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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-06-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

June 2, 2003


  • [01] G8 conference focuses on aid to developing countries
  • [02] Simitis, Putin give joint statement, press conference at EU-Russia summit
  • [03] Constitutional Assembly directorate examines EU institutional reform
  • [04] FM to participate in Western Balkans meeting on Monday
  • [05] ND leader says education top priority for ND government
  • [06] Coalition of the Left and Progress party changes name
  • [07] DHKKI leader criticizes PASOK & ND over unemployment policies
  • [08] Bakoyianni visits Istanbul
  • [09] Teargas, smoke bomb thrown in Athens before meeting on Cyprus issue
  • [10] Ecumenical patriarch proclaimed honorary citizen of Ormyli
  • [11] Development minister says ELPE-Petrola merger will intensify competition
  • [12] IOC official arriving in Athens on Monday for three-day visit
  • [13] Bomb scare forces Egyptian airliner to land in Athens, Kuwaiti arrested
  • [14] Uterus cancer vaccine unveiled in Greece
  • [15] Cypriot President dismisses Denktash's tactics
  • [16] President pleased with contacts in Russia

  • [01] G8 conference focuses on aid to developing countries

    EVIAN, France 02/06/2003 (ANA - V. Mourtis)

    The first item on the enlarged G8 conference's agenda, here on Sunday, was the offering of aid to the developing countries, both economic and medical assistance to confront the great diseases that are endemic there.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis, in his capacity as president of the European Union, participated in the G8 meeting, which this time included leaders of countries that belong to the so called developing countries.

    Following the meeting Simitis and European Commission President Romano Prodi stressed that significant aid should be given to the developing countries, underlining the low rates of aid funneled to those countries by the developed nations.

    They presented the example of Europe, which has pledged aid amounting to 0.7 per cent of its GDP, which the amount of funds that was actually given to date was 0.3 per cent of its GDP, while the United States provided even lower, about 0.12 per cent.

    U.S. President George Bush, while addressing the conference, made special mention of the AIDS problem that is endemic in Africa and pledged one billion dollars toward its confrontation, while Simitis stressed that the European Union pledged more than a billion dollars.

    Both Simitis and Prodi spoke of the issue of development, which does not only concern the developing countries, rather all countries of the planet, and they stressed that for development to be achieved there can not be only three economic ''steam engines'', the US, Japan and Europe, but ''everyone should be included in the game''.

    Prodi, in fact, named two, China and Russia, which he said have high rates of development.

    The two men also underlined, during their joint press conference, that the G8 meeting was not a Euro-American conference and was not taking place to resolve any existing differences between Europe and the United States, rather to find ways and means of dialogue and cooperation that lead to the resolution of problems.

    ''If we came here to discuss our differences we will fail,'' Simitis said.

    To support his argument Simitis underlined that in his meetings in St. Petersburg on Saturday with Bush, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, Brazil's Luiz Ignacio ''Lula'' da Silva and others, he did not witness or sense a climate of hostility, but a climate of cooperation.

    Simitis noted that the G8 conference would deal with the international economic developments, stability, development, the dangers that exist, structural reforms that should take place, international trade, as well as ways to make responsible for its actions the free market economy.

    Issues on the agenda, Simitis noted, include sustainable development, aid to the African nations, Iraq, the Middle Eastern issue, terrorism and others, adding that despite the overcoming of the Iraq crisis the recovery of the international economy remained the first priority, forecasting that by the end of 2003 there will be a slight recovery.

    Simitis also stressed the necessity for attention to be paid to education since the building of infrastructures and roads is not enough if people do not learn to use the possibilities offered.

    Concluding, Simitis, responding to a relevant question, noted that the rift in the EU-US relations stemmed from differences of opinion over NATO, the inter-Atlantic relations and the role of the European Union on an international level, adding that such issues are not overcome in a day and more so during a G8 summit, which is an inter-governmental cooperation institution not bound by legal regulations.

    [02] Simitis, Putin give joint statement, press conference at EU-Russia summit

    ST. PETERSBURG 02/06/2003 (ANA - V. Mourtis)

    Considerable progress has been achieved in relations between Europe and Russia during the European Union-Russia summit held here on Saturday.

    The initiative for holding the summit belongs to the Greek EU presidency which wanted to honor celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of the city's founding in this way.

    A joint press conference was given by Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Costas Simitis, Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission President Romano Prodi and it was stressed that both sides agreed to intensify cooperation in the sectors of foreign policy, the economy, justice and public order.

