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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

July 30, 2002


  • [01] Agreement opens way for Greek aid to Bosnia
  • [02] Eight N17 suspects transferred to maximum security cellblock
  • [03] Spain's agriculture minister visits Greece
  • [04] Anomeritis opposes isolated EU port agreements
  • [05] Culture minister discusses Olympics with Chinese official
  • [06] Falcon tragedy pilot gets five-year suspended sentence
  • [07] New budget sees growth of 4.0-4.1 pct in 2003
  • [08] Econ Minister unveils second draft bill on tax reform
  • [09] Greek investment firms' assets fall 8.28 pct in first half
  • [10] Greek exports to Turkey post noteworthy increase this year
  • [11] Greek exporters urge restructuring of state exporting agencies
  • [12] Econ Ministry announces international tender for XYSTO lottery
  • [13] Greece plans to re-introduce suggest retail price on water, beverage packages
  • [14] Greek stocks surge 2.75 percent on Monday
  • [15] ''Washington Post'' article on the new Acropolis Museum
  • [16] UN-sponsored int'l meeting in Thessaloniki
  • [17] Government hopes Denktash will discuss territory
  • [18] Government comments FT report on sanctions busting
  • [19] Abducted Greek Cypriot returns home

  • [01] Agreement opens way for Greek aid to Bosnia

    SARAJEVO, 30/07/2002 (ANA - M. Vihou)

    Greece signed a bilateral agreement with Bosnia Herzegovina on Monday worth 19.5 million euros in developmental aid to be allocated by Athens to Sarajevo over the next five-year period.

    The agreement falls within the framework of Greece’s recently approved and ambitious Balkan Reconstruction Plan.

    Improvements in infrastructure, especially transports and the energy sector, as well as investments and modernization of Bosnia’s public administration are the main areas were the Greek aid will be funneled.

    The agreement was signed in the Bosnian capital by visiting Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos and Bosnian Alternate Foreign Minister Ivica Misic. After the signing ceremony Loverdos was received by Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija as well as by High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Paddy Ashdown.

    Among others, 20 percent of the envisioned aid will be directed towards the private sector in the once strife-ridden Balkan state.

    In statements to reports, Loverdos condemned the civil war in Bosnia in the 1990s and emphasized that such conflicts “must be part of history and not a land’s future”.

    He also noted that the rapid and effective absorption of funds is essential for the agreement to be renewed, and that such aid will go towards the benefit of all ethnicities in Bosnia.

    On his part, Misic said such aid will help “keep whatever back whatever occurred in the past,” while adding that the region’s peoples can quickly adapt to new situations and “heal past wounds”.

    Deputy FM Loverdos meets Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency Chairman: Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday met with Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency Chairman Beriz Belkic who asked that Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos hold a meeting with the country's three-member presidium (president and two vice-presidents, each from another ethnic group).

    The Greek side also approved a request by Bosnia-Herzegovina for Greece to contribute in the covering of the expenses of the central electoral committee, which will have the responsibility of the elections in October. The specific sum is assessed to amount to about 150,000 euros.

    Loverdos also met High Representative of the international community responsible for the implementation of the Dayton Accord, Lord Paddy Ashdown, who expressed his particular interest in the work for the renovation of the Old Parliament which will be used to house the country's common institutional bodies and which will be financed by the Greek side within the framework of the agreement which was signed on Monday by Loverdos and Bosnian Alternate Foreign Minister Ivica Misic.

    Ashdown also asked to be kept informed regarding the further promotion of the agreement so that he can help in the working out of the programs, which will be used on the basis of the agreement, which was signed.

    Expounding his views concerning the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ashdown noted that the Dayton Accord's objective was for the moment to come when Bosnia will no longer need international supervision, stressing that the conversion of the country into a colony of the international community was not the objective.

    Ashdown expressed the conviction that a solution for the future of this state will be found in the Dayton Accord itself.

    [02] Eight N17 suspects transferred to maximum security cellblock

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greek police transferred eight out of the 13 incarcerated suspects linked to the notorious "November 17" terrorist gang to a recently renovated maximum security cellblock inside a local prison on Monday under tight security.

    Specifically, Christodoulos Xiros, his younger brother Vassilios Xiros, Vassilios Tzortzatos, Theologos Psaradellis, Costas Karatsolis, Dionysis Georgiadis, Thomas Serifis and Iraklis Kostaris, were all transferred to the Korydallos penitentiary in a working-class southwest Athens district.

