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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-12-13

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

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

December 13, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Simitis says Cyprus will join EU regardless of political solution
  • [02] Simitis: Athens' goals include Cyprus' accession, solution to island's problem
  • [03] Rasmussen says Cyprus problem cannot obstruct EU enlargement
  • [04] DM Papantoniou anticipates smooth EU accession for Cyprus
  • [05] ND leader calls for Cyprus accession without preconditions
  • [06] U.S. official says Turkey must do great deal for EU entry
  • [07] Italian premier supports setting of date for negotiations for Turkey
  • [08] Demonstrators call for a single, independent and non-aligned Cyprus
  • [09] 36 Turkish war planes infringe on Athens' FIR, violate Greek airspace
  • [10] Deputy DM meets with French DGA, visits Dassault facilities
  • [11] Mitsotakis vs Laliotis: countersuits for libel heard together
  • [12] KKE supports mobilizations against Greek EU presidency's actions
  • [13] New controls on EU-funded projects
  • [14] Greece's EU presidency to seek summit for social partners
  • [15] CEO: No threat to Olympic Airways from EU call for cash return
  • [16] FYROM PM discusses investment plan with Greek official
  • [17] Greek and French ministers probe common agricultural policy
  • [18] Greece's EU presidency to back sustainable development
  • [19] Deputy minister says pension cost affects economic stability
  • [20] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks slip, Public Power Corp. drops
  • [21] Armed forces to contribute in the security of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games
  • [22] Another 11 km of Attica highway to be ready by end of January
  • [23] Dialogue held in Athens on water resources management
  • [24] Greece and Turkey fail in joint bid to host 2008 Eurosoccer
  • [25] Presence of Cyprus National Council underlines determination, government spokesman says
  • [26] UN continues to work for Cyprus agreement, says UN envoy
  • [27] Eckhard confirms Annan not to travel to Copenhagen
  • [28] Annan remains hopeful Copenhagen will yield positive results

  • [01] PM Simitis says Cyprus will join EU regardless of political solution

    COPENHAGEN 13/12/2002 (ANA - V. Mourtis)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said early Friday that at 16:30 on Friday a decision is expected to be taken at the European summit here on the EU enlargement and Cyprus's accession.

    Speaking at a press conference at the end of the first day of deliberations of the EU two-day summit here, Simitis said that two further major issues are expected to be solved on Friday. The first issue concerns certain problems raised by some candidate countries and the second issue concerns the setting of a date for the start of EU accession talks with Turkey.

    As stated by Simitis, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen informed the ''15'' that he would present the conclusions for Cyprus' EU accession on Friday on the basis of two alternative texts, according to whether a settlement of the Cyprus issue will be promoted or not.

    The first text will take into consideration the possible progress of efforts for a settlement of the Cyprus issue, while the second will concern Cyprus' accession without the settlement of the political problem.

    As Rasmussen explained, this procedure will follow after a telephone conversation he had with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who informed him that proximity talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides will be held on Friday and maybe an agreement may be reached.

    Rasmussen informed Annan that the Council can wait until Friday afternoon at 16:30 the results of the negotiations.

    In any case, a decision will be taken on Friday afternoon on Cyprus' EU accession and as stressed by Simitis, all agreed that Cyprus' accession will take place even if there is no agreement for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    The Greek prime minister assessed that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side are not showing up to now a will to contribute so that an agreement is reached for a settlement of the political problem of the island republic.

    He also stressed that Greece always supported that the discussions for a settlement of the Cyprus problem can also continue after the Copenhagen summit, and that the solution of the problem was of interest for the presence of Cyprus in the EU, as well as for stability and peace in the region.

    Simitis further stressed that the possibility must not be given to the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish side to use the Cyprus issue every time there are various problems, so that they can take exchanges.

    Simitis said that at Friday's session, ways must be discussed in order for the dynamics of understanding which was created in the recent period be extended and for there to be results in due time.

    He added that the Turkish Cypriot side should not be allowed to exploit the facts, such as Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's illness, and to perpetuate the partition.

    Simitis also said that the European Union leaders agreed to review Turkey's candidacy in December 2004 and to open accession talks as soon as possible thereafter providing that Turkey fulfills the EU's political criteria.