    Simitis and Putin said cooperation had existed in these sectors but not to a satisfactory degree, while the energy sector was also added and a dialogue will be getting underway on this issue.

    The Greek prime minister said effective structures are necessary to strengthen the EU-Russia partnership relation and called for the widening of cooperation between the two sides.

    He added that Russia and the EU are not only economic partners, they are above all neighbors and this is of particular importance following the EU's enlargement.

    Simitis also referred to cooperation between Russia and the EU on issues concerning the handling of crises. He hailed Russia's participation in the fulfillment of police missions in the Balkans and expressed hope that cooperation will be continued and strengthened.

    He further extended his condolences and sympathy to Putin and the families of victims of recent terrorist attacks in Chechnya. He also expressed hope that these attacks will not undermine efforts taking place to restore stability in the region.

    Simitis said the referendum which took place in March on the granting of an amnesty was an important step, adding that the EU will continue to support systematic efforts by the Russian political leadership for the restoration of stability, the implementation of an effective policy to safeguard peace, respect for human rights and the region's economic and social reconstruction.

    Progress has also been achieved in the dialogue on EU-Russian cooperation in the sector of environmental protection, primarily concerning the production of nuclear energy by antiquated plants, the management of nuclear waste and the destruction of nuclear warheads and of Russia's nuclear weapons stockpiles.

    The only problem appearing during discussions at the EU-Russia summit concerned the issuing of visas for Russian citizens visiting European countries.

    The issue was raised by Putin who used a term comparing obstacles placed by the Schengen Treaty with obstacles placed in the past by the Berlin Wall in transport to and from Western Europe. The term used by the Russian president was ''Schengen Wall.''

    President Putin also referred to security issues resulting from EU enlargement, adding that they should not be resolved at the expense of some country, a remark believed to concern the case of Kaliningrad.

    Putin further criticized bureaucracy in Brussels, saying it is placing obstacles at an executive level, arbitrarily interpreting decisions taken at political level and in this way harming relations between Russia and the EU.

    A joint statement was also issued at the close of the EU-Russia summit.

    The full text is available at:

    [03] Constitutional Assembly directorate examines EU institutional reform

    BRUSSELS 02/06/2003 (ANA - G. Zitouniati)

    The Constitutional Assembly's directorate examined the development of discussions on the European Union's institutional re-form, until the EU summit in Thessaloniki, here on Saturday.

    Foreign Minister and Council President George Papandreou told reporters consultations will be held with member-states, political groups and parliamentary representatives on ''controversial'' points with the purpose of creating a consensual text.

    Controversial points include the continuation of an alternating presidency, as desired by most small countries, the enactment of a ''permanent'' Council president, and in this case the duration of his period of office and the method of his election, the composition of the European Commission (that is whether one commissioner from each country will be participating or a limited number of commissioners) and the creation of a ''fulltime'' foreign minister to represent the EU on foreign policy issues.

    Papandreou said there are countries desiring adherence to relevant decisions taken at the Nice summit and others, such as Greece, desiring a move in a more federal direction.

    However, the foreign minister let it be understood that very often they prefer to ''keep their cards closed'' on important issues to be in a position to negotiate crucial issues at a final stage.

    Papandreou also said consultations in the framework of the Assembly are expected to reach a "package" of proposals in mid-week to be presented at the European Council in Thessaloniki.

    [04] FM to participate in Western Balkans meeting on Monday

    Athens, 02/06/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who is presiding over the European Union's council of ministers, on Monday, will participate in the meeting of the leaders of the Western Balkan countries in Ohrid of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    The meeting is taking place in light of the European Union Summit in Thessaloniki in June.

    [05] ND leader says education top priority for ND government

    Athens, 02/06/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, speaking at a municipal cinema in the Athens district of Vyronas on Saturday, said education will be a top priority for his party's government and called for the abandonment of fatalism linked to talk of the past.

    ''We want to work together with all of you to improve matters, without 'magical solutions' and far from the policy formulas of the past and from big election pledges,'' he said.

    The ND leader further said Greece comes first in unemployment among young people and, referring to the traffic issue, said the cost of lost time amounts to six billion euros over a period of four years.

    He suggested the creation of a metropolitan coordinating body for traffic in the city, the mapping of the capital's entire road network and a change in price policy for public transport to enable a citizen to use many transport means successively with the same ticket.

    Karamanlis also referred to the problem of the high cost of living, saying that ''we have become Europe in prices, but the East in services.''

