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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

July 25, 2002


  • [01] PM Simitis says downfall of dictatorship the outcome of entire Greek peopleís struggle
  • [02] PM and ministers discuss EU defense issues, Euroforce
  • [03] Schoolteacher charged as suspected N17 member
  • [04] Greece among safest countries in world, ND leader says
  • [05] Cyprus FM accuses Turkey of intransigent position
  • [06] FM and alternate FM to meet British official
  • [07] Greek-Turkish routine talks in Ankara
  • [08] Bill against human trafficking, exploitation of minors tabled
  • [09] Dev Sol is not allowed to operate in Greece, gov't says
  • [10] Gov't members address Assembly of Hellenes
  • [11] SYN leader meets central bank governor, expresses concern for economy
  • [12] Greece 24th out of 173 in human development report
  • [13] Govít to finalize 2003 budget figures by end July
  • [14] EU Commission announces cut in cotton subsidies for Greece
  • [15] Gov't launches new plan to combat unemployment
  • [16] Greek stocks end sharply lower on Wednesday
  • [17] Government spokesman says Cyprus talks going through a difficult period
  • [18] Maurer: EU enlargement timetable to go on as foreseen
  • [19] Old town of Nicosia to be declared ancient monument

  • [01] PM Simitis says downfall of dictatorship the outcome of entire Greek peopleís struggle

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    The restoration of democracy in Greece after the downfall of the 1967-74 military dictatorship was the outcome of the struggle of the entire Greek people and individuals from all the social and political spheres, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said Wednesday.

    Speaking at an event at the former prison in Oropos organized by the Association of Imprisoned and Exiled of the 1967-1974 period to mark the 28th anniversary of the collapse of the colonels' dictatorship, Simitis added that the forces of the Center and Left had a leading role in this 7-year struggle.

    The premier noted that the 28th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece coincided with a peak in the struggle to wipe-out terrorism, which was the 'stigma' and 'shame' of the post-dictatorship years, an attempt to undermine and ridicule the struggle of the people who fought to establish, cement and widen democracy in the country these past three decades.

    But this period was ending for Greece, he said. It was being proved that the democracy that followed the collapse of the junta is the "best democracy' known by the country and the people.

    "And we are proving this because the strong democracy stamps out terrorism with the undeviating implementation of the Constitution and the laws of the state, with unwavering respect for human rights. We are leading terrorism to defeat because the arrests and charges reflect the affirmation and strengthening of the democratic institutions," Simitis said.

    The Greek people, with the same unity and determination that restored democracy in 1974, were today backing the break up of terrorism, he added.

    The legacy of the dictatorship in Greece was a Cyprus divided in two, he said, adding that, today, "we are rallying our forces and working incessantly for Cyprus' accession to the European Union".

    He said the Copenhagen summit was crucial to Cyprus' EU membership, which was the goal of the Cypriots, the Greeks and all of Hellenism.

    "Ensuring this historic goal is a primary national priority. We are working steadily so that the Helsinki agreement -- that Cyprus accedes the EU regardless of a solution to the political problem -- becomes deed. We are unwavering on this matter. It is our duty and the duty of the international community, 28 years after the partition of Cyprus, that the road opens up for the solution of the Cyprus problem," he said.

    Today, the premier said, we are building a New Greece, constantly strengthening our democracy, building an open society that ensures equal opportunities, equal rights and equal obligations, a democracy that ensured freedom of speech, plurality and opposing views. It was this democracy that ensured for Greece and the Greeks a course of freedom, national independence, progress and prosperity, and thanks to that democracy Greece was proceeding today with a new national self-confidence in the realization of its historic goals and to overcoming the major impasses for the country and our society, the premier said.

    President hosts reception marking anniversary of restoration of democracy: The reception marking the 28th anniversary of the restoration of democracy was held at the Presidential Mansion on Wednesday night under the prism of investigations in progress for the eradication of terrorism in the country.

    After greeting Prime Minister Costas Simitis and all the political party leaders, President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos in a statement stressed that ''the country celebrates when the democratic institutions function, human rights are protected and the politicians serve the citizens.''

