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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-05-31

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

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

May 31, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Hellenic Petroleum to merge with Petrola Hellas S.A.
  • [02] Progress with EU-Russia relations the focus of St.Petersburg summit on Saturday ST.
  • [03] SARS, EU cooperation dominate Simitis-Jintao meeting in Russia
  • [04] Greek EU presidency - concerns about new EU division over draft Constitution ST.
  • [05] Gov't denies ICAO decision for imminent change to air corridors above Greece
  • [06] Parliament president opens EU Parliamentary environment committees meeting
  • [07] Kaklamanis receives US Congresswoman Berkley
  • [08] Coalition leader recommends change in party's name
  • [09] File on 'Avriani' allegations against Malesios sent to Parliament
  • [10] Greek, Italian agriculture ministers probe Common Agricultural Policy revision
  • [11] State budget deficit exceeded by 60.5 per cent in first four months of 2003
  • [12] Greek weekly economic review
  • [13] Greek stocks end 0.95 pct down in May
  • [14] World press meeting on Athens 2004 Olympics coverage opens Sunday
  • [15] Passengers of distressed catamaran safely transferred to other ships
  • [16] Louizis Riankour fiasco again occupies N17 trial
  • [17] 'Naxakis to blame', former EYP chief says during trial for Ocalan affair
  • [18] Korydallos prison governor served suspended sentence for abusive behavior
  • [19] Over 60 communist and labor parties to hold meeting in Athens on June 19-20
  • [20] Book on Constantine Mitsotakis' policy on Turkey and Cyprus presented in Athens
  • [21] Bakoyianni in Turkey for official visit
  • [22] Conference in Athens on violence against women
  • [23] Greek and Turkish academics exchange views at Istanbul meeting
  • [24] Cyprus: Government spokesman says no sign of change in Turkish policy
  • [25] US says Cyprus negotiations must resume as soon as possible

  • [01] Hellenic Petroleum to merge with Petrola Hellas S.A.

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    Hellenic Petroleum S.A. will merge and absorb Petrola Hellas S.A. according to report submitted to the Athens Stock Exchange, National Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos announced during a joint press conference on Friday.

    The transaction will take place via a purchase of 16.6 per cent of Hellenic Petroleum shares by Petrola at 7.5 euros per share for a total of 326 million euros. (The actual transaction will involve some 43.5 million shares).

    The agreement for the merger was struck between the Greek government, major shareholder in Hellenic Petroleum, and Paneuropean Oil and Industrial Holdings S.A., the parent company of Petrola.

    According to the agreement the exchange of shares will be based on the price of the Athens Stock Exchange board for the two companies on May 29, 2003 and the rate of exchange will be set at 5.36 Petrola shares per one of Hellenic Petroleum share. This rate may change following the compilation of reports by independent auditing houses.

    The same agreement also provided that the Greek state will maintain the management of the new company to emerge from the merger.

    With the conclusion of the merger, which is expected to happen by the end of the year, the Latsis Group of companies, which controls Petrola and Paneuropean, will own some 25 per cent of the total shares of Hellenic Petroleum.

    According to Christodoulakis, the agreement mandates that the new Hellenic Petroleum's board of directors will increase in numbers from 11 to 13 of which seven will be appointed by the state two by Petrola, while two will be appointed by the employees union and the remaining two by the minority shareholders.

    The right of the Greek state to run the company can only be abolished at the end of a five-year term, following the merger and only in the case that 50 per cent plus one shareholder votes approve such a move.

    On his part, Tsohatzopoulos stressed that Hellenic Petroleum straightens its position in the Greek market and its capability for further expansion in the wider region, creating a significant turnover of an annual 3.9 billion euros.

    ND says ELPE-Petrola merger not substantive privatization: The main opposition New Democracy party on Friday criticized the way with which the merger between the Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and Petrola companies was carried out.

    ''From what has been announced so far on the merger between ELPE and Petrola, it appears that it is not a question of substantive privatization,'' ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said after announcements were made by the development and finance ministers.

    Roussopoulos added that this is so because the majority of shares and the management remain in the possession of the state, while one cannot discern in the agreement how competition is being strengthened.

