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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

July 27, 2002


  • [01] Accused 17N member names Giotopoulos as Welch's killer, 'undisputed' leader
  • [02] White House praises Greek gov't actions against terrorism
  • [03] EC intends to refer Greece to European Court
  • [04] EU releases 2001 data on illegal trade
  • [05] Leaders continue discussions on Cyprus and missing

  • [01] Accused 17N member names Giotopoulos as Welch's killer, 'undisputed' leader

    Athens, 27/07/2002

    Pavlos Serifis, who was formally charged on Thursday by an Athens Prosecutor of participation in the 'November 17' terrorist organization, has named suspected group leader Alexandros Giotopoulos as the executioner in the organizationís first killing, that of the CIA station chief in Athens Richard Welch in December 1975, reliable sources said Friday.

    The sources said Serifis also named Giotopoulos as the executioner in the killing of 16.1.1980 - Riot Police (MAT) deputy commander Pantelis Petrou and his driver Sotiris Stamoulis in January 1980.

    Pavlos Serifis, who is believed to have taken part in the Welch assassination, was formally charged by prosecutor Elias Kolioussis with participation in a criminal organization and the manufacture, procurement and possession of explosives and arms.

    Serifis asked late Thursday night to testify before examining magistrate Theoni Bouri. He was taken to the Athens court-houses complex at 11:00 p.m. for questioning by Bouri, where he remained until 4:00 a.m.

    According to the sources, Pavlos Serifis confessed to participating in 17N from 1975 to 1980, and said he withdrew from the organization after an accident he had in 1981.

    Serifis called Giotopoulos the "initial" and "undisputed" leader of the organization.

    Tselentis charged as suspected member of N17: The latest suspected member of November 17 to be captured by police, 42-year-old Patroklos Tselentis, was charged with a series of crimes carried out by the terrorist group by Athens Appeals Court Public Prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos on Friday.

    The charges against Tselentis included participating in a criminal organization, construction, supply and possession of explosives, being an accomplice in grand weapons possession, repeated counts of intentional manslaughter, repeated counts of attempted manslaughter, robbery that resulted in death and causing an explosion.

    Tselentis was the first N17 suspect to be taken directly to the appellate courts to be charged and cross-examined since the case file was assigned to special magistrates arising from the ranks of appeals court judges. Appearing before Special Magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakas, Tselentis asked and received until Sunday evening to prepare his testimony.

    Police spokesman Lefteris Economou said that Tselentis was known within the N17 by the code names 'Alekos' or 'Tenias' and had confessed to participating in five murders, two attempted murders, bomb attacks and robberies with other N17 members.

    These included the robbery of a National Bank branch in Petralona and the murder of police officer Christos Matis on December 24, 1984; the murder of 'Apogevmatini' newspaper publisher Nikos Momferatos and his driver Panagiotis Rousetis on February 21, 1985 in Kolonaki; the murder of industrialist Dimitris Angelopoulos on April 8, 1986 in Kolonaki; the attempted murder of medical doctor Zaharias Kapsalakis on February 4, 1987; setting off a bomb in an air force bus carrying United States army officers in Rendi on April 24, 1987 in which 13 people were injured; the attempted murder of US national George Carros on January 21, 1988 in Filothei, the murder through a booby-trapped car of US military attache William Nordeen on June 28, 1988 in Kefalari; and the raid on a police station in Vyrona in which weapons were stolen.

    Tselentis, the 14th suspected member of the group to be caught so far, was arrested by the authorities on Thursday.

    Two more N17 suspects charged by 4th Examining Magistrate: Two suspected members of the November 17 terrorist group, school teacher Konstantinos Tellios and Thomas Serifis, were charged by the 4th Examining Magistrate on Friday for participating in the group and were remanded in custody until their trial.

    During the cross-examination, sources said that Tellios revealed that the terrorists referred to N17 as ''the company'' or, alternatively, referred to N17 as ''the kids'' and to the ''Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA)'' as ''the fathers''.

    Tellios said that he first came into contact with N17 through Christodoulos Xiros in July 1987 in Ikaria, to whom he was introduced by another member with the codename ''Nikolakis''.

    He also described N17 hits and claimed that he was told he would be ''fired'' (which he claims was a euphemism for killed) when he objected to the murder of public prosecutor Constantine Androulidakis.

    Tellios also referred to a time when members of the terrorist group offered to help him avoid national service in the military, saying they had their ''own'' doctor.

    According to reports, both repeated to the magistrate all that they had claimed in their preliminary testimonies and admitted their participation in the organization.

