|Monday, 17 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-06-10
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>June 10, 2003
 Athens to lodge demarches over Turkish harassment of civilian flight
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)Greece will lodge demarches with Ankara, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other international organizations over Monday's harassment of a Greek civilian flight inside the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) by two Turkish jetfighters.
The same Turkish warplanes had earlier been intercepted by Greek fighter planes for infringing on Athens FIR regulations, foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said, warning that such actions by the Turkish military violated the principles and rules of international law and threatened the safety of flights over the Aegean.
At the same time, Greece's defense minister, Yiannos Papantoniou, reiterated that the country will ''not play the game of tension created by Turkey''.
The two Turkish jetfighters harassed a Greek civilian flight 25 nautical miles southwest of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos.
Civil aviation authorities identified the intruders as Turkish F-16s, whereas the civilian passenger jet was Olympic Airways flight 321, which was headed for Istanbul at 8:48 a.m. at an altitude of 29,000 feet Authorities said the OA pilot was obliged to change altitude for safety reasons.
The two Turkish F-16s had earlier been intercepted by Greek jetfighters for infringement of the Athens FIR.
The Civil Aviation Authority (YPA) was immediately informed of the incident, and was expected to lodge a complaint with the ICAO.
Beglitis expressed the government's concern over the Turkish harassment of a civilian flight, adding that this had not been the first time such an incident has occurred.
''The attitude of the Turkish military and establishment is in complete antithesis with the will of the political leadership of Turkey to act in accordance with the Copenhagen criteria, on the basis of the European Union decisions,'' Beglitis said.
Replying to press questions, Beglitis said that the development of relations with the political leadership of the neighboring country was in the interest of the Greek side, adding, however, that incidents such as the harassment of a civilian plane by Turkish jetfighters showed that it was necessary for the role played by the military in Turkey to change.
The Greek side, he continued, did not make moves ''for the sake of impressions'', but preferred instead to act on the basis of the substantive EU decisions, given that it has developed mechanisms aimed at safeguarding the national interests.
To a question on whether explanations over the incident had been given by the Turkish side, Beglitis explained that explanations are made to the international organizations and not to airlines. He stressed that the Greek side was upgrading the issue at both bilateral and international level, and was facing it with calm.
''However, such incidents give rise to questions that should concern the Turkish government, with which we continue to discuss,'' he said, adding that ''the recent report adopted by the EU regarding the situation created by the army's role in Turkey showed that the attitude of the Turkish establishment is problematic and in full antithesis with the will of the political leadership''.
In Alexandroupolis, national defense minister Papantoniou reiterated that Greece has informed NATO as well as the EU on Turkey's increased provocations in the Aegean in recent months, ''on the dangers entailed by this stance, and on its provocative nature, which reaches the point of harassing civilian airplanes''.
Papantoniou also called Turkey's attention to ''avoiding incidents or accidents - inside and outside quotations - that could cause serious problems to bilateral relations''.
On his part, government spokesman Christos Protopapas cited what he called an attempt by the Turkish military to create "artificial tension" between the two countries, so that Turkey can exit what he called "international isolation".
He also said Athens remained adamant over the need to solve the Cyprus problem and whatever differences based on international law.
Finally, in a question directed towards the Turkish government, he stressed, "Let Turkish leadership make its choices: does it want a European course or not? Does it want to be identified with the army or not?"
FM says some want to create smaller or bigger tension in Greek-Turkish relations: Foreign Minister George Papandreou, commenting on the harassment of a Greek passenger airliner by Turkish warplanes on Monday, said some want to create smaller or bigger tension in relations between Greece and Turkey.
''It is evident that there are some who want to create lesser or greater tension in relations between Greece and Turkey. We shall not follow their games and, first of all, we reply calmly that Greece is and has proved that it is a country of peace and cooperation for the entire Balkan region.
Secondly. That we have contributed and will contribute to the strengthening of the neighboring country's European course which, of course, means the adoption on its part of specific rules of international law and, in parallel, Greece always knows how and can defend its interests if and when it is threatened and, today as well, we have taken necessary measures on the part of our country at ICAO and other international organizations so that one cannot believe that it can play with the fate of our borders with such phenomena,'' Papandreou said.
Turkish warplanes violate Greek national airspace: Press reports said on Monday that 12 Turkish warplane formations infringed on the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR), while in one case of the 12 the infringement developed into a violation of Greek airspace, over the central Aegean.