    The spokesman further said ND has two steadfast principles: the principle of substantive denationalization and the disengagement of the state from business activities and, secondly, the principle of strengthening healthy competition.

    Motor Oil's head criticizes govt's privatization policy: Vardis Vardinoyiannis, chairman of Motor Oil Hellas, on Friday criticized the government's privatization policy saying that "it depends on the government, any Greek government, to decide on privatizations or nationalizations. The current government talks of privations but at times it surprises us by deciding nationalizations."

    He was commenting on recent speculation over a merger agreement between Hellenic Petroleum and Petrola (a member of Latsis Group of Companies) to create a huge Greek oil group.

    "The government must decide what it wants to do...Either there is a government or not," Mr Vardinoyiannis told a general shareholders' meeting on Friday.

    The meeting approved the group's 2002 results and a board plan to pay a 0.50 euros per share dividend to shareholders.

    Motor Oil Hellas plans to invest around 70 million euros this year to promote a new generation of "clean" fuel in the European Union after 2005.

    [02] Progress with EU-Russia relations the focus of St.Petersburg summit on Saturday ST.

    PETERSBURG 31/05/2003 (ANA - V. Mourtis)

    The entire breadth of EU-Russia relations will be the key agenda point at the EU-Russia Summit here on Saturday under the chairmanship of Greek Prime Minister and European Council president-in-office Costas Simitis.

    Talking to reporters here on Friday, Simitis said the Greek presidency had decided to advance efforts to upgrade bilateral EU-Russia relations, a decision shared by all European partners.

    Simitis added there were three areas in which efforts for EU-Russia cooperation had not been successful: Political dialogue on foreign policy and security and defense policy, economic cooperation, and cooperation in justice and home affairs, and that now a fourth area was added for cooperation in research, technology and culture.

    Energy policy issues will also be reviewed, since, as the Greek premier said, the EU was in search of additional energy suppliers and to that end it would increase investments in Russia for development of energy resources in a long range, which would ensure energy sources as well as stable prices.

    Asked about the ''soft points'' that were the cause of failure in progress with EU-Russia relations, Simitis said discussions in the past had been taking place on a general level, adding that the agreements should be more specific, that better coordination was required and meetings should not be restricted to a foreign ministers level.

    With regard to reservations on the part of the new Union members toward Russia due to problems they had with that country in the past, Simitis admitted that Eastern European countries had strong security concerns and there were more interested in their security than in their economy. He added that the issue was discussed with Russia to seek replies that would put such concerns at rest.

    Cooperation on the environment and the Kyoto protocol will also be on the Council agenda. Simitis said that Europe was seriously concerned over the issue of nuclear waste but also over the production of energy at Russian nuclear plants. He said Russia's response to issues pertaining to nuclear energy and arms was positive, but added that Russians had not yet realized the seriousness of problems in connection with the environment.

    Participants in the EU-Russia Council will also discuss other international issues including United Nations resolutions on the reconstruction of postwar Iraq, as well as a more active role for the EU and Russia there, the Middle East problem and the situation in the Western Balkans, while Greece will also raise a question for pressure to be exerted on Turkey toward a settlement of the Cyprus issue within the framework of a draft proposed by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

    The 11th Council between the European Union and the Russian Federation will be held on Saturday in St. Petersburg with the participation of the leaders from all 25 current and future EU Member States, the President of the European Commission Romano Prodi and the Secretary General/High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, amidst celebrations to commemorate the 300th anniversary of that city.

    [03] SARS, EU cooperation dominate Simitis-Jintao meeting in Russia

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    Prime Minister and European Council president in-office Costas Simitis, who is currently here for an all-important EU-Russia Council, met on Friday with Chinese President Hu Jintao, with the primary focus of discussion centering on EU-China relations.

    According to diplomatic sources, during the 35-minute meeting Simitis briefed the Chinese president on ways to further his country’s partnership with the now enlarged European block.

    Jintao expounded on the deadly SARS virus epidemic, asking for an exchange of data on SARS-related cases between his country and the EU, to provide medical, scientific, pharmaceutical and any other possible form of assistance to China to better fight the epidemic.