    They are the last to make testimonies before the magistrate, since the file of proceedings drawn up on the group's activities has been forwarded to an appeals court to enable the main investigation to be conducted by special appeals court investigator Leonidas Zervombeakos under the supervision of appeals court prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos.

    New arrest in N17 case; police believe they have 'Nikitas': Police arrested another suspected member of the terrorist organization November 17 on Friday, whom they believe to the group's historic founder-member 'Nikitas'.

    The latest suspect was caught around midday at Ilion and was identified by police as Nikos Papanastasiou, 50.

    According to the evidence, the man with the code-name 'Nikitas' took part in N17 operations since the group was first founded and is second-in-command after alleged leader Alexandros Giotopoulos.

    Initial reports said that Papanastasiou originates from Serres, like missing suspect Dimitris Koufontinas.

    Police discover former safe house used by N17 in Thessaloniki: The anti-terrorist squad discovered another apartment in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Friday reportedly used as a safe house by the November 17 terrorist organization.

    The apartment, located on Koukoufli street 1, was searched by anti-terrorist squad police without anything being found, since, according to reports, it was abandoned by the group in 1999 and is now being used as a home.

    The safe house is in the center of the city and it is not far from the safe house used by the group to temporarily store anti-tank rockets stolen from the Sykourio army camp in Larissa, central Greece, in 1989.

    The anti-terrorist squad found the new safe house from evidence reportedly provided by suspected terrorist Costas Tellios. According to reports, the members of the group used the code name ''Gogoev'' for the apartment.

    No links indicated between 17N and Turkish organizations, spokesman says Athens, 27/07/2002

    There were no indications of links between the 'November 17' terrorist group and Turkish organizations, government spokes-man Christos Protopapas said Friday.

    If anything new arose on the matter, Greece would formally inform Turkey, the spokesman said, just as the Greek counter-terrorism squad chief Stelios Syros and ambassador Anastasios Skopelitis had on Thursday briefed the Turkish charge d'affaires on Thursday on the investigations into the 17N investigations, in the Turkish ambassador's absence from Athens.

    Tsohatzopoulos and Reppas on terrorism crackdown: Labor and Social Security Minister Dimitris Reppas on Friday said that the phenomenon of terrorism will soon be a part of the past for Greece with favorable consequences for tourism.

    Reppas, on a visit to the Dodecannese island of Rhodes, told a number of local businessmen that ''... above the government we have the country, which has been harmed from being linked during the past few years to terrorist activities that had repercussions in many sectors, including the tourist sector. Cracking down on terrorism will mark the end of the problems that were created''.

    Referring to the same issue, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said in Thessaloniki on Friday ''everything we are hearing about terrorism is very interesting and despite the long course towards a clarification of this affair we shall not let anything get away''.

    [02] White House praises Greek gov't actions against terrorism

    WASHINGTON, 27/07/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    White House spokesman Ari Fleischer on Friday said that recent operations against the urban terrorist group ''November 17'' were a ''success by the Greek government''.

    Replying to questions during the White House regular press briefing, Fleischer said '' And this is again an example where in the war against terror, accomplishments are going to be made in multiple areas around the world, through diplomacy, through arrest, through seizure of financial assets. And Greece is a partner in that effort.''

    Culture Minister, IOC President discuss 'N17' issue, Olympic Games Athens, 27/07/2002

    Ongoing investigations by the Greek authorities for the total eradication of the ''November 17'' terrorist group was at the focus of talks which Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos had in Athens on Friday with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge.

    At the same time, the two men discussed the entire spectrum of preparations for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games - the progress of projects and the problems which have to be dealt with.

    Following their meeting, Rogge termed as ''a very important development the eradication of 'N17','' and stressed: ''Of course the demand and the concern regarding the security of the Games was legitimate and justified. This is always a major issue, which I had already raised in discussions I had with Prime Minister (Costas) Simitis since early 1998. The prime minister had then promised that Greece would meet this obligation, something which it did, a fact for which I am particularly happy.''

    On the progress of preparations for the Games, Rogge referred to statements by IOC's Coordinating Committee President Denis Oswald who in general terms had supported that preparations were proceeding at a particularly satisfactory pace this past year but that he had reservations on certain projects.

    On his part, the culture minister said he had discussed with Rogge, whom he described ''a true friend of Greece'', the issue of the accreditation of the members of the Olympic family, on the good course of the Cultural Olympiad program and on the cooperation which must exist with international sports federations.

