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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

July 29, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Terrorist suspect confesses N17 involvement
  • [02] Anti-terrorism drive gives gov't impetus in voter preference
  • [03] Economic aid to Bosnia on Greek deputy FM's agenda
  • [04] Supreme Court rules for prosecution in abetting Kurdish rebel leader
  • [05] Athens Olympics organizers to work with Ancient Olympia authorities
  • [06] British Museum's ability to keep Marbles has declined, expert says
  • [07] Christofias: International community must take initiatives on Cyprus
  • [08] AKEL supports DIKO leader's candidacy for presidential elections

  • [01] Terrorist suspect confesses N17 involvement

    Athens, 29/07/2002 (ANA)

    The latest in a bevy of arrested suspects linked with the notorious “November 17” urban terrorist group on Sunday confessed to taking part in several attacks carried out by the latter, before requesting and receiving a 48-hour stay in order to provide testimony to a special appellate-level magistrate.

    Patroklos Tselentis, who allegedly operated under the aliases of ''Alekos'' or ''Tenias'', told appeals magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos that he had taken part in the assassination of a local industrialist, Dimitris Angelopoulos, a newspaper publisher, Nicos Momferatos and US military attache William Nordeen, among others.

    According to the same sources, Savvas Xiros, whose arrest exactly one month ago provided authorities with a veritable “Rosetta Stone” breakthrough in tracking down the elusive terrorist group, completed his bedside testimony before a local prosecutor. An indictment is expected on Monday against Xiros, the sometime church mural painter that is still recovering from an inadvertent bomb blast that landed him in custody.

    N17 terrorist suspect denies charges: A suspected terrorist denied criminal charges brought by an Athens prosecutor on Saturday that he took part in attacks perpetrated by the November 17 terrorist group, police said in a statement.

    Detained on Friday, police identified the man as Nikolaos Papanastasiou, 50, a potter residing in Stamata, Attica. His alleged pseudonym in November 17 was ''Nikitas.''

    The statement cited preliminary evidence as indicating that in 1984 Papanastasiou took part in a murder attempt on US sergeant Robert Judd in Attica; a robbery at the National Bank of Greece in Petralona, Athens; and the murder of police officer Christos Matis in Athens.

    Again according to preliminary evidence, Papanastasiou also took part a year later in the murder of Nikolaos Momferatos, publisher of the Apogevmatini daily newspaper, whose driver also died in the Athens attack, the police statement said.

    Another suspect, Christodoulos Xiros, had named ''Nikitas'' as an operator in the four attacks, according to transcripts of evidence he gave to authorities that were leaked to the media.

    Papanastasiou is to give evidence on Monday at 1900 hours after judicial authorities agreed to his request for an extension to prepare his case.

    After a spate of arrests and reported confessions over the past few weeks, police believe they have mostly unraveled November 17, which has a 27-year history of murder, attempted murder, bomb attacks and robbery. Trial dates have yet to be set.

    At the top of a list of suspects slated for detention are a man codenamed "Sardanapalos" who is believed to have been a senior member of November 17 after it began operations in 1975; and a woman known as ''Anna'', also thought to be part of the group's early history.

    The woman was reportedly described by another suspect, Pavlos Serifis, as a tall blonde with a good knowledge of Greek.

    According to Serifis, ''Anna'' allegedly took part in the slaying of Richard Welch, a CIA station chief in Athens, in 1975, a crime that marked the start of the terrorist group's 27-year career.

    Still at large is Dimitris Koufontinas, who authorities believe may have gone into hiding in Attica or Halkidiki. Koufontinas is seen as a key player in November 17, also operating as the group's treasurer.

    Yet another suspect being sought is an alleged operator in the group known as ''Aris''.

    Former public order minister slams past police approach to N17: A former public order minister, Yiannis Skoularikis, has sharply criticized past police practice in tackling the November 17 terrorist group, which authorities have been unraveling over the past month.

    Skoularikis told the Sunday Apogevmatini newspaper in an interview that in the past the police force had not opened a separate file for November 17, and that each attack by the 27-year-old group was handled on a case-by-case basis.