In all cases, the Turkish warplanes were recognized and intercepted by Greek jets, while in 10 cases the interception process developed into an engagement.
 Turkish PM links speedup in Euro-Turkish relations to Aegean problems solution
ANKARA 10/06/2003 (ANA - A. Ambatzis)Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday a speedup in a solution to problems in the Aegean will take place in accordance with the degree relations between Europe and Turkey are speeded up and criticized Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis for ''distancing himself'' from efforts to solve the Cyprus issue.
In an interview with the Turkish newspaper ''Aksam'', published on Monday, Erdogan said, when asked on confidence building measures in the Aegean, ''it might sound a bit like slang, but some are scratching the wound.''
Asked whether it is a question of ''hawks on both sides'', he said ''it might be them and it might be others. However, some are scratching the wound. The sooner the process regarding the European Union proceeds and takes place, the sooner a solution to the problem in the Aegean will take place. The question in the Aegean consists of this.''
Referring to the issue of Cyprus, Erdogan said ''during meetings with Simitis we said we (Turks) shall encourage the North and you the South. The Annan plan should stay on the negotiating table and we should remove the negative points.''
''Mr. Simitis said he cannot come to the table for a meeting at which there will be no result. He who distanced himself was not us but Mr. Simitis,'' The Turkish prime minister claimed.
 PM to begin final European tour as EU president this week
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to embark on his last tour of European Union countries as head of the Greek EU presidency this week, starting with a visit to The Hague on Tuesday, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced.
On Monday meanwhile, the prime minister had meetings with the Union of Greek Industry (SEB) and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis at 12:00, with Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis on Olympic Games security at 14:00, while at 19:00 in the evening he is to chair a meeting of top press and foreign ministry echelons to discuss the Thessaloniki Summit later this month.
On Wednesday, Simitis is due in Brussels for talks with the European Commission, while on Thursday he is due to meet Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker. On Friday he will visit Germany for talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and on Saturday with his Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel.
He will round up his European tour with a visit to Rome on Tuesday week, where he will have talks with Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi before he departs for Halkidiki on Wednesday.
Asked to explain why Simitis was not meeting his Spanish counterpart Jose Maria Aznar, the spokesman said that no available date had been found after a meeting set up at Aznar's request was cancelled due to local elections in Spain.
Protopapas said a special meeting had been set up between Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Spanish counterpart Ana Palacio instead.
 US State Dep't coordinator for Cyprus Tom Weston due in Athens on Thursday
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Weston, was due in Athens on Thursday, it was announced Monday.
Weston, who is currently in Cyprus for consultations, will meet in Athens with Greek foreign minister George Papandreou.
 Gov't: Plan to host protesters at Thessaloniki Summit 'on track'
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)Greek government officials on Monday said preparations to host the hordes of protesters expected to converge on the northern Greek port-city of Thessaloniki (June 19-21) for the European Union summit were 'nearing completion.'
EU leaders will meet in a resort further to the east, Halkidiki prefecture, to discuss the situation in Iraq, the Mideast and, of course, the future of Europe.
Speaking at a press conference, Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis told reporters that a hospitality project, dubbed ''Hospitality-Respect'', was set up to host some 30,000 people, although he clarified that this doesn't mean the number of demonstrators cannot be higher.
''We are not going to intervene in the political context of the demonstrations that will be staged, but we are asking for the self-evident, namely, that visitors also respect the city,'' Paschalidis said.
He said construction work at two camps located at the Thessaloniki municipalities of Aghios Pavlos and Polichni had already started and that preliminary contracts valued at 320,000 euro had been signed for the installation of necessary infrastructure.
Some of the demonstrators will be hosted on the grounds of the Thessaloniki University in tents provided by the Macedonia-Thrace ministry, as well as at organized camping facilities at the nearby village of Epanome.
Paschalidis said that multiple-route cards would be issued to facilitate city travel for demonstrators and that all medical units in Thessaloniki would be on alert between June 19 and 21.
The minister urged for everyone's contribution so that demonstrations and other events are carried out in a peaceful manner, adding that he had been given assurances on this point by the leaders of the activists' movements.
Greek Social Forum to be present in full force at EU summit: The Greek Social Forum (EKF) said on Monday it will be out in full force on June 19 at the start of the European Union summit in Halkidiki, northern Greece, to voice their demands.