    [02] Simitis: Athens' goals include Cyprus' accession, solution to island's problem

    COPENHAGEN 13/12/2002 (ANA - V. Mourtis)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis echoed his earlier statements citing Athens’ optimism regarding Cyprus' EU entry without conditions, a possible Cyprus solution and the prospect of Turkey receiving its long-sought demand for a fixed date to begin EU accession negotiations, hours before a landmark EU Summit was expected to rubberstamp enlargement.

    Speaking at a press conference, Simitis said Greece arrived at the Copenhagen Summit with three goals: Cyprus’ EU accession; a solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem and a decision over a future date for Turkey to begin negotiations with the Union.

    According to the Greek premier, there is no possibility of any condition propping up vis-a-vis Cyprus’ expected accession. He added that even a reference to “hopes” for negotiations leading to a solution will not be tabled as a condition.

    At this point the prime minister said Cyprus' accession course was without problems and the fact that no overt objections were heard was due to the major efforts of the Greek government.

    Moreover, Simitis said the island republic’s EU accession would promote stability and peace in the region, while adding that, indeed, a Cyprus solution would have been preferable before the Summit.

    He added that any such solution is difficult to arrive at over the next two days of the Copenhagen Summit, saying UN Chief Kofi Annan would have been in the Danish capital that if such a prospect was possible.

    In response to relevant press questions, Simitis said a solution to the Cyprus problem cannot await Turkey’s future accession. He also did not agree with an assessment that hopes for a solution have dissipated.

    Finally, he reiterated, as he did earlier in comments following a meeting with Turkish ruling party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, that Greece believes Turkey “could be given a date” for starting negotiations with the EU in 2004.

    PM meets with Erdogan, Turkish counterpart Gul: Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday reiterated Athens’ emphasis for a “sincere effort to solve the Cyprus problem” following his meeting here with Turkish political leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the winner of last month’s election in Turkey, and new Turkish Premier Abdullah Gul.

    In statements touching directly on one of Ankara’s loftiest goals, namely, a starting date for Turkey’s accession negotiations with the Union, Simitis said accession negotiations “could begin in 2004”.

    Simitis said he also stressed to his Turkish interlocutors that a solution to the Cyprus problem is imperative, due to its effects on Euro-Turkish and Greek-Turkish relations.

    On his part, Gul said Turkey wants to solve the Cyprus problem, while underlining that the 15 EU Member-States’ leaders should issue a fixed date for accession negotiations in 2003.

    “The road then will be much easier, we will be in the European home, and all the minor problems will be able to be solved,” Gul said.

    The high-level contacts come hours before a landmark EU Summit in the Danish capital is expected to pave the way for the Union's largest enlargement to date. Cyprus is a front-runner amongst 10 candidate-states applying of EU membership.

    The Greek premier, meanwhile, noted that Greece believes in the “indispensability” of EU-Turkey relations, as such cooperation will strengthen the Union’s role in Asia and the Arab World.

    Along those lines, he said Ankara has taken “positive steps” in meeting Copenhagen criteria, while it is continuing to implement reforms – reasons he cited as behind Athens’ view that accession negotiations can begin in 2004.

    Echoing Turkey’s position throughout the past week, Gul stressed that his country has, in fact, fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria and should be given a date to begin accession talks in 2003.

    Finally, in regards to Cyprus, Gul said: “We want to solve the Cyprus problem, because lack of a solution is not a solution. There is an easy way to solve problem,” he added in reference to Turkey’s hoped for EU accession.

    [03] Rasmussen says Cyprus problem cannot obstruct EU enlargement

    COPENHAGEN 13/12/2002 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that the Cyprus problem cannot obstruct EU enlargement.

    Speaking during a press conference just before the opening of the Summit, Rasmussen referred to the Cyprus issue and the talks underway to resolve the political problem of the island republic during the Summit, saying that he could not guarantee that a resolution will be forthcoming during the Summit, adding, however, that the Cyprus problem ''can not obstruct - and it will not obstruct - the European Union's enlargement''.

    The Danish prime minister did not, however, reveal the content of his proposal he will table to the European Union leaders, during their Summit, concerning the setting of a date for Turkey to begin negotiations with the Union.