    Each of the suspects, formally arraigned before an investigative magistrate, was transported individually without any contact with the others, according to reports.

    Suspected N17 terrorist to testify on Wednesday: Nikos Papanastasiou, 50, who allegedly participated in the November 17 terrorist group under the code name ''Nikitas'', re-quested and received a time limit for Wednesday July 31 at 6 p.m. from special investigator Leonidas Zervombeakos.

    According to reports, Papanastasiou is continuing to deny any participation in the terrorist group but, according to evidence obtained during the preliminary investigation, he allegedly belongs to the group's founder members and has taken part in the assassination attempt against American sergeant Robert Judd, the robbery at the National Bank's branch office in Petralona, in which policeman Christos Matis was killed, and in the murders of publisher Nikos Momferatos and his driver Panayiotis Rousetis.

    Meanwhile, the file of proceedings including the testimony of alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros will be reportedly forwarded to a public prosecutor on Tuesday morning, while suspected terrorist Patroklos Tselentis, 42, who had the code name ''Alekos'' or ''Tainias'', is expected to make his testimony before Zervombeakos at noon on Tuesday.

    Coalition leader demands 'ample light' on N17 case: Coalition of Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Monday from the Aegean island of Syros said that the "thriller of terrorism-talk'' should not monopolize the citizens' interest while a number of other problems were present and pressing.

    On a tour in the Cyclades islands, Constantopoulos said that at a time when major changes were taking place world-wide, Greece's future would be determined on several levels, including the economy, foreign policy, the political system and security.

    With regard to terrorism and developments surrounding the terrorist group ''N17'' Constantopoulos said ''The neutralization of murderous mechanisms should be escorted by responses to all questions regarding funding, information sources, surrounding factors and the utilization of such criminal activity. The citizens demand justice through fair trial and ample light to be cast on the entire case''.

    [03] Spain's agriculture minister visits Greece

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    Spain's Minister of Agriculture Miguel Arias Canete on Monday began a two-day official visit in Greece, escorted by Agriculture Secretary General Isabel Garcia Tejerina.

    The Spanish minister will have successive meetings with Greek Agriculture Minister George Drys, focusing on the revision of the EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), as well as bilateral relations in the agricultural sector.

    Canete's visit is realized within the framework of initiatives undertaken by the Greek agriculture minister for a joint approach by countries sharing common interests with Greece, toward EU proposals for an interim CAP revision.

    The two ministers will give a joint press conference at noon on Tuesday.

    [04] Anomeritis opposes isolated EU port agreements

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis on Monday expressed his opposition to isolated agreements forged between EU ports and US security agencies.

    Speaking to high-ranking officials of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) at a dinner hosted by Piraeus Metropolitan Kallinikos, Anomeritis said ''the member-states including the ports that have allowed the establishment of third-country facilities should take under serious consideration the recent unanimous position of the Maritime Transportation Ministers Council, the Transportation Commissioner Loyola de Palacio and the Commission on that issue. Such agreements not only jeopardize free competition and the authority of the European agencies, but also the very same institutional basis for the unity of policies throughout the EU''.

    The minister added that the EU countries have taken a clear position on issues related with handling terrorist threats. Cooperation with the US is a given, the minister said, however any collaboration should be realized through established European bodies, not by isolated port authorities.

    ''I am certain that although this issue does not concern the port of Piraeus that services a low volume of maritime transportation destined for the US, the European Commission already moving on the right direction will take those decisions necessary for the unity of our policies''.

    [05] Culture minister discusses Olympics with Chinese official

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos met on Monday with Beijing 2008 Organizing Committee Vice President Duon Shijie, who is visiting Greece with a 10-member Committee delegation.

    ''With the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Organizing Committee Vice President, the ambassador of China and the members of the Chinese delegation we, of course, discussed our common issues which are the preparation of the Olympic Games, the technical part of preparation and the way with which we are handling various problems during this preparation,'' Venizelos told reporters afterwards.

    Venizelos added that he is expected to visit Beijing, as he has an invitation from his counterpart and following the prime minister's successful visit to China, adding that questions made by the Chinese delegation focused primarily on experience, technical problems, procedures and relations with the International Olympic Committee.