    Venizelos stressed that ''Mr. Rogge dealt with all the problems of the Olympic preparations in a positive and creative manner, and we agreed on a series of actions and naturally I will transfer the contents of our discussions to the prime minister, who as you know, is not simply presiding over the inter-ministerial committee, but is also observing all the individual elements of the Olympic preparations.''

    Rogge will visit Ancient Olympia on Saturday, along with the culture minister and Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, so as to attend the start of the Meeting of the International Olympic Academy for new participants.

    Main opposition slams the government over cotton subsidies Athens, 27/07/2002

    In an attack on the government and Prime Minister Costas Simitis over the slashing of cotton subsidies to farmers by the European Union, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday accused Simitis of trying to pull the wool over farmers' eyes after his government's policies suffered yet another 'Waterloo'.

    The returns to be received by farmers from the EU will be roughly 40 drachmas less per kilo than the sum originally expected by the government, representing a reduction of approximately 80 per cent.

    Karamanlis also rejected the government's plan to make up the difference in the amount received by farmers using national funds, saying it was contradictory for the government to oppose the renationalisation of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) while at the same time seeking EU permission to finance farmers using national funds.

    The prime minister's statements on Thursday ''revealed the huge distance that separates him and his government from the real every-day problems Greek farmers have to face,'' Karamanlis said and stressed the need for a new and aggressive policy for farming.

    He also claimed that developmental programs were showing delays of more than 2.5 years while huge sums of money were being lost because of corruption, non-transparency and an unhealthy party-dominated establishment.

    Karamanlis had earlier met with the main farmers' unions, PASEGES, SYDASE AND GESASE, whose leadership also expressed concern that the proposal to boost subsidies with national funds might ''open a window'' for the renationalisation of CAP, while SYDASE president Yiannis Pitas suggested that the government was just trying to gain time.

    Commenting on Karamanlis' statements, meanwhile, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said the main opposition leader was waiting for the events to unfold before presenting his position.

    ''This is not a responsible attitude,'' Protopapas said.

    He also said that the government's policies had achieved satisfactory results for Greek farmers, even if they were not as good as had originally been hoped.

    ''This is because the final price for cotton was not the one we wanted because of excess production,'' he added.

    The government also came under fire from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which said that the prime minister had "taken over the job of deceiving cotton growers and small to middle-size farm owners because his agriculture ministers have said so many lies they no longer have any credibility."

    The party accused the premier having an "anti-farmer policy" and of promising extra money from national funds with EU permission when he knew that such permission would not be given.

    Defense minister announces program to improve army living conditions Athens, 27/07/2002

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou visited the island of Kastelorizo on Friday in order to inaugurate a new gym in a local army camp and announced the start of program to improve living conditions in the Armed Forces.

    Among planned improvements to army camps are new gyms, libraries, internet centers, vocational studies centers, counseling phone lines and support for the needy.

    Comments on statements by Gurel: Yiannos Papantoniou also commented on the statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel on Thursday, who accused Greece of harboring ''organizations that are trying to dismember Turkey''.

    Papantoniou said that Greece's recent success in uncovering the terrorist group ''November 17'' had not been welcomed by some countries abroad since it raised the country's international standing and greatly strengthened Greece's position in defending its national interests.

    He stressed the need for caution, stability and consistency and repeated that the armed forces were ready to deal with any threat at any given time.

    He also stressed that Greece was friendly toward Turkey and strove for its accession to the European Union and said that Athens should resist the temptation to rise to the bait every time the other side made a provocative statement.

    Asked if the political turmoil in Turkey might affect decisions for the Euroforce or Cyprus' accession to the EU, Papantoniou said that Cyprus' EU accession did not involve Turkey in any way.

    On the Euroforce issue, he noted, Turkey's instability did play a role since this concerned an agreement between NATO, of which Turkey was a member, and the EU. The minister said that Greece would seek to find a solution according to the Seville text but warned that no one could predict the outcome.

    DM attends luncheon by Kastelorizo mayor: Kastelorizo Mayor Pavlos Panigiris gave a luncheon for visiting Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Friday and praised the defense ministry's contribution towards solving considerable problems faced by the Dodecannese island.

    The mayor also called for Papantoniou's intervention to have two crucial issues resolved. Firstly, the island's customs linkage since the existing status does not allow for overnight stays which has a negative effect on economic growth and, secondly, a decrease in taxation for tourist vessels.

    Papantoniou said his presence on Kastelorizo shows the government's support for people living in border areas and offered assurances that he will do everything possible to have solutions found for the two issues as soon as possible.

    Merchant marine minister visits Leros and Kalymnos Athens, 27/07/2002

    Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis on Friday visited the Dodecannese islands of Leros and Kalymnos to attend local events organized by the islands' authorities and businesses.