Members of the EKF, who said that coaches will arrive from all over Greece to protest the summit, underlined the aim is for the voice of the Movement to be heard for a Europe of equal treatment which will not brush aside the unemployed, poor and socially excluded individuals.
The organizers of the forum let it be understood that they intend to hold a peaceful demonstration but in no way would tolerate harassment by the police either through the use of arms or chemical substances against the protesters.
The organizers said that a great number of unemployed and immigrants will show up, adding that the 24-hour strike declared by the Supreme Civil Servants Administrative Council (ADEDY) on Friday June 20 will further facilitate a greater attendance.
One of the speakers highlighted the "fact that although the wave of unemployment in Europe is devouring the working people, the European programs and policies adopted by the European Union leaders represent nothing less than poverty and lack of decency and respect,'' for the ordinary citizen.
 FM says zero immigration policy no solution for EU
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Monday a zero immigration policy is no solution for the European Union where an increase in the number of immigrants is unavoidable.
Papandreou, addressing the conference and the meeting of the political affairs committee of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly on immigration taking place at Lagonisi, said what is absolutely necessary is the correct management of immigration, achieving a radical improvement in the incorporation of immigrants already established and preparation for the future incorporation of new waves of immigrants.
The foreign minister said regulated immigration is in the interest of the EU and, without it, there can be no solution to the EU's demographic, economic or other problems.
He added that economic growth and competitiveness sought after cannot be achieved without an appropriate and clever investment in managing immigrant waves and their smooth incorporation in our societies.
Papandreou further said that what is necessary is a well-planned balanced and integrated immigration policy and a well-organized system for the management and influx of new immigrants.
He went on to say that borders should be both safe and clever, adding that according to reports Europe will have 30 million immigrants by 2020.
 Greek EU Presidency condemns terrorist act in Afghanistan
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)The Greek EU Presidency on Monday expressed its "abhorrence" with regard to the terrorist attack against a bus carrying German peacekeepers in Afghanistan last Saturday, which cost the lives of four soldiers and caused a large number of injuries.
A statement issued by the Greek foreign ministry also said:
"The Presidency would like to offer its condolences to the families of the victims and to the German Government, which has been contributing so much to the effort for stabilizing the security situation in the country and restoring conditions of safety for all people.
"The Presidency wishes to reiterate the EU’s firm stand and categorical opposition against all acts of violence, no matter where they come from, and to reaffirm its unswerving determination to remain engaged in the long and arduous process of Afghanistan’s reconstruction and its transformation to a stable and democratic state, as set out in the Bonn Agreement."
 FM meets with Bulgarian socialist party leader in Athens
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday met with Bulgarian Socialist Party President Sergei Stanishev and discussed issues concerning the Balkans, the European prospects of the region and bilateral issues.
They also discussed issues concerning pending decisions for the European Union Summit of Thessaloniki, due on June 19 and 20.
''The significant progress Bulgaria has made on its European course satisfies us,'' Papandreou said.
On his part, Stanishev said that his meeting with Papandreou was substantive and added that the basic priority of all Bulgarian political parties is to make the country into a useful and effective member of the European Union.
''The agenda of our country is clear and I believe that the year 2007 is realistic hope (for accession), as long as all the necessary domestic reforms take place,'' he underlined.
Stanishev concluded that Greece and Bulgaria play a constructive and stabilizing role in the Western Balkans, adding that the European Union would provide greater stability for the region in the years to come.
Laliotis meets Bulgarian Socialist Party president: Ruling PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis held talks with visiting Bulgarian Socialist Party President Sergei Stanishev in Athens on Monday night and ascertained the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two parties and the peoples of the two countries.
Laliotis said ''PASOK views that it has an obligation within the framework of the bonds it has with the Socialist Party of Bulgaria and to the prospects of its accession and the active role it can play, not only in the Balkans or Europe but also in the Socialist International, because it is a party, an existing political force.''
On his part, Stanishev was optimistic on the further development of relations between PASOK and his party and of inter-state relations between Bulgaria and Greece.
''We greatly appreciate the support which Greece is providing for Bulgaria's accession to the European Union. This was very strong during the Greek Presidency. We have very good prospects for the development of relations and Greece and Bulgaria as important countries in the region of the Balkans can actively cooperate, for stability and development of the western Balkans,'' Stanishev said.
