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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

June 3, 2003


  • [01] G8 meeting discusses international economy, Middle East, Iraq and North Korea
  • [02] EU supports W. Balkans' European prospect, FM says
  • [03] FM to attend EU-NATO meeting in Madrid on Tuesday
  • [04] DM says target is for professional soldiers to exceed 50 pc of human potential
  • [05] Deputy FM inaugurates EU development cooperation meeting
  • [06] Greek-Turkish exploratory talks - 11th round in Ankara on Monday
  • [07] Oil group merger to benefit Greek consumer and economy, FinMin says
  • [08] Motor Oil owner says Hellenic Petroleum-Petrola merger is ''political''
  • [09] EU, Black Sea bank sign cooperation pact
  • [10] Greek gov’t presents EU funds' absorption report
  • [11] Budget revenues up 2.8 percent in Jan-May
  • [12] Farm minister to address the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday
  • [13] Greek stocks jump 3.59 percent on Monday
  • [14] Athens Olympics organizers okay 1998-2002 financial statement
  • [15] EU health ministers discuss tissues, cells, SARS and tobacco
  • [16] Greek gov't stresses need for measures in favor of the world's poor
  • [17] Defense witnesses for Yiannis Serifis testify in November 17 trial
  • [18] Witness rules out intent by Naxakis to harm Greece through Ocalan affair
  • [19] Eurostat figures on population, migration in Europe, Greece
  • [20] Merchant marine ministry releases fact-finding report on 'Jet I'
  • [21] Athens mayor meets with Turkish premier in Ankara
  • [22] Karamanlis to address City University on 'Greece in the new European scene'
  • [23] Charges follow violent protests against new landfills; gov't cites decision
  • [24] Religious conference calls for recognition of Jerusalem Patriarch Irineos
  • [25] UN chief recommends extending UNFICYP mandate for six months
  • [26] Overseas Cypriots call for resumption of Cyprus talks
  • [27] America's Pancyprian Association to honor George Tenet

  • [01] G8 meeting discusses international economy, Middle East, Iraq and North Korea

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    The G8 summit primarily examined the international economy and the Middle East issue in discussions held on Monday, while reference was also made to other international developments such as the situation in Iraq, North Korea and Iran.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis, attending the summit in his capacity as European Council president, told a press conference that in relation to developments in the international economy a review of the situation was made and the common view reached was that following the end of uncertainty in Iraq, a gradual recovery has taken place which will continue. According to predictions, a considerable recovery will take place in Europe and the United states which shall be greater in 2004.

    It was further ascertained that cooperation and coordination is necessary between countries because negative economic developments in a country affect developments in other countries such as, for example, bankruptcies or scandals in the United States had a negative effect on European stock exchanges.

    All agreed that development cannot take place with efforts by the United States alone, but the European Union and Japan must participate in the effort.

    On the question of the dollar-euro parity, U.S. President George W. Bush informed his interlocutors that the United States wants a strong dollar since its depreciation is primarily due to high interest rates in the EU and not to some pursuit by the United States.

    The decrease in dependence on oil, and consequently on OPEC, received a positive response by all. This was achieved primarily by investments taking place in Russia and the procurement of oil from this country.

    The issue of the deficit in the U.S. budget was also raised, while President Bush said it is due to a decrease in total demand.

    European leaders referred on their part to the development and stability agreement implemented in the EU.

    It was stressed that flexibility is necessary and that in periods of recession funds must be provided for infrastructures to fuel growth in this way.

    The European leaders, referring to the Middle East issue, said the Palestinian issue must be resolved to avoid the creation of new terrorist organizations and avert the possibility of Palestinians participating in terrorist acts.

    Simitis said the common conviction was that a solution to the Palestinian issue must receive agreement by all, adding that all must hail the establishment of a Palestinian state and all must hail the existence of the state of Israel.

    The prime minister expressed the hope that President Bush will succeed in promoting the peace process in the Middle East and he has the EU's support for his effort.

    Simitis stressed to President Bush, with whom he held discussions for several minutes (he also had corresponding meetings with the other leaders participating in the G8 summit) that a solution is necessary for the Middle East issue.

    On the question of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s absence from the process, in which President Bush will participate, Simitis said the initiative for the process belongs to the United States and the EU considers it positive because the target was the promotion of the Road Map for peace in the Middle East.

    During the discussion on Iraq, the G8 hailed the Security Council's decision and expressed their desire to participate in the country's reconstruction. It was underlined, however, that coordination is necessary and whatever actions are taken must meet with acceptance on the part of the Iraqi people.