    The minister met with the Metropolitan of Leros-Kalymnos-Astypalaia Nektarios and visited the port authority offices in Kalymnos and Leros.

    While in Kalymnos, in addition to fishing industry and navigation safety issues, Anomeritis focused on issues pertaining to diving-activity-related tourism and divulged a new draft bill on diving and associated tourism, while he called the island a center for diving activity.

    [03] EC intends to refer Greece to European Court

    BRUSSELS, 27/07/2002 (ANA- M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission on Friday announced its intention to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice over the award procedures of two public procurement contracts.

    According to the Commission, in both cases, one of them regarding a piping system in Megalopolis, Peloponnese and the second an urban improvement program for the northern Greek city of Serres, the procurement authorities failed to publish calls for tenders in the Official Journal of the European Communities, as required by EU legislation on public procurement.

    With regard to the piping system in Megalopolis, the Commission said that the Public Power Company (DEH) signed an agreement for the construction of a system, drawn after direct negotiations with one of the two contractors that were called to submit bids, without a prior call for tenders published in the Official Journal of the European Communities and without meeting the requirements for an exemption from the obligation to publish a call for a tender.

    With regard to the contract for an urban improvement study for the city of Serres, the Commission reiterated that Directive 92/50/EEC on the public procurement of services defined that public procurement contracts have to be awarded following an open tender. However, the Commission said, the detailed rules of the directive did not apply to the award of contracts that qualify as ''Research and Improvement'' in Greece.

    According to the Commission, the Greek authorities maintained that the Directive did not apply to the said contract. Nevertheless, the Commission considers that the said contract did not qualify as a ''Research and Improvement'' design, it constituted a specialized and innovative urban study that should have been awarded through an appropriate call for tenders, as required by the EU Directive.

    [04] EU releases 2001 data on illegal trade

    BRUSSELS, 27/07/2002 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Union's executive Commission on Friday released data on items confiscated by customs authorities on being brought illegally into countries of the 15-nation bloc.

    According to the data, confiscated in Greece were about 6.5 million items in 2001 out a total of 95 million throughout the EU.

    The total for Greece in 2000 was about 5.5 million items, the Commission said in a statement.

    ND leader congratulates new Dutch PM Athens, 27/07/2002

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis has addressed a letter of congratulations to the new Prime Minister of the Netherlands Christian Democrat Jan Peter Balkenende on the assumption of his new duties.

    ''Indeed, I believe that our common work in the framework of the European Peoples' Party will further strengthen our bilateral relations and will contribute substantively to the dissemination of our right-right principles for European unification,'' he said in his letter.

    Karamanlis added that he felt sure that during Balkenende's period of office ties between the two friendly countries will be developed even further.

    National Bank says tourism revenues flat, or slightly lower in 2002 Athens, 27/07/2002

    Greek tourism is acquiring a steady customer base, of a relatively high income, that makes it less vulnerable to competition from countries with a comparative advantage in offering low-cost tourist services, National Bank said on Friday.

    In its monthly bulletin on the Greek economy, National Bank - Greece's largest commercial bank - said that an economic slowdown in the eurozone was expected to be reflected to this year's tourist receipts, although the report said it did not expect a significant drop in revenues.

    National Bank predicted that this year's tourist revenues would be either flat, or slightly lower compared with the previous year.

    The report noted that economic activity was not expected to be supported by tourism this year, in contrast with 2001 and 2000 when tourist revenues contributed 0.25 and 0.90 percentage points, respectively, to the country's gross domestic product growth rates.

    Greek tourism accounts for 15 percent of GDP and for 10 per-cent total employment in the country, ranking Greece in the 15th place worldwide, based on tourist arrivals, and in the 10th place on revenues.

    In its monthly bulletin, National Bank also examines the factors that led to a significant decline in yield spreads between 10-year Greek and German state bonds by 330 basis points in the last four years.

    The main reasons were the removal of foreign currency risks and a significant increase in domestic bond market liquidity before and after the country's participation in Economic and Monetary Union.

    Rising liquidity helped explain around two-thirds of the decline in yield spreads from 60 basis points at the end of 2000 to 33 bpd in July 2002.

    The report sad that if liquidity remained at current levels - off record highs it reached in the last quarter of 2001 - the yield spread could rise to 42 basis points. In another scenario, if liquidity would rise to levels similar with other eurozone state bonds, the spread could fall to 30 bpd by the end of 2003.