    President Stephanopoulos added that democracy functions when terrorism is being eradicated, there is a crackdown on corruption and the mass media acts responsibly.

    Stephanopoulos further said that democracy cannot withstand arbitrariness or anarchy and reacts to the violation of rules.

    Parliament marks restoration of democracy anniversary: The recent breakthroughs against terrorism dominated speeches made in Parliament on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece after the 1967-1974 junta.

    Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis referred to the authorities' successes against the terrorist group November 17 and stressed that human rights and the rules of law had been strictly adhered to in the handling of the case.

    He also criticized the way that certain sections of the media had chosen to cover the issue.

    Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas was also critical of "the extremes" that certain sections of the media were prepared to go to, particularly in naming names, and presenting possible scenarios.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos, meanwhile, stressed that the Left was not being implicated.

    "Steps were taken that shed light onto the darkness but all aspects of the action, funding and perpetuation of the group must be revealed. It is a dangerous when action against the junta is made an object of police suspicion," he said.

    [02] PM and ministers discuss EU defense issues, Euroforce

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    There were no new developments in the 'Euroforce' issue due to the domestic turmoil in Turkey, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Wednesday after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Also present at the meeting were Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis.

    Plans for a European rapid reaction force have been delayed by Ankara's veto on the sharing of NATO planning infrastructure by the Euroforce, citing fears that these might be used against Turkey's interests in the Aegean with rival Greece.

    Greece, meanwhile, objects to the 'Ankara Document' devised as a way past the problem by the United States and United Kingdom in collaboration with Turkey.

    EU efforts to overcome the impasse, however, have been put on hold due to the political and economic turmoil in Turkey, where the shaky government of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has lost key cabinet ministers and its majority in Parliament.

    Papandreou said they discussed the upcoming Greek presidency the European Union in the first half of 2003, the operational readiness of the European rapid reaction force, European defense and a common European policy on armaments issues.

    Regarding the last issue, in particular, Papandreou said that the climate was changing and that this was taking a load off Greece, as well as removing one item from the agenda, which improved Greece's position.

    Regarding the domestic repercussions of developments in the fight against terrorism, Papandreou said that it was not an issue to be used for party-political benefits.

    He said he would brief the ambassadors of EU member-states, Turkey and other countries whose nationals were among N17's victims on the latest developments in the case.

    The defense minister also referred to the breakthroughs against terrorism, saying that they removed a shadow that had unfairly lain over Greece, which could now make progress on foreign policy issues.

    [03] Schoolteacher charged as suspected N17 member

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    A school teacher who voluntarily gave himself up to the authorities and confessed to being a member of the terrorist group November 17, 37-year-old Konstantinos Tellios, was taken before a public prosecutor and charged for his participation in N17 on Wednesday.

    The charges included participation in a criminal organization, the construction, supply and possession of explosives, being an accomplice in grand weapons possession, intentional manslaughter, repeated attempts of intentional manslaughter, causing explosions, robbery and grand larceny.

    Tellios gave himself up to the authorities on Tuesday and is reported to have admitted the crimes he is charged with before the public prosecutor.

    He was accompanied by a defense lawyer and was given until Friday afternoon to prepare his testimony to the examining magistrate.

    According to sources, Tellios has identified Pavlos Serifis as the N17 member known by the code-name 'Nikitas'.

    He has also confessed to taking part in the attempted murder of public prosecutor Konstantinos Androulidakis in January, 1989, stealing weaponry from the Sykourio army camp in Larissa in December, 1989, robbing a branch of Ergasias Bank in Patissia in June 1989 and the attempted murder of then finance minister Ioannis Paleokrassas in July, 1992 with a rocket, that killed passer-by Athanasios Axarlian.

    This brings the total of those charged with participating in November 17 to 10. Police are also holding injured bomber Savvas Xiros, who has admitted his involvement in N17, and are they searching for Dimitris Koufontinas, who disappeared shortly after Xiros fell into the hands of the police and has so far evaded capture.