    [04] Greek EU presidency - concerns about new EU division over draft Constitution ST.

    PETERSBURG 31/05/2003 (ANA - V. Mourtis)

    The Greek delegation currently visiting St. Petersburg for the EU-Russia summit, on Thursday expressed concern that problems might arise at the European Convention where the draft European Constitution will be discussed on Friday and Saturday.

    Members of the delegation expressed concern that Convention President Valery Giscard d' Estaing might attempt to ''cheat'' by passing off his own views as positions of the Convention.

    Greek EU presidency sources said that Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou was not accompany Prime Minister Costas Simitis in St. Petersburg because the premier had ordered him to go to Brussels to participate in the Convention's discussions and attempt to avert possible division of the Union over the issue of the Constitution.

    The common sentiment within the Greek delegation was that d' Estaing should present the actual conclusions of the debate for the Constitution, and not his views.

    [05] Gov't denies ICAO decision for imminent change to air corridors above Greece

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Friday denied that the ICAO had decided to make changes to air corridors above Greece - as per a standing Turkish demand - because of the Athens Olympics in 2004.

    The minister was responding to questions put in Parliament by PASOK MP Yiannis Kapsis, in which he quoted an article appearing in the Greek newspaper ''Eleftherotypia'' on May 24 that said the ICAO had decided to scrap air corridor K-60 and create two new air corridors named UN 127 and UN 128 that would pass above Limnos and Rodopi.

    Loverdos described the newspaper's report as inaccurate and said that nothing had been decided yet at the ICAO regarding the air corridors.

    He added that the Greek foreign ministry had ''sternly given its opinion'' on the issue, while the relevant documents would be submitted to Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee as soon as talks with the ICAO were completed.

    Kapsis insisted that the paper's information was correct and demanded that Loverdos commit himself that the issue will be discussed by the Parliamentary committee before the ICAO made its decision.

    The minister pointed out that ICAO decisions on Flight Information Region issues were unanimous and said that Greece would insist on the existing measures based on its interests.

    [06] Parliament president opens EU Parliamentary environment committees meeting

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    The sessions of a two-day meeting of the Environment Committees of the Parliaments of the EU member-states and of the European Parliament began at the Greek Parliament on Friday.

    Attending the meeting are representatives of the government, scientific agencies and ecological organizations.

    Addressing the opening of the sessions, Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said ''enclaved in a society of sterile competitiveness in pursuit of wealth and under the avalanche of very powerful advertising mechanisms, we are unable to conceive the total image of the planet, but also to get involved in the endless quest for material goods.''

    This fact, he said, not only brings about catastrophic repercussions to the basic quality of the life of people, who always remain unhappy, given that they constantly seek more, but also to their social and political behavior, as everything is judged only by the size of their economic performance.''

    [07] Kaklamanis receives US Congresswoman Berkley

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Friday received visiting US Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (Nevada) here, who was accompanied by World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) President Andrew Athens.

    Among others, the Middle East situation was on the agenda of talks, especially the latest “road map” for peace in the region.

    Berkley has pushed for the recognition of Jerusalem Patriarch Irineos by the Israeli state – an issue still pending and one being closely watched by Athens and local ecclesiastical circles – while she also supports the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece as well as efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Berkley, a member of the influential Congressional foreign relations committee, hails from the long-standing Jewish community of Thessaloniki.

    [08] Coalition leader recommends change in party's name

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos, speaking at the start of the party's Program Conference on Friday, addressed a recommendation for a change in the party's name to ''Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology'' ahead of the forthcoming general elections.

    Addressing the 1,700 delegates present at the conference, Constantopoulos reiterated the basic directive lines of the party's policy which is European orientation, the need for a new European left, opposition to neo-liberalism and the disagreements with the policies of both the ruling PASOK government and the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party.

    Constantopoulos said that there is ''a red line'' in the policies of all parties and that his party's ''red line'' included ''opposition to neo-liberalism in all its forms, opposition to the current globalization which is sealed by neo-liberalism and the hegemony of the United States, opposition to the incorporation of Europe and of our country in this neo-liberal format, our will to struggle together with the new movements against neo-liberal globalization and our will to struggle as a European left for the prospects of European unification which will dispute current neo-liberal globalization and support peace, democracy, the social state and the individual, political and social rights.''