    Rasmussen said that he recognized Turkey's progress toward the fulfillment of the criteria for the initiations of negotiations and expressed the hope that the compromise solution he will propose will be accepted by the leaders of the Union and Turkey.

    Concerning his telephone conversation with U.S. President George Bush and the latter's urging to give consideration to Turkey's negotiation process, the Danish premier said that the negotiations will begin as soon as Turkey fulfills the necessary criteria and preconditions.

    Rasmussen also said that the candidate countries that will not accept the proposals of the ''15'' concerning the fiscal part of the enlargement, they will not enter the Union during this first wave and are in danger of having to wait for the next wave, which is set possibly for 2007.

    No obstacle to Cyprus' EU accession, gov't reiterates: Cyprus' accession to the European Union was settled and would take place without the slightest obstacle, acting government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris said on Thursday.

    ''This is an important day for Hellenism,'' he stressed, just hours before EU leaders were due to begin consultations to decide the Community's enlargement in Copenhagen.

    Regarding a sermon given on Thursday by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece on the dangers for Cyprus' future, Hytiris said the head of the Greek Orthodox Church had exceeded his role and made ''political statements''.

    ''We do not go around making religious statements and in this case we do not even want to comment politically,'' he added.

    Asked to comment on violations of Greek airspace by Turkish military aircraft, the spokesman said that a complaint over these had been lodged by Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou in a meeting with his Turkish counterpart on Wednesday.

    [04] DM Papantoniou anticipates smooth EU accession for Cyprus

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's national defense minister Yannos Papantoniou on Thursday anticipated that Cyprus would accede the European Union without any obstacles, speaking to reporters as the 15-nation EU began a crucial 2-day summit in Copenhagen where it was expected to endorse the accession of up to 10 new members, including Cyprus.

    Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on psychological/social support for military personnel, Papantoniou opined that Cyprus's membership would be endorsed at the Copenhagen summit, since, as he said, there appeared to be no major problem in the accession process.

    "What is of importance is the momentum that will develop for a solution to the Cyprus issue itself, in conjunction with Turkey's accession process," he said.

    Turkey, he said, needed to receive a "positive message" from Europe, and the (EU) door should remain open for the neighboring country.

    "Tonight or tomorrow, we will ascertain Turkey's true stance on the critical issues concerning Europe, Greece and Cyprus," he added.

    On recent violations of Greek national airspace by Turkish fighter planes, Papantoniou described the situation as "unacceptable", and recalled that he had discussed this matter with his Turkish counterpart on Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting of SE Europe defense ministers in Rome, to whom he pointed out that, provided Turkey's provocations stopped, the road would be open even for defense cooperation between the two countries.

    [05] ND leader calls for Cyprus accession without preconditions

    COPENHAGEN 13/12/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis on Thursday, following the conclusion of the European Peoples' Party conference in Copenhagen said ''the main target of all of us since 1990, when the application for Cyprus' accession was submitted, was and remains accession without preconditions, irrespectively of whether there will be a resolution (of the island's political problem)''.

    Karamanlis underlined that the Copenhagen summit should be concluded with the accession of Cyprus to the European family, without even a term.

    Speaking of Turkey, Karamanlis stressed that ''we encourage the European orientation of that country, but before all this it is Turkey itself that should prove fully that it totally satisfies all the criteria set and this also means the criteria that concern domestic democratization reforms, as well as the criteria that concern the adaptation of European behavior rules in its foreign relations with its neighbors''.

    Karamanlis also said that during his meetings with many European leaders he had the opportunity of discussing the European Union's enlargement, tabling the well-known Greek positions concerning Cyprus' accession.

    Earlier in the day, Karamanlis met with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, saying after the meeting that irrespective of evaluations made on the U.N. plan for the resolution of the Cyprus problem, it has become apparent which side did not want to help and to contribute to the progress of negotiations.

    [06] U.S. official says Turkey must do great deal for EU entry

    WASHINGTON 13/12/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Marc Grossman said on Thursday Turkey must do a great deal yet to be in a position to join the European Union.

    Grossman, who was speaking during the two-day annual conference of the Union of Turkish-American Organizations which opened here, said progress in Euro-Turkish relations and a solution to the Cyprus issue are targets of U.S. foreign policy.