    Shijie said on his part ''the Olympic Games started from here, from Greece. The Olympic preparation is very important and the Beijing 2008 Organizing Committee believes that the experience of preparing for the 2004 Olympic Games is very important for it. This time, 10 people are participating in our delegation with the purpose of us learning from the experience of Greece. Through the discussion we had with Mr. Venizelos we learnt many things.''

    [06] Falcon tragedy pilot gets five-year suspended sentence

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    An Athens court on Monday sentenced pilot Yiannis Androulakis to five years in jail with a three-year suspension after finding him guilty of multiple manslaughter concerning the tragedy of the prime minister's Falcon jet on September 14, 1999, in which seven people died.

    During the fatal flight to Bucharest, Romania, the aircraft lost height suddenly, resulting in the killing of seven people, including the then Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis.

    The court accepted a proposal by the public prosecutor and acquitted the Falcon's co-pilot Grigoris Sinekoglou and eight other technicians responsible for the aircraft's maintenance.

    [07] New budget sees growth of 4.0-4.1 pct in 2003

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    Growth of 4.0-4.1 percent in 2003 is forecast in the government's budget for next year, which is currently being drafted, Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Monday.

    Handling of the economy needed to be cautious and realistic, avoiding both inflated forecasts and scare mongering. Competitiveness should be strengthened and fiscal stability maintained, the minister told reporters.

    Among the budget's goals were a positive general government balance, as envisaged in the country's stability program for the European Union; a major reduction in the public debt despite a revision in 2001 of 5.0 percent higher of gross domestic product due to intervention by Eurostat; higher growth; and lower inflation, Christodoulakis said.

    [08] Econ Minister unveils second draft bill on tax reform

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Monday presented a second draft bill on reforming the country's tax system, covering heritage taxes, to be submitted to parliament by August 20.

    Mr. Christodoulakis said that a first draft bill on tax reform would be submitted to parliament on Monday.

    The new legislation was aiming to drastically reduce calls to tax agencies by taxpayers.

    A third phase of a tax reform, covering tax factors, was expected to be presented in early fall, he noted.

    The new law will be put into effect on January 1, 2003.

    Opposition criticizes government over new tax bill: The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Monday accused the government of creating confusion by continually announcing new tax measures after the finance minister released a taxation bill earlier in the day.

    ''The government persists in announcing tax measures again and again but this tactic has only served to bring confusion and uncertainty,'' ND's economic spokesman, George Alogoskoufis, said in a statement.

    ''The government's communications needs have once again worked against the economy,'' the statement added.

    Alogoskoufis accused the government of being unable to design or implement a tax overhaul that would lead to a simple and less burdensome tax system.

    ''There first has to be a change of government before a substantive tax reform can be attained that will bring a new relation-ship between taxpayers and the state,'' Alogoskoufis said.

    In a separate statement, the Coalition of the Left and Progress accused the government of introducing piecemeal tax measures that would fail to bring an equitable and radical overhaul of the system.

    [09] Greek investment firms' assets fall 8.28 pct in first half

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's closed-end investment firms' net assets totalled 2.08 billion euros on June 28, 2002, from 2.27 billion euros in December 31, 2001, a decline of 8.28 percent, official figures showed on Monday.

    A report by the Union of Institutional Investors said that the investment index was showing losses of 12.14 percent so far this year, compared with a 13.65 percent drop in the general index of the Athens Stock Exchange, while the sector's 22 companies were showing an average -11.05 percent decline from the start of the year.

    Their internal value returns ranged from -3.61 percent to -20.16 percent, during the first half of 2002.

    Listed investment firms were trading at a discount ranging from 5.82 to 31.93 percent on June 28, with the exception of Domus, which was trading at a premium totalling 109.30 percent.

    [10] Greek exports to Turkey post noteworthy increase this year

    ANKARA, 30/07/2002 (ANA - A. Abatzis)

    Greek exports to Turkey rose by a brisk 56 percent during the first five months of 2002, reaching the US$132.6-million mark from $84.9 million during the corresponding period in 2001, Turkey's general secretariat for external trade announced here.

    Conversely, Turkish exports to Greece fell slightly between Jan-May 2002 compared to the same period last year. Specifically, $187.7 million worth of Turkish imports were shipped to Greece in the first five months of 2002, as opposed to $192.2 million during the corresponding period of 2001 -- a 2.3-percent decrease.