    Police have also announced that they will be bringing in one more man suspected of being involved in November 17 from the countryside, identified by sources as Pavlos Serifis, bringing the total of suspected member of N17 in custody to 12.

    All those caught have confessed to a number of terrorist hits and robberies, with the exception of the man police believe may be one of the group's founders and leaders.

    Alexandros Giotopoulos, 58, continues to deny all involvement in the group and claims not to know any of the other accused, despite the fact that police have matched his fingerprints with those found in one of the group's safe houses.

    Another man arrested in ongoing terrorism investigation, possibly 'Nikitas': Another man was arrested Wednesday in the ongoing investigation into the 'November 17' terrorist organization, a police source said.

    The source told ANA that said Pavlos Serifis, 46, from Morfio village in Thesprotia prefecture but living in Karditsa, was arrested earlier Wednesday and would be brought to Athens by helicopter for questioning by the counter-terrorism squad.

    The source said that Pavlos Serifis was married and living in Karditsa, and was possibly the man referred to under questioning with the codename "Nikitas" by 17N members already in custody.

    Morfio is also the hometown of Thomas Serifis, Iraklis Kostaris and Costas Karatsolis, who have been arrested over the past five days on charges of involvement in 17N.

    Psychiatric examination considered for N17 suspect: The lawyer of schoolteacher Constantine Tellios, 37, charged with participation in the November 17 terrorist group and reportedly facing certain health problems, is considering the possibility of having a psychiatric examination performed on the defendant.

    According to reports, Tellios had raised objections on the way with which the organization acted regarding the choice, as an assassination victim, of Parliamentary Deputy Pavlos Bakoyiannis and had threats made on his life by other members of the group.

    Authoritative reports also said the group's alleged leading member Alexandros Giotopoulos disputed before the investigating magistrate the findings of the safe house detected in Patmou Street and the results of handwriting examinations linking him to the group's activities, as well as testimonies made by other defendants.

    On the question of the forged identity card he had been using for years, Giotopoulos reportedly claimed that he had been using it during the 1971-1972 period when he had been a member of the resistance group ''Popular Revolutionary Resistance.''

    Reports said Giotopoulos claimed that at the time the French police had found a forged passport bearing his photograph and was looking for him.

    Consequently, he used the name Mihalis Economou and then, as he reportedly claimed, since he had created social relations with that name he decided to keep it. Giotopoulos also reportedly stated that he is involved in translations of French texts.

    Preliminary investigation ordered on N17 evidence leak: Athens Bar Association President Dimitris Paxinos ordered a preliminary disciplinary investigation on Wednesday on the leaking of evidence from the file of proceedings created on terrorism, particularly on alleged members of the November 17 terrorist group.

    In this context, investigations will also be made on whether lawyers appearing in television programs, while the cases of their defendants are still pending before justice, were guilty of disciplinary offences.

    In addition, it will be examined whether lawyers appearing on television are violating the Bar's code of ethics, regardless of the fact they have not undertaken to defend a person involved in terrorism.

    The reason for this is that the impression is given that they are using a publicity source for their personal promotion, resulting in their exposing the Athens Bar Association to unfavorable comments and criticism.

    [04] Greece among safest countries in world, ND leader says

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    The hour has finally arrived for fully wiping out terrorism, and uncovering and revealing all the culprits, their accomplices and leaders and their exemplary punishment, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said Wednesday, addressing the 4th General Assembly of the World Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Hellenes, that brings together 80 MPs of Greek descent from 14 countries around the world.

    Greece, he said, is ''one of the safest countries in the world'', a fact that was ''further reinforced'' after the ''overwhelming blow dealt against the cowardly terrorist organizations'', Karamanlis said.

    He said that ''all the political forces of the country encourage and support the efforts'' being made in that direction.

    Karamanlis added that ND had been a protagonist and pioneer in the formulation of the proper climate for this effort, ''for a social front against the scourge that exposed the country, corrupted the foundations of our democracy, and spread death''.

    He also stressed his party's support for the work of the policy, its support for and confidence in justice, and its belief that ''terrorism in our country, and everywhere else in the world, will suffer an overwhelming operational and ideological defeat''.