    He spoke of the ''opportunity being presented'' at the moment in Euro-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue and expressed the support of the U.S. for Turkey's EU accession course, saying it is in the interests of the West in general.

    Grossman said Turkey is moving in the right direction and that it is going ahead with political and economic reforms, not to satisfy the U.S. or the EU but because it is in its own interest.

    Referring to the issue of Cyprus, Grossman said Washington supports the efforts of the UN secretary general and the revised plan on a solution to the problem in particular and for this reason it has intervened at the highest level.

    Grossman also called on Turkish expatriates to develop relations of cooperation with the Greek and Armenian communities in the United States.

    [07] Italian premier supports setting of date for negotiations for Turkey

    COPENHAGEN 13/12/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)

    Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday called for the initiation of EU accession negotiations with Turkey at the beginning of 2004, following his meeting with Turkish leaders.

    ''I will support the Turkish application as if it were my own,'' he said, stressing that there should not be a connection made between the resolution of the Cyprus issue with Turkey's application, explaining, however, that the setting of date could facilitate the resolution of Cyprus' political issue.

    [08] Demonstrators call for a single, independent and non-aligned Cyprus

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    A rally followed by a march to the offices of the European Union in Athens took place on Thursday evening in support of a single, independent and non-aligned Cyprus, in which, the demonstrators claim, ''a partition is being planned with the Annan plan.'' The marchers also protested against ''the planned attack against Iraq.''

    The rally was organized by a number of peace and labor movements.

    [09] 36 Turkish war planes infringe on Athens' FIR, violate Greek airspace

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    Turkish war planes infringed on Athens' Flight Information Region (FIR) and in 25 instances they violated Greek airspace in the north-central Aegean and East of Rhodes Island, on Thursday, according to press sources.

    The same sources said that all 36 Turkish fighter-jets responsible for the infringements and violations were intercepted by Greek Air force jets.

    [10] Deputy DM meets with French DGA, visits Dassault facilities

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    Deputy Defense Minister Loukas Apostolidis on Thursday met with the French General Director of Armaments (DGA) Yves Gleizes in Paris, where he is on an official visit since Wednesday.

    Discussions between the two men revolved around the European Union and focused on the necessity for the continuance and completion of the autonomous European security and defense identity.

    Earlier in the day, Apostolidis visited the facilities of Dassault located in Argenteuil, where he was shown the production line of the Mirage 2000-5 fighter-jets, Greece has under order.

    [11] Mitsotakis vs Laliotis: countersuits for libel heard together

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    The scrap between PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis and former New Democracy premier Constantine Mitsotakis over the new Athens airport and the Mayo Corporation accounts moved into the courtroom on Thursday, where counter-suits for libel brought by each man against the other were heard simultaneously.

    Each of the plaintiffs is seeking one billion drachmas compensation.

    An Athens first-instance court on Thursday heard Laliotis accuse Mitsotakis of using 'slanderous and abusive designations', including personal attacks on himself, during statements in October 2001 regarding the new airport at Spata in which he claimed that the Greek state had lost tens of billions of drachmas through the new contract signed by a PASOK government with the company Hochtief.

    Mitsotakis, meanwhile, is seeking compensation regarding Laliotis' claim that the Greek state would have been set back a further 100 billion drachmas if a contract drawn up with Hochtief for the airport by the ND government of 1990-1993 had been signed. New Democracy's current honorary president has also pressed charges against Laliotis over the latter's claim that ND and the Mitsotakis family had used the accounts of an offshore Liberian company to secretly move illegal funds.

    Testifying on Laliotis' behalf on Thursday was Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas, while taking the stand for Mitsotakis were ND MPs Nikitas Kaklamanis and Christos Markoyiannakis.

    Reppas said that Laliotis had been provoked before making the statements and also had evidence to back up his claims regarding the offshore company's account.

    Kaklamanis pointed to the results of a public prosecutor's inquiry into Mayo, which concluded that there was no evidence of any illegal activity, and the fact that the original contract with Hochtief had never been signed, making damage to the state or bribery impossible.

