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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-12-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

December 9, 2002


  • [01] FM: EU enlargement in jeopardy if Cyprus not included
  • [02] Italian press gives extensive coverage to Greek PM's visit
  • [03] Holbrooke says Denktash has no right to block Cyprus' entry
  • [04] Deputy FM on visit to Syria, Lebanon
  • [05] Justice minister attends prosecutors' general assembly
  • [06] Coalition party leader to visit Cyprus on Monday
  • [07] Tsohatzopoulos optimistic political climate can be reversed
  • [08] KKE central com't gauges party's results in local gov't election
  • [09] Athens mayor-elect says opinion polls do not elect gov't
  • [10] New 'ecologists - greens' movement established
  • [11] Surgeon announces artificial heart operation in Greece soon
  • [12] UN continues talks with two sides
  • [13] FM Kasoulides sees possibility of agreement on procedure
  • [14] Cox: 'Right now we must push for the very best solution'

  • [01] FM: EU enlargement in jeopardy if Cyprus not included

    Athens, 09/12/2002 (ANA)

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou warned over the weekend that if “someone stops Cyprus’ course towards European Union accession” they will be responsible for scuttling the Union’s highly anticipated enlargement.

    In two interviews published over the weekend in as many local dailies, Papandreou confirmed that the entire island republic of Cyprus will accede into the Union, while adding that ''the acquis communautaire will be implemented for as long as a solution to the political problem requires in the territory where the legal government of Cyprus exercises power … its implementation will be extended to occupied territory with a final resolution.''

    In an interview published by the Sunday edition of the Athens daily “Eleftherotypia'', the Greek FM said the time left until this week’s EU's Copenhagen summit ''is now very little, and whatever effort or pressure aimed at having the two communities reach an agreement immediately can produce the opposite results.''

    He further urged Ankara to remain calm in the event a decision taken in Denmark does not fully satisfy the Turkish government.

    Speaking only days before the Copenhagen EU summit, Papandreou said a successful completion of the enlargement process will give credibility, prestige and effectiveness to the Union’s international presence.

    Referring to Greece, he said: ''our strategic goal regarding the accession of Cyprus remains steadfast, and will be consolidated regardless of a prior solution of the political problem.''

    On the question of whether Cyprus' accession will be linked in Copenhagen to a solution to the island’s long-standing political problem, Papandreou noted, ''the political problem existed and was known to the EU and member-states.”

    The Greek FM stressed that the Cyprus problem did not prevent a positive opinion by the Commission in 1993, or even a European Council decision in 1995 on the beginning of accession negotiations, “… or even more so the European Council during the Helsinki (summit) in 1999 on separating accession from a prior solution to the problem.''

    However, in the event some country raises obstacles, Papandreou said ''this steadfast course cannot be stopped, and I do not believe it will be stopped in Copenhagen. Otherwise, the responsibility will rest on those who will annul the enlargement process and the collective decisions we have taken. Greece will not be responsible.''

    Papandreou also said ''Cyprus' accession to the EU is not an obstacle for the process of resolving the political problem, but it will function as a catalyst for a viable and workable model.''

    In another interview, published on Saturday by the ''Imerisia'' daily, Papandreou said there will be a serious crisis in the European Union in the event Cyprus does not accede.

    ''I do not believe that there will be member-states reversing decisions and undermining EU targets for enlargement,'' Papandreou said, adding: ''if this happens, with the pretext that the political problem has not been resolved, then we will have a serious crisis of the EU itself and of its credibility and strategy. A major political and institutional crisis which will take us a long way back.''

    However, Papandreou said the certainty of Cyprus' accession stems from decisions taken at the EU's Helsinki summit, reiterating that the decision to be taken at the EU's Copenhagen summit will concern the 10 candidate-states, including Cyprus, regardless of whether the political problem has been resolved beforehand.

    On the question of whether the time left until the Copenhagen summit is adequate for a solution to be found, Papandreou said ''it is very little for an agreement to be reached in principle. And it would be a great mistake to cram the solution process into the limited period of time left until Copenhagen or to attempt the hasty seeking of an agreement on the sidelines of the European Council in the name of Cyprus' accession.''

    Referring to Turkey's European prospects, Papandreou said the date for the beginning of Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU cannot be a purpose unto itself.

    ''Turkey has a European future. It cannot be judged with religious and cultural criteria. However, it has not achieved the progress of other candidates,'' he said.

    [02] Italian press gives extensive coverage to Greek PM's visit

    ROME 09/12/2002 (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakos)

    The Italian press has given extensive coverage to Prime Minister Costas Simitis' brief visit to Rome earlier this week and to his talks with his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi on issues concerning the European Union.