 Greek ambassador says EU membership can have positive effect on conflicts 10/06/2003NICOSIA (ANA - G. Leonidas)
Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Christos Panagopoulos said on Monday there is no better example of the positive effect EU membership can have on long-term conflicts, than Cyprus' accession to the European Union.
Panagopoulos, speaking at an event focusing on Europe, said that within days of the official accession to the EU misleading stereotypes about the impossibility of peaceful cohabitation between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities began to collapse.
He added that Cyprus' accession to the EU has created the catalyst for reconciliation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots who were forced to live separately for almost 30 years.
The ambassador further said the moving reactions by those who visited villages, regions and their houses constitute the real trial for the Europeanization of foreign policy priorities.
However, Panagopoulos stressed that a solution has not yet been achieved and political will from all sides is necessary, particularly from Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, to use the Annan plan as a basis for the reunification of Cyprus.
Calling on all sides to take advantage of the opportunity for a solution to the Cyprus issue, Panagopoulos said it should be understood that Cyprus' accession to the EU is part of a unique historic process.
 Turkish PM wants improvements in UN plan for Cyprus
ISTANBUL 10/06/2003 (ANA/ A. Kourkoulas)Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that "negative elements" should be taken out of the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s plan for a settlement to the Cyprus problem, describing the plan as an otherwise good basis for a settlement of the long-running dispute.
“The Annan plan should remain on the table, but we should remove its negative aspects,” Erdogan said in an interview with a Turkish daily.
The Cyprus Republic signed its European Union accession treaty in Athens on April 16, 2003, and is scheduled to become a full member of the Union in May 2004, along with another nine states.
“Irrespective of whether we recognize it (i.e. the Cyprus Republic) or not, the EU has recognized it as a state and its recognition by Turkey is not important. It is imperative that we move realistically ... it is imperative that we shape the future. Both sides have not inherited positive elements, but we can make improvements,” the Turkish premier said.
 Gov't plays down significance of ND lead in opinion polls
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Monday played down the significance of recent opinion polls in which main opposition New Democracy appeared to be gaining a healthy lead over the government, noting that ruling PASOK had emerged victorious in past elections that were preceded by similarly bad results in opinion polls.
"Opinion polls do not govern, they merely record images of issues that concern us. The question is what people expect and where they believe the solution to their problems lies," he noted.
He also noted that opinion polls reflected past political situations and said that the government had now regained the political initiative.
The government had the "power, the will and the ability to respond to the demands of the citizens," he said.
 Greek EU presidency hails Poland's ''yes vote'' for joining the Union
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)The Greek European Union presidency on Monday applauded the positive outcome of a weekend referendum in Poland where the overwhelming majority of an almost 60 percent turnout of voters endorsed Polish membership in the European Union.
Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the vote, stressing that Poland belongs with the EU and that the referendum reflected the desire of the Polish people and the political forces to see their country advancing on the course toward incorporation with the Union.
Poland, along with nine more countries mostly from the former east bloc, on 16 April signed Accession Treaties with the EU for full membership in May 2004.
 Gov't pledges to seek solution for TVX Hellas miners on hunger strike
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)The government will make every possible effort to find a solution to the problems of the protesting Halkidiki goldminers faced with redundancy, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said in response to questions on Monday, the eighth day of an ongoing hunger strike by 100 miners who have barricaded themselves within the mines and are demanding guarantees that their jobs are safe.
Protopapas noted that the government had for years sought ways to maintain the viability of the mines and preserve the jobs involved but had met with fierce opposition from local residents, who objected to the mines on environmental grounds and were largely responsible for the failure of the investment.
The 100 miners are currently holed up within the tunnels of the Stratoni goldmine and are determined to continue their hunger strike until their demands for job security are met.
They received a visit later in the day from Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Nikos Constantopoulos, who noted the very difficult working conditions within the mines and stressed that they should be immediately re-opened so that the miners could return to work.
The miners' started their protest action in response to an application for bankruptcy filed by TVX Hellas, a subsidiary of TVX Gold Inc that holds the concession to the mines, which lost the support of its parent company following a merger between TVX Gold and Kinross Gold a few months ago.
The new company arising from the merger announced plans to withdraw from TVX Hellas in February because of profitability concerns.
Negotiations are underway on transferring the concession to a new joint venture that will be comprised of state-run Larko, Kinross, the Aegean Mining Corporation, the Stagira-Akanthou, Megali Panagia and Arnaia municipalities, and the Halkidiki prefecture.