    Ruling PASOK'S Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis in an address to the Coalition conference referred to what he called the necessity of founding a ''modern and democratic bloc, a modern and multi-party centre-left.''

    [09] File on 'Avriani' allegations against Malesios sent to Parliament

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    The file containing the public prosecutor's findings and the testimony of ''Avriani'' owner George Kouris about the paper's claims against former deputy public order minister Evangelos Malesios was sent to Parliament on Friday so that MPs could decide whether or not there were grounds for prosecution.

    The paper had claimed that Malesios was living rent-free in a luxury apartment owned by Altec owner Thanassis Athanasoulis in return for promoting Altec's bid for a lucrative Olympics security contract.

    In his statements to the prosecutor, Kouris said that Malesios had exerted ''extremely strong pressure'' on public order ministry staff and high-ranking defense ministry officials to award the contract to the consortium that Athanasoulis was participating in.

    Responding, Malesios stressed that the planning and assessment committee that he had chaired was not the one that had carried out the tender and had not appointed any of the bodies that carried out the project. He also denied participating in any committee or body that decided or assessed the bids in the tender.

    Under the Constitution, only Parliament is competent to decide whether to press charges against a minister for offences committed while in office. A proposal to prosecute must be supported by at least 30 MPs and an absolute majority of the House is required for the proposal to be approved.

    In a related issue, meanwhile, architect Lili Xynarianou filed charges against Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas for slander and verbal abuse on Friday in connection with another of the newspaper's articles.

    Xynarianou was quoted by 'Avriani' in an article claiming that Athanasoulis had illegally financed the minister's pre-election campaigns.

    The suit is now in the hands of a public prosecutor and concerns claims by Protopapas that she was lying and for referring to her as a 'pathetic lady'.

    [10] Greek, Italian agriculture ministers probe Common Agricultural Policy revision

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister George Drys and his Italian counterpart Gianni Alemanno discussed the revision of Common Agricultural Policy and major pending issues the European Union's Italian presidency will have to undertake during the second half of 2003.

    Speaking to reporters later, Drys said the existence of a majority at EU member-state level is being ascertained who desire the completion of Common Agricultural Policy reform by the end of the Greek presidency.

    ''Our aim is to be led to solutions safeguarding the future of European farmers, equal treatment for Mediterranean products, the provision of adequate funds for them and the lifting of injustices currently contained in Common Agricultural Policy in certain sectors such as, for example, the allocation of milk quotas,'' he added.

    [11] State budget deficit exceeded by 60.5 per cent in first four months of 2003

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    The state budget showed a deficit of 5.96 billion euros, accrued during the first four months of 2003, compared to a deficit of 3.71 billion euros, accrued during the same period last year, according to data made public on Friday by the finance ministry. The 60.5 per cent increase exceeded by far the target of the 2003 budget for the specific four-month period. At the same time income over the same four-month period stood at 10.3 billion euros, or 0.5 per cent lower that the income garnered during the first four months in 2002.

    Expenditures also exceeded those budgeted reaching 16.3 billion euros, for a 15.6 per cent increase on a year-on-year basis.

    The increase in expenditures, according to the finance ministry, was due to increased primary spending, increased state employee payrolls and the payment of the ''family bonus'' to both spouses, if they both work for the state (up until recently only one of the two spouses was allowed the ''family bonus'').

    [12] Greek weekly economic review

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece gave the "green light" for a full deregulation of the domestic consumer credit market, lifting one of the major obstacles in further developing the country's financial sector.

    Nikolaos Garganas, the central bank's governor, in a meeting with the country's leading bankers said that a necessary precondition for such a decision was the proper operation of a Credit Bureau in the framework of Teresias system, monitoring bank transactions in the country.

    In other headline news during the week under review, Greek imports rose 12.8 percent in the first two months of 2003, compared with the same period last year, totalling 5.370 billion euros, from 4.760 billion euros, National Statistics Service said. The total value of imports (excluding oil products) rose by 573 million euros, or 14.7 percent, in the January-February period compared with the same period last year, while exports-deliveries totalled 1.921 billion euros, up 9.2 percent over the same period. The total value of exports-deliveries rose 70.7 million euros, or 4.4 percent.