    The issue of North Korea was raised by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koyzumi who said a peaceful solution must be sought through dialogue and understanding with North Korea.

    A discussion was also held on Iran, an issue raised by Russian President Vladimir Putin who, according to Simitis, said special attention is required for some actions by Iran regarding raw nuclear materials.

    What the Russian president pointed out in essence, and what his interlocutors agreed with, is that Iran should not go ahead with the production of nuclear weapons.

    Simitis, questioned on demonstrations taking place every time the G8 meet and whether the leaders of rich countries heed protest movements, replied affirmatively and added that all appear to have the problems in mind and, giving an example, referred to the fact that leaders from Africa were invited to Sunday's meeting, since it is the poorest continent on the planet.

    He further said there was skepticism over developments in the world, but noted that the G8 summit is a meeting place for these problems to be discussed and for solutions to be found, but it is not the only one.

    The G8 summit will was to continue on Monday night with an official dinner during which issues concerning international relations and developments would be discussed.

    The G8 summit will be concluded on Tuesday morning with the ratification of a joint statement.

    [02] EU supports W. Balkans' European prospect, FM says

    SKOPJE 03/06/2003 (ANA - N. Frangopoulos)

    The European Union supports the European prospect of the Western Balkan countries and their efforts to strengthen their European path, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Monday in Ohrid, speaking in his capacity as president of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers.

    Papandreou participated in the summit meeting of the five Western Balkan countries in Ohrid, which is taking place in light of the EU Summit of Thessaloniki, due in late June.

    Papandreou stressed that a Balkan Peninsula within the European Union, would mean a fully peaceful region, a region of cooperation, providing protection to all citizens, minorities and of course prosperity, adding that Greece, as a country of the region, will support all the efforts toward that direction.

    The Greek minister also said it is very encouraging ''that the countries, which several years ago were in conflict among them, now are discussing the deepening of their cooperation. This is a message that progress was made in the region and stability and peace has been strengthened''.

    Papandreou underlined that the priorities of the Greek EU presidency for the Western Balkans were especially well received by the leaders of the region's countries in Monday's meeting.

    ''The Ideas which we submitted about this sector, are systematic, very well worked and with specific targets. The countries of the Western Balkans have adopted them and our aim is that they are also adopted by the 15 EU member-states during the Summit of Thessaloniki,'' Papandreou concluded.

    The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia are participating in the meeting.

    In a joint declaration adopted here during the meeting, the presidents of FYROM Boris Trajkovski, Serbia and Montenegro Svetozar Markovic, Albania Alfred Moisiu, Croatia Stjepan Mesic and Bosnia-Herzegovina Borislav Paravac, expressed their willingness to work together to develop regional cooperation and speeding up economic and political reforms in the specific region, to create the conditions that would allow the region’s nations to speed up their incorporation into the EU.

    The presidents of the western Balkan nations added that June’s Thessaloniki EU Council would be an excellent opportunity to further their relations with the European block.

    “We also expected that the Thessaloniki EU Council would send a strong political message to the region’s countries and their citizens, which would express the position that the EU, as a community of values based on democracy, the sovereignty of justice and respect for freedom, would be placed in favor of the European future of all nations in the regions, and that Europe would be truly united only when all the region’s counties are incorporated into the EU”, added the declaration.

    In addition, Balkan leaders asked the EU to support their European path, expressing hope that a first move towards this direction would be to lift visa requirements.

    Currently, of the five Balkan nations, only Croatia has submitted an application to join the EU.

    [03] FM to attend EU-NATO meeting in Madrid on Tuesday

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, whose country currently holds the European Union presidency, will represent the Union at a NATO meeting in Madrid on Tuesday and Wednesday, where the foreign ministers from the alliance's 19 member-states will meet with their counterparts from the Russian Federation and EU member states to discuss the latest international developments and joint NATO-Russia initiatives.

    In a letter addressed to all the participants, NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson said the basic goal of this first meeting after the November 2002 NATO Summit in Prague would be to assess the course of decided reforms as well as to reaffirm the role of the Alliance as a pillar of Euro-Atlantic cooperation.

    Papandreou, who currently chairs the European Union foreign ministers Council, expects to discuss the course of the ''Euroarmy'' issue, progress with democratization of countries currently on a European course, as well as margins for bilateral EU-NATO cooperation.

    Army Chiefs of NATO SE Flank open meeting in Madrid on Tuesday: Chief of the Army General Staff (GES), Lt.-Gen. Panayotis Harvalas, will take part in the annual meeting of the Army Chiefs of NATO's Southeastern Flank, which opens Tuesday in Madrid.