 Mining Enterprises Association on future of mining in Greece
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)In an announcement on Monday, the Association of Mining Enterprises (SME) expressed concern over the future of new mining investments in Greece after the problems arising with the TVX gold mine in Halkidiki.
It also noted that two more gold mines in Thrace that faced similar opposition from local communities might well suffer the same fate.
The association stressed the need to secure permission for gold mining investments in the area, with complete respect for environmental and safety terms by the new business scheme that took over the mines and strict controls by the authorities.
Declaring support from the miners in Stratoni, meanwhile, the group noted that the mixed sulphur ores mine without the gold unit would not be viable and would not provide a solution to their problems except in the very short term.
The two planned gold mines in Thrace, that would potentially create hundreds of jobs, were also being opposed by local residents while there had been no serious and scientific dialogue previously, the announcement noted. They said similar tactics in Halkidiki had caused the failure of a major foreign investment of 250 million dollars.
 PM and finance minister hold talks with head of industry union
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)The government on Monday stressed that it intended to co-operate with productive forces in order to create the best possible conditions for growth, competitiveness and employment in Greece.
According to Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, this was the message that Prime Minister Costas Simitis sought to broadcast through his meeting earlier in the day with the head of the Union of Greek Industries (SEB) Odysseas Kyriakopoulos.
Kyriakopoulos, on his part, described his meeting with Simitis and Christodoulakis as ''good and constructive,'' while noting that there had been no great gulf to bridge between the government and captains of industry.
''Our common goal is the development of the Greek economy, improved competitiveness and an increase in employment...there were no particular clouds to dispel,'' he told reporters after the meeting.
Christodoulakis similarly confirmed that the meeting had taken place in a ''spirit of well-intentioned dialogue'' that sought the best possible outcome for the Greek economy, the workers and business.
Kyriakopoulos said that SEB had informed the prime minister on the progress made in certain sectors, while outlining its concerns in other areas.
The meeting focused on problems such as unemployment and cutting down on bureaucracy that acted as a disincentive for investments, as well as details of the new developmental law to support business enterprise.
Responding to questions, Christodoulakis stressed the need that development be accompanied by more jobs that would ensure social cohesion.
''Development without expanding opportunities for employment will be development by halves, which will sooner or later be threatened by the social tensions and inequality that it will trigger,'' he said.
 Discussion on future of Greek agriculture held at European Parliament offices
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)A discussion was held on Monday at the European Parliament's Athens offices on the future of Greek agriculture in the framework of the European Union.
The discussion was attended by the agriculture ministry's leadership, Eurodeputies, members of the Wise Men's Committee on viable agriculture, technocrats, industrialists, organizations and trade unionists.
Issues discussed concerned problems related to agriculture's competitiveness and support for producers' income, while comments were also made on the agricultural sector's prospects over the next 10 years.
Many speakers pointed out that the present condition of the agricultural sector in the country is characterized by the lack of coordination between the services of the agriculture ministry and prefectural administration and that many years have already been lost.
They added that corrective moves are necessary from now on, while some also noted that European agriculture is currently proceeding towards a change in philosophy and the question is how this change in philosophy in the agricultural sector will be turned into practice.
 Parliament to debate ND proposal for fact-finding commission on ASE scandals
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)A motion tabled by the main opposition New Democracy party (ND) calling for the creation of a parliamentary fact-finding commission to investigate alleged scandals on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) will be debated and voted on by the House next week, parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis said Monday.
Kaklamanis said after a meeting with ND leader Costas Karamanlis that the discussion for the fact-finding commission has already been placed on the parliament's agenda.
Karamanlis called on Kaklamanis on Monday and asked that the debates on the establishment of the fact-finding commission as well as on a draft law tabled by ND on transparency be carried out within the current session of parliament, before the House goes into summer recess sessions, saying this constituted a ''moral and political obligation'' of the government.
''The stock market scandal must be clarified immediately and fully in all its aspects,'' Karamanlis said.
 ND's Evert says Greece is facing imminent economic slump
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)New Democracy MP Miltiades Evert on Monday asserted that Greece was gradually but steadily entering an economic slump and that this was corroborated by the country's inability to absorb European Union funds earmarked for development.
Quoting statistics on the economy's performance, Evert noted a 15.7 per cent reduction in tourism and reductions in industrial production and manufacturing.
With respect to absorbing EU funds, he said that 468 million euros had been lost from the 2nd Community Support Framework (CSF) and another 800 million euros were still outstanding, while only 22 per cent of the 3rd CSF had been absorbed to date.