    A total of 48,576 bids, worth 651,094,000 euros, submitted with the government's second issue of special savings securities, so-called "popular bonds". These bonds are designed to offer to small depositors higher returns, currently at 3.60 percent.

    Greece and the eurozone are experiencing an increasing problem with the circulation of forged 200 euro bills, Bank of Greece officials said. The officials noted that the forged euro bills, mainly 200s, were printed in Bulgaria and distributed throughout Europe.

    One in 10 European consumers that have made an order through the Internet never received their products although they had paid for it, a pan-European survey on electronic business showed. The survey said that a 34 percent of orders made through the Internet was not serviced, while a 31.5 percent of consumers did not get a refund after returning, timely, a purchased product.

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos unveiled a plan to set up an Independent Supervisory Authority to regulate and monitor the domestic insurance and re-insurance market.

    The Athens Stock Exchange begun operations of a state securities market during the week. The new market will trade fixed-income state securities through the Integrated Automated System of Electronic Trading (OASIS).

    A man owner of a university degree needs an average time of 41 months to find a job after completing their educations, while the average time for women in the same category was 36 months, a survey by National Statistics Service showed. The survey was compiled on a sample of 7,656 people aged 15-35 years old that had completed their educations after 1990.

    The time period needed for a Greek youth to find a job, after completing basic education, was 4-11 months.

    Tourist arrivals with charter flights rose 1.55 percent to 301,657 in the first four months of 2003, compared with the same period last year, Greece's National Tourism Organization said.

    [13] Greek stocks end 0.95 pct down in May

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended lower the last trading session of the week in the Athens Stock Exchange, and at the same time ending a month of stabilization in the Greek market.

    The general index ended 0.28 percent lower at 1,707.54 points, reflecting increased profit taking in smaller capitalization stocks. The index ended the week 0.78 percent higher, but down 0.95 percent in May.

    Turnover was an improved 161.4 million euros for a new record high in 2003.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.44 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.07 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.87 percent down.

    The IT Solutions and Wholesale sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.92 percent and 0.96 percent, respectively), while the retail and food-beverage sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (2.39 percent and 1.15 percent, respectively).

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 190 to 105 with another 61 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Trade at discount Friday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.44 percent

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.07 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (386)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 61.16 million euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outpace sellers on Friday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 3.86 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 13 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 3.2 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-year, expiring May 2012

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of May 30 2003

    Parities in euro

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,191 1,164

    [14] World press meeting on Athens 2004 Olympics coverage opens Sunday

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    More than 180 representatives of news and photographic agencies, national Olympic committees and the organizing committees of future Olympic Games will take part in the 3rd World Informational Press Meeting that opens on Sunday in the Athens seaside town of Kavouri.

    During the four-day meeting, delegates will discuss such topics as working conditions for the print media and photographers with respect to the Central Press Centre for the Athens 2004 Olympics and the press centers at the Games venues, as well accreditation, accommodations, transportation, and the Olympics electronic information.

    On Tuesday, the Meeting will be addressed by Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and the president of the IOC's coordinating commission for the Athens Games, Denis Oswald.

    The delegates will also be given a tour of the Games venues and other facilities, including the Press Village and the hotels where journalists covering the Olympics will be accommodated.

    [15] Passengers of distressed catamaran safely transferred to other ships

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    The passengers of a high-speed ship in danger of sinking after taking on water had all been safely transferred to other vessels and were returning to Piraeus, the merchant marine ministry said Friday.

    The high-speed catamaran ''Jet 1'', which was carrying 163 passengers and 11 crew and was heading for Iraklion on the island of Crete, had sent an SOS signal at 20:40 p.m. on Thursday as it was sailing 25 nautical miles south of the island of Santorini, after water began to flood the vessel at a time when gale-force winds were sweeping the area.

    The passengers of the ''Jet 1'', belonging to ''Ilion Lines'', were transferred to the passenger ship ''Ierapetra'', and the cruise ships ''Olympia Countess'' and ''Olympic Explorer'' and were all well and safe, while four crewmembers chose to remain on board.