    The two sides have been asked to submit their proposals to the court in writing by next Thursday, while the court has reserved judgment until that time.

    [12] KKE supports mobilizations against Greek EU presidency's actions

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    ''The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) supports all those mobilizations that are happening now, as well as those that will take place during the Greek EU presidency,'' KKE leader Aleka Papariga said on Thursday.

    Papariga said that ''these are mobilizations stemming from popular-struggling, radical forces which are getting ready to confront the full frontal assault of the European Union and the Greek presidency, which will set in motion a new package of reactionary measures.''

    [13] New controls on EU-funded projects

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    A new system of controls on projects funded under the European Union's Third Community Support Framework package will be enforced from January 1, 2003, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Pachtas said on Thursday.

    The system will also have a retroactive effect for projects already completed or underway, Pachtas told a news conference.

    Undertaking tighter national controls, finding any breaches of EU rules, and putting them right would pre-empt fines from the bloc's executive Commission, he added.

    [14] Greece's EU presidency to seek summit for social partners

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    Labor and Social Security Minister Dimitris Reppas said on Thursday that Greece's rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003 would seek to establish a new institution in the 15-nation bloc - a summit for government, employers and workers.

    The summit for social partners would enable the three sides to officially hold consultations on a European level, Reppas told reporters.

    He was speaking after a meeting in Athens with deputies of the European parliament's employment committee to brief them on priorities of the Greek presidency.

    [15] CEO: No threat to Olympic Airways from EU call for cash return

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    Olympic Airways is in no jeopardy from a European Union decision that calls for the return of state subsidies dating back to 1998, the company's president and chief executive officer, Dionysis Kalofonos, said on Thursday.

    "Olympic Airways is in no danger from the decision, but it is in danger from an unprecedented campaign launched by rivals, who are talking of a fine of about 193 million euros, concealing the content of the decision's pronouncement, which speaks only of 41 million euros, equivalent to OA's share capital rise in 1998," Kalofonos said.

    Olympic's operations would continue unhampered while the airline challenged the EU decision in court, he added.

    [16] FYROM PM discusses investment plan with Greek official

    SKOPJE 13/12/2002 (ANA - N. Frangopoulos)

    Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski and Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) managing director Athanassios Karahalios discussed possibilities of further strengthening OKTA's investment plan in FYROM and Kosovo during talks here on Thursday.

    The managing director of ELPE, which bought out the majority package of OKTA's refinery in Skopje, said after the meeting that OKTA will continue its development course in FYROM, adding that the company's course is considered satisfactory and contributes positively to the development of FYROM's economy.

    He further said OKTA will honor the decision taken by FYROM's constitutional court on Wednesday which ruled as unconstitutional a law permitting OKTA to have a monopoly in FYROM's petroleum products market.

    This privileged treatment of OKTA primarily concerns the import of fuel from Greece, paying duties amounting to one percent, while other companies pay the state of FYROM duties amounting to 20 percent for the same reason.

    The lifting of OKTA's monopoly had been announced by Crvenkovski several days ago, while the European Union had also exerted pressures in this direction, which believed that privileged treatment for OKTA contrasts with free economy rules governing the EU and given that FYROM has signed the Association and Stabilization Agreement with the EU.

    [17] Greek and French ministers probe common agricultural policy

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister George Drys held talks with his French counterpart Herve Gaymard on Thursday on issues concerning common agricultural and fishing policy in light of the European Union's Greek presidency due to begin next month.

    Gaymard raised issues concerning French farmers and fishermen in a meeting carried out in a very positive climate and which led to the conclusion that France and Greece have common interests and can have common positions on crucial issues European agriculture will have to face.

    Both sides termed as very positive the common stand observed by France and Greece and the other countries participating in the ''Friends of Fishing'' movement on European fishing policy issues.

    The will was also stressed of enabling the Council of Agriculture and Fishing Ministers, due to begin in Brussels on Monday, to reach decisions regarding the first package of measures on changes in common fishing policy.

    [18] Greece's EU presidency to back sustainable development

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003 is to give emphasis to boosting sustainable development in the 15-nation bloc, a senior government official said on Thursday.

    The secretary general of the industry ministry, A. Mitsis, was addressing a seminar in Athens held by the development ministry and British department of trade and industry.