Evert also claimed the government was making "frantic efforts" to cover up budget deficits by moving up the sale of shares in public enterprises on the stock market.
He called on the government to lay open its cards regarding its plans for developmental policy and tax reform and its policy on loans and interest rates.
 Greek stocks fall slightly on Monday
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks mostly hovered around Friday’s levels on Monday, following record highs for the year on the Athens Stock Exchange during that previous session, which mostly followed gains in other European markets.
The Greek bourse began the week with a 0.44-percent decline from Friday’s session, with the general index closing at 1,868.46 points. Turnover stood at 185.6 million euros.
IT Solutions led specific indices in terms of gains (+3.30 percent), followed by Food/Beverages (+2.71 percent) and Publications (+2.48 percent). Conversely, Minerals (-1.58 percent), textiles (-1.35 percent) and Industrials (-1.05 percent) posted the biggest sector losses.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.34 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.38 percent lower, while the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index also fell 0.42 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 202 to 128 with another 36 issues unchanged.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 126.5 mln euros Monday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers match sellers on Monday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Closing rates of June 9 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,182 1,155
 Central Dublin Group two-day conference begins in Athens
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)The Central Dublin Group conference concluded its first day of meetings here in Athens on Monday with the approval of the regional sub-groups' reports, which focused on the problem of the production and trafficking of drugs in the Balkans.
The Balkans according to the reports are the major gateway for drugs to the European Union, especially heroin, 90 to 95 per cent of which originates in Afghanistan, which returned to the pre-1995 levels of heroin production.
The Central Dublin Group's Greek regional Report was presented by main opposition New Democracy deputy Marietta Giannakou, who presides over the ''Balkans, Near and Middle East'' sub-group.
The Group was established in 1990, as an informal international mechanism against drugs, by the 25 EU members and the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and Norway.
The conference will conclude on Tuesday with the address of Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
 Culture minister presents Cultural Olympiad emblem
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, in the presence of Cultural Olympiad President Evgenios Yiannakopoulos on Monday presented the emblem of the Cultural Olympiad which will accompany all of its cultural activities until August 2004.
Taking part in the creation of the emblem were artists from New York, Johannesburg, Shanghai, Dubai, London and Athens who each depicted, in their own manner, the value of their own culture.
The culture minister said the emblem transfers the message of the ''Celebration of Cultures''.
The emblem consists of concentric circle in the interior of which are distinguished separate elaborate colors.
 Turkish PM to meet with Ecumenical Patriarch in Ankara
ISTANBUL 10/06/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Thursday in Ankara, in light of the Turkish national assembly's approval of international agreements, which concern the Patriarchate.
The ratification of agreements concerning the protection of the social and cultural rights of minorities, which was accomplished despite objections tabled by the Turkish armed forces' general staff, paves the path for the re-opening of the Halki Academy of Theology.
The ratification of these agreements was part of the government's efforts to cover the space separating Turkey from the European legal framework.
At least three U.S. presidents and scores of U.S. and European foreign ministers have repeatedly stressed to the Turkish government their sensitivity over the Halki Academy issue and the freedoms of the Patriarchate in its historic seat.
Turkey, however, had connected the re-opening of the academy with the establishment of Islamic education centers in Turkey and maintained reservations over the implementation of international agreements concerning the cultural and social rights of minorities.
The Patriarch, who returned from a visit to the Baltic, where he presided over an ecology conference, will table the issue of property rights of the Greek community's foundations, which are not covered by the laws ratified by the Turkish national assembly in this recent effort to meet EU legal framework standards.
 Testimony focuses on fingerprints during Mon. session of N17 trial
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)The director of Greek Police’s criminal investigation service was the primary witness on Monday during the ongoing trial of 19 “November 17” defendants, with the focus turning to fingerprints discovered at two safe houses used by the elusive terror gang.
In detailing the fingerprints lifted from the Patmos Street safe house, a small apartment in a densely populated central Athens neighborhood, police official Ioannis Yiannakouris pointed to evidence linking Vassilis Tzortzatos to the residence.
According to Yiannakouris, Tzortzatos’ fingerprints were found on a policeman’s kepi – along with another five such caps -- and on book entitled “Who is Who”.
In his defense, Tzortzatos denied that he had any involvement with the moveable items, while claiming that police simply ‘transferred’ his fingerprints them, something that the witness said was extremely difficult without anyone noticing.