    The informal meeting is attended each year by the Army Chiefs of Greece, the US, Spain, Italy, Hungary and Turkey.

    A GES announcement on Monday said the topics that would be discussed during the three-day meeting were the present situation and prospects for development and participation in the Rapid Reaction Force, training, and the scenarios for future implementation of NATO's Rapid Deployment Force.

    The previous meetings were held in Vicenza, Italy in 2000, Rethymno (Crete), Greece in 2001, and Istanbul, Turkey in 2002.

    [04] DM says target is for professional soldiers to exceed 50 pc of human potential

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Monday the government's target over the next three years is to have the number of professional soldiers exceed 50 percent of human potential.

    He added that the total number of professional soldiers has already reached 8,850, rendering the target of hiring 25,000 professional soldiers by the end of 2005 possible.

    Papantoniou was speaking in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on the issue of ''European defense and defense industry'' at a dinner given in his honor by the five chambers.

    The defense minister said professionalism in the military's human potential is part of the armed forces overall reform program, adding that this is 100 percent the case in the other European countries.

    ''The financial target of reorganizing the armed forces is decreasing defense expenditures to levels below four percent of GDP. This target has already been achieved. In 2003 defense expenditures represent 3.5 percent of GDP,'' he said.

    Papantoniou said that in the framework of promoting armaments programs a coordinated effort is being made to support the local defense industry which has shown an improvement in the sectors of organization, infrastructure and quality over the past 10 years.

    He further said a basic option of the government is strengthening the position of the Greek defense industry and, in this direction, it is promoting reconstruction policies with state industry mergers and privatizations.

    ''In parallel, we are promoting cooperation between Greek and European defense industries in the joint production of weaponry systems which the Greek and foreign armed forces will obtain,'' he said.

    Referring to the European defense industry, he said it is facing new challenges in a not very favorable environment.

    ''The share of the European defense industry's sales in the international market has decreased considerably from 56 percent in 1989 to a percentage below 40 percent in 1999 and it is continuing to decrease rapidly,'' Papantoniou said.

    [05] Deputy FM inaugurates EU development cooperation meeting

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday inaugurated the European Union informal meeting on development cooperation in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece.

    He stressed that ''the contribution of the European Union (to international development) for the year 2002 is about 30 billion euros, that is about 55 per cent of the total of the official development aid globally''.

    Loverdos also spoke of the necessity for this action to become known by the citizens and the world, while he added that the new EU member-states should adjust their structures to fit those of the Union.

    He underlined that the new member-states will have to implement, in phases, in a stable and systematic way the acquis communautaire in the sectors of development cooperation, economic, funding and technical cooperation with third countries and regions.

    [06] Greek-Turkish exploratory talks - 11th round in Ankara on Monday

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    The 11th round of exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey was due to take place in Ankara on Monday, Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said.

    Beglitis said that the Greek side would be represented by Foreign Ministry General Secretary Ambassador Anastasios Skopelitis, and Turkey by his counterpart Ambassador Ugur Ziyal.

    The exploratory talks began on March 12, 2002 and continue in a closed framework, without statements to the press.

    The process aims to identify ''points of convergence'' that might lead to more structured dialogue and ultimately an agreement on referring the issue of delineating the Aegean Sea continental shelf to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    The monthly talks alternate between Greek and Turkish capital. The 10th round was held in Athens last month.

    [07] Oil group merger to benefit Greek consumer and economy, FinMin says

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    A merger deal between Hellenic Petroleum and Petrola is expected to benefit both the Greek consumer and the economy and at the same time create a powerful group that would lead to lower oil production cost in the country, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said.

    In an interview with the daily Athens newspaper TA NEA, Mr Christodoulakis said that the deal was promoting the government's privatization program and did not breached competition rules.

    The Greek minister said the deal was an ''essential partnership'' between the private and the public sector and dismissed criticism that the government was nationalizing Petrola. ''Latsis Group will have 25 percent of the group, private investors will hold a 30 percent equity stake and the state will hold a 43 percent stake in the merged group,'' Mr Christodoulakis stressed.

    The state's equity holding in the group would fall but it would retain the management, he said.

    ''Over the next five years that statute of the group will not change and the state will hold seven out of a total of 13 seats in the board. After this period, only if an investor was able to control 50 percent, plus one share, of the outstanding equity capital of the group could take over control of the management,'' the Greek minister stressed.

    In his interview, Mr Christodoulakis stressed that the government would expand its social policy in 2004 and announced the hiring of 15-20,000 people in the public sector with part-time contracts. Christodoulakis said there was not plan to leave shops open on Sundays.