    Earlier, welcoming the parliamentarians, Karamanlis expressed gratitude, saying that with their activities and accomplishments they honored all of Hellenism, adding that the country looked to them to support the just national causes and to assist the country's developmental efforts.

    On the 2004 Olympic Games to be held in Athens, Karamanlis said that "we must join forces" to prepare for the Games and also in the effort to have the Parthenon Marbles returned to Greece by then.

    Turning to national issues, Karamanlis said that in no instance should the Turkish side's intransigence cancel or delay Cyprus' accession to the European Union, "which can and should take place during the Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2003".

    Replying to a question on Turkey's European prospect, Karamanlis said that Greece had no reason to reject this, provided Turkey followed all the European norms of attitude and not, as it was doing now, opportunist attitudes.

    On Greek-US relations, Karamanlis said that perhaps a portion of Greek society should stop criticizing the US on its actions in various parts of the world and focus its efforts instead on achieving a better US attitude vis-a-vis Greece on such issues as the Cyprus problem.

    [05] Cyprus FM accuses Turkey of intransigent position

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Wednesday the fact the problem of Cyprus has not been resolved is due to the Turkish side's intransigent position, irrational conditions and unacceptable demands.

    Kasoulides was speaking at a press conference organized by a Cypriot society in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on the occasion of an event due to take place at the White Tower on Wednesday night on the 28th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    He said the UN Security Council spoke 10 days ago of the Turkish side's lack of a constructive stance due to the fact that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is insisting on a solution to the Cyprus issue based on two sovereign and independent states.

    ''Cyprus is not Serbia and Montenegro, it is not the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Montenegro always belonged to the Montenegrins and Slovakia to the Slovaks. However, nobody can claim that what is called Northern Cyprus belongs to the Turkish Cypriots and what is called Southern Cyprus belongs to the Greek Cypriots. All of Cyprus belongs to its communities,'' Kasoulides said.

    Kasoulides added that if the Turkish side continues its intransigence the European Union will implement the decision taken in Helsinki in 1999 and then the accession of Cyprus will take place and efforts to achieve the reunification of the two parts of the island will continue under the new conditions to be shaped in the EU.

    He went on to say that he is visiting Thessaloniki ''to get a taste of the atmosphere to be prevailing in March, 2003, when the European Union's Greek presidency will be signing the treaty on the accession of 10 new countries, including Cyprus.''

    Cyprus FM addresses Turkish invasion anniversary event: Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides attended an event on the 28th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Wednesday night.

    The event was organized by a Cypriot society in cooperation with the Federation of Philanthropic Societies and Non-Governmental Organizations under the auspices of the municipality of Thessaloniki.

    ''We have been seeking a viable and permanent solution for 28 whole years and the Turkish side is denying it. We made concessions and compromises to facilitate a mutually acceptable settlement. And the Turkish side remains intransigent and is insisting on irrational terms and unacceptable demands,'' Kasoulides said in his address.

    Kasoulides also said talks on the Cyprus issue, resumed last January, have not produced any substantive progress which is due, as he said, to the position observed by the Turkish side.

    [06] FM and alternate FM to meet British official

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will meet British Alternate European Affairs Minister Peter Hain on Thursday. Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis will also be meeting Hain at the foreign ministry later on the same day. Statements will be made to the press after this meeting.

    [07] Greek-Turkish routine talks in Ankara

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign ministry spokesman Panagiotis Beglitis on Wednesday said that the regular Greek-Turkish talks conducted every six months on world and regional issues will be held between ambassadors Giorgos Gennimatas and Baki Ilkin on Thursday in Ankara.

    [08] Bill against human trafficking, exploitation of minors tabled

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    A justice ministry bill to crack down on trafficking in humans, child pornography and other human rights abuses was tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

    The bill modifies and adds to the criminal code, introducing penalties such as prison terms and fines for crimes such as trading in human beings, sexual exploitation of children, child pornography or the recruitment of minors with the intention of using them in armed conflict.

