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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-12-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

December 30, 2002


  • [01] Papandreou says Greek EU presidency aims for a 'common position' on Iraq issue
  • [02] Protopapas says Greece will struggle for a 'single sovereign Cyprus'
  • [03] Belgian newspaper dedicates articles on Greece's EU presidency
  • [04] Greater Athens area harassed by hail and torrential rain
  • [05] Heavy rainfall on Kassos island causes extensive damage
  • [06] UN inform Attorney General on appointment of committee members
  • [07] World Council of Hellenes: Cyprus is top priority
  • [08] Cyprus would facilitate interviews of Iraqi scientists

  • [01] Papandreou says Greek EU presidency aims for a 'common position' on Iraq issue

    Athens, 30/12/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou said that Greece, as EU president, will try to be effective in the event that there are different ''shades'' on the positions of the European partners on the Iraq issue, clarifying however that ''we must not forget that the presidency is not a magician.''

    In an interview to the Sunday edition of the newspaper ''To Vima'', Papandreou said "we can find the common point if there is also the will of all the partners, if there is some rapprochement on the positions.''

    He said that ''we know that on some issues there is no rapprochement and given this, it is not certain that we will be able to find a common position.''

    The foreign minister noted that ''our aim is for a common position to be found, but nobody can guarantee this,'' adding that ''no presidency can guarantee this, not the Greek, providing that different assessments exist.''

    Papandreou said there was a need for there to be a serious dialogue between the EU and the United States which will raise a series of issues, such as the issue of security on a global level, the confrontation of crises and the confrontation of the phenomenon of terrorism.

    To an observation that the United States should approach the EU as an equal partner, Papandreou said that ''this is not something which will come from the sky, but will come through our own initiatives. By us demonstrating the particular weight, the correctness of our ideas and the effectiveness of our actions with regard to major issues such as the confrontation of terrorism.''

    ''The Greek presidency of the EU has to play a very substantial role and bring an added value in this dimension, because Greece, due to the region it is in but also due to its history, has the particular knowledge about America as well as about Europe,'' the foreign minister concluded.

    [02] Protopapas says Greece will struggle for a 'single sovereign Cyprus'

    NICOSIA 30/12/2002 (ANA/G. Leonidas)

    Greek Press and Mass Media Minister Christos Protopapas in an interview to a Cypriot daily, categorically stated that Greece would never agree to a plan for the solution of the Cyprus problem which would lead in a short period of time to an impasse.

    The Greek government spokesman in an interview to the Sunday edition of ''Fileleftheros'', said a ''non-solution'' always contained the danger of strengthening those who want partition.

    According to Protopapas, the Greek side will struggle for a comprehensive settlement of the political problem of the Cyprus issue ''with the necessary terms of a single sovereignty. A single representation, a single citizenship and the functioning of the state.''

    The Greek minister said that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan constituted a basis for intensive negotiations, adding that ''we stressed many times the need for negotiations to improve it.'' He said the overwhelming majority of the political forces in Greece and Cyprus agreed on this point.

    Asked to comment on Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis' comment during the recent debate in the Greek Parliament on the Cyprus issue that Athens did not favor the maintenance of the guarantees system, given that it is apparent that an EU member country cannot also have guarantor powers, and further asked whether there were initiatives on the part of Greece for the avoidance of the maintenance of the three guarantor powers (Britain, Greece and Turkey), Protopapas said: ''This will happen particularly when the substantial talks on the Annan plan will begin. Greece has a voice particularly regarding the issue of the security of Cyprus. If finally our position is not accepted, we will accept the mission of guarantor forces, but seeking the determination of their numbers to a minimum level.''

    [03] Belgian newspaper dedicates articles on Greece's EU presidency

    BRUSSELS 30/12/2002 (ANA/G. Daratos)

    The Belgian financial newspaper ''L'Echo'' in its Sunday edition dedicated two articles on Greece's assumption of the European Union's six-month presidency beginning on January 1 and praised Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Under the general headline ''Simitis managed to complete Greece's orientation to Europe'', the newspaper said that under Simitis' guidance, the PASOK government ''managed to change the face of Greece in a few years,'' underlining in particular the important efforts for the country's economic convergence which allowed it to enter the Economic Monetary Union (EMU) and the euro currency.

    As for the success of Cyprus' EU accession, the newspaper said the government's two objective goals for the island were achieved: on the one hand the accession negotiations took place without preconditions and terms, and on the other Greece managed for the international character of the Cyprus problem to be recognized.

    [04] Greater Athens area harassed by hail and torrential rain

    Athens, 30/12/2002 (ANA)

    A hailstorm and torrential rain in the greater Athens area at noon on Sunday tore down trees and signposts, while the fire brigade tackled emergencies and geared itself in the event the Kifissos River overflows.