    [19] Deputy minister says pension cost affects economic stability

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    Speaking in Parliament during a discussion on the social budget for 2002 on Thursday, Deputy Labor Minister Rovertos Spyropoulos said the most crucial part is that registering the state's responsibility for pensions.

    ''The total cost for pensions affects the country's economic stability and its future,'' he said and, referring to law 3029, he noted that it shapes rules for the organizational unification of main and auxiliary social security funds.

    ''The challenge posed over the next 3-4 years is identified with the challenges of the social security funds' organizational unification'' and called on all political forces to follow a convergent course in this sector.

    He concluded by saying that ''with the social budget the existing framework of the working people's position is improved and a new framework is not being created which, in any case, would not be feasible under conditions shaped by the Stability Pact.''

    [20] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks slip, Public Power Corp. drops

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse finished lower on Thursday with brisk trading seen in Public Power Corporation.

    The general share index shed 0.19 percent to end at 1,828.09 points. Turnover was 192.0 million euros, fuelled by 97 million euros in trades in new shares of Public Power Corporation (PPC) following a new public offer last week.

    PPC started 2.5 percent down to close at a loss of 0.60 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.33 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.32 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities finished 0.75 percent down.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 224 to 84 with 47 issues remaining unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Hellenic Technodomiki, Football Pools Organization, and Public Power Corporation.

    Market Close: Turnover at 88.0 mln euros Thursday

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At fair value

  • Underlying Index: -0.33 percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: -0.32 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Intracom (310)

    Day's Market Turnover: 88.0 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers match sellers on Thursday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.56 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 23 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 2.1 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-year, expiring May 2012 (215 mln euros)

    [21] Armed forces to contribute in the security of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    The contribution of the country's armed forces in the security of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games will be extensive and decisive.

    Seven thousand men will assist the police in their task of securing safe Games. The relevant presidential decrees will be issued for the carrying out of the missions.

    The total cost of the armed forces' activity within the framework of its involvement in the security of the Olympic Games is estimated to amount to 99 million Euros.

    The security of the Olympic Games belongs to the Greek Police.

    The relevant branch of the Armed Forces General Staff is in contact with the U.S., Italian and Australian armed forces to acquire experience from their involvement in similar events.

    [22] Another 11 km of Attica highway to be ready by end of January

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    The section of the Attica Highway from the Athens-Lamia National Highway to Gerakas, where it will join up with the sections of the highway already in use, will be opened to traffic by the end of January, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou announced on Thursday.

    The minister said this section of the project was being delivered earlier than scheduled, while work was continuing apace on the sections from Elefsina to the national highway.

    Papandreou visited the 11-kilometre section of the six-lane highway on Thursday morning as well as the extension of the Athens metro at the Doukissas Plakentias station, now under construction.

    She also announced a rise in the toll for the Attica Highway from January, saying it would be as small as possible. Sources placed the new toll at around 2 euros.

    [23] Dialogue held in Athens on water resources management

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    The management of water resources, as part of sustainable development, is developing into a major issue preoccupying all countries on the planet.

    This was concluded on Thursday on the first day of a dialogue being held in Athens with the participation of parliamentarians from Mediterranean countries, journalists and members of non-governmental organizations from these countries.

    Problems being faced by Mediterranean countries regarding water resources were underlined, and which range from countries having adequate water supply but are faced with deficiencies in providing it and problematic distribution networks to countries faced with the lack of water resources.

    Parliamentarians also stressed their limited institutional role in relation to water resources since decisions on their exploitation and management are taken exclusively by the governments of the various countries.

    [24] Greece and Turkey fail in joint bid to host 2008 Eurosoccer

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    Greece and Turkey on Thursday failed in their joint bid to win the mandate to host the 2008 European soccer championship during voting held in Nion, Switzerland.

    Predictions came true at UEFA's headquarters in this city and the 2008 European championship was awarded to the joint candidacy of Switzerland and Austria.

    UEFA followed its steadfast policy and kept the voting process secret, but according to international press agencies it decided to apply the elimination system for each candidacy.