    In addition, police departments involved in investigations had undermined each other's work, he added.

    [02] Anti-terrorism drive gives gov't impetus in voter preference

    Athens, 29/07/2002 (ANA)

    A spate of arrests linked to the November 17 terrorist group has helped the ruling PASOK party to narrow its gap with main opposition New Democracy, which ranks first in voter preference, a poll released on Saturday showed.

    According to the survey by Metron Analysis conducted on July 11-23, ND was 5.5 points ahead of PASOK against 8.8 points in late June to early July, and 6.3 points in February.

    Commissioned by the Imerissia daily financial newspaper, the poll gave PASOK 31.9 percent of voter backing, up 1.9 percent from early July. ND gained 37.4 percent, down 1.4 percent.

    Next came the Communist Party of Greece with 4.6 percent of voter preference; the Democratic Social Movement at 3.0 percent; and the Coalition of the Left and Progress at 2.6 percent.

    The two largest parties were quits in voter preference in urban areas, each securing 32.9 percent.

    In semi-urban and rural areas ND retook the lead at 44.2 percent against 30.4 percent for PASOK.

    Asked which party would win if elections were held immediately, 54.3 percent of respondents tipped ND for victory and 25.8 percent PASOK, with 19.5 percent declining to forecast.

    Among public figures in PASOK, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis ranked third at 57.8 percent, sharply up from 27.3 percent in the last survey. Chrysohoidis is in charge of the police campaign to unravel November 17.

    Coming top in PASOK was Foreign Affairs Minister George Papandreou; and among public figures in ND, Dora Bakoyianni, a parliamentary deputy whose first husband was slain by November 17.

    Among public figures overall, the favorite was President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, followed by parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis, and Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, head of the Athens 2004 Olympics organizing committee.

    Finally, asked to name the most probable origin of November 17, 32.3 percent of respondents said they believed that the group was a tool of major vested financial interests; 17.4 percent that it sprang from the far left; 9.8 percent that its members were the agents of secret services; 6.6 percent that its members derived from PASOK; and 1.7 percent that they came from the far right.

    Asked to characterize the members of November 17, 74 percent of people questioned described them as terrorists and 19 percent as social rebels, with 7.0 percent of respondents stating that they were unable to speculate.

    [03] Economic aid to Bosnia on Greek deputy FM's agenda

    SARAJEVO, 29/07/2002 (ANA - M. Vihou)

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos continued his tour of Bosnia on Sunday with a visit to a base housing a Greek military contingent, part of the international peacekeeping force in the Balkan country.

    In brief statements, he outlined Athens' contribution to stability in Bosnia-Herzegovina via both economic aid and the peace-keeping contingent, while emphasizing that this support aims at creating conditions leading to the country's self-sufficiency and self-administration, "so that it can take its place in Europe and the international community."

    Loverdos, representing Greece, will sign a protocol on Monday with the Bosnian government to provide the latter with economic aid, as part of Athens' Balkan Reconstruction Plan.

    [04] Supreme Court rules for prosecution in abetting Kurdish rebel leader

    Athens, 29/07/2002 (ANA)

    The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal for proceedings to be dropped against 12 people charged with aiding and abetting Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan in his illegal entry into Greece three years ago.

    Along with the 12 charged with aiding illegal entry, issuing a false document and abuse of the country's peace internationally, Ocalan is also to stand trial for illegally entering the country on January 28, 1999.

    According to court documents released on Saturday, the Supreme Court ruled that the original decision to prosecute issued by the Athens Appeals Court Council was valid.

    Charged with abetting Ocalan are A. Naxakis, a retired Hellenic Navy captain who planned the Kurd's entry; author Voula Damianakou-Vasilopoulou and her daughter, who hosted Ocalan overnight; two of his associates; an airline pilot who transported Ocalan from Russia to Greece; and the police, airline and airport officials who allowed his entry.