    The last offence, in particular, carries a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a fine ranging from 50,000-100,000 euros.

    [09] Dev Sol is not allowed to operate in Greece, gov't says

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    The organization Dev Sol and its variants are not allowed to operate in Greece, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Wednesday in response to questions.

    He also noted that, according to information given him by Greek security services, Dursun Karatas was not in Greece.

    [10] Gov't members address Assembly of Hellenes

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis and Deputy Culture Minister Athanasios Alevras on Wednesday briefed the 4th General Assembly of the World Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Hellenes on issues of their individual areas of responsibility.

    Papantoniou informed the 80 Greek-descent deputies that Greece was forced to spend three times the amount of its GNP, as compared to the majority of the other EU states, due to its problem with Turkey.

    He said that there was an improvement in the climate between Athens and Ankara through the development of minor importance bilateral agreements, however, ''no progress has been made with the important issues''.

    Commenting on the ''N17'' arrests, Papantoniou said that Greece had been exceptionably smeared with regard to the terrorist issue and that ''N17'' proved to be a criminal organization, a gang of executioners cut off from Greek society.

    Regarding the recent arrests, he said that disbanding ''N17'' was a big matter, which rid Greece of the ''shadowy insinuations'' made by some regarding ''our will to combat terrorism''.

    Replying to questions, the defense minister said that indeed there were double standards in existence, particularly in the case of Cyprus.

    However, all countries should oppose the weakening of international organizations such as the UN. On the need for an arms reduction, Papantoniou said that this would become possible with the resolution of the Cyprus problem, the implementation of the Helsinki accord, that is Turkey, by 2004, should either lift its demands or come to an agreement with Greece on a way to approach them and thirdly, the promotion of a European unification and defense umbrella policy.

    Magriotis asked for the deputies' support with Greece's efforts to be elected a non-permanent member in the UN Security Council in 2007. He pointed out that, in the meantime, the country will have completed the 2004 Olympic Games and it will have contributed, also through its EU presidency, to stability and growth in the region of southeastern Europe.

    Regarding recent developments on the issue of terrorism, he spoke of a ''crushing operational and ideological blow against the scourge of terrorism'', that cleared away any clouds in the country or abroad.

    On the question of Cyprus' accession course, Magriotis said that all files are closed with the exception of agriculture. ''Cyprus' EU accession will be our biggest national accomplishment, something that we could not have seen even in our wildest dreams a few years ago''.

    ''In 2004, Greece will present the most comprehensive sport facilities ever in the history of the Olympic Games'', the deputy culture minister said, adding that despite early delays, all Olympic projects were advancing.

    With regard to the ''N17'' issue, he said that it had been affecting the security program of the Games, therefore, disbanding the organization was a great success.

    Replying to questions with regard to labor accidents at the Olympic Village, he said that they were due to non-compliance with safety rules.

    Alevras said that because of the absence of indigenous unskilled labor, 85% of the workers at the Olympic Village were foreigners, some of whom showed negligence and inability to comply with established health and safety regulations.

    Deputy Education Minister Nikos Gesoulis briefed the deputies on the new Greek-language programs that are still at a pilot stage. Several deputies expressed interest and requested the Greek state's support for the dissemination, in addition to the Greek language, of Greek culture as well.

    [11] SYN leader meets central bank governor, expresses concern for economy

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos expressed concern over the state of the economy on Thursday, following a meeting with Bank of Greece governor Nikos Garganas.

    The state of the economy had reached a critical point and the development effort being attempted was exhibiting problems and weaknesses that not only threatened to prevent progress but also risked creating new distortions and complications, he said.

    He particularly criticized the reduction of the rights to social insurance and benefits, which he said weakened the develop-mental effort, and said that the way the 3rd Community Support Framework was being handled created the risk that funds might be squandered or would not be put to optimal use.

    [12] Greece 24th out of 173 in human development report

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece holds the 24th position (one lower than last year) this year among 173 countries, according to the UN's Human Development Report 2002, presented at a special event at the foreign correspondents association on Wednesday.