 Athens mayor visits Moscow proposes exhibition with Treasures of Troy
Athens, 10/06/2003 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni on Monday proposed to the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Razov the organizing of an exhibition of the Treasures of Troy in Athens during the 2004 Olympic Games.
According to a press release of the municipality of Athens, during her visit to Moscow, Bakoyianni spoke on the preparations for the Athens 2004 Games and stressed that ''Athens will welcome with joy such an exhibition and it will be a good idea to represent Russia in 2004 in Athens in this way''.
''Our aim is to reinforce the bonds between the two countries and of the two cities and we want the impression of Athens the visitors will go away with," she said.
Later in the day, Bakoyianni was hosted to a dinner by the Russian State Technology Academy.
 Cyprus FM Iacovou begins meetings at UN headquarters
UNITED NATIONS 10/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou began his meetings at the UN headquarters in New York with a 45-minute meeting with President of the General Assembly Jan Cavan, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
Iacovou told CNA that the meeting was held in a very friendly and warm atmosphere, adding that talks focused on the Cyprus problem, efforts to reach a settlement and the island's accession to the European Union.
Replying to questions, Iacovou said the Cyprus problem is still on the General Assembly's agenda and would remain there until a settlement is achieved.
Later on local time, Iacovou will have a working lunch with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and in the evening will hold talks with UN Deputy Secretary General Sir Kieran Prendergast.
Iacovou said this would be the first contact with the Secretariat.
On Tuesday, the minister will meet with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the UN chief's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.
Asked if the resolution, expected to be adopted by the Security Council on June 11 for the renewal of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), would be discussed, Iacovou said some of the elements of the resolution would probably be brought up.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 Greece and Cyprus monitoring Turkish provocations
NICOSIA10/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)The governments of Greece and Cyprus are closely monitoring all developments in relation to the provocations of Turkey from the Aegean to Strovilia in Cyprus, and have made all necessary representations, Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides said on Monday, noting that the issue of Strovilia will be brought up by Foreign Minister George Iacovou during his meetings in the United States.
Chrisostomides said the two governments ''wonder if it is a systematic policy of Turkey to escalate its provocations to serve her own purposes.''
Invited to say what these purposes might be, the spokesman said ''we consider that there is an escalation of provocations (on behalf of Turkey) for her own diplomatic and political purposes, which I think are aims, maybe, of a blackmailing nature against the EU to promote her own interests.''
The spokesman described Monday's harassment of an Olympic Airways plane by Turkish fighter jets as ''very serious,'' adding that ''the provocations on behalf of Turkey are continuing from the Aegean to Strovilia.''
Replying to questions, Chrisostomides said there was no information that Turkey planned to create more tension in Cyprus, adding that things would clear in due course.
''The Greek and Cypriot governments are monitoring developments very closely and have made the necessary representations,'' the spokesman said.
To questions regarding Turkey's provocations in relation to Cyprus' accession to the EU, Chrisostomides said ''Cyprus' course towards the EU has cleared'' and noted that ''if Turkey is making some actions it is to serve her own aims.''
Asked if it was possible that Turkey believed increasing tension
would pressure the EU into giving her a date to commence accession negotiations, the Spokesman said this was possible.
Turkey is violating the status quo ante in the southeastern village
of Strovilia, which is in the ceasefire line. Greek Cypriot residents in the area are facing problems with electricity and water supply and telephone connections.
 Spokesman welcomes Weston's statements
NICOSIA 10/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)The Cypriot government has welcomed the US position, as it was expressed by the State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Westin in an interview with Cypriot daily ''Simerini'' newspaper, that there is no chance of recognizing the Turkish occupation regime on the island.
Commenting on the US position expressed by both Weston and US Ambassador to Cyprus Michael Klosson that substantive changes could not be made on the solution plan put forward by UN chief Kofi Annan, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides said ''the Annan plan is there for negotiations and in the context of negotiations we will see how we proceed to solve the Cyprus problem.''
He reiterated the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to resume substantive talks immediately on the basis of the Annan plan.
Chrisostomides said Weston's statements reiterate the US position that there is no chance of recognizing the Turkish occupation regime, noting that this position is welcomed.
Asked if the Greek Cypriot side was pursuing drastic changes to the Annan plan, the Spokesman said ''we are pursuing substantive negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan.''