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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-02-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

October 26, 2002


  • [01] Athens confirms UN pressure to wrap up Cyprus security issues
  • [02] UN chief to continue Cyprus efforts 'til Feb. 28, FM Papandreou says
  • [03] State Department Cyprus coordinator optimistic for solution to Cyprus issue
  • [04] FM Papandreou in Cairo to discuss Iraq crisis with Egyptian counterpart
  • [05] Greek FM Papandreou continues to hope for 'victory of diplomacy' in Iraq crisis
  • [06] Suspected ELA terrorist remanded in custody
  • [07] Parliament ratifies treaty against terrorist bomb attacks
  • [08] Cabinet approves defense minister's proposals for the armed forces
  • [09] Israeli, Palestinian envoys debate Mideast problem in Athens
  • [10] PM's press spokesman resigns, citing 'aspersions' on his political work
  • [11] HATTA hopes for quick end of Iraqi crisis
  • [12] Greek, Norwegian Transport and Communications Ministers meet
  • [13] Greek participation in Los Angeles Travel Show
  • [14] Greek stocks fall to new five-year lows on Thursday
  • [15] ANA -ATHOC launch e-magazine 'Towards 2004' on Athens Olympics news
  • [16] President Stephanopoulos hosts reception in honor of armed forces
  • [17] Culture minister participates in INCP meeting with UNESCO chair
  • [18] Deputy FM seats in event of ''National Prayer Breakfast'' addressed by Bush
  • [19] Name of Constantine Karamanlis to be given to part of European Parliament
  • [20] Celebrations at all EU schools on March 21 for 'Europe of citizens'
  • [21] Government spokesman says solution efforts on various levels

  • [01] Athens confirms UN pressure to wrap up Cyprus security issues

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Thursday confirmed the existence of a letter from United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to Prime Minister Costas Simitis, in which the UN chief calls on Athens and Ankara wrap up talks on guarantees required under the UN plan for Cyprus.

    According to government spokesman Christos Protopapas, Annan referred to the issue as a ''particularly urgent matter'' and invited the two sides to begin talks at the United Nations.

    During Thursday's cabinet meeting, meanwhile, the prime minister had noted a statement by a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman calling for ''a compromise between guarantor countries (for security and guarantees) on Cyprus,'' Protopapas said.

    Simitis pointed out that Athens had given a positive response when asked by visiting UN envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto if it was prepared to enter into talks with Turkey on the issue of Cyprus' security, specifically the number of troops on the island and where they would be based.

    At that time, he added, Turkey had not been ready to give a similar reply.

    The UN envoy had then asked if Athens would accept an initiative by the UN chief to send a letter on this issue and the Greek government had again replied positively.

    Simitis concluded that Wednesday's statement by the Turkish official indicated a shift in Ankara's stance, and this had given rise to increased activity surrounding the Cyprus issue.

    Simitis also noted a comment by the Turkish spokesman that it ''would be natural'' if there were a third Annan plan for Cyprus.

    Protopapas then announced that Simitis will be meeting with Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday and said that Papandreou would be meeting the UN chief and four European members of the UN Security Council while in New York.

    He also announced that Papandreou was due to depart for Cairo on Thursday for talks with the Egyptian government the following day.

    [02] UN chief to continue Cyprus efforts 'til Feb. 28, FM Papandreou says

    NEW YORK 07/02/2003 (ANA - P. Panayiotou)

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will continue his efforts for a Cyprus solution until February 28, and ''has not thrown in the towel'', Greece's foreign minister George Papandreou said late Wednesday (early Thursday, Greek time) in New York after a meeting with the UN chief.

    Papandreou, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency and Annan focused on the Cyprus issue and the Iraq crisis during their 40-minute discussion. They also discussed the issues of Zimbabwe and N. Korea with respect to how the EU intended to aid in their resolution.

    The Greek foreign minister said that Annan had reaffirmed his insistence on the February 28 deadline the UN chief has set for the two sides on Cyprus to reach agreement for resolving the Cyprus problem, and also his determination to help in that direction up until that date. "We thank him (Annan) for all the efforts he had made, is making and will make, and we are prepared to continue our own efforts with respect to the European Union, and everywhere else Greece is involved," Papandreou said.