    He predicted that the unemployment rate could fall below 8.0 percent next year.

    Gov't defends decision over refineries merger: The government on Monday defended its decision to allow the controversial merger of state-run Hellenic Petroleum (EL.PE) and privately held Petrola, both listed on the Athens bourse, a decision announced late last week.

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas brushed off vehement criticism by the main opposition New Democracy (ND), before citing what he called a “strategic alliance” that solidifies the employees’ positions, and “something that demonstrates the Greek economy’s dynamism...”

    He also claimed the merger will bring about positive results for the economy, while charging that ND is actually the party of "vested interests" -- an accusation aimed at ruling PASOK by ND.

    [08] Motor Oil owner says Hellenic Petroleum-Petrola merger is ''political''

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Vardis Vardinoyiannis, owner of Athens-quoted Motor Oil, said on Monday that a planned merger between state Hellenic Petroleum and private Petrola Hellas was a ''political move''.

    ''I would repeat that the agreement between Hellenic Petroleum and Petrola is a political move. It concerns the national economy, the government and the opposition,'' Vardinoyiannis said in a statement replying to media reports.

    The two firms slated for merger are also listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. Petrola belongs to the Latsis shipping, banking and energy group.

    ''Motor Oil will continue to enjoy cooperation with Hellenic Petroleum and Petrola,'' Vardinoyiannis said.

    He also claimed that certain individuals had recently tried to link him to vested financial and political interests, displaying ''ulterior motives or no sense of responsibility.''

    Vardinoyiannis noted that he had recently won a court battle against one of the individuals.

    ''Equating business with vested (financial and political) interests without specific evidence is harmful to democracy and to the national economy,'' he added.

    Share swap ratio in Hellenic Petroleum, Petrola merger still to be set: The share swap ratio in a merger of Hellenic Petroleum SA and Petrola Hellas SA has still to be set, Petrola said in a statement on Monday in response to media reports.

    ''The boards of directors have yet to form a proposal for the share swap ratio for old shares in the two firms and new stock in the company to result from the merger,'' the statement said.

    Both companies are quoted on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Used to calculate the ratio would be an average market value for the two firms in the twelve month period ending on May 29, 2003, Petrola said.

    [09] EU, Black Sea bank sign cooperation pact

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    The European Union and the Black Sea Bank for Trade and Development on Monday signed a memorandum of cooperation.

    Under the pact and other decisions taken by the bank's general assembly of shareholders, the credit institution will work with a further seven global organizations for financing to small and medium sized enterprises and for projects in Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

    Among the bank's seven new partners are the European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

    Attending the signing ceremony was Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis, representing Greece's rotating presidency of the EU.

    Timed to coincide with the bank's general assembly was a seminar entitled Black Sea Business Day 2003.

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told the seminar that cooperation with Black Sea countries should acquire a political angle, beyond economic ties, in order to secure regional integration.

    [10] Greek gov’t presents EU funds' absorption report

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    EU funds' inflows to Greece total 4.6 billion euros so far this year, or 22 percent of total community participation, Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Christos Pahtas said on Monday.

    The Greek minister announced that around 800 million euros (remaining from a Second Community Support Framework) were expected to be received by the end of the year.

    Official figures, presented through the economy ministry's official website, however, showed that the absorption rate of EU funds ranged between 10-41 percent of total spending.

    Mr Pahtas stressed that a Third Community Support Framework program was a product of studies made in 1999 and noted that it was natural to have changes in 2003.

    [11] Budget revenues up 2.8 percent in Jan-May

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Budget revenues rose 2.8 percent in the January-May period compared with the same period in 2002, reflecting an 8.7 percent increase in revenues by tax agencies over the same period, Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Apostolos Fotiadis said on Monday.

    Mr Fotiadis stressed, however, that due to a reduced profitability by domestic banks in 2002, the state would collect lower revenues from taxes on banks' profits compared with initial forecasts. The state had received 500 million euros in taxes on banks' profits and was expected to return part of that money back this year, the Greek minister said.

    [12] Farm minister to address the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister George Drys, whose country currently holds the European Union presidency, will fly on Tuesday to Strasbourg to attend the plenary session of the European Parliament, a Greek agriculture ministry press release said on Monday.

    The Parliament session has been called in order to issue an opinion on the Union's proposals for reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy.

    In his capacity as the chairman of the Union's agriculture ministers Council, Drys, along with European Commissioner for Agriculture Franz Fischler, will address the plenary session of the Parliament.