    Meanwhile, the Turkish government announced that 112,500 Greek citizens visited the neighboring country in the first half of 2002, up 29.2 percent from Jan.-June 2001. Moreover, 22,278 Greeks visited Turkey in June 2002 alone.

    [11] Greek exporters urge restructuring of state exporting agencies

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    The Panhellenic Exporters' Union on Monday urged for more measures to help adjust Greek exporting enterprises to a new international economic and trade environment.

    The union submitted its proposals with the economy and finance ministry, mainly envisaging for a restructuring of operations of a Greek External Trade Organization (OPE).

    The union urged that all export support organization should have: a management with international connections and expertise, a modern structure and organizing, a clear task and the necessary funds.

    The Panhellenic Exporters' Union said that OPE rarely met all these preconditions in the past.

    [12] Econ Ministry announces international tender for XYSTO lottery

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's economy and finance ministry on Monday announced a decision to hold an international tender, on new terms, for the management of its instant lottery (XYSTO).

    A ministry announced said there are two options under the Greek legislation on XYSTO lottery: to continue with its existing contract, or to announce an international tender.

    ''The government chooses an international tender after having already extended a contract with the same underwriter (Intralot). The new underwriter will be offered the management of XYSTO for the next five years,'' the announcement said.

    The current contract ends in August 2003. The terms of a new tender were expected to be published in the Greek press and the European Union's bulletin in August.

    The new tender will envisage an sharp increase in the value of a letter of guarantee from 100 million Drachms to 30 million euros, analytical description of all technical specifications for the monitoring information system, security and credibility standards, a rise in the minimum guaranteed sum to be paid to the Greek state from 10 billion drachmas to 50 million euros (an increase of 70 percent), an increase in the states' minimum percentage of gross revenues to 32.5 percent from 30 percent, and disclosure of all shareholders' names in candidate companies.

    [13] Greece plans to re-introduce suggest retail price on water, beverage packages

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    Development Deputy Minister Christos Theodorou on Monday said it would ask for the re-introduction of a measure to print suggested retail prices on table water and beverage packages.

    Mr. Theodorou said it has sent a report to European Union agencies through ELOT, the intermediary agency, as envisaged by community legislation.

    The Greek government was forced to withdraw the measure after a warning by the European Commission.

    Mr. Theodorou said printing suggests retail prices on table water and beverage packages would benefit consumers, particularly in the country's tourist regions.

    [14] Greek stocks surge 2.75 percent on Monday

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks surged 2.75 percent on Monday reflecting strong buying interest in blue chip stocks in the Athens Stock Exchange. Buying was encouraged by a positive climate in other European markets.

    The general index ended 2.75 percent higher at 2,115.66 points, with turnover an improved 96.3 million euros.

    The Banks, Telecommunications and Textile sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (3.42 percent, 3.22 percent and 2.79 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 3.14 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.89 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 2.40 percent up.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 272 to 54 with another 34 issues unchanged.

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

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures perky in brisk trade: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange rose on Monday, with contracts on the high capitalization index breaking even, and on the mid-cap index showing a slight premium.

    Turnover was 81.5 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips gained 3.13 percent; and the underlying

    FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks rose 1.89 percent.

    In stock futures, greatest interest was seen in Intracom.

    Bond Market Close: Prices drop in light trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished lower in light trade focusing on ten-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.13 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 34 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 1.6 billion euros.

    Sell orders accounted for over half of trade.

    [15] ''Washington Post'' article on the new Acropolis Museum

    WASHINGTON, 30/07/2002 (ANA/T. Ellis)

    An article featured in Monday's edition of ''Wahsington Post'' focuses on the construction of the new Acropolis Museum, pointing out that Greece is building the museum in hopes of ''shaming the British government into giving back sculptures taken two centuries ago''.

    Under the title ''Marbles Lost and Found'' the ''Washington Post'' article said Greece was hoping the construction of the museum would reinforce efforts to change the up-to-now negative stance of the British government and pave the road for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.

    The article said the Greek government is in a ''rush to make the museum ready in time for the 2004 Olympics'', adding that Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos has pledged that the new Acropolis Museum will be ready by 2004, for the flood of tourists expected when the Summer Games return in two years to the nation where they were born.