    The newspaper ''Sole 24 Ore'' said in a report titled ''Berlusconi forward with Ankara'' that ''Italy and Greece are throwing a lifebuoy to Turkey. After the proposal by (French President Jacques) Chirac and (German Chancellor Gerhard) Schroeder who set the beginning of accession negotiations (for Turkey's accession to the EU) halfway through 2005, Silvio Berlusconi and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis stated yesterday that they intend to wage a battle at the Copenhagen summit to have the date set for January 2004.''

    The newspaper ''Corriere della Sera'' said in a report titled ''Italy and Greece are pressing. To have time shortened for Turkey'' that Simitis and Berlusconi, the two leaders who will be holding the EU's presidency next year, are proposing the beginning of accession negotiations in January 2004 ''to encourage Turkey to complete reforms Costas Simitis who agrees that:'A message should be sent to Turkey, while the year 2004 is the most suitable one if, of course, Ankara satisfies the terms of the EU'."

    [03] Holbrooke says Denktash has no right to block Cyprus' entry

    Athens, 09/12/2002 (ANA)

    Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador at the UN, said in an interview with the newspaper ''Ta Nea'' on Saturday that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the Turkish side have no right to prevent Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

    ''Cyprus' accession to the EU should not be hindered due to the views of a minority of inhabitants on the island. The Turkish Cypriots should not be in a position to block the application of the Greek Cypriots because the latter fulfill all preconditions for EU accession, with or without the Turks. I hope the Turks will participate, but the EU should go ahead with or without them. The Republic of Cyprus should accede together with the other nine European countries. Nobody should block it,'' he said.

    On the basis of his experience as a presidential envoy for the Cyprus issue, he describes Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides as wise and tough but reasonable.

    On the other hand, he describes Denktash as ''a bitter old man who has adopted a position which he knows is unacceptable for the rest of the world.''

    On the question of Turkey's European prospects, Holbrooke urged the EU "to stop nonsense and simply give a date for the beginning of negotiations. And on their part the Turks must insist on Denktash starting negotiations on (UN secretary general) Kofi Annan's plan on the Cyprus issue."

    [04] Deputy FM on visit to Syria, Lebanon

    DAMASCUS 09/12/2002 (ANA - A. Makridis)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos is paying an official visit to Syria and Lebanon as of Saturday in an effort to strengthen Greece's humanitarian and economic activities in the two countries and to pave the way for the implementation of the European Union's Greek presidency plans for the Middle East.

    Loverdos met with the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Ignatios IV on Saturday and also held talks on Sunday with Syria's Prime Minister Muhammad Mustafa Miru and other officials.

    ''With our visit here, before the assumption of the European Presidency by Greece, we wish to underline how seriously we are facing Syria, how seriously we are approaching its issues and how much we are hoping for its cooperation,'' he said.

    Commenting on the issue of terrorism, Loverdos reiterated that Greece condemns all forms of terrorism, adding that "whatever causes harm is bad."

    [05] Justice minister attends prosecutors' general assembly

    Athens, 09/12/2002 (ANA)

    The Public Prosecutors' Union held its annual general assembly in the Athens Bar Association's auditorium on Sunday in the presence of Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and representatives of political parties and judicial unions.

    Addressing the event, Petsalnikos made special reference to the bill already tabled in Parliament on the upcoming trial of members of the November 17 terrorist organization and the absence of the electronic mass media from courtrooms.

    "I believe that radio and television coverage of trials does not constitute an additional contribution to the improvement of judicial work provided but, on the contrary, it has negative consequences for the smooth and unbiased holding of the trial, whose sole objective is the application of justice," he said.

    Petsalnikos pointed out that open doors for the public and the unimpeded presence of journalists secure the publicity required for trials by the constitution.

    [06] Coalition party leader to visit Cyprus on Monday

    Athens, 09/12/2002 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress party leader Nikos Constantopoulos will pay a two-day visit to Cyprus on Monday and Tuesday and meet with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, House of Representatives Speaker Demetris Christofias and party leaders.

    According to a party announcement, Constantopoulos will also be meeting with the leaderships of four leftist and progressive Turkish Cypriot parties.

    [07] Tsohatzopoulos optimistic political climate can be reversed

    Athens, 09/12/2002 (ANA)

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, speaking in the wake of negative opinion polls for the ruling PASOK party, appeared optimistic on Sunday that PASOK can reverse the climate and pursue positive prospects.