    [13] Greek stocks jump 3.59 percent on Monday

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks soared to their highest levels in several weeks on Monday led by impressive gains in Hellenic Telecommunication Organization’s and Emporiki Bank's shares (+8.74 percent and 7.79 percent, respectively).

    The general index jumped 3.59 percent to end at 1,768.85 points, with turnover an improved 136.4 million euros.

    All sector indices ended higher, led by the Textile, Publication and Bank sectors (6.16 percent, 5.68 percent and 5.20 percent, respectively), while the Industrial sector recorded the smallest percentage gain of the day (+2.25 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks jumped 4.69 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 2.27 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index soared 3.94 percent. The High-Velocity index jumped 3.95 percent in its first day of trading in the market.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 309 to 29 with another 23 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 138.1 mln euros Monday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +4.69 percent

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

  • Underlying Index: +2.27 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (3,376)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 138.1 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers match sellers on Monday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 3.91 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 13 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 1.5 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-year, expiring May 2013 (330 mln euros)


    Closing rates of June 2 2003

    Parities in euro

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,176 1,149

    [14] Athens Olympics organizers okay 1998-2002 financial statement

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    The board of organizers of the Athens 2004 Olympics on Monday approved the SA company's financial statements for 1998 to 2002.

    Disposable income at the end of 2002 totalled 150 million euros, up 50 million euros from a year earlier.

    Expenditure since the company's formation until the end of 2002 was 321 million euros. Of total spending, 120 million euros covered fees for studies and payments to third parties; 77 million euros on the firm's payroll; and 75 million euros on publicity.

    Revenue so far was 69 million euros from radio and television broadcasting rights; 68 million euros from sponsors; and 14 million euros from rights to the Olympic trademark for commercial use.

    Spending in 2003 is estimated at 400 million euros, with revenue expected to total 345 million euros. In 2004, spending is forecast at 1,100 million euros and revenue at 900 million euros.

    Organizers are to produce an overall financial statement in 2005. Despite being an SA company, the organizing committee is exempted from rules governing normal commercial firms with the same corporate status.

    [15] EU health ministers discuss tissues, cells, SARS and tobacco

    BRUSSELS 03/06/2003 (ANA-V.Demiris)

    The EU Council of Health Ministers, reached agreement in Luxemburg on Monday on approving a directive concerning the quality and protection of tissues and cells.

    Commenting on the decision, Greek EU Council of Health Ministers President Costas Stefanis noted that ''the provisions included in the directive determine high levels of model quality and protection for cells and tissues, which are valid in all stages, from their procurement to their distribution.''

    The basic points of the EU directive which was adopted by the Council provide that: - The member states determine the relevant authority which is responsible for the implementation of the directive. - All the procedures from the taking to the transplant, take place in specific and accredited centers. - The license for the center’s operation is issued by the relevant authority of every state. - A fundamental principle for the supply of tissues and cells is based on voluntarism and non-benefit donation. - The control is secured through the institutionalization of a system of identification of the tissues and cells.

    The Council also concerned itself with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic and the recent efforts being made by the EU-member states to control it.

    Stefanis reiterated that in the case of the SARS ''mystery pneumonia'', greater efforts must be taken in strengthening co-ordination for the prevention and control of the disease both in Europe and internationally.

    The Council further dealt with the catastrophic repercussions of smoking and that all the EU member states should advance therapy programs, a briefing campaign and forbid the sale of tobacco to minors and to restrict exposure to passive smoking.

    It was agreed that Stefanis, as Greek EU Council of Health Ministers President, and EU Consumers Commissioner David Burn will sign on June 16, on behalf the of the EU countries and acceding members, the Framework Agreement for the control of tobacco.

    [16] Greek gov't stresses need for measures in favor of the world's poor

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Referring to the G8 summit currently taking place in Evian, France, Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Monday stressed that powerful countries should ''heed the message'' that the progress of globalization demanded measures in favor of the world's poor, in order to prevent phenomena of violence and intolerance.

    [17] Defense witnesses for Yiannis Serifis testify in November 17 trial

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    The ongoing trial of 19 alleged members of the terrorist organization "November 17" continued on Monday with the testimony of defense witnesses for Yiannis Serifis, one of the defendants on trial.

    First on the stand was journalists Giorgos Votsis, whose testimony to the court the previous Friday had been interrupted by defense witnesses for Anestis Papanastasiou.

    Also appearing in support of Serifis was writer Periklis Korovesis, who expressed conviction that the defendant could not have participated in N17 because it would run counter to his beliefs, which were against individual terrorism.

    The same views were later expressed by writer Dimitris Papachristos with regard to the defendant.