    The passengers were returning to Piraeus, while the crew managed to pump out the water and the catamaran was being towed to Santorini, escorted by a coastguard salvage vessel and the frigate ''Elli''.

    [16] Louizis Riankour fiasco again occupies N17 trial

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    The bungled police operation against the terror organization ''November 17'' in March 1992, when the terrorists were allowed to slip through the fingers of the authorities after they had been sighted on Louizis Riankour street, once again occupied the ongoing trial of 19 suspected members of the terror group on Friday.

    Taking the stand as a witness for the prosecution, former EKAM commander Mihalis Mavrouleas admitted that he had made several mistakes during his surveillance of two suspected terrorists but also placed blame on his superiors at the anti-terrorist squad, saying they had not been available to give him instructions.

    Prosecution witness George Zamanikas, who had headed the battalion Paleokastro army camp in Serres where alleged N17 member Anestis Papanastasiou had served, told the court he had never given Papanastasiou instructions to make the diagram of the camp found in one of the terror group's safe houses.

    The witness also ruled out the possibility that such an order might have been given to Papanastasiou by someone else:

    ''It is a copy of the camp's security plans for his own use. I do not know what he wanted it for, whether he gave it away or lost it. He would, however, have faced a court martial for losing a military document,'' the witness said.

    After Zamanikas' testimony, Papanastasiou again denied all links with N17 and claimed that the diagram of the camp for which he stands accused might have been lost or stolen, though he could not say exactly how.

    Asked how his fingerprints came to be on a text outlining the rules of conspiracy, Papanastasiou said he may have handled it but had not read it.

    The court then returned to hearing testimony of defense witnesses for Yiannis Serifis, among them the journalist Yiannis Votsis.

    Noting that that he had often been called to testify on Serifis' behalf, Votsis said it was unlikely that Serifis was a member of an armed, criminal organization and that the indictment against him did not hold water.

    ''It is inconceivable that a man who is a constant target of law enforcement authorities should take part in a conspiratorial, criminal organization,'' he noted.

    The trial was adjourned early and will resume on Monday morning.

    [17] 'Naxakis to blame', former EYP chief says during trial for Ocalan affair

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    Former Greek intelligence service (EYP) chief Haralambos Stavrakakis on Friday held that retired Navy captain Antonis Naxakis was the person mainly responsible for smuggling rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan into Greece in January 1999 and the embarrassing events that followed.

    He said Naxakis had been fully aware that his actions might compromise the country's safety but had nevertheless brought Ocalan to Greece and then let the Greek authorities and the intelligence service ''clean up'' the complicated situation he had created.

    He also told the court that Naxakis had worked with EYP on ''political issues'' up until 1996.

    Testifying during the trial of 13 people accused in connection with the affair, Stavrakakis outlined the events that preceded and followed Ocalan's arrival, including the abortive attempts by the head of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to get political asylum in other European countries before he came to Greece.

    He said the decision to transfer Ocalan to Kenya after he came to Greece had been made by then foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos, though Ocalan had in fact insisted he be taken to a European country.

    Stavrakakis also said the public order minister bore some responsibility for Ocalan's capture by Turkish authorities, since it had not provided extra guards for the Kurdish leader.

    The former EYP chief referred to the first time the fugitive Ocalan had arrived in Greece in the Autumn of 1998, at which time he had personally hired a plane to take him to Moscow.

    He said that Naxakis had intervened once Ocalan was forced to leave Russia, working in collaboration with one of Ocalan's associates.

    When the PKK leader came back to Greece a second time, the government made efforts to send him to Holland, where the authorities refused to allow his plane to land because of a crowd of Kurds that had gathered at the airport, and finally to Kenya accompanied by Major Savvas Kalenteridis and two EYP agents.

    Thirteen people face charges for bringing Ocalan into Greece in January 1999, among them retired Navy captain Antonis Naxakis and two of Ocalan's associates, Yakar Chedkiz and Kaya Aifer, who are also charged with compromising the country's harmonious foreign relations.