    Deputy Press and Media Minister Telemahos Hytiris, replying to these statements, said Karamanlis "is identified verbally and substantively with specific interests, underestimating the intelligence of the Greek people."

    Hytiris further said "Mr. Karamanlis is repeating himself monotonously and tediously. He claims that there are no dividing lines and, therefore, all are Rightwing like himself and he insists on talk of disaster because he thinks he will become prime minister in this way and 'save' the country."

    [06] Coalition of the Left and Progress party changes name

    Athens, 02/06/2003 (ANA)

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party's program conference decided on Sunday to change the party's name to Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology.

    Summing up the conference's work, party leader Nikos Constantopoulos referred to the high degree of rallying displayed by the party and said a great effort was made to improve the party's image.

    He also focused on issues concerning vested interests and said, referring to the merger between the Hellenic Petroleum and Petrola companies, that an unprecedented and non-transparent process has been witnessed in past days.

    Constantopoulos also said the government is sacrificing the public interest in light of elections which will be elections of the most savage polarization.

    "Never did so few have and control so much. Never in the past did so few have so much and never in the past were so many overwhelm so much by the heartlessness of government policy," he added.

    [07] DHKKI leader criticizes PASOK & ND over unemployment policies

    Athens, 02/06/2003 (ANA)

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas on Sunday criticized the policies on unemployment of both ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy (ND) and stood for what he called the reconstitution of the ''democratic party''.

    He accused the government for watching idly while unemployment is on the rise and stressed that PASOK and ND ''accuse each other for entanglement with vested economic interests and publishing houses and condemn those entanglements, in which the leaderships of both parties are dipped to the neck''.

    [08] Bakoyianni visits Istanbul

    ISTANBUL 02/06/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni on Saturday participated in the inauguration of the Gul Hane Park near the Top Kapi palace here, at the invitation of Istanbul Mayor Giurduna.

    Bakoyianni is in Istanbul for the Balkan Policy Club meeting that began on Saturday.

    On Friday, the mayor of Athens met with her Istanbul counterpart and was hosted to a dinner by former Turkish President Suleiman Demirel held for the visiting mayors.

    On Monday, Bakoyianni is expected to visit Ankara, where she is scheduled to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

    [09] Teargas, smoke bomb thrown in Athens before meeting on Cyprus issue

    Athens, 02/06/2003 (ANA)

    Two teargas canisters and a smoke bomb were thrown in toilets in an Athens hotel on Sunday afternoon, shortly before a meeting organized by the Federation of Cypriot Organizations of Greece on a peaceful and viable solution to the Cyprus issue and a rapprochement between the two communities on the island was due to start.

    Firemen rushed to the building, evacuated all floors, and prevented the gas from spreading further up than the second floor. One man fainted during the incident.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis, who was to attend the event, arrived at the scene and, after being briefed on the incident, said he would not like to believe that some people wanted to sabotage the meeting on a rapprochement between the two communities in Cyprus.

    The incident ended at about 5:30 and police officials concluded that it was the result of a professional placement of the teargas, as the water in the toilets aided the better dispersal of the chemicals.

    Magriotis stressed that hasty conclusions should not be drawn from this incident, rather ''we should wait for the investigating authorities to reach their conclusions'' on who is responsible for the specific action.

    The meeting was to have been addressed by representatives of Greek Cypriot organizations in Britain, Europe and Greece and of Turkish Cypriot organizations in Britain, Germany and Turkey.

    [10] Ecumenical patriarch proclaimed honorary citizen of Ormyli

    Athens, 02/06/2003 (ANA)

    Visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos was proclaimed an honorary citizen of the municipality of Ormylia, northern Greece, on Saturday and was given the golden key to the city by its mayor, while local residents gave him a warm welcome.

    Vartholomeos stressed in an address the importance of virtue for the modern-day man and the need to overcome trials sent to him by God and to resist temptations.

    The patriarch was welcomed by Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Christos Pachtas, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and the Archbishop of Albania Anastasios.

    He also attended a service at a local church and will be continuing his visit on Sunday.

    Ecumenical patriarch inaugurates church in Ormylia, ends five-day visit

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos inaugurated a church in Ormylia, northern Greece, on Sunday in the presence of Arch-bishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and the Arch-bishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania Anastasios.

    Crowds of people turned up early in the morning to watch the inauguration and the church service, since the ecumenical patriarch rarely inaugurates churches.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Christos Pachtas, deputies, local administration representatives and many clergymen were also present at the event.