    Commenting on the outcome of voting, Deputy Sports Minister George Lianis said ''I was saddened because we did not achieve the joint hosting of the EURO 2008, but we are moving on. We have much greater things to do, such as the Olympic Games which are 100 times the EURO 2008.''

    He further said ''the file for our candidacy was excellent and the government's effort, which was made discreetly, was also serious'', adding that ''EPO (the Greek Soccer Federation) moved positively. Mr. Gagatsis did all that was possible in this case. It does not matter who voted for Greece and who did not. I am satisfied by the fact that our performance was dignified and that the Cypriot representative supported us.''

    Lianis concluded his statement by saying ''I believe that if we had hosted the tournament everything would go well. I have a feeling that we should have more serious specifications on the international scene, without this meaning that the people of the Greek and Turkish Federation did not do their job properly.''

    [25] Presence of Cyprus National Council underlines determination, government spokesman says

    COPENHAGEN 13/12/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus' government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Thursday that the presence of the National Council in Copenhagen underlined the fact that the Greek Cypriot side is serious in its efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, adding that although the Greek Cypriot side is ready for negotiations, the Turkish Cypriot side has not yet sent any positive message.

    Speaking to reporters before a National Council meeting in the Danish capital under President Glafcos Clerides, Papapetrou said Cyprus is very close to joining the EU without any terms or preconditions.

    "I have the feeling that the central political aim of Cyprus for European integration, in Copenhagen, is materializing," he said.

    Papapetrou added that "the Cypriot delegation, in close cooperation with the Greek one, is constantly on the alert" and noted that "we are very close to reaching the target of Cyprus' entry to the EU without terms and without restrictions."

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, Papapetrou said "from the first day of the talks, the Greek Cypriot side continuously proved its readiness and determination to reach a compromise, even before Copenhagen, so that a reunited Cyprus could join the Union."

    "From the first day that the Annan plan was submitted, this determination of the Greek Cypriot side was reaffirmed with our positive response within the deadlines set by the UN Secretary General for negotiations on his proposal and to come to an agreement," he said.

    Papapetrou added that "even now, the Greek Cypriot side expresses its readiness to promote with determination the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem," noting that President Clerides is here, ready for discussions on the Cyprus problem too."

    The spokesman said the fact that the National Council is in Copenhagen "underlines the fact that the Greek Cypriot side is serious and is here to work with determination."

    "Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the Turkish side, which so far has not sent any relevant positive message. Despite this, our efforts will continue to reach this solution either before or after Copenhagen," Papapetrou assured.

    Replying to questions, Papapetrou expressed the view that "there will be no terms or restrictions" in Cyprus' accession to the EU, adding that "from there on, if the EU will express its wish for the continuation of efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, that will be a repetition of our position and our wish."

    Asked about President Clerides's meeting earlier Thursday in the Danish capital with Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus Lord David Hannay, Papapetrou said he "got the impression that there is great determination on his behalf for the wrapping up of an agreement in Copenhagen."

    Invited to be more specific, Papapetrou said he meant "the signing of the 'foundation agreement' here in Copenhagen."

    Asked if this would be signed unilaterally, Papapetrou said "by both sides."

    He added that no pressure was exerted during the meeting between Clerides and Hannay and, asked if there had been pressure on the Greek Cypriot side during other meetings, Papapetrou said "here in Copenhagen it is natural that pressure will be exerted on both sides."

    Christofias says EU not giving in to Turkey complicates matters: General Secretary of Cyprus' left-wing AKEL party Demetris Christofias said in Copenhagen on Thursday that the EU ''for reasons of its own has not given Turkey its own way'', a position which has complicated matters, adding that as a result Turkey has stiffened its stance.

    He told the press in the Danish capital, where the European Council convened in the afternoon, that it seems Cyprus will join the EU during the summit and noted that the Greek Cypriot side was ready to continue negotiations to solve the island's political problem after the Copenhagen summit.

    The Cypriot politician said ''I never had great hopes, I never had the position that it was possible for the two sides to reach a solution and sign it as well in a rush.''

    ''Of course, things are becoming even more complicated, because it seems that the EU, for reasons of its own, has not given Turkey its own way or it appears that it does not intend to, regarding setting a date for the commencement of accession negotiations, and Turkey is using this to stiffen its stance. Of course, I cannot say for sure what will happen within the next 24 hours,'' Christofias added.