    Greece was also prepared for discussions with the Turkish side on the security aspect in Cyprus, he said adding that "when the Turkish side is also ready, we will be able to sit at the negotiations problem and resolve this chapter of the Annan plan".

    Diplomatic sources told ANA that the UN chief plans in the next few days to send letters to the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey, asking Athens and Ankara to proceed with the commencement of negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus security problem, in tandem with the ongoing efforts for a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus issue.

    Asked whether Annan planned to submit a revised plan, Papandreou said that the UN chief had not made any mention of a new or revised plan nor of any intentions to that effect. "But he did affirm that he will personally deal actively in the coming weeks with the effort to move forward the negotiation for a Cyprus solution. He has not thrown in the towel and will continue with greater intensity his effort until February 28," Papandreou said.

    Asked if he believed a solution was feasible by that date, Papandreou replied in the affirmative, but on condition that "the two sides will be able to move ahead, with UN assistance".

    As for the security aspect, he said that new contacts would be sought with the Turkish side with the hope that the Turkish side would reciprocate.

    ON the Iraq crisis, Papandreou said he had had the opportunity to outline to Annan the EU's 'specific positions'.

    "We desire a peaceful solution and are prepared to contribute with any initiative that he himself (Annan) considers useful and significant," Papandreou said, adding that he had also briefed Annan on his recent tour of the Middle East.

    He said that the Arab world could play an important role in defusing the situation and influencing Iraq to comply with UN Security Council resolution 1441.

    Papandreou said that Annan had welcomed the initiative and agreed with the view that the Arab world had an important role, and that the EU could also assist in that direction.

    The foreign minister reiterated his hope that a peaceful solution would be found to the problem.

    [03] State Department Cyprus coordinator optimistic for solution to Cyprus issue

    ISTANBUL 07/02/2003 (ANA - E. Aretaios)

    U.S. State Department special coordinator on Cyprus Thomas Weston on Thursday appeared optimistic over the issue of Cyprus.

    ''At the end of my contacts today I think that hopes (for a solution to the Cyprus issue) have increased,'' he said.

    Speaking after his meeting with permanent Deputy Foreign Minister Ugur Zigal in Ankara, Weston said ''steps are being speeded up'', adding that ''time is getting tighter.''

    Asked to comment on the fact that the UN secretary general called on Greece and Turkey to reach an agreement on the issue of security in the framework of a solution to the Cyprus issue, Weston said Turkey and Greece are guarantor countries and that there are issues on which only these two countries can take decisions and added that the United States could support such a dialogue.

    [04] FM Papandreou in Cairo to discuss Iraq crisis with Egyptian counterpart

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister and EU Council of Ministers president George Papandreou arrived on Thursday evening in Cairo where on Friday he will have talks with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Mahir on the Iraq crisis, according to an AFP dispatch.

    The AFP quoted MENA news agency as saying the two men will discuss ''the Iraq crisis and the means for the resumption of the peace process in the Middle East.''

    The Greek foreign minister will also meet Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.

    Papandreou arrived in Cairo from New York where he attended the UN Security Council where U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented information of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction.

    The Greek minister's visit to Egypt is part of his tour of the region. He has already visited Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

    [05] Greek FM Papandreou continues to hope for 'victory of diplomacy' in Iraq crisis

    NEW YORK 07/02/2003 (ANA - P. Panayotou)

    Greece's foreign minister George Papandreou continues to hope for a ''victory of diplomacy'' in the Iraq crisis, and, in an interview with the US television network CNN International on Wednesday, stressed the importance of exhausting all the UN institutional mechanisms to ultimately avert war.

    Lauding the fact that US Secretary of State Colin Powell had presented Wednesday (to the UN Security Council) the information possessed by the US, Papandreou, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said in his interview with CNN following Powell's briefing of the UN Security Council on the Iraq issue, that "This is very important and the EU supports that all steps should be taken with the UN in the driver's seat, and therefore this strengthens the role of the UN".

    He said that Iraq must realize that time was running short and that it needed to cooperate fully with the UN arms inspectors and facilitate their work, adding that the EU desired a diplomatic solution, but that would not be feasible unless there was full compliance by Iraq.