    The annual report on human development publicizes evidence showing substantive progress in the level of human development in past decades in most parts of the world.

    On the other hand, the report appeals for attention to be paid to tragic exceptions in eastern and central Europe, the former Soviet Union and sub-Sahara Africa where many countries currently have a lower human development indicator than they had in the early '90s.

    In the cases of some countries the indicator is lower than it was in 1975. Over 60 countries from various parts of the world have a lower income per capita than what they had before 1990 and in 26 countries income is lower than the income of 1980.

    In addition, this year's report warns of the danger of compromises being made in human rights and support for democracy in the framework of the struggle against terrorism and strongly opposes the belief that authoritarian regimes are better for political stability and economic growth.

    [13] Govít to finalize 2003 budget figures by end July

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's economy and finance ministry is expecting to finalize the basic figures of the 2003 budget by the end of July, based on recommendations submitted by government ministries, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Wednesday.

    The main axis of drafting next year's budget would be restraining spending and raising revenues, based on a three-year horizon, Mr. Christodoulakis said.

    [14] EU Commission announces cut in cotton subsidies for Greece

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    The European Commission on Wednesday announced its has set Greece's selected cotton production for the period 2001/2002 at 1,246,838 tones, higher than the figure proposed by Greece, a development that would lead to lower subsidies to Greek cotton producers.

    In its last regular meeting, before the summer recess, the European Commission decided that real cotton production would total 1,246,838 tones, or spending of 571 million euros, or a minimum price of 593 euros per tone.

    The Greek government has notified the EU's executive that total selected cotton production - eligible for subsidy payment - was 1,148,357 tones last year, a figure that finally rose to 1,183,000 tones.

    The European Commission said that total production, delivered to manufacturing companies, was 1,354,000 and that the Greek agriculture ministry excluded 171,000 tones from that quantity. The EU's executive said that from the excluded quantity 63,838 tones should be added to the country's total selected production, leading to an excess of production and a decision to cut back on subsidy payments to Greek cotton producers.

    Under a modified community regulation, valid from September 1st, 2001, the maximum guaranteed cotton production in Greece was set at 782,000 tones annually.

    [15] Gov't launches new plan to combat unemployment

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    The government has embarked on a new program to combat unemployment through subsidies to employers in the information technology and communications sectors who hire jobless youth.

    The labor ministry program endorsed on Wednesday will cover subsidies for 4,100 young degree holders to gain working experience, with employers receiving 20.54 euros per seven-hour working day in a five-day week.

    The nine-month Stage 2002 plan was devised with the state's Human Resources Employment Organization.

    Costing 16.6 million euros, 60 percent of the program will cover women and 40 percent men, all aged below 35.

    [16] Greek stocks end sharply lower on Wednesday

    Athens, 25/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended sharply lower on Wednesday following a plunge in international markets to four year lows in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended 2.80 percent lower at 2,027.43 points with analysts predicting it would soon test the 2,000 support level. Turnover was an improved 116,3 million euros.

    All sector indices ended lower, with the Textile, Retail and Telecommunication sectors suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day (4.10 percent, 3.84 percent and 3.83 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 2.80 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 2.82 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 3.30 percent down.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 326 to 13 with another 21 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecoms, Football Pools, Commercial Bank of Greece, and Alpha Bank.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures slump: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Wednesday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a discount of over 1.0 percent, and on the mid-cap index topping 2.0 percent.

    Turnover was 73.0 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 2.80 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks lost 2.82 percent.

    In stock futures, the greatest interest was seen in Hellenic Telecoms and Intracom.

    Bond Market Close: Prices rise in brisk, jittery trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished higher in heavy volatile trade focusing on ten-year paper, fuelled by a rally in German bunds.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.05 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 33 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 2.8 billion euros.

    [17] Government spokesman says Cyprus talks going through a difficult period

    NICOSIA, 25/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    UN-led direct talks on Cyprus are going through a difficult period because both sides remain attached to their different concepts as regards the way of approaching the solution of the Cyprus problem, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told the press after Wednesday's meeting of the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus issue).