    He said that from what it seems, ''we will proceed with enlargement, including Cyprus, with the hope that there will be no unbearable conditions, and it appears that there will not be, that the decision will be clean cut even if there are some hopes for the future, taking for a fact that we are ready to continue negotiations until the solution of the Cyprus problem, always in good will.''

    Christofias said the Greek Cypriot side ''has been saying continuously that it will continue and is ready to negotiate the Annan plan in good faith.''

    ''From there on, what the reaction of the Turkish side and Denktash will be, if Turkey's demands are not met regarding its EU course, I think no one can say for sure,'' he added.

    Asked if the ''15'' were trying to commit the Greek Cypriot side to negotiations on the Annan plan after Copenhagen, Christofias said ''no one has to commit us, we are ready'' but expressed hope that there would be no conditions or terms in the summit's conclusions.

    [26] UN continues to work for Cyprus agreement, says UN envoy

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    The UN continues to work for a comprehensive agreement on Cyprus, which is what the Secretary General has asked the two parties in Cyprus to do, UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto told CNA on Thursday.

    ''What we want the two parties to sign is what the Secretary General Kofi Annan has asked them to sign, that is a comprehensive settlement,'' de Soto said in Copenhagen, when asked to clarify earlier statements to the press that indicated that a declaration by the two parties, instead of an agreement, might not be ruled out.

    Replying to other questions, de Soto said he continues his consultations with various parties and would meet later in the day with Tahsin Ertugruloglu, representing Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Speaking to the press earlier, de Soto said he expects to ''shuttle until the last moment, whenever that is.''

    Asked what hopes he has that the two sides will sign what the Secretary General has asked them to, he said ''I hope so.''

    Asked if that means that they are not going to agree to something less than the agreement but perhaps to a declaration, he replied ''that is the goal.''

    He also said that who signs the agreement depends on the parties and noted that he is not planning to meet Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the AKP party in Turkey, winner of the recent elections.

    Asked if the Secretary General intends to come here, he said ''there is no plan for the Secretary General to come.''

    De Soto is not planning to return to Cyprus after the conclusion of the EU Copenhagen summit but instead he will fly to New York where he is expected to brief the Secretary General and the Security Council on the state of play in the peace effort.

    [27] Eckhard confirms Annan not to travel to Copenhagen

    UNITED NATIONS 13/12/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    UN Spokesman Fred Eckhard confirmed here Thursday that Kofi Annan ''does not plan to go to Copenhagen,'' verifying earlier reports of the slim chances of securing a Cyprus settlement on the sidelines of the European Council which will decide Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    Eckhard told reporters during the daily briefing ''the document that is on the table is really nothing more than a framework agreement for negotiations and that it is not a final settlement.''

    The hope, he said, ''is that they would agree on this framework in order to begin serious and intensive negotiations towards a final agreement. That's what all of us were hoping to get, before the beginning of the summit that started today and in the worse case scenario, by the end of the summit in Copenhagen,'' he said.

    That is why Alvaro de Soto, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, ''is so energetically pursuing his mediation - his good offices - rather with the two parties in Copenhagen, as we speak.'' the spokesman said.

    ''Should that fail,'' he added, ''we are always prepared to continue seeking agreements, first on the framework and hopefully leading eventually to a final agreement.''

    [28] Annan remains hopeful Copenhagen will yield positive results

    Athens, 13/12/2002 (ANA)

    Annan said on Thursday he remains hopeful that the meetings in Copenhagen will produce positive results about Cyprus.

    Asked by CNA, if there would be good results from the Copenhagen summit or the parties will have another chance in the future, Secretary General said: ''It is difficult for me to say. The dynamics of these meetings can change very quickly.''

    He said he hoped ''everything goes well,'' adding that he discussed this on Wednesday when he met Turkey's leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    ''Alvaro de Soto is there ready to talk to both sides and continue the process. And I hope we will be able to move forward,'' the Secretary-General added.

    Reliable UN sources told CNA that the SG believes the Turkish position can change, if a date closer than the year 2005 which the Germans and French propose, is offered. To that effect, they also predict that the UN - and even Annan himself - will continue efforts t


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