    "I would just like to remind that the UN Security Council had a unanimous decision 1441 only a few weeks ago on the issue of full compliance, and asks for full compliance from Saddam Hussein. I think what Sec. Powell has said makes an argument that there is a game being played by Saddam Hussein, and full cooperation is not there, and that has been corroborated by (UN chief arms inspector) Hans Blix. So what the EU will want to say is that, now is the time; if Saddam Hussein really wants to show that he is fully complying, that he actually works very closely, very openly, and gives all the evidence necessary to Hans Blix, and this will be recognized by the international community. Otherwise, he will very possibly face direct consequences," Papandreou said.

    During a press conference later at the UN Correspondents' Association (UNCA), and referring to his recent Middle East tour, Papandreou said that the "message is that there is still hope for a diplomatic resolution of the issue, for finding a peaceful solution".

    However, he added, this depended "exclusively" on Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. "It is his responsibility to fully comply with and actively cooperate with the UN inspectors, otherwise there would be unpleasant repercussions.

    Questioned on Greece's stance on the Iraq issue, Papandreou explained that, as the current EU president, the emphasis was on having the final decision being taken by the UN Security Council.

    Greek, Polish deputy defense ministers discuss Iraq crisis, EU enlargement: The Iraq crisis, European Union enlargement and Greece-Poland relations were at the centre of talks which Greek Deputy Defense Minister Lazaros Lotidis had with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Towpik in Warsaw.

    On his country's alignment with the U.S.'s stance on the Iraq issue, Towpik said Poland wishes to have excellent cooperation with NATO and the EU on all levels and in all activities.

    At the same time, he added that Poland supports the prospect of a common EU foreign and security policy, speaking of temporary difficulties and contradictions in its formulation.

    On his part, Lotidis reiterated the need for a common EU stance on all crucial problems and called on Iraq to fully comply with the resolutions of the UN Security Council which must take the necessary decision for a solution to the problem.

    Parliamentarians and journalists appeal to gov't and parties against Iraq war: A total of 66 Parliamentary deputies from the ruling PASOK party and the main New Democracy party, as well as 48 journalists, appealed to the government and to political parties to have the war against Iraq averted.

    ''The war is about control of the oil, but primarily for the European Union's economy to be dealt a blow and the prospect of its political integration to be suspended. In parallel, the American economy will emerge extremely powerful from the war and at the same time the global domination of the empire will have been imposed with painful consequences thereafter for the independence of peoples, their political rights and the individual rights of the citizens of the world,'' the appeal said.

    ''We, the undersigned politicians and journalists call on the government, being the EU's president, to take initiatives to have the war averted and we call on the parties to assist it in this struggle. The European Parliament, national parliaments and the Church must act to have the war averted. Nobody is entitled to remain inactive,'' it added.

    KKE leader says following Iraq, U.S. has other countries in sight: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Thursday called on the Greek people to struggle against a possible war against Iraq, noting that ''the U.S. has also its sight on Syria, Iran and North Korea.''

    Papariga, who concluded a two-day visit to Crete, claimed that Greece was taking part in the escalation of preparations for the war against Iraq, by sending a frigate to the Persian Gulf. At the same time, she argued that Greece has said ''yes'' to ''everything'' that U.S. President George W. Bush has asked for.

    Speaking at a press conference in the city of Irakleio, Papariga said the KKE's slogan was ''no to the direct or indirect participation of Greece in the war operations in Iraq.'' She added that the developments should constitute an opportunity for Greeks to struggle for the removal of the Suda Base from the island.

    The KKE leader conceded that the Greek government has never declared that it wants a war in Iraq, noting however that ''it aligns itself with the imperialist world order, believing that others will suffer its consequences.''

    Referring to the consequences of a possible war in Iraq, Papariga concluded by saying that her party will take part in the European anti-war rally on February 15.

    Greek, Cypriot and Turkish labor unions issue proclamation against war in Iraq: A two-day meeting between Greek, Turkish and Cypriot (both Greek and Turkish Cypriot) labor unions ended with complete success on Thursday, according to unionists from all sides.

    The meeting reached a unanimous decision on a proclamation according to which the unions are opposed to the upcoming war in Iraq, claim a peaceful and just solution to the Cyprus issue and support Turkey's European prospect.

    It was also agreed that the discussion would be continued during the next meeting to be organized in Istanbul by the Turkish unions on the issues of armaments, poverty and debts.