    At one point during the proceedings, the alleged leader of the terror band Alexandros Giotopoulos said he had been threatened with extradition to the United States during interrogation by the anti-terrorist squad in order to pressure him into accepting responsibility for the first three hits by the group.

    [18] Witness rules out intent by Naxakis to harm Greece through Ocalan affair

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    In testimony during the trial of some 13 people held responsible for the illegal arrival of rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan into Greece in January 1999, retired Greek intelligence service (EYP) agent Major Savvas Kalenteridis on Monday ruled out any intent on the part of retired Navy Captain Antonis Naxakis to compromise or harm Greek interests by bringing Ocalan into the country.

    Kalenteridis said that Naxakis had intended Ocalan's arrival to take place in absolute secrecy and could not therefore have foreseen the unfortunate outcome of his actions.

    He also said that Naxakis had contacts within the public order and foreign ministries, as well as EYP, during the time in question.

    Ocalan arrived in Greece from Russia while fleeing capture by Turkish authorities, even though he was not officially welcome in the country. Seeking ways to deal with the problem, which threatened the country's harmonious relations with Turkey, Greek authorities decided to secretly take him to Kenya, where he was eventually caught.

    Kalenteridis referred at length to the events that had preceded Ocalan's arrival in the country, such as his attempts to obtain political asylum from the Italian government and his fears of a hit by the Russian mafia that prompted him to seek Naxakis' assistance in order to leave Russia, in spite of being offered political asylum.

    The former agent said the decision to sent Ocalan to Kenya had been made after an agreement between the head of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Cypriot businessman Aristidis Aristidou, who had suggested that Ocalan spend a few days in the Greek Embassy in Kenya before traveling to some other African country that agreed to offer him asylum.

    Once there, however, Ocalan had been unwilling to stay in the Embassy because he considered it very unsafe, Kalenteridis said.

    Ocalan's final capture by Turkish authorities occurred in efforts to smuggle him out of the Greek Embassy to the airport so that he could go to the country of his choice.

    Kalenteridis said that two officials at Kenya's foreign ministry had at the last minute insisted that the PKK leader be taken to the airport in one of their own cars instead of a Greek Embassy vehicle and succeeded in making their views prevail in spite of strenuous objections on the part of the Greek ambassador.

    The ambassador and Kalenteridis were then prevented by the Kenyans from boarding the same car as Ocalan, which sped off and disappeared shortly after the convoy of cars began the journey toward the airport.

    Also testifying on Monday was EYP officer Nikos Mihalakakos regarding the night of Ocalan's arrival into Greece. He said that none of the airport staff on duty at the time had realized that Ocalan was among the arrivals.

    Thirteen people face charges for bringing Ocalan into Greece, among them Naxakis and two of Ocalan's associates, Yakar Chedkiz and Kaya Aifer. All three 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.

    [19] Eurostat figures on population, migration in Europe, Greece

    BRUSSELS 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greece’s population is reportedly increasing, albeit marginally, whereas the number of Greeks in the country is decreasing, the Eurostat statistical service reported this week.

    Eurostat unveiled the latest statistics on population trends and migration in the European Union during 2002 from its Brussels office.

    Specifically, Greece, Germany and Italy are the only EU member-states where an increase in population between 2001 and 2002 is exclusively due to immigrants, as the number of deaths in those countries is higher than the number of births.

    Additionally, Eurostat reports that immigration accounted for 80 percent of the rise in the EU, with Italy, Britain, Germany and Spain absorbing 70 percent of the new immigrants (roughly one million people) to the EU.

    The figure for Greece was 3.4 percent of the EU’s total number of new migrants in 2002.

    [20] Merchant marine ministry releases fact-finding report on 'Jet I'

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    High speed in excess of 28 knots combined with rough weather, tall waves and an opening in a porthole in the fore section of the vessels that allowed water to enter into a waterproof compartment were the causes of the problems experienced by the passenger catamaran ''Jet 1'' a few days ago, Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis said on Monday as he presented a fact-finding report on the accident by ministry staff.

    The craft sent out an SOS signal on Thursday night after it took on water and developed a list and all its passengers were evacuated onto other vessels in an emergency rescue operation that ended on Friday.

    The minister said that this was the first incidence, worldwide, where the causes of a similar accident at sea were ascertained through the use of the "black box" (VDR) installed in all passenger, vehicle and high-speed vessels in Greece in January 2003 in accordance with EU regulations.

    All the material gathered by the fact-finding mission will now be forwarded to the Naxos public prosecutor for the preliminary investigation by the courts, after which it will be referred to the Council for the Investigation of Maritime Accidents.