    Speaking on the occasion, Vartholomeos said there should be unity with all the faithful and for every person for whom Christ came to earth and was crucified.

    The ecumenical patriarch ended his five-day visit to Thessaloniki and Halkidiki with the inauguration of the church and will be returning to the patriarchate.

    [11] Development minister says ELPE-Petrola merger will intensify competition

    Athens, 02/06/2003 (ANA)

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, commenting on the merger between the Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and Petrola companies, said on Sunday it will lead to intensified competition.

    ''I think the big advantage will be that competition will be intensified because investments the new ELPE will be obliged to make will also lead the rest of the participants in the energy market to new investment plans to improve their competitiveness. And this will lead to the overall strengthening of the energy market,'' he said.

    Tsohatzopoulos was speaking after the inauguration of the new meat market in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

    Referring to reactions caused by the merger, Tsohatzopoulos also said there is no question of a monopoly being created or of reduced privatization

    Synaspismos leader criticizes government on Petrola case: Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Sunday criticized the government over the announced merger of the Latsis group Petrola Oil Company with the state run Hellenic Petroleum firm.

    ''Since the day before yesterday, in light of the Petrola and Hellenic Petroleum case, we follow a never before seen and non-transparent process. In this case the government of PASOK sacrifices the public interest, ahead of the elections of the most savage polarization that is ahead of us,'' Constantopoulos said.

    ''Never before so large a portion of public assets have been offered to so few. Never before so many in Greek society have been fatigued by the lack of compassion, the injustice and the non-transparency of the governmental policy, at a time when the vested interest and the war of those interests plunder the public property,'' he added.

    [12] IOC official arriving in Athens on Monday for three-day visit

    Athens, 02/06/2003 (ANA)

    International Rowing Federation president and head of the International Olympic Committee's Coordinating Committee Denis Oswald will be arriving in Athens on Monday for a scheduled three-day visit at the head of a small IOC delegation.

    Speaking at a press conference in Milan, Italy, on Saturday on the sidelines of the 1st World Rowing Cup, Oswald referred to the Karaiskaki stadium in Greece, saying its demolition has already started and that he has received assurances that it will be ready in time for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

    ''The Greeks have worked miracles in the past as well,'' he said.

    Oswald also commented on Schinias, where his sport will be hosted, and to the first test event in 2003 to be held August 6-9.

    "At the beginning all were clamoring about Schinias. Now, however, everything is splendid. The project has almost been completed and it will be ready to host the test event," he added.

    [13] Bomb scare forces Egyptian airliner to land in Athens, Kuwaiti arrested

    Athens, 02/06/2003 (ANA)

    A bomb scare on board an Egyptian Airways airliner forced the aircraft to land at Athens airport on Saturday night, while a Kuwaiti national has been arrested following strong indications he was responsible. A second Kuwaiti held for questioning with him was ultimately released.

    The airliner had left Madrid en route to Cairo with 85 passengers and eight crew members when a security guard found a hand-written note in English in a toilet reading ''have you found the bomb?''

    The captain requested and received permission to land at Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens and the aircraft landed at 9:10 in the evening.

    The aircraft was searched and the bomb threat proved to be a hoax but passengers were questioned and it appeared that the last person to use the toilet had been one of the two Kuwaitis, who were traveling to Cairo and from there to their country.

    The Kuwaiti arrested, who is expected to be brought before a public prosecutor, is 39 years of age, while police revealed that an examination of the handwriting on the note indicated that there is a strong possibility that he is the culprit.

    He will be charged with violation of the penal code concerning the disruption of security regarding ships and railways, since the article also includes the case of threats against aircraft.

    A police spokesman told reporters after midnight that all necessary security measures had been taken, the aircraft had been surrounded by fire engines and police patrol cars and the passengers and crew were taken to a safe location at the airport.

    A thorough search was made of the aircraft by bomb disposal experts, who also used sniffer dogs, and specialized police and it was ascertained that no bomb was on board.

    The spokesman also said the passengers and crew were in good health.

    The Egyptian airliner ultimately took off from Athens airport for Cairo at 4 a.m. on Sunday.

    [14] Uterus cancer vaccine unveiled in Greece

    Athens, 02/06/2003 (ANA)

    The first ever anti-cancer inoculation serum was presented in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece on Sunday, during the 9th Conference on Obstetrics and Gynecology, following 15 years of research and studies.

