injured in the botched terrorist attack in Piraeus about two weeks ago.

    According to authoritative sources, Koufontinas went underground 20 years ago, used false names and lived in past years with Xiros' ex-wife Angeliki Sotiropoulou.

    Police believe Koufontinas is a middleman between the November 17 organizationís leader and operational groups and the organizationís hitman, while he had probably recruited Xiros himself.

    Eye operation performed on alleged terrorist: Doctors at the Athens General State Hospital operated for four hours on the eyes of alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros on Saturday to remove fragments of a bomb, which had exploded in his hands during a botched terrorist attack in Piraeus about two weeks ago. The doctors, who primarily treated his right eye, expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the operation and at about 4.30 p.m. Xiros was taken back to his specially arranged 10th-floor room at the Athens Evangelismos Hospital.

    Xiros, 40, was taken to the General State Hospital at about 9.10 a.m. and, before surgery began, his parents were briefed on details of the operation, while the hospital was placed under tight surveillance by the Ant-Terrorism Service.

    Surgery on his eyes began at 10 a.m. and was completed shortly before 2 p.m. and two hours later doctors gave the go-ahead for Xiros' return to the Evangelismos Hospital.

    Doctors said vision will be restored in the right eye, while post-trauma cataract was ascertained in the left eye, which, however, can be remedied later on.

    On the question of the operation's ultimate effectiveness, doctors say this will become evident in the coming days and hope the patient will regain vision to a great degree in his right eye, while the left eye might require additional surgery at a later stage.

    Alleged terrorist to testify again after eye operation: Alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros is expected to testify again before a prosecutor responsible for terrorist issues after being taken to the Athens General State Hospital to undergo eye surgery on Saturday.

    Xiros, 40, was injured in the eyes by a bomb explosion during a botched terrorist attack in Piraeus about two weeks ago. He is currently being treated at the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens under tight police surveillance.

    According to reports, public prosecutor Ioannis Diotis will complete his examination of Xiros in the coming days and the file of proceedings will be forwarded to competent judicial authorities for an arrest warrant to be issued against Xiros.

    It was added that the fact that the file of proceedings will be forwarded to judicial authorities means that Diotis considers that all that Xiros is claiming as being a pre-investigatory testimony and will constitute evidence in the file and will be taken into consideration in court even if Xiros changes his position later on.

    The reports said that at this stage Xiros does not want the appointment of a lawyer.

    Report says health of alleged terrorist developing smoothly: The health of Savvas Xiros is developing smoothly, according to a written medical report issued on Sunday on the state of the alleged terrorist who underwent eye surgery at the Athens General State Hospital on Saturday.

    The report added that clinical tests and laboratory findings show that there in no cause for concern over the course of his health, while doctors of the General State Hospital who visited him on Sunday assessed that his post-operational state is satisfactory.

    Xiros, who is being treated at a specially arranged room on the 10th floor of the heavily guarded Athens Evangelismos Hospital, was injured in the eyes by fragments of a bomb that exploded in his hands during a botched terrorist attack in Piraeus about two weeks ago.

    Xiros was visited on Sunday afternoon by his parents, some of his brothers, his ex-wife Angeliki Sotiropoulou and his fiancťe Alicia Romero.

    Constantopoulos on terrorism-related media speculations: Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos in a Sunday interview at Athens' radio station "SKY" called media speculations on recent developments on the terrorism issue a ''marketing scenario by news fabricators and distributors''.

    "During the era when terrorist activity was romanticized and now that it is stripped of any romanticism, the common denominator has been the efforts made by some to incriminate the Left, the fight against the junta or all those who resisted the junta, offering with great unscrupulousness and cynicism various names as prey", Constantopoulos said.

    ''Terrorism is opposed by those who are pro-life and pro-democracy ... the law must be applied; illegitimate or cloudy contrivances are not necessary, since they would only distort and confuse things'' he added.

    [02] FM Papandreou contacts new Turkish foreign minister

    Athens, 15/07/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Friday evening said that Greece wanted to see neighboring Turkey enjoying stability and following a steadfast course towards the European Union.

    "Greece always wants to see the neighboring country having stability and a steadfast course towards the European Union. We are working in this direction, it was in this direction that I worked closely with former foreign minister Ismail Cem," Papandreou told reporters on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, at the end of a conference organized by the Andreas Papandreou Foundation.

    The conference, which lasted one week and Papandreou said it ended its works successfully, was attended by former U.S. president Bill Clinton, EU's foreign and defense high representative Javier Solana and other foreign officials.

    Referring to Ismail Cem's resignation, Papandreou said: "I had the opportunity to talk to him yesterday (Thursday) and to wish him all the best. We talked about recent developments and his efforts to organize the European forces, the forces of the center-left in Turkey and the promotion of necessary reforms."

    "I also had the chance to speak with newly appointed foreign minister Gurel, and we both underlined that we must meet quite soon to continue the cooperation between our countries," Papandreou said.

    [03] Cyprus FM says developments in Turkey under close watch

    NICOSIA, 15/07/2002 (ANA)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Sunday the government of Cyprus is closely watching developments in Turkey and particularly the elections expected, since it believes they will play a considerable role in the Cyprus issue and Cyprus's accession to the European Union.