    Speaking at a press conference during which he outlined conclusions reached during the meeting, General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Christos Polyzogopoulos said it was an absolute success and agreement was reached between the unionists on three crucial issues.

    On the issue of war, a common position was ascertained and it was agreed that the unions will spearhead anti-war mobilizations, the first step being rallies to be held on February 15.

    Regarding the issue of Cyprus, a unanimous agreement was reached on the prospect of a just, viable and workable solution in the direction of a unified Cyprus.

    The third issue, support for Turkey's accession course to the European Union, met with the unionists' agreement on initiatives backing this prospect within the framework and criteria set at the EU's Copenhagen summit.

    [06] Suspected ELA terrorist remanded in custody

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    Suspected terrorist Christos Tsigaridas, charged with being a member of the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA), was remanded in custody on Thursday after appearing before Appeals Examining Magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos to respond to the charges against him.

    Zervobeakos is also handling the ''November 17'' terrorism case.

    Tsigaridas has admitted to being a member of the terrorist organization until 1990-91, at which time he departed for personal reasons.

    During Zervobeakos' examination, sources said that Tsigaridas cited his testimony under preliminary interrogation - during which he accepted ''political responsibility'' for the period that he participated in the terrorist outfit - and did not reveal any other members of the group nor refer to any of ELA's actions.

    According to sources, Tsigaridas has denied any link between ELA and November 17 in his testimony to police, saying that the two groups had ideological and other differences.

    Court sources, meanwhile, have not ruled out the possibility that further charges will be brought against the suspected members of the group once all the evidence concerning the group's hits and all the Stazi files on ELA have been collected in the Appeals public prosecutor's brief.

    In addition to Tsigaridas, ELA suspects Eleni Athanasaki and Aggeletos Kanas were also brought before Appeals Examining Magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos on Thursday.

    Kanas, who is serving as community president in a village on the island of Kimolos, has denied all involvement with ELA and has claimed that he is the victim of wrongful claims made by his estranged ex-wife and of political antagonism on Kimolos following his involvement in politics.

    Sources said the community president presented Zervobeakos with a memorandum in which he cites mainly technical legal arguments, such as the fact that the statute of limitations on the crimes attributed to him has expired since ELA suspended all activity in 1995. Kanas also questions the validity of the warrant for his arrest.

    The same sources said the examining magistrate did not question Kanas regarding his political beliefs.

    Athanasaki has also denied all involvement with ELA and that she plans to submit a memorandum to the examining magistrate.

    It was also announced that the public prosecutor monitoring the examination will be Constantine Vompiris, since Appeals prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos has claimed an excessive workload. Karoutsos will remain as a replacement prosecutor should the need arise.

    Alleged ELA terrorist to be remanded in custody Irene Athanasaki, allegedly a member of the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorist organization, appeared before an Athens investigator on Thursday, who ordered that she be remanded in custody at the Korydallos prison on the outskirts of Athens.

    Athanasaki, 49, will be taken to the General Police Headquarters in Alexandras avenue from where she will be taken to the prison on Friday.

    According to reports, Athanasaki denied any involvement in ELA, before investigator Leonidas Zervobeakos, and added that she does not accept the charge of joining and participating in the organization.

    Athanasaki's lawyers indicated that in the next few days she will be making an appeal requesting her release from prison.

    In a related development, Aggeletos Kanas, also accused of joining and participating in ELA , will be remanded in custody in the same prison after appearing before Zervobeakos earlier in the day.

    [07] Parliament ratifies treaty against terrorist bomb attacks

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    Parliament on Thursday ratified an ''International Treaty for combatting terrorist bomb attacks'', opposed by deputies for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the Coalition of the Left and Progress and two MPs for ruling PASOK.

    Deputy Public Order Minister Evangelos Malesios said the bill aimed to deal with terrorism through procedures of international cooperation.

    Responding to MPs' objections to the bill, he said he respected concerns about the power of the United States but that the best way to avoid such phenomena was to strengthen international bodies giving jurisdiction based on the rules of international law.

    Malesios said Greece had developed a steady front against terrorism and that the dismantling of the terrorist groups November 17 and Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) had helped relieve this phenomenon in the country.