    The northern region of the Attica prefecture was worse hit by the bad weather and firemen hastily responded to all calls for help in the prefecture.

    In another development, sailings from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina for Crete, the Aegean and the Dodecannese islands have been halted due to bad weather conditions as of 12 noon, according to an announcement by the merchant marine ministry.

    [05] Heavy rainfall on Kassos island causes extensive damage

    Athens, 30/12/2002 (ANA)

    Heavy rainfall on Kassos island since Friday has caused extensive damage to homes and shops.

    The rain began to subside on Saturday afternoon, allowing fire-men crews from Rhodes and Iraklion, Crete, to arrive with war ships on Kassos.

    Bulldozers, loaders, excavators, trucks and other special machinery were brought to the island to restore the damage caused.

    Many homes and shops were flooded in the regions of Fri and Arvanitohori from the torrential rain and overflowing of the Skyla and Frakti streams.

    Major damage was also caused to the island's road, water supply and telecommunications network.

    The heavy rainfall also effected the southwest of Karpathos Island where there were minor landslides on the road from Arkasa to Mesohori.

    The coordination for dealing with the situation on Kassos is being conducted by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection in cooperation with Dodecanese Prefecture and Kassos Municipality.

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Costas Skandalidis is being constantly briefed on the situation prevailing on Kassos Island.

    Work teams repairing damage on flooded Kasos: Work teams provided with suitable equipment went to work on Sunday to repair damage caused by torrential rain and floods on the island of Kasos in past days.

    Special technicians are expected to arrive on the island from Rhodes on Monday to make an assessment of damage caused. According to initial estimates, about 40 houses and many shops have been flooded.

    The island's road network has been destroyed almost completely, and so has the water supply system, and many animals have been drowned, while the port has been filled with household effects, earth and three cars swept into it by flood waters.

    [06] UN inform Attorney General on appointment of committee members

    NICOSIA 30/12/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Attorney General Alecos Markides has been formally notified by the UN about the appointment of the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot side to two ad hoc technical committees, set up to deal with legislation and treaties that would be in force once a political settlement is reached.

    Markides told CNA on Sunday that he confirmed to the UN in writing the appointment of the representatives of the Greek Cypriot side to the committees, announced in October, informing the UN that other officers apart from the ones named in October would be attending committee meetings as well.

    ''I was notified about the Turkish Cypriot appointees in writing on Friday afternoon and the letter has already been communicated to the President of the Republic,'' he told CNA.

    The UN letter was sent to Markides by Lisa Jones, member of the team of UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto. Markides said that he has sent a letter to the Secretary General Kofi Annan confirming the appointments announced in October and informing him that experts who have worked on the drafts of legislation that will be discussed by the committees, will also participate in committee meetings dealing with the specific legislation.

    The Attorney General said that by January 2 the Greek Cypriot side will draft its own suggestions to the UN in relation to the first ten bills of legislation on which work will begin at committee level. A total of 32 bills will be on the agenda of the committee on legislation.

    Markides will act as coordinator of the representatives of the Greek Cypriot side to the committees, due to begin their twice a day meetings on January 7.

    The Turkish Cypriot side announced its members to the committees two months after Kofi Annan had asked the two sides in Cyprus to name their representatives.

    [07] World Council of Hellenes: Cyprus is top priority

    NICOSIA 30/12/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The solution of the Cyprus question is top priority for the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), its president Andrew Athens has said in his message for the new year.

    Athens also stressed that the goals of this global organization can

    only be achieved through unity and thanked all those who contribute towards the work of the Council.

    ''We continue the struggles for the promotion of our national issues, especially in Washington DC, with top priority to Cyprus but are putting pressure for the reopening of the theological School of Chalki and the recognition of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Eirinaios,'' Athens said in his message.

    He said the work of the Council, set up seven years ago, keeps in mind its obligations to Hellenes in the Black See countries and other areas around the globe.

    ''With the certainty that only united we will be able to achieve and promote the issues that concern us, our thoughts and heart always travel to our homeland,'' Athens said in his message.

    [08] Cyprus would facilitate interviews of Iraqi scientists

    NICOSIA 30/12/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus has no problem in providing further facilities to the UN Iraqi weapons inspectors team, already working

    near Iraq to provide a site for interviews, housing and security as well as temporary visas for interview subjects and their families.

    The most likely sites, the same reports said, are Cyprus, Jordan or Turkey.

    ''The UN has not contacted us officially on this matter, if they do, we have no objection to facilitating the UN team further to do their job,'' the same source said.

    The source pointed out however that the scientists and their families, i

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