    Stressing that there had been no loss of control or breach in the vessel's hulls, the minister was stern about the adherence of speed limits at sea by high-speed vessels using controlled speed corridors.

    [21] Athens mayor meets with Turkish premier in Ankara

    ISTANBUL 03/06/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni on Monday met with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, concluding her visit to Turkey.

    Bakoyianni's visit began on Friday in Istanbul where she attended a meeting of the Balkan Policy Club.

    During her meeting with Erdogan, Bakoyianni exchanged views on the course of Greek-Turkish elections, developments on the Cyprus problem and the European course of Turkey.

    Earlier in the day, Bakoyianni was hosted to a dinner by Greek Ambassador to Ankara Michalis Christidis, where Turkish diplomats, politicians and parliament deputies were present.

    During her stay here, Bakoyianni also met with Ankara Mayor Melih Giokcek, who gave her a tour of the city and of projects the municipality has underway.

    [22] Karamanlis to address City University on 'Greece in the new European scene'

    LONDON 03/06/2003 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Greece's main opposition New Democracy party (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis has accepted an invitation by the Economics Department of the City University, London, to be the guest speaker at an event on July 1, the University announced on Monday.

    The theme of Karamanlis' address will be ''Greece in the new European scene''.

    [23] Charges follow violent protests against new landfills; gov't cites decision

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Charges of blocking transportation and resisting arrest were filed against eight suspects by a local prosecutor on Monday following the violent blockade of the main Athens-Lamia highway a day earlier by local residents from northern Athens, who were protesting plans to build a landfill in their area.

    Residents of the mostly rural Polydendri and Kapandriti townships of northern Attica prefecture -- north of Athens -- have vociferously protested plans by the central government to build much needed landfills near their communities.

    Efforts to better manage waste and rubbish in the greater Athens-Piraeus area has taken on a dramatic urgency of late, as the 2004 Olympic Games will be held in the Greek capital next year, which hosts almost half of Greece’s population and roughly two-thirds of the country’s economic output. Additionally, the biggest landfill currently in use is approaching its saturation point, experts contend.

    Two of the eight suspects were local government officials from the two communities.

    Meanwhile, in a related story, the town planning and environment ministry said on Monday that a final decision on where new landfills will be situation in western and eastern Attica prefecture will come in late August.

    A relevant Parliament committee begins deliberations on Tuesday over an amendment allowing for six new landfills in the prefecture (four in east Attica and two in west Attica) as well as two landfills each on the islands of Kythira and Antikythira.

    [24] Religious conference calls for recognition of Jerusalem Patriarch Irineos

    Athens, 03/06/2003 (ANA)

    Participants in the 5th Academic Meeting of Judaism and the Orthodox Church have called for the immediate recognition of Jerusalem Patriarch Irineos by the state of Israel.

    The meeting took place in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, at the end of last week and was attended by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, the President of the World Jewish Council Israel Singer and others.

    The call is contained in a joint statement, which also stresses the will of both sides to continue dialogue and jointly handle intolerance and religious fanaticism.

    The statement says the purpose of the dialogue is the lifting of superstitions and developing a spirit of mutual understanding and constructive cooperation to tackle common problems.

    The two delegations agreed on the need to have special proposals prepared on training the faithful of both religions in developing healthy relations based on mutual respect and understanding to confront intolerance and fanaticism.

    Among others, the establishment of a permanent coordinating committee was decided and the development of continuous relations between Orthodox Christians and Jews.

    [25] UN chief recommends extending UNFICYP mandate for six months

    UNITED NATIONS 03/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has recommended that the Security Council extends the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months, as he considers its presence on the island ''essential to the maintenance of the ceasefire between the two sides.''

    In his report on UNFICYP to the Security Council, covering the period from November 15, 2002 to May 20, 2003, the UN chief stresses that the recent developments in Cyprus and the easing of restrictions of free movement ''are not a substitute for a comprehensive settlement.''

    He adds that ''it seems highly unlikely that such a settlement can be achieved without a genuine political commitment to the proposal I put forward and a firm timetable to finalize negotiations as outlined in the recent report on my mission of good offices.''

    ''I am therefore pleased with the easing of restrictions and good will displayed between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots; I hope that the two sides will build on that good will by taking further steps to enhance mutual confidence UNFICY is ready to assist them in doing so,'' UN chief adds.

    Regarding the force's mandate, the report adds that under the current conditions the continuous presence of UNFICYP on the island is considered as necessary for the maintenance of the ceasefire between the two sides.