    At another point, he said that the treaty would only be applied in cases where someone traded in, placed or transported explosive devices and he assured the House that no democratic Greek government would become a country subordinated to the United States.

    Asked about the timing of the treaty's ratification with respect to the Iraq crisis, the minister reiterated that the ''Greek government was working steadily toward peace and averting the war,'' within the framework of the Greek EU presidency.

    [08] Cabinet approves defense minister's proposals for the armed forces

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    The new priorities for national defense and the armed forces presented by Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou were unanimously approved by the cabinet on Thursday, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced.

    According to Prime Minister Costas Simitis, a great and difficult change had taken place within the armed forces, which had had to overcome conservative attitudes and entrenched ideas about the 'special role' that the armed forces had once had.

    The premier stressed the 'branching' of the armed forces that now allowed an organized defense of the country to be mounted extremely quickly. He also noted that staff were now chosen according to merit and without consideration for political criteria, with the sole object being to promote the ablest and best qualified to deal with contemporary military requirements.

    Simitis also noted that all 'legal entities' had to operate on the basis of their framework and not with a special regime.

    The spokesman announced that the first mission of the European Union's rapid reaction force would begin in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the first week of April.

    Representing the EU at the installation of the 650 troops and officers would be Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, on behalf of the Greek EU presidency, and High Commissioner for Europe's Common Foreign and Defense Policy Javier Solana.

    [09] Israeli, Palestinian envoys debate Mideast problem in Athens

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    A rare joint appearance by the Israeli ambassador to Athens and the Palestinian Authority’s representative in the Greek capital took place here Thursday evening, as both envoys fielded questions by a pair of local journalists on issues ranging from terrorism to Iraq and even the latest elections results in Israel.

    The breakthrough event, sponsored by Athens-based Panteios University’s Institute of International Relations, marked the first time Israeli ambassador David Sasson and Palestinian representative Abdullah Abdullah have met at a similar forum.

    On his part, veteran diplomat Sasson reiterated that a majority of Israelis "favor the creation of a Palestinian state as long as the terrorism war stops".

    Additionally, he told a packed hall in the Plaka district, below the Acropolis in downtown Athens, that the Palestinian Authority, and especially veteran leader Yasser Arafat, missed a grand opportunity at the Camp David meeting in the summer of 2000.

    "Yasser Arafat was offered land (97 percent of the occupied territories) and half of Jerusalem on a silver platter, but he refused. Yasser Arafat refused and then ordered a terror campaign," Sasson charged.

    The Israeli ambassador’s opening remarks were sharply countered in turn by Abdullah, who lashed out at the military record and views of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the big winner of last month’s general elections in Israel, pointing to what he hinted were war crimes and racist views.

    The Palestinian representative stressed to an audience of students, diplomats, journalists and academics that "no colonies last forever", before terming the idea of an Israeli offer to establish a Palestinian state on the lion’s share of the West Bank "a myth".

    Moreover, he said another "myth" promoted by the Israeli side is that the Palestinian uprising after September 2000 was orchestrated in advance, claiming that all of the victims in the month after Ariel Sharon’s visit to a Jerusalem holy site were Palestinians or Arab Israeli citizens.

    Panteios Prof. Sotirios Roussis moderated the event, while Athens News Agency (ANA) managing director Nicolas Voulelis and investigative reporter-TV anchor Tassos Teloglou addressed questions.

    [10] PM's press spokesman resigns, citing 'aspersions' on his political work

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Thursday announced that the premier's press spokesman George Pantagias had submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who had accepted it.

    In the letter, Pantagias noted his decision to stand as a candidate in Piraeus in the next elections and protested at the ''sordid slander'' surrounding his political work in the Piraeus district.

    He also claims to have ''acted as a lightning rod for the angry reactions of those who, from personal and political self-interest, oppose the demand for modernization.''

    Lastly, Pantagias underlined his loyalty and respect for the prime minister, whom he describes as a ''new continent in the country's political life''.

    [11] HATTA hopes for quick end of Iraqi crisis

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    The timing and the duration of a possible war in Iraq will determine the size of a likely hit on Greek tourism, Yiannis Evangelou, president of the Union of Tourist and Travel Agencies (HATTA) said on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters, Mr Evangelou stressed that if a war was to begin, "then the sooner the better for Greek tourism".