    Ocalan himself faces a charge of illegally entering Greece, while another nine people are charged with assisting Naxakis bring him into the country, including author Voula Damianakou and her daughter Eleni Vasilopoulou, airline pilot Zisis Bechlivanidis, state airport public relations chief Stefanos Evangelatos and airport employee Evangelos Stergiopoulos, Aegean Airlines representative Antonis Simigdalas and Aegean Airlines employee Georgios Mavros, police officer Dimitris Karagiorgis and a police officer detached to EYP, Georgios Magginas.

    [18] Korydallos prison governor served suspended sentence for abusive behavior

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    The governor of Korydallos prison, Spyros Athanasopoulos, was on Friday given a suspended sentence for abusive behavior after a lawyer pressed charges against him for abuse.

    Athanasopoulos was arrested and brought before a public prosecutor on Thursday after lawyer Elli Rizou filed a complaint against him the previous day for inappropriate and abusive behavior when she tried to exercise her rights as legal counsel for one of the prisoners in Korydallos.

    Police had been searching for Athanasopoulos throughout the night after a public prosecutor issued a warrant for his immediate arrest and finally found him at his home in Keratsini at 9:00 on Thursday morning.

    A Pireaus court on Friday sentenced Athanasopoulos to 15 months, with a three-year suspension.

    In his testimony, Athanasopoulos told the court that Rizou had exhibited improper and provocative behavior.

    [19] Over 60 communist and labor parties to hold meeting in Athens on June 19-20

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) announced on Friday that an international meeting of over 60 communist and labor parties will be taking place in Athens on June 19-20.

    The meeting, to be hosted by KKE, will focus on ''Movements against war and globalization and the communists.''

    New initiatives on strengthening the communist movement's distinct role will also be discussed during the meeting, while special reference will be made to solidarity for socialist Cuba and other struggling peoples.

    Representatives at the international meeting will also participate in events and the demonstration to take place in Thessaloniki on June 21, to be organized by the ''Action-Thessaloniki 2003'' group.

    [20] Book on Constantine Mitsotakis' policy on Turkey and Cyprus presented in Athens

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    The policy applied by former New Democracy party Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis on Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue is described in a book by Sotiris Rizas and the Constantine Mitsotakis Foundation, presented in the Old Parliament building in Athens on Friday.

    Mitsotakis stated that the "bright example he had throughout his entire political life was the bold course followed by Eleftherios Venizelos and Kemal Ataturk".

    The author reminded that the former prime minister had proposed the conclusion of a friendship, cooperation and non-aggression agreement with which the two countries would accept certain self-evident rules in whose framework a solution to Greek-Turkish differences would be sought with a dialogue held in good faith.

    Preconditions for the dialogue would be respect for territorial integrity, international treaties and rules of international law.

    In essence, the book focuses on Mitsotakis' efforts during the period of his premiership between 1990 and 1993.

    Mitsotakis does not consider Greek-Turkish differences to be very considerable and does not believe that Turkey is a given enemy but every time it takes the best for itself when Ankara feels that Greece is weak.

    The book further stresses that Mitsotakis pursued Cyprus' accession to the European Union with a firm policy and always pointed out to his Turkish interlocutors that a solution to Greek-Turkish differences passes through a solution to the issue of Cyprus.

    It was presented by the President of the Constantine Mitsotakis Foundation, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, ambassador George Papoulias and international affairs expert Thanos Veremis.

    [21] Bakoyianni in Turkey for official visit

    ISTANBUL 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni arrived here on Friday for the 4th Balkan Political Club Conference, where she will preside over sessions focusing the topic of “cultural heritage and regional identity”.

    On Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will receive Bakoyianni in Ankara, while she will previously meet with her Istanbul counterpart, Ali Mufit Gurtuna, and attend the inauguration of a park in the city.

    [22] Conference in Athens on violence against women

    Athens, 31/05/2003 (ANA)

    The phenomenon of violence against women is the focal point of the two-day conference on ''Handling violence in the family and the illegal trafficking of women'', organized in Athens by the General Secretariat of Equality in the framework of the European Union's Greek presidency.