    Speaking at the party's Prefectural Council of Thessaloniki's first constituency, he said that on the basis of the prefectural and municipal election results and the conclusions drawn from the opinion polls the outcome of general elections in 2004 remains open.

    Tsohatzopoulos also said the main opposition New Democracy party is unable to formulate any proposition and added that the government should rid itself of delays and traditional mentalities.

    [08] KKE central com't gauges party's results in local gov't election

    Athens, 09/12/2002 (ANA)

    The Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) central committee on Sunday unveiled its assessment regarding last October's local government election results, noting that the outcome had a ''negative'' effect on the people while also hinting dissatisfaction with the party's performance.

    KKE based its view on the fact that ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy-backed (ND) candidates prevailed in most municipalities and prefectures around the country.

    A KKE announcement said the party's basic objective, namely, to break what it calls the two-party monopoly on power, ''remains open'', while indirectly noting that this objective was not achieved.

    The central committee's members also claimed that election results showed popular discontent against ruling PASOK, with protest votes, however, shifting mainly to ND.

    Conversely, the party said KKE-backed candidacies recorded a small increase in votes from 1998's local government election. However, there was a reduction in votes and percentages in the Athens-Piraeus supra-prefecture, as well as in the populous municipalities of Athens and Piraeus along with other urban areas.

    Finally, the KKE central committee concluded that ''results are not satisfactory, as they fall short of the objectives we had set.''

    [09] Athens mayor-elect says opinion polls do not elect gov't

    Athens, 09/12/2002 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor-elect Dora Bakoyianni, referring to recent opinion polls appearing in the media, said in an interview with the newspaper ''Imerisia'' opinion polls do not elect a government.

    Bakoyianni said politicians, journalists, the mass media and citizens are trapping themselves and are becoming slaves of opinion polls, adding that the crucial conclusion is that ''citizens are asking themselves questions, primarily on the difficult economic situation.''

    On the question of terrorism, she reiterated that the police and the relevant public order minister ''did their job well. This, however, is not enough and it cannot reverse the essence and image of the government's functioning which has basic first stage malfunctions.''

    Referring to the issue of Cyprus, in light of the European Union's upcoming Copenhagen summit, Bakoyianni said there are two possibilities and some "buts" which are a cause for concern.

    She said the one possibility is the proposed solution being accepted, regardless of whatever inadequate and problematic arrangements it may have, and the issue to close, but stressed that this is very difficult in such a short period of time.

    Bakoyianni said the second possibility is for Cyprus to accede the EU at the Copenhagen summit, but without an agreement being reached on the proposal and with a "tail" being left behind which will be similar to the EU Helsinki summit's "tail."

    She underlined that this will say that the Cyprus issue will be resolved in three months and added that "in essence, we are facing what we have not been wishing for so long. Namely, of issues of Greek concern coming together all at once."

    [10] New 'ecologists - greens' movement established

    Athens, 09/12/2002 (ANA)

    The founding of a new ''Ecologists-Greens'' movement was announced on Sunday in Athens.

    According to a relevant announcement, the establishment of the new political movement ''Ecologists-Greens'' was the outcome of a meeting by several interested parties, all interested in restructuring the environmental advocacy movement in the country.

    During two-day sessions at the Athens Bar Association, which concluded on Sunday, the movement's founding proclamation was approved.

    The new initiative is expected to participate in the International Green Movement via the European Federation of Greens Parties.

    A founding conference will take place in two months' time.

    [11] Surgeon announces artificial heart operation in Greece soon

    Athens, 09/12/2002 (ANA)

    Heart surgeon Panayiotis Spyrou announced in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Saturday that an artificial heart will soon be given to a patient in Greece.

    Speaking at an event on transplants, he said that both he and his associates are preparing themselves and hope to be ready for the procedure in two or three months.

    Spyrou will leave for the United States in the next few days to obtain the artificial heart to be given to a patient suffering from a serious heart condition.

    In a statement to the Athens News Agency (ANA), he said the advanced technology artificial heart has been made by scientists of NASA and the university of Texas.

    Spyrou added that it weighs about 2.5 kilos and is easy to place, but the problem for the time being is the cost since it amounts to about 30 million drachmas.

    [12] UN continues talks with two sides

    NICOSIA 09/12/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Alvaro de Soto, UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus, was due to meet late on Sunday with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash as part of renewed and intensive attempts to find a political settlement, prior to next week's European Union summit.

    De Soto started a new round of shuttle diplomacy between President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash, with a three hour long meeting with Clerides on Saturday.