    Greek business delegation to visit Japan in November Athens, 27/07/2002

    The Greek-Japanese chamber of commerce is organizing a business visit to Japan, November 11-15, in cooperation with OEY Tokyo, Hermes project and JETRO, Japan's External Trade Organization.

    The business trip will focus in the sectors of consumer products and will include pre-arranged meetings with Japanese companies in three days of meetings in Tokyo and another two in Osaka.

    Greek weekly economic review Athens, 27/07/2002

    The Athens Stock Exchange fell to its lowest level in the last four years during the week under review, although it managed to stay above the 2,000 support level following a rebound in international markets in the last two sessions of the week.

    Analysts, however, said that high volatility in the market was evidence that the Greek bourse - in line with international markets - was currently in a crisis unable to find a stable direction.

    In other headline news this week: The European Commission announced it was reducing community subsidies to Greek cotton growers by setting the country's selected cotton production volume to 1,246,838 tonnes for the period 2001-2002, higher than the figure presented by Greek authorities. ND main opposition party said the Commission's decision would lead to a rapid fall in cotton producers' incomes and called for the immediate resignation of the political leadership of Agriculture ministry.

    Transport Minister Christos Verelis and the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) unveiled plans to introduce a new smart card in public transportations in Attica from 2004. The plan is budgeted at 16.1 billion drachmas.

    Economy and finance ministry announced that the introduction of International Accounting Standards by listed companies would begin, as scheduled, on January 1, 2003.

    Greek stocks end 3.04 percent lower in the week Athens, 27/07/2002

    Greek stocks ended lower the last trading session of a highly volatile week in the Athens Stock Exchange, following a similar pattern in international markets.

    The general index fell 0.65 percent to end at 2,058.94 points, off the day's lows of 2,030 points, but it remained at its lowest levels in the last four years.

    Turnover was a low 80.4 million euros.

    The Telecommunications, Textile and Publication sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.01 percent, 1.30 percent and 1.12 percent, respectively), while the Retail, IT Solutions and Bank sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (0.63 percent, 0.25 percent and 0.19 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.43 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.07 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 0.93 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 235 to 77 with another 46 issues unchanged.

    The general index ended the week with a net loss of 3.04 percent.

    Livanis Publications' debut in the market was marred by controversy over possible abuse or manipulation of the stock. Its stocks were to enter the market with an offer price of 4.84 euros per share, but at the beginning of the session, a open sale order of 74,380 shares at one euro per share pushed Livanis share price down 79.34 percent at the opening.

    Market authorities immediately ordered an investigation in the transaction.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecoms, Football Pools, Space Hellas, and Coca Cola HBC.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures nose up: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange rose slightly on Friday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a discount of over 0.50 percent, and on the mid-cap index topping 1.50 percent.

    Turnover was 66.3 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 0.43 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks lost 0.07 percent.

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

    Bond Market Close: Prices mixed in brisk trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Friday finished mixed in active trade focusing on ten-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.07 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 35 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 2.0 billion euros.

    Sell orders accounted for about half of trade.

    SAE Annual Convention in New York on November 22-24 Athens, 27/07/2002

    The North & South American Region of the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) will hold its Annual Convention at New York's Crowne Plaza LaGuardia, November 22-24, 2002, a SAE release said on Friday.

    According to the release, in celebrating the return of the Olympic Games to their homeland in 2004, SAE will host a number of cultural activities in New York during the upcoming November.

    ''New Yorkers will be treated to a month-long series of events in the weeks leading up to, and following, the SAE Convention, including classic theater, concerts, exhibitions and a culinary competition between New York's finest Greek restaurants'', the release said.

    These activities, known as Cultural Events are organized by SAE under the auspices and the financial support of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs-General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad.

    [05] Leaders continue discussions on Cyprus and missing

    NICOSIA, 27/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash met on Friday, in the absence of their aides, with UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, in the context of direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem, as well as with UN chief's Acting Special Representative in Cyprus Zbigniew Wlosowicz to discuss the missing persons issue.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told CNA that Denktash would present his views on the issue of territory during his next meeting with President Clerides on Tuesday, July 30.

    Papapetrou added that on the issue of missing persons, discussions will continue despite the fact that there are "difficulties and different opinions".

    Asked why the aides of the leaders of the two communities were not present at Friday's meetings, Papapetrou explained that "on the issue of missing persons they meet alone with Wlosowicz".

    Regarding the Cyprus problem, "they discussed what they would do in view of the difficulties of the talks and so de Soto said they should go alone".

    Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in direct talks since mid January 2002. No progress has been achieved due to Denktash's negative stance.

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