    Referring to the appointment of Sukru Sina Gurel as foreign minister, Kasoulides said that what is important are decisions to be taken at the Copenhagen summit concerning Turkey's candidacy (for EU accession) as well and which government will negotiate with the European Union.

    Kasoulides, who was speaking at a memorial service for a 20-year-old who had been considered missing until recently, offered assurances that a list containing the names of all the fallen will be publicized soon.

    [04] New Turkish FM confirms tough policy on Cyprus issue

    NICOSIA, 15/07/2002 (ANA)

    New Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel confirmed his tough policy on the Cyprus issue on the question of Cyprus's accession to the European Union as well, saying in an interview with Reuters over the weekend that Turkey's relations with the EU are in no way linked to a solution to the Cyprus issue.

    Gurel added if some linking should be made it is the linking of Turkey's candidacy for EU accession to the candidacy of Cyprus.

    He went on to say that the EU member-states are already aware of Turkey's views on the issue and there is nothing new to be added.

    [05] Papantoniou says government will be judged at end of 4-year term

    Athens, 15/07/2002 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou in an interview published in Sunday's edition of the Athens daily "To Vima" said that there should be an "about face" toward the people, so that they can experience in a visible and tangible way the benefits of the government's great economic success.

    Papantoniou was national economy and finance minister until last October when after a cabinet reshuffle he was assigned the defense ministry.

    Referring to the government's work, Papantoniou said that it would be evaluated at the end of the four-year term, including "Cyprus' EU accession, the materialization of the projects of the Third EU Support Package that will give new life to the provinces, as well as the disbanding of terrorism".

    With regard to the assistance of the military in efforts to tackle terrorism, the defense minister said that "when information is requested, it is provided rapidly and effectively... there is a constant cooperation on various levels".

    The minister expressed concern over the national issues due to the current political instability in Turkey, adding that the defense forces were prepared for all eventualities.

    [06] Culture minister confident of local election results

    Athens, 15/07/2002 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Saturday expressed confidence that the results of October's local elections will be completely different from certain opinion polls.

    He was referring to the results of an opinion poll carried out by the Metron Analysis company and published in the newspaper "Macedonia" which showed Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, backed by the main opposition New Democracy party, leading the ruling PASOK party's candidate Spyros Vougias.

    "Several weeks are separating us from the municipal and prefectural elections. In essence, the election struggle is starting now. The substantive discussion on the present and future of the prefecture and municipality of Thessaloniki is starting now," Venizelos said.

    [07] IOC's Oswald says Olympic preparations race against time

    Athens, 15/07/2002 (ANA)

    International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordinating Committee President Denis Oswald on Sunday said that "it would be a race against the clock" until the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, according to the French News Agency AFP.

    "We hope that there will be no problems with the ground or with labor strikes, because there is no time to be lost", Oswald said, adding that "we will not be able to relax, not until after the closing ceremony of the games".

    With regard to possible cutbacks for some of the Olympic projects, he said that "the IOC has given initial approval on some cutbacks; however, the demands of the Greek authorities will also have to be approved by the international sport federations".

    [08] Archbishop Christodoulos speaks on homeland and nation

    Athens, 15/07/2002 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Sunday said that the findings of a recent survey targeting young people revealed that the majority of the teenagers voted for "homeland, religion and family".

    The Archbishop, in his Sunday sermon in the church of Agia Marina at the area of Ilisia in Athens, made special reference to the love for the homeland and the nation, saying that they were words "under extinction from the vocabulary in the name of the multiculturalism of present-day society".

    Christodoulos said he opposed racism, however this did not justify the situation that was prevailing today.

    [09] Parties condemn 1974 coup - Commemoration services take place

    NICOSIA, 15/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Commemorative church services took place on Sunday to mark the 28th anniversary of the military coup of 15 July 1974 that preceded the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    Parliamentary parties issued statements to condemn the coup, engineered by the military junta ruling Greece at the time, and stressed their adherence to democratic principles.

    Parties also said that lessons must be learnt from the events of July 1974, when the legal government of the late Archbishop Makarios was toppled, a development that gave Ankara a pretext to invade, purportedly to protect the Turkish Cypriot community on the island and restore the constitutional order.

    Some months after the coup, President Makarios returned to Cyprus, constitutional order was restored but 35,000 Turkish occupation troops continue to control the Republic's northern third.

    Speaking at a church service on Sunday, House President Demetris Christofias called on the UN to act on the basis of their own decisions and seek a solution based on the UN Charter.

    He said the UN intend to put forward at the ongoing peace talks a plan for a comprehensive settlement and warned that in case of failure to reach a negotiated agreement, the UN must assess the situation and apportion responsibility where it is due.

    ''We shall return to the talks in good faith for an honorable compromise which will pave the way for a solution. There can be no other way to find a settlement except peace talks between the island's two communities,'' Christofias said.

    Direct talks, between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, resume Tuesday, under UN auspices. UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who conducts the talks, was due to return on Sunday from New York where he briefed the Security Council on the course of the negotiations.

    The Council said ''the Turkish Cypriot side had been less constructive in its approach so far and had declined to support the goal of resolving the core issues (governance, security, territory and property) by the end of June.''

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