    Sunday's de Soto-Denktash meeting is the first one for some time between the two men, as Denktash only returned to the island on Saturday. He was in New York, recovering from heart surgery.

    Aides working with the de Soto team were also busy consulting the two sides in separate meetings. Some of the aides met with members of the Greek Cypriot negotiating team, including Attorney General Alecos Markides, and Swiss legal expert Didier Pfirter met with Denktash's adviser Ergun Olgun.

    Talks focus on a UN proposal, submitted to the two sides in early November. Clerides and Denktash communicated to the UN their comments, remarks and suggestions on the proposal and it is likely that the UN will put forward a revised version of the original proposal.

    [13] FM Kasoulides sees possibility of agreement on procedure

    LARNACA 09/12/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has not ruled out the possibility of an agreement on the procedure of the ongoing and unprecedented peace effort in conjunction with a commitment by all interested parties to work on a UN proposal, and with a view at reaching a comprehensive settlement.

    The minister called for unity and wisdom in the days ahead, which he believes will be ''particularly crucial'' for Cyprus, and said that public remarks should not be taken at ''face value''.

    ''I would not rule out the possibility of seeing an agreement on procedure and a commitment that we shall all work for a solution on the basis of the Secretary General's proposal,'' Kasoulides said, upon his departure for Brussels on Sunday.

    The minister explained that at present there is nothing in the offing but the likelihood of a statement exists, if no agreement is reached on the substance of the foundation agreement, included in the UN proposal which basically commits the two sides in Cyprus to further negotiations on a comprehensive settlement by the end of February next year.

    Kasoulides said the next few days leading up to the Copenhagen summit (12-13 December) are ''pivotal'', adding that ''there will be pressure'' at the summit. Invited to comment on statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader, he said ''during these crucial days ahead of us, one should not take at face value public remarks because a lot is going on behind the scenes which does not necessarily relate to public comments.''

    Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, said Saturday on his return to Cyprus, after an absence of more than two months for medical reasons, that he does not accept the territorial adjustments proposed in the UN plan, and demanded sovereignty for his self-styled regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus.

    Kasoulides said third parties present the Turkish positions as ''completely different'' to the public views Denktash expressed on arrival in occupied Cyprus.

    In Brussels the foreign minister will participate in a ministerial meeting of candidate countries with the EU and have separate meetings with the Dutch foreign minister and British envoy on Cyprus Lord David Hannay.

    Kasoulides will also go to Rome for a meeting with his Italian counterpart and then fly to Copenhagen where President Clerides will be on Wednesday for the EU summit, expected to invite Cyprus and another nine applicant countries to join in 2004.

    [14] Cox: 'Right now we must push for the very best solution'

    NICOSIA 09/12/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    European Parliament President Pat Cox said here on Sunday that a Cyprus settlement is ''potentially obtainable'' and at present everybody stands to gain from ''the very best solution.''

    He said the next few days will require the courage to take risks for a comprehensive settlement and he promised EU assistance in every practical way possible to ensure ''a successful and smooth transition'' for a united Cyprus to join the Union.

    Cox cautioned against letting slip an opportunity that presents itself to the parties to reach a settlement, in circumstances which ''have no precedent''.

    On Turkey-EU relations, he said the Copenhagen summit next week will give ''measured and visible progress'' in the Union's engagement with Ankara.

    Asked if Cyprus will get an unconditional green light for EU accession at next week's summit in Copenhagen, Cox said the optimum condition is for a settled Cyprus to be able to sign the accession Treaty.

    ''This is potentially obtainable,'' he said, pointing out however that ''to choose the optimum is not to make the best the enemy of the good.''

    ''Right now we must push for the very best solution for the whole island and between the island and its neighbors and between its neighbors and the EU, we all stand to gain if we push for the optimum,'' he said.

    Asked about his meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, he said he emphasized ''at considerable length and with considerable conviction that this is indeed a very critical moment and I encouraged him to understand the nature of this moment and act upon it.''

    Questioned on what would happen to European Court of Human Rights decisions or cases pending, he said negotiating a settlement concerns the parties and the UN but noted that the EU will assist the UN process in every practical way possible to ensure ''a successful and smooth transition'' for a settled Cyprus to enter the Union.

    ''Any questions that representatives here wish to bring forward to the Parliament can present themselves on the floor after an accession treaty is signed,'' he said.

    He said there are arrangements to invite six observers from Cyprus to attend European Parliament proceedings after an accession treaty is signed.

    He explained that in the event of a settlement, four observers will be Greek Cypriots and two Turkish Cypriots.

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