    HATTA's president said that travel reservations to Greece from the UK and Germany were currently 30 percent and 15 percent lower, respectively, reflecting international uncertainties over geopolitical developments in the Middle East.

    He left, however, a note of optimism over a likely impact on tourism of a war in Iraq, saying that the situation could also affect positively tourist arrivals to Greece as the country was not going to participate in any military strike.

    HATTA supported a government plan for the creation of a Chamber of Tourism and said that the project could contribute in promoting the country's tourist industry.

    Mr Evangelou urged for the need to review a current regulatory framework for tourist enterprises and tourist agencies in Greece, in the aftermath of a collapse of Manos Travel, one of the biggest company in Greece. HATTA's chairman said that a new owner of Manos Travel was working towards restructuring the collapsed company and ensuring its viability.

    Mr Evangelou said that tourist arrivals fell 5.0 percent last year, while hotel reservations dropped 7-8 percent over the same year.

    [12] Greek, Norwegian Transport and Communications Ministers meet

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    Greek Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis on Thursday met his Norwegian counterpart, Mrs. Torild Skogsholm, currently visiting Athens, and discussed issues relating to the European policy on the two sectors.

    The Norwegian minister expressed her government's interest for the Greek EU presidency aims in the transport and communications sectors.

    Mr Verelis, as chairman of the EU Transport Council of Ministers, presented the long-term goals of the European policy and the Greek EU presidency's priorities on the two sectors.

    [13] Greek participation in Los Angeles Travel Show

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    Greece successfully participated in this year's "The Angeles Travel Show" held in Los Angeles, California, in early February.

    More than 13,000 visitors, visited the travel show, held at a conference centre in Long Beach.

    Greece's National Tourism Organization (GNTO) was one of the travel show's sponsors and in its exhibition site hosted a number of tour operators (Cruise Med, Olympic Yacht Charters, European Tours, Greek Hotel & Cruise Reservation Center, Homeric Tours, etc).

    California is the second largest market in the United States for Greek tourism, after New York and the wider northeastern shores of the country.

    GNTO said that despite a negative climate because of fears of possible war in Iraq, Greece attracted significant interest as a travel destination.

    [14] Greek stocks fall to new five-year lows on Thursday

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks continued plunging to new five-year lows in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, reflecting investors' worries over economic and geopolitical developments.

    The general index fell 0.26 percent to end at 1,653.05 points, with turnover a low 51.5 million euros.

    The Telecommunications, Textile and IT Solution sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (1.52 percent, 1.23 percent and 1.08 percent, respectively), while the Holding, Construction and Retail sectors scored gains (1.28 percent, 1.24 percent and 0.98 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.46 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.13 percent, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.16 percent and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index ended 0.33 percent lower.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 190 to 96 with another 68 issues unchanged.

    Bond Market Close: Sellers outstrip buyers on Thursday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.31 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 26 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 3.4 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-year, expiring May 2012 (480 mln euros)

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 43.5 mln euros Thursday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.46 percent

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.13 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Intracom (297)

    Day's Market Turnover: 43.5 mln euros

    [15] ANA -ATHOC launch e-magazine 'Towards 2004' on Athens Olympics news

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    The Athens News Agency will on Friday launch an English-language weekly electronic magazine titled ''Towards 2004'' on its website to provide information on preparations for and activities related to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, produced in cooperation with the Athens 2004 organizing committee ATHOC.

    The e-magazine is part of a systematic effort aimed at informing the public in Greece and abroad on the Athens Olympics inaugurated recently with a Memorandum of Cooperation signed by ATHOC chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and Athens News Agency (ANA) general director Andreas Christodoulides.

    Beginning Friday, ANA will make available internationally, in cooperation with the ATHOC press and media department, a weekly English-language informational bulletin to the international public devoted exclusively to the Olympic Games, containing updates on preparations for the Athens Games and other useful information.

    The e-magazine, which can be accessed from the Athens News Agency's website, will be free to the public.

    Also agreed was the preparation of material for special publications relating more generally to the Olympic Games and the history of Greece, in cooperation with ATHOC.

    In tandem with the Memorandum, ANA and ATHOC will also be working closely on a daily basis to provide information on the Athens Olympics through its daily on-line news products and services for its customers and users.