    Apparently, according to the presenting panel of university professors, the uterus cancer is caused by a virus and such it can be treated by vaccination that causes the immune system to respond and destroy the virus.

    They added that the first results of cases studies on groups of women were very successful and showed that the vaccination should include both boys and girls as soon as they begin an active sexual life.

    [15] Cypriot President dismisses Denktash's tactics

    LARNACA 02/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    President Tassos Papadopoulos on Sunday dismissed as legally and practically invalid tactics by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to bypass the European Court of Human Rights and do away with the Court's legal framework.

    The president said that Denktash's and Ankara's policy on a political settlement in Cyprus is to create two separate states which will enjoy good neighborly relations and see that they sort out property disputes.

    ''The issue of property is one of the serious questions we have to deal with, but there are also other important aspects of the problem, including the return of the refugees to their homes, implementation of human rights and the establishment of a functional state,'' the president said on arrival from Saint Petersburg, where he attended the EU-Russia summit and celebrations to mark 300 years since the city was built.

    The president's comments came in response to statements by Denktash who said that Greek Cypriots should not cherish any thoughts of returning to their properties in Turkish occupied Cyprus and that bitonality on the island should be strictly observed.

    On Denktash's proposition to set up so-called courts in occupied Cyprus to be used as domestic remedies in property disputes, Papadopoulos said what the Turkish Cypriot leader is trying to do is to establish bodies that will decide on damages in property disputes to prevent Greek Cypriots claiming their property through the European Court.

    ''We have looked into this matter and have sought expert legal advice. The overriding opinion is that this kind of maneuvers by Denktash has neither legal nor practical application,'' the president pointed out.

    The European Court has ruled in a case of Greek Cypriot Titina Loizidou that Denktash's regime in occupied Cyprus is a subordinate local administration to Turkey and that Ankara by virtue of its military presence in northern Cyprus exercises effective control there.

    ''Any body Denktash sets up is subordinate to Turkey, it cannot have any validity,'' he said.

    Replying to questions, he said that the right to property differs from the right to damages.

    Referring to his presence in Saint Petersburg, the president said on the sidelines of the meeting he had the opportunity to talk to world leaders in general terms about Cyprus.

    Replying to questions about Cyprus' role in assisting EU-Russian relations, he said Nicosia maintains excellent ties with Moscow and once the Republic joins the Union it might be in a position to play some kind of role in this direction.

    ''I do not think Russia needs Cyprus as a link to Europe, but when I talked to President Vladimir Putin I referred to the traditionally excellent bilateral relations,'' he added.

    He said he reaffirmed the friendly relations between the Cypriot and the Russian people and said Cyprus, as an EU member, could help iron out some problems concerning visas for Russian nationals to Europe.

    [16] President pleased with contacts in Russia


    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos expressed satisfaction with the result of his contacts in St. Petersburg, on the sidelines of the European Union-Russia summit.

    He told CNA that the summit was a useful opportunity for many high-level meetings and gave him the chance to explain the overall outlook of the Cyprus problem.

    The St. Petersburg meeting, said the president as he concluded his visit here, dealt solely with enhancing EU-Russia cooperation.

    He said ''President of the European Council, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, made a general statement of policy and referred to the political situation regarding Iraq, economic developments, the issue of visa-free travel for Russians and other issues concerning the general political climate as it is today''.

    ''The Cyprus issue was not a topic of discussion at the summit,'' President Papadopoulos added.

    He said Simitis referred to Cyprus in a brief statement saying ''that the EU expects Turkey to change its policy with regard to Cyprus, so as to make possible the resumption of the talks based on the Annan plan''.

    The president told CNA that he had talked briefly with various leaders, including French President, Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Presidents of the Baltic countries and had the opportunity to refer briefly to the Cyprus problem.

    He also met Simitis three times ''on the sidelines of the summit, without an agenda.'' ''We talked and exchanged views'', Papadopoulos said.

    Members of the Cypriot delegation also had the opportunity to hold meetings on the sidelines of the summit, and said that the Cyprus problem is at a standstill, mainly because of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side's insistence on a solution based on two separate states.

    ''We tried to show, during our meetings, that this is not a solution and it cannot be accepted'', the president added.

    ''Overall, it was a useful opportunity for personal contacts and we explained the general framework of the Cyprus problem'', the president said and expressed ''satisfaction'' with the outcome of his contacts.

    Invited to comment on the continuing Turkish intransigence, President Papadopoulos said ''this does not concern us'' and called on interested parties outside Cyprus to assess what Turkey's real political stand is.

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