    ''Washington Post'' points out that the project ''is creating controversy in Greece, where a growing number of critics charge that the museum is being built at a location involving other antiquities, pointing to a movement undertaken by a team of scientists for the selection of another site. The paper hosts a statement by the president of Athens' archaeological society Giorgos Dontas who calls the construction project a ''crime'' and urges the Greek government to ''pick another site for the museum, even if it delays construction by a decade''.

    On the other hand, the article continues, ''Greek officials defend their selection, saying all antiquities uncovered there are being properly protected and catalogued''. Director of the Press Office at the Greek embassy in Washington Achilles Paparsenos told ''Washington Post'' the antiquities found at the new museum site were being handled with every care and that reunification of the Parthenon marbles with the monument is ''something we really believe should be done''.

    Despite controversy surrounding the timely completion of the project, Greek archaeologist Lena Lambrinou, who is overseeing the Parthenon restoration effort, told the paper that ''Sometimes you can see miracles in Greece'', adding that archaeologists working atop the Acropolis and at the new museum take their responsibility very seriously, making every effort to assure nothing of value is damaged.

    Lambrinou told ''Washington Post'' she ''remains optimistic that most of the temple complex will be ready by 2004''.

    [16] UN-sponsored int'l meeting in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 30/07/2002 (ANA)

    The issue of "Governance and Public Administration for a Viable Development" will dominate an international meeting in Thessaloniki this week, organized by the UN's Center for Inter-national Public Administration in light of an upcoming UN summit meeting on the same subject next month in Johannesburg.

    Representatives from 26 countries in central and SE Europe, along with delegates from international organizations, are set to participate at the meeting.

    [17] Government hopes Denktash will discuss territory

    NICOSIA, 30/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou has expressed hope that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will discuss the territorial issue of the Cyprus problem in a practical frame of mind, during his next meeting on Tuesday with President Glafcos Clerides. Papapetrou noted, however, there are no indications that this will happen.

    Asked about Tuesday's meeting, Papapetrou said ''it will focus mainly on the territorial issue'', adding that the leaders of the two communities would also continue their discussion on the issue of missing persons, where ''all traditional differences of the two sides have resurfaced''.

    Papapetrou said that if Denktash decided to discuss the territorial issue in a substantive manner, then ''our side is ready to submit alternative scenarios on maps''.

    ''Our side has elaborated on its positions on this chapter, which has not yet been discussed, and Denktash's reactions are expected'', Papapetrou said.

    Territory is one of the four core issues of the Cyprus problem. The others are governance, property and sovereignty.

    [18] Government comments FT report on sanctions busting

    NICOSIA, 30/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou has said that even if Cyprus were involved in sanctions busting during the UN embargo against Yugoslavia the Cyprus government could not have been aware of this at that time, adding that once Cyprus achieves to substantiate this it will not remain exposed by a July 25 ''Financial Times'' report.

    Commenting on the report, which said that Yugoslav officials had told international war crimes investigators that one of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic’s closest associates masterminded massive cash transfers in the 1990s from Belgrade to Cyprus, Papapetrou recalled that Attorney General Alecos Markides had launched a probe on the issue and noted that the government expressed its desire investigations to be concluded as soon as possible ''in the light of the obvious political repercussions from this case.''

    In a letter to the FT editor, published on Monday in the newspaper, Markides underlined that he is and have been ''fully cooperating with the prosecutor's office of the International Criminal Tribunal of former Yugoslavia in relation to all relevant matters and events that allegedly occurred in Cyprus.''

    Governor of Cyprus Central Bank Christodoulos Christodoulou said on Monday in a written statement that ''Financial Times'' falsified and distorted statements made on the issue to the newspaper by a senior member of the Bank's staff Andreas Philippou.

    FT quoted Philippou saying that senior officials at the Bank were aware that Yugoslav front companies were set up in Cyprus as a means of avoiding UN sanctions and that ''through these companies, the Yugoslav state was able to survive and feed its people in spite of the sanctions.''

    [19] Abducted Greek Cypriot returns home

    LARNACA, 30/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Twenty-five-year-old Greek Cypriot Vassos Elia, from the village of Xylotympou, who was abducted by the Turkish occupation forces on July 12 and was sent last Friday to Istanbul, Turkey, returned home Saturday via Athens.

    Elia flew from Istanbul to Athens Saturday midday and arrived in Cyprus on a CY flight from Athens. His wife, child and relatives were very happy to see him return home.

    Elia expressed joy to be with his family again and thanked all who facilitated his return to the government-controlled areas of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

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