    Further, ANA will also undertake the full photographic cove-rage of the ATHOC activities at home and abroad, as well as the distribution of this photographic material to news agencies, newspapers and magazines.

    ANA has placed at ATHOC's disposal its Sports Data Bank and its Photographic Archive, in order to facilitate ATHOC's work.

    As expressly stated in the Memorandum, the two sides recognize the "expectations and vision" of the Greeks at home and throughout the world concerning the organization of the 2004 Games, as well as the "vital importance" of their news coverage.

    The Memorandum further noted "ANA's decisive role in undertaking action so that the Greek journalists may live the experience of the 2004 Olympic Games also from within their professional capacity".

    Newly installed Athens mayor makes debut in ATHOC board meeting on Thursday

    Newly installed Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni made her maiden appearance in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) board of directors on Thursday, under the chairmanship of ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.

    The board of directors approved the amended budget of ATHOC, while it discussed issues concerning the Olympic Catering Program, the Olympic Flame transport management, the tender for the garbage removal and alternative forms of energy production and use.

    Angelopoulos welcomed Bakoyianni to the seat of ATHOC and the mayor expressed her willingness to cooperate fully and closely with the organizing committee.

    Bakoyianni clarified that she was not planning to demand funds slated for the Games to be used for the municipality of Athens, but she did indeed plan to demand such funds from the government, adding that she made that clear to Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    According to sources, the second amendment of the ATHOC budget is progressing rather well, without problems and with perfect management, while it was noted that the budget was balanced.

    The same sources said that 85 per cent of the income is considered secured, while if the tickets for the Games are sold in good numbers and succeed in achieving the 183 million euros mark, then the total of the non-secure income will be limited to 123 million euros.

    Bakoyianni made a motion for pressure to be applied so as to create a second garbage dump in the Athens region and her motion passed, as part of the preparations of ATHOC for the Games.

    [16] President Stephanopoulos hosts reception in honor of armed forces

    Athens 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos hosted a reception at the presidential mansion on Thursday night in honor of the armed forces and security forces.

    Present at the reception were Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, former prime ministers George Rallis and Costas Mitsotakis, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, Chief of Police Lt. General Fotis Nasiakos and senior officers of the three branches of the armed forces and the police.

    [17] Culture minister participates in INCP meeting with UNESCO chair

    PARIS 07/02/2003 (ANA - O. Tsipira)

    International Network on Cultural Policy (INCP) member-states culture ministers met in Paris Thursday to meet with the Director General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura to place an international instrument on cultural diversity at the forefront of the Organization's agenda.

    This meeting included only the 15 culture ministers of the Working Group on Cultural Diversity and Globalization of the International Network on Cultural Policy.

    Greece was represented by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos who along with his counterparts from Argentina, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Poland, Senegal, South Africa Sweden and Switzerland attended the meeting.

    Speaking after the meeting, Venizelos said that ''today we made a great step here in Paris for the conclusion of an agreement for cultural diversity. It is not possible that culture, cultural industries, the cinema, audio visual venues, the record industry, the book, to be confronted with the criteria of international trade alone. There is a necessity for a special legal framework and the necessary organization for that is UNESCO''.

    The meeting took place in Paris at the invitation of Jean-Jacques AILLAGON, France’s Minister of Culture and Communication and Sheila Copps, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

    This Paris event fulfilled the commitment made by ministers at the 5th Annual INCP Ministerial Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa (October 2002).

    Ministers agreed that UNESCO’s mandate in culture and its adoption of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in 2001 laid the groundwork for a legally binding Convention that would ensure the world a diversity of cultural expression.

    This Convention will be an opportunity for UNESCO, the global organization for culture, to be at the forefront of the definition and elaboration of innovative cultural policies able to promote the development of all cultures in an environment of peace and understanding between and within states.

    Ministers met with Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO. The Director General indicated his willingness to launch the process of elaborating a Convention on cultural diversity in UNESCO, and to accelerate the process with a view to its adoption in 2005, should a mandate be given by the General Conference in October 2003.

    During their discussions, ministers reconfirmed that an international convention should underline the rights and obligations of states that guarantee their freedom to implement cultural policies appropriate for the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity as a source of creativity, social cohesion and sustainable development; to reaffirm the unique status of cultural goods and services; delineate the political commitment of states to consider the specific situations and needs of developing countries and implement cooperative policies to assist their cultural development; and, recognize the importance of linguistic plurality and invite states to join together to combat the disappearance of languages in the world.