    [05] Athens Olympics organizers to work with Ancient Olympia authorities

    Athens, 29/07/2002 (ANA)

    Organizers of the Athens 2004 Olympics have signed a memorandum of cooperation with the municipality of Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the games in antiquity.

    Signing the agreement on Saturday for the organizing committee of the event was its head, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki; and for local authorities, Mayor George Aidonis.

    ''I will support every endeavor by the birthplace of the Olympics to meet needs stemming from its historic role in connection with the games,'' Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said.

    Requiring attention was the provision of accommodation for visitors to the town, Aidonis added.

    Attending the signing ceremony were Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    [06] British Museum's ability to keep Marbles has declined, expert says

    LONDON, 29/07/2002 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    The quality of conservation work on antiquities at the British Museum has declined, raising doubts about whether the world-renowned institution is fit to house the Parthenon Marbles, according to experts in the field.

    ''Our greatest cultural institution, the British Museum, is continually being downgraded,'' said David Lee, president of a British institute of conservationists.

    ''How much longer will the British Museum be able to maintain that it is the best place in the world to house major antiquities such as the Parthenon Marbles?'' Lee asked in an interview to the UK's Sunday Telegraph.

    The newspaper quoted museum conservationists as saying that the level and quality of work carried out at the museum had fallen, and that many fragile antiquities were in jeopardy.

    Also in jeopardy was the museum's reputation in the field of conservation - its main argument for keeping the Greek artworks.

    Greece is waging an international campaign to persuade the British government to return the Parthenon Marbles to their home in Athens.

    [07] Christofias: International community must take initiatives on Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 29/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    House President Demetris Christofias pointed out on Sunday that the United Nations and the international community should take initiatives, aiming to facilitate a breakthrough in the Cyprus problem, within the framework of UN resolutions.

    Christofias noted that ''Cyprus is going through a crucial period'' and noted that so far the UN and other mediators have not exerted enough pressure on the Turkish side, to proceed to the negotiating table with good will.

    He underlined that the Turkish side pursues to consolidate and legalize the division of the island and that is why it torpedoes every effort for a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    He also noted the persistence of the Greek Cypriot side ''in the implementation of principles, as provided by numerous UN resolutions on Cyprus for the establishment of one bizonal, bicommunal federal state with one and sole sovereignty, a single citizenship and international personality, in which freedoms and human rights of all people will be safeguarded.''

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader 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 Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

    [08] AKEL supports DIKO leader's candidacy for presidential elections

    NICOSIA, 29/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Main opposition party left-wing AKEL decided on Saturday to support center-right Democratic Party's (DIKO) leader Tassos Papadopoulos candidacy for the February 2003 presidential elections.

    The vast majority of AKEL delegates, 939 out of 1009, voted Saturday at their extraordinary party congress for Papadopoulos' candidature.

    Thirty six delegates voted against while 34 abstained.

    AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias described Papadopoulos candidature as ''powerful and victorious'' and noted that the DIKO leader met the eligibility criteria set out by AKEL.

    Papadopoulos, 68, took over DIKO's presidency from the party founder, Spyros Kyprianou, in 2000.

    In a written statement, Papadopoulos expressed his gratitude to the delegates of AKEL and said that he was honored to be chosen as a candidate by their party.

    Left-wing AKEL, is represented in the House of Parliament with 20 seats or 34,71%, and right-right Democratic Party (DIKO) with 9 seats or 14,84%.

    Right-wing ruling Democratic Rally party (DISI), which is represented in the House of Parliament with 19 seats or 34%, has proposed to all parties the establishment of an all-party government.

    The proposal was rejected by AKEL and DIKO. The Social Democrats Movement (KISOS) will decide about the DISI proposal during its Congress to take place August 4. KISOS holds 4 seats in the Parliament or 6,51%.

    The other four parties, which hold one parliamentary seat each, have not yet announced their decisions as regards the DISI proposal.

    These are rightwing New Horizons party (NEO) which holds 3%, Liberal United Democrats (EDI), 2,59%, the right-right ADIK, 2,16% (1 seat), and Ecologists - Environmentalists Movement 1,98%.


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