    He stressed that there can be no breakthrough in the present situation by sharing the distance between these two totally different approaches. ''What is needed is a fresh political will by the Turkish side,'' the Cypriot official underlined.

    Papapetrou said Cyprus President Clerides briefed the members of the National Council on the latest developments in his talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the Cyprus problem in general and there was an exchange of views on future strategy.

    Invited to say whether anything new has come out of the talks for which Clerides briefed the Council, Papapetrou noted that the Council's meetings were confidential and nothing new or old could be revealed.

    Invited to say whether the British special representative for Cyprus, Lord David Hannay, was going to visit Cyprus after his forthcoming visit to Turkey, Papapetrou said that he new nothing about this.

    Answering a question on the course of the direct talks he noted it was no secret that ''the talks are going through a difficult phase'' since ''both sides remain attached to their different concepts as regards the way of approaching the solution of the Cyprus problem.''

    ''Our side'', Papapetrou explained, ''has a concept that is consistent with the UN Security Council decisions, international law and acquis communautaire while the Turkish side has a totally different concept based on the sovereignties of two states''.

    Invited to say whether these two concepts could be bridged through legal texts, the Spokesman said ''there can be no break-through by sharing the distance between two totally different in quality approaches.''

    President Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in direct talks since mid January this year, with a view to negotiate until a comprehensive solution is found to the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island and occupied its northern third.

    [18] Maurer: EU enlargement timetable to go on as foreseen

    NICOSIA, 25/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The timetable for EU enlargement will go on as foreseen, Chief EU negotiator with Cyprus Leopold Maurer stressed on Wednesday, adding that the Laeken and Seville EU Councils have made it clear that the candidate countries will accede to the EU in early 2004.

    The Austrian EU official is on the island with his team to discuss the final stages of the accession negotiations with Cyprus' accession team under Chief Negotiator with the EU George Vassiliou.

    Maurer told reporters that when Austria, Sweden and Finland were at the same pre-accession stage as Cyprus and the other candidate countries, rumors were going round that enlargement might be delayed.

    He added ''you have to look at what the member states said two times, in Laeken and Seville, that the new members, probably ten, should accede at the beginning or during 2004 so that they can take part to the European Parliament elections in 2004''.

    During Wednesday's meeting, both teams continued discussions of the final chapters under negotiation and Maurer expressed certainty that the negotiations will be concluded by December at the latest.

    For Cyprus, the chapter of agriculture and budget still remain open, whereas the chapter of institutions is not under negotiation with any candidate country.

    Maurer also said that the Commission will prepare its regular report on Cyprus and will give its final assessment of Cyprus' preparation for membership.

    ''In this context we had very positive discussions and I cannot say anything negative until now. The progress of Cyprus is very good'', the EU official noted.

    Vassiliou described the Commission's report on Cyprus ''a passport for the final approval of Cyprus' accession to the EU''.

    ''We are in the pleasant position to announce that the report, as it seems, will be a very positive one because Cyprus has basically fulfilled all commitments towards the EU'', Vassiliou said.

    He added that significant legislative work has been done and ex-pressed certainty that by the end of the year the House of Representatives will have approved all legislations.

    Replying to questions, Maurer said the Commission is expecting to see the liberalization of the field of telecommunications.

    Referring to the chapter on taxation, which Cyprus closed this year, Maurer expressed gratitude to Vassiliou, Minister of Finance Takis Klerides and the House of Representatives for closing this chapter.

    Cyprus opened accession negotiations with the EU in April 1998 and has so far provisionally closed 28 out of 31 chapters of the acquis communautaire.

    [19] Old town of Nicosia to be declared ancient monument

    NICOSIA, 25/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus Antiquities Department will declare the old town of Nicosia an ancient monument, so that excavations within its borders will be supervised substantively and effectively, Director of the Department Sofoklis Hadjisavvas told CNA.

    Hadjisavvas said that both the free and the occupied by Turkish troops areas of the old town will be declared an ancient monument and noted that Nicosia is a medieval town surrounded by walls and so is considered to be an ancient monument.

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