    A total of 56 percent of women experience verbal or psychological violence, 3.6 is subjected to physical violence, 3.5 is forced to have sex, 23.6 state that they are aware of a case of violence in their environment, 8.8 consider their husband or companion violent and 85 percent of women depend on men financially, while a situation of violence in the family usually lasts for over 10 years.

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Costas Skandalidis presented the data during the conference which concern research carried out by the Research Centre for Equality issues with a sample of 1,200 women, aged between 18 and 60, from all parts of the country.

    According to information from the international immigration organization, due to the increase in waves of immigrants, violence against women and children with the purpose of their sexual exploitation has taken on explosive dimensions with at least 500,000 women being victims, regarding the trafficking of people for financial and sexual exploitation.

    [23] Greek and Turkish academics exchange views at Istanbul meeting

    ISTANBUL 31/05/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    The Bosporus University recently organized a Greek-Turkish academic meeting in Istanbul, returning a previous initiative undertaken by the Panteios University in Athens.

    The Greek academics exchanged views with their Turkish counterparts on themes such as ''language and nation, the solution of the Balkans'', ''The misunderstanding of the institution of the Ottoman Empire'' and ''Reconciliation with the memories of Asia Minor''.

    [24] Cyprus: Government spokesman says no sign of change in Turkish policy

    ST PETERSBURG 31/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The policy of Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul does not show any possibility for a change in the Turkish stance on Cyprus at the moment, Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides has said.

    Invited to comment on what Gul said on the Cyprus problem speaking before the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit in Tehran, Chrisostomides said on Friday that the Cyprus government has taken all measures and is in contact with all members of the Islamic Conference to prevent any surprises.

    Gul had said that ''one of the main obstacles towards the lasting

    settlement in Cyprus has been the lack of confidence between the two peoples,'' noting that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, ''with a view to addressing this shortcoming, has on April 2 made a new and constructive opening, designed to contribute to the normalization of relations.''

    He also said that the Turkish Cypriot side ''began implementing its package of confidence building measures unilaterally and facilitated both the trade and the movement of persons between the two sides of the island,'' and expressed hope ''these steps will serve as a new impetus towards a comprehensive settlement.''

    Gul added that the Turkish government encouraged this process and contributed to it by facilitating the travel of Greek Cypriots to Turkey and noted that ''we expect others to follow this initiative and move to lift inhuman embargoes that the Turkish Cypriot people are subjected to.''

    He also reiterated the Turkish request that the observer status of the Turkish occupation regime in the OIC be upgraded to that of a full member.

    Chrisostomides said that Gul's references ''verify once again the tactic and policy of the Turkish Government,'' that is ''the full support to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the effort to upgrade the occupation regime into a full 'member-state' of the Islamic Conference with some misleading arguments.''

    He added that ''Gul's policy does not show any possibility for a change in the Turkish stance as regards the Cyprus problem for the moment'' and that the Turkish government ''fully supports Denktash.''

    Invited to say what measures the Cyprus government is taking to prevent the possible recognition of the pseudo state by the Islamic Conference, the spokesman said ''all necessary contacts have been made.''

    He said the government through the Foreign Ministry and its diplomatic missions is in contact with all Islamic Conference countries, making them aware of the real facts, the UN resolutions, the illegal occupation which is going on, acting preventively in order to avoid any surprises in the Islamic Conference.''

    The spokesman also noted that diplomatic missions have been sent to many Islamic countries while in the recent Euro Mediterranean Conference in Crete Foreign Minister George Iacovou had the chance to hold meetings with the foreign ministers of eight Arabic Mediterranean countries.

    [25] US says Cyprus negotiations must resume as soon as possible

    WASHINGTON 31/05/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    It is the US goal to see the two sides on Cyprus resume negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Good Offices Mission for Cyprus, on the basis of Secretary General Kofi Annan's settlement plan, a US State Department spokesman has said, underlining that ''these negotiations should resume as soon as possible.''

    Invited to say if US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston will start a new round of talks on Cyprus while visiting Athens and Ankara, the spokesman said Weston ''will be engaging in normal consultations in Brussels, Rome, Athens, Nicosia and Ankara from June 9 to 20.''


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