    INCP was established in 1998 as an informal international venue where ministers responsible for culture can discuss ideas about the new issues and cultural policy questions that are on the horizon and the ways to promote cultural diversity in an increasingly globalized world.

    Members to INCP are: Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kingdom of Jordan, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Saint Lucia, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

    [18] Deputy FM seats in event of ''National Prayer Breakfast'' addressed by Bush

    WASHINGTON 07/02/2003 (ANA)

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos, during his visit here sat in an event of the ''National Prayer Breakfast'', on Thursday addressed by U.S. President George Bush and U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

    Representatives from 160 countries participated in this annual event.

    [19] Name of Constantine Karamanlis to be given to part of European Parliament

    BRUSSELS 07/02/2003 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    The European Parliament's presidium has decided to name a part of the European Parliament after late president of the republic Constantine Karamanlis, according to an announcement issued by the main opposition New Democracy party's Eurodeputies on Thursday.

    ''The Presidium of the European Parliament, during its meeting on 29/1/2003, decided unanimously to give the name of Constantine Karamanlis to a part of the European Parliament, recognizing the prolonged struggles of the founder of New Democracy party for European integration and his wise contribution to the European idea,'' the announcement said.

    [20] Celebrations at all EU schools on March 21 for 'Europe of citizens'

    BRUSSELS 07/02/2003 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    Celebrations will take place simultaneously at all schools in the European Union on March 21 in an effort to secure the sensitization and cooperation of all pupils for a ''Europe of citizens.''

    All political leaderships - presidents, deputies, Eurodeputies and commissioners - will be visiting schools on that day.

    According to Greek Education Minister and Council President Petros Efthymiou and relevant Commissioner Vivian Reding, it is an initiative by the Council of Education Ministers aimed at highlighting the importance of education as a basis for economic growth, social development and the consolidation of European values.

    Speaking at a press conference here on Thursday, at the end of the Council's meeting, the presiding Greek minister said ''education issues should not be handled as subcategories of the Economy or Employment Council, but as independent ones having a particular significance for the present, the future and the values of Europe of citizens.''

    Focusing on issues examined during the meeting, Efthymiou said the period until the spring of 2004 is decisive for preparation of the report to the European Council on the ''targets of the education and training systems.''

    Efthymiou also said that candidate countries will participate in meetings as observers as from the next Council meeting.

    [21] Government spokesman says solution efforts on various levels

    NICOSIA 07/02/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Efforts to solve the Cyprus problem are made on various levels, not only at the UN-led talks aimed at a settlement, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said on Thursday.

    He noted that there was a lot of activity on the part of the inter-national community, in Ankara, New York and elsewhere.

    Asked about the points put forward by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, in relation to a UN peace plan, which President Glafcos Clerides appears to have rejected, Papapetrou said ''these are outside the reasoning of the Annan plan and attempt to bring back Denktash's vision through the back door, at a time when this vision was eradicated by the Annan plan.''

    President Clerides and Denktash are engaged in UN-led talks to solve the Cyprus problem, based on a revised settlement plan submitted to them by UN chief Kofi Annan in December. The aim is to reunite the island, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The talks are held in the presence of Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.

    Asked if any thoughts had been made to change the procedure of the talks, Papapetrou said he had not received any such notification, ''apart from some ideas that de Soto has at times presented to Clerides, that is to proceed immediately with referenda, which met the skepticism of the President.''

    Commenting on a recent telephone conversation between Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and US Vice President Dick Cheney, Papapetrou said that as far as he knew ''Cheney exerted pressure on Gul to solve the Cyprus problem by February 28 and Gul replied that the US were exerting pressure about Iraq so Turkey could not take on commitments about two issues,'' namely Cyprus and Iraq.

    Papapetrou said Gul did not dismiss the need to solve the Cyprus problem but tried to postpone it, ''probably until the end of a possible war on Iraq.''

    The spokesman said it was ''outstanding'' that in the midst of the Iraq turmoil the US was still exerting pressure on Turkey regarding Cyprus.

    He said this ''strengthens the view that in the near future we will be faced with catalytic, crucial developments on the Cyprus problem.''

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