    ''I therefore recommend that the Security Council extends the mandate of the force for a further period of six months until Dec 15, 2003,'' the report states.

    The UN chief notes that during the past six months the situation along the cease fire lines has remained calm and he furthermore considers it ''regrettable that no progress has been achieved in restoring the status quo ante in the village of Strovilia.''

    Regarding the UNFICYP, the UN Secretary General welcomes ''the limited easing of restrictions by the Turkish Cypriot authorities of UNFICYP'S movement as a first step,'' but urges that UNFICYP be provided unhindered access and full freedom of movement to carry out its mandate throughout its entire area of responsibility.

    He also considers it important that UNFICYP is adequately equipped to meet its increased workload and to respond to the needs as they arise.

    Referring to his recent report to the Security Council on his efforts between late 1999 and March 11, 2003 to assist the parties to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, UN SG notes that in that report he described in some details the reasons why it did not prove possible to bring the efforts to succeed and outlined his views on the way ahead.

    ''As stated in that report, the Nicosia office of my special advisor has closed,'' the report adds.

    [26] Overseas Cypriots call for resumption of Cyprus talks

    NICOSIA 03/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Representatives of Overseas Cypriots - both Greeks and Turks - who live in Greece (OKOE) and Turkey (KIBES), have called upon the representatives of the two communities in Cyprus to resume constructive negotiations with an aim to find a comprehensive solution, having as a basis of negotiations the Annan plan, the UN Security Council resolutions and the acquis communautaire.

    In a joint declaration for the peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem and rapprochement among the Cypriots, they adopted on Sunday at the conclusion of a meeting of Overseas Cypriots in Europe, organized in Athens by the Federation of Cypriot Organizations in Greece, the representatives of Overseas Greek and Turkish Cypriots also proclaimed their resolution to implement a bicommunal initiative for rapprochement and the peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Their initiative shall include frequent contacts and exchange of information, the development of a common web page in the Internet, informing the common opinion, organizations and structures in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus about our opinions and positions, cooperation in organizing with the ''Bi-communal Choir'' and ''Bi-communal Dancing group'' of shows in the Autumn of 2003 in Greece and Turkey, cooperation with organizations of overseas Cypriots and other bicommunal initiatives in Europe, with the aim of informing the European public opinion and bodies of their opinions and positions.

    [27] America's Pancyprian Association to honor George Tenet

    NEW YORK 03/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The Pancyprian Association of America will honor with the 12th Freedom Award Greek American CIA Director George Tenet, during a ceremony at the New Hilton Hotel, Saturday, June 7. Also present will be Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou.

    The Freedom Award event will open a week of events, as more than one hundred Greek-American leaders are to join activists from Europe, Canada, and Australia, for the International Coordinating Committee, Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) Conference, in Washington D.C., from June 10 to 12.

    PSEKA President and President of the Pancyprian Association of America Philip Christopher said that during their contacts with US officials Greek-American leaders will ask for the US ''as a country that has the maximum amount of influence on Turkey'' to convince Turkey that it is in her best interest to solve the Cyprus problem.

    It is the first time that a Greek-American grass-roots organization, such as the Pancyprian, honors George Tenet, Christopher said.

    The Freedom Award has been given every year to an individual who has been instrumental in the struggle of the Cypriot people. Senator Paul Sarbanes, Archbishop Iacovos and others are among the recipients.

    Christopher said Tenet worked for the AHI, lobbying the US Congress on Greek issues, particularly Cyprus and during his tenure on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    The Pancyprians will also honor George Tenet because he is the highest Greek American official at the Bush administration and his success could serve as a model to many young Greek Americans.

    Christopher believes that this event will contribute to the healing of the wounds in the Greco-American relations created because of the war in Iraq.

    ''George Tenet recognizes the strategic position of Greece and Cyprus.

    Both the Greek and Cypriot governments played an instrumental role and helped the US government with the war in Iraq,'' Christopher said.

    Invited to say what Greek-American leaders will ask the US officials they will meet in the framework of the PSEKA conference, Christopher, said ''what we are asking them is to continue supporting Cyprus as a member of the European Union and as a country that has the maximum amount of influence on Turkey to convince Turkey that it is in her best interest to solve the Cyprus problem.''

    He noted that ''Cyrus is now a member of the EU, the Turkish-Cypriots should join, the Turkish army should withdraw and people should go back to their homes and start living as one nation.''

    The United States, he added, ''can play a role in controlling Turkey basically by advising Turkey and the Turkish military that it is in their best interest to see a united Cyprus, where the

    Turkish-Cypriots can